Wired Magazine Checks In With NK Jemisin, Again – By Rhiain

Wired Magazine Checks In With NK Jemisin, Again – By Rhiain

WorldCon is upon us once again, and our own Kate Paulk is on scene for the duration of the event to represent the Sad Puppies.

In the meantime, in a brazen attempt to increase traffic to their website in the run-up to MidAmericon II, Wired Magazine recently published a fawning rehash of Nora K Jemisin’s thoughts on a recent brouhaha regarding the “lack of diversity” in SFF magazines. Since Larry Correia already did an exceptional job fisking the original Verge article about said brouhaha, I’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to mosey on over to MHN for the particulars of the, ahem, study commissioned by Fireside Fiction at the center of that controversy regarding the “lack of diversity” in SFF.

In the meantime, Wired Magazine decided to check in with Jemisin regarding The Underrepresentation(!) of Colored Writers Published By SFF Mags – because who better could opine on this Terrible Crisis if not their quotable go-to non-white writer?

The article is essentially a grandiose introduction followed by a string of recent Tweets by Ms. Jemisin, in which she indicates that the uptick in invites to submit work to SFF mags has increased for her personally, and while it’s a nice problem to have, she prefers that SFF mags go beyond recognizable names of non-white SFF writers like herself and find others not so recognizable to invite instead. Where Jemisin derails is here:

13. Here is what I think is happening: The chant against the +10 diversity attack is being spoken again, in the shadowy halls of powah.
14. Somebody says to somebody else, “Whoa, that report was right, we haven’t pub’d anybody black in *years.* What do we do?” Somebody else
15. says, “Yeah, but we can’t just pub *any* black writers. That’s quotas. Quality!” “Oh, I know! We’ll invite [“name” black writers].”
16. That’s how it happens, see. There Can Be Only A Few. The defense-against-diversity attack spell has more names in it now. A *few* more.
17. The front gates are still shut, see. You’re just letting a few more exceptions in the side door.

Do non-white writers consider the SFF magazine market to be the only way to become a published SFF author? Surely not. Doesn’t the indie market, for example, exist as one way among many to open those floodgates, permanently?

Jemisin’s descent into conspiracy notwithstanding, lamenting the paucity of diversity is not a particularly new thought shared by the liberal SFF writerly set amongst themselves. Beyond the flawed tally of white versus non-white writers within the specific niche of SFF magazines, it is instructive that liberal non-white SFF writers view the push for Diversity in their field as tokenism and not as a serious attempt to integrate the current crop of established authors – whatever the hell that’s supposed to accomplish.

The problem with this approach, however, is that one still relies on tallies and quotas of authors and writers by ethnicity, race and/or skin color. However one quantifies Diversity here, relying on melanin count seems counterintuitive and, ultimately, irrelevant to the average reader of SFF.

As Chris Nuttall pointed out in his own blog response to The Verge article, how often do SFF magazine editors check to see if the author of a submission is non-white? More to the point, how often do SFF magazine editors only publish stories by certain authors because of their race and/or skin color?

In her Tweetstorm, Jemisin referenced an article called “Decolonise, not Diversify” by Kavita Bhanot, published late last year. It’s an astounding exercise in logical leaps and assumptions, and again, it emphasizes that any current drive to diversify the current stable of published SFF writers by race/ethnicity is a futile exercise in tokenism. Bhanot writes:

Who are the ‘people’ who are curious about the community that Sharma is writing about, allowing him to ‘benefit’ from his ethnicity? Certainly not the community he is writing about. It is clear in what Sharma says, who his work is directed towards, who he writes for. ‘People’ here equals white people. So much of our writing consciously or unconsciously reproduces this assumption, and subtly reveals internalised white supremacy.

Jemisin echoes this claim with,

20. Decolonization asks, “What are you (markets) doing wrong that black ppl don’t want to submit stories to you? Fix *that* first.”
21. And start with your assumptions that only a few *can* write up to your standards. ‘Cause that’s a f-ing problem.

In a similar vein, Phenderson Djèlí Clark writes,

The burden of change here is on SFF markets not on black writers. I repeat, the burden of change is on SFF markets not black writers. Don’t tell black people to open up their own SFF markets. Don’t say, “well you guys gotta submit more.” If SFF markets want diverse stories, they’re going to have to do more than simply state it and then wait patiently for it to happen. Words and intentions are nice. But without concerted action there’s not going to be much change. SFF markets are going to have to take part in engaged activism to bring in black writers, to increase the submissions of black writers and to publish more black writers. It ain’t gonna happen by osmosis.

But what does he mean when says “engaged activism”? Will this include forsaking the overall quality of a single magazine volume by concentrating more on marketing their magazine to non-white SFF writers and readers? Increasing one’s readership is a worthy goal, but at what cost? As a niche market, who is the target audience of each SFF magazine, and what does increasing submissions by non-white writers entail for that publication’s editors?

How does including non-white editors on one’s mag staff, a point that Jemisin and Clark both explicitly support, guarantee that the ethnic and cultural nuances shine in one’s work – especially if promulgated by a writer who happens to be white? Does this stab at editorial inclusiveness connect the reader to the story and get the writer out of the way so that the reader can engage the work?

Have Jemisin, Bhanot and Clark considered the sociological, not to mention the social, implications of their superficial opinions on diversifying SFF? I have to wonder.

Obviously I disagree, strongly, with many of their conclusions, and I question whether their well-intentioned solutions will actually increase the number of non-white writers willing to submit their work to SFF mags and publishers in general. I do not consider it a negative if non-white writers self-publish their work in their own created spaces. It is both amusing and puzzling that the Publishing Establishment, already liberal, is still viewed as too segregated by some of its own members and too entrenched in its ways to become more diverse. Keep in mind that conservative and libertarian authors are such an outlier that they are not even considered a legitimate demographic by the publishing houses’ gatekeepers and pseudo-analysts. Thus, in policing themselves, and aghast that they’re still found wanting, the ensuing hyperventilating by its more vocal (non-white!) members are cause for the average SFF reader to wonder what the fuss is all about. Or to drink and laugh. Or both. Take your pick.

Many of us SFF readers and indie-published SFF writers are so passionate about the field that we’ve tossed off the burdensome entry requirements imposed by the Publishing Establishment and thrown ourselves into the fray. As mentioned earlier, the indie market has thrown the publishing gates wide open, and whether the Establishment wants to admit it or not, we are here to stay.

Do we care about the skin color of our fellow writers and readers? No – it has no bearing on the stories we read and enjoy. It has no bearing on the stories we write, unless as an inspiration or motivation. Whether the current drive for Diversity will bear the fruit desired by its proponents or vindicate our belief that it’s a non-issue depends on whether the self-appointed gatekeepers will realize that their dictates are being disagreed with by SFF fans like you and me, or outright ignored and dismissed.

But they’re our betters, see – especially us non-white SFF readers who don’t care about tokenism, diversity, or today’s flavor of identity politics. Surely we’ll eventually understand that they’re only looking out for our best interests – or not.

249 thoughts on “Wired Magazine Checks In With NK Jemisin, Again – By Rhiain

  1. And in related news, Dave Truesdale has apparently been ejected from WorldCon.

        1. Wait — was he on a panel or denouncing the panel for having them?

          Doesn’t Worldcon have designated Safe Spaces where such precious flowers can languish on fainting couches until their tremors cease?

          Clearly Worldcon is maintaining a hostile environment.

          1. Details are still sketchy. The Usual Suspects are accusing Dave of derailing the panel with politics (irony) and hogged it, while Dave maintains that he allowed everyone a chance to speak and made a recording of the whole thing which he intends to post soon.

            1. Derailing the panel with politics = not holding approved views

              Your views are Politics, while my views are obvious fact.

              From Ambrose Bierce, the Devil’s lexicographer himself:
              POLITICS, n.
              A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

            2. Interesting. Can we get the people bragging about wanting to punch Dave Truesdale on Twitter booted too?

              1. The idiots can’t counter his arguments, so they want to punch him. Bravo. Yeah, I think we leave the kindergarten of writers behind, and we (Baen and indie) go on to be professionals and reach the great majority of readers alienated by these idiots.

                1. This is precisely why my wife and I decided not to go to Worldcon even though we had paid for memberships.

                  1. And we have stayed pretty much in the dealers’ room, concentrating on business and avoiding politics (other than a private visit to Puppy Central after hours Thursday, where we said hi to some friends before heading back to our hotel room). We’re hoping to at least break even, but honestly, comic cons and anime cons are our bread and butter. Traditional sf cons are increasingly being events we can continue going to as long as they pay for themselves, but we’re cutting when they don’t.

                    1. Because most of the aging Trufen can’t afford dealer’s room trips on their social security checks?

                    2. Kevin, the people at Wondercon managed to spend money in the dealer’s room just fine. I was reinforcing her point.

                2. See my comment below. The only major publisher book left on my list this year is from you. The only one before was the 2113 anthology (I think that is through a major, I could be wrong).

                  I’m more excited about hopefully getting a new Wearing the Cape book than I am about anything from the Tor crowd et al.

                  1. Between Jeffro’s Appendix N and Razorfist’s Shadow introductions, I’ve found I have no desire to read much modern SF anymore. Too busy catching up on the pulps and Golden Age stories being republished in ebook.

                    1. I thought the “Except for Baen and Our Hostess” was implied. ^^;;

                      I’ll…just walk in front of the barrel of the carp cannon…

                    2. Mary, whenever Apple and the Big 6/5/4 cough up more DOJ settlement money, it is my sincere delight to spend it solely on indie writers. And after, well, I do have to keep current on all those series…

                    1. He’s hoping to have a collection of stories set in that “universe” (with some side trips) out by the end of September. 😀

                    2. Yes, those are…well, the only other person since a certain writer of wizard noir to get that “must buy and read right now and then buy and read the next right now” is Pam and her crazy wine.

          2. Briefly, he was denouncing SJWs as ruining modern SF/F, and at one point provided a definition of the term “snowflake” (as in “special snowflake”). Not accusing anyone of it, just defining it.

            He received the following in e-mail from the con Chair, Ruth Lichtwardt: “Due to your unacceptable behavior as the moderator of the “State of Short Fiction” panel on Friday, August 19, we are revoking your membership to MidAmeriCon II effective immediately.”

            Later, the following was posted somewhere, and shared via screenshot on FB (I think on Lou Antonelli’s wall, not sure though and can’t find the post): “Dave Truesdale’s membership was revoked because he violated MidAmericon II’s Code of Conduct. Specifically, he caused ‘significance [sic] interference with event operations and caused excessive discomfort to others.'”

            Notice the last bit? One would almost think they’re proving his point about special snowflakes (he didn’t identify any individual as such, mind you), or would be if they had a lick of self-awareness.

      1. Dave was the moderator of the panel in question as I understand it. A very visible target.
        Kate is there mostly to observe and in some small fashion represent SP4. She has bent over backwards to comply with their asinine rules about room parties and studiously avoided creating a situation where last year’s kerfuffle over Puppy ribbons could happen again. No pile on the swag table this time around, you have to know someone and ask.
        What all that means is that should she also be ejected it would be obvious blatant enemy action.
        As I’ve stated before, the Hugos died last year at that despicable award ceremony. This go round, they’re just fighting over the dead desicated bones.

            1. And then there was the Breen Office that used to police content in Hollywood films. And the Breen were an antagonistic species on Star Trek . . .

              1. I was wondering whether it might be a typo and the correct word should be Bren. As in Bren light machine gun.

          1. Yes, the Hugos are still a thing. They are a thing warning against tendentious, pretentious and ostentatious writing. They are a sign on a book’s cover advising: Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

            1. Hugo Award: Science Fiction for people too good to be caught reading (or writing) Science Fiction.

            2. Well, for a little while yet. In 10 years (maybe less) the Hugos will be a book cover decoration at best that will only confuse possible buyers: “Hugo Award winner? What’s that?”

            3. The last Hugo winning novel I bothered to read won in 2002.

              I mean, Michael Chabon wrote one. The man whose only book I read lead to me screaming “stop smoking pot and cheating on your wife” whenever the protagonist wondered what had gone wrong with his life.

        1. I have refrained from commenting until now since the redacted version consisted of the definite article, conjunctions, and a few PG nouns. Wired surprises me about as much as a dog pissing on a tire because that’s their nature. It also signals a magazine that’s not worth the time to read – whether deliberate or accidental, it shows a magazine who’s content cannot be seen as reliable; maybe they’ll put it next to the tabloids. But no: What have tabloids done to deserve to be next to Wired?

          This is different. This boils my blood. The arrogance involved would give both Hillary and Trump pause. This is utter bull****. And my blood pressure goes up again. Injustice and hypocrisy tends to do that.

          1. Fortunately, Wired blocks articles from anyone running ad-blocker. So I don’t have to be bothered with their snark.
            Actually, I use ad-blocker less for the ads than the obnoxious flip-ups,flip-down,flip-left and flip-rights and the little boxes that somehow appear over the text whenever you have zoom set to anything greater than 50%.

          2. I stopped reading Wired because their graphical design was awful and they buried their table of contents well into the magazine so that I couldn’t find the article which had the intriguing teaser on the cover. That must have been at least 20 years ago because it was before my daughter was born and she turns 20 in November.

          3. IIRC, I got about a paragraph in on an article they wrote last year. Stopped when they claimed the Puppies wanted a “whiter” SFF or similar. My “stop at the first lie” policy.

            Not sure if the article is still around, I remember people blindly linking to it last year on Twitter after the 2015 Hugo Awards. You know, to build teh Narrative! of how the icky Puppies were evil and “deserved” the hate the CHORFs were flinging at them.

            1. My ‘stop at the first lie’ policy.

              In fairness, many of them believe that and therefore it is not a lie. An assertion of unverified fact, perhaps, but not technically a demonstrable lie.

              It is an indicator of sloppy thinking, stereotypical assumption (i.e., racist or sexist in character when employed in other contexts) and genuinely stupid. But to be a lie it would have to be a statement of fact which the person knows or has reason to believe is false.

              Not that such people are concerned about the Truth or Falsity of a statement — the entire point of Political Correctness is that the “Truth Value” of a claim is determined by whether it advances the desired narrative. Factual validity is convenient but neither sufficient nor necessary.

              1. Only invincible ignorance prevents guilt. Vincible ignorance — where a reasonably prudent person would have investigated enough to know — at best mitigates it. Supine ignorance — making no effort — leaves them as guilty as if they knew the truth.

                Affected ignorance, where they actively maintain their ignorance( by, for instance, refusing to believe it when clearly told the truth), if anything, aggravates guilt.

                1. Good gracious! I meant to express no expiation of their sins, merely a punctiliousness about convicting them of the proper crimes.

        2. From what I’m hearing it isn’t even like his going on a rant like that is unusual for him.. Apparently he routinely does them at various cons. So anyone making him the moderator of a panel should have known exactly what they where getting.

          Oh and apparently he also recorded said panel and will be posting he audio.

  2. she prefers that SFF mags go beyond recognizable names of non-white SFF writers like herself and find others not so recognizable to invite instead.

    Because nothing says “Pick me up and buy me” like a magazine cover full of names nobody recognizes.

    1. So SFF magazines are encouraged to go out and invest in the development of new writers when their industry is shrinking even with known names on the cover. Likely they do need some new writers, and probably they need to choose different kinds of stories as well, for the ones they choose are not attracting readers.

      But I doubt that what is being suggested will be the solution.

      1. I’ve stopped subbing to most SF magazines because I just don’t connect with what they publish so I figure they return the favor. Maybe non-white writers feel the same way?

    2. But they never will, because the whole point to picking a recognizable author (this means, someone with a public presence AND a photograph on the internet) is they get Tolerance Points for doing so. If nobody knows Chris Smith is Christine and adopted from Malawi, she gets binned in with the white guys. Conversely, does it occur to them that Mwebe O’chofe may be, in reality, Joe Hassenpfeffer, Person of Pallor? Psedonyms! They exist! Gaaaaahhhh…..

      1. Pretending to be someone other than you are has a long history in writing. See Elliot, George or Bell, Ellis, Acton, and Currer or Little Tree, Education of…

        1. Alice Mary wrote under the name of Andre….. As in Andre Norton and hen there is Alice Bradley Sheldon. She wrote as James Tiptree Jr.

          Both authors famous and both women using a man’s name to publish under.

          1. On the other hand, by the time I learned of Andre Norton, I knew she was a woman, so I assumed that “Andre” was a female name; thus, I was a little confused by “Andre the Giant” being a male…

            1. Yes, I’ve found that very common among women of my generation or later. The generation before found it very encouraging to find out she was a woman, we took it for granted.

    3. “…nothing says “Pick me up and buy me” like a magazine cover full of names nobody recognizes.”
      Especially if the contents are unexciting, depressing and dull.

        1. True. I recognize it from discussions of SJW’s as the name of someone I never want to bother reading.

        2. Jemsin’s latest book, reviewed by a fan of her’s no less: contains parents hurting their children, mental abuse and the killing of children.

          Holy. Effing. Frack. And that’s what gets a Hugo these days. A Hugo is the very acme of everything I want to avoid in life.

          Go Dragon Con!

    4. And “you’re not welcome here unless your fiddly bits have this shape and this skin color and this amount of surgery”.

  3. It’s interesting that for such a supposedly progressive person, Jemisin’s view of the publishing industry is so mired in the past. The SF/F magazine market is almost dead now. It’s not the future for new writers. If you self-publish, you don’t have to worry about the publisher discriminating against you.

    1. No, but you have to worry about readers discriminating against you. It is much easier to cow a few identifiable Proglodyte editors/publishers into giving you money than to force an anonymous amorphous mob to buy your crap.

      1. Having rejected everything they tried to teach her back in Econ 101 as nothing more that a symbol of white male privilege, she lacks the ability to understand that you can only guilt publishers to buy your crap for so long before the sad fact that the readers don’t want it becomes the only fact that matters. It doesn’t matter how diverse or socially aware your scratchings are. If they don’t sell, you can’t make the public buy them. At least not for long.

      2. The readers going away is the publisher’s problem, not the minority Author’s, donchewknow. It’s not like the publishers get their money from the readers, right?

  4. The burden of change here is on SFF markets not on black writers.

    I do not think that is how markets work. Not even in Socialist Peoples Republic Of America.

      1. The minimum wage of Venezuela was just raised to $35. I’m sure that’ll fix things.

        1. Per week, or per month?
          Doesn’t really matter though. There’s nothing left for them to buy anyway.

          1. Per hour…after six hours you can afford a roll of single ply toilet paper on the black market but if you want 5 tortillas you need two days.

    1. Yeah, that’s what I was thinking – the markets need to change? Good luck with that.

      Or: this word, “markets,” I do not think it means what you think it means.

  5. How about more zombie apocalypses set in communist China, whose protagonists recognize that the real problem is the government’s favorable treatment of all those evil non-Han, especially foreigners.

    1. I could make that work actually but it turns on the Japanese residual chemical warfare shells causing the zombies at exactly the same time as Sino-Japanese rapprochement.

  6. Or to drink and laugh.

    The laughing is critically essential. Anyone just having a drink every time traditional publishing does something stupid is asking for alcohol poisoning. I like a good drink, sure, but one should not get (too) carried away.

  7. Many, many years ago I briefly attended a “Magnet High School” that was, in theory, for gifted mathematics students. It was in an inner city neighborhood and was 90+% “minority” students.

    There was an attempt made by some of us to have a gaming group after school, mostly White students, and mostly those of us who were there because we thought that there really would be an accelerated math curriculum at the school. (There wasn’t. I don’t know what happened to the funds given to the school district to create the school, but none of it ended up in the classrooms.)

    I remember one kid who gamed with us who was Black. He was a very bright, funny guy with a huge appetite for hard SF–I remember introducing him to the work of Larry Niven, for example.

    Anyway, the point is that I remember that he would always bring his gaming stuff to the group in a gym bag, not a backpack or tote like most of us had. I made some comment about it once and responded–in absolute seriousness–that he had to hide the fact that he was reading from his neighbors and even his own family.

    I was horrified. My mother, for all her myriad faults, had always encouraged me to read and was an SF/F fan herself. But here was this kid, my own age, who was telling me that his family thought that reading was not just odd, but wrong.

    Unless that attitude has changed (and I don’t see evidence that it has) I don’t see a lot of Black science fiction writers coming out of that culture.

    1. The daughter attended a 3-5 “Gifted” magnet in an “underprivileged” neighborhood school that truly was what it advertised.

      Sadly, no “Children of Color” were admitted to the program because that would have affected the racial “balance.”

      Silly me, I had imagined that schools should be concerned not with the pink matter nor the brown matter but just the grey matter. As Rick Blaine once put it, “I was misinformed.”

    2. Google up the phrase “acting white”, and weep for how long it’s been going on. My mother the 4th grade teacher was dealing with it 30 years ago, and yes, it was a form of bullying.

      1. Frederick Douglas, George Washington Carver, and their colleagues would paddle some rears over that nonsense.

        Of course, the people who struggled and suffered to make sure the newly freed slaves had good educational opportunities, not just for book learning but also and especially for general life habits, have been reduced to caricatures for Black History Month these days.

          1. I met someone in college who decided to be Marxist. One of the things he did in his conversion was take his copy of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and rename it “Seven Habits of Highly Oppressive People”. Really? While I haven’t read it personally, I was aware of at least a couple of principles it taught — things like “Learn to say no when you don’t have time to do something” and “Organize your time”. How the heck does creating a schedule and making sure you don’t get overburdened with other people’s tasks oppressive to others?!?

            Indeed, copying successful people *must* be obviously bad…

    3. The US ranks fifth in the world on money spent per student, yet you still have teachers reaching into their own pockets to buy classroom supplies.
      Curious that.
      School districts spend vast sums on new buildings, sports arenas, and school administrators never seem to lack for modern well equipped offices and a marching army of assistants. And parents get a list, often pages long, of standard supplies junior has to bring, not for their own use, but as general classroom material.
      The local system decided to buy every K-4 student an iPad, and 5-12 a laptop. What wasn’t included? Technical support for the hardware or training for the teachers. Millions down a rathole. Funny thing though. A lot of those devices got lost, kids being kids. And strangely enough all of a sudden you could score a really good deal on very similar models at all the local pawn shops.

      1. Plus there is a roughly inverse relationship between results and spending.

        I love how California’s teachers union whines about not enough money and crowded classrooms, and meanwhile there are schools sitting empty and CA spends close to the most per student.

        There’ve been a couple studies that noted the more is spent on “new tech”, the worse students do. (Of course, since they’re learning not the subject, but how to get the computer to spit up the right answer.)

        Here’s a lesson: a classroom consists of a blackboard, a teacher, and fannies in the seats. Everything else is superfluous.

        1. I love how California’s teachers union whines about not enough money and crowded classrooms,

          Interesting thing about those crowded classrooms. Let’s stipulate that, if all the classrooms were to be redistributed to the optimum size, the number of classrooms needed would increase by 33% (32 kids per classroom, drop that to 24 and for every three classrooms you had you now need four.)

          Whence come those teachers? Assume you are getting the top 60% of qualified teachers; you must reach down into the next 20% of teachers to staff those extra classrooms. Sure, that means more dues to the Teachers’ Union and more money for janitors maintenance superintendents. It also means that instead of 17% of teachers (1 in 6) being below average you have over a third, 37% (3 in 8) teachers who are sub-par.

          Given the demonstrated standards of classroom achievement, it is likely that fully 75% of teachers are, in fact, incompetent. Reducing classroom size will vastly increase the number of students receiving incompetent instruction … and you can bet what will be the demographic characteristics of those kids benefiting from the closer attention of the better teachers, but I don’t recommend putting your money on inner city schools.

          Of course we can assume that the construction of all those new classrooms will be done by competitive bidding of qualified construction firms (i.e., union) with contractors who maintain an arm’s length (about the distance required to put contributions in administrator’s pockets) distance from the school systems.

            1. * puts thumbs in ears and makes face up at Misha* In my case probably true, but my boss pays me to stay current enough in several fields that I can keep the students updated and informed through my own time and effort, as well as doing historical research. And to teach, grade, and do other things.

              1. It should be recognized that under contemporary pedagogy the term “Teacher” is a misnomer, the role being largely reduced to that of a “Presenter” of material which has been duly approved and certified anodyne by appropriately recognized governmental authorities.

                This is because “Teachers” have been found to pose risks of actually educating their patients, stimulating minds toward critical thinking and independent accumulation and correlation of facts — a habit which has been determined to be inimical to efficient social management.

                Teachers, as individuals, are precious beyond words. Teachers, as a union, are soulless vampires draining intelligence from the world.

                1. In a random selection of ten teachers you will find one truly magnificent educator, six who have been beaten into submission and have reverted to glorified baby sitters, and three who detest and abhor children and cannot wait to either retire or move into administration where they no longer must have anything whatsoever to do with the little animals.

                  1. Mmmm, maybe. One magnificent educator, two competent teachers, two badly trained neophytes, three broken-down drudges, one time-server, and one horror story.

          1. “Assume you are getting the top 60% of qualified teachers; you must reach down into the next 20% of teachers to staff those extra classrooms.”

            You are assuming that the most qualified teachers are also the ones who are most likely to be employed.

            That is not the way to bet.

            1. We apparently have a lot of unemployed blue collar workers. I would suggest that we might improve matters by assigning all the money to the parents’ control, with their portion going to whomever they pick.

            2. I was using optimistic assumptions to offer a best case scenario.

              That is in order to show how even the best case scenario is a bad situation.

              .And Posner remains a moron.

                1. … might lead to some actually being hired who don’t fit the ideological mold.

                  ??? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

                  We can’t even require they hire literate teachers. The system is structured to prevent more than minimal ideological variance.

                  I tip my hat to those teachers, including several Huns, who manage to evade the ideological blinders imposed, but they will be the first to tell you how limited is their ability to deviate, and the significant career risks taken.

        2. I can’t agree. I’m very reform oriented and realize this is 2016.

          It is a white board in front of the class.

          White chalk marking up a blackboard is racist after all, but colored markers cover up the whiteness of a white board is very progressive.

            1. When I taught at Flat State U, I was in probably the last classroom to have true black slate blackboards. There were two of them, and you used a pulley and rope to slide one down over the other if you needed a second surface. They were HEAVY.

      2. Wrong words You wrote money spent on “students”; but it’s really money spent on “bureaucrats and administrators that often doesn’t even make it to individual campuses”…

    4. Larry Correia recounts somewhere how just about all his friends were white when he lived in a minority neighbor because they were the only ones who shared his interests.

      OTOH, in an online discussion of white writers telling about “the time my parents locked me out of the house so I would play instead of reading” (one of them, that was the day he learned the library was in bicycling distance, a fact he never saw fit to tell his mother) — Nalo Hopkinson.was horrified. Her parents would only insist on her doing her chores; though they would insist, so sometimes she combined her love of reading and tomboyishness by shinning up a tree with the book in her teeth.

    5. Misha. You just touched on one of those SJW forbidden topics. What is really going on with the black sub culture. See it goes back to multiculturalism. If all cultures are morally equal than nothing people are doing within their culture can be contributing to their success or failure.

      Thus it isn’t permissible to talk about things like black subculture because doing so might reveal the fundamental lie of multiculturalism. IE some cultures are actually better than other cultures. That is a horrifying thought to those who have embraced multiculturalism over the years.

      Which brings us back to your friend who had to hide his reading. Unfortunately in a lot of areas black culture has embraced such attitudes towards reading.

      1. The thing is black culture wasn’t like that before Woodrow Wilson, and from my reading about Appalachia, it would be more accurate to call this “welfare recipient culture”

        1. Exactly. More black culture in the 50’s was doing well and catching up to the white middle class. But then blacks where not generally afraid of being seen as white. That came later. Then came the 60’s and all the help….. Now look at us.

          1. Actually according to Africans the term for “American blacks” is “Caucasian” — actually true as one of the signs of a caucasian is “is born with blue eyes” which most American blacks are.
            My younger son, OTOH…

            1. I got into an arguement with someone recently and I suspect it shows the difference in age and mass of ancient reading material ingested. Basically I was pointing out to them that the term Caucasian included Ethiopians. They where having fits about it including the middle east and Ethiopia but that is what the term originally encompassed. Sure we have modernists trying to narrow it down to only NW Europe but isn’t what the term really means.

              Mind you they pulled out the ultimate proof …. Wikipedia on me. /facepalm

          2. Thomas Sowell has persuasively argued that the culture of the inner cities is most likely derived from Cracker Culture, the culture of Southern White Rednecks pre-NASCAR.

  8. For years, I thought Spider Robinson was black, because of ‘Telempath’ and “Night of Power.”
    That, by itself, negates anything NKJ has to say.

    1. I did too, tho I couldn’t say why — initial impression somewhere way back when, I suppose, since at most I might have read a couple of his early shorts.

      1. Is that “intersectionalism” or “cultural appropriation”?

        These dimwit concepts are hard for me to remember…

          1. I didn’t learn that Octavia Butler was black until I read her obit. I first discovered her through her Xenogensis/ Lilith’s Brood trilogy, but I never connected her non-White characters with her own race, probably because I grew up with L. Sprague De Camp’s and H. Beam Piper’s post-apocalyptic futures in which the Southern Hemisphere countries picked up the pieces after a nuclear war, and future humanity descended from a variety of cultures, many of them non-white, who’d survived.

            1. The whole “you can only identify with characters that match your race, gender, species, whatever” is so much condescending BS!

                    1. They lied. Look at Mike Williamson. Iirc he became a citizen between enlisting and reporting to boot camp. The judge was surprised and impressed that the organization that he had joined after all the citizenship paperwork had been processed was the USAF.

                1. “Loony” is a hurtful term and has been banned as “Sanity-Normative” at many Institutes Of Higher Learning.

                  You have been warned.

                  Unless you were using the term as a reference to a citizen of Luna Free State, in which case … never mind.

                  In The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress I found myself identifying with Mycroft — does that mean I am an artificial intelligence?

                  In another one of RAH’s novels I identified with Sir Isaac Newton — the Venerian Dragon, not the English physicist. Does that make me an ET?

                  I also identified with the protagonist of All You Zombies … but thinking about what that would make me makes my head hurt.

              1. Look I read to escape. I’m not looking for characters who are me in the story. I’m looking for a character I can empathize with in the story and wish was me. That is the key and the secret.

                And by the way that wish was me doesn’t require the character be white cismale. I’ve been very happy reading books for years with female leads and nonwhite characters that I connected with. Frankly I’m not wanting to read books about white overweight mid50’s computer technicians. I already know what that life is like.


                Feh not that any of them will see that or comprehend what I’m saying.

                  1. Yes enlarging my life is also a goal. Just because I;’m a man why can’t I imaging I’m the first female astronaut on mars? Why am I limited to imagining only that I’m a white cismale? hell the reality is I’m a heinz 67 variety person who is 1/32nd cherokee indian. But again I don’t define or limit myself by that.

                    ::mutter:: ::mutter::

                1. Yeah, I suspect their minds will short-circuit at the concept of not trying to reinforce your life. They need to do it all the time to stay on teh Narrative.

                2. A character who was me in the story would be pretty depressing.

                  SJWs would totally buy it tho.

                    1. I’ve read enough self insert fanfic that I’ve considered the problem. Try generally boring and depressing. There are relatively few settings or scenarios where I would be amusing.

                    2. I think a character that was like me would be GREAAT! Who wouldn’t want to read about a semi-retired accountant? Those are my favorite bits of MHI.

                      Clearly the lack of Accountant Fiction is indicative of a great injustice in the publishing business, and can only be due to rank bigotry amongst editors. Not only do we need Accounting Par-Normal books, we need Accounting Westerns, Accounting Romance, Accounting Noir and Accounting Erotica. There can be no justice until somebody publishes Fifty Shades Of Depreciation.

                    3. Come here and I’ll help you research the last one…I promise some things I have will be very depreciated when I’m done.

            2. I figured out Delany was black and gay from his writing… I’d also read some of his non-SF stuff, and it has that autobiographical feel. But Butler, I had no idea til a mutual acquaintance told me. No idea about Steve Barnes til I met the guy. Probably others I’m forgetting.

              …….Geez, I wonder how many books I’ve read that were written by aliens. I mean, humans could never identify with nonhumans well enough to write them, yanno??

        1. Okay, that little bit from Aliens “Have you ever been mistaken for a man?” “Have you?” just popped in my head. 😀

        1. Now you’ve confused me: “a lesbian machine gunner” — is that a lesbian who guns machines, a person who guns lesbian machines or what?

          1. *scribbles notes* A six-foot-tall, white, gay, Mormon male with a great rack. I’ll update your bio accordingly.

            1. I’m currently listening to the Audiobook production of Lean Times in Lankhmar and those familiar with the story will chortle over the memory of Fafhrd’s “great rack.”

        2. Now that you mention it, I’m thinking of coming out as a Scottish cross dresser. At the very least, I’ll finally be able to say “It’s not a kilt! It’s a skirt!”

          Before that, I need to work on my Scottish accent, and my bagpipe playing. It’s been a few generations since I’ve done any of that, so my innate cultural Scottish heritage is a bit rusty…

  9. I note that ANALOG does not specify race or gender or sexual proclivity except by the occasional picture of an author in Biolog or by giving the authors names. Sexual proclivity has never been mentioned, to my recollection,

    1. Well that is simply unacceptable.
      As an informed reader I must first see the author’s full DNA report, which of the 33 gender niches they identified as at the time the piece was written, and a brief overview of every sexual act ever performed and why.
      Only then can I be expected to spend the time to actually read what they wrote.

    2. One of my thoughts upon seeing the premise of the original article was “how do they know unless the name is ‘Shaquille O’Neil’ or the like?” So were they basing the results off of ‘obvious’ racial names or what few photos they had? The former is all kinds of problematic, the latter is likely to be so limited as to be statistically insignificant.

      1. Okay, first off: Shaquille O’Neil is obviously a girl’s name, an Irish colleen about 5’4″, with red hair, freckles, a pert nose and saucy smile.

        Second: Yes! The DOJ Division of Civil Rites has threatened discrimination suits and forced settlement against lending institutions based simply on the names of loan applicants. You could look it up.

      2. My name, married, is very Hispanic. My heritage mainly German, English & asst who knows. I had to show a representative of the Hispanic chamber of commerce my driver’s license before they would believe I was Alicia Ibarreta. Although once they believed, they understood why I didn’t want to join. My hubby had a harder time as he is second gen and looks like he just walked out of the grand Pyrenees.

        1. I have the opposite problem. My name, married, is very English. I’m not. And apparently (who knew) low thyroid makes you very white, so it’s only now, first time in 10 years I’m returning to my normal skin color. This is…. interesting.

          1. Does this imply, new wardrobe, as the colors of the old stuff no longer flatter you.

              1. Congrats on finding out what your weight problem was. Hope the adjustment goes quickly.

            1. [blatant self-promo]You know, there’s a guy I know who does that for a living. Pretty good at it, too…[/blatant self-promotion]

              1. You flatter people for a living?

                Or do you mean you color? (I’d have guessed you off color, but these days one never knows.)

                1. *loud raspberry* The clothes flatter; I tell strictly the truth. And I am never off color, sir! White balance notwithstanding, I am always exactly the color I intend to be.

    1. Also, the link in the article is https, I need to use http to get to Larry’s.

  10. I decided against going to KC for Worldcon when I saw who they picked for guests of honor. Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden what in the world has Teresa Nielsen Hayden done to deserve to be GOH at Worldcon?

      1. What is amusing is that they don’t want any non SJZ types showing up but will complain about how no one shows up…..

        Maybe its a clue that they have embraced a subculture of a subculture of a subculture.

    1. “WorldCon” has joined “Hugo Award” and “Nebula Award” as indicators of something to actively avoid. Why would anyone bother with them anymore?

    2. what in the world has Teresa Nielsen Hayden done to deserve to be GOH at Worldcon?

      Buttered the right people’s bread?

      1. Attacking the Puppies last year is probably what tipped the scales in their favor.

    3. “Teresa Nielsen Hayden done to deserve to be GOH at Worldcon?”

      Well, she once stood up to a council of Mormon officials (who even in her self-aggrandizing version were clearly just a bunch of well-meaning but devout old guys who’d rather have been golfing or playing with their grandkids than spending the day dealing with her narcissistic ass) and told them that she wasn’t going to follow the church rules any more and demanded that they formally expel her.

      Which they did.

      Now, if you or I found ourselves in a church that adopted a policy that we couldn’t live with, we’d probably just go off and find another church, but not Teresa. Nope. She had to have a formal ecclesiastical court (or the Mormon equivalent thereof) so she could waste everyone’s time and make it All About Her.

      It was very brave of her to stand up to the Mormon Inquisition that way, to be sure. Joan of Arc? The dude at Tianmen Square? Hah! That’s nothing compared to defying a panel of guys who were basically Donny Osmond’s dad.

      1. In fairness, this is apparently something of an achievement. My understanding (from an ex-LDS friend) is that it is very hard to get the LDS church to admit that you no longer belong to them.

        1. Depends on the individual people involved, so YMMV, but the Church is willing to regretfully part ways if you say you no longer believe. I have quite a few friends and family who are former Latter-day Saints, and most of them get on quite well with their former coreligionists. Getting yourself brought before a disciplinary council and excommunicated? You either have to have done something egregiously bad and unrepentant, or you’re deliberately trying to make a fuss.

          1. “You either have to have done something egregiously bad and unrepentant, or you’re deliberately trying to make a fuss.”

            Oh, it was the latter, to be sure. That much is clear even in her own telling of the tale. Church official (paraphrased): “Umm… exactly why are you insisting on this?” St. Teresa of Flatbush, patroness of safe spaces and Stalinism: “Because you are yucky old white men who don’t agree with me and are also yucky. Also, I must make a Heroic Stand that doesn’t involve exposing myself to any actual danger.” (or a near equivalent).

  11. My cynical little voice opines that this nothing rag started this brouhaha solely to drive traffic to its website, since previously no one had ever heard of it… .and besides, indy is siphoning off all the writers that these rags used to get for pennies on the dollar.

  12. As a Feline-American of tabbitude, I object to the lack of publications for and by cats. Catster Magazine is demeaning. The market needs to see it’s canine privilege and establish a Feline-American outreach program with more publications by Feline-Americans. Or we’ll cough hairballs onto your keyboards.

    1. As a Dragon-American, I would object to the lack of stories by Dragons but considering how many non-Dragons are supporting the Dragon Awards, I not that bothered by the said lack of stories. 😀

        1. But but…. You’re the only Dragon writer that I know!!!! [Whimpering]

            1. No male dragon alive (who is smart) wants to anger a female dragon.

              Of course, one dragon writer is great but several dragon writers are super-great. 😉

  13. I wonder – can you have a campaign to “No Award” a Worldcon Location, and kill it after two years?

  14. One thing: the rest of her nonsense notwithstanding, Jemisin is right about what these diversity initiatives tend to produce. Mandating that there are more of Group X in Field Y doesn’t tend to result in a bunch of new opportunities for people from Group X interested in breaking into Field Y; it just means that the members of Group X already established in that field get a bunch more offers. The specific research I’ve seen is with trying to create gender equality on boards of directors, but I believe the principle holds across many initiatives.

    Of course, Jemisin’s mistake is in not recognizing that because these things are both unfair and don’t work, maybe we shouldn’t do them. Instead, it just means that we need to double down in hopes that maybe someday, things will work as they should.

  15. I’m really quite confused. How does an author’s gender or melanin level determine whether they can write decent science fiction or fantasy?

    And as for political beliefs, I seriously doubt that most of the authors I’ve enjoyed over the last 45 or so years share mine as uniformly as Wired employees seem to share with each other.

    To paraphrase something I read today, a SJW is just a bolshevik with the serial numbers filed off. And not in a good way.

    1. because [and I’m going to insult the hell of out them here] weird sub sub sub group of readers or more accurately a group of social justice zealots are promulgating the following nonsense.

      Basically they are claiming that readers must have authors and thus presumably characters that are just like them. So only one armed wheelchair bound black gay transgenders can write story staring a one armed wheelchair bound black gay transgender character.

      All pure nonsense of course because any writer should be able to write any type of character but not in the SJZ world.

      1. Ohhhhh! Social Justice Zealots!

        I saw your SJZ earlier and thought “Social Justice Zombies.”

    1. H.P. Lovecraft’s protagonists nearly all go insane or do horrible things, and she is complaining because he didn’t have female protagonists? Almost all his male characters are terrible and twisted, and she is complaining because a lot of his female characters are, too?

      Why not just admit, “Yes, I love The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, and I decided to write fanfiction of it for money, since it is in the public domain”?

          1. That would certainly explain the horror it is treated with by all those medieval monks and priests now wouldn’t it.

          2. Hmm, makes sense. There should be room in Lovecraft canon to specify that the origins of mankind are as described by feminist theory. The Mad Arab could have really been a woman. Islamic protocol for the treatment of women could have been originally for the purpose of suppressing whatever tradition provided the occult lore for the Necronomicon’s composition.

            You could go further and say that the Necronomicon contains third wave intersectional feminism, and that Marx, Sartre, etc… were inspired by partial or incomplete copies.

  16. There are a ton of small presses and book lines aimed at the African-American market, mostly the saga kind of romance where lots of stuff happens to the heroine. And they don’t seem to do much paranormal or at romance, although some of the historical drift that way.

    Obviously these presses are Evil and Racist for not supporting sf/f writers of color!

    (Actually, I suspect that Jemisin’s books would not be publishable at such a press, because she does not have wholesome enough writing in her romances for even the erotic romances from such presses.)

        1. Overheard at one of the scientific conventions I went to:

          Scientist #1: These kids today don’t know how lucky they have it in giving presentations. Twenty years ago, the grad students had to load the slides by hand into the projector. They always ended up out of order, and half the slides would be upside down.

          Scientist #2: I know. Now we have Power Point that can give you your slides upside down and out of order without the need for any human intervention.

          1. Back in the day of overhead slides, one highly entertaining guest speaker pointed out the value of old cruddy slides with faded marker graphs. Sometimes the crud would look like a data point and the audience might credit you with all kinds of amazing insights! Remember, the stuff that you are least confident about should be done in yellow because that fades the fastest!

            1. Or the slides drop in by pairs and it locks the projector up. Or (requires overhead projector) you get to the high point of the presentation, whisk the transparency out of the way, slide in the new one . . . and the bulb burns out with a pop and a whine. Somehow it was always more dramatic with overheads than with slide projectors.

  17. While only tangential to the post the broader issue of SFF and its gatekeepers are relevant.

    For a while I have been saying there is enough old SFF out there that new stuff doesn’t matter to me in terms of having reading material the rest of my life. This post, Larry’s post on the Wired article, the claim that the Puppies were refuted by the Dragoncon Award nominees (ignoring the simple fact it was after three rounds of Puppies that someone realized Dragoncon could produce better fan awards than the Hugos), and the Hugos tonight made me realize something.

    That warning has come true to the point that I didn’t bother with Sad Puppies IV or Rabid Puppies II.

    I went through my Amazon orders for this year. I bought one post 2000 SFF book from a major publisher. Everything else was pre-2000 or indie. That everything else was 55 titles. I have bought some used books and a handful of those might be post 2000. All the new books from B&N have been either Titan reprints of Moorcock or DAW’s Tanith Lee reprints.

    I have one more post 2000 SFF on pre-order…something with Fire in the title that I think the author is finishing ;).

    I think chasing those markets listed in the Wired article might be wise. They seem to have lost the market that bought all those old SFF Megapacks stories I bought this year.

      1. Are you talking physical or eBook? I pre-ordered a physical book (you’re that special…I want something on the bookshelf).

        1. I procured a physical book yesterday in the WC dealer room (a shekel or two will make its way to Sarah, I’m sure).

          Went to my last Hugo ceremony, barring major change.

          Pat Caddigan managed to underperform even by Gerrold’s standard from last year…

          Only two “burn it down” categories, this year (with appropriate whooping and hollering (literally!) from all the good citizens of Airstrip One.) Glyer and his blog of hate both won, and the anti-puppying was oh so prevalent in the acceptance speeches…..

          Planning for San Jose (they won hosting for ’18) and I’d like to visit Eire in ’19, after that I might give the Regression Parade a pass.

          (BTW: one of the puppy-kickers called US “regressive”…)

          1. Well, the anti-puppies have probably secured the Hugo especially with the new Dragoncon Awards.

            At my most charitable I see in them echo of the dwarves in Shift’s barn.

          2. Of course we’re “regressive” — we don’t want women or gays or people of color to win. Never mind that accounts for either us or our mentees pretty thoroughly.
            Spits. They drink their own ink. Sooner or later they’ll find it’s poisonous.

              1. *shakes head* Nah. I’d rather they see the error of their ways. Converts are better than fatalities, even metaphorical.

                1. It’s that attitude, that winning in 2016 meant attracting at least a few Obama voters, that got us Trump. blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…


                  Really, I had thought that we ought to pitch to some of the Obama voters, and I certainly have held evil leftwing views before.

        2. Physical. Has been. As I said, this is costing me sales because they cancelled the pre-orders when they moved the pub date, and people might not realize that.

    1. I’m sure she’ll be happy for at least a few hours, before she starts attacking the SF field for being a bunch of racists again.

  18. By all means, let’s beat the consumer over the head with the ‘diversity’ bat for not being more representative of US population demographics. I’m sure insulting the paying public will want to make them more apt to give you their money. /s

  19. I just swung by to check on this blog this morning and glanced at the title. I saw that it was about Weird Magazine.


  20. Okay, I’ve read Larry’s reactions on the Hugo circle jerk (My Thoughts on the 2016 Hugos) and I’ve read a summary* of Gaiman’s posnerian speech:

    Gaiman also nodded to the controversy of recent years, as the fan groups the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies have urged the Hugo’s voting members to follow a specific slate of candidates. The author ridiculed such slates:

    “It meant a lot to see ‘Sandman: Overture’ nominated for a Hugo Award, and was disappointing to see that it had been dragged into the unfortunate mess that the pitiable people who call themselves Puppies had attempted to inflict on World Con and its awards. I would have withdrawn it from consideration, but even that seemed like it would have been giving these sad losers too much acknowledgement.”

    Frankly, I’ve no dog in this fight, having decided that the Hugos were unimportant to me about as soon as I’d read enough in the genre to grasp what those awards really represented and, like Larry, concluded their claim to represent All Fandom were as valid as claims that a certain brand of soap “is as pure as the sky itself” — and while I support the aspirations of the Puppies fairness demanded a standard I was not willing to meet: reading all nominees, a task for which I’ve neither time nor stomach. But I do have an interest in fairness and inclusion and watched the ensuing process with revulsion for the presumptions of the organizers.

    Leaving aside the various alternate responses the Hugo awarders might have considered, Gaiman had a couple simple alternatives to his statement. First, he could have simply ignored the puppy controversy. Nothing needed to be said, he would not have alienated a single person, he would not have revealed his own ignorance and readiness to fall for mass-manufactured calumny and his indifference to the propriety of informing yourself of every more than one side of an argument before speaking publicly.

    Second, he could have taken an inclusionary approach, acknowledging the controversy and welcoming the participation of more fans in the Hugo process, expressing appreciation that there were those on both sides of the “more fun/more seriousness” sides of fandom who enjoyed and appreciated his works.

    Nope, he had to call people who bemoaned the encroaching pretentiousness of SF/F stories and who hailed the genre’s pulpy roots “pitiable sad losers.” He had to tell a significant number of fans who were willing to pat hard-earned money for Hugo memberships that he disdained them and they shouldn’t buy his books. He was only interested in preaching to his choir and his church doesn’t need any doggish converts.

    Well, goody for him. Mrs Gaiman’s little git has become a nob, the utter pillock.

    *Washington Post “Comic Riffs” blog, not linked because a) only one link per comment, WP Delenda Est and b) as you can see from the misrepresentation of “fan groups … have urged the Hugo’s voting members to follow a specific slate of candidates” it is not a site deserving linking because its reporting is as biased as you would expect.

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