To Be Diverse or Not Diverse, That is the Question – by Dave Truesdale

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To Be Diverse or Not Diverse,
That is the Question

by Dave Truesdale

 

Like many of us, I suppose, I’ve always found a certain degree of disconnect between two opposing positions from Libs and especially the Woke crowd. On one hand they plump for Diversity, the assimilation of all kinds of people into society regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual proclivity or identification. (Except for diversity of thought, of course, but we’ll set that aside for the moment.) On the other hand, these Woke Libs plump against any sort of Cultural Appropriation, or as Wikipedia defines it:

“Cultural appropriation, at times also phrased cultural misappropriation, is the adoption of elements of one culture by members of another culture.”

On one hand the Diversity they seek seems more of an inclusive nature, while on the other hand the Cultural Appropriation they rail against seems more of an exclusive, or non-inclusive nature, if you will.

Please note that hyperbole raised to the level of a reductio ad absurdum level of argument can often be an effective tool in presenting one’s argument. I now ask you to consider that on the one hand, and where the SF field is concerned, that Liberals, most especially their Woke and highly vocal and activist faction, claims a lack of diversity in the field—the SF field created by, maintained, and overseen by white people, mostly white men1.

That this is patently absurd even on its surface is laughable, but if you say something often enough and loud enough and have the media on your side…. But on the other hand they do not realize that, by their own definition and that of wikipedia, they are appropriating the distinct culture of the SF field, which is an inviolable crime in their eyes.

Using the Libs and their most vocal Woke spear carrier logic, they seek to achieve their goal of diversity in the SF field (except for thought) by blatantly and without regard to the specific cultural phenomenon that is the SF field—which is a unique sub-culture unto itself—to appropriate the field by intimidation and other unethical means, among them belittling and smearing the sub-culture they seem to dislike but wish to become a part of, by attempting to alter or destroy from within many of this specific sub-culture’s most honored institutions, awards2, and its most revered personages.

And over time it has come to the obvious attention of all with an even passing acquaintance with the SF field, its fandom and inner workings and history, that this forceful appropriation (and then destruction) of the field’s awards, founders, and institutions comes not from a love or true affinity for the SF genre and the kind of literature that has spread to worldwide prominence since its formal inception in 1926, but to promote its own social and political agenda with the express intent to destroy and remake and promote the field using its social and political dogma to now define the field, with no intellectual departure from theirs tolerated, including in the field’s in-house publication of record, the SFWA Bulletin, where in recent years what amounts to an overseer censorship panel comprised of its members has been created where none had previously been found necessary since the organization’s founding in 1965, more than half a century ago.

The SF field has always been open to everyone at every level, so the basic anti-diversity claim from the Woke crowd is an outright lie. This has been pointed out to them on numerous occasions over the years, yet they persist in the lie, repeat it often and ever louder, thus revealing their own disingenuous nature, and all the while labeling anyone who disagrees with their viewpoint a racist, sexist, homophobe, because these are the tried and true strawmen guaranteed to shut down any argument.

They scream and holler about cultural appropriation when it comes to the white oppressors in SF, yet use smears and intimidation3 to aid in their attempts to appropriate (and thus balkanize–divide and conquer) the SF field in service to the lie born of the double helix comprised of their social/political agenda of non-diversity in the field.

Speaking of that diversity word again brings to mind how the word itself has been mis-appropriated by the politically correct and holier-than-thou endowed Woke community now enjoying every freedom the SF field has always offered them. A handful of years ago, give or take, some in the SF community (both pros and fans) loudly complained of the relative non-diversity in the novels that had routinely been winning the Hugo and Nebula awards. The non-diversity manifesting itself in a general similarity in the types of themes explored, points of view espoused on certain issues within novels, and a general sameness of approach.

Many more social SF stories were being nominated or winning the awards and had drifted away from true quill SF but maintained their genre bona fides as they masqueraded as SF via a future time stamp or were perhaps set on other worlds or on spaceships, with less and less straight SF types were being considered seriously. The “new” SF had to deal with feelings and emotions and character interaction from a very narrow and limited spectrum of acceptable viewpoints to make the cut.

Very few fans had even read the eventual award winners and few can recall their titles to this day. And many of the winners invariably were published by one, or maybe two, major publishing houses with deep pockets for advertising, word of mouth, and the purchasing of voting memberships for their staffs—year after year after year.

So a cry for change went up and was quickly smothered by calls of racism and sexism and homophobia leveled against, you guessed it, old white men, who, they opined, wanted nothing to do with diversity, that old reliable strawman always riding in to save the day. But do you see what the Wokies did there with the way they interpreted diversity to their favor?

The original long-standing complaint was the lack of diversity (in a broad sense) of story type when it came to the two major SF awards. It had nothing to do with lack of diversity as the Wokies used it: as those who hated people of color, or gays or lesbians or any others to be included under the ever-growing LGBTQ crowd, or women. To be accused of racism or sexism and all the rest of it was a hard act to overcome and make your voice heard above all the orchestrated furor against how utterly evil you were. But this mis-appropriation of the original use of diversity by those complaining of the sameness of much SF was entirely lost in the dust of the windstorm swirling around them. And it lingers to this day. And is totally unjustified.

Diversity is fine and to be sought and applauded. But not when it is used in a hypocritical nature to justify the takeover of an entire genre of literature, nor when its use is suborned to exclude diversity of thought. Controversial subject matter has been the bread and butter of the most fondly remembered—and awarded—stories and novels in science fiction history. But not now. Authors are afraid—outright intimidated—to pen anything truly radical and outside the realm of the accepted PC Woke orthodoxy of themes and treatments. Stories are being trunked, hidden away and not sent to publishers or editors for fear of instant rejection.

And it all has its basis on the big lie of the field being non-diverse in who can write it and who has been horribly and systematically oppressed by it. Hogwash. The forces that led to more men than women writing SF, or people of color getting into the field, didn’t come from within the field but from what real life was taking place in the real world outside the field. When folks of any gender or color found their way to SF, either through its early magazines or conventions or later its films, they were always welcomed with open arms.

We were the one place where nothing mattered but one’s love of science fiction or fantasy. We had always been a safe place from the outside world when we attended a convention for a weekend, or immersed ourselves in a book, or spent a few hours in a darkened theater as our imaginations soared and took us away from our day to day problems.

But that has all changed, at least within the confines of the literary SF world. We welcomed in those with a different social/political philosophy with open arms, welcoming the diversity that has always been endemic to the field. But these new “fans” and authors didn’t wish to assimilate but to overcome the existing status quo and destroy it utterly from within—while not allowing the diversity of thought they so loudly and righteously campaigned on. And now the awards mean almost nothing, for they are selected based on a set of superficial demographics and accepted Truthink instead of literary merit. And even some of the more rational liberal set have come to recognize the fact. But it may be too late. The Hugo and Nebula awards are lost. The trade publication of the genre, the Science Fiction Writers of America Bulletin (of which I was once editor long before things went south) is now a heavily censored “state” arm of the Woke ruling class (after having excised two of its longtime columnists for the use of what someone considered a sexist characterization, and forcing its female editor to tender her resignation) and is now rife with milque toast Samethink pablum for its new members who don’t know the score yet.

Speaking of new members, there are always new fans coming into the field for one reason or another and they may need some help navigating the do’s and don’t’s so they can make friends and enjoy their experience in SF to its fullest. Wilson (Bob) Tucker wrote the classic Neo-Fan’s Guide to Science Fiction Fandom back in the 1950s and Tucker (1914-2006) updated it seven times over the decades (to make 8 editions), but the most recent update was way back in 1996. I think it’s time to write a brand new one because the old one, while it brings back fond memories of what it meant to be a fan, included a lot of fan history, an early fannish lexicon, and how to behave at conventions and what fandom was about in general, it is now almost a relic of a forgotten and glorious past. All I need is a title and a little help from my friends and I could make it happen. I’m thinking of The Woke Neo-fans Guide to Rightthink Science Fiction Fandom for the Age of Diversity. Too much?

#

1The widely (but wrongly) accepted wisdom in many parts of the SF fan and professional ranks today is that from its inception the genre has actively discouraged anyone not straight, white, and male from writing or editing science fiction, or attending (at its beginnings) small local SF clubs and then its first conventions in the 1930s. Nothing could be further from the truth, and in fact the opposite is true if photos, stories, fan and professional activites by women are to be believed. They are part of the historical record and go back to the field’s official beginnings in the 1920s.
From the introduction to her collection Women of Futures Past (Baen, September 2016), editor Kristine Kathryn Rusch quotes from Eric Leif Davin’s heavily researched Partners in Wonder: Women and The Birth of Science Fiction 1926-1965 (Lexington Books in 2006), where she says that Davin “begins with a list of two hundred and three known women who published in U.S. science fiction magazines between 1926 and 1960.” She then writes: “Amazing Stories’ first issue appeared in April of 1926. In the June 1927 issue, Clare Winger Harris became the first woman to publish a story in a science fiction magazine.” Rusch then quotes Davin: “It was the beginning of a popular and rewarding science fiction career for Harris,” he writes, “(in) a field still so young that it was composed of only a single magazine. Nevertheless, she was there, almost from the beginning, with her name splashed on future covers to attract readers.” [Davin, page 29]” Rusch writes: “Gernsback was deeply aware that he had a female audience for his magazine. He wrote this in his editorial for the September 1926 issue: “A totally unforeseen result of the name (Amazing Stories), strange to say, was that a great many women were already reading the new magazine. This is most encouraging.” [quoted in The Battle of The Sexes in Science Fiction, Justine Larbalestier, Wesleyan University Press, 2002, page 23]”
Again, from Rusch: “In addition, he [Davin] lists twenty-six women who edited “science fiction, fantasy, and weird” magazines in the years between 1928 and 1960.” … “In other words, women not only published stories at the dawn of the modern science fiction era, they edited stories as well.”

2Even political liberals in the SF community who have put up with (or agreed with) some of the Woke shenanigans thus far (the redesigning of at least one award trophy because it was a bust of one of the most iconic figures in horror literature who espoused racist views in the 1920s, and the renaming of two other awards named after highly influential contributors to the field, one a man {an editor} and the other a woman {an author}, because of what are now unacceptable views or actions in either their professional or private lives many decades ago) have begun to cry foul in recent years due to the devaluing of the field’s two major literary awards, the Hugo and the Nebula.
Many (in a non-partisan voice) have asserted that these awards mean nothing now, so co-opted and plainly given only to those whose social or political philosophies align with the Woke Left—or who are writers of non-white ethnicity (mostly female)—that their literary worth is virtually an afterthought if thought of at all.
The past three or four years of Hugo and Nebula fiction award winners bear this out unequivocally. If you are white (and especially those males who do not kow tow to the Woke’s party line PC ideology), you’re out. No awards for you. Belong to a minority (even an artificial one—are you a member of the diabetic minority and has the SF field oppressed or overlooked your work?—they seem to pop up all the time these days), are a person of color, or a woman, and we see that you’re Woke, then you’re one of our kind of people. You wrote someting last year? Great, we’ll see about getting you on the ballot—after all, diversity.

3Documentation abounds of cases where fans have been suspended for a period of time within the dates of a convention or outright ejected from a convention, or professional authors disinvited from their Guest of Honor roles because a lone person has pointed out to a convention committee something objectionable (in their eyes) that the fan or author has said, or written in a story or book, sometimes years in the past. Must every fan or author now adhere to a specific social/political agenda in their speech or written words or be blackballed as a racist or sexist (without proof or given a chance to confront their accusers or rebut such onerous slurs) and ostracized from the community for what amounts to Wrongthink (ala 1984)? Is the accusation now enough in the enlightened Woke world? The evidence continues to mount that it is.
#
Dave Truesdale has edited Tangent and now Tangent Online since July of 1993. It has been nominated for the Hugo Award six times, and the World Fantasy Award once. A former editor of the Bulletin of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, he also served as a World Fantasy Award judge in 1998, and for several years wrote an original online column for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Now retired, he keeps close company with his SF/F library, the coffeepot, and old movie channels on TV. He lives in Kansas City, MO.

236 responses to “To Be Diverse or Not Diverse, That is the Question – by Dave Truesdale

  1. > He wrote this in his editorial for the September 1926 issue:

    https://archive.org/details/amazing_stories_september_1926/page/n4

  2. I’ve posted lots of objectional things over the years. Some of them were wrong. I don’t have a problem with being shown objective facts that I might not have known at the time, that end up changing my opinion on issues. I’ll apologize for hyperbolic insulting adjective use, but I won’t apologize for the basis of the post. My failure to grovel sufficiently probably doesn’t set well with the Progressive Left.

    • EVERYTHING is objectionable if one of the ‘woke’ (fuck, I hate that term) objects to it. That’s their secret. You are instantly evil, excommunicated, cast into the outer darkness, along with any who dare speak to you other than to condemn you.

      • ‘Woke’ has some points in its favor. I’m pretty much a zombie when I just wake up; stupid, awkward, running on autopilot.

        Sound like anybody we know?

      • Well, to paraphrase Milton, I’d rather be left alone in this outer darkness than be celebrated in their “heaven”.

      • To cite one of the SF/F genre’s foundational works:

        Sentence first; verdict afterwards.

        It ought be noted that by sourcing that phrase in the Queen of Hearts, Professor Dodgson was maligning women through negative stereotyping (however accurate) and therefore should be excommunicated from SF/F.

        Besides, we have reason to believe that he suffered toxic masculinity displaying a proclivity, during his school days, for unprovoked assault on other boys:

        Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, who was Dodgson’s nephew, wrote that “even though it is hard for those who have only known him as the gentle and retiring don to believe it, it is nevertheless true that long after he left school, his name was remembered as that of a boy who knew well how to use his fists in defense of a righteous cause”, which is the protection of the smaller boys.[

        per Wikipedia: Woolf, Jenny (2010). The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful, and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created “Alice in Wonderland”. New York: St. Martin’s Press. p. 24

    • Timothy E. Harris

      When exactly did being objectionable become divorced from anything objective? Seems to be a purely subjective opinion these days.

      • Well, if I call someone a scum-sucking toad with no redeemable characteristics for supporting open borders, when they really aren’t a scum sucking toad, then I’m being subjectively opinionated, not dispassionately objective.

      • When they wanted POWER.

        In fact, capricious rule-changing has long been a fun game for tyrants. Thing was, until recently, you had to be powerful enough to prevent your victims from just string you up on the nearest tree.

  3. Diversity is fine and to be sought and applauded.

    Why? Be clear and specific about what you mean by “diversity,” and why you think it “should be sought and applauded.”

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Diversity is the combination of tolerating homosexuals and burning them alive.

      Grins, ducks, and runs away.

      • the last part of your first sentence only applies if you are a certain religion

      • I thought tolerance was the admiring of the diversity of the female form from that of the male. Oh wait, that’s what they define as sexist nowadays.

        • Nah. Why would anyone admire the diversity of female form? Personally, male form is more … Oh, wait, coming from the female view, that is considered sexist nowadays … can’t win …

          * Marriage = don’t touch, and don’t say anything … doesn’t mean “go blind”.

            • What’s that old saying about elephants? “They’re fascinating to watch but I wouldn’t want to own one.”

              One spouse is enough for me, thanky very much, and I do not care to undertake entertainment of another, even only part-time.

              Besides, I am disinclined any person not my spouse whose standards would be low enough to dawdle with me. Puts me in mind of the joke about the Jewish businessman who comes home early one day to find his business partner in bed with his wife: “Meyer, i have to, but you?”

      • “Let us all act according to national customs.” – General Sir Charles James Napier

        Then again, I’m just about ready to tell everyone to turn back the efforts of Western Europeans, most especially the British Empire, to eradicate a variety of local customs and let people return to their prior ways.

        With an understanding that a second reversal will not be granted until the times of their great-great-great grandchildren (the standard of Exodus 34), should anyone remember by then.

        • Odd timing, just ran into this article this morning:
          https://www.the-american-catholic.com/2019/11/19/popewatch-pachamama-out/

          Short version, the Bolivian president that got booted was promoting the female-land-goddess that was copied to make the “oh gosh like totally it’s Mary but naked and not” statues for the Amazon synod.

          The new lady…isn’t.

          Given the theology of the area, my main dog in the fight is noticing how often even the weakest of Christianity is apparently a freaking huge threat to communism/socialism/Nazi-copiers.

    • Yeah, that was the first word into my mouth too. Why?

      “Diversity” is what happens naturally in a free and open society, specifically in SFF where people are (supposed to be) welcome to write and read what they want to. Lots of different stories and participants.

      Wokesters claiming that women and minority -readers- are systematically and deliberately excluded from the field are just lying. We get this.

      Since dead-tree publishing is a closed shop with gatekeepers, an argument could be made that woman and minorities were excluded, but that argument founders on the rock of Reality: editors and publishers dealt with authors by mail, for the most part. They didn’t know James Tiptree Jr. was a lady.

      So again, they’re just lying.

      “Diversity” used as a noun is a name for something that is inherently stupid and wrong-headed. What they actually mean is A) they want a Special Deal for women and minority authors, and B) they want to punish straight/white/male/Christian/conservative readers and authors.

      Deliberately seeking and celebrating that stupid, wrong-headed notion is something Leftists do. I’m disinclined to participate.

      • This, exactly. Special carve-outs for women and chosen minorities, punish the straights, religious believers, and anyone who won’t play by the Woke and ever-changing rules.

      • I’d argue they cant to punish conservative and libertarian female minorities HARDER.

        • You’re an escaped slave off their reservation, Sarah. Can’t let the slaves wander around y’know, who’s going to pick the cotton? Gotta beat the freedom out of them, otherwise they’ll always be trouble.

          You know, one of the main reasons I never try to participate in Big F Fandom is the above. Meatspace meetings, I can’t keep the monster on the leash like I used to. Too tiring, not really worth it given the contemptible assholes I’m looking at. Better to stay home and let the beast sleep.

          • Picking cotton is just a fringe bonus. Her real sin is not being properly subservient to her betters. They can’t stand that in any of us.

            • I have betters?
              I mean, I have people who are better than I in various disciplines. But BETTERS? As in, doff my hat and tug the forelock at them betters by reason of birth or proper credentials?
              If they exist the bastards must be invisible.

              • Oh, they’re all around you and you’re too ignorant to recognize them.

                Just ask them, they’ll tell you.

                Then just show them your middle fingers…those work wonders.

              • Not invisible, just flying over our country at 30,000 feet sipping the koolaid.

              • “But BETTERS? As in, doff my hat and tug the forelock at them betters by reason of birth or proper credentials?”

                Sure do. That’s the true purpose of this Lefty enterprise, to shitcan our free and open society and re-institute Feudalism. The Woke consider themselves superior in every way. Conservatives and rural people are low-class. Hewers of wood and drawers of water.

                This is why the monster keeps pulling at his leash. He wants to bite them.

              • Of course you do. They are four legged and meow

              • They imagine themselves to be ‘better’ than conservatives, by dint of imagined social rank and imagined conferred nobility.

                Watch this so-called ‘professor’ after she tried to attack a female MMA fighter by biting the latter. And her spurious attempts to claim she can’t breathe, that she’s ‘half naked’ and her ‘not moving’ is her trying to get away. She tries to paint herself the victim and works herself to hysteria.

                So-called professor went specifically for someone she thought was a soft target: another woman. When she was overpowered by her target, she tried to use the same tactics that feminists use against men.

                It’s a pathetic showing. They choose to be violent and then squeal like the bullies they are and play victim when their targets defend themselves. This is what the ‘anti-bullying’ setup of schools have resulted in: in bullies who knew how to play the system in their favor. And that only goes so far.

                • Not to laugh at that professor’s* lesson requires a heart of stone.

                  But consider, for just a moment, what would have happened had that female MMA fighter not been there and a man been compelled to restrain PCB.**

                  *I cannot help but wonder what she professes, and how she runs her classrooms

                  **PCB = Professor Crazy B-something

          • yeah, that’s why i don’t bother with Ravencon. The last guest they had that i was interested in seeing was Sarah.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          Pretty sure the Diversity Brigades have pegged you as a “white Hispanic” by now.

      • I publish my works in dead tree.

      • Diversity? We write about frickin’ ALIENS!! How much more diversiter can ya GET?! Hell, we’d read a story written BY an alien if it was any good!

        But, some snowflake writes a story, nobody wants to read it, and it’s soooo much easier on their fragile ego to pretend that we’re all prejudiced against their race/sex/politics/sleeping habits/whatever than to consider the possibility that it was just a shitty story.

        Then a bunch of them got together, took over one small SF convention and started giving each other Hugos for their shitty stories. It didn’t make the stories any less shitty, they just covered the Hugo with shit.
        ———————————
        Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

        • Do you know why the Spanish Inquisition is so slovenly?

          Nobody inspects the Spanish Inquisition!!

        • Ah, heck. I know series. I barely know the author’s name. Besides lots of authors write under multiple names.

          Then there is the Rogue Angel series is that Alex(andra) or Alex(ander) Archer? Oh, wait … it is 5 or 6 authors writing to script characterization set, a new adventure each book based on different folk lore. List of authors can be determined. Both genders represented.

          The ONLY thing I’m upset with is can’t buy reading versions anymore. Series was sold to be produced in (expensive) multimedia mode. All the original 59 books have been reproduced and 3 more produced, but not in book or ebook form (that I can find).

    • Because specialization is for insects.

    • See, that’s where they’re all wrong. University is what’s fine and should be sought and applauded, not diversity. But then, I doubt they understand the etymology of the words.

    • Because steel is stronger than iron, and obsessing over bloodline is how you get Charles II of Spain.

    • I do believe that diversity (based on differences in background and viewpoint as opposed to the trivialities of skin color, genital plumbing or who you want to sleep with) can be valuable in analyzing problems and looking for out of of the box solutions.

      I have multiple examples from Joint Operations training and exercises in the military where folks from several services and communities (Fighter Air Defense, Arty, Intel etc.) came up with solutions that would not have been developed if only folks from one discipline had been involved.

      My favorite from an exercise: Tying to localize a Soviet battlefield missile system to take it out. Working it with airborne Recon, SF troops in area, SIGINT, etc. Arty Colonel asks what size of an area we had localized it to, Was told about 1 KM. “We have MLRS available. Remove the grid square and then go look and see if we killed it. Repeat as necessary”.

      Not the standard response for the Intel or SF worlds, but effective.

      • You have a point, but the usual “diversity is valuable” schtick promotes superficial differences in race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation rather than differences in assumptions or perspectives. Worse, the diversocrat might promote differences in conceptions of rights and fundamental values, which can be more pernicious than anything short of sociopathy. I trust I needn’t go into a long exposition about this.

        • Sort of an insipid version of Motte and Bailey. Reasonably, diversity is an over-all good thing that we can appreciate and is one of the things that so many people love about science fiction. So many weird people all weird in their different ways, so many different points of view, such wonderful exploration of alien humanity… etc.

          It’s the easy to defend position, which is why criticisms that had literally nothing to do with skin tone or plumbing or who you love to boink got turned into supposed attacks on the mere idea of diversity.

          At this late date it’s pissing in the wind to try to point that out, but even so.

          I’d just have liked to, even for a *moment*, heard someone gushing about how great stories were, how innovative or strange or just fun… but clearly those things simply weren’t the *important* things. And pointing that out wasn’t an acceptable thing to do.

      • Your “diversity” was a difference in knowledge and skill, not in culture or genetic make-up.

        • I consider genetic make-up as trivial as the other factors I mentioned.

          And yes, there were different cultures involved: The different services have different cultures as do the different communities within the services, with their own variations in language, shared experiences and ways they approach problem solving (or in defining the problem in the first place).

          The differences in those cultures can be as sharp as say the difference between the worldview of an inner city NYFC kid and a mid-West farm kid.

  4. The view that all humans are people is not universal to all cultures that have ever existed.

    Either you are not willing to impose cultural or religious values, or you are not willing to demand that all humans be treated as people.

    This thing of tolerating other cultures because of common humanity, and demanding on that basis that religious or cultural values will not be imposed is hypocritical nonsense.

    This demand for diversity is a similar sort of hypocritical nonsense.

    If it is ‘their culture’, my culture can absolutely be destroying populations that act contrary to America’s foreign policy interests. In the formulation that is not for civil discourse between people who can agree to disagree, people only oppose imperialism, colonialism, and genocide out of racial hatred. Likewise, Zinn said it was my culture, so you are a bigot to have a problem with it.

    Why must I care about addressing diversity?

    Okay, my personal interests are Really Cool TM, and anyone else who simply thinks that they are Really Cool, and wants to talk about them because of that is someone I’m potentially interested in listening to, and the other parts of them don’t matter. Deliberately discriminating on race, sex, or sexual preference would rob me of interesting information sources. My interests can be narrow enough that there is no reason to think that the sample I am in contact with must represent the parameters of the over all population.

  5. You know, all respect and so forth to Dave Truesdale, but reading this makes it pretty clear to me that I’m not part of Fandom, capital F. I’m some guy that loves Science Fiction and Fantasy, but isn’t a joiner and doesn’t seek out other people who love SFF.

    If there was a club for people that hate clubs, that you can’t join and they can’t kick you out of, I might be interested in that. Like Sad Puppies, but less organized. ~:D

    • You’re a WrongFan and you’re having BadFun. Like me!!!

    • You and Groucho, huh? Good group.

    • Growing up in the ’60s, I missed the entire scene. (The local news stand might have carried SF magazines, but I never noticed them or they sold out too quickly.) My SF came from the library, and in college from the SF book club and the college book store. (I did get hooked on RAH in high school when my brother’s future BIL gave me his paperbacks, pretty much all of the adult novels and story collections. I caught the juveniles at the library.)

      Without the magazines, I didn’t even know that Fandom (or the SF conventions) even existed. By the time I learned, I was doing other things with my free time. Clubs? Nope. Wandering around with a camera? Yep.

      I wonder what would have happened if I ran across one of the magazines around, say, 1968.

      • It didn’t exist in Portugal in the seventies and eighties. I don’t know if I’d have been part of organized fandom, anyway, because I’m not … a joiner. BUT for a lot of people in the US it’s a thing they remember and love. That’s fine.

      • Carrington Dixon

        Actually, by the late 1950s the stf magazine pretty much ignored Fandom beyond the Hugo awards. (Some of) The pulps paid more attention, but they were gone by the mid-50s.

        • I’m pretty sure conventions were advertised in Analog when I subscribed. It took contact with a Fan in 1976, a couple years out of college, before I learned about conventions. Not sure when I picked up a magazine, ran across TNotB in Omni Gave cons a pass.

          Never was much of a joiner, but no SF club existed in the large (huge–graduating class > 1000 people) high school I attended. OTOH, a couple of the AV guys videotaped Star Trek TOS shows in B&W on the school machines. (Affordable color videotape was, er, about 6 years after that, starting with Cartrivision.)

          Then, SF generally was literally beneath the notice of my HS English teachers. I don’t recall the subject *ever* coming up. American Literature syllabi ended somewhere around Cannery Row.

          • Yes, my teachers and professors DESPISED SF/F. Most of the lack of women in sf/f is because most women who read considered it beneath them. Also never read it.
            Sort of like men who’ve never read romance consider it beneath them.
            As a reader of everything, both types baffle me.

            • Reading, and now trying to write, romance is intimidating as he’ll.

              Those who survive know how to make you turn pages even when you can pretty much describe the events dozens of pages in advance. It is a skill I want to learn.

            • Both genres tend toward opposite extremes — the one toward external problem solving, the other toward internal problem solving. Thus character in SF is secondary while it is essential in Romance. Dr. Seatons challenge is to rescue his gal (whose love is a given) and fetch them safely home again, while Liz Bennett’s challenge is seeing beyond first impressions into the depths of personality.

              Mystery somewhat straddles the border, with the protagonist required to solve the puzzle of who done it by exploring the emotional states of the players.

              • This is also part of the reason serious readers and women (not that there isn’t some overlap) tend to despise SF: the lack of emotional depth of the characters.

                Because that isn’t what SF readers have traditionally looked for in their reading matter. Sure, Puppet Masters has romance but that is far from the story’s center. Imagine how the same story might be told from a Literary or Romance author and you will grasp my point.

                The Literary author would focus on the paranoia and insecurity as metaphor for our fractured social web, the Romance writer would use the invasion as backdrop for a story about Sam & Mary, star-crossed lovers in a world gone mad.

            • In junior high I had an English teacher throw my book report in the trash because it was for an SF novel. According to her, SF wasn’t “a real book”, and was unacceptable.

              Result: I eventually dropped out of high school without ever having done another book report.

      • I subscribed to ASTOUNDING, GALAXY, and F&SF, and a friend had copies of STARTLING STORIES and a couple of the other pulps, whose names have escaped me which he loaned to me, back in the mid-’50s. Many are in storage, but I will be getting them to my son as soon as I can.

    • Most of my youth I was disappointed that I didn’t have easier chances to make contact with fandom.

      When I finally did I was in the service and time was an issue.

      When time and contact were present I was in my 30s and not part of the clique and not good at joining them.

      Now, in my 50s I realize how lucky was to never invest heavily in fandom. It reminds me of Mensa, but not as smart. And smart is all Mensa has to offer unless you like unrealized potential coupled with high levels of self-satisfaction.

      • Timothy E. Harris

        Mensa has been called a “support group for the severely gifted” and there is some truth to that. High IQ loners can learn the social skills they often lack by participating in Mensa local groups. I know, I was one such introvert until my mid 20’s.
        I admit that for those who were socialized normally prior to their Mensa experience your generalization is fairly accurate although, like all generalizations, it isn’t universally true. There are some interesting Mensans & Mensa groups.

    • so historically have there ever been other Mass Enthusiasms similar to Fandom(SF)? I can only come up with doomsday cultists…

  6. I have noticed that very few groups have more than token wallaby representation. There is also a notable insufficiency of mythical creature participation in most forums. Dragons, oddly, seem disproportionately present — not, I hasten to say, that there is anything wrong with that.

    Until such issues are corrected I refuse to engage in head-counting.

  7. It’s brutally simple: the entire ‘diversity’/ ‘cultural appropriation’ riff is simply the Woke saying “we’re the Cool Kids, and you can’t join out lunchroom table by playing by the rules, because the rules are whatever we say they are from moment to moment.”

    I was fortunate enough to not go to a high school where this was a Big Thing, but I’ve heard stories from people who did run into it. And one think that keeps popping up is, if a nerd activity suddenly became prominent, the Cool Kids were sure to tray to take it over and/or ruin it.

    • And eventually they play the false-invite game. IF you take the invitation, they scatter. Experience.

    • Yup its Calvinball all the way down. Except Calvin played relatively fair with Hobbes.

      • The game with Hobbes was for fun – but for the Woke it’s for punishment of the other, which is fun for them.

      • As played by Calvin, Hobbes had equal opportunity to call out rules and rule changes. The Woke are not so liberal, reserving rule-making rights as a privilege of the Wokinati.

    • I sat with the gamer nerds and choir geeks. We made our own cool. (And shared a table with the Deaf-Ed kids. They were cooler than we were.)

      • Cooler by public high school standards, I should clarify.

      • My high school lunchroom table was with the AE (Academically Enriched) kids – brainy nerds, all. At this particular high school and time, the various sub-groups (the social/cool kids, the jocks, the AE brains, the gangsters, the trade-school program kids, and the outcasts) tended to maintain a kind of civil non-aggression pact with all others. We each kept to our own, and didn’t bother the others.

      • > sat with

        It won’t be too long before the schools fix that. To maximize diversity and minimize butthurt, future students will have assigned seating in the lunchroom, and every table will meet strict diverity requirements…

    • The forces that led to more men than women writing SF, or people of color getting into the field, didn’t come from within the field but from what real life was taking place in the real world outside the field.

      Throughout its early decades, SF/F was a ghetto inhabited by geeks, nerds, oddballs and the Uncool. Trekkie was a term of derision, and not until Star Wars introduced SF hot-rods did it become publicly acceptable to evince any interest in such tripe. (The irony of this is notable for SW not being SF except in a thin veneer pasted over Japanese film filtered through American Westerns.) SF/F fans were skinny (or fat — but definitely nonathletic) boys and glasses-wearing girls who explored new frontiers in social maladroitness. To sit poolside in summer reading SF/F with its lurid covers assured social isolation.

      Only the dedicated belonged to our genre in those days, and Cool Kids, moderately attractive girls and persons of colour avoided the genre like it had techno-cooties. So of course it became the preserve of White Males — nobody else wanted in!

  8. When people show up who openly claim to be your enemies, one should be quite unsurprised that their tactics include the Big Lie and all the other propaganda tricks. They hate you and want you gone. They say so. Believe them.

    Their power comes from the assumption, quite common in normal humans, that they can’t be all bad, that they must be acting from good intentions, that perhaps there’s *some* truth in what they say. That’s the power of the Big Lie — you make it big enough, and people assume the truth must lie somewhere in between the extremes, so you’ve changed their mind.

    Everyone projects.

    Totalitarians accuse the liberty-loving of lying, of conspiracy, of wanting to put people in camps, of vote-stuffing and voter suppression, because they know that’s what they’d do.

    The liberty-loving say of totalitarians that “they must be acting from good intentions”, that “they’re trying to do the right thing even if I don’t like their methods”, that “we just need to accommodate them and we’ll compromise”, because that’s what we’d do.

    Remember the tale of the scorpion and the frog.

    • I have never subscribed “good intentions” to totalitarians!
      At least not since college and I met people who really did support communism, and realised that the “Liberals” who wanted to force me to do something “for my own good”, didn’t really care about me or my interests, just control!

    • “Remember the tale of the scorpion and the frog.”

      The take-home part of that story is that they -both- drown. Wokesters will Woke even when they KNOW it will kill them for sure. See Campbell Award for elucidation. Or the new Charlie’s Angels movie, opening weekend box office $8 million bucks. They knew going it it was going to tank, and they did it anyway. See also the appalling blandness of Disney’s “The Mandalorian”, where the characters were 100% designed for one purpose: to sell merch.

      I thought the “this is not cinema” accusations of Martin Scorsese were idiotic as he applied them to Marvel, but they totally fit Star Wars. Its not a movie, its a Woke toy advertisement. They don’t care if they kill the thing, its a disposable to them.

      Compromise with the Woke Left means I only give up -some- of my values and beliefs in return for nothing. Seems reasonable, right?

      • Disney is practically ground zero for Wokeness. I suspect Walt would be appalled by where his company has gone. In fact, I know it. He started out as a Democrat, then switched to the GOP and was strongly for American tradition, and against communism and fascism. It’s unfortunate that the very subversive forces he hated about socialism eventually took over his company.

        • They had to take it over. Walt Disney was as powerful a positive force in American culture as there’s ever been. They couldn’t leave something like that alone, it would undo them.

          So they poisoned it.

      • The most devastating line from John Nolte’s review of Charlie’s Angels was when he realized that he was the only person in the audience.

        • BWAHAA!!! You made me LOL with that one. Only one in the audience! Ha!

        • Well, you know how it is: men just don’t have any interest in a movie with hot chicks in skin-tight outfits running around with guns a’blazing. Makes them feel inadequate or something.

          Jane Austin-ish rom-coms, that’s where you focus the male gaze.

        • The word of mouth was disseminated well before the movie hit town, obviously. Or maybe there had been NO ads and no talk about it..

      • > Its not a movie, its a Woke toy advertisement.

        Mel Brooks nailed it in “Spaceballs”, where Mel plays Yogurt, who explains the concept of ‘merchandising’…

      • Beg to differ, i am *really* enjoying The Mandalorian, much more so than, say, the current SW films, or the prequels… I couldn’t quite place the feel of the second episode until Larry mentioned it on FB: Lone Wolf and Cub.

        • Just finished re-watching the original Star Wars trilogy, and working on the prequels now. (JarJar Binks must die. Just sayin’.)

          The problem I have is that I REMEMBER THE FIRST ONE. When it came out, it was the first time I ever saw a “real” space ship. I was an instant Star Wars fan. Saw them all, bought the VHS tapes, and right this instant there’s a Tie fighter and the Millennium Falcon sitting on my desk. Best experience at the movies as a kid. Kapow!

          But the prequels. Oy.

          Still, give Lucas credit for -trying- to do something heroic even though he pretty well failed at it. He tried. And to be fair, except for the third one they’re better than Aquaman. The third one, no. Just no.

          But then… the new ones. Oh, holy crap.

          No credit given this time, they fucked it up on purpose to get Woke points. Last Jedi? I wanted to burn my Star Wars figures.

          But then… Soylo.

          Seriously, they’re stabbing the dead body of Han Solo with a fork. He’s not even cold yet.

          And now we have the Mandalorian.

          I’m watching it every week as it comes out. Its quite difficult for me to give a damn, because I know they’re going to jerk the rug out pretty soon. But so far, while not being -riveting- television it is watchable. I’m not feeling the need to fast-forward through long Woke speeches or other such trash, making it better than the latest movies.

          So yeah, Mandalorian: crushingly average TV show that I don’t mind watching for half an hour once a week. Kind of like I don’t mind watching Ultimate Spiderman cartoons. Anime is better.

    • Thing is, the best Big Lies always come wrapped around some kind of kernel of truth. If you don’t have that, the whole thing falls apart in an instant.

  9. In charity,perhaps you originally meant to use a phrase that makes sense rather than “inviolable crime”. Pro tip: avoid thesauri!
    when I think of viola-ing a crime, my mind goes all Vad Tepes and spiky, but skull-drum solos would work too. (But only for actual crime-crimes, with statutes and written down definitions and all:Mutiny, insubordination, sedition; that sort of thing.)

  10. This is a reversion to tribal morality and a demand that everyone live out their assigned stereotype. That to be a morally good and accepted member of the tribe, you have to wear the uniform and publicly agree with your group’s faith/politics.

  11. One of the premises: Diversity is our strength is in error.

    Diversity is our challenge, which means it can be our opportunity IFF it is risen to. Otherwise it’s our doom.

    Longer letter later, which is now 3 I owe.

  12. From the title, I was hoping this was going to be on the pros and cons of accepting the restrictions of Kindle Unlimited via going wide with Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, etc.

  13. But on the other hand they do not realize that, by their own definition and that of wikipedia, they are appropriating the distinct culture of the SF field, which is an inviolable crime in their eyes.

    Ah, but see, whites have no culture except what they steal so it is impossible to appropriate a white culture because it doesn’t exist.

    I’ll let the Britisher take it from here:

    • Absolutely. Just like its impossible to be racist against white people.

      Now, if it was possible to object to people appropriating White culture, I’d object to people all over the world appropriating all the stuff invented by Scotsmen and the rest of those eeevile white men. The whole of the modern world, basically. Let them all go back to their local home grown solutions, and leave us evil white people to fiddle with our motor cars, airplanes, trains, indoor plumbing, anesthetics, antibiotics, soap, … nuclear weapons, moon rockets, the internet …

      Y’all can keep peanut butter. That was invented by a black dude, so its only fair.

      • A *ludicrous* proportion of the technologies of the Industrial Revolution was invented by Scotsmen. Mostly after they escaped Scotland for more congenial climes…

        • A point of great pride for us Scots, its true.

          I sometimes wonder if it was more about the inherent awesomeness of the Scots (not to mention the strong current of Aspergers in our bloodlines) or if it was men suddenly freed to work on what they wanted to, and being in a place where Everything was happening. Maybe a bit of both. ~:D

          • Oh, please, you already know the answer!

            It’s because the Scottish are cheap.

            You have to work hard and smart to be truly cheap– and as time is money, finding a way to not have to work as hard as often is ALSO needed to be truly cheap! You have to THINK.

            Signed, a girl who got a package wrapped in the paper that her dad’s Christmas presents were wrapped in…when he was four.

            • Have you read The Man Who Was Too Lazy To Fail in Heinlein’s ‘Time Enough For Love’?

              Most useful things were invented by some lazy bastard wanting to get out of some onerous chore.

              So, hoist a mug for the Lazy Bastards!

          • *sleep deprived brain suddenly connects ‘Scots are hella Aspergers’ with ‘Neanderthals are hella Aspergers’ and sketches out a brief theory of the Scottish being the best pure expression of what Neanderthals would be like with modern medicine and nutrition*

            *is now picturing cavemen with plaid loincloths*

            • Umm adding to your theory there is a strong indication that Neanderthals were redheads. Scotland has the largest percent population of Gingers (something like 18%) in the world. You may very well be right. There is a reason for the Scots engineer Stereotype…

              • I believe they decided it was the “wrong” gene for red-head, but I have no idea how they sampled it.

                • So not the MC1R gene site in modern redheads. Ah well a perfectly good theory wrecked by data. Happens all the time…

                  • Further updates– it’s from China, so here’s your salt block, but:

                    https://academic.oup.com/mbe/article/31/8/1994/2925824

                    When they actually checked the different mutations, there’s actually a decent number of the Neanderthal matching version around.

                    REally freaking cool– forthose who fanboi on Asian myths– is that Asians have a much higher rate of the Neanderthal red hair gene, but something keeps it from expressing.

                    Now consider how “red hair” means magic/supernatural in a lot of Asian myths…..

                    • Back in the 1940s and 1950s, Thor Heyerdahl traveled or lived in much of Polynesia. He noted that not only were redheads a fixture in their mythology, a goodly number of the natives he met had red hair. The usual explanation was “European genes”, ignoring the problem that no *other* European traits seemed to manifest themselves…

                    • Asians have a much higher rate of the Neanderthal red hair gene, but something keeps it from expressing.

                      It’s their inscrutability.

                    • Don’t forget the Denisovans! Closely related to the Neanderthals, but isolated for several millennia. Most Asians and Pacific Islanders have some Denisovan DNA.

                      Way I’ve read it, there was a migration out of Africa between 500,000 and 300,000 years ago. Some turned west, wound up in Europe and became Neanderthals. Some turned east, settled in Asia and Mongolia and became Denisovans.

                      Homo Sapiens emerged some 200,000 years ago, spread across Europe, the Middle East and Asia 100,000-ish years ago, encountered Denisovans and Neanderthals and, well, now most of us have got DNA from both groups, except native Africans who never encountered them.

                    • The pure, untainted Homo Sapiens don’t seem to have made much of themselves.

                      Meanwhile, Neanderthal crossbreeds and technological progress map closely together.

                      Despite their long head start, it wasn’t the pure Sapiens who put footprints on the Moon…

                      “Are we men?
                      No! We are Devo!
                      We are Neanderthal!”

                    • I’m pretty skeptical about “pure humans” being a real thing, honestly.

                      It’s more like ‘common ground’ DNA.

                      *******

                      As far as the technology advances, I’d look more at it being possible to benefit from your labor– although if it does actually track with autism, that might explain a selection pressure.

              • Oh, GLEE, it turns out that it was misreported, sort of:

                Ancient DNA has been used to show aspects of Neanderthal appearance. A fragment of the gene for the melanocortin 1 receptor (MRC1) was sequenced using DNA from two Neanderthal specimens from Spain and Italy: El Sidrón 1252 and Monte Lessini (Lalueza-Fox et al. 2007). MC1R is a receptor gene that controls the production of melanin, the protein responsible for pigmentation of the hair and skin. Neanderthals had a mutation in this receptor gene which changed an amino acid, making the resulting protein less efficient and likely creating a phenotype of red hair and pale skin. (The reconstruction below of a male Neanderthal by John Gurche features pale skin, but not red hair) .How do we know what this phenotype would have looked like? Modern humans display similar mutations of MC1R, and people who have two copies of this mutation have red hair and pale skin. However, no modern human has the exact mutation that Neanderthals had, which means that both Neanderthals and humans evolved this phenotype independent of each other.

                http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics/ancient-dna-and-neanderthals/dna-genotypes-and-phenotypes

                So our red-heads don’t have the EXACT change, but a similar one in the same place, which is a lot different than what I’d been lead to understand. (Which was roughly “no, totally different genetic area, no relation.”)

                • Also:
                  Modern humans display similar mutations of MC1R, and people who have two copies of this mutation have red hair and pale skin.

                  Explains the Duchess, although interestingly enough she does have her dad’s much higher sun tolerance. Her paternal grandmother also has the “red hair and pale skin,” although they’re neither Scully red nor carrot tops, more strawberry.

                  • Yup I and the cats are the only non Gingers in my nuclear family. Wife and elder daughter are of a Titian shade of auburn (although as she has gotten older my wife’s hair is browner than it was in our youth). Younger daughter is light auburn with medium curls. Not quite carrot top, but very intense red, and very distinctive, looked like Orphan Annie when she was little. Don’t know of any red heads on my side but Irish and Scots bloodlines so not surprising I carry MC1R.

              • …and the largest percentage of left-handers, though I personally think the ratio would be close to 50/50 if it weren’t for such intense social pressure enforcing right-handedness in most places.

                -TRX (sinister)

                • I am part of the “enforce right hand” pressure movement– because it’s such a *#$@#@ pain to GET stuff for left handers.

                  ….all but one of the kids has been ambi, so far.

                  All but the youngest writer is writing right handed, although I encourage using both hands for different things; I use my left hand for all “strong” or “dangerous” things, like checking the turkey. (I scalded my hand that way, would’ve SUCKED if I was left handed)

                  • Apparently I used to draw ambidextrously, and my mother, who is very strongly right-handed in terms of both strength and dexterity, was watching closely (and with some bafflement, I think) for any preference because she didn’t want to push me against one. I did end up drifting toward writing right-handed, but for some reason I brush my teeth with my left.

                  • It bewilders/confuses some that not only do I prefer a trackball to a mouse, but I use it on the left (though all else is right-preference) and I do NOT reverse the buttons.

                • I wonder if lefthanders were more prevalent in the past. Many of the ancient middle eastern languages (e.g. hebrew, cuneiform) are written right to left. Be it mud or ink if you write right to left a righty is going to drag their hand through what they’ve just written, just like a lefty tends to smudge ink in english.

                  • Back in the 1980s there was an ad for keyboards in Computer Shopper magazine. Someone flipped the negative, and the ad showed a fuzzy black and white picture of a keyboard with the numeric keypad on the left.

                    According to one of the editorial columns, the advertiser was bombarded with calls from people trying to order a left-handed keyboard.

                    “We’re not in the business of making left-handed keyboards…”

                    Yes, sometimes companies make left-handed stuff. And then they try to put the screws to their potential customers.

                    Randall used to make left-handed 1911s; didn’t sell too many at quadruple the normal price. Cabot is making them again. You can buy a Colt Series 80 “Government Model” for $800. Or Cabot will sell you their pimped-out southpaw version for $4,700. Funny, lefties aren’t standing in line shouting “Take my money!”…

            • My physical anthropology teacher back in the day said there was a big overlap between anybody dolichocephalic (pumpkin-headed and heavy browed, basically) and people with Neanderthal genes. There are a lot of pumpkin-headed, heavy browed Celts, especially in Scotland.

    • You can only steal a culture by taking it and depriving others of it. Which is actually what the Know-nothings are doing when they scream about cultural (mis-) appropriation.

  14. Maybe it’s time to go Full Bronte on them, and publish all works under female pseudonyms and completely hide real identities.

  15. to appropriate the field by intimidation and other unethical means, among them belittling and smearing the sub-culture they seem to dislike but wish to become a part of,

    To quote a famous Italian socialist and leader of the Italian Socialist Party for four years: “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

    They hate sci-fi, comics, rpgs, etc, but have to take them over because those subcultures have the arrogance to exist without reference to the leftist sphere.

    • And if they can’t convince the consumers, then they go after the manufacturers.

    • analytical-engine-mechanic

      And this, this is the necessary, underlying-dynamics reason-why behind all the infiltration, subversion, and alteration of the “institutions” of science fiction (and much else). Our long-standing success, by essentially all their own explicit standards but without any of their allegedly-necessary “corrective” mechanisms of dictation and coercion, refutes the “central dogma” of their own reason-why — their literal raison d’être, itself.

      “But without us, this can’t happen! You need our enlightened guidance and benevolent tyranny! Or else ((white imperialist Zionist male American capitalist elitist Confederate culturalist racist mumble mumble)) for you!”

      “Oh, wait, look, it does and did and it has for generations. That’s our culture. And our clear and patent and verifiable history. No Sale.”

      “Reee Squuee Bweee ((insert reflexive wild accusations of Whatever But Real Bad)) !!”

      They conquer because they must, not because their cause is just. True imperialist imperative.

      Back in the real world, I do read people like Rebecca Roanhorse. Not because of their stupid opaque nonsense, not in spite of their award-winning foolishness — but because I like her stuff. All secondhand, flea-market, threadbare idiocy aside.

      In other words, Still No Sale. (Except to those who can write things worth reading, of course…)

  16. And now the awards mean almost nothing, for they are selected based on a set of superficial demographics and accepted Truthink instead of literary merit.

    I sincerely disagree. The Hugo and the Nebula are useful and informative awards. They tell me what books to ignore and, if nominated enough, what authors.

    I want to be lecture about how I’m ruining the universe and the way to be pure and good is to be opposite everything I am I can go to HR training and get paid for putting up with it.

    • Yup since sometime in the mid to late 90’s it became clear that the Nebula and Hugo were highly counter indicative of a book being of interest to me.

      • I have read and enjoyed a Hugo winner for best novel as recently as 2002, American Gods and there are some on my “might be a good read” since then and as recent as 2015.

        But in the 70s and 80s, a new printing screaming “Hugo” or “Nebula” on the cover was pretty much assured. Today? No so much.

        • True, there was a Connie Willis Blackout/All Clear in mid 2000’s (2006?)
          but that I bought because I knew the authors other Oxford Time Travel works (particularly “To Say Nothing of the Dog”) and wanted more. Whereas when I was but a pale youth the imprimatur of a Hugo or Nebula was enough to get me to spend my hard earned $1.25

          • Pretty much. AG is Gaiman so easy sale. With the exception of Three Body Problem the ones of interest are by authors I already have positive experiences with. TBP is of interest despite the Hugo based on recommendations by people I trust.

          • A dollar twenty-five!!!! When I was a kid a paperback SF novel cost sixty cents — but it took an hour to earn those funds!

            • RES I suspect you are slightly older than I am. Definitely I had some books bought at .50-.65 but that was mostly Charlie Brown comics collections in the 2nd-5th grade before I was buying much Sci-Fi. I think one of my earliest purchases in 6th grade at a book fair was a .75 copy of “Starship Troopers”. Someone borrowed it in College and I ended up replacing it with a SCiFi Book club edition. And yeah $1.25 was a fair bit of my $7.50-$10 weekly income from being a paperboy for the New Haven Register from 3rd grade to Freshman year in High School. More of an issue was getting books. Nearest new bookstore of any sort was 2 towns over and its scifi selection was like 6 shelf feet tops. There was a used bookstore within biking distance starting about 7th grade and that was the source of 3/4 of my treasures. Cost was either 1/2 cover or trade 2 books plus a dime for another. Most of my Scholastic Book Club stuff got swapped for Scifi until the owner made the rule that ONLY Scifi could be traded for Scifi. Later met one of the other sources of that rule who had been doing the same thing.

  17. Diversity can be an asset. I’ve seen many times where groups of people from different backgrounds work together towards a common goal, and succeed better because they have a wider font of experience on which to draw.

    Unfortunately, the kind of diversity that the raging progressives keep screeching about doesn’t have anything to do with people from widely different backgrounds working together. It’s all about segmenting people into controllable groups. Blacks over here, Latinos over there. Now all vote for the rich white fake Indian.

    BTW… as a Classic Liberal. Please be more concise with your terminology. Most of my beliefs are similar if not the same as many of the fine people here. So, maligning “Libs” when the people who you are talking about are Progressives, Marxists, and what passes for Leftists here in the US*, casts a wide net that maligns a whole class of people who don’t actually disagree with you. Yes, some, maybe many, are still delusional enough to have not left the Democrat party, or have become independents who still lean D. But insulting them isn’t going to win them over. Me? I was lured to the Republican party by Reagan (one of the few politicians I’ve actually identified with), then moved to being an independent when I saw that the rest of the Republican party was SO NOT Reagan.

    * I recently saw a REAL Leftist go on a rant. He made the current Dem lineup look like a bunch of pro-big business, war-mongering, Conservative fat cats. The real scary thing is, it was plain that he truly believed every single word of it. If THAT dude ever got in power, we’d all really be in chains. Especially an old Classic Liberal hippie like me.

    • I think you’re nitpicking here, Stuart. Dave is very much an old-school liberal who’s been mobbed and excommunicated by the Woke brigade. It takes all kinds, but it’s also not too difficult to distinguish between a Wokescold and a liberal.

  18. Who knew Hunter Biden had some Clinton genes?

    DNA test shows Hunter Biden fathered child with Arkansas woman: report
    A DNA test shows that Hunter Biden fathered a child with an Arkansas woman, according a report Wednesday.

    The test established Biden’s paternity with “scientific certainty,” according to a motion filed by the child’s mom, Lunden Alexis Roberts, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

    Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, has denied having had sex with Roberts and agreed to the test in an effort to prove his claim.

    He’s “not expected to challenge the results of the DNA test or the testing process,” according to Wednesday’s court filing.

    Former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who represents Hunter Biden, didn’t immediate respond to a request for comment, the paper said

  19. I think the left have distorted both words and meanings. When they say something I just hear blah, blah, blah. We are diverse… In the US we’ve always been proud of being a melting pot. Nowadays the left wants us to be come a dish with barriers so that the sauce doesn’t mix with the noodles kind of like a Korean dish.

    • I think the model they reference is a salad. This nonsense of not using other cultures is idiocy of a level very high even for the Transi/SJW’s. The mixing and interaction of a variety of cultures tends to create all sorts of new joy for the world. The flow of foods and preparation techniques alone is enough to rejoice in this massive syncretism. Let alone Music, art, Mathematics and a dozen other things. I really do think these people want to suck all the fun out of the world. There’s something Screwtapeish about what happens to them.

      • Yes, it is Screwtapish. It’s sabotage of any culture, but especially that of “Western” or American culture, where we’ve taken every good idea we’ve found from other cultures, and incorporated and blended them into our own.

        Even the use of the term, cultural appropriate, is misused, and originally it was probably deliberate, now it’s just out of ignorance and laziness; because the term really should be cultural misappropriation. Wearing the clothing of another culture because it’s “cool”, or more functional, are perfectly good reasons. Wearing it as a costume is also fine. Wearing it as a gag, or in an insulting manner, could be either humorous, or just rude; but that’s why America has the 1st Amendment.

  20. As crazy as the “real” world has become in the last decade, I don’t enjoy fiction any more. Whomever is writing the “script” is pulling out all the stops. It’s more inane than Brunner’s and PKD’s offspring on acid. Can’t say we haven’t been warned by SF writers and novelist for the last 50 years…

    And diversity without merits is just evil authoritarianism.

  21. Useful reminder:

    When the villain is Obama, not Trump, news suddenly becomes not worth reporting
    So the United States has “the world’s highest rate of children in detention.” Is this worth reporting? Maybe, maybe not. Nevertheless, Agence France-Presse, or AFP, and Reuters did report it, attributing the information to a “United Nations study” on migrant children detained at the US-Mexico border.

    Then the two agencies retracted the story. Deleted, withdrew, demolished. If they could have used one of those Men in Black memory-zappers on us, they would have. Sheepishly, the two news organizations explained that, you see, the UN data was from 2015 — part of a border crackdown that had begun years earlier.

    We all know who the president was in 2015.

    [SNIP]

    Every time you read something from AFP and Reuters (and CNN and the Washington Post), you should be thinking not “This is fake news” but: “What’s the agenda?” To paraphrase Chuck Schumer’s infamous, and instructive, comment on the CIA, news outlets have six ways from Sunday of getting you to think what they want you to think, none of which involve making up stuff.

    One is simply not reporting things. News that isn’t mentioned didn’t really happen to that outlet’s consumers. Obama’s approval ratings were mostly really low, comparable to Trump’s, typically in the low to mid-40s. Polls would come out saying this, and the Ron Burgundys would simply not report it.

    rump doesn’t enjoy this courtesy. Nor can he be associated with good news. A recent Newsbusters survey found that, over a recent six-week period, not even 1 percent of network news reporting on the Trump administration even mentioned positive economic news.

    Another trick is soberly reporting the policy proposals of Politician One but focusing entirely on the miscues and petty controversies of Politician Two. You might, if you are a news consumer, be under the impression that Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a sober, well-reasoned set of plans. These plans are, however, so far-fetched as to be breathtaking. She has vowed $20.5 trillion in new federal spending, an increase of 40 percent on top of current levels. Yet Warren isn’t the candidate the media habitually portray as unhinged.

    [SNIP]

    Still another trick is deciding that a matter that advances the wrong narrative is simply “local news,” hence not worthy of attention from the major outlets. Any crimes committed by illegal immigrants can be safely ignored by CNN, but any crimes associated with right-wingers become cause for national dismay and soul searching.

    CNN did a massive story this week involving the talents of five reporters after someone at Syracuse University sent out a white supremacist manifesto to “several” cellphones and racist graffiti was discovered in a residence hall. Previously, similar outbreaks of campus fear turned out to be based on hoaxes. Yet if this story dissolves, CNN can accurately claim, hey, we were just reporting that students were scared.

    The impression created by a thousand stories like this — that America in 2019 is a white supremacist nightmare — will linger all the same. Using, or ignoring, facts in accordance with whether they create the desired impression is the principal agenda of today’s media.

    • Anymore, when I hear the news spout a new anti-Trump stat, I try to find out the timeframe their data is from. So often it turns out to be before Trump was elected president.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I just learned that the Hutu in Rwanda have recently killed several hundred thousand Tutsi because of Trump’s culpable inaction. The Shah of Iran has been killed, and the American embassy in Tehran is being held hostage because of Trump’s terrible oversight of the Department of State. I will never forget the day I heard that JFK had been shot because Trump ruined the Secret Service and made Dallas racist. Yesterday, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan, because Trump silenced voices in the intelligence community, and told General Short to stand down.

        • How can you overlook Trump’s words to the Southern Aristocrats, “Go ahead, secede — what’s Lincoln gonna do about it?”

    • Btw, it has fizzled. But was a rumor, not a hoax. *rolls eyes*

  22. Status update on Project: Climb Mount NKJ.
    Surely anyone who can 3peat the rocketship must have crafted the finest mightiest most insightful, absorbing books ever and I should not be able to put them down.
    I have sworn to get through the first one and appreciate its worth.
    I have hit the wall at page 42, my hand will not obey commands to reach out and pick it up. I will persevere and overcome this…thing.

  23. John Patterson

    Reading this piece, it struck me how SF/F has changed very much like country music has changed, with the exception being that fewer country artists get expelled so blatantly.
    The Nashville sound has become country-politan, which was brought out in Ken Burns’ series recently on PBS. So many talented and independent artists have started recording in other places the “outlaw”sound, others play something called Americana. Real music rather than the slick pablum coming out of Nashville. Haggard and Waylon have passed, and Willie is nearly 85, hopefully some younger artists can step in.
    And I’m always looking looking for writing like that. Weber and others are great, but have grown gun shy about buying books in the dark, so much rubbish!

    • And I’m always looking looking for writing like that. Weber and others are great, but have grown gun shy about buying books in the dark, so much rubbish!

      I buy the Baen Bundle every month. For $18.00 you get four to six new or republished books, plus a few repeats from earlier Bundles. It’s been well worth the money for me.

      Organizing them can be a pain, though…

      I’m giving Calibre a try on that front, after downloading it so I could read the Storybundle package with Sarah’s ‘Sword And Blood’ in it.

      I’ve been tempted, a few times, to buy E-books from Amazon, but the only option I ever see is ‘Deliver to Kindle Cloud Reader’ — is that really the ONLY way we can read them? Is it not possible to download an E-book from Amazon and read it on my computer? Are they still retaining the power to take back a your books after you have paid for them?
      ———————————
      Wing: ”Have you ever heard the phrase, Living well is the best revenge?”

      Miles: “Where I come from, someone’s head in a bag is generally considered the best revenge.”

      • John Patterson

        You can install a kindle app on a computer, smartphone, and/or a tablet. It automatically syncs if you read on more than one device. My problem is what to read, I am not up with all the authors. Kindle unlimited has books by M.D. Cooper, Brian Lowe, and Martin Shoemaker, for example, but hesitant because of unfamiliarity with their work.
        Baen is a very good suggestion. Thanks for that.

  24. “The Literary author would focus on the paranoia and insecurity as metaphor for our fractured social web, the Romance writer would use the invasion as backdrop for a story about Sam & Mary, star-crossed lovers in a world gone mad”
    don’t forget the “torn between two worshipful alpha alpacas, author kills the Good Guy(pfft he was just a llama), so she HAS to boff the Cad” one-handed literature subgenre! preferably supernatural.

    Hey I once long ago read Anne Rice, and the algorithm keeps trolling me with that crap.

  25. For the “woke” liberal fascist left, “diversity” is inclusive of everyone with their same interpretation of LGBTQ, feminine and minority oppression to the exclusion of all other freedom of thought and this trend continues into what “woke” SFF magazines, media, movies and star representatives fits within their “diversity” model.
    I have know the author for almost 40 years. I enjoyed participating as a Tangent Online reviewer for several years for the unique opportunity of enjoying some amazing new SFF stories before anyone else and the blessing to be allowed to opine my impression of their authors artistic gift.
    After a 3 month period of literally every story I was asked to review having an LGBTQ lead with an anti-conservative, anti-religious, anti-capitalist mantra and full on fascist hate for any thought that disagreed with their diversity, I just couldn’t stand it any more and I stopped participating as a reviewer.
    Why did the Transformers movie have to have a masturbation scene? This is just one more indication that if you don’t like the media diversity you are obviously a racist, homophobic, sexually repressed masogonist and you are unworthy of commenting on the canned SFF art being presented. Meh. You can keep it.
    Well done, Mr. Truesdale!

  26. A lot of the awarded fic has read to me like stuff from a high school creative writing class. I broke up = gravity inverts and my world turns upside down. Teehee how clever I am. And that’s the stuff that isnt as up front about their biases

  27. To use an example I am very familiar with, Lois McMaster Bujold has been showered with (well-deserved, I hasten to mention) awards. I wonder if she’d have those awards if she’d written the same books—but in the future she portrayed, it was casually mentioned that being “transgender” or homosexual was a thing of the distant past? “Homosexuality? That was cured centuries ago!” Instead she has characters that are gay (Ethan of Athos, for example, although I could question whether he is legitimately gay or not—being raised on an all-males planet and never seeing a woman might produce different results) “intersex” (Betan hermaphrodites, who play roles in several of her stories and are mentioned elsewhere) and so on. Could that play a role in her success with the criterati?

    • Could that play a role in her success with the criterati?

      Let’s just say: [GrouchoVoice] it couldn’t hurt. [/GrouchoVoice]

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Thing is, she is clearly influenced by some of the same thinking and feeling the criterati are. It is easier to reach an audience you share common references with.

      Imagine a story about a future society with a casual aside about putting an lgbt individual or two to death for reasons we would not consider sufficient grounds. Which could be intended as a comment on social changes, the difficultly of delivering them to order, and that we might not like the consequences of every thing we do. Will not be understood that way by an audience that thinks description is prescription, or that people only mention such possibilities as part of a secret agenda to make them happen. Nor an audience who thinks the future is so clearly defined that such things are not possible.

      Given some of the possibilities for the real mechanisms of homosexuality, it might not be cureable.