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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Progress at the speed of light

Tangent Online addresses the problematic issue of gender issues in author identification with an ingenious solution:
While we applaud Lightspeed's recent groundbreaking, progressive Women Destroy SF and Queers Destroy SF special issues, we feel they didn't go far enough. To effect change one must not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. Women and Queers are not the only groups destroying science fiction, for those who champion such a worthwhile social cause as androgyny are at fault too. These forward-thinking social futurists should be given their just due as androgyny is perhaps the most important social issue facing science fiction practitioners today, and which, for the most part, the SF community has chosen to ignore with its retrograde thinking in regards to the problem of gender inequality and gender bias in its fiction.

With greater frequency (which we welcome, but is still a small percentage of the fiction published in the magazines and in book form today), science fiction stories with nameless protagonists or ancillary characters are at the forefront of the androgynous revolution. But only in the field's fiction do we see how it might work, as fictive experiments, so much enlightened theory on paper—food for thought and nothing more. If the lofty goal of the Androgyny Revolution is to reveal unconscious bias and prejudice in fiction by rendering invisible the gender of its characters then the same ideology should just as readily reveal bias and prejudice in other areas of the real world, but not if gender assignation is permitted to continue.

Therefore, Tangent Online will show how the philosophy, the core defining predicates of androgyny can be applied to non-fiction as well as fiction and how in other ways it should be applied to areas of our real world lives. Thus, the table of contents for the August issue of Lightspeed below will contain only story titles—no author names; for revealing an author's name would give immediate rise to the same conscious or unconscious bias we find in so much of our fiction. As well, the name of the reviewer is not mentioned for the same reason. Following the lead of the special Women and Queers Destroy SF issues of Lightspeed, you will find an essay following the review. Its author is also nameless, as it should be. It is the content of the words which truly matter and not who penned them. Content over author or editor is the only way to go in the Androgyny Revolution.

Lightspeed and its companion magazine Nightmare have seen the light and no longer showcase author names on their covers. Only the magazine title and subtitle, issue number and issue date are shown for each. The exception being that the editor's name is prominently displayed on every cover. We can forgive this seeming contradiction to the basic canons of the androgynous movement because it is a given that the editor's name on the cover of any magazine is perforce a more lucrative marketing strategy than displaying author names—those who provide the content for which the potential buyer is shelling out their beer money. It works, and so we give it a pass because we all already know the editor is really one of “us” (yes, this previous knowledge leads to bias but since the editor thinks like we do it's no big deal; insider exceptions are one of our most sacred, binding rules).
There is no end to progess in the SJW quest to bring about a more perfect world. So brave. Thank you for this.

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54 Comments:

Blogger pdwalker August 12, 2015 2:10 AM  

If I read a story without looking at the authors name, I can tell within a couple of paragraphs whether the author is male or female much more often than not.

So clearly, they are not going far enough. Maybe they should take over the school system so they can stamp out bias before it becomes a permanent habit.

Blogger John August 12, 2015 2:10 AM  

I'd thought this was satire. Brave new world that has such people in it...

Anonymous Jack Amok August 12, 2015 2:12 AM  

I... I think I need another drink. I'm not sure if I was reading reality, parody, self-parody, or pure bafoonery. Another couple of mai tais might give me the chili to figure this out.

Sadly, I'm out of limes.

Blogger RL (#0052) August 12, 2015 2:20 AM  

These people are way beyond parody and satire.

Anonymous Donn #0114 August 12, 2015 2:24 AM  

Not the Onion?

Anonymous Any name August 12, 2015 2:25 AM  

Is it satire or not?

Anonymous Donn #0114 August 12, 2015 2:26 AM  

Oh I get it. Its late and its hard to tell the satire from reality now.

Blogger Groot August 12, 2015 2:27 AM  

Whenever I'm informed about what they're wearing, I know I'm in the grip of a female. They'll describe the cloth, the ... OK, I've forgotten. What was he wearing? Clothes? What was he feeling? ?? What did he say about his ex? Ex?

Anonymous malcolm August 12, 2015 2:42 AM  

Poe's Law, invoked.

Blogger Jim August 12, 2015 2:50 AM  

Once again, a half measure. The SF community is so hung up on gender that it misses the heavy chains that bind the art: nouns. Just read any of the short stories in Lightspeed or even that supposed clarion call of linguistic revolution, Ancillary Justice, and you will see these works lousy with nouns. Objects and concepts are classified as if they are things, colonized by the authors' preconceptions and raped like a woman in a GRRM novel by a label. It is high time this problematic tendency was addressed and expunged from the genre.

To show the true artistic potential of post-nominalized Sci-Fi, I present to you the opening of The War of the Worlds, stripped of this Imperialistic, cis-gendered, bourgeois structure.

No pancake would have believed in the last pancakes of the nineteenth pancake that pancake pancake was being watched keenly and closely by pancakes greater than pancakes' and yet as mortal as pancake's pancake; that as pancakes busied pancakes about pancake's various pancakes pancakes were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a pancake with a pancake might scrutinise the transient pancakes that swarm and multiply in a pancake of pancake. With infinite pancake pancakes went to and fro over this pancake about pancakes' little pancakes, serene in pancakes' pancake of pancakes' pancake over pancake. Pancake is possible that the pancake under the pancake do the same. No pancake gave a pancake to the older pancakes of pancake as pancakes of human pancake, or thought of pancake only to dismiss the pancake of pancake upon pancakes as impossible or improbable. Pancake is curious to recall some of the mental pancakes of pancake departed pancakes. At pancake terrestrial pancakes fancied there might be other pancakes upon Pancake, perhaps inferior to pancakes and ready to welcome a missionary pancake. Yet across the pancake of pancake, pancakes that are to pancakes' pancakes as pancakes' are to pancakes of the pancakes that perish, pancakes vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this pancake with envious pancakes, and slowly and surely drew pancakes' pancakes against pancakes. And early in the twentieth pancake came the great pancake.

Anonymous Rigel Kent August 12, 2015 3:17 AM  

My God, this is real. This isn't a joke or a parody or satire or anything. They actually mean this. They take this pablum seriously. I would ask what's wrong with them, but I don't want to know the answer.

Anonymous Shut up rabbit August 12, 2015 3:50 AM  

Add me to the list of headshakers wondering if this is parody, Poe or just some pussified, pandering poltroon.

Blogger Floyd Looney August 12, 2015 3:55 AM  

*blank stare*

"Whut?"

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 August 12, 2015 4:06 AM  

11. Rigel Kent

My God, this is real. This isn't a joke or a parody or satire or anything. They actually mean this. They take this pablum seriously. I would ask what's wrong with them, but I don't want to know the answer

There are other possibilities. The writing is just a little too slick. Note Alfred E. Newman's quote at page bottom.

Anonymous Catalogue of Unpleasantries August 12, 2015 4:24 AM  

The review which follows the editorial makes it rather clear we're reading a parody.

Still, smells of Poe a mile away.

Anonymous Steve August 12, 2015 5:27 AM  

Jim - That was magnificent, you wonderful pancake.

Blogger Bies Podkrakowski August 12, 2015 6:00 AM  

I would say this is a satire. But English is not my first language so...

Anonymous George of the Jungle August 12, 2015 6:51 AM  

Solving this problem would be so much simpler if this were in German... no more 'die' or 'der', just replace them with 'das'. Maybe we should just do away with English altogether and start speaking ins Deutch. Sieg Heil !!!!!! (whoops, er I mean hoopla).

Anonymous Giuseppe The Kurgan August 12, 2015 6:54 AM  

I successfully trolled lightspeed magazine about making a white male heterosexuals destroy sf volume. They took the bait in at first a dismissive fashion, so I continued to politely ask, as a normal progression of their X destroys sf philosophy. By the end they had no cogent reply as to why they would not do it. They just slunk off to the side. Quietly....

Blogger Mr.MantraMan August 12, 2015 7:04 AM  

The Onion could do a special report on how the White conspiracy has over taken the Zionist conspiracy as the #1 world conspiracy and how this upsets the Jews.

The Left would take it as proof they were right, President Mountain Dew Obama would even step off the golf course to give a short speech addressing this issue.

Anonymous Steve August 12, 2015 7:28 AM  

This gender talk, while important, is also problematic because it contributes to the erasure of the most underrepresented groups in science fiction and fantasy: Womyn of Size.

Think about it. When was the last time you read a science fiction or fantasy novel where the heroine was a BBW?

So we're supposed to believe that enlightened future-persons frolic in microgravity, or that were-seals have hot lesbian sex with warrior princesses, but every single character is unaccountably anorexic.

And this fat-shaming patriarchal blubberphobia is not only found in the disgustingly slender cover models of Mary Robinette Kowal's books, but has even colonised the imaginations of proud Womyn of girth like Seanan McGuire and Rachel Swirsky.

For do any of the characters in Ms McGuire's zombie stories get eaten because they couldn't run the length of themselves?

Do any of the rampaging dinoqueers in "If You Were A Bucket of Chicken, My Love" pause to empty a whole can of whipped cream into their ravening maws?

We need realistic Womyn of heft to feature as positive role models for young girls who are struggling to eat their own body weight.

Where The Fat Things Are

The grav drives of the USS Tempest whined a note of complaint as the ship settled over the LZ. The access ramp dropped with a reverberating clang, and Lt. Seanan opened the platoon channel to address her troops.

"Come on, you apes! Do you want to live forever?"

Not waiting for a reply, she toggled a joystick and her mighty Hover-Rascal sped onto the beach at a dizzying 5 mph. Her HUD lit up with multiple identified threats.

"There they are, ladies! The Skinnies have fortified this position, but they'll rue the day they tangled with McGuire's Munchers! Attack!"

Forty yards away, the Skinnies stopped their game of beach volleyball to watch the Semi-mobile Infantry storm their position.

"They're disgusting, Ma'am!" cried a private, "Look at their bikinis and the gaps between their thighs - ugh!"

"Can it, Swirsky!" ordered Lt. Seanan "Platoon - weapons free!"

The Semi-mobile Infantry charged the Skinnies, but unfortunately they got tired halfway through and had to take an emergency second breakfast. By the time their repast and diabetes injections were through, the Skinnies had all gone away to meet their husbands or boyfriends.

"They may have won this battle," mused Lt. Seanan, stifling a burrito-scented burp, "but they'll never win the war!"

Blogger Josh August 12, 2015 7:45 AM  

Problematic

Blogger Joshua Dyal August 12, 2015 7:49 AM  

If I read a story without looking at the authors name, I can tell within a couple of paragraphs whether the author is male or female much more often than not.

So clearly, they are not going far enough. Maybe they should take over the school system so they can stamp out bias before it becomes a permanent habit.


By coincidence, after attempting to read a Star Wars novel of all things, which you'd think was a pretty safe swashbuckling space opera, and finding that it was instead a crypto-romance, I made to myself the anti-K. Tempest Bradford challenge. I will never again, without multiple, trustworthy recommendations, read an author who isn't a white, straight, "cis"-male and overall fan and supporter of Western civilization.

Anonymous The Commenter August 12, 2015 7:51 AM  

I am Number Eight!

Blogger Jack Ward August 12, 2015 8:05 AM  

@3 Jack Sadly, I'm out of limes.

You use limes!!!

My God, you barbarian....

Anonymous Stephen J. August 12, 2015 8:12 AM  

Now I have a sudden craving for pancakes.

Blogger Josh August 12, 2015 8:21 AM  

Are those gluten free pancakes? Because that story might be triggering to those who have celiacs disease or a gluten intolerance.

Anonymous MrGreenMan August 12, 2015 8:22 AM  

@1 pdwalker

The problem is that they aren't good enough writers that you could take their dialogues, strip them of identifiers, and figure out everything from just how their characters talk...because, in all this message fiction, and even in BJ-fiction like Scalzi produces, they all talk like the author.

Blogger Nate August 12, 2015 8:34 AM  

well... this is just Borg as all hell.

Anonymous Steve August 12, 2015 8:47 AM  

Joshua Dyal -

Awake In The Night Land is full of problematic, heteronormative, and Christofascist themes and triggering dialogue.

Here's a snippet:

I said, “Sir, I do not mean to seem harsh, but I have yet to understand why I should not shoot you."

There also aren't any wereseals or BBW's in it, unless you count the Northwest Watching Thing.

Anonymous Wat Tyler August 12, 2015 9:09 AM  

That's some tasty satire. Spot on!

Blogger JCclimber August 12, 2015 9:29 AM  

The content must be truly awful.

Anonymous Stephen J. August 12, 2015 9:33 AM  

"Are those gluten free pancakes? Because that story might be triggering to those who have celiacs disease or a gluten intolerance."

Why should I respect any form of intolerance?! I am totally intolerant of intolerance! ...Wait, um....

Blogger Keith Glass August 12, 2015 9:38 AM  

I know who the author is. Yes, it's satire, and yes, it was an intentional invoke of Poe's Law. . .

Blogger Iowahine August 12, 2015 9:52 AM  

Long ago, at a party, I was captured by a female (or so, I identified "her" as being female) who had just graduated college. She blathered on - audibly, no less - about the need for the hearing to communicate with the non-hearing without forcing the non-hearing to resort to sign-language. During her diatribe/preaching, her loathing for the presumptions of the Hearing was evident. I marveled that she had enough financial support and free time to be able to concoct a cause that would enable her to feel smug and important - at the expense of the people she purported to champion.

Blogger Josh August 12, 2015 10:07 AM  

I was captured by a female (or so, I identified "her" as being female)

How sexist and misogynistic of you.

How do you know she even identified as a human, much less as female?

Blogger Josh August 12, 2015 10:34 AM  

I have a question about eligibility for nominations for Next Year's Hugos.

Is a book published in 2014 eligible for a related work Hugo?

Blogger luagha August 12, 2015 11:15 AM  

"the last time you read a science fiction or fantasy novel where the heroine was a BBW?"

Amanda Waller, a supporting character from DC Comics, was portrayed as a big black woman. But they are totally copping out and making her slim and attractive in the Suicide Squad movie.

Anonymous BGS August 12, 2015 11:21 AM  

of the most underrepresented groups in science fiction and fantasy: Womyn of Size.

Have you ever been to a convention?

about the need for the hearing to communicate with the non-hearing without forcing the non-hearing to resort to sign-language

I guess she doesn't know about speech- text programs, maybe she was thinking telepathy.

Blogger Aeoli Pera August 12, 2015 11:41 AM  

It's not like there are a thousand web services that you can post the story into, and it'll tell you the sex of the person who wrote it. Certainly that sort of thing cannot exist, because equality is our strength in vibrant diversity.

Blogger Aeoli Pera August 12, 2015 11:43 AM  

Ref: https://watson-pi-demo.mybluemix.net/

It's even more fun to put in somebody else's prose and divine their DARK SECRETS :-O.

I wish there was a part where they tell you what kinds of weird sexual stuff you're probably into.

Anonymous Donn #0114 August 12, 2015 12:05 PM  

I have this modest proposal I'd like to make about over population. You could couch it in a sf story.

Anonymous Athor Pel August 12, 2015 12:14 PM  

"33. Stephen J.August 12, 2015 9:33 AM
"Are those gluten free pancakes? Because that story might be triggering to those who have celiacs disease or a gluten intolerance."

Why should I respect any form of intolerance?! I am totally intolerant of intolerance! ...Wait, um....
"



Sorry, but you just gave yourself away by demonstrating an ability to use logic.

Anonymous Jack Amok August 12, 2015 12:20 PM  

You use limes!!!

My God, you barbarian....


Freshly squeezed. Barbarians use something out of a can, as Dr Tiki and Johnny-Johnny could tell you.

Anonymous Stephen J. August 12, 2015 12:43 PM  

"Sorry, but you just gave yourself away by demonstrating an ability to use logic."

I don't use logic. Logic uses me.

Blogger Mad Dok Rob August 12, 2015 12:52 PM  

If this is real...I don't know if I want to live on this planet anymore.

Blogger Floyd Looney August 12, 2015 12:56 PM  

I am glad to hear it's parody or satire. I think I might lose too many braincells otherwise.

Blogger ajw308 (#98) August 12, 2015 1:41 PM  

Dammit Jim, you're half right. It's not just nouns that can trigger. For all we know, pancakes may trigger some. All words that may be triggers should be replaced with a whitespace and the whitespace shall be of equal size for any word since all words should be equal to start with.

In that light, War of the Worlds would look like:
" ' ' ; ' , . ... "
The advantages to this system are:
1) A level field of competition for all writers will exist,
2) Printed books will consist of fewer pages and will impact the environment less, and
3) Digital books will require less memory which will reduce the worlds consumption of bits, bytes, and words.

Anonymous DaveT August 12, 2015 5:02 PM  

Trust me, it's 100% parody. Maybe too close to the mark if some actually believe it is to be taken at face value. Which is scary. :-)

Blogger SciVo August 12, 2015 10:49 PM  

@DaveT:

Well, I also read RSM, who is busy exposing feminism's war on human nature, and he regularly quotes the kind of stuff that makes it plausibly sincere.

Blogger Bruce Lewis August 12, 2015 11:38 PM  

It's "buffoonery".

Blogger Kirk Parker August 13, 2015 3:20 AM  

Not any more.

Blogger Kirk Parker August 13, 2015 3:22 AM  

Not any more.

Blogger Kirk Parker August 13, 2015 3:22 AM  

Not any more.

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