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Sunday, May 22, 2016

The decline of science fiction literature



He raises a significant question I haven't seen: why is it that science fiction editors talk so much about politics, and so little about books they've read? He also hammers McRapey for his corrupt little arrangement with Cory Doctorow and BoingBoing.

He also found over a dozen voting slates and determined that there was only  one difference between the Puppy success and the lack of success of the rival slates: the Puppy slates - which, in the case of the Rabid Puppies were of course not even slates at all - were put forth by more popular blogs.

In other words, the only reason for all the fandom histrionics is that our writers are considerably more popular - or even worse, more influential - than theirs are. That is why they are constantly changing the rules and appealing to the media in order to continue their affirmative action campaign of destroying science fiction in order to improve it.
Earlier this week, a rousing headline shot at warp-speed across browsers and Twitter feeds: Women Swept The 2015 Nebula Awards, taking home the prestigious science-fiction and fantasy prizes in the categories of Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story and Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy work.

The news might’ve come as a surprise to — or, at least, to the chagrin of — a boisterous group of science fiction writers and fans who’ve taken up the cause of restoring the genre to its tenants of yore: lighthearted adventure that’s sleek, zippy, fun, and — oh yeah — comprised of shelves’ worth of white male writers.

The ostensible platform of the Sad and Rabid Puppies, whose name is meant to mock heartfelt liberalism, is meant to support action stories sans political or moral message. And the cost? Last year, they rigged the voting for a similarly lauded set of prizes, the Hugo Awards, favoring white male writers and effectively quelling women and authors of color. Unlike the Nebulas — which are voted on by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, an organization comprised not just of writers but editors and publishers — the Hugos are controlled by readers, so the Puppies were able to leave their mark.

They didn’t succeed entirely. The categories they stocked with their own nominees received “No Award” due to voters rejecting their white male nominees. But for writers whose books were unfairly overlooked, the damage was done.

This year, the conversation howls on, especially in light of the woman-centered Nebula slate. Nnedi Okorafor, who won for her novella Binti, an interstellar story about a girl who leaves her people to attend the prestigious Oomza University, worlds away from her home, says she’s thankful that issues of prejudice in the industry are being discussed.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Okorafor said, “Honestly, I love hearing people arguing out in the open, not hidden away in their own echo chambers. That’s what I want to see more of: Dialogue. The issues swirling around the Hugos are merely manifestations of the growing pains this country is experiencing as a whole,” she added. “Growing pains are painful, awkward, annoying, sometimes destructive in order to create. What I hope will be the outcome of the Hugos is an airing out, an addressing, a debate, and a moving forward.”

Naomi Novik, who took home the 2016 Nebula for her novel Uprooted, a fantasy book about a girl whose taken from her beloved community by a seemingly harmless dragon, feels differently. For her, the Sad Puppies’ rhetoric has been damaging, manipulative and unreflective of true fandom.

“I am glad to trumpet my disdain for this loudly,” Novik told HuffPost. “What I very much hope will come out of this year’s Hugo Awards is that the rules will be changed. [The Puppies] need to just go away.”

Both women agree that prejudiced lines of thinking have been historically damaging to women and writers of color working in the genre, who have both been recognized in their time, but largely forgotten by history. Kate Wilhelm’s suspenseful speculative fiction has won multiple Nebulas and a Hugo; Vonda N. McIntyre, whose longstanding attachment to the “Star Trek” franchise rocketed her to acclaim, won both awards as well. Yet neither is discussed alongside Orson Scott Card or William Gibson.
If Maddie Crum had ever read Kate Wilhelm's or Vonda McIntyre's books, or Card's and Gibson's, for that matter, she would know perfectly well why the former are not discussed alongside the latter. They're neither as good nor as important and influential. They're just not. It's not even debatable.

It will be interesting to see how Novik's disdain will be affected if we give her book Best Novel, just as we gave it to Three-Body Problem last year. Uprooted isn't a great book, nor is it an important one, but it's not a bad little fairy tale either. It's a lightweight book more akin to Among Others than Redshirts or The Quantum Rose. It's rather amusing that fendom is so caught up in the nominations game that they have failed to recognize that while they decide if anyone wins or not, the Rabid Puppies now decide who will win whenever there is more than one contestant in play.

The thing is, neither Novik nor Okorafor are bad writers. I generally like their works I've read. In historical terms, they write competent midlist fantasy and science fiction, respectively. But the fact that they are the best Pink SF has to offer is sufficient evidence of both the decline of the mainstream science fiction infrastructure as well as the general mediocrity of female SF/F writers.

What female SF/F writer today can compete with Tanith Lee at her best? If you compare Novik's take on fairy tales to Lee's, well, it's not even close. There is still Lois McMaster Bujold, of course, but even she has lost her fastball when it comes to her novel-length works. Fat Seanan? N... K... Jemisin? Kameron "We Have Always Invented History" Hurley? Ann "Tea in Space" Leckie?

Please. There are better women writers working in the game industry than are getting nominated for awards in SF/F literature these days. Forget the awards, half these women couldn't get published traditionally or self-publish and sell in the Amazon top 100,000 if they used a male pen name.

I'd very much like to see one of them try to prove me wrong. And as for the converse, well, are you absolutely certain I haven't already done so?

Labels:

104 Comments:

Anonymous HongKongCharlie May 22, 2016 6:11 AM  

"I'd love to see one of them try to prove me wrong. And as for the converse, well, how do you know I haven't already done so?"

Sh** Storm coming down. Wow you are really cruel.

HKC

Anonymous Leonidas May 22, 2016 6:13 AM  

And as for the converse, well, are you absolutely certain I haven't already done so?

Oh, this I'd love to see!

Blogger Adam Meek May 22, 2016 6:59 AM  

VD is Christie Sims

Anonymous Adam May 22, 2016 7:02 AM  

And as for the converse, well, are you absolutely certain I haven't already done so?

Oh my. This will set the cat amongst the pigeons. Queue masses of SJWs frantically attempting to work out if they've mistakenly reviewed and publicly praised a book by a secret intruder. Just fiendish.

Blogger Cataline Sergius May 22, 2016 7:26 AM  

half these women couldn't get published traditionally or self-publish and sell in the Amazon top 100,000 if they used a male pen name.

Oh shit! Use a female pen-name to get published. That one never even occurred to me until just now.

Gonna have to try out a few.

Is Moesha Rodriguez-Kōmon available?

Blogger Sir Thermite May 22, 2016 7:27 AM  

are you absolutely certain I haven't already done so?

I'm awestruck, and now convinced that Gandalf mistranslated the inscription on Sauron's ring. Pure Black Speech indeed.

Blogger weka May 22, 2016 7:30 AM  

Bujold's last book read like the last of Doris Lessing's. Both authors have written brilliantly -- but she has lost it. Her universe is now too neat. The villians have become friends. And she's twittering around the edges.

I'm not sure if this relates to moving out of middle years, when you still have venom and skills.

Or if, in both cases, people are now too scared to edit them.

Anonymous BlueSwedeShoes May 22, 2016 7:36 AM  

@4 don't forget to make sure it's a colorful name.

Anonymous Dave May 22, 2016 7:38 AM  

are you absolutely certain I haven't already done so?


Who will you send to accept your Nebula?

Anonymous Cassie May 22, 2016 7:39 AM  

I'm suddenly very happy that I bought Novik's books at the used book store.

Ann "Tea in Space" Leckie
ROFL sooooooo true!

Anonymous Ain May 22, 2016 7:40 AM  

Here comes Cherry Tingle

Blogger Phillip George May 22, 2016 7:42 AM  

Jonathan Swift was contemporary with Isaac Newton. Mary Shelley with Christian Doppler. Jules Verne with Louise Pasteur.
I suspect the greatest of science fiction came from an embrace of reality and expansive thinking at the wonder at the inexplicable. Now it seems the retreat into fantasy.

Chuck Tingle aside. It's personal but when I looked, seriously looked at CropCircles, Spontaneous Human Combustion [only naming two] I put down fiction forever - I thought. Reality is far stranger than any human could imagine - without help. Thou parabolic allegories seem useful. cheers.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan May 22, 2016 7:47 AM  

They got a neat little offensive tactic, a few words that play on our decency and then they become socially dominate with the authority not earned in the least.

I can only thank heaven that most likely in my life the dominate theme of the white "male" on the Right will go from sappy paternalistic provider beta/delta/gamma to barbarian war lord.

Western Civ is dead, but culture remains to be created by those who dare.

Anonymous 0007 May 22, 2016 7:55 AM  

Yeah, gotta wonder how much adulation or awards those WOMEN WIN ALL NEBULA AWARDS would have won if they had published their stuff under a male pseudonym. I'm guessing not so much.

Blogger Phillip George May 22, 2016 7:59 AM  

they become socially dominate with the authority not earned in the least.

thanks for that. There is a fascism in science now that hasn't existed as is for many hundreds of years. Witches had it easier before any inquisition. Right now is an imponderably dark age.

Anonymous bub May 22, 2016 8:01 AM  

Sounds like a good time to recommend re.co

Blogger Zaklog the Great May 22, 2016 8:14 AM  

That’s what I want to see more of: Dialogue.

Ah yes, of course dialogue is what they want to see more of. That is why at every opportunity these leftists seek to silence dissent and punish thoughtcrime. The claims they make require either a stunning level of dishonesty or else a complete lack of self-awareness, which it is, I do not care to speculate.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan May 22, 2016 8:19 AM  

Mr. George the bulk of the Right is stuck in Tea Party mode, if we only whine and cry enough the authority will come to their senses, that is a trap. There will always be a Cuck there to set down even more pre-conditions for the people just further out from "respectability."

Even here I'll bet a good many people would think it bad manners to ask the gals at HuffPo who participate in their social dominance games of this article "What have you done for me and what are you going to do for me?"

Blogger Mr.MantraMan May 22, 2016 8:24 AM  

#13 I assume they self awarded their little clique. IMO that makes the issue one of legitimacy which should actually be stated in plain language, "Is the process for the Nebulas legitimate?"

Blogger Cataline Sergius May 22, 2016 8:29 AM  

@6 Weka

The problem with the Vorkosigan universe is simple enough. All of characters have completed their major archs, so now she's writing her own fan fiction.

And as with any work of fanfiction the writer is held prisoner to a universe that has already been completed and there is nothing new to create. Just like George R. R. Martin is with his own GOT world. Or anybody who works on Star Wars. Or even Supernatural.

Now Bujold exploring minor supporting characters. Sure it was nice to see Ivan finally find the right girl (*and then took her to the Orb so she could be fucked by other men*) but I don't really care about any further adventures with those characters.

She can still do decent work Penric's Demon showed that. But she has to be able to create.

Blogger S1AL May 22, 2016 9:13 AM  

"And as with any work of fanfiction the writer is held prisoner to a universe that has already been completed and there is nothing new to create."

This is part of why Butcher is going to remain relevant long after most of these other writers: he thinks stories should end. That, and he's capable of creating and playing in multiple interesting worlds.

Blogger Rational Thinker May 22, 2016 9:15 AM  

I have read so many bad science fiction books written by women in my time that I have just stopped reading any science fiction book written by a woman.

Anonymous Stevella May 22, 2016 9:22 AM  

Seanan Tempest Jemisin admired herself in the full length mirror. Her curvaceous folds glistened with good health, quivering sensually as she delicately crammed half a kilo of pizza-flavoured cheesecake into her coquettishly slavering maw.

"Ookin' 'ood!", she drooled, playfully expelling a cloud of crumbs that danced in the microgravity of her air-conditioned stateroom.

Her gastronomic self-contemplation was abruptly interrupted by a priority alert.

CAPTAIN SEANAN TO THE BRIDGE!

Sighing, she hastily squeezed into her commanders' muumuu and clambered aboard a mobility hoverscooter.

"'Oooh th' b'idge!", spluttered the voluptuous Space Navy officer.

***

In all her years flying with the TransFederation Peace Fleet, Captain Seanan had never seen a bridge crew so demoralised.

Sclazy, her normally cheerful XO, trembled in his chair.

Kameron, the Navigatrix, was sweating more than usual and muttering dark curses under xer breath.

Even that usually impassive android, Philbot-Sandophile, seemed distressed.

"Philbot, status report!" barked Seanan.

The android couldn't peel his pozitronic eyes from the enemy warship looming menacingly on the viewscreen.

"Captain, it makes no sense at all, but scans have confirmed that ship is... it's... the Infinite Malice, Captain!"

Sclazy let out an involuntary sob.

"Hail them", ordered Seanan after a momentary hesitation.

***

"This is Captain Seanan Tempest Jemisin of the TransFederation starship Equality. You are in violation of TransFederation space. Turn your vessel around, or prepare for us to complain to the media about you!"

"Still no reply, Captain. They continue to head straight for us." grumbled Philbot, in a funereal tone.

"Maybe they just plan on raping us?" squeaked Sclazy, wistfully. The others ignored him.

"Fire a warning salvo of asterisks across their bow." ordered the captain.

Equality's asterisk cannons caused a low rumble to sound throughout the ship as they accelerated their wooden projectiles into the endless night of space.

"They're hailing us, Captain!"

"On screen."

***

The face that dominated the main viewscreen was instantly familiar, and yet terrifyingly strange to the bridge crew. Without a third - or even second! - chin, and bearing not so much as a whisker of pedobeard, it was a face no decent citizen of the United TransFederation of Hamplanets would have worn.

And yet every feminist, male feminist, transgender, agender, and sentient molestation machine on board the Equality knew that face. It was the face of their nightmares and of their darkest fables.

It was the face of Vox Day.

"Hello," said Vox Day, luciferian humour dancing in his eyes.

Sclazy shrieked and ran from the bridge, faster than anyone in a green ballgown and high heels ought to run.

"YOU! I can't believe it, but it is you!" cried Seanan, with more panic than she wanted.

"You tormented my foremothers and destroyed their safe spaces!", she continued, gathering hunger fuelling her anger. "I don't know how you came back, or why. Get out of here, or I'll... I'll block you! On social media!"

The remaining bridge crew gasped at their captain's defiance. But Vox simply laughed.

"My dear... girl, is it? There's no need to use that kind of tone with your betters. Mine is a peaceful mission."

"It.. it is? Peaceful?", stammered Seanan.

"But of course!", exclaimed Vox, flashing an unsettlingly fangy grin. "I simply want to rip and tear your gay little federation into gay little pieces."

"I'll never sleep with you, Vox!" roared Captain Seanan, her back-breasts shaking with rage.

But the transmission had already been broken.

"Get us out of here, Kameron!"

But deep down, Seanan knew it was too late. It was always too late...

Blogger VD May 22, 2016 9:24 AM  

I think it is readily apparent that next year, ALL the nominations will have been published on this blog.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr May 22, 2016 9:30 AM  

"Rigged"? What's dishonest about making choices and discussing them? It's not like Vox was operating secretly, or paying people to vote his way.

Blogger Nate May 22, 2016 9:31 AM  

"And as for the converse, well, are you absolutely certain I haven't already done so? "

This should make the TruFen clench up... but it won't... because they are simply incapable of observing reality.

Anonymous bub May 22, 2016 10:02 AM  

I'd buy that fully-fleshed-out, fully operational battle-book in a heartbeat, Stevella.

Blogger Dexter May 22, 2016 10:09 AM  

That’s what I want to see more of: Dialogue.

Naturally it will be an SJW "dialogue", meaning "shut up and be ashamed of yourself while I lecture you".

Blogger Teri May 22, 2016 10:10 AM  

Back when I used to read Science Fiction, you didn't care about the sex or color of the author. You read it because the stories were interesting. Then it got to where they couldn't tell the story in a single book. I lost interest and stopped reading the genre.

Anonymous Longtime Lurker May 22, 2016 10:10 AM  

@22: Thanks, man. I needed a good laugh.

Blogger Cataline Sergius May 22, 2016 10:19 AM  

@22

Dude, you have a book a here.

Blogger Cataline Sergius May 22, 2016 10:20 AM  

@22

Way funnier than Redshirts for a start.

Anonymous Rick Atlas May 22, 2016 10:38 AM  

Make a book out of that and win a Hugo!

Anonymous Determinator May 22, 2016 11:08 AM  

Speaking of pedophiles: Elijah Wood: 'Hollywood in the grip of child abuse scandal similar to Jimmy Savile' Not that we didn't already know, but more people speaking out is always good.

Anonymous BGKB May 22, 2016 11:22 AM  

Is QU QU really pushing a Frozen sequel with a furry lover, instead of a lesbian?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsoSp-hKPoI

Is Moesha Rodriguez-Kōmon available?

I know Latrina Cuntswella Sanchez is taken.

Blogger Anthony May 22, 2016 11:42 AM  

are you absolutely certain I haven't already done so?

Has anyone actually seen Benjanun SriDungCow in person?

Blogger Michael Maier May 22, 2016 11:44 AM  

I love this blog.

Blogger pyrrhus May 22, 2016 11:48 AM  

As someone who subscribed to Galaxy magazine when I was 8 years old, and loved every issue, I am disgusted with the modern state of SciFi...Almost the only stuff I can stand any more is published by Castalia House....

Anonymous VFM #6306 May 22, 2016 11:58 AM  

Qu Qu's watching very closely. The revolution will be written down, and only the good stories will be remembered. You have much greater tolerance for Quantum Rose than I did, but even that mediocre tome looks like Dune compared to the regurgitations of the misshapen intellectual dwarves known as the Nebulettes.

Blogger Tom Kratman May 22, 2016 12:10 PM  

Speaking of Hurley, can anyone tell me where Shaka's dreaded female infantry impi was stationed / which part of the perimeter they held at the Battle of Gqokli Hill?

Blogger Timothy MEEHAN May 22, 2016 12:11 PM  

He also hammers McRapey for his corrupt little arrangement with Cory Doctorow and BoingBoing.

Hmm. I grew up on the other side of the 401 from Cory. In fact I credit Mel Lastman (who is an early beta of Trump) with forcing to learn Boolean to use the catalog at the Fairview Mall NYPL. (The Don Mills Branch is where I used to feed dollar bills into the Apple II in 1981.)

Anonymous WaterBoy May 22, 2016 12:17 PM  

And while you're waiting for GRRM's next novel to finally arrive, here are some other worthwhile high fantasy books to consider.

A woman reviewer recommends books only written by women. Quelle surprise!

Anonymous Toastrider May 22, 2016 12:26 PM  

Y'know, I wish David Eddings was still around.

Blogger Cataline Sergius May 22, 2016 12:31 PM  

I know Latrina Cuntswella Sanchez is taken.

Damn it.

Blogger Cataline Sergius May 22, 2016 12:40 PM  

@42 Tom Kratman

Speaking of Hurley, can anyone tell me where Shaka's dreaded female infantry impi was stationed / which part of the perimeter they held at the Battle of Gqokli Hill?

"The wonderful thing about history is that it is adjustable."

At this point the question can be easily dodged by claiming they were men who identified as women. Shaka being one of great progressive leaders of his day, empowered them by packing them into their own impi.

I'm kind of surprised that Shaka doesn't have a worse reputation SJWs than he had.

Blogger Tom Kratman May 22, 2016 12:50 PM  

Well, CS, he only massacred women and children and impaled men in a gender-diverse, multiculturally sensitive and inclusive way, using environmentally sustainable and sound, or at least recyclable, means. And besides, he was probably gay, anyway.

Which actually doesn't change that Hurley is a complete lying fraud.

Anonymous Trimegistus May 22, 2016 12:55 PM  

Since the year 2000, there have been 65 Nebula awards given for print fiction (four per year, with one tie in 2010).

Of those 65, 40 have gone to women, 25 to men. Women "swept" the awards for the first time in 2013, but you have to go back to 2006 to find a year when fewer than half the awards went to women.

Nine of those 40 awards given to women -- nearly a quarter -- have gone to three women (Nancy Kress, Kij Johnson, and Kelly Link).

So women have dominated the Nebulas this century. Why must we continue applauding this endless series of victory laps?

Blogger Cataline Sergius May 22, 2016 1:11 PM  

@47 Tom Kratman

No denying it, the man did his best to make genocide as eco-friendly as possible.

I'll give Hurley one thing, she demonstrated just how far into the SJW-pit the Hugo's had fallen.

"(We Have Always Fought," was republished in Lightspeed's special issue "Women Destroy Science Fiction".

Lightspeed had a brilliant title for that issue, I have to give it that.

Blogger Were-Puppy May 22, 2016 1:23 PM  

"And as for the converse, well, are you absolutely certain I haven't already done so?"

Are you stoking the flames of the "is VD Chuck Tingle" controversy again?

Blogger FlashGordon May 22, 2016 1:26 PM  

This is three years in a row that women have pretty much swept the Nebulas. At this point, it's becoming a troubling issue. The SFWA is about 50/50 men/women, but the results suggest that the men aren't involved with the awards and aren't voting. Another issue with the Best Novel category is the readability of the nominees. I'm convinced that Uprooted won because it was the only one people could get into and actually read. That suggests that some of the finalists got on the ballot for other reasons.

Blogger Were-Puppy May 22, 2016 1:28 PM  

The Nebulas are now participation trophies.

Blogger Were-Puppy May 22, 2016 1:29 PM  

Supernatural has really jumped the shark.
The last episode, god was killed.
By his sister.

Blogger Eric Guillaume Dilasser-McDowell May 22, 2016 1:30 PM  

Bujold was a damn good writer in her day, there's no getting around that. Still not one of the greats, though, that's a distinction still reserved for the likes of Herbert, Card, and Gibson no matter what the left shrieks.

On a side note, I'll honestly say that I haven't yet read a Carol Berg novel I didn't genuinely like for the substance of the story and the outright quality of her diction and character development. I wouldn't hold her up to the standard of Tolkien, Lewis, King, or even Bakker (who deserves a shite-ton more praise than he gets for The Prince of Nothing and The Aspect-Emperor), but she's a hell of a lot better than Brandon Sanderson's like. No awards or mention of her anywhere, though, since she isn't a member of the Pink SF Crony-Club and wrote a male lead in almost every one of her books (all but two of them if I recall correctly).

Blogger Were-Puppy May 22, 2016 1:30 PM  

@20 Cataline Sergius

And as with any work of fanfiction the writer is held prisoner to a universe that has already been completed and there is nothing new to create. Just like George R. R. Martin is with his own GOT world. Or anybody who works on Star Wars. Or even Supernatural.
--

Last comment was in response to this

Blogger John Wright May 22, 2016 1:40 PM  

"What female SF/F writer today can compete with Tanith Lee at her best?"

A well-asked question; well-asked indeed.

Blogger John Wright May 22, 2016 1:47 PM  

"I have read so many bad science fiction books written by women in my time that I have just stopped reading any science fiction book written by a woman."

From the way this is worded, I hope you make an exception for woman writers from an earlier generation. Tanith Lee and Ursula K LeGuin are certainly expert at their craft (albeit LeGuin less so in her later years as her politics intruded more forcefully into her narrative). I will also buy any book by Linda Nagata just on the strength of her name.

Blogger Joe Keenan May 22, 2016 2:02 PM  

@55 What male SF/F writer today can compete with Tanith Lee at her best?

Blogger VD May 22, 2016 2:05 PM  

What male SF/F writer today can compete with Tanith Lee at her best?

John C. Wright, China Mieville, George RR Martin, William Gibson, Orson Scott Card, and Neal Stephenson.

But only their best will do.

I would also rank Susan Cooper very highly, although again, only her best.

Blogger Skylark Thibedeau May 22, 2016 2:08 PM  

"Is Moesha Rodriguez-Kōmon available? "
Remember her middle name has to be Butch or Beebo.

Anonymous Millenium May 22, 2016 2:14 PM  

What was Tanith Lee's best? And LeGuin's for that matter?

Blogger Joe Keenan May 22, 2016 2:18 PM  

Thanks for the recommends Vox (my request wasn't rhetorical)some good picks there (I've read most of them), I've read one Wright book(The Last Guardian of Everness)my only complaint would be it was too short. Susan Cooper is a favorite, an amazing and unfairly overlooked writer (same points apply to Joy Chant). OSC....I got to start re-reading his Seventh Son work, I never did read the whole thing.

Blogger Joe Keenan May 22, 2016 2:22 PM  

@60 IMHO Tanith Lee's best single volume work is Volkhaavar. Her Flat Earth series is a fusion of Arabian Nights and Gothic. Very original. Regarding LeQuin, her first three Earth Sea books. The follow up volumes were painful to read, almost like they were written by a different person, or, someone depressed and full of despair.

Blogger D. G. D. Davidson May 22, 2016 2:23 PM  

And as for the converse, well, are you absolutely certain I haven't already done so?

I'm still hoping to discover that you've wormed your way into the self-published niche gay porn/online performance artist market, but I'll have to take your word for it that's not the case.

Blogger VD May 22, 2016 2:23 PM  

What was Tanith Lee's best? And LeGuin's for that matter?

The Secret Books of Paradys and Red as Blood. The Left Hand of Darkness. But LeGuin peaked fast and hard. Tanith Lee remained highly readable despite a detour into YA.

Blogger VD May 22, 2016 2:25 PM  

Regarding LeQuin, her first three Earth Sea books.

I thought Earth Sea sucked.

I'm still hoping to discover that you've wormed your way into the self-published niche gay porn/online performance artist market, but I'll have to take your word for it that's not the case.

Let's just say I guarantee that you have heard of at least one of my pen names. Plural.

Blogger Joe Keenan May 22, 2016 2:39 PM  

@64 EarthSea was definitely better on the first read all those years ago, its appeal to me has diminished over time. Time is a harsh judge and I don't think LeQuin is going to withstand its judgement very well. Most of her writing was very topical, she could probably be seen as the Grand Dame of gender identity SciFi (Left Hand of Darkness), to my mind Earthsea was the least offensive, the best, of her work (which is heavily flawed).

Blogger Joe Keenan May 22, 2016 2:46 PM  

Also, Good recommend on the Secret Books of Paradys and Red as Blood, I'd forgotten about Paradys.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab May 22, 2016 2:53 PM  

Tom Kratman wrote:Speaking of Hurley, can anyone tell me where Shaka's dreaded female infantry impi was stationed / which part of the perimeter they held at the Battle of Gqokli Hill?

Since the Zulu were covered head to toe in shapeless heavy robes we'll never know how many were women. Hundreds certainly perhaps thousands. We can only say for certain that they played a vital part and were prominent in the main line of battle expert with both shield and iklwa.

Blogger Phelps May 22, 2016 2:59 PM  

As for VD writing with a woman's pen name, remember the story of Jamie Foxx. He was passed over night after night on open mic nights, while he saw that women were far overrepresented on the mic. He decided to submit a few "ambiguous" names (Jamie, Chris, Leslie) and got up the first night -- Jamie Foxx (after Redd Foxx) was the first one called, so he kept it.

Eric Bishop couldn't get a spot on the mic. When he became Jamie Foxx, he was a superstar.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab May 22, 2016 3:04 PM  

Okay I just read the Hurley thing and I actually think I now have repressed memory. Or I wish I could repress memories. That was the worst thing I have read all day and I have been haunting G+ today.

Bad doesn't begin to describe it. It was the worst kind of polemic without any redeeming qualities.

Tom Kratman, I feel your anger. If she wanted to be a fabulist she should have just said she was writing fiction.

Anonymous Bz May 22, 2016 3:13 PM  

I've always liked C.J. Cherryh's work and would put her among the top tier writers of the field.

Blogger Sheila4g May 22, 2016 3:26 PM  

@64 and 65 VD: I read EarthSea as a kid and loved them - tried to re-read them a few years ago and agree - they're awful.

The Left Hand of Darkness, on the other hand, I bought and read later. It's grown with each re-reading. She actually handles gender/sexual identity in a truly thoughtful, penetrating way, and gets the reader to consider how it influences aspects of personality, as well as undergirds any friendships formed. Despite its "hot topic," it remains genuine science fiction, not a morality tale.

Susan Cooper has been a favorite since college.

Blogger Joe Keenan May 22, 2016 3:27 PM  

@69 You're correct. Her Morgaine books were very good.Though when she tried to restart the series years later it seemed she lost the thread.For that matter, what female writer today is the equal of Andre Norton, Leigh Brackett, or, C.L. Moore?

Anonymous Bz May 22, 2016 3:32 PM  

Bujold's most recent book was a disappointment, at least as far as I got into it. While she has written what is ostensibly Mil-SF, she is really rather very pink in her views. A glowing, pulsating pink. A pity since she also has done some good writing.

Apparently Bujold does not have a military background but has science professor parent(s?), which might explain why the Mil parts seem a bit off, not to mention more than a little conflicted. And possibly also why there often are admirable scientists around. One must wonder to what extent is Ekaterin a self-insert. Consider: Sensible, demure single mother after a poorly chosen marriage; an odd bit of marital kitchen sink realism among all the larger than life characters; wise pipe smoking professor dad, etc?

Anonymous Satan's Hamster May 22, 2016 3:37 PM  

"The SFWA is about 50/50 men/women, but the results suggest that the men aren't involved with the awards and aren't voting."

The SFWA is primarily a club for writers who've been published by the big magazines and SF publishers. Since those markets are primarily publishing SJWs, it should hardly be surprising that the SFWA would increasingly become a haven for SJWs.

Anonymous Bz May 22, 2016 3:45 PM  

Cherryh has been so very productive, both on the SF and Fantasy sides. Apart from Morgaine, the first books by her I read, by the way, she also has the whole Alliance-Union series (Downbelow Station, Cyteen, 40,000 in Gehenna, and plenty of others that I thought were excellent, even if Cyteen 2 was a bit flat.) And the Chanur series. And lately the Foreigner series, nearly endless by now.

On the fantasy side, the Fortress series, which I thought was on par with GRRMs earlier, funnier volumes, and she managed to nail the ending too. And The Paladin, and The Goblin Mirror ... The Rusalka books had a very interesting foundation but were a bit confusing. I hear she's actually revised them to make them more readable. I should get the new editions. All in all, she's written a lot and perhaps half of it is top shelf.

Whew, I need a cigarette.

Blogger Cataline Sergius May 22, 2016 3:46 PM  

LeGuin's Left Hand of Darkness should definitely be in anyone's top twenty list. A novel about gender that was actually thoughtful and exploratory. The characters were very well written and extremely complex. She is one of the few New Wave writers whose work didn't become completely dated.

Glad I read it then. Today I would just automatically assume it was Gender Identity crap and not touch it. Although honestly the whole "gender-Identity" issue is just the usual Millennial obsession with trying to be unique. When they say "gender" what they really mean is fantasy persona.

I got into her works at a young age. It was after I saw the PBS adaptation of Lathe of Heaven. I watched it and decided to give this "reading" thing another try. Now that I think of it, that was the last of real the Science Fiction movies before everything became action schlock. A pity they were never able to rebroadcast it. Some kind of problem with the rights.

And I just found it on Youtube.

Blogger Tommy Hass May 22, 2016 4:32 PM  

Vox being a cruelty artist as usual. Bravo.

But completely off topic, how does this webm mesh with the idea that women fighters can't beat the average male? No kidding, I am kinda suprised by this.

http://i.4cdn.org/sp/1463919285945.webm

Is the dude just retarded?

Blogger Miss Carnivorous May 22, 2016 4:45 PM  

This thread is beautiful, Baby! Just beautiful!

Anonymous Brick Hardslab May 22, 2016 5:04 PM  

The guy isn't fighting her he's trying to hold on. And retarded. Worst balance ever.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab May 22, 2016 5:07 PM  

@ VD Joan Collins, is that you?

Blogger tweell May 22, 2016 5:44 PM  

I would put Cherryh up there, but she's lost her fast ball as well IMHO - the Foreigner series is serviceable, nothing more.

Since Vox introduced Jonathan Moeller to me via the CH additional book promotions, I've been buying more of his stuff. He's no Zelazny, but gives value for money, and that's been hard to find outside of Castalia and Baen.

Blogger Teri May 22, 2016 5:46 PM  

I was starting to wonder if anyone would mention her.

Blogger ghsaturn May 22, 2016 6:05 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger ghsaturn May 22, 2016 6:08 PM  

@5

What was that epic scandal wherein some young poet who couldn't get published at first ended up getting picked for an anthology or something the instant he took an Asian-sounding pen name?
The idea is out there.

Blogger John Wright May 22, 2016 6:12 PM  

"John C. Wright, China Mieville, George RR Martin, William Gibson, Orson Scott Card, and Neal Stephenson."

Tanith Lee's best is better than my best, but thank you for the vote of confidence.

Anonymous Satan's Hamster May 22, 2016 6:31 PM  

"The idea is out there."

A few years ago there was a highly-awarded young female Muslim writer in the UK who was lauded by the usual suspects for her wonderful portrayals of the plight of Muslim women in Britain.

Until 'she' turned out to be a fifty-something ciswhitemalepriest, who knew a lot of Muslim women in his parish and wanted to publicise the horrors they suffered under their religion.

At which point the usual suspects demanded their awards back.

Blogger Trid May 22, 2016 6:42 PM  

I find noviks salt to be quite hilarious- a feminist friend gave me a copy of uprooted to read and from the writing itself you could tell it was a mediocre gurl power piece of 'mystical feminine' fan fiction. The whole ' I have magical girl magic that confuses and angers men as well as women using patriarchy magic also I save the day go gurls' schlock is annoying at best.

Pretty sure this movement to push ahead minority and female authors is a smokescreen to get bad authors recognition without having to 'git gud'

Blogger Trid May 22, 2016 6:46 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Brian Niemeier May 22, 2016 7:24 PM  

@Phelps:

Fascinating. I'd never heard that story.

Closer to home in the publishing field, Joe Konrath purposefully made his byline J.A. Konrath and omitted an author photo from his books so potential customers wouldn't know they were written by a man.

Blogger Rusty Fife May 22, 2016 8:22 PM  

Tommy Hass wrote:

Is the dude just retarded?


Yep. He was a spaz and probably wasn't fighting her. He let her shoot on him and get him off balance. It wasn't her first fight, looked more wrestling than judo. Probably scrapped with brothers.

Anonymous Chico and the Man May 22, 2016 9:11 PM  

Last year a white male poet published using under a chinese name in order to get his work out there. Turns out it's more difficult to get published as a white man. Link.

But Qu Qu's observation parallels Vox's--that curation matter now more than ever. I buy books based on recommendations from trusted sources like this blog.

Blogger rcocean May 22, 2016 9:20 PM  

I'm not really a SF fan, more of a general fiction fan. I've been burned too many times by over-hyped women authors. Pearl S. Buck, Dawn Powell, Edna Ferber, Lillian Hellman, Toni Morrison and DNadine Gordimer come to mind. I think twice about reading more of them.

Blogger AzuNyan May 22, 2016 10:40 PM  

@35

That's obviously a satire video.

Anonymous VFM #6306 May 22, 2016 10:50 PM  

My guesses for female pen name are:

Joyce Carol Oates
Charlaine Harris
Mary Robinette Kowal
John Scalzi

Blogger Tom Kratman May 22, 2016 11:10 PM  

Not anger, actually, as a great deal of contempt and disgust. As the man once said, "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

Blogger James Dixon May 23, 2016 12:50 AM  

> Tanith Lee's best is better than my best, but thank you for the vote of confidence.

Her writing? Perhaps, though it's close. Her story, plotting, and characters? Not from what I've seen.

Blogger Tommy Hass May 23, 2016 1:12 AM  

Satan's Hamster wrote:Until 'she' turned out to be a fifty-something ciswhitemalepriest, who knew a lot of Muslim women in his parish and wanted to publicise the horrors they suffered under their religion.

What horrors? Actually having to obey your husband? KEK. Wuss.

Anonymous Satan's Hamster May 23, 2016 2:50 AM  

"What horrors? Actually having to obey your husband?"

By 'husband', I presume you mean 'the cousin from a backward Pakistani village your parents forced you to marry so he could move to the UK, under thread of 'honour killing' if you refused?'

Blogger sysadmn May 23, 2016 8:10 AM  

Time to start referring to SFWA as the Socialist Feminist Writer's Association. They've Pinked themselves into irrelevance.

OpenID frankluke May 23, 2016 9:53 AM  

@92 Turns out it's more difficult to get published as a white man.

Can't be true. White men play life at the easiest difficulty setting, donchaknow.

Blogger bob k. mando May 23, 2016 9:58 AM  

Vox
And as for the converse, well, are you absolutely certain I haven't already done so?


well, i think it's time to point out the obvious.

we all know how desperate Vox is about page views and how fixated he is on the 'popularity' of his blog, which he uses as evidence to buttress his claims of intelligence.


it should be obvious by now that Rachel Swirsky was hired years ago by Vox in order to front for his female pseudonym. "If You Were A Dino" was published exclusively so Vox could complain about women screwing up skiffy and so Vox could drive page views to his blog by pandering to all of the misogynist white men in the science fiction readership.

78. Tommy Hass May 22, 2016 4:32 PM
But completely off topic, how does this webm mesh with the idea that women fighters can't beat the average male? No kidding, I am kinda suprised by this.



please to be referencing the time stamp where the guy swings a punch.

what's that? he didn't punch her a single time?

oh.

so HE isn't fighting at all. he's got something in his right hand for the entire interaction, until she starts kneeing him in the head.

am i surprised that a woman can knock a man out by clocking him in the face with her leg? not in the slightest. no more shocked that i would be if she hit him in the face with an aluminum bat.



http://i.4cdn.org/sp/1463919285945.webm

Is the dude just retarded?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 23, 2016 11:36 AM  

But completely off topic, how does this webm mesh with the idea that women fighters can't beat the average male? No kidding, I am kinda suprised by this.

Not
One
Punch

He was probably laughing the whole time, until she actually knocked him down.

Blogger flyingtiger May 23, 2016 12:04 PM  

I have to agree with this guy. There have been other people who have run slates of candidates. What Vox Day has done is no different than that.

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