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Friday, September 02, 2016

The Balkanization of SF/F

In the course of his long, deep dive into historical science fiction and fantasy, Castalia's Jeffro Johnson has noticed a few trends:
We’ve spent a lot of time here delving into the ups and downs of several movements within science fiction and fantasy– the Campbellian Revolution, the New Wave, the tremendous changes that occurred in publishing in the late seventies, etc. We’ve broken stories here uncovering how both fandom and publishing are pretty well divorced from the pulp era today. Most things the casual reader has heard about the pulps are flat out wrong. Even just the news that fans in the seventies would have been familiar with a good seven decade’s worth of fantasy and science fiction classics generally comes as a shock to people.

As we’ve delved into the history of the field, the year 1980 seems to keep coming up as a major turning point. It’s a running theme, really. Just as one example of that: I have repeatedly hammered the point of how ideologically diverse fantasy and science fiction was in the seventies. Orson Scott Card says that all changed in the eighties. Here’s another: people writing negative reviews about books they used to love when they were kids? It’s almost like whole swaths of people have been actively conditioned to despise anything written before 1980!

Now, there really is something to this. It is very difficult to talk about this in mixed company, too. For one thing, there’s always people like Sheila Williams around that are quick to point out that times change. If she has a sufficiently large Greek Chorus on hand, every single observation about what’s happening gets dismissed to the point where nothing ever seems to have happened and there are practically no trends whatsoever. The subtext is always, “nothing to see here.”

I have to say, though, “times change” and “there are no trends” do not add up.

So where does that leave us? It means that something happened and it’s danged hard to talk about it. Let’s say we get all the boring people out of the room, pour a couple of beers, and take a stab at figuring this out. We still won’t get anywhere. Why not? Because the one thing you can’t do in these conversations is indicate that maybe someone somewhere maybe had a hand in bringing this about.

What happens if you veer into that territory? People get very uncomfortable very quickly. You’re not, uh, some kind of conspiracy theorist, are you?! It’s weird, too. The more documented evidence you have to back up your observations, the crazier you look. You might as well not even try. The conversation will not recover from otherwise intelligent people bending over backwards to make sure you know that they want nothing to do with this. Also, they will laugh at you!
Brad Torgersen cites MC Hogarth's comments on her con experiences, and notes that intolerance has become the chief hallmark of the Tolerant Equalitarian Progressive Inclusive and Diverse SF-SJWs.
I attended a con once where the toastmaster said that they wanted all conservatives to “hurry up and die and leave the planet to the rest of us. No wait, they can stay as long as we can have their money.” And people applauded. That person wasn’t kicked out of the convention. They were feted and congratulated while I sat in the audience, pale and trembling, listening to the people around me cheer my demise. I have never, ever forgotten that moment. Or all the threatening ones after, both generalized or intimate, like the man who leaned into my face and told me the world would be better off without me and people like me. No one stepped in to tell him that he shouldn’t say such things. The people standing around us just nodded or smiled. One of them even said before leaving, “Your time is over. We don’t need you anymore, [expletive here].”

The mandarins of SF/F expend a lot of energy wrapping themselves in the flag of tolerance. But as any conservative can tell you, that tolerance runs pretty much one-way. A tolerance conversation (liberal to conservative) in SF/F often goes like this, “Hello, I am a tolerant caring compassionate liberal, and you’re not. You will sit there and politely listen to all of my ideas and theories, and not say a word. I will sit here and listen to all of your ideas and theories, and then I will explain to you why you’re a dirty bigot and a hater and an evil human being. We will both agree I am right, and you will apologize for being bad.”

That, dear friends, is how “tolerance” works in SF/F at this time.

I’ve discussed this at length with Orson Scott Card — he being well acquainted with the tolerance charade — and he says it didn’t used to be like this before 1980. Oh, to be sure, there were plenty of fans, authors, and editors on the left-wing side of the aisle. But it wasn’t so vindictive, nor so personal. You could sit at a table with conservatives, liberals, anarchists, libertarians, and have a rousing verbal melee of competing ideas, but at the end of it, you’d still be able to shake hands, and walk away comrades in the field. That began to change (perhaps not coincidentally) about the time Ronald Reagan took his seat in the Oval Office. Gradually, in dribs and drabs, the dominant left-wing culture of SF/F has traded in true tolerance, for a kind of totalitarian double-think 1984 version of tolerance — people and ideas labeled ‘intolerant’ don’t have to be tolerated. In 2016, with tender snowflakes floating around in SF/F like it’s a mild blizzard, anyone can be labeled ‘intolerant’ for any reason, logical or not.
It's a little strange that the SF-SJWs still don't understand that the trends that once so favored them are increasingly weighted against them. They've poisoned at least one-third, and possibly as much as two-thirds of their former audience against them, and while they're mocking million-selling self-published authors as "vanity authors" and growing publishing houses such as Castalia as "vanity presses", the gates they've been keeping with such vigilance are protecting towers of increasingly negative worth, as mainstream publishers are suing even very successful authors to take their advances back.

Meanwhile, Castalia House is already selling more books than any but the very biggest authors in science fiction. We passed 50 books in our catalog last month, and we are now receiving an increasing number of submissions from familiar names and even SFWA members. We've just begun to make foreign rights deals and develop our relationships with traditional foreign publishers, and perhaps most surprisingly of all, in August, 24 percent of our sales were in print.

SF/F has already been balkanized. They stopped reading our stuff in the mid-1980s and we began to stop reading theirs in the mid-2000s. Since our side is bigger than theirs, our authors are already bigger than theirs, they just don't realize that Vaughn Heppner, BV Larson, and David VanDyke sell millions of books to their hundreds of thousands. Do you know who was the #1 SF author on Amazon in 2011? Castalia House's own Nick Cole.

And as more moderate readers give up on Pink SF and stop buying from SJW-converged publishers like Tor Books, we'll continue to grow and they'll continue to shrink. As evidence, consider this comment from Brad Torgersen's site:
I feel the call to give my testimony re Balkanization … I’m already gone. I’m a reader and a fan, not a writer. Not a TrueFan, but a fan on my own terms. I cannot remember the last time I bought a SFF novel that was published by any ancien regime publisher other than Baen. I’ve been a voter in the Hugos a couple times – what I read in those packets was largely ho-hum wastes of time. Some of the Sad noms were interesting, but not all. When I saw the title Space Raptor on this year’s list, I turned away for the final time – clearly, VD has taken the field and a little part of me hopes he burns it and salts it for a thousand years, but I have no interest in being part of that movement.
Ah, yes. It's like hearing angels sing.

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106 Comments:

Blogger Sillon Bono September 02, 2016 5:33 AM  

>> Perhaps most surprisingly of all, in August, 24 percent of our sales were in print.

Can you elaborate why are you surprised?

I will buy a copy of "The Missionaries" as soon as it hits paper.

Why paper you ask? I do not like to read on a screen for long periods of time, and I'm not going to use an electronic reader so people can track what I read.

Also talking about books, recommend me a good SF book for an 8 year old please.

Anonymous Steve September 02, 2016 5:38 AM  

recommend me a good SF book for an 8 year old please.

The Wonderful Flight To The Mushroom Planet.

Blogger VD September 02, 2016 5:40 AM  

Can you elaborate why are you surprised?

Because less than one-fifth of our catalog is in print, and because when we first did print editions, very few people bought them. Most of our print sales are NOT through Amazon.

One reason why we ignored print for a year is because so many people said they wanted to buy Awake in the Night Land in print, but to date, only 8 percent of its sales are print sales. So, we just figured that we should focus on ebooks.

Anonymous Electryon September 02, 2016 5:58 AM  

How exactly does the term "Balkanization" applies to this?
I'm trying, and failing, to connect this to many other occasions where I've heard that term.

Blogger Phillip George September 02, 2016 6:01 AM  

Karl Popper the fairly average philosopher genius of his day talked about the paradox of tolerating the intolerant. It can't be done. You have to force people into civility to some extent. Drag them kicking and screaming so to speak.
What happened in the early eighties? The abortion industry really kicked in and a generation of people with actual blood on their hands took to the machinery of governing. A shame generation arose sewing fig leaves as furiously as they could with delusions of moral superiority.
A doctor from the Vietnam war I met said that killing people does change them. Without the moral high ground, the change won't be all right.
Here's a paradox in film, Vox. A movie from the late sixties. Why the paradox?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_29IeEeZqo
The brotherhood of man is sung by an exclusively white western executive club. A truthful allegory of the delusion. ie a sort of paradox in tolerance. We all agree we are a tolerant club.

Blogger Lovekraft September 02, 2016 6:05 AM  

Perhaps this ties more into the general discussion about the alt-right but I've been thinking of the concept of 'broken empathy.' The notion that caring about some boatload of 'refugees' elicits more sympathy from western liberals than the struggles of their own kind down the street.

This is a psychological flaw, an error in applying one's attention. As far as publishing, the readers have been alienated by the sjws because of the unrelenting demand that they care about things irrelevant to their concerns.

Broken Empathy

Blogger Shimshon September 02, 2016 6:06 AM  

Vox, regarding Hachette's attempt to claw back Seth Grahame-Smith's advance, can you explain the problem in more detail? Is he not in breach, based on the accusations?

Blogger VD September 02, 2016 6:15 AM  

He delivered late and didn't sell enough to justify his big money contract. They're using his "pastiche" approach, which they had no problem with before, as an excuse to get out of the contract and get rid of him.

Blogger Fenris Wulf September 02, 2016 6:16 AM  

>>>Because the one thing you can’t do in these conversations is indicate that maybe someone somewhere maybe had a hand in bringing this about.

On the subject of "who is responsible":

I was an avid SF reader in my teens. Then I stopped reading SF for 20 years. I was burned too many times and I was reluctant to take a risk on anything new. Vinge, Card, and Wright got me back in.

As a teenager, up my allowance to get a subscription to Asimov's, thinking the stories might be in the same vein as my favorite writer at the time. It was a severe disappointment.

Then I read "The Year's Best Science Fiction" for a few years in a row. Even bigger disappointment. Most years, there was not a single story I would care to read again.

Both of these publications were edited by the same person. At the time, I wasn't sure if he had abominable taste, or if the "good old stuff" wasn't being written any more because the Zeitgeist had changed. Now I think it was a combination of political intolerance, and mediocrity surrounding itself with mediocrity.

Anonymous Jack Amok September 02, 2016 6:37 AM  

been thinking of the concept of 'broken empathy.' The notion that caring about some boatload of 'refugees' elicits more sympathy from western liberals than the struggles of their own kind down the street.

It's all about being a two-bit big shot. It's cheap and easy to build a tent-city for piss-poor dysfunctional refugees. It's expensive and hard to build a society for your middle class neighbors. It's especially hard when your middle class neighbors have learned not to trust you with anything important because you're a grade-A screw-up.

Blogger dienw September 02, 2016 6:55 AM  

I connect the bad SF to the bad general fiction. When did creative writing courses become vogue and dominate writing? And IIR, the leftwing MLA became active sometime around 1980.

Blogger J A Baker September 02, 2016 6:56 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger residentMoron September 02, 2016 7:03 AM  

"a little part of me hopes he burns it and salts it for a thousand years"

I'd put more of my own money on that than I'd put on any Hugo winner of the last 25 years.

Anonymous Rien September 02, 2016 7:12 AM  

I was a huge SF reader in the 70s and 80s. But as the 80's drew to a close I started drifting away from the field. At the time I just assumed that I had had my 'fill' of SF and was done with the genre.

As I read the above, I am starting to doubt that. Perhaps it was not me drifting away from SF, but SF drifting away from me.

Since a few years I have started reading SF again. Some older works but also some newer stuff. Especially Castella's publishings. And I have discovered I still like SF. (And now that we have cancelled our TV subscriptions I have actually time to read again ;-))

Anonymous Be Not Afraid September 02, 2016 7:13 AM  

The Left really started to become unhinged with Reagan's election. The anti-nuclear weapons movements (Physicians for Social Responsibility, Union of Concerned Scientists) became very vocal. It would make sense that the same trend showed up in other places. I think they were deathly afraid of what eventually happened, the collapse of the USSR. But they realized in the early '90's that the fall of their patron did not remove them from power in the West. Today's resurgence of the left is, I'm starting to believe, a kind of triumphalism; they're so close to winning that they're starting to act as if they've already won, or at least can't be stopped.

Blogger Doom September 02, 2016 7:14 AM  

"Awake in the Night Land in print"

Really? How did I miss that? Oh, I'll fix that. Immediately. My problem is I don't always see a print version. My hands or feet are often just like two big balloons. Can't always keep up. For now, I don't always mind have the best of both worlds. Just because I can.

Oh, I was curious about something. Not buying from Tor, as per directives. And yet I... I seriously would like to get my hands on more of Mr. Wright's writings. Is there any chance of C.H. getting it's hands on the rights and publishing? It may seem silly. And they might not want to play. But once one has broken and fallen through the ice hole, perhaps there might be more room for negotiation? At some point they are going to be needing cash, even if just to pretend a little longer. Though the purchase of the rights might have to be from around the corner and behind the back... I'm good with that.

Blogger Doom September 02, 2016 7:18 AM  

Urhm, oh... McMillan is just another name for Tor, isn't it?

Blogger Les Sabines September 02, 2016 7:31 AM  

I connect the bad SF to the bad general fiction. When did creative writing courses become vogue and dominate writing? And IIR, the leftwing MLA became active sometime around 1980.

And writer's workshops in colleges and high schools, and writer's retreats, where other navel gazers critique each others stuff, approach writing as "craft" and shape stories in their own little bubbles.

I spent two worthless afternoons at a writer's workshop, and never returned. It was soul-killing.

Blogger Cataline Sergius September 02, 2016 7:35 AM  

I’ve discussed this at length with Orson Scott Card — he being well acquainted with the tolerance charade — and he says it didn’t used to be like this before 1980.

1980 was about the time WorldCon stopped attracting new members. A lot these attitudes come from Baby Boomers turning into OLD Baby Boomers.

All Conservatives should just hurry up and die or just give us all their money is a very Baby Boomer attitude indeed. Despite the fact that they are the ones getting ready to shuffle off the mortal coil.

Blogger Sagramore September 02, 2016 7:36 AM  

@8 Hackette

I guess after submitting Vampire Hunter Vendetta they had enough of him.

Blogger Aeoli Pera September 02, 2016 7:37 AM  

Dude, just get them from the library.

Blogger Aeoli Pera September 02, 2016 7:40 AM  

Re: Doom

Blogger residentMoron September 02, 2016 7:40 AM  

Not the library (Tor still gets paid) but second hand.

Blogger Yollo September 02, 2016 7:42 AM  

I remember being absolutely gutted when Marcher Lord changed management and they disbanded the Hinterlands imprint. Because Hinterlands was the first time in my short lifetime that a platform was set up that provided books catering to my worldview but were also not as pansy as all the other nonsense that passed for Christian fantasy. I didn't want Christian fantasy, really. I just wanted modern epic fantasy, sci-fi and horror that acknowledged the existence of God but was brave enough to accept and portray the darkness our world had fallen into. Most Christian spec-fic written at the time was usually ridiculously close minded about representing any sort of vulgarity and sexual content. And a lot of it was rather shoddily written. The exceptions were always Kerry Nietz and this peculiar fantasy writer called Theodore Beale. At that point, I barely researched at all about the authors of the stories I was reading. I just speed read through whatever was available. I rejoiced when AToB was published, despaired when it was abandoned and rejoiced yet again when Castalia House was set up.

Finally, a publishing house that isn't shackled to any religious worldview and is yet unafraid to publish religiously influenced fiction. People with the balls to acknowledge the liberal bias the rest of the publishing world seems to have taken for granted and to rail against it.

I've been a patron of your stuff for quite a while now. And I'm not going to stop anytime soon.

Blogger Servant of the Chief September 02, 2016 7:44 AM  

"It’s almost like whole swaths of people have been actively conditioned to despise anything written before 1980!"

Sounds eeirely similar to what is going on in the Catholic Church right now. Apparently Christianity started with the end of the second Vatican council and not a minute before, apparently it took us 2000 years to discover real 'Charity'.

Seems 'real Sci Fi' didn't happen until 1980. Everyone who pines or even so much as mentions anything prior to the October Revolution was a dangerous enemy of the state. What IS it with people who endlessly prattle on about the future and 'forward onto progress' that they are so terrified of the past?

Blogger JACIII September 02, 2016 7:48 AM  

Be Not Afraid wrote: Today's resurgence of the left is, I'm starting to believe, a kind of triumphalism; they're so close to winning that they're starting to act as if they've already won, or at least can't be stopped.

The left has a problem with overreach. It saves us quite often by allowing their echo chambers to make them feel as though everyone is convinced by their lies. This encourages them to stop bothering to lie about their intentions in public. This occurs periodically with gun legislation.

As the saying goes - The left wants us to shutup; we want the left to keep talking.

If folks get an inkling of the truth they recoil from them and actively oppose them.

Anonymous Steve September 02, 2016 7:48 AM  

And writer's workshops in colleges and high schools, and writer's retreats, where other navel gazers critique each others stuff, approach writing as "craft" and shape stories in their own little bubbles.

This confirms what I've long suspected about these workshops, because the sort of writers and stories who come out of them tend to be pish.

The (vastly underrated) movie GENTLEMEN BRONCOS had a hilarious scene with a writers' workshop hosted by Jermaine Clement's wonderfully pompous sci fi author character, but I suspect reality is much worse.

Anonymous RS September 02, 2016 7:53 AM  

"our authors are already bigger than theirs"

Bullshit.

The average pink sf author has 80lb on your average Castalia author, easily.

Blogger residentMoron September 02, 2016 8:01 AM  

"What IS it with people who endlessly prattle on about the future and 'forward onto progress' that they are so terrified of the past?"

The past reveals that their visions of the future are moronic suicidal fantasies.

Blogger seeingsights September 02, 2016 8:14 AM  

Perhaps science fiction, because its nature, will become balkanized. I see much less balkanization in other genres such as horror, detective fiction, fantasy, romance.
Science fiction--more than any other literary form- inherently deals with ideas. That gives something for people to disagree about.
And its not just political/social ideas. Some people like Steampunk, others not so much. Some people like Singularity fiction, I don't. Others read military science fiction, others have no interest in it.

Blogger Nate September 02, 2016 8:19 AM  

The door is open but we're still kicking it down.

Blogger Johnny September 02, 2016 8:22 AM  

Lovekraft wrote:Perhaps this ties more into the general discussion about the alt-right but I've been thinking of the concept of 'broken empathy.' The notion that caring about some boatload of 'refugees' elicits more sympathy from western liberals than the struggles of their own kind down the street.

This is a psychological flaw, an error in applying one's attention. As far as publishing, the readers have been alienated by the sjws because of the unrelenting demand that they care about things irrelevant to their concerns.

Broken Empathy


It is social positioning. They make caring the highest and only human virtue, and then they care more than anybody else. But they do not feel a need to care about the people they actually associate with, the lesser mortals who do not care as much as their self righteous selves. Again, social positioning.

Blogger Cecil Henry September 02, 2016 8:24 AM  

Diversity means everyone MUST think alike about ‘diversity’.

Jordan Peterson did a great talk recently about ‘Tolerance’.

See here:
Tolerance as a vice | Jordan B. Peterson | Walrus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDg8sP_atIA

Blogger Cataline Sergius September 02, 2016 8:24 AM  

This confirms what I've long suspected about these workshops, because the sort of writers and stories who come out of them tend to be pish.

The (vastly underrated) movie GENTLEMEN BRONCOS had a hilarious scene with a writers' workshop hosted by Jermaine Clement's wonderfully pompous sci fi author character, but I suspect reality is much worse.


There was one of those that I got stuck in. It was masquerading as a 400 level writers course.

Biggest waste of time I had in college and that's saying something.

Mostly we were required to pay through the nose for (genuine) vanity press versions of the professors works, as well as those of their like minded friends.

And then we had to praise them

These badly printed tracts were pretty much all stuff about how depressing it is to masturbate alone in a room, while sitting in a bucket of cold mashed potatoes.

The final and only exam in the course was an essay on one of the works, that the sycophants in the class had voted as the best one we had read all semester.

Naturally it belonged to one of the professors.

In a display of palpable contempt, I blatantly plagiarized Arthur Dent's critique of Prostetnic Vogan Jeltz' poetry, for my essay.

Yes, I used the terms, "counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor," as well as "transcend the medium of the verse"

I was rather disappointed that I got an "A."

Blogger Orville September 02, 2016 8:25 AM  

Just got "Swan Knight's Son" yesterday and almost have it finished. Outstanding. I'm truly amazed at how Mr. Wright comes up with these stories. Nothing he has written has disappointed.

p.s. I WILL post a similar review on Amazon.

Best Tools For Men

Blogger dc.sunsets September 02, 2016 8:26 AM  

Nothing occurs in a vacuum.

The turn in sentiment around 1980 coincides with the secular low in bond prices (top in yields) in August 1981.

Every pernicious trend began a parabolic rise at that point.

Exponential rallies usually end in vertical collapse. The Equals Temple cult is headed for complete repudiation.

Blogger Cecil Henry September 02, 2016 8:31 AM  

#32

Its caring about people they have no direct accountability to and instead can control, by demanding status and accommodation from those around you in lieu of 'caring'.

Virtue signalling is no virtue.

In fact its really theft.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan September 02, 2016 8:36 AM  

So he didn't like "Space Raptor", probably a sexist, racist homophobic bigot who does not care. Scalzi cares he is the best writer in the world.

Blogger Derek Kite September 02, 2016 8:36 AM  

The balkanization is probably more a factor of the opening up of distribution. The gatekeepers could keep the gate at one time; they owned the channels. Sales, distribution, editing, etc. That is no longer the case anymore.

As usual when people have a defacto monopoly, even if there is competition within a small group, they get lazy and start believing their own nonsense. When things change they find themselves with nothing, because they systematically alienated their customers. Having been the setter of fashion, they believe that it is the fashion.

It is always enlightening to see how people respond to competition. It either brings out the best or the worst. This situation is showing the character of people in the industry, and it isn't pretty. A well deserved mucking out is under way.

Anonymous Steve September 02, 2016 8:38 AM  

Yes, I used the terms, "counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor," as well as "transcend the medium of the verse"

Kek. Anybody who doesn't like H2G2 deserves to have their brains smashed in with a slice of lemon wrapped around a large brick.

These badly printed tracts were pretty much all stuff about how depressing it is to masturbate alone in a room, while sitting in a bucket of cold mashed potatoes.

I guess they took the advice "write what you know".

Anonymous citizen September 02, 2016 8:38 AM  

Vox, you can't stop Star Citizen!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l-epO6oUHE

Blogger Johnny September 02, 2016 8:40 AM  

#37 Well, okay. Different terminology but the same concept. Virtue signalling is just a kind of social positioning.

Blogger Mad Dyeda Jørgen September 02, 2016 8:47 AM  

Very interesting. Explains all the rejection letters I got from agents. My favorite was "interesting premise. Please resubmit x chapters with a re-envisioned protagonist from an at-risk demographic."

Considering that my protagonist is the human vessel of Yaldabaoth Demiurge and craves blood sacrifices, that was an ironic request, to say the least. I guess I could have changed my title to "The Special Snowflake That Wants to Eat the Universe." Needless to say, that agent went down the black hole. I may be a lot of bad things, but I am nobody's whore.

Then again, I don't have an agent yet, either...

Blogger dc.sunsets September 02, 2016 8:57 AM  

"our authors are already bigger than theirs"

Bullshit.

The average pink sf author has 80lb on your average Castalia author, easily.


I wish I could reframe half this good.

Blogger Culture War Draftee September 02, 2016 9:03 AM  

@2 I loved that book when I was a kid. I inherited a copy that had belonged to my older siblings. Good old Mr. Bass.

Blogger Joe Keenan September 02, 2016 9:06 AM  

@#5 Good point regarding abortion. While, it is a sin crying out to Heaven for vengeance, the people who support and advance it want to feel good about themselves. As a matter of fact, most of modern philosophies are constructed to rationalize misbehavior and thus immunize people from sin. There is no Confession to remove sin, there is no Penance to address the effects of sin, there is simply a bold faced attempt to say, "There is no sin, do what thou wilt." This is of course, Satanic, anti-human. It logically follows I believe, that people who adopt such a anti-human philosophy, would create anti-human art. Sci/Fi and Fantasy are especially vulnerable because of the whole secondary world creation/sub creator aspect of the genre. While all writing has a sense of the secondary world/sub creation it is almost intrinsic to the SciFi/Fantasy genre. It's easy to imagine oneself The Creator, rather than a sub-creator. Once a writer or artist becomes God, instead of operating within the constraint set ordained by God, all art descends into farce, poisonous, perverted farce, but farce nonetheless. It's interesting that Jethro Johnson identifies 1980 as the year of the comet, note the World Fantasy Award Winner for that year, Elizabeth Lynn's, Watch Tower/Dancer of Arun a lesbo fantasy series with kiddie porn (Dancer). If as some contend the election of Reagan and the return of the Ayatollah in Iran reflect a desire to throw off perversion, perhaps it's reasonable to assume that around the same time the pervs would start to fight back.

Anonymous Qadgop the Mercotan September 02, 2016 9:09 AM  

In the '60s I was reading Hugh Walters, W.E. Johns, and Dan Dare. In the early '70s, I had access to an oldfan's library, including ASF and Galaxy back to 1950, so was happy as the proverbial pig, but by the end of the decade, I felt I must have run out the backlog of the worthwhile.

By then, the prevailing mood had become totally Limits To Growth/Population Bomb pessimistic. Most of the new stuff was miserablist post-New Wave non-science like Disch, with a minority strain of gung-ho "US Marine Corps vs the Galaxy" post-'Nam reaction, and just a few flecks of gold -- and even the gold bears the imprint of the era. For example, I re-read Benford's "In the Ocean of Night" a couple of years ago; and when I turned the page with the section title "2014", could feel myself stepping back 40 years into the worries about pollution and resource exhaustion.

To give a measure of the negative mood that continued into the '80s, I remember the surprise of encountering Neuromancer, which had come with this reputation of being a dark and depressing future vision, and finding to my surprise that it included a functioning orbital economy, a touch of optimism I thought had vanished from the field. Well, vanished from everything that was moderately speculative rather than just being "spaceship fiction" (mundane stories with genre decals applied), that is.

In the post-Star Wars (itself a spaceship fiction) sci-fi boom, there was a lot of such in-name-only material produced, enough to support large specialist bookstores in high-rent locations. And one of the beneficiaries (the one I clearly remember at this remove) of the "anything with genre markings" phenomenon was The Women's Press.

Blogger VD September 02, 2016 9:14 AM  

"interesting premise. Please resubmit x chapters with a re-envisioned protagonist from an at-risk demographic."

I guarantee no one will ever get this sort of feedback from Castalia House. Except perhaps Tom Kratman, just because it would be funny to hear his reaction. From a safe distance. Such as the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Blogger Doom September 02, 2016 9:16 AM  

Aeoli Pera

"Dude, just get them from the library." That is just a proxy purchase? If I'm phrasing that correctly. It is them buying for me, and me supporting through reading, so that they might buy more into the system. Might as well buy, mostly. Beside, I want them for my collection. Well, and I'm truly close to death, more some days than others. Just lousy at dying. Keeping up on library books, stamping, and all that jazz is... I'm doing good to walk some days. Do great others, just can't count on it.

Anonymous CC September 02, 2016 9:16 AM  

What happens if you veer into that territory? People get very uncomfortable very quickly. You’re not, uh, some kind of conspiracy theorist, are you?! It’s weird, too. The more documented evidence you have to back up your observations, the crazier you look. You might as well not even try.

Yeah, I can relate. I have some friends I have spoken to about how everything's been turned upside down and that things aren't just happening by themselves. They've listened because I broached it carefully and I also knew they'd be receptive to the truth. There was one guy where I misjudged slightly and he cut off contact with me for a while. He's very lefty but I still thought he'd be amenable.

Anyway, I've tried to drop some truths and information on my dad and although he'll listen to what I have to say, he also warn me to be careful about what I'm saying because they'll think I'm nuts (of course he doesn't put it exactly that way). I find this kind of amusing, because for the last while I've been able to make more accurate predictions: I called the UK general election and the Brexit vote (which he really doubted). I also tell him I think Trump is going to win, but he doesn't believe this at all, in fact, he doesn't think he'll carry a single state. Sometimes when I talk to him I really understand the Cassandra complex...

But in his case it's understandable, although he's very astute and realistic and a big picture guy, he has never trusted conspiracy theories at all and will always reserves judgement. Maybe because I'm his son there's an element of the prophet in his own home.

He only uses the internet for email and so he doesn't realise there are many many people out there (especially of his generation) who also see and lament what's happening as tragic. He just quietly accepts that this is just the way things are. He was a part of the boomer generation but in his nature is a more like a silent, he was never taken by the political lunacy of the 60s. He mostly keeps his views to himself, today even more so because he knows that they mostly have become taboo in most company and in public.

But some of the things he said made a real impression on me when I was small and helped inoculate me against too much of the liberal insanity I was marinated in growing up. I'd embrace anything he'd say if it seemed important and even when I didn't really understand it. Thankfully, it wasn't just pearls before swine because now I realise that he was right about almost everything.

cont'd

Anonymous CC September 02, 2016 9:17 AM  

It's ironic to me now that I could more properly explain the reasons why, about things like the Frankfurt School and the immigration policies. I wanted to tell him that even though he feels like he's out of time and that this negative change just happened in a sort of inevitable way, it really didn't. It was far more by design than chance. I remember one day he just exasperatedly blurted out: "Everything today is feel-good? Why does everything have to be so feel-good?!" Other times he would comment on the rate of change and how it's come to define our age and how it's increasing. He'd wonder why aesthetic things like architecture, music and art had become so ugly in the 20th Century and why institutions like the police and other public bodies have become so politicised. He once told me that he used to campaign for Amnesty International as a student, but when a representative of theirs came to the door not long ago, he just politely closed it without explanation. The most striking thing he said to me recently: "People of my generation were quite different from your grandfather's generation, but the difference between yours and mine is even greater." This hit me, because I'd noticed when going back to college, just how some of the students I'd met were so different from me in so many ways even though they were only about a decade younger. It made me think of some the values that they missed out on and some of the insidious programming that they had received. Sure, readers of this blog know all about it. Generation Snowflake indeed.

Still, I don't have the heart to tell him everything I've come to know because it's not exactly something that puts a smile on your face and brightens your day. Besides, as Jeffro Johnson wrote, you just look more and more crazy anyway. I also think the best approach with some whose eyes you're trying to open is the softly softly one; a nudge here, a suggestion there.

As Vox has pointed out though the tide is turning. The wave building on the horizon will soon sweep us all away whether we like it or not. The people with good sense but aren't already seeing it will be more receptive to answers when it crashes over us.

(Apologies for the length btw)

Blogger Mad Dyeda Jørgen September 02, 2016 9:21 AM  

@47

"By [1980], the prevailing mood had become totally Limits To Growth/Population Bomb pessimistic."

The one and only time that I ever met Dr. Issac Asimov ('79 or '80) at a college symposium on human spaceflight, he had just finished reading Population Bomb. It totally unmanned him. He abandoned his remarks and lectured us for two hours about the coming mass starvation. It was depressing, and a ripoff, too, since I had ponied up my dearly-won allowance money to pay the hefty admission fee.

At any rate, on that night Asimov said that we'd all be dead by 1990, but here we are. Thanks a lot for wasting my time and money, Doctor, wherever you are.

Blogger Mad Dyeda Jørgen September 02, 2016 9:28 AM  

@48

Thanks, Vox. I figured that. You can expect a submission from me at some point in the near future.

Blogger Joe Doakes September 02, 2016 9:34 AM  

I'm closing in on 60 years old and live in St. Paul, Minnesota, a blue city in a blue state. I've recently noticed all the old hobbies are dying. None of the young people I see build ham radios, play cards, fly airplanes, goes target shooting or rides a bike to the park to see who's around for a ball game.

Everybody is glued to a screen.

Sales of science fiction/fantasy are plummeting but is that because the stories suck or the readers have moved on to hobbies with instantaneous reward for minimal effort?

Blogger Undocumented Pharmacist September 02, 2016 9:46 AM  

I still remember enjoying "Mushroom Planet" when I read it close to 40 years ago.

Blogger Chrom September 02, 2016 9:48 AM  

It is like listening to a choir of gorilla angels sing.

Anonymous kfg September 02, 2016 10:01 AM  

"He was a part of the boomer generation but in his nature is a more like a silent, he was never taken by the political lunacy of the 60s."

The political lunacy of the 60s was a Silent driven phenomena. The Boomers were mostly child camp followers who thought it looked like a party, but have been claiming credit for it ever since.

Anonymous Satan's Hamster September 02, 2016 10:05 AM  

It's hard for the literature of ideas to flourish in the Time Of Thought Police.

Fortunately, Amazon smashed down the old gatekeepers, and no-one but Pinkos needs to submit to the tired old trade publishers any more. The loss of control over BadThink must be driving them crazy by now.

I do have to wonder, though, whether the big media corporations who own Pink Publishers will let the Pinkos drive the business into the ground, or actually take over at some point and try to rejuvenate them? Tor's sales and prospects can't be looking good at business meetings these days.

Maybe Scalzi will be the next to face a lawsuit for non-delivery after a big book deal.

Blogger Dave September 02, 2016 10:08 AM  

Except perhaps Tom Kratman, just because it would be funny to hear his reaction. From a safe distance. Such as the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

I'm not so sure an ocean would be enough of a buffer.

Blogger residentMoron September 02, 2016 10:13 AM  

Chrom wrote:It is like listening to a choir of gorilla angels sing.

Harambe's with the angels now.

Anonymous CC September 02, 2016 10:21 AM  

Re: Broken Empathy

Most of the people helping the refugees really think that they are being virtuous and doing good works. They and their morality are broken in the sense that they've been taught to believe that they are original sinners by having the luck and privilege of being born as White Westerners. They're being good by helping their fellow humans who have been unfairly oppressed or otherwise dealt a bad hand because of where they're from. This is why the refugees take precedence over their own people as a matter of course. When you understand the premise they've been fed, their empathy and how they indulge it seems almost rational. I used to have this mindset to a degree, it's all a part of being young I suppose. Tragically, they can't envision how they probably will end up causing huge damage to their own kind (when they even grasp that they have a kind and a history) by helping outsiders move to their lands and supporting them for nothing. They've been suckered by a clever con trick, but not yet been sucker-punched by reality.

I know you might feel some pity for them but still want to slap some of these idiots upside the head. I've met quite a few of them. The real virtue signallers, those who just shout about it, especially the celebrities and politicians who try to impress and manipulate us, are just hucksters and opportunists. Their signal to virtue ratio has been known to reach as high as 666 dB (dubious Benevolence).

Blogger James Dixon September 02, 2016 10:39 AM  

> it didn’t used to be like this before 1980.

Hmm. That would explain a lot. My con experiences were in the late 70's and early 80's, before this big change became obvious.

> And yet I... I seriously would like to get my hands on more of Mr. Wright's writings.

Email Mr. Wright. The email is on his blog (http://www.scifiwright.com/). He'll be happy to help.

> From a safe distance. Such as the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

How fortunate you have that arranged. :)

Anonymous parent September 02, 2016 10:43 AM  

Ride a bike to the park? In many jurisdictions you'll get picked up by the cops and removed from parents for the child neglect sin of not helicoptering.

This isn't the same country anymore. Normal childhood is now illegal. This also changed, but in the 90s in most places.

Anonymous Bz September 02, 2016 10:46 AM  

Speaking of the general decline of things, I see that authors with huge advances that do not produce their work in a timely manner, are now getting sued by their publishers.

http://kriswrites.com/2016/08/31/business-musings-a-real-book-contract-contractsdealbreakers/

I wonder what Scalzi's contract says.

Blogger Positive Dennis September 02, 2016 10:52 AM  

In the 70's I used to read 1 or two scifi books every week. In the 90's itwas 1 or 2 a month. Lately it is 1 or two a year. Now i know why.

Anonymous BGKB September 02, 2016 10:59 AM  

"our authors are already bigger than theirs"

Hard to believe given what their side does to all you can eat buffets.

some boatload of 'refugees' elicits more sympathy from western liberals than the struggles of their own kind down the street

Even worse leftists argued the Mexican who was seen on video tossing the body of 8yo white girl Maddie Middletown into a dumpster after he raped her to death, shouldn't face consequences because he is too stupid. If someone didn't hire him because he was too stupid they would sue. For leftists IQ only matters for cop killers and child rapists.

Ride a bike to the park? In many jurisdictions you'll get picked up by the cops and

In Fresno they are suing for the right to have sex on the little league field & leftists have children's songs about trannies in the bathroom http://twitchy.com/samj-3930/2016/09/01/a-diddy-about-a-doody-creeper-writes-cringe-inducing-song-for-kids-about-transgender-bathrooms-video/

Blogger Unknown September 02, 2016 11:13 AM  

If it wasn't for the fact that David Weber publishes the Safehold series through Tor, I wouldn't have purchased a SF book from anywhere but Baen for almost 8 years.

That is who Castila needs to pursue as an author. Get David to jump over to Castila for the Safehold series, and watch how Tor throws an epic temper tantrum.

Blogger JWM September 02, 2016 11:25 AM  

In 1981 I took my first and only office job. I had been working field service for a utility, and I was sick of bad neighborhoods, and being up to my elbows in rancid grease and cockroaches. So I made it indoors, working the phones and taking the orders I used to have to service. I traded filth for stress, not a good bargain, as it turned out. The only thing that made the phone job tolerable was the rowdy and irreverent banter among the mostly female staff. I and one other guy were always trading goofs and innuendo with the gals. We laughed a lot, and made it through the day. Then the memo came down. It was my first encounter with forced political correctness. We were no longer allowed to refer to one another as "toots", or "babe". We couldn't make any comment on how good someone looked. No off color jokes. No jokes at all, as a matter of fact. And on, and on. Morale dropped like a lead sinker. It wasn't long before I lost my temper on a billing complaint, and cursed out an asshole customer. That ended that job. Odd how 1980 seems to be the point at which the PC vampires began sucking the life out of America.

JWM

Blogger The Other Robot September 02, 2016 11:40 AM  

OK, here is an idea for an SF Novel:

'Alien Cliques' may be keeping Earth isolated!

Blogger John Wright September 02, 2016 12:05 PM  

Regarding those who regard you as crazy when you say our current culture, or the lack thereof, the ugliness in architecture, the failure of the public schools, and so on and so on, did not spontaneously happen for no reason, let me recommend SCHOOL OF DARKNESS by Bella Dodd.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R55IUG4

The thing did not happen by itself.

Anonymous BGKB September 02, 2016 12:08 PM  

Except perhaps Tom Kratman, just because it would be funny to hear his reaction. From a safe distance. Such as the other side of the

You might be surprised. This was his response to the Green Beret parody I made when the pentagon approved openly serving trannies.

Tom Kratman > BigGaySteve • 4 days ago
Need to work on your scansion there, Steve.... "Fighting soldiers on heels high" would probably sound a little better if it were, no offense intended, "Fighting faggots on heels high" or "Twerking trannies," for that matter. No, it wasn't especially useful in Sadler's original because he didn't have the one example of alliteration - "heels high" - to drive the other...

"Men who are mean as they sashay." Count the syllables. There are 8 of them. In the original and per the music for the song there are 7 syllables - "men who mean just what they say." To make it sort of work you're trying to stuff an extra syllable - "are" - in there and it doesn't fit all that well. Same thing with trying to cram femen in in place of men.


BigGaySteve > Tom Kratman • 4 days ago
What would your former troops say if they knew you were arguing with a faggot about a tranny song?

Tom Kratman > BigGaySteve • 4 days ago
Not actually arguing and certainly not over a tranny song. Rather, I am giving a bit of instruction on theory and practice of versifying. To that, I imagine they'd say, "He always was a pedantic son of a bitch."




Anonymous Qadgop the Mercotan September 02, 2016 12:10 PM  

@52

Thanks a lot for wasting my time and money, Doctor, wherever you are.

Prof. Erlich is still with us -- you can direct your complaint at him, too (even if he has recanted somewhat in recent years).

@65Lately it is 1 or two a year. Now i know why.Your numbers match well with mine, modulo blips where I discover an author who seems to be sound and work their back catalog, at least until they disappoint.

I'd always attributed the broader rot to popularization in movies and TV, post-Star Wars, post-Dungeons and Dragons and the dragging of the squishy-soft fantasy genre under the same umbrella, which let the mundanes in. Not only are mundanes going to to have poor understanding of the genre and are also more likely to suffer literature envy.

What I hadn't appreciated until much more recently was how deep the rot was. The thing that opened my eyes was when I went to compare the Japanese SF Taisho Award winner for 2008 with the Nebula for the same year. I had expected scoff at how poorly a Japanese retread of The Chrysalids would stand comparison with Hard Yankee SF, only to find that a mainstream literary novel had won that year.

Anonymous Thomas777 September 02, 2016 12:15 PM  

@15

Its important to not succumb to the temptation to oversimplify the nature, historiographical significance, ideological persuasion etc. of the post-1953 USSR.

Paul Gottfried penned an outstanding editorial in recent years (later expanded into a lecture) titled, ''How the Left Won the Cold War''. The short answer is: Yockey was correct. Stalinism was not ''left wing'' in the sense that the philisophical Left is understood and defined by Western Europeans and Americans. One could go as far to suggest that the motives of American hawks in the late Cold War (1979 onward) involved the fact that the Soviet Union was actively opposing ''left wing'' values and commitments.

The USSR, by the Reagan era had waged active war against Israel, refused to acknowledge and promote the narrative of the Holocaust, opposed Feminism as a social policy, considered homosexuality to be an expression of mental illness, declared Zionism to be a form of treasonous subversion, (re) affirmed that the Russian national state (and the maintenance of its basic cultural/racial integrity) was essential to the realization of Soviet strategic objectives and goals, the list goes on.

Its telling that the only truly Right-wing White, Christian regimes to emerge since the Fall of the Berlin Wall have been in former East Bloc territories: Croatia (Tudjman declared Croatia to be the legacy government of the National Socialist NDH), Hungary (Orban), Belarus, Russia itself under Putin etc.

In some respects, the Late Cold War = Coalition of American Jewry/Zionists, Trotskyites, Gramscian cultural Marxists, aging New Dealers, radical Liberals/socialists of the ''68er'' variety vs. Stalinists, disguised Slavic nationalists, anti-Zionists of varying stripes.

Anonymous User September 02, 2016 12:18 PM  

I bought the two Good books in print for obvious reasons and the 4gw hb for same. Have you noticed any patterns to print buying other than availability?

Anonymous LastRedoubt September 02, 2016 12:24 PM  

@Cataline Sergius

These badly printed tracts were pretty much all stuff about how depressing it is to masturbate alone in a room, while sitting in a bucket of cold mashed potatoes.

No - one should be subjected to that. Or Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But I repeat myself.


@Unknown

If it wasn't for the fact that David Weber publishes the Safehold series through Tor, I wouldn't have purchased a SF book from anywhere but Baen for almost 8 years.

The first few books were pretty good, but I dtopped at the point they had a Nimue beat the shit out of some "jerk" - written to be an obvious jerk - to show that women could "be badass and don't think less of them.""

There are so many ways that scene could have been written, especially since pistol training of a noble lady was in progress, that would have demonstrated the "never underestimate your opponent" point, but no, had to do something that no woman on the planet could do instead.

Worse, everyone smugly agreed it was a good thing.

Anonymous photog September 02, 2016 12:36 PM  

SFFexit?

http://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2016/08/29/bring-on-the-sffexit/

Blogger J Van Stry September 02, 2016 12:39 PM  

I think what happened in the 80's is that a lot of the children of the publishers, who spent the 60's grade school and the 70's in college, took over the companies from their aging fathers in the 80's.
And a lot of these 'kids' were women from the halls of the leading liberal institutions, who just had to put the stamp of what their professors taught them on the business. Businesses that their fathers, who grew up in the business, and really knew the business, had built.
That's also when, un-coincidentally, that we saw the sudden influx of female heroines and POV characters and the almost complete end of all male POV characters and heroes in books. Books could no longer be about men, or for men, they had to promote women, period. And all of these new publishers and editors marched forward in lockstep.
I think it was also at this time that you started to see the decline in advances and royalties in the business, the concern of these ivy schooled spoiled rich kids for the masses (their 'ignorant' writers) was non-existent. Yet these same new publishers are living in mansions and all driving Mercedes.
I suspect if you were to do a little research, you'd find that publisher salaries went up as advances and royalties went down. It is the leftist way, after all, to complain about how they're helping the down-trodden masses as they line their pockets with gold.

I knew a writer who had eight best-sellers in a row, their books were everywhere and people were talking about them everywhere, who was living on welfare. Says it all right there now, doesn't it?

Anonymous Thomas777 September 02, 2016 12:51 PM  

I honestly did not know that SF/F had become such a battleground as it were - i.e. that the genre had been targeted by the usual suspects for cultural appropriation.

The conventional wisdom was -20 to 30 years ago, that Sci-Fi was fundamentally ''right wing'', male oriented etc. Phillip K. Dick stood out as sort of the lone standard bearer of the Left...as opposed to authors like Heinlein and Frank Herbert.

When exactly did the controversy emerge? I guess what I am asking is when did SJW/Cultural Marxist themed SF books and stories start being cranked out in earnest? I've not followed Sci-Fi for many years, and last I remember, the ''Hyperion'' books seemed to be the most popular series/title.

Anonymous JAG September 02, 2016 1:06 PM  

Lovekraft wrote:Perhaps this ties more into the general discussion about the alt-right but I've been thinking of the concept of 'broken empathy.' The notion that caring about some boatload of 'refugees' elicits more sympathy from western liberals than the struggles of their own kind down the street.

This is a psychological flaw, an error in applying one's attention. As far as publishing, the readers have been alienated by the sjws because of the unrelenting demand that they care about things irrelevant to their concerns.

Broken Empathy


The true nature of the leftist is contrarian.

Blogger Were-Puppy September 02, 2016 1:55 PM  

@6 Lovekraft

Broken Empathy
---

That's really good, I'm going to use it

Anonymous Be Not Afraid September 02, 2016 2:04 PM  

>>These badly printed tracts were pretty much all stuff about how depressing it is to masturbate alone in a room, while sitting in a bucket of cold mashed potatoes.

>No - one should be subjected to that. Or Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But I repeat myself.

Oh, you've read Autumn of the Patriarch too, eh?

Blogger Cluebat Vanexodar September 02, 2016 2:18 PM  

I think it all started when the Science Fiction Book Club started pushing the new authors. I accepted a few recommended authors, but found them to be uninteresting and routinely declined them for the more traditional stories.

Anonymous LastRedoubt September 02, 2016 2:43 PM  

@Be Not Afraid

No - but I did have to read Chronicle of a Death Foretold and My Melancholy Whores. I refused after that. What the fuck anyone who loves life and beauty sees in that beyond a superficial facade of words prettily arranged, I am at a loss to understand.

Anonymous Thomas777 September 02, 2016 3:00 PM  

People in need of a palate cleanse subsequent to accidently being exposed to pop (scheisse) ''culture'' should read ''The Turner Diaries'' (fun survivalist/sci-fi type of fodder for racist, sexist, homophobic, mean, intolerant White males) or pick up a good book on the Spanish War of 1936-39. The former is escapist fare in which Jews, Communists, race traitors and assorted other subhuman piles of metaphorical dogshit get burned, beaten, nuked, stabbed and recieve the curative remedy of having their brains unceremoniously splattered out of gaping holes in their dome by high caliber ammo by National Socialist vanguarist revolutionaries. The latter documents a few glorious years in history during which the aforementioned events actually occurred. Do not underestimate the need of healthy and restless minds for catharsis.

Anonymous Jon Bromfield September 02, 2016 3:11 PM  

"Both of these publications were edited by the same person. At the time, I wasn't sure if he had abominable taste, or if the "good old stuff" wasn't being written any more because the Zeitgeist had changed."

That would be Gardner Dozois, editor of ASIMOV'S SF magazine from 1984 to 2004, who is hugely responsible for the bastardization of science fiction. I remember buying a copy of ASFM in 2000 after losing interest in the genre in my late teens, about twenty years. Good God! I had to repeatedly look at the cover to re-confirm I was reading a science fiction magazine! Gardner is famous for saying his single criteria for buying stories was "If I like it, that's all!" I translate that to "Screw the readers!" Had a fondness for stories without science, artsy-fartsy literary experiments, depressing dystopias and teenagers masturbating and having sex with robots. I once challenged him to cite one story he published that contained at least two of the following five elements:

1) Presented science and technology as positive.
2) Had a heterosexual white male as the hero.
3) Had a plot based on the impact of science or technology.
4) Presented human beings as something special.
5) Did not ridicule religion or faith.

He couldn't, of course. But hey, he won the Hugo as Best Editor 15 times over 17 years, so he must have been doing something right!

Anonymous Thomas777 September 02, 2016 3:21 PM  

Science, technology, White people, men, literary plots, theology/religious belief(s), the unique properties of human life and consciousness is 1) boring, 2) possibly evil, 3) subversive, 4) likely sexist, and 5) not ''with the times''.

Normal people are moved by edifying and glorious things that indicate mental stability of the advocate - things like 1) Developing a social identity around sexual paraphilias involving inserting things in ones' anus; 2) Thulsa Doom-esque personality cults dedicated to worshipping random Congoids; 3) Diabetes Type II: Electric Boogaloo; 4) Cock and ball torture; 5) Electing the first genderqueer gay nigger robot cat with Downs Syndrome President (his name is ''Peaches'') so that Peaches the cat can establish the Youth Sodomy Enforcement Administration.

Anonymous tublecane September 02, 2016 4:20 PM  

"I will sit here and listen to all of your ideas and theories, and then I will explain to you why you're a dirty bigot and a hater and an evil human being"

Preposterous. I'm not saying an SJW has never listened to a thoughtcriminal, but as a rule they don't. They do lecture us, but as a rule they don't feel the need to explain anything to us.

Also the intolerant nature of leftist "tolerance" is not some mystery. They have a name for it: repressive tolerance. It was a hallmark of the New Left.

It's also not some mystery as to why a Big Switch happened circa 1980. That's when the Long March started paying dividends. Science fiction and fantasy publishing is just one of the many institutions they marched through.

Anonymous tublecane September 02, 2016 4:25 PM  

@5-Everyone knows about the paradox of tolerance. The solution is simply to choose intolerance. The thing about SJWs is that they continue to call intolerance "tolerance." Herbert Marcuse, doyen of the New Left, coined the term "repressive tolerance" for it, which is of course an oxymoron.

They love such wordplay. Makes them feel clever. It gives me the shivers.

Anonymous tublecane September 02, 2016 4:30 PM  

@4-The Balkans region is known for having various mutually antagonistic racial, ethnic, religious, and/or national groups living in close proximity to one another. I don't think this is the best metaphor for the current state of SF/F literature, but the idea is that they used to be one, big, happy, and now they're a bunch of cliques.

Anonymous tublecane September 02, 2016 4:44 PM  

@43-"At risk" of what? People use phrases mindlessly. There was a movie I saw once wherein a student got sent to the principal's office because he wrote a book report on Mein Kampf when the assignment was to do it on a book written by a civil rights leader. Who's to say Hitler wasn't a "civil rights leader?"

We know what would've happened had you resubmitted it with a white protagonist and said he's "at risk" because of white genocide. Which is a totally a thing. Hillary said it.

Anonymous BGKB September 02, 2016 4:51 PM  

For a good look at tolerance see the same story of TWINKS4TRUMP at the conservative gateway pundit (almost universally supportive) http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/08/must-see-video-nbc-reports-persecution-gay-conservative-lucian-wintrich-liberal-puritans/ and leftist Towleroad http://www.towleroad.com/2016/09/twinks4trump/ Comments from left-wing queens: hateful, negative, and filled with dumb hackneyed cliches.

Anonymous CC September 02, 2016 5:53 PM  

John Wright wrote:Regarding those who regard you as crazy when you say our current culture, or the lack thereof, the ugliness in architecture, the failure of the public schools, and so on and so on, did not spontaneously happen for no reason, let me recommend SCHOOL OF DARKNESS by Bella Dodd.



Thank you very much. :)

Blogger Fenris Wulf September 02, 2016 7:19 PM  

@86.

Peaches the Gay Nigger Robot Cat with Down Syndrome Runs for President

Somebody needs to write this as a children's book. With illustrations. And we need to get it on next year's Hugo ballot.

Anonymous Mr. Rational September 02, 2016 10:18 PM  

"Broken empathy" already has a name:  "telescopic philanthropy", which is more descriptive.

Blogger Tom Kratman September 02, 2016 10:33 PM  

"From a safe distance. Such as the other side of the Atlantic Ocean."

There is no safe distance for some things....

Though, actually, I've had sympathetic characters who were Hispanic, Black, Gay, Lesbian...couple of Moslems...even some gringos. Though, to be sure, they're not sympathetic merely for being X or Y or Z, but usually because of their place in the story and the courage and dignity with which they meet their deaths.

Anonymous Mr. Rational September 02, 2016 11:14 PM  

Tom Kratman wrote:There is no safe distance for some things....
What is the minimum safe distance for ignorance?

Blogger Groot September 02, 2016 11:23 PM  

OP: "the year 1980 seems to keep coming up as a major turning point"

1980, coincidentally enough, is the first year when over 50% of women were in the workforce.

Anonymous tublecane September 02, 2016 11:42 PM  

@94-The popular term is "humanitarianism." Humanitarians are really good at despising or simply ignoring closeby, individual humans.

Blogger dfordoom September 03, 2016 12:22 AM  

@51. CC

He'd wonder why aesthetic things like architecture, music and art had become so ugly in the 20th Century

That's one of the things that converted me away from my leftist beliefs. I got tired of art, literature and movies that seemed to have no purpose other than to run people's noses in depravity, squalor, misery and ugliness. This was for me one of the key indicators that our civilisation had taken a wrong turning. I have no desire to wallow in the gutter.

And I realised it was no accident - it was a deliberate agenda.

Blogger dfordoom September 03, 2016 12:30 AM  

@ 54. Joe Doakes

I've recently noticed all the old hobbies are dying. None of the young people I see build ham radios, play cards, fly airplanes, goes target shooting or rides a bike to the park to see who's around for a ball game.

Everybody is glued to a screen.

Sales of science fiction/fantasy are plummeting but is that because the stories suck or the readers have moved on to hobbies with instantaneous reward for minimal effort?


I noticed the decline of hobbies a while back. It's important because hobbies are essentially a Guy Thing. It's another symptom of the decline of masculinity.

Blogger dfordoom September 03, 2016 12:40 AM  

@84. Thomas777

or pick up a good book on the Spanish War of 1936-39

I read Stanley G. Payne’s The Spanish Civil War recently. Eye-opening. Definitely not the usual leftist claptrap and it's a good fairly succinct overview. It's also quite inspiring, being one of the rare occasions when the good guys won.

Blogger dfordoom September 03, 2016 1:22 AM  

@73. Thomas777

One could go as far to suggest that the motives of American hawks in the late Cold War (1979 onward) involved the fact that the Soviet Union was actively opposing ''left wing'' values and commitments.

The USSR, by the Reagan era had waged active war against Israel, refused to acknowledge and promote the narrative of the Holocaust, opposed Feminism as a social policy, considered homosexuality to be an expression of mental illness, declared Zionism to be a form of treasonous subversion, (re) affirmed that the Russian national state (and the maintenance of its basic cultural/racial integrity) was essential to the realization of Soviet strategic objectives and goals, the list goes on.


The western "victory" in the Cold War was definitely not at all what it seemed to be. It marked the beginning of the ascendency of globalism.

Western civilisation had been heading down the path of decadence since the beginning of the 20th century.

Anonymous kjj September 03, 2016 1:30 AM  

I recall reading an article or essay not too long ago, about how changes to the tax code killed the backlist, which killed SF-as-it-was. Naturally, I can't find it now, but the basic idea is that something changed which made it more sensible for the publishers to pulp unsold books rather than keep them around to satisfy the long tail of demand.

If I recall, the timing was about right. There is video of Trump at a hearing, explaining how other (probably related) stupid changes to other parts of the tax code had killed real estate investing.

Anonymous Mr. Rational September 03, 2016 7:53 PM  

IIRC, the tax change required unsold books to be valued at their wholesale price (maybe higher?) rather than the pulp price as the publishers had been doing.  This raised inventory taxes immensely and made it impossible to hold large quantities of unsold books.

Like the almost-lost films that cannot be copied because the owners are unknown and copyright keeps being extended at the behest of Disney, this is one of the costs of a government of the money, by the money and for the money.

OpenID sooootired September 05, 2016 10:00 AM  

Did the election of Reagan trigger the convergence?

I always thought the mainstream success of Star Wars attracted entryists. I would be curious to know from people who were there if a lot of liberal activists were new on the scene, or had been there all along and felt a new call to action.

Anonymous salotrean September 09, 2016 6:47 PM  

Thomas777, please return to salo-forum.com

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