Home / General / The Only Real Intolerance Is Intolerance of Intolerance. OK, Maybe Lactose.

The Only Real Intolerance Is Intolerance of Intolerance. OK, Maybe Lactose.

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Once upon there was a lunatic sci-fi writer who hated Jennifer Lawrence’s toned biceps. The lunatic wrote thousands upon thousands of words describing his fear of her biceps in the most florid, pretentious language imaginable. He also cried and gnashed his teeth a lot. This took up most of his time, but not all of it. He still managed to find time to complain–in the most florid, pretentious language possible– about how lunatic homophobes and misogynists were sci-fi’s most mistreated minority.

Seriously. John C. Wrong needs to familiarize himself with the works of this fine young writer:


Now, that is how you grab the audience’s attention and leave it wanting more.

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  • Hogan

    Now speculative fiction makes speculative thinkers so unwelcome that, after a decade of support, I resigned my membership in SFWA in disgust.

    Racism, misogyny and homophobia are not “speculative ideas.” Go upstairs and look out the goddamn window.

  • And for pointing any of this out, YOU, bspencer, are the REAL racist, misogynist, xenophobe, homophobe, and religiously intolerant person!!!!

  • Aimai

    Hogan, you are back! Hope you had a good time. And thanks (sarc) bspencer for pointing me back towards the original John C. Wright essay which remains perhaps the stupidest, worst written, thing of all time. Honestly? I can’t think of anything worse up to and including Atlas Shrugged.

    • Karen

      I get handwritten briefs from my pro se opponents all the time, many of them “Sovereign Citizen” rants about the Zionist Occupation Government and at least one claiming “I am a Son of Abraham and not an Illegitimate.” (I give myself enormous props for not answering that one “I’m sure your father was a perfectly nice person, but your relationship and your parents’ relationship to each other is not relevant to your case.”) I include this so you know exactly how low my bar is set for bad writing, and even with that, Wright sank beneath it. His arguments made less sense that those produced by angry people who never, ever have to write as part of their work. With respect to the Wright piece, I quote a friend of mine who had to read “Mein Kampf” as part of her German PhD program, “The grammar is mostly, but not entirely, correct.”

    • Jeffrey Kramer

      I managed to get through maybe two hundred words of it and was about to give up, when my attention was arrested by the following declaration:

      Of the classical virtues, fortitude and justice are essential to masculinity, as is magnanimity; a real man neither complains nor says ‘I told you so.’

      …and he hasn’t stopped complaining about the failure to recognize this virtue since then.

      • N__B

        A real man does, however, say “I have an owie” when he stubs his toe.

    • herr doktor bimler

      I can’t think of anything worse up to and including Atlas Shrugged.

      That sounds like a challenge.

    • Ahuitzotl

      Oh its Objectively better than Atlas Shrugged – its (a bit) shorter

  • Nobdy

    It’s true. Nobody will purchase my sci fi novels featuring weak female protagonists. I have one about a girl named Kallia who lives in the kingdom of Hrush. Her father is killed by an evil sorcerer and she just goes to pieces. She’s emotionally destroyed and never really recovers, marrying the much older owner of the town mill and living out the rest of her life in fear as the Necromancer’s army rampages through the countryside until it is stopped by some brave MEN, which she only hears about in the tale of a traveling bard who is actually a fairy. She stays away from the action and tends to her husband’s need like a good woman. It’s a wonderful book and is only 17 pages long to boot.

    I have another about a dystopian future where teenagers are forced to fight for the amusement of the lizardmen who rule them. in this one the weak female protagonist is named Hectchora. She is chosen for battle and pitted against a mighty young male warrior named Gziir. He dispatches her in a single blow. This book is only 9 pages long. Efficiency.

    Why do you people waste your money on stories about women who “do things” or “have agency” or are mighty champions when my wonderful tales with weak female protagonists are available and such quick reads?

    • Inner Partisan

      Clearly, your example comprehensively proves how the iron fist of liberal intolerance crushes aspiring, creative writers. I mean, back in the Golden Age, several publishers would have been fighting over the rights for your bold narratives!

      • Karen

        Only if the women wear bikinis all the time, including blizzards. No point in having a woman in a book if she can’t be drawn in a metal bikini.

        • Ken

          A woman can always be drawn in a metal bikini for the cover art, even if she never wears one. Heck, even if there are no women in the book.

          • DrS

            Especially if there are no women in the book.

            • delurking

              Precisely! My daughter was examining one of these covers just the other day. “What does this have to do with the plot of this novel?” she wondered.

              “Marketing,” I said.

              “What?” she said.

              “Patriarchy,” I translated.

              “What?” she said.

              “Boys like tits,” I translated.

              • Anonymous

                Except in this case, as in many others, it’s not so much what (they want to believe what some) boys want as it is showing women their place. Their place, according to writers like “Vox Day” is not in history, not in the present, but sometimes in wank fantasies and that is all.

              • Hogan

                At some later point this may help.

        • N__B

          Metal bikinis? No, chain-mail bikinis. No need to wax when the links in the mail can pull hairs out by the roots as a side effect.

          • Lee Rudolph

            Rootless Cosmo Girls!!!

            • Origami Isopod

              I want to give this comment a certificate for a free Brazilian wax at the spa.

    • Cervantes

      I have this one about two guys who go through the countryside righting wrongs and protecting the innocent. It’s mostly about men, because that’s what’s interesting. But it’s not like they’re gay or anything, because the main guy is always talking about how he’s doing it for this one chick he left back at home.

      My book is considered a classic but it never won a Hugo award, probably because feminists had such terrible power over everything the year it was published. I even wrote a sequel, where the guy gets the recognition he deserves, but with an ironic twist, and that one didn’t win either.

      I’m considering writing another sequel, where a young, virile science fiction author decides to be just like his protagonists. He’ll get to fight harpies and gorgons and robotic psychoanalitic ice queens, and pursue vixens, but nothing will turn out the way he expects. Then one day he’ll get the recognition he deserves, but with an ironic twist.

      • Pierre Menard

        I have this one about two guys who go through the countryside righting wrongs and protecting the innocent. It’s mostly about men, because that’s what’s interesting. But it’s not like they’re gay or anything, because the main guy is always talking about how he’s doing it for this one chick he left back at home.

        My book is considered a classic but it never won a Hugo award, probably because feminists had such terrible power over everything the year it was published. I even wrote a sequel, where the guy gets the recognition he deserves, but with an ironic twist, and that one didn’t win either.

        I’m considering writing another sequel, where a young, virile science fiction author decides to be just like his protagonists. He’ll get to fight harpies and gorgons and robotic psychoanalitic ice queens, and pursue vixens, but nothing will turn out the way he expects. Then one day he’ll get the recognition he deserves, but with an ironic twist.

        • Borges

          It really is funnier the second time.

          • Vicente Fox

            I’m funnier than that Borgues guy.

            • 7 of 9

              You will be assimilated.

          • James Patterson

            Pass me that file–I’ll have the serial number off in no time.

        • toberdog

          That is a truly awesome comment.

          • Tybalt

            STRONG CONCUR

        • Shia LaBeouf

          I have this one about two guys who go through the countryside righting wrongs and protecting the innocent. It’s mostly about men, because that’s what’s interesting. But it’s not like they’re gay or anything, because the main guy is always talking about how he’s doing it for this one chick he left back at home.

          My book is considered a classic but it never won a Hugo award, probably because feminists had such terrible power over everything the year it was published. I even wrote a sequel, where the guy gets the recognition he deserves, but with an ironic twist, and that one didn’t win either.

          I’m considering writing another sequel, where a young, virile science fiction author decides to be just like his protagonists. He’ll get to fight harpies and gorgons and robotic psychoanalitic ice queens, and pursue vixens, but nothing will turn out the way he expects. Then one day he’ll get the recognition he deserves, but with an ironic twist.

          • dk

            A shameless ripoff of Pierre Menard.

      • cpinva

        needs more windmills.

    • ajay

      Actually this reminds me of something I’ve wondered:

      We like stories where the hero(ine) is at a disadvantage to the villain(ess). Makes it all the sweeter when they win, right?
      So we like stories where it’s a few people against an army. Or one woman against a huge evil corporation. Or David vs. Goliath. There are heroes who are physically smaller than the enemy, or physically weaker (including disabled), or poor, or outsiders, or just plain outnumbered.

      Could you write a story in which the hero’s disadvantage compared with the enemy is that he’s just not very competent? Without it turning into a comedy?

      • Fighting Joe Hooker

        I’m not amused by this concept.

        • rea

          Actually, Mr. F. J. Hooker, your problem was more one of moral courage than of competence. You did a decent enough job running an army, but when the time came to march on Spottsylvania, you marched toward Pennsylvania instead.

        • Gen. George Custer

          Me either.

        • Ambrose Burnside

          Harrumph! I make a much more sympathetic bumbler than that asshole Hooker!

      • LeftWingFox

        Wasn’t this essentially the first season of FarScape?

        • Nobdy

          Crichton is less competent than most sci-fi heroes, but he’s really more of a fish out of water than anything else. He doesn’t know the rules or how the tool work so he’s kind of buffoonish (which is played for laughs) but he’s also clever, brave, loyal, strong, tough, etc… right from the beginning. And of course a few seasons in he’s concocting plans to blow up impenetrable space fortresses and unlock the most powerful technology in the galaxy, so it’s not entirely fair to call him incompetent.

          • ajay

            Yes, I’d make a distinction between “being an outsider who doesn’t know the rules” which is what it sounds like Crichton was (not seen Farscape) and “being incompetent”.
            The hobbits in “Lord of the Rings”, I suppose, come closer.

          • Barry Freed

            I miss that show. The fish out of water is on the money. And he is after all an astronaut and physicist.

        • Just Dropping By

          Yes, but it also had a pretty heavy comedic component to it, which is contrary to ajay’s last question.

          • Barry Freed

            Which was part of Nobdy’s point made above. But ajay raises a good point that makes for an interesting thought exercise. Not only can’t I think of an example without it being played for laughs I can’t really imagine it either without turning it into Flashman or Archer or something. I’m not even sure it would be fun to read such a thing but it would be interesting to see someone pull it off well.

            • In crime fiction there’s John Dortmunder:

              Dortmunder has been twice convicted of burglary charges, serving time in prison – he is completing the final day of his second prison term at the very beginning of The Hot Rock. Always hanging over Dortmunder’s head is the knowledge that a third conviction will mean that he will be placed in prison for the rest of his life, with no chance of parole.

              The fact that something almost always goes wrong with Dortmunder’s jobs, in spite of careful planning, has given him the reputation of being jinxed—and despite claiming not to be superstitious, Dortmunder has believed so, too. In fact, Dortmunder gets worried when things go smoothly and seems relieved when something does go wrong. In most novels, Dortmunder’s team earn only small amounts of money; the resultant heists, therefore, are only Pyrrhic victories, and the moral for the reader is that Crime Does Not Pay .. at least not very well. However, Dortmunder is not always unlucky, and in some novels and stories he and his crew make out quite well.

              • Touch-and-go Bullethead

                Except that the Dortmunder books are comedies, which is contrary to ajay’s request.

                Also, Dortmunder actually is competent–Westlake, in at least one interview, called him a criminal genius (well, apart from always being thrown when he has to come up with an alias quickly). His problem is that he is very, very unlucky, which is not the same thing as incompetence.

                • Hogan

                  “It’s Welsh.”

      • Lurking Canadian

        I bounce off Pratchett, so I might have this wrong, but extrapolating from things I hear, the character of Rincewind has essentially this trait.

        • Sarcastro the Munificient

          Except Rincewind’s incompetence doesn’t actually make his path more difficult. He succeeds serendipitously, because his cowardice, stupidity, and incompentence lead him to do things that accidentally get him out of trouble.

          • Ponce de Leon

            What about Schmendrick in The Last Unicorn, then?

          • guthrie

            And also various entities find him a useful tool.

      • Chris

        I wish I could remember the title. I remember a sci-fi short story I read in high school (translated from Italian I think) involving a mind-reading Martian preparing an invasion of the Earth. The protagonist can’t do anything, of course, since the Martian can read his mind and anticipate whatever it is.

        Then somebody, who had already been identified as kind of a dimwit earlier in the story, comes back in; the Martian surprises him, and gets decked and KO’d. The dimwit’s comment to the main character: “Sorry, sir. I didn’t think, I just reacted.”

      • Nigel

        The Hobbit is rather brilliant this way, and reminds me why I have an antipathy to characters who start out inherently hyper-competent – particularly if it’s at killing things. But anyway, apart from Bilbo who is plump, homely, not great in a fight and only really has an innate gift for sneaking and hiding, the dwarves themselves are not generally of heroic stature, except for Thorin himself and maybe Balin, the rest being too young, too old or miners, crafters and traders by profession. I always appreciated that they sort of bumbled around a lot, were often fickle and bad-tempered and relied way too much on Gandalf, and that it’s Bilbo being a mixture of sneaky, sensible and fair-minded that wins the day.

  • Chris

    Having been introduced to sci-fi by H. G. Wells, Star Wars and Star Trek, I used to think of sci-fi, indeed, as a place that leaned left, or small-L liberal at the very least. It was sad to discover that sci-fi fandom (and authors) included a VERY vocal demographic of rabid militarists, Randroids, sexists, homophobes and other authoritarian scum.

    Ah, well.

    It seems to me that the real problem here is that wingnuts don’t want to be held accountable for their ugly views — they want to be racist and sexist, but how dare you call them racist and sexist, and worst of all, how unfair to actually penalize them in the court of public opinion for being bigoted scumbags.

    Yep, that’s their pathology in a nutshell. Not just for racists and sexists but for rich people demanding the love and approval of the people they’re kicking in the gutter, militarists demanding the love and approval of the people they’re carpetbombing into the stone age, really the entire right wing.

    And the worst thing is how earnest they are about it. They’re not just being assholes for the sake of being assholes because they think it’s funny. Much as they hate you, they still really, honestly want your approval, they really, honestly do think they deserve it, and they’re entirely sincere in being bewildered and hurt that you won’t give it to them.

    Since we’re talking sci-fi, think Gul Dukat in Deep Space Nine.

    • Inner Partisan

      Since we’re talking sci-fi, think Gul Dukat in Deep Space Nine.

      That is the best analogy. Especially considering that these guys (Wright, Beale, etc.) essentially demand that more Cardassian mystery novels get published.

      • Chris

        LOL! True story!

      • Karen

        But do they know any Klingon opera?

        • Anonymous

          Or Vogon poetry?

          • Tybalt

            They’re all about the Vogon poetry. Beale in particular is always discoursing at length on what he found in his armpit in that morning.

            These sort of whinges are occasionally entertaining, but a steady diet of it is most tiresome. The demand for everyone else to listen respectfully while they hurl abuse, it wears.

            • wjts

              “Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning” was written by Grunthos the Flatulent, not a Vogon.

          • ajay

            Or Vogon poetry?

            “So what you’re trying to say is that I write science fiction because, underneath my vicious, ignorant, bigoted, hateful exterior, I really just want to be loved?”
            “Er… yes. Yes! I mean, don’t we all, really, deep down…”
            “No, you’re completely wrong. I write science fiction to throw my vicious, ignorant, bigoted, hateful exterior into sharp relief.”

            • Gregor Sansa

              Wow. That comment sends shivers down my spine. Chilling.

            • Jeffrey Kramer

              There’s a Norman Spinrad novel, The Iron Dream, whose premise is that instead of going into politics, Hitler became a science fiction author. I remember that he acquired a reputation as “a wit and a raconteur.”

    • Nobdy

      They demand approval like they demand anything else and they think they deserve it through the same manifest destiny mechanism that makes them think they deserve everything. It’s a somewhat understandable position for a 4 year old to have but is less becoming in an adult. Conservatism is naturally self centered and lacking in empathy or understanding of other people who aren’t just like you. It also loves hierarchy and expects others to both acknowledge and appreciate the same hierarchy. Billionaire’s are baffled that you could call them morons and evil even though they outrank you.

      • Karen

        Exactly. A good example of this process is the reaction Charles Murray (don’t worry, I won’t link. It’s a gross, rotten mango and exactly like too many others) had when the Wendy Davis campaign criticized him for saying women have never mattered in philosophy. He linked to something he wrote that praised women for being biologically fitted for taking care of babies. He either refused to acknowledge or was incapable of grasping that telling women that we’re only good at changing diapers and that we should leave all that nasty thinking to The MEN would be insulting to women.

        • Origami Isopod

          Years ago I flamed some wingnut on a news board (long before I learned not to comment on news stories) for saying women were destined or designed or whatever for forming babby and nothing else. He was genuinely hurt and baffled, because he believed he was giving me a supreme compliment.

          When I think about it now, I think he just simply had no way of getting beyond the concept that fitting into the hierarchy in the prescribed way is the ultimate good, while flouting it is the ultimate evil.

          • Karen

            I don’t think it’s on-line, but Molly Ivins wrote a wonderful column describing a meeting with College Republicans who had just started working for a corporation. One of them spoke rapturously about being “one of the group!!” She said the only other time she had seen people so happy about having a specified and determined place in a hierarchy was when she was a baby journalist and sent to China right after we recognized the mainland government. The guys in the lower rungs of the Party hierarchy were SO HAPPY to be in their place, and had no idea that others might not like being assigned their roles in life by someone else.

          • BigHank53

            That’s what authoritarianism gives to its adherents: a nice little socket in the exact shape of their ass.

        • Justin Cognito

          Oh Christ, I remember the same thing in Christopher Hitchens’ article on why women can’t be funny. “But don’t you SEE, dear ladies, that the main reason us men caper about and try to win your humor is to earn the privilege of your FINEST quality – which is, indeed, your babymaker?”

      • Chris

        I suppose, while I understand intellectually that that’s how they are, I can’t imagine ending up that completely fucked up and devoid of empathic or self-critical capacity.

        • Karen

          After much effort, I have concluded that they think that having a defined place in life and conforming to that place is the absolute pinnacle of human existence. The idea that someone might find their assigned seat sucks moldy eggs makes as much sense to them as someone telling the rest of us that they prefer breathing gaseous silicon to this oxygen nonsense. If we would take our seats and adjust our thinking, we would be perfectly happy as, oh, landless peasants during the Dark Ages or something. The fact that their own position in life is almost always pretty sweet, especially compared to everyone else’s never enters the discussion.

          No, I can’t see how it makes sense either, but apparently it does to them.

    • Jordan

      Yeah, but I occasionally felt sorry for Gul Dukat. Less so for these assholes.

  • FMguru

    Ahahahaha, if you Google “John C. Wright” you get his author bio on the right side and the author headshot (from his wikipedia page) shows him exactly as you’d imagine him – neckbeard, chubby face, and a fedora-like hat that he’s in the process of tipping.

    It’s as if he was assembled from a secret lab deep in the bowels of Reddit.

    • delurking

      This comment made me LOL so hard.

  • Lee Rudolph

    bspencer, Useful Idiot of the Transnational Gluten Trust!

  • Oh, Jesus, he’s written stories set in the Nightlands of William Hope Hodgson. Odin, give me strength.

    He also converted to Catholicism because of some hallucinations he experienced. This guy is really a mental case, folks. He makes J. Otto look normal by comparison.

    • That’s the main thing that pissed me off about his Wiki article. He’s mooching off Hodgson, for fuck’s sake. >:(

    • herr doktor bimler

      He also converted to Catholicism because of some hallucinations he experienced.

      The history of christianity from Paul onwards.

      • delurking

        True story. This is what exasperated me about Rod Dreher (and many Xtians I know): they all have these lunatic stories they want to tell us, about these obvious hallucinatory experiences they have had; or times they have been flat-out lying to themselves; and then they wave their hands earnestly.

        “See? See? GOD IS REAL!”

        Ai.

  • Shalimar
    • bexley

      Goes rapidly downhill after the title.

    • Colin R

      It’s always funny how thin the line is between libertarianism and authoritarianism. He can picture jack-booted thugs holding the legions of devout Catholic bakers at gunpoint, forcing them to slave for the homosexuals, while fretting without irony that libertarianism doesn’t allow him enough control to dominate his children, or the peasants on whose behalf he fights manly wars.

      • Malaclypse

        It’s always funny how thin the line is between libertarianism and authoritarianism.

        Allow me to remind you of one Davey Nieporente.

      • Origami Isopod

        He can picture jack-booted thugs holding the legions of devout Catholic bakers at gunpoint, forcing them to slave for the homosexuals

        I’m sure he often does. He keeps the Kleenex close by the bed.

      • Chris

        First of the comments in that article:

        my discussion with libertarians typically shows them to cheapskate liberals. They support liberal ideas but don’t want to pay for the socialist state apparatus that makes it possible/

        Slight grain of truth there.

        Except that that’s actually a thing throughout the entire conservative base, not only libertarians, and I’d be shocked if the person who wrote that wasn’t guilty of it as well.

    • Chris

      Key phrase here:

      As a father, as a Catholic, as a patriot, I realized that the self-interest crowing libertarian theory by its very nature applies only on sunny days, among adults, in peacetime. It is a peacetime philosophy only, and only among men who adhere to certain basic ideals springing from the Western cultural tradition, that is, men who adhere to Christian cultural norms even if not themselves Christian men.

      This is something I often hear from them, actually. Yes, freedom is good, but it’s only good for people who know how to use it, and you can tell who these people are because from they’re from our culture or recognize the supremacy of our culture. For all these others, it’s better that they be in chains.

      From that, you get a mindset that can scream oppression at the fedrul gub’mint telling you not to own slaves, but honestly think enslaving blacks isn’t oppression.

      I suppose that partly answers my musing from further upthread.

      • Shalimar

        I think it is hilarious that he still sees christian culture as somehow essential to libertarianism even though their values are diametrically opposed in many ways. If you’re now a catholic but you still admire libertarian ideals, you aren’t paying close attention to your gospels.

        • Chris

          I think it’s supposed to be a way to have your cake and eat it too. The point is that you can trust Catholics with a no-rules, anything-goes legal and political environment, because their Catholic upbringing and discipline guarantees that they won’t abuse it. All these undisciplined savages will just run amok and ruin everything, but good Catholics won’t, because they’ve been raised to be responsible. (Substitute “Catholic” for the speaker’s identity group as needed).

          This is actually the right wingers’ most common defense against regulations: “just trust me! It’s okay, you can trust me! I’m a [insert identity here]!” ::big used car salesman smile and wink::

          Internal Affairs and their military equivalents? Who needs these? Our brave boys in uniform are all Eagle Scouts of unimpeachable morals. After all, they’re willing to die for you, aren’t they?

          Feminism, women’s rights, office sessions warning against sexual harassment? Who needs these? MY mother raised me to be a GENTLEMAN, thank you very much! Just because YOU people are filthy lechers doesn’t mean EVERYONE is.

          Regulations on the 1%? Totally unnecessary! They’ll regulate themselves! After all, pollution and bad working conditions are bad for their image, so it’s not good business. The market will take care of everything!

      • Ken

        I get more of a “first, assume a frictionless spherical cow” impression. If all days are sunny, all humans are peaceful, and everyone shares common assumptions, libertarianism works. Since none of the hypotheticals are true – and especially not all days are sunny, if by that he means external forces never throw an earthquake or tornado your way – libertarianism doesn’t work. Issue settled.

      • Origami Isopod

        It fits in with the “freedom ways” of “borderer” culture that David Hackett Fischer described in Albion’s Seed. “Freedom” connoted, and still connotes, freedom for white patriarchs to do as they will, with their “inferiors” behaving in very prescribed ways. Any attempt by “outsiders” to bring freedom to those “inferiors” is “interference.”

      • Hogan

        Cannot fail. Can only be failed.

        • Warren Terra

          Mind you, the second part is true in more than one sense.

    • Ambrose Burnside

      I clicked. I have two observations. First, I am going to need a citation before I believe that you can now buy marijuana-laced soda in Colorado corner stores.

      Second, I suspect the motives who somebody who bitches about the fallen modern world’s attempts to force it’s evil lusts upon his children, when half the sidebars at the publication hosting his work are TITS! GET YER TITS HERE!

    • delurking

      Shorter John C. Wright: I produced sons. Therefore, I am allowed to force the entire world to live my rigid and antiquated moral code, lest those sons learn to think for themselves.

  • libarbarian

    As I walked through the door, I flicked the switch of my pan-quantum Zillow-field generator and holstered by infrasonic blast-phaser. From behind the bed room door a voice purred “I’ve been waiting for you big boy….”. My concubine stepped out into the hallway, the light glinting off of her 16 green breasts. Below, her 3 vaginas looked dewey as morning flowers.

    Damn, it was good to be a hyper-space marine.

    • Ahuitzotl

      If you could dumb it down a bit more and include some gratuitous slaughter, we could get you a slot writing 40K manuals

  • rea

    I’ve been an ardent reader of SF for 50+ years, and I never heard of any of these guys before this controversy (other than VD, who I knew as an internet troll). They may claim it’s because they are oppressed, but Ockham’s razor tell us it’s because they write like crap.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Lacoste is the truest intolerance. Just look at that smug little alligator.

      • Gregor Sansa

        Wait, why was that a reply?

        (I do like the old-school spelling “Ockham”.)

        • rea

          Is that really old school? The guy was born in the village of Ockham in Surrey. “Occam” is Latin, or maybe French.

          • Anna in PDX

            Right? That’s how I spell it too, I thought that was just the right spelling. It is confusing with these guys who latinized their names though.

      • Another Holocene Human

        That was actually quite clever! Too bad it ended up nested. Too me a couple tries to realize it was a pun on lactose and not a non sequitur.

    • Kal

      Wright’s Golden Age books are actually pretty good. Even though his (apparently former) Randian philosophical ideas end up being central to the plot, it’s done in an interesting way, and there are lots of other ideas in there. Not my favorite series in the world, but not drivel like John Ringo et al.

      • delurking

        After Wright’s soul was eaten by his politics and his religion, however, his writing became as crap as VD’s.

  • I don’t even know what to say about these dipshit wingnut writers anymore. Half their jobs should be writing about characters, which requires a powerful sense of empathy so you can record realistic emotions and motives and sensations. And they’re cutting themselves off from all that because their egos can’t get over the fact that icky girls publish books now and they don’t get to live in the Eternal Honkey Future of their dreams.

    Fuck these jackholes. Their ability to create controversy for themselves is the only thing they’ll be remembered for.

    • Chris

      Half their jobs should be writing about characters, which requires a powerful sense of empathy so you can record realistic emotions and motives and sensations.

      I never thought of it that way, and yet it makes sense. That may be the best explanation I’ve read to date about why conservatives suck at doing pop culture.

    • Their pet issue seems so limiting. Why in all of the imaginable worlds out there, is one whose demographics look like hooters at happy hour considered more plausible than ones with more diversity? I mean why are elves, robots, aliens and dragons considered plausible but female protagonists are a bridge too far?

      • Ken

        Time to pull out John Rogers: “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

  • heckblazer

    For grabbing attention I find it hard to top the opening line of Steel Beach:

    “In five years, the penis will become obsolete,” said the salesman.

    • Origami Isopod

      Well, yes. That’s because the gun is good, the penis is evil.

      • delurking

        But if you go on to read further than that first line, the penis isn’t actually going to be obsolete — that’s part of Varley’s point. All that sturm and drang about the end of men is eternal and ridiculous.

        Steel Beach is a pretty good book, by the way.

        • Origami Isopod

          I’ve heard good things about it. I especially like the quote I’ve seen bandied about, about survivors of accidents claiming that “God was watching out for me.”

        • herr doktor bimler

          Meh. I remember it as Galt’s Gulch on the Moon.

          • Shirley you mean “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress”?

            • delurking

              I kind of see it as Varley’s response to Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

              My favorite bit is the Church of Heinleiners.

              • Aimai

                I adore John Varley. Adore him. In fact, I love him so much I always preferred to believe he was really a very subversive female. Don’t disabuse me.

                • herr doktor bimler

                  The skeevy sex fantasies put me off. If sex with his own cloned self is a big deal for Varley — or if he imagines it’s a big deal for his readership — I don’t want to know.

          • Slocum

            It’s very libertarian in a lot of ways, but it becomes increasingly clear that they only way an everyday libertarian can function is if there is a central system (Central Computer in the book I think) that is almost seamlessly capable of dealing with the possibly very bad consequences of people having mostly no rules. When that system goes bad (and in the book it goes bad precisely because it has to be so well integrated in the social system it has to act as caretaker for), things go to shit fast.

            • herr doktor bimler

              IIRC, a contrast is drawn between the nanny-state libertarianism of broader lunar society, and the brave true-libertarian outsiders who can go Galt on account of a magical piece of technology.

  • Origami Isopod

    I’ve read a few excerpts from VD’s books (please don’t ask why or how). The Last Witchking has some amusing unintentional homoeroticism in it, such as the use of “stiffening” when VD meant “reinforcements”:

    “He has therefore decided what we need is some stiffening, which will presently come in the form of his soldiers.”

    and a bit in which a sorcerer transforms ten oarsmen in black armor into “half-naked, underfed thralls.”

    Then there’s Vita Opera Aeterna:

    Thousands of men began to emerge from their tents, nearly all of them naked or nearly so. As they did, a flaming arrow buried itself in the ground, and both the northern and southern gates burst open, revealing multiple columns of fully armored legionaries holding shields and pila at the ready.

    Um. Outtake from 300?

    Oh, and this … what is this, actually.

    “Look at that,” she pointed as the two giant beasts squatted again to release a splash of urine. “Do beasts do that?”

    “Amazing,” Patrice breathed. “It’s clearly some form of ritual. If it’s a spell, I’d imagine it must be based on an earth magic. Blais, do you realize we may be witnessing the first known example of ritual urine magic?

    • Karen

      Freud would have enough material from just those three excerpts for 15 more books.

    • FMguru

      Wow. Leaving aside the homoeroticism, that writing sounds like a high-school age DM trying (and failing) to inject a sense of the epic into his Advanced Dungeons & Dragons campaign. All that’s missing are the cheetos, mountain dew, and someone misquoting Monty Python.

      • Origami Isopod

        The other excerpts are equally well written. Overall, he is big on telling instead of showing, making up stupid words based on dubious understanding of how real-world languages work, and generally writing prose so purple you could use it to find cumstains on Motel 6 sheets.

        • FMguru

          That guy talking about urine rituals sounds like he’s summarized what he just read in the spell description chapter of his Player’s Handbook.

        • Gregor Sansa

          +1μm

    • Pierre Menard

      Ritual urine magic? Now I’ve heard everything. What’s next, scatomancy and copromages? These guys never developed emotionally beyond the third grade.

      • Barry Freed

        Oops, nymfail.

      • Karen

        Please don’t give him any ideas.

      • N__B

        scatomancy

        Kids, don’t try this at home. At least, not until you’ve spread a tarp.

        • ajay

          Kids, don’t try this at home. At least, not until you’ve spread a tarp. not unless you really know your shit.

      • pedantic nerd

        scatomancy

        Isn’t that what Ella Enchanted was about?

      • herr doktor bimler

        Pass those on to Oglaf.

  • brad

    Even in his “minor” examples, the stupid, it burns.
    Wright;

    The expulsion of Theodore Beale and the firing of Jean Rabe were major examples. I will list a minor one: The Mammoth Book of Mindblowing SF is an anthology edited by Mike Ashley. When it was noticed that there were no women authors in the table of contents, fandom was whipped into prepackaged frenzy.

    The stories were reprints and selected for their mind-blowing quality, that is, they were nuts-and-bolts-style SF yarns. Note that of the 289 novels nominated for Hugo Awards, 231 were written by male writers. This means that if Mike Ashley were selecting only Hugo-nominated authors, the chances that a woman would have penned any one story listed in the table of contents would be less than one in five.

    I checked, there were 25 stories included in the anthology. He makes further claims, sadly not featuring any plays on the trope that women are innumerate.

    • ajay

      No, his maths is correct – if you pick any one story from the Hugo nominations, then the chance that it would be written by a woman is 1-(231/289) which is pretty much exactly one in five.
      What I think you think he’s talking about is the chance that a woman would have written any of the 25 stories chosen, which is 1-((231/289)^25) or roughly 99.7%. Which is the more relevant number in any case.

      • brad

        Nah, in truth he’s mixing apples and oranges to begin with in trying to make his case. He’s claiming it’d only be a one in five chance even using the supposed cream of the current crop, and that in a historical survey a far smaller proportion of the (good in his mind) sci fi writers would be female. My point is that he’s claiming a half-assed equivalency between roughly 20% and the something less than 4% that excluding any female writers from a sampling of 25 implies.

        Also, no one who writes the following sentence should ever be paid to use words; “Each sheep is forced to parrot nonsense lest he be scapegoated next.” I feel like it belongs at the end of a New Yorker article to fill out the column.

        • Warren Terra

          I’m quite amused by the ludicrous zoo quality of the sentence, which I suppose was a deliberate way o mocking those who seek to show consideration to others as subhuman. Sure, he could have done better (the sheep could have been cowed into parroting nonsense lest they are scapegoated, herded before a kangaroo court and forced to ape their supposed betters). But it’s a start.

    • Warren Terra

      Either this was an anthology of novels, which would be new to me, or not only his math was bad but he really ought to have been looking at the winners for novellas and/or short stories. No idea if the gender balance for those recipients is any different, but I think it’s funny his methodology was so comprehensively wrong.

    • Hogan

      The stories were reprints and selected for their mind-blowing quality, that is, they were nuts-and-bolts-style SF yarns.

      “What blew my mind about these stories was their utterly typical use of standard sci-fi tropes and images. Check and mate, liberals.”

      • One for the “do they even listen to themselves?” files.

        I think the idea, and I hesitate to call it that, that Beale was trying to squeeze from his mean little mind is that anything other than the kind of SF he enjoys reading is inherently inferior. Therefore an anthology for which stories are selected on the basis of quality will naturally contain stories of the One True Kind and no other.

        I’m also amused by the metaphorical mixiness of nuts-and-bolts yarns. That would make for hellish knitting.

        • Lee Rudolph

          Maybe he speaks one of those dialects where “yarn” and “iron” rhyme?

        • herr doktor bimler

          From a syndicated business columnist: “Dubai unravelled like clockwork”. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

        • I just now noticed that Wright, not Beale, wrote that. ANYWAY.

  • dimmsdale

    OK, look. I read TONS of science fiction when I was a kid, back in the 50s. Not much since; I don’t know John C. Wright from the nearest lamp-post. But I clicked on your links, and read his … whatever you call it, and the Orson Scott Card quote, and I’m like…….their entire sensibility belongs back in the 1950s!!! That era of monumental white-man privilege, when everyone who wasn’t a white male was mercilessly, even brutally judged by white-male standards of what ought, and oughtn’t, to be–even in sf. Shades of every third-rate pulp sf artist, will the conservavictim whining never stop?

  • David W.

    A rebuttal that’s a gazillion times more worthwhile than what inspired it:

    In Which John C. Wright is Wrong About Everything, Forever, World Without End, Amen: An Open Letter

    • I have bookmarked!!!

    • BigHank53

      I would say “sawed off at the knees” except she appears to have used a cheese grater and methodically worked her way up. He’s not going to get his credibility stitched back on anytime soon.

    • Inner Partisan

      Magnificent. Thank you for that link.

  • “George, it’s impossible to correct a defective reality-orientation overnight.”

    ― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven

    • Malaclypse

      Please. Like she has anything interesting or relevant to say about SFF…

    • Gregor Sansa

      Perfect quote.

      (I’ve exchanged a couple of sentences with both LeGuin and Atwood at some book signing thingies. In both cases, I had something to say that I thought was deep and clever*, and they shut. me. down. Based on that experience, I know two things: first, that I would pay serious cash to see either of them squish these whining idjits; and second, that however much I would pay, it would not be enough to get them to do it, because those women just don’t suffer fools, or even anyone who’s coming off with even a bit of foolishness.)

      *With Atwood, it was about how “Bodily Harm” reads a bit like a text adventure video game — set on a small island, and with a protagonist who’s unable to really shift the main plot from its inevitable progression — which is kinda cool. With LeGuin, it was about the computer intelligence in “Always Coming Home”, and whether or not it was a copout to offload the idea of discovery and progress to a non-human outlet like that. I still think that both of these are at least slightly interesting points, but I can certainly see how they deal with enough annoying, preening little nerdboys, and it’s not worth their time to give a whole lot of benefit of the doubt in that regard.

      • Gregor Sansa

        Actually, I think that Atwood thought that I wanted to make “Bodily harm!!!! The video game!!” and somehow put her name on it. Which would be … slightly unfaithful to the source material.

  • Aaron Evan Baker

    Jennifer Lawrence not feminine? Has he seen American Hustle?

    • DAS

      And what’s wrong with women having strong muscles? As a straight male, I appreciate a woman who is physically strong: it makes for better back massages, etc. … with an emphasis on the etc.

    • N__B

      Don’t put the MRA douchebags in the science oven!

      • ROFL. OMG…”science oven.”*wipes tears of laughter*

        I went to see the movie with my MIL. We were ROLLING.

        • N__B

          I don’t know and am too lazy to look up where Ms. Lawrence is from, but that was a pitch-perfect Queens/Nassau accent. I grew up surrounded by people who sounded exactly like that. Mrs__B was laughing at that scene, too, but she didn’t quite get why I was gasping for air.

          • DAS

            Wikipedia says Kentucky

        • Barry Freed

          I want to thank you again for that wonderful review you did back in January. I’d never have gone to see it in the theater otherwise and I’m so glad I did. The first thing I wanted to do when it was over was go right back in and watch it again.

      • Hogan

        Can’t tell ME what to do.

        • N__B

          You want to scrape gobbets of MRA off your kitchen ceiling? Go right ahead.

          • Hogan

            It’s raining men! Halleluia!

      • wjts

        It’s OK – they’re made of meat, not metal. They can go in the science oven.

        • fidelio

          You’ll need to prick holes in them, just like you would if you were doing a baked potato.

  • Science fiction is to literature

    as

    Country music is to opera

    • ajay

      Science fiction is to literature

      as

      Country music is to opera

      One is an immensely popular, widespread, vibrant and successful art form which has existed for centuries, and has had tremendous cultural influence to the point where it and its descendants basically dominate the market (assuming here that, roughly speaking, rock music’s parents are R&B and country).

      The other is a niche interest which has advanced intellectually or artistically little if at all in the last hundred years – its greatest proponents are decades or centuries dead – and survives today only thanks to large state subsidies and the efforts of a small and devoted band of fans, mostly at universities.

      Sounds about right.

      • Lee Rudolph

        Hey! What about Einstein in a Pickup-Truck???

      • Origami Isopod

        Note that in both cases, as the latter have been enshrined as Culture That Is Good For You (Unlike All That Vulgar Pop Music And “Genre” Fiction) And In Which You Really Should Partake In Order To Signal Your Class Status, interest therein has proportionately declined.

      • Karen

        I love opera, but I find its partisans have a lot in common with a certain obnoxious flavor of religious believer, in that they don’t love the art form as much as they love making other people feel bad for not liking the art form.

        • Origami Isopod

          I know one opera and classical fan who is also a metalhead. Apparently the genres have commonalities of structure, though I know nothing of music theory and therefore cannot articulate them other than “kind of bombastic.”

          That said, yeah, the problem with opera isn’t opera itself but its fanbase. I guess you could say the same for Serious Literature, although given some of the pretentious shite that gets cranked out I feel much less generous toward it overall.

    • Origami Isopod

      Thank you for demonstrating your asinine snobbery in two different arenas, I guess.

    • I think you want

      sci fi : literature :: country music : music.

      Otherwise you’re saying that country music is a subset of opera and that’s just dumb.

      • delurking

        I think Los Gatos is saying it knows nothing about literature.

        But thanks for playing!

    • Fuck you, jackass.

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