It’s time to get back to reading Hugo finalists and ignoring the Gallogate and anti-Tor e-mailstravaganza mess that I wrote about yesterday and commented on in a couple of places. I doubt there’s anything more I can do on that front than voice my opinions and hope for the best (that is, Tor and Macmillan shrugging and getting back to whatever they were doing).
A few people were pissed off and tried to convince me I was wrong. Some of them, such as Jared Anjewierden and Cedar Sanderson had, I think, something worthwhile to say, too.
Cedar Sanderson is also one of the Hugo Fan Writer finalists, and, as fate would have it, she’s next on my list.
Cedar Sanderson is the third member of the Mad Genius Club in this category, and she has produced what is probably the single best blog post in the voters packet I’ve read so far that has actually something do with SFF. In it, she ponders the shortcomings of generic fantasy on the lines of Diana Wynne Jones’ Tough Guide to Fantasyland which is a book I should probably read sometime. The text would be stronger if Sanderson had gone into specifics and given some more concrete examples of bad fantasy, but it’s not bad as is.
The other texts are standard Mad Genius Club fare: an anti-feminist manifesto with babble about minorities-du-jour, a post about (other people’s) confirmation bias and a defence of ESA astrophysicist Matt Taylor who infamously gave an interview wearing what Wikipedia calls “a shirt depicting scantily-clad cartoon women with firearms”. Sanderson tells us she bought two in solidarity with Taylor. “Who will stand with me for individuality, and freedom of expression?” she asks in the post, while now six months later her opinion seems to be that freedom of expression doesn’t necessarily apply to people employed by Tor.
As in all feminism-related stuff coming from the Puppy candidates, it’s bewildering how hard it is for them to imagine that maybe, just maybe, the things Sanderson reports — female writers not taken seriously, few women in science etc. — are actually produced by norms of the society, cultural practices and the like, not by some magical essentialist female-ness. Well, to be fair, she lays the blame for female writers’ problems also on the feminists’ doorstep. You see, male readers get suspicious with strong female characters and don’t read books that feature them because message fiction has made them mistrust such protagonists. Sigh.