Kittens Will Prevail

The culture war in science fiction and fantasy fandom is practically over before it even began — and it sure was the lamest war ever. The thing that has been clear for everybody except the Sad Kennelkeepers is that an overwhelming majority of SFF fans, authors and editors are and have always been liberal, in the broad sense of the word.

Yes, a huge part of fandom consists of unpolitical SFF enthusiasts who may from time to time sneer at pro-diversity people who suggest things they find a bit hardline, such as not reading books by straight white males for a year or something, but they’re still open-minded and tolerant. And sure, there are political conservatives in SFF too, but very few of them are interested in really taking any part in the culture war project lead by Larry Correia, Brad R. Torgersen and Vox Day/Theodore Beale, because they’re aficionados first and political activists second or third (and they, too, are mostly open-minded and tolerant). Importing the culture war dynamic somewhere where the other side is missing is not going to end well.

Consider their latest scheme to cause damage for Happy Kittens in the SFF publishing scene: Vox Day, with the help from Peter Grant, Cedar Sanderson and other Sad Puppy figures, has been beating Puppy followers to a rage against Tor Books (which actually publishes all kinds of SFF but never mind that) for a whole week, one outraged blog post after another. The boycott has officially now started, but all they could get summoned up seem to be less than 250 tweets with the #OpTorDrop handle. In comparison, there have been more than 1,100 tweets with #TheTorYouKnow supporting Tor against this idiocy.

I think Vox Day claimed that he and Grant have made over 700 people pester Tor with angry emails demanding resignations or other measures, but his relationship with hard facts has not been too solid before, to put it mildly, so a critical attitude may be needed with that one. If only 200+ can be bothered with writing a tweet (or retweeting one), how many of them can really come up with a whole email? In order to give some perspective to those figures, the Worldcon membership is now around 9,500. Even 700 people would be an insignificant minority. Compared with the general SFF readership, it’s absolutely nothing.

Strategically, Vox Day has played well, of course. He asked people to cc him, so he can now contact the hardcore discontents directly with his next marching orders. I guess we’ll learn soon enough what they will be, but the most rational response, I think, will be not paying too much attention to his shenanigans. He is a loud but unimportant troublemaker who tries very hard to become a supervillain of note. His own “publishing house” is nowhere near being a serious player in the SFF landscape, even though he did managed to game the nominations and put some works on the ballot.

Brad R. Torgersen and Larry Correia are not doing much better in the culture war trenches. Their arguments have been repeatedly taken apart by writers like George R.R. Martin and Eric Flint, and they have failed to respond to even the simplest challenge about the premise that all their claims are built upon: where’s the list of Hugo-winning works that “foreground a left message to the extent that the story is ruined or misshaped”? Nowhere, because anybody who tries to deliver such a list will probably make a fool of him/herself. Unspecified claims with no tangible proof are much easier to throw around.

I find it inevitable that Kittens will prevail. The diversity in the genre has been slowly increasing during the past years, and there will be more of it in future SFF. What’s more, there will be more of it everywhere in the mainstream culture. It will not increase as fast as I and many others would like, but that’s the direction that the cultural shift is going to take, no question about it. What we’re seeing are the last tantrums of last hardcore conservatives who have practically lost it already. The Hugo rules will be changed, and there will be no sweeps after next year (if they bother to do it even then). John Scalzi will be rich as a Nazi (I don’t care about that myself, but it seems to be a big deal for Vox Day).

What’s the worst that can happen in the process? A few Hugo statues going to works that are not first-class SFF and/or were put on the ballot by questionable means? A few Internet trolls trolling? So what? Life goes on.

10 thoughts on “Kittens Will Prevail

  1. Pingback: The Scarlet Litter 6/21 | File 770

  2. Petra

    Whenever I get worked up enough to write something on Puppygate, someone, often you, says what I was thinking so much better. Thanks!


  3. aeou

    I have been reading Vox Populi for 2-4 years. I have never caught VD with a plain, wrong, fact. What you and I consider facts might differ but you are not going to find any broken logic or any obviously untrue facts. Evolution would be a theory not fact but the temperature of the day would. If you find he is wrong about facts: tell him.

    Your header image is very good. I had to grudgingly smile.


    1. spacefaringkitten Post author

      Well, Day goes aroung accusing Scalzi of being a rapist, doesn’t he? When he was still commenting in File770, he made a lot of statements that were clearly false, but I don’t have a good example here at hand. I regard evolution as a fact, though.


  4. aeou

    “Well, Day goes aroung accusing Scalzi of being a rapist, doesn’t he? When he was still commenting in File770, he made a lot of statements that were clearly false, but I don’t have a good example here at hand. I regard evolution as a fact, though.

    Nowhere have I promised tolerance, inclusion or freedom of censorship for people wishing to comment here.”

    It is a fact from Scalzi’s own pen unless he is a liar and what creepy bastard would put himself in the mind of a rapist?. That would go under perfect rhetoric but it is defensible as fact. Which is why VD repeats it. Come on.

    I regard evolution as theoretically a theory but in practice a fact. VD is one of them pro microevolution evolution deniers. I’m guessing he splits hairs right down onto the bedrock of philosophy and I am not inclined and probably not capable enough to follow.

    Good, good and the censorship was for you, not the commenters but if you decline, good.



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