New year, old tricks. I plan to read and review all Hugo finalists, but we’ll see if that is doable. The Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Cat Family is going to grow this summer by one more spacefaring kitten, so my paws might be full of associated dirty work. At least few reviews will be incoming, though, and here’s the first one.
I’m going to start with the nastiest ones so that I can get them out of my system and have a better time later on in the Hugo season. First, I’ll delve into “Safe Space as Rape Room” by Daniel Eness.
Category: Related work
Slate: Rabid Puppies
Published in: Castalia House Blog
Eness’s five-part essay was published in the blog of Castalia House, the small press publishing company owned by the career troll Theodore “Vox Day” Beale who managed to bomb this year’s Hugo ballot. Beale’s cunning plan for this year: accusing the organized SFF fandom of SJWism and liberal leftism is not enough, so let’s mix together half-truths and obvious lies to prove that they are also pedophiles.
That’s the brief that he gave to Daniel Eness — if, in fact, there is a Daniel Eness. The guy doesn’t seem to have much of a web presence.
Some person with the same name has published a few short stories, but I don’t know if it’s the same dude. (Yes, it is.) Frankly, it doesn’t matter if the essay was ghost-written by Beale himself. We can read it and see if it’s worth something or not. By now, I’m pretty sure everybody can see that my opinion is the latter one.
The essay summarizes in a couple of paragraphs the well-known criminal cases of science fiction fan Walter Breen, Dragon*Con founder and editor Ed Kramer and horror movie director Victor Salva who have been in prison (or, in Kramer’s case, house arrest) for molesting children. Breen’s wife, the fantasy author Marion Zimmer Bradley, died before her victims could get her convicted. In addition, Isaac Asimov’s son David Asimov was sentenced to home detention for possessing child pornography.
These are the facts. Based on them, Eness draws the conclusion that science fiction community is full of child molesting monsters.
The half-truths start with the discussion of writer Arthur C. Clarke who was accused of pedophilia in a newspaper article once. As far as I know, he was cleared in a police investigation.
Eness goes on to present list of “enablers” who are on record for saying that they believe Ed Kramer was not treated right in jail during the years that he had to wait for the trial. Defending a suspected predator does sound bad, because molesting children is one of the most horrible crimes one can think of, but none of these people say anything that would make them “pedophilia-apologists”, as Eness calls them.
Eness’s next target is John Scalzi whose crime was to not expel Kramer while he was the president of Science Fiction Writers of America. In the grand tradition of Beale’s anti-Scalzi troll attacks, Eness claims that Scalzi has admitted he is a rapist (which is a lie). He also suggests that because Scalzi didn’t mention children when he vocally demanded that conventions have policies against harassment of women, LGBTIQ people or people of color, his safe space policies “endorse and enable adult-child relationships” (which is, well, ridiculous).
After Scalzi, Eness bashes the writer Samuel R. Delany who has occasionally said some positive things about NAMBLA, The North American Man/Boy Love Association. Everyone who is interested in the details, should probably go on and read Delany’s correspondence with Will Shetterly in which the SFWA Grand Master discusses his own sexual encounters as a child. It is incredibly hard to agree with Delany on a number of things, but the exchange is interesting.
When it comes to Delany, Eness’s chosen tactic for exposing the pro-pedophilic attitudes in SFF community is cutting and pasting quotes by known SFF figures (Cat Rambo, Jo Walton, Gardner Dozois…) about Delany’s work. The quotes that praise Babel-17, Nova, Dhalgren and his other seminal works are then juxtaposed with violently pornographic excerpts from the novel Hogg. The logic of the piece is, again, fairly ridiculous.
To sum it up, Eness’s essay offers the same basic information about Breen, Zimmer Bradley et al that has been covered much better elsewhere. On top of that, he fabricates a shitload of funny evidence against Scalzi and Delany (and others Beale has a hate-boner for) who have nothing to do with the actual crimes that have taken place. Even though the topic is important and all sorts of harassment in SFF community should be discussed and brought to light, the essay is extremely worthless. Considering the way it suggests that fighting the harassment of women and minorities would enable pedophilia, it is not only worthless but also evil.
As I’ve suggested before, this piece shouldn’t be on the voter packet and Midamericon II should publicly address the fact that most of its accusations are lies. “Safe Space as Rape Room” doesn’t deserve anybody’s attention (and much less anybody’s Hugo votes), but I decided to discuss it here because everybody who wants to take a look can easily find it online and it’s probably good to have other viewpoints available.
I won’t link to it, but in case you doubt something I’ve written here, you don’t have to take my word for it. Google it and see for yourself if it’s a worthy Hugo finalist.
Extradimensional, Happy Score: 0/10