Friday, July 09, 2021

Recent History

      Tamara stumbled onto one person's effort at making sense of science fiction fandom's "Sad Puppies" mutual shoelace-flailing.  She mentioned it to me and I had to go have a look.

      Since "the Puppy thing" was the proximate cause of the abrupt and steep decline of any interest I had in science fiction fandom, and a corresponding though less intense drop in the amount of writing I was doing in my own fictional universe, I kinda had to start reading it.  Maybe I can lay some of my own upset to rest.

      While a particular kind of Left/Right divide with each side viewing the other in alarmed horror has existed in fandom since at least the first Worldcon -- and you can barely find a report that isn't filtered through the politics of the person writing it up -- the "Puppy" mess was especially ugly and everyone was expected to choose a side.  Despite science fiction already being a literary outcast, and fans especially so, you were expected to love Heinlein and loathe LeGuin, or vice-versa, and so on right down the line.

      I have too many books, in too wide an assortment, to start sortin' 'em out by who I think the author might've voted for (and in the case of Heinlein, do I stick his early stuff with the Lefties and the later stuff on the Right?  The man worked on Upton Sinclair's EPIC, after all).  I'll read most anyone who writes well, without paying a whole lot of attention to their politics unless it gets in the way of the story.

      Being told I had to pick a side didn't sit well with me.  I dropped friendships and took a couple of big steps back.  I have never recovered the momentum I had -- and that's on me; I got discouraged too easily.

      If I can get more interested again, maybe it'd be easier to do more writing.

     No links; I'm not bringing this monster into my own comments section.


Antibubba said...

I, for one, would like you to write again.

Mike V said...

It’s sad how adults can revert to acting like 10 years olds so quickly. I makes me think there is a lot of truth in the Jimmy Buffett song “I’m growing older, but not up.” And I’m no better at times when it’s my scared cow being gored.

RandyGC said...

Another annoying aspect of this is that some people automatically place you into a category based on your tastes in reading.

I enjoy reading most of Heinlein but found the first novel by LeGuin such a slow slog that I never bothered to read any of the rest of her stuff. My choice wasn't based on politics, but on what I enjoyed. But politics is so central to some folk's worldview they can't accept that.

Of course, if enjoying Heinlein makes be a right wing extremist, what does my equal enjoyment of Eric Flint's stuff make me?

Rick T said...

I've been reading SF for a long time, including having a subscription to Analog for years. I was a regular at Dangerous Visions bookstore in Sherman Oaks so I met a lot of the Big Names over the years. Niven, Pournelle, Ellison, Spinrad, McCaffery at signings or just when the local writers wandered in to see Lydia.

I stopped paying attention to the Hugos around the time I noticed Asimov's Magazine had a lock on awards for short fiction and I thought the Hugo winners themselves were pretty weak. Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies removed the mystique on the award and really showed how it is effectively the property of a specific clique to be awarded at their whim.

I read good SF from authors on both sides of SP/RP, the antics of Worldcon and the awards committee didn't change my buying habits. Marko? Yes, he writes good MilSF. I will buy his books as soon as they are released GRRM? No, but I haven't bought anything of his since Sandkings and Storms of Windhaven. Not my cup of tea. Scalzi? Maybe. He seems to have burned out after Redshirts.

I have a slot in my library waiting for your next book.