Lamenting the rise of increasingly vocal women and minorities

Huh. It turns out that some guys in the science fiction community are still not happy that women and minorities in that same community won’t stfu.

Just when readers thought the dust had settled on last week’s debate about “political correctness” in sci-fi publishing, a group of highly influential writers spent the past few days lamenting the rise of increasingly vocal women and minorities in their community. The discussion happened on a list-serv thread where the participants apparently thought no one would notice them—at leastuntil they remembered all their posts were public.

Predictably, a new Tumblr is posting excerpts from the conversation, presumably as a way of highlighting just how real the problems with sexism and discrimination in speculative publishing really are. And spoiler alert: It’s not pretty.

It never is.

This isn’t a new debate. Last year the editor of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) newsletter resigned over widespread allegations of sexism. From numerous harassment incidents at sci-fi cons, to a systemic lack of diversity, to major uphill battles for women and writers of color for representation in all areas of the sci-fi publishing industry, tensions between the “old guard” of white male sci-fi publishing and the new diverse community who wants more progressive media are rapidly coming to a boil.

The new thread offers a glimpse into how systemic the divide really is. Fodera is the associate director of contracts for Macmillan, one of the industry’s largest publishers. He calls Kowal, who is a Hugo-award-winning author, “an unperson… no one you should have heard of.”

Gosh, what a pro.


  1. MyaR says

    Apparently, by removing the names of the people quoted, the quoter is… committing libel. Also, they don’t seem to realize that one doesn’t have to be a member to read what they’re writing. I mean, I’m not a member and I could see what they wrote.

    Also, “context! they left it out when they quoted an entire paragraph!” Yes, context is critical to understanding, but what context is needed to understand calling someone an unperson? You’ve called them an unperson, what context makes that ok, aside from their being a zombie?

  2. Jenora Feuer says

    Stephanie’s thread on the issue parallels just how similar this whole mess is to Watson Derangement Syndrome. It also has the main block of comments marked with [all links go to the page on which the excerpt appears; wouldn’t want anything to be out of context]. Because, as MyaR notes, you just know the first reaction of someone being called out and quoted on crap will be to complain about the quotes being taken out of context…

  3. Donnie says

    Someone bored the Li k. Need to remove the which at the end. Funny and classic. Insect Army, hooooo!

  4. Ken At Popehat says

    I printed out Trebuchet’s comment and showed it to my wife. It impressed her so much she rolled her eyes in admiration.

  5. theoreticalgrrrl says

    Can we please stop with the stupid term “political correctness” already? So sick of it.

  6. Athywren says

    Can we please stop with the stupid term “political correctness” already? So sick of it.

    Agreed. I vote we replace it with “factual correctness,” since that’s what really matters.

    I wish sci-fi guys would stop whining about non-whiteguy people invading our safe space (because we need a place to be safe from girls and their cooties, y’see). Partially because it’s embarrassing, partially because they’ve ALWAYS been there, and just want a voice… but mostly because I can’t help but feel as if sci-fi that embraced a diverse world would be somehow improved.
    The Vulcans have a term for it. It’s something very important to them, practically a religious idea – IDIC, “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.” I don’t understand why we’re disagreeing with the Vulcans on this… not a very logical stance, that.

  7. quixote says

    Oh fergawdsake. Is SFWA still at it?

    I used to be the most minor kind of member. The majority of us were necessarily always one step away from being failed writers which leads to the usual desperate insistence on one’s own superiority that is also such a notable feature of academe (for the same reasons). Anyway, somebody started a mentoring group for new writers. The result? A bunch of Old Members jeered, said SFWA was for PROFESSIONALS (sorry, but the way they insisted on it, it was in all caps), and got the little project shut down.

    I am not making this up. I couldn’t believe it at the time. I wrote some letters of protest. Some other people wrote letters of protest. And that was that. Then there was some kind of sexist BS, I don’t even remember what anymore. Then they started railing against the evils of creative commons and all this newfangled giving-it-away-for-free on the intertoobz. (These a science fiction writers. They specialize in being at home in strange new worlds. Right?) And then Harlan Ellison decided it would be funny to make a grab at Connie Willis’s breast when she was receiving her umpteenth Nebula award or whatever it was and SFWA didn’t kick him out or even express disapproval. That was when I stopped being a member. It sounds like they’ve barely budged in the meantime.

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