Editor in Chief, Jason Rennie was interviewed on the uprising review podcast the other day, where he talks about superversive press, superversive upcoming projects and a collection of random sci fi things.
You can listen to the interview here.
Before you seek to lynch me, let me clarify the title slightly. Not all female SF writers are bad and I work with a number of very talented ones. What I am wondering is, why do places like Escape Pod and others think they are so dreadful?
Jon Del Arroz has been doing some interesting investigative journalism and has discovered that the long running Science Fiction podcast Escape Pod has a policy of giving preference to female writers over male ones. There is also the phenomena of regular anthologies and magazine issues that are women authors only (or some other “minority”).
The question I have about all this is, Why? Are female writers of science fiction really so terribly unreadable that they can’t actually get published without needing to rely on someone taking pity on them? The long history of science fiction publishing would suggest otherwise with many female authors writing under male pseudonyms and have successful careers, not to mention the large number of female authors who do just fine without needing one. I’ve bought stories as editor of Sci Phi Journal and as editor of Astounding Frontiers. The last thing I care about when purchasing stories is the sex of the writer, all that matters is that the story is good.
Usually when I say things like this someone will articulate concepts like “structural oppression”, “unconscious misogyny” or some other political buzz phrase to excuse why they need to make excuses for bad female writing but I find this unconvincing. The reality that a woman can submit under an obviously male pseudonym means that the barrier doesn’t really exist, they can always bypass the gate keeper (if he exists) in such a fashion. Is there any research today that shows a large number of stories submitted to different magazines using different names of both sexes, that get accepted at different rates based on the sex of the author? I realise such research would be difficult to conduct because you can’t just submit the same story to the same editor with different pseudonyms and expect a useful result, but the same author (or group of authors) could easily submit under many different names, a large number of different stories, and then get some statistically useful results. At least then there would be evidence of this bias should it exist.
My guess is that they would discover that female writers get bought more often than male authors in certain markets and in other markets there would be no meaningful difference. They did a similar experiment in Australia where they degendered resumes and used voice disguising technology to conduct candidate interviews. In such environments the men did better than the women, and in a sexed environment they actually did worse. They ended up needing to discontinue the practice because it got the “wrong” answer.
So what is the answer? Should places like Escape Pod be giving women a helping hand when buying stories? Such a patronising practice is not going to do the women authors any real favours. A publishing credit with Escape Pod for a woman will now unavoidably seen as some sort of participation prize for a crappy author. Who can have any idea how good an female author is, if when she is published in Escape Pod the bar has been artificially lowered? Maybe she is a good writer but there is no way to tell because it isn’t a level playing field.
At Superversive Press, we have published the wonderful Dystopian story, The Product by Marina Fontaine. Why did we publish it? Because it is a great story of the struggle for freedom in a nightmare future. Read it today and see what a good lady SF writer looks like. Marina has no need of an artificial helping hand because she is talented and I would never want to suggest she was a lesser writer that needed such a leg up.
The real solution to the “problem” of “under representation” is not to lower the bar for crappy author but to encourage them to become better writers and to encourage them to persevere in the face of setbacks. Ladies if you want to succeed, then suck less and persevere more. It really is that simple.
I was there this year at the the second annual Dragon Award. It was not a very large crowd – partly, I believe, because both Jim Butcher and John Ringo were scheduled on panels at that same hour. I’m sure all their fans were at those panels instead, and maybe not even aware of the awards. Poor planning, but hopefully that will be corrected in the future.
However, it was a happy crowd of both fans and a handful of the nominees that were able to attend. We had wonderful presenters, including the late Jerry Pournelle. The winners were announced, with applause each time. There was no booing, nor no-awarding, and not a single wooden asterix in site. And while none of the people I knew personally won an award this year, there was no real sense of loss. For all those who won are excellent at their craft, entertain their large audience, and by the vote of the fans, were made winners.
The Dragon Award really is a fan award, straightforward and fun. Over 8,000 people voted this year, almost twice as much as last year! My hope is someday that number will double, then triple! And keep on growing, drawing in more fans, and sharing the fun of good, fan-loved, science fiction and fantasy! Til someday that auditorium is packed, and the teardrop of fire is seen as a great achievement, and gift from your fans.
I had a great time, and can’t wait to see what the next year brings. I have the list of the winners for the 2017 Dragon Award. But first, as is my custom as the official dancing girl of SVSF, I have another VICTORY DANCE!
Best Science Fiction Novel
Babylon’s Ashes, by James S.A. Corey
Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)
Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge, by Larry Correia and John Ringo
Best Young Adult / Middle-Grade Novel
The Hammer of Thor, by Rick Riordan
Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
Iron Dragoons, by Richard Fox
Best Alternate History Novel
Fallout: The Hot War, by Harry Turtledove
Best Apocalyptic Novel
Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow
Best Horror Novel
The Changeling, by Victor LaValle
Best Comic Book
The Dresden Files: Dog Men, by Jim Butcher, Mark Powers, Diego Galindo
Best Graphic Novel
Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Wild Card, by Jim Butcher, Carlos Gomez
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series
Stranger Things, by Netflix
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
Wonder Woman directed, by Patty Jenkins
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, by Nintendo
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game
Pokemon GO, by Niantic
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game
Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk, by Avalon Hill
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game
Magic the Gathering: Eldritch Moon, by Wizards of the Coast
Great winners, all. Can’t wait for next year!
The Dragon Awards got handed out at Dragon Con this past weekend. Several other contributors here were present, and some had works up for an award. Before I get to the point, this: congratulations to all of you, gracious in both victory and in defeat.
For years we’ve had the so-called “Secret Masters of Fandom”, centered around WorldCon, claim that the Hugos were the voice of the fandom. (Or “Fandom”) Their subversive, corrosive, and dyscivic output of propaganda disguised as literature has now had the last of its illusions dispelled. The Dragon Awards clearly demonstrate what the world’s fans in their respective categories regard as the best in SF/F/Horror for the year- and, again, it is not what the subversives of WorldCon want us to believe.
That these cliquish, holier-than-thou, obnoxious, reactionary fanatics (“CHORF” for short) with their delusions of grandeur got repulsed for the second year running (when they didn’t quit the field pre-emptively) and repulsed so soundly that no one noted their absence until after the fact shows clearly what Brian Niemeier pointed out the other day at his blog:
Luckily, the final decision still lay with the vast legions of science fiction and fantasy fans. Shutting out the CHORFs was the only way to reverse the inroads they’d made and safeguard the Dragon Awards from political meddling.
And you guys came through with flying colors!
Take a look at that list of winners again. It’s wall-to-wall best sellers and fan favorites. In short, the most popular nominees won the popularity contest. The process worked!
For those pursuing the restoration of the Superversive, this is a fantastic sign. The audience has not abandoned the Superversive. Indeed, it hungers for it and wants more. Sure, there’s competition and not of of that is Superversive, but we aren’t shying away from that.
Now is the time to join the fray. Get in that seat, take to the skies, form up on the wing, and dive into the furball. We got a big win, and the enemy still doesn’t realize that it’s badly damaged and leaking fuel. Once they realize what’s really going on, it’ll be too late and the entire fortress of foulness will fall from the sky, hit the ground with a terrible crash, and immolate itself in the explosion.
The future belongs to those that show up and stand for what is true and beautiful. That’s the Superversive.
So after the long flight from Sydney I can report that the first day at Dragon Con was a blast and I got to meet many of the people i’ve only ever chatted to via email. It was great to L. Jagi Lamplighter, April Freeman, Peirce Okuna, Declan Finn, Dawn Witzke, Ben Zwycky, Marina Fontain and J. Alfred Goodwin in the flesh.
We kicked off the day seeing Marina Fontaine do her first panel appearance on Dystopias and she put on a great show with her co-panelists despite my best efforts to make her nervous beforehand.
After that we wandered around, I got to see Bill, Frank and Trace of Mystery Science Theatere 3000 fame do a panel. I didn’t make it to any other panels that day although I did play Alien Frontiers (This is one of my favourite games, although we call it Space Yahtzee).
I also got to meet Larry Correia which was great when he was doing a book signing. I thought we were going to have to sedate April. After that we went on to dinner and finished at the night with an space improve with Larry Correia, Chuck Gannon and others and it was a blast.
There is also a plan to do a post Dragon Award live stream to discuss the results, more details to follow when we have an exact time sorted out.
Here are some pictures I took today, I promise to take many more tomorrow. Some fun cosplayers, me and Larry and Ben, The Wright Boys and myself playing Astounding Frontiers.
Is this a sign of the times of the divisive legacy that Barrack Obama left us?
(San Francisco) Hispanic novelist Jon Del Arroz receives threats of being “shooed out of the country” by alt-left internet trolls after writing a daring column for The Federalist about blackballing practices in the comic book industry. Obama supporter and white male Daniel Lee Brandt, from flyover state Indiana, sent further microaggressions by typing in all caps to him.
The situation was further amplified by blonde, white male and alt-left troll C. Thomas Hand, former RPG writer of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG aggressing toward Mr. Del Arroz with devastatingly racist bullying words such as “F- off” and seemingly considering HIspanics “generally horrible people.”
President Barrack Obama’s supporters have become increasingly hostile to minorities like Mr. Del Arroz since his frightening 2008 rallies, which have been likened to the kind that Hitler held. Mr. Obama so far has refused to disavow these supporters.
When will the madness end and what do we make of the silence of the left in the face of this excrebale behavior on the part of their members?
There is a fuss going on at the moment with author Monica Valentinelli pulling out of Odyssey Con two weeks before the Con is scheduled to happen because of she feels “unsafe” around former Tor editor Jim Frenkel. According to reports at File 770 she made mention of this a while ago to the Con organisers and then she assumed her accusation and “unsafeness” would suffice to have Jim banished from anything relating to Odyssey Con. The kerfuffle stems from Monica’s discovery that Jim was still involved and hadn’t been banished with her magical imprecation.
Now this strikes me as incredibly poor form by Ms Valentinelli to dump Odyssey Con into this predicament 2 weeks out. Especially as they offered to remove Jim from any panels she was also on and otherwise make sure she didn’t have to interact with him and her feelz would be protected. Apparently this was insufficient fawning on the Con’s part.
What I am wondering though is, has Monica considered the wider implications of this sort of diva behaviour? If you were organising a Con would you invite her as Guest of Honour? I wouldn’t given this is her idea of professional behaviour. More than that, this will likely cause any rational Con organiser, even if only unconsciously, to be less willing to invite any women as Guest of Honour. Who wants the headache of someone flaking at the last second because they have decided their feelings of “unsafeness” trump any consideration of professional behaviour or the enormous problems it will cause other people? Monica in her betrayal of the trust shown in her has made it harder for women everywhere. What if a guest you have invited and planned for decides to “Pull a Valentinelli” at the last second? I suppose it isn’t fair to generalise this to all female authors, as much as it would be more reasonable to generalise this to any sort of grievance peddling group instead.
The people I feel most sorry for are the Jagi Lamplighters, Sarah Hoyt’s and other female authors of the world who are actual professionals and would never engage in this sort of childish tantrum, but whose prospects are damaged by one ridiculous drama queen and idiots who are enabling her behaviour.