Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Remora’s Worst Mistake

     Before I attack today’s subject with my leaden rapier, allow me to notify you about a crisis of sorts. Mike Hendrix, the redoubtable master of Cold Fury, is in financial trouble. He’s been hit with a large car repair bill, and as he makes his living with his car – he works for Lyft – that had to come before all else. Unfortunately, Hosting Matters, where his blog is sited, is impatient about his arrears and has suspended his account.

     If you appreciate Mike’s stuff and have the means, please consider sending him a few dollars. His email address is tommygunmike@gmail.com

     A parasitic organism cannot afford to do its host lethal damage. That “should” be “obvious,” but as with many similar propositions, the power of wishful thinking can conceal it from us at the worst possible moments.

     An economic parasite that manages to kill its host will sometimes continue on for a while in seeming independence, but unless it secures a new host in short order, it’s doomed to penury and extinction. This is what appears to be happening in the field of fantasy and science fiction.

     The Phantom sets the stage for us:

     Saw this gem today. Everything wrong with science fiction is John W. Campbell's fault.
     Campbell was basically a racist garbage-person.

     Campbell supported slavery. And segregation. And believed black people were inherently intellectually and culturally inferior to whites. You know that whole, "But how could you possibly expect readers to empathize with a black protagonist?" thing? Something Campbell quite famously told Samuel R. Delany, in quite possibly its first documented incarnation. That whole "I don't care if they're white, black, or polka-dotted" thing white people say when they're trying to pretend they're not being racist? Campbell, while making apologetics for slavery no less, which was something he got up to a lot.

     It goes on and on like that. Campbell was a RAAAACIST!!! Heinlein was a RAAAACIST!!! Asimov, Hubbard, Clarke, all RAAAACISTS!!! Sure, baby. Sure they were.

     If you aren’t familiar with the name John W. Campbell, he was the highly influential editor of the great SF pulps Astounding and Analog for many years. He was personally responsible for mentoring (and bringing to prominence) Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and several other greats of the field. He was politically conservative, as far as I can tell from his editorials. Therefore, the SJWs who now dominate traditional F&SF publishing, professional organizations such as the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), and the Hugo Award-granting World Science Fiction convention hate him with a white hot passion and are determined to make him an unperson.

     They’ve already set to work on Asimov, Heinlein, and other luminaries of the Golden Age, and have substantially scrubbed them from the awareness of younger F&SF readers, so why not Campbell? After vaporizing the great writers of the field, taking down an editor shouldn’t be much of an exercise.

     There’s probably no stopping them from carrying on with their pogrom. What will ultimately stop them is the economic consequence of their campaign. You see, they can’t tell a decent story. The lot of them are slowly discovering that no matter who or how indulgent your publisher is, or how many awards your fellow travelers award you, if you can’t or won’t entertain the reader, giving him at least some of what he reads F&SF for, he won’t be back.

     It’s not really about their politics. There’ve been left-wingers in F&SF for half of forever. It’s because along with doing their best to anathematize the old greats, they’ve made political propagandization their one and only aim. Their relentlessness about their politics –especially as regards that contemporary shibboleth “diversity” – has drained the entertainment value from their stories. Were writers in the Right to do likewise, they would be equally unreadable. Heinlein trended that way in his last few years, with the same consequences for the entertainment value of his novels.

     So younger readers are growing ever less inclined to scan the F&SF racks at Barnes & Noble for their entertainment.

     As usual, Sarah Hoyt has a pithy observation about the above:

     The vultures are fighting harder and harder over tinier and tinier scraps. And even they can’t convince themselves that they compare in any way, shape or form to the greats of the genre’s past. Hence the screaming. It’s akin to a child covering his ears and shrieking, so as not to hear the denial of his fantasies.

     Indeed. And you can bet your last dollar that the infighting, the finger pointing, and the recrimination will all get steadily worse as the scraps dwindle in number and size. The SJWs made the parasite's worst possible mistake – they succeeded in capturing SF's traditional publishers, professional groups, and award-granting organizations, and drove out the capable, properly focused writers who kept those organizations worthwhile — and they're paying for it in the most appropriate way.

     The independent writers movement will eventually eclipse traditionally published F&SF. Capable storytellers are available there; these days, I go nowhere else for my entertainment. Yes, it’s necessary to filter out a lot of crap, but indie pricing makes that an endurable undertaking. Moreover, indie writers are gradually adopting practices that make it straightforward to avoid most of the crap without having to pay for it, in particular posting substantial snippets of their books free of charge, just as Amazon has done.

     Meanwhile, the SJWs who’ve colonized and conquered traditional publishing, the Hugo Awards, and the Science Fiction Writers of America have some starving and dying to do. It’s what happens when you kill off your host with your poisonous excretions. They could have learned that by watching the demise of Venezuela, or for that matter the ongoing auto da fe of the Democrat Party, but it appears from here that those examples of their folly were of no interest to them.


jabrwok said...

The SJWs made the parasite's worst possible mistake – they succeeded in capturing SF's traditional publishers, professional groups, and award-granting organizations, and drove out the capable, properly focused writers who kept those organizations worthwhile — and they're paying for it in the most appropriate way.

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy in action.

Roy said...

I have read Isaac Asimov's autobiography "In Memory Yet Green."

He is one of the best SF writers there ever was, but politically, he was about as liberal as it gets.