Scalzi enters a defense

After minimizing and denigrating the science fiction canon that he has, perhaps more than any other author, personally degraded and defiled, John Scalzi offers a feeble defense:

The dimwitted bigot brigade finally came across my piece about the Science Fiction canon from a couple of weeks ago and had a predictable spasm about it, asserting how it was evidence that (I’m paraphrasing from various sources, here) a) science fiction and fantasy was dying, b) traditional publishing (the sf/f parts of it anyway) is dying too, c) I’m responsible in some measure for a) and b), despite d) the fact that apparently I don’t actually sell and/or only sell through byzantine sleight of hand by the publishing industry for reasons and also e) I suck, f) which is why I don’t want people to read older works because then they would realize that, and while we’re at it g) modern sf/f is infested with terrible work from people who aren’t straight white dudes, h) which I, a straight white dude, am also somehow responsible for, and so in short, i) everything is my fault, and j) I am simultaneously a nobody and also history’s worst monster.

It’s a lot! I think it must be tiring to be a dimwitted bigot, thinking about me.

In fact it’s been a pretty solid year so far for traditionally-published science fiction and fantasy. in terms of sales.

For once, I don’t think McRapey is lying, I think he’s just ignorant and ill-informed. In publishing terms, “a solid year” means growth of 5 to 10 percent. For example, Publisher’s Weekly described general nonfiction as having had a solid year in 2019: “General nonfiction also had a solid year, with print units ahead 8.8{fb585635b9f6189e33442b25caac15ec2544d7054f182b4f92840c6cee65accd}.”

Science fiction, not so much.

Print unit sales in adult fiction fell again in 2019, though at a slower rate than in 2018, when units dropped 4.6{fb585635b9f6189e33442b25caac15ec2544d7054f182b4f92840c6cee65accd}…. Science fiction had the largest decline among the adult fiction genres, with units down 19.7{fb585635b9f6189e33442b25caac15ec2544d7054f182b4f92840c6cee65accd}.

A 20 percent decline is not “a solid year” for the genre, it is approaching catastrophe. Now, you might suggest that he’s referring to 2020, which would be an interesting trick considering the fact there are no substantive statistics reported on the various market segments yet. And while unit sales of print books in the first half of 2020 were up 2.8{fb585635b9f6189e33442b25caac15ec2544d7054f182b4f92840c6cee65accd} over the same period in 2019, most of that increase appears to be in the children’s nonfiction category since parents were having to school their children at home during the lockdown.

Anyhow, by this point it should be clear that while Scalzi is an expert at conning publishers and snowing SJWs, he’s not exactly a reliable source on the business of selling books or running a business.