Disinviting Baen

To the surprise of precisely zero Rabid Puppies, Baen Books shuttering the Bar didn’t suffice to appease the SJW swarmtroopers after Jason Sanford pointed-and-shrieked at it. As an expression of gratitude for cowering before the mob, Worldcon has disinvited its 2021 Guest of Honor, Baen Books publisher Toni Weisskopf:

DisCon III condemns the violent and hostile content found within Baen Books’ forums. We also cannot condone the fact such content was enabled and allowed to ferment for so long. We want to make it clear abusive behavior is not, and will not be, tolerated at DisCon III. Such behavior goes entirely against our already established policies concerning inclusivity and creating a welcoming environment for our members, which can be found here: https://discon3.org/about/inclusion/.

We knew simply saying those words with no actions to back them up would be unacceptable. Too often, we have seen individuals and organizations say they are on the right side of issues yet do nothing to act on those words. We knew we had to take a hard look at our own position and take action based on our established policies.

As a result, after discussion with her, we have notified Toni Weisskopf we are removing her as a Guest of Honor for DisCon III.

We know this decision was not as quick as some of you would have wanted, and we understand your frustration. Our committee’s leadership was always in full agreement that there was a fundamental difference between the values Worldcon strives to uphold and the values allowed to be espoused on the forums-in-question.

In the entire eighty-plus year history of our community, no Worldcon has ever removed someone as a Guest of Honor. To remove a Guest of Honor was an unprecedented decision that needed discussion, consideration, and consensus. Those mechanisms sometimes do not move as fast as some would want, and we thank the community for its patience.

We also want to let everyone know that we are not planning on adding additional individuals to our Guest of Honor list.

In fairness, this almost certainly would have happened anyhow, no matter what Ms Weisskopf did. But demonstrating weakness in front of SJWs is nearly as predictably counterproductive as doing so in front of an angry, snarling dog. And to say that this attempt at public humiliation has angered The International Lord of Hate would be the understatement of the year. SJWs, beware! You may come to regret awakening the Mountain to the true depths of your spite and provoking him to action.

Toni had been participating in WorldCons for decades. She grew up in your scene. She volunteered. She hung out with you. She helped out. When she got into the publishing business she kept on helping out, whatever you needed, she was always there for you. She became an editor, and a damned good one too (and you fucking know it).

In fact, she became one of the best and most successful editors in the history of the genre… yet year after year, she got no prestigious award nomination, and instead you just kept giving the award to the same assholes from the same publishing house, over and over and over, as you ignored Toni because she was at that publishing house. The uncouth one. You talk a big game about “honoring strong women” as you took turns rotating through the same cadre of old white dudes for best editor.

It took me, the barbaric outsider, to rally the barbaric outsider fans to finally get Toni some recognition in your sainted halls. And even though your bleating social justice contingent threw a fit, you know what most of you old time, old school, long attending WorldConners told me in private? Good. About time.

Because even though you hated me and my friends (and trust me, we’re cool with that) you knew that Toni deserved it. Toni had earned it. She had long since put in the work. As George R.R. Martin so haughtily proclaimed when he finally admitted I was right all those years ago, and that Hugos were not for everybody (as long claimed) but rather only for your elite select body of special fans, only people who had served their time deserved your fancy awards. Except by every fucking measure in the universe, Toni had served her time.

Then along came the awards, and you snubbed her. Hell, you didn’t just snub her. They openly mocked her, said all sorts of hateful shit, and you people who claimed to be her friends, you old timers who claimed to be all about the sainted dignity of WorldCon, you sat there, silent and afraid, as they did their little high school mean girl games. Toni got up and left the awards ceremony because she wouldn’t give the sicks fucks the satisfaction of watching her endure it. Unlike you, Toni has dignity.

You fuckers talk a big game about tradition. But then the instant there was heat you crumbled before the woke mob that doesn’t give a shit about your precious traditions either. You even renamed one of your awards just to placate their tantrum.

And when those assholes fucked her over last time, you did nothing. Some of you put up some timid posts, but overall you cowered before the mob you helped create, the same one you mocked me for warning you about. People who claimed to be Toni’s friends sat there, silent, worried that if they did the right thing the mob would come for them next. At least they had the decency to stab her in the front. You stabbed her in the back.

The lesson, as always, is this: no olive branches for SJWs.


Baen under SJW assault

And based on their initial response, it’s not going to go well for them:

Baen Books is a sci-fi/fantasy publishing house that has been around since the early 1980s. They’ve published thousands of titles from hundreds of authors. Baen is notable in our current time period because it is one of the only traditional publishers who does not bend the knee to the woke mob. Our publisher, Toni Weisskopf, truly believes in free speech. Baen’s Bar is one of the oldest forums on the internet. It’s a place for authors and fans to hang out and talk. Today Toni is shutting down the Bar in order to stave off a Parler style cancel culture attack against Baen’s service providers.

Yesterday some nobody, wannabe writer, social justice twit released a hit piece “expose” about how posters on Baen’s Bar were fomenting insurrection or some such nonsense. It was the usual bullshit hit piece (the sad part is, by saying the usual, half the country immediately knows exactly what I’m talking about). It was lots of pearl clutching over regular people not toeing their arbitrary political lines, misquotes, errors, quotes taken out of context, and some flat out lies.

However, this was clearly part of a coordinated attack in order to materially harm our business, because immediately after the hit piece was released complaints were filed with the various internet companies Baen uses for services to pressure them into kicking us off the internet. This hit piece was presented as “evidence”. Without going into details the companies then contacted Baen about these “serious allegations” so last night Baen temporarily took down the Bar forum to protect the rest of the company from being deplatformed.

Castalia is under attack as well, but to say that we’re a) not concerned about it and b) prepared for any resulting conflict is probably unnecessary. The minefields were put in place long ago and we’ve got much bigger targets in our sights.

It is mildly amusing to see the moderates, a few of whom didn’t hesitate to join the SJWs in pointing-and-shrieking at us, now coming under the same sort of attacks that we’ve been weathering for years. I hasten to point out that Larry Correia is most certainly not one of them, as he has always been a stand-up champion of everyone on the Right and he has disdained every invitation to denounce and disavow both the Rabid Puppies and me. He may not embrace the conflict as we do, but he fights. I have nothing but respect and regard for the man, because the Mountain is not my personal army. The VFM are.

But the targeting of Baen is further proof, as if any were needed, that moderation is no refuge from SJW attack. To the contrary, they’ve now become the favored targets due our increasing antifragility and our proven ability to hit them back harder than they ever imagined.

UPDATE: With regards to the inevitable comments about how “Baen should SUE them”, Larry is exactly right. Only an ignoramus who knows nothing about the legal system operates would think that filing a lawsuit is a viable option for Baen at the moment. However, those who are defending Baen’s decision to immediately take down the Baen Bar in response are foolish if they think that it was a “tactical decision”. It wasn’t, it was a plain and simple demonstration of vulnerability that amounts to an apology that almost assures that at least one amenable authority will take a shot at them now that Baen has shown weakness.

The correct strategy is to go private. Require some sort of inexpenive subscription to join the Bar that includes a few ebooks, then deny access to everyone else. It’s much, much harder for SJWs to make a coherent complaint about a private forum, particularly one to which they do not belong.


Put not your trust in men

 Jon Del Arroz contemplates the Culture War Grift

After you’ve been around the block awhile, you see posts of folk complaining about online movements which devolve into meaninglessness.

It’s pretty easy to spot the symptoms at this point to not involve yourself:

  1. Conservatives/Right Wingers are blacklisted/wronged/banned from some industry.
  2. The people react, supporting said right wingers.
  3. People want more — they want an alternative, they look for a leader.
  4. A few semi-celebrity grifters come in, act as leaders to either get themselves awards and/or money.
  5. The grifters bleat endlessly about how the art must be “apolitical”.
  6. The grifters fight the right wingers and wrestle control of the movement, often warning about “extremism on both sides”.
  7. The right wingers get ostracized/blacklisted, thus negating the purpose of the movement to beginwith.
  8. The grifters ride the movement until it dies.
I’m sure you can’t imagine whom he has in mind…. The key for any lasting organization or institution is to keep out the SJWs, which is something neither the grifters nor the wannabees will ever do. Sad Puppies and the Dragon Awards were doomed because they wanted to fix the enemy. The reason our projects continue moving forward – however irritatingly slowly they move – is because we refuse to embrace the apolitical or the irreligious.
Life is a fundamentally spiritual exercise. And those who are playing only for themselves, or worse, for the other side, cannot be allowed on the team.


If you think the Puppies didn’t win

Think again. We said we’d leave a smoking hole behind and that’s precisely what we did. Only it’s turned out to be a smoking, stinking hole.

Look Upon Their Works… and enjoy a hearty laugh at the incestuous wasteland the once-prestigious Hugo Awards have become.

Best Novel

The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com Publishing)
The Light Brigade, by Kameron Hurley (Saga; Angry Robot UK)
A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine (Tor; Tor UK)
Middlegame, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow (Redhook; Orbit UK)

There is a reason these “best novels” can’t scare up an Amazon rank that’s even within amplified shouting distance of the average pulp mil-SF novel. That’s because the Hugos are nothing but fake praise for pseudo-SF SJWage strung together by fatties, trannies, and peoplx of colorx, then published by Tor.

It doesn’t matter how hard the SJWs try to convince you their SJWage is good, people simply aren’t being fooled anymore.

*The Verge’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Book We’re Looking Forward to in 2019
*Amazon’s Best Books February 2019
*Book Riot’s Most Anticipated Books of 2019
*Kirkus Reviews’s 30 Speculative Fiction Books You Should Read in February 2019
*Bookish’s Winter’s 10 Hottest Sci-Fi & Fantasy Reads
*Bookbub’s Best Science Fiction Books Coming Out in 2019
*YA Books Central’s Buzzworthy Books of Winter 2019

Meanwhile, on Amazon: 3.9 out of 5. #71,483 in Books

It’s a sad love story about a woman in love with a terrible person who treats her terribly. Also it’s on an alien planet where it’s always night in one direction, and always day in the other. But if it’s the setting that intrigued you, this book isn’t for you. This is a clumsy slog of a love story, with some themes about doing good in the world.

Imagine that….


Relax, McRapey

John Scalzi looks back over the last ten years of his literary career and devotes nearly one-third of the article – 31.6 percent – to his critics:

Any discussion of my career over the last decade needs to include the antipathy of me by a certain cadre of right-wing SF writers and fans, a group which overlaps (considerably) with the “Sad/Rabid Puppies” who publicly shat themselves so dramatically during the middle bit of the decade with regard to the Hugo Awards and other aspects of the business and community of SF/F literature. I noticed the first real push of the antipathy after Redshirts won the Hugo, and certain dudes suggested that Redshirts won because I had sucked up to the Social Justice Warriors sufficiently, rather than because, say, it was a popular book riffing off a beloved science fiction franchise in a clever and affectionate way, written by a writer who’d been nominated for Best Novel a few times before.

In the full bloom of the Puppy beclownery there was more of the same, a fair amount of snide discussion of my sexuality and gender, and general allegations that my sales numbers were inflated and/or propped up by bulk purchases by my publisher, which, by the way, was doing terribly and would soon be out of business. My personal favorite bit of this was when there was a long discussion about how my 2014 novel Lock In had been a massive sales failure and that Tor was about to drop me as an author; this discussion was happening simultaneously with me negotiating with Tor for my multi-book, multi-year, multimillion-dollar contract (which included not one but two sequels to Lock In). When the contract was announced, the narrative shifted to how much more I would have made self-publishing, and then later how I’d never really make as much money as the public figure of the contract. Which, well, okay, dudes. In time most of them have left off this nonsense, but there are a few of them still out there on this bullshit — why, I was chucklingly misgendered just this week!

What is it about me that bugged and in some cases still bugs these dudes? If you ask them they will give you all sorts of reasons, but having dealt with this nonsense for a better part of a decade I’ll tell you it’s mostly envy, and frustration about the state of their own careers, which they feel should be better because they write the sort of science fiction they’ve always loved and assume others still love as well. And which I also do, so why the hell do I get the big contracts and they’re (mostly) left to scrape by? There has to be something else involved — thus the secret cabal of SJWs, bulk purchases, also I’m gay and/or trans and thus not a man at all, hur hur hur. Add to this the fact that at least a couple of these dudes legit dislike me for other reasons (most of which boil down to the fact they can’t argue their way out of a paper bag and at one point or another I pointed that out to them in public), and some of them just happen to be bigoted as fuck, and you’ve got a fairly toxic mix of resentment and complete bullshit.

This hasn’t affected my career in any meaningful way — see the summary earlier in the piece — but on a personal level it could be tiresome. I’m guilty of taunting some of these dickheads on occasion, because they deserve the taunting and because I know my successes irritate the shit out of them. But mostly I’m glad it’s largely done and over with, save a few stragglers. I think after a certain point it just became difficult to argue that I was a failure, and that their doing so just accentuated their own relative positions, which they preferred not to do. And also, after a certain point you do just have to get on with your life and write your things. To the extent that some of them are doing that, good for them. Those that aren’t, well. Bless your hearts, dudes.

As always, Ol’ Johnny is lying and attempting to retroactively spin the narrative when he thinks no one is going to call him on it. No one was ever saying that he was a failure – quite to the contrary, he is almost certainly science fiction’s most financially successful grifter of the last fifty years.

What we said, and still say to this day, and what we can prove, is that he is a serial liar, a fraud, and a literary mediocrity. That’s all there ever was to it. And the reason no one even bothers to criticize him any more is because it is obvious to everyone that he is over and done. He can relax now. The hounds, like everyone else, have lost interest in him.


Stop whining about Wikipedia, conservatives

And start using Infogalactic:

Last year, Larry Correia fisked a condescending piece of… writing vomited by some screeching social justice simian who got offended because someone shared a meme on the Internet advising poor people to cook at home and instead of buying fast food. Two days later, someone edited Larry’s Wikipedia page so that the very first thing it said was that he was a White Supremacist Author. The page was also edited to say that Larry wanted his “worthless and self published fantasy dreck” nominated for a Hugo Award. “The funny thing was,” Larry told me when I spoke to him about the incident, “I was the one defending the intelligence and dignity of poor people of any ethnic background, and the rich white liberal was trying to say they were too dumb to boil water.”

Baen authors Tom Kratman, Sarah Hoyt, and John Ringo have also been targeted (the flaccid attempts against Ringo will go over about as well as the pantshittingly inept ones against Larry – that is to say they will be a fail), ostensibly for their refusal to act in accordance with the screeching social justice simian diktats and soothe their chafed labia by acknowledging that mayonnaise is a gender.

Reasons for the deletion range from petty to outright unhinged, claiming primary sources are insufficient and even questioning the military service of Mike Williamson and Tom Kratman! Apparently, even an article in Stars and Stripes about veterans forging successful careers in science fiction is insufficient evidence that an author is significant enough to warrant a Wikipedia page and Baen publishing – a giant in science fiction and fantasy that’s been in existence more than three decades – is apparently a “vanity press with little editorial/production standards that can’t even keep straight what year they awarded one of their fake awards.”

But really – like everything else they do – their efforts to destroy the reputations of their political enemies stem from their feelings of inadequacy compared with creators who not only produce literature people want to buy and read, but are infinitely more successful at their chosen art than these squealing mediocrities are at whatever it is that they choose as their so-called “professions” (often involving begging for money on Patreon and serving overpriced beverages at whatever hipster coffee house allows them to wear torn Che t-shirts and neckbeards as a uniform).

“To an extent, it’s like erasing historical figures,” Sarah Hoyt told me. “They try to erase us because our accomplishments make them feel theirs are tiny. It’s stompy-foot, fuck fuck games of people too stupid to excel at their supposed profession,” she added.

The conservatives, the Williamsons, Hoyts, and Ringos of the world, are endlessly surprised to discover that their enemies actually hate them, aren’t going to play fair, and aren’t going to heed dire warning #863,527 that someday, someone who almost certainly isn’t them, is going to do something about it.

There will come a time when normal people will have had enough. 

I’ve been hearing those dire warnings to the Left from conservatives since the 1980s. I’ve learned not to pay any attention to them, and I’m pretty sure the Left has concluded that they have nothing to worry about on that score.

Sarah Hoyt adds: “IT’S HAPPENING MUCH FASTER THAN I EXPECTED.”

But it was always happening all along, she just didn’t want to have to actually do anything substantive about it. One commenter points out the obvious: There’s one guy actually doing something about it, and a bunch of the people named in the article have disavowed him, because he didn’t wait until now to fight back. 

Exactly. So FFS, stop whining, stop crying, stop issuing dire warnings, and just use Infogalactic instead. If you’re a public figure, get your Verified page and use it to set the record straight. And relax, it’s not about me, I’m only one of literally hundreds of people who helped make it happen and help keep it going.

UPDATE: The gammas all butthurt about the fact that I don’t let them snark away snarkily about me on my personal blog, on my personal YouTube channel, or in my house are too self-centered and stupid to observe the obvious fact that the rules are very different for my personal sites than for the games, technologies, and public sites I design. If I don’t like you, that’s a perfectly legitimate reason to never permit you on my site or in my house. But my personal preferences are not a legitimate reason to deny anyone access to a site that purports to be for everyone.


She blames Scalzi

And rightly so. A fanzine author realizes who was always to blame for the destruction of the Hugo.

So fuck John Scalzi anyway.

Fuck his sense of entitlement. Fuck his arrogant, unilateral “fix” of things he didn’t understand, which weren’t actually broken to begin with. Fuck his self-promoting crusade to prove that a merely world-famous, best-selling professional author with an international following of devoted groupies, whose “fan writing” blog is devoted to the ideas and concerns of professional SF authors qua pro authors, and whose grasp of what a fan writer is came by way of the modern equivalent of reading it off a cereal box, can still drum up enough ignorant first-time voters to win himself a Best Fan Writer Hugo because gosh darn it, people like him. And the rules didn’t explicitly say he couldn’t. And because he tapes bacon to cats, I guess. Woo….

So as far as I can see, John Scalzi created the blueprint: providing both proof of concept and implicit permission for the Sad and Rabid Puppy ballot stuffing campaigns. The fact that they didn’t also win the rockets suggests to me that they weren’t as good at marketing (and were aiming at some rather tougher nuts to crack, in voting number terms – Scalzi was sharp enough to notice that the fan categories had long been low hanging fruit for wrangling a short list nomination), but what they did wasn’t materially or morally different from what John Scalzi did. Neither one violated the letter of the law, and both dismissed or ignored the spirit. If the actions of the Puppies were blameworthy, so were those of John Scalzi.

If what he did was okay within the rules and therefore okay, then so were the Puppy campaigns. The fact that John Scalzi is a funny, likable guy who tapes bacon to cats doesn’t change the moral quality of his actions, it just distracted a bunch of people from noticing it. Think of him as the Daenerys Targaryen of burning the Hugos to the ground, if you like – the Mother of Dingbats.

She’s correct. John Scalzi was absolutely the inspiration for the Sad Puppies, although he wasn’t the only one. It was the entire Tor Cabal, scheming and plotting to win as many awards as possible, then waving them in the face of better, better-selling authors like Larry Correia, that made it clear that the awards were no longer anything but a popularity contest.

Larry proved his case with the first Sad Puppies campaign; all the subsequent Puppies campaigns were intended to do was to underline for the entire world his original point that the awards no longer had anything to do with literary quality in the science fiction genre. And the Rapid Puppies in particular succeeded in doing that to perfection; literally no one takes the Hugo seriously as a statement on literature anymore now that Space Raptor Butt Invasion, Stix Hiscock, and N.K. Jemisin have permanently stained what was once a substantive award.


Dragon Awards discussion

I’ve been too busy to pay too much attention to the SF world in the last year. Share your thoughts concerning the 2019 Dragon Awards, particularly as they relate to Best Comic and Best Graphic Novel.

I personally think that the Best Graphic Novel we’ve published is either Rebel Dead Revenge or Right Ho, Jeeves. As for Best Comic, I’m inclined towards Alt-Hero #4: The War in Paris.


From pulp to Puppies

This is an interesting article on science fiction history that even references Castalia House:

Alec Nevala-Lee, an Asian-American science fiction writer,[2] has here written something remarkable: an intentionally PC multi-biography that nevertheless manages to be well-informed and informative, well-written and compulsively readable.

It’s the first substantive biography of John W. Campbell, Jr., the man – or, as we’ll see, some would insist on “the white male” – who basically invented modern science fiction; and that last point means that to do so properly, we have to take into account the three men – yes, again, white males – whose writing careers he promoted in order to do it.

It’s an index of Campbell’s importance that, although I am not really a science fiction fan – certainly not to the level of the fanatical creeps[3] that slip in and out of these pages – I could recognize almost every work referred to, and had indeed read most of them; and I bet you have, too.

Campbell started off with a bang, writing “Who Goes There?” in the August 1939 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, later filmed as The Thing (1982), The Thing from Another World (1951), and again, not so well, as The Thing (2011).[4] Next, almost by accident, he became the editor of Astounding, and in the decades to come he would find young authors, eager to break into the big time, and feed them his ideas for stories. Even as his career wound down, and the magazine slipped from its dominant position, he was still able to snap up Frank Herbert’s serial “Dune World.”

It’s an interesting read that demonstrates the genre has long been populated by the brilliant, the bizarre, and the fundamentally broken.

And speaking of the Puppies, this is what a desert called victory looks like. Notice that no one, anywhere, pays attention to the Hugo Awards anymore. A glance at the Best Novel nominees will suffice to explain why.

  • The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
  • Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)
  • Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (Saga)
  • Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Macmillan)
  • Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)

Total nonentities. All six of these novels together won’t sell as many copies as a single Galaxy’s Edge novel. Novik would have been considered a C-level talent at best in the 1980s. And people could be forgiven for thinking that the Rabid Puppies were still dictating the nominees with titles such as “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington” on the short list.


Puppies redux: Nebula edition

It was funny to read this in my inbox, as it was the first time I’ve had any reason to give a thought to SFWA in a long, long time. Possibly the most amusing thing about this latest SFWA kerfluffle is that it is a direct consequence of SFWA adopting my original campaign proposal to admit independent authors to the membership. Sad Puppy leader Brad Torgersen observes, with no little irony, the 2019 version of Sad Puppies:

This past week, some indie authors got on the Nebula ballot, and the taste-makers—many of whom are ardently “woke” political activists—began braying about how a “slate” had ramrodded these indie authors onto the sacred SFWA ballot, and how it was high treason against all things Good and Clean in the genre for *any* “slate” to influence the Nebula final selections.

Nevermind that magazines such as Locus have spent decades publishing “recommended” lists designed and published explicitly for the purpose of influencing both Nebula selection, and Hugo award selection, among others. Such “recommended” lists have been with the genre for a long time, and only now—mysteriously!—has it been deemed evil for such lists to exist. Provided those lists don’t originate from Correct™ sources, with Correct™ credentials, Correct™ political affiliation, and so forth.

Well, predictably, the indie authors came in for a caustic drubbing, and many of them—some being overseas, and not at all familiar with the internecine rhetorical warfare of American literary SF/F—were both angered and confused. And I can’t blame them. It’s difficult to properly unearth the many decades of political and elitist cultural battles which have saturated SF/F in America, and the larger Anglosphere SF/F lit scene, since at least the 1920s.

Suffice to say the whole thing is perhaps best explained through the lens of George Orwell’s landmark 1984. Where you have Inner Party, and Outer Party, and Proles.

Inner Party being comprised of long-time Super Fans (aka: “true fans”) and some venerable editors and authors who’ve labored carefully for years to take up positions of influence and prestige within SFWA, and the broader literary SF/F “establishment” as a whole. They are concerned almost
entirely with their own power and influence.

Outer Party being the newcomer political activist writers from the universities who see all of literary science fiction—and the Hugos and Nebulas, as well as other awards—as a tool for “woke” political activism. All of them aspire to Inner Party status, and are just waiting for the extant Inner Party to literally die off, so that the Outer Party members can graduate to places of Inner Party power and prestige.

And finally the rest of us inhabit the land of the Proles. Fans and authors who were never part of the establishment, and do not attend the so-called “World Science Fiction Convention” (which never was ‘world’ much, even when it went overseas) nor are we active SFWA members. Many of us are indie authors, or hybrids, who often make far more money and have far more readers than any three dozen SFWA trad pub members put together. But we still bear the stigma of self-publishing which is beyond the borders of establishment propriety in the eyes of the Inner Party.

So, when a “slate” created for and by Proles manages to get some Prole selections onto the ballot—which rightfully belongs to both the Inner and the Outer Party!—the Inner and Outer Party take it as an act of ART WAR! And as you know, Bob, nothing is more vicious than ART WAR!

And this meant it was time to launch the social media mobs, Twitter snipers, “woke” punditry, etc. In an effort to get the Proles kicked out of the process, or at least make the world aware of how horrible and evil it is that Proles stood up to be counted. Which Proles are never, EVER supposed to do. Ever. Proles are meant to mind their places in the hierarchy and not cause a fuss. We are to accept what the deciders of “worthy science fiction and fantasy” have declared for us this season, and learn to love Big Brother.

THAT is the state of American literary SF/F, in a nutshell. That is SFWA.

Which doesn’t make it any easier for indie authors or fans, much less indie authors or fans who don’t originate from U.S. soil. The whole thing can seem both ridiculous and conflicted. Which it is. Because any sane outsider looks at it all and does a W-T-F.

Try as they will to style themselves international, the Inner and Outer Party members of American literary SF/F are hopelessly provincial, sharing a painful overlap in ideology, as well as a kind of homogeneous, mushy globalist-liberal outlook. Which, being “woke”, puts a premium on demographics over individualism. Fetishizing ethnicities and sexualities. While remaining borderline-militant about a single-track monochrome political platform.

So, certain Inner and Outer Party folks proceeded to step all over their own unmentionables in an effort to “call out” the “slate” of the indie Proles from the dirty ghettos of indie publishing. And now the Inner and Outer Parties are in damage control mode (yet again!) trying to re-write events, submerge evidence, gaslight the actual victims of the literary pogrom, blame all evils on Emmanuel Goldstein (cough, Sad Puppies, cough) and crown themselves the Good People once more. Who would never, of course, do anything pernicious, because how could they? They are Good! They tell themselves they are Good all the time! They go out of their way to virtue-signal this Goodness on social media! It cannot be possible that they have done anything wrong!

Well, if you’ve seen the ugly carnival long enough, it’s easy to peer through the smog. And I am sorry for all of the Nebula nominees who—being rightfully excited to learn of their nominations—watched that excitement crumble beneath a digital tsunami of accusations and character assassination. I’ve been there. I remember the lies and slander. I know how it happens, and why.

Just shrug it off, and walk away. Neither SFWA, nor Worldcon, nor the Outer nor Inner Parties, have anything for you. They are not the audience, and never were. And the harder they try to enforce their own relevance, the more plain it becomes that this relevance has fatally degraded in the new century.

Meanwhile, no one seems to have noticed that both Tor and Baen are rapidly sliding towards nonexistence. I’ve heard that Macmillan is looking to get rid of Tor from several sources over the last three months. The changes you’ve seen in Castalia’s practices of late are the direct result of Amazon destroying the ebook publishing market, and those changes are hurting the traditional publishers a lot more than a company like Castalia that doesn’t rely as heavily upon the various channels.

The acid test is going to be in April. It’s going to be fascinating to see how well a book that is in very high demand does through the channel versus direct.