renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
[personal profile] renay posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Trigger warning.

I wrote an article in Strange Horizons. Several people had a meltdown and decided to ensure I would avoid them and their work for the next forever, and I sincerely hope it's mutual. Additionally, several authors, editors, and reviewers I used to have a lot of respect for have pretty effectively convinced me that part of SF fandom may not be meant for me, which is fine. Keep it, folks; it's yours!

There's finally started to be some discussion rather than Twitter fury, but of course I spent all weekend gaping at the Twitter fury that wouldn't stop. I watched the community "defend" authors against a pseudonymous, no-name fan (I'm extremely dangerous and hold a lot of social sway—oh wait), watched my own words used mockingly and retweeted by people being kind to my face (really??? dude, I can still see that shit, you're not subtle), and witnessed yet another fap fest over reviews (this was never meant to be about reviews; intent doesn't matter; the author is dead). I was pretty done as soon as I received the first piece of vile commentary where someone offered to put their dick in my mouth because I was being too mouthy, as you do. BUT HEY, SEXISM IS OVER. This is what people who write in any mainstream capacity put up with (besides the sexism stuff; I know about that part)? I'm exhausted and I can't even. What a shitshow.

Troy from Community walking into the room with pizzas to find everyone on fire.

Strange Horizons is my first mainstream gig. I was always going to go through this. I was prepared! Spoiler: you are never prepared. At the very least, it's been an adventure. My next article is going to be about bunnies. Cute, fluffy, space bunnies. I swear I will find a way to make it work. Niall just started weeping and doesn't know why.

I did want to highlight some awesome things I think came out of this:

1. Fans: You got your fannish preconceptions all over my critic's space — I really, really like this. I disagree with it (our perspectives and how we've experienced the community are so different!), but I like it. :D

2. You Knew This Industry Blogger Wasn’t Going to Keep His Mouth Shut — Justin's opinion, which I admit I wanted from the very beginning. Can I blame him for the original column? It's a little bit his fault, like 5%, but hell, next time, I'm just going to send him an email.

3. Rose Fox's comments in particular on The Book Smugglers post related to this issue, which has a good range of other comments, too (Ana and Thea, I am still so very sorry.).

4. Deloper of the Author — I needed a dictionary for some of this, but it's really fascinating.

5. Authors and Bloggers and Fans, Oh My — Easing my mind that some of my points made it through. Yay. :)

Writing! It's like gambling with your peace of mind. On the plus side, at least you can do it with no pants, which makes up for all the hard parts. Cheers, SF fandom. Cheers.

two adults on a couch toasting each other and then tossing back their drink


Date: 2013-09-17 02:07 am (UTC)
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
From: [personal profile] forestofglory
Ugh. I'm sorry the internet fell on you. I really appreciate and enjoy your fanish writing.

Date: 2013-09-17 04:21 am (UTC)
chaila: by me (reading)
From: [personal profile] chaila
I only got as far as fan as a pejorative and then I had to stop reading. I also love your fannish writing! Not in the pejorative sense! *hands you some more vodka*

(Haha I hope you guys populate the "relentlessly oppressing authors" tag!)

Date: 2013-09-17 05:00 am (UTC)
cofax7: Andre Norton ruining SF since 1934 (Andre Norton)
From: [personal profile] cofax7
I was pretty done as soon as I received the first piece of vile commentary where someone offered to put their dick in my mouth because I was being too mouthy, as you do.

Jesus on a pogo stick. It makes me want to burn the internet DOWN.

(Although you get major props for the Troy-with-pizza gif!)

And despite all the glowing reviews of the Rivers of London novels, Ben Aaronovitch is never getting another dollar from me. What an asshole.

Date: 2013-09-17 05:28 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] literary_lottie
I STILL don't understand why your essay engendered such vitriolic reactions. It was quite tame, to me. Was there some alternate-universe version in which you mercilessly shamed the author that somehow appeared in our own space-timeline, but only to certain people on Twitter? Because that's kind of how it feels.

This is probably terribly forward of me, and I apologize if I'm breaking some rule, but I followed this weekend's events with such appalled fascination that I ended up writing an essay about the misogyny on display. I'd be very humbled if you read it - though I linked to some (for me, anyway) distressing tweets, so...maybe don't click the links?

Sorry that you had to endure such a shitshow.

PS - I LOVE that gif of CC and Niles.

Date: 2013-09-17 06:51 am (UTC)
bookgazing: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookgazing
Can we talk about the abuse in private? That is not ok and I'd like to see if we can make a plan about it. Perhaps a cheerful Campfire session where I bring all the fancy drink recipies for you to try?

Also WOW - I thought it might stir some discussion but WOW. The Welcome signs... I know you think that could be a good consequence and I'm sure it will be. It's just the posts that go with those signs at the mo.

Date: 2013-09-17 08:17 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
You have nothing to be sorry about as far as I am concerned. NOTHING.

Ana Book Smugglers

It is way too early to use that icon.

Date: 2013-09-17 11:53 am (UTC)
samjohnsson: And shooting them doesn't make it better. (Random Stupid)
From: [personal profile] samjohnsson
Having chosen to not read the comments on the post (because I value what little faith I might still have in humanity, and I know what to expect), I personally thought the post was sensible and well-written. I very much agree with both reader-response and concerns over the fourth wall. And I am so upset about Aaronovich, since I do like his Rivers of London series.

The fact that GrantAaronovich preceded his comment with "Authors commenting on reviews is usually a mistake but . . ." suggests to me he knew that the playing field was not level, yet he spoke, anyway.

Date: 2013-09-17 12:10 pm (UTC)
copracat: Emma Peel looking up from a newspaper (Emma reading)
From: [personal profile] copracat
I really appreciate and enjoy your writing.

And those people are saving me a bunch of time and money because it makes it really easy to decide who to read and who to avoid like the arses they are.

Date: 2013-09-17 01:41 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I've said this briefly on twitter (and to some extent over at SH, but I think my comment there came out more... disagreey than I meant it to), but it bears repeating: thank you for writing the post, and my sympathy for what you've had to go through since.

I, too, was really surprised at the extent to which some people seem to have perceived your argument as an attack on authors, rather than the expression of a viewpoint from one corner of fandom. I found myself arguing with people I respect who had clearly taken it very badly, without seeming to see that you were in no way forbidding them to disagree with you. I think some of it was the twitter effect - i.e. more people were reading 140-character versions of the post than they were reading the post itself - and some of it was the way the sf community seems to communicate with itself these days. Also, clearly one or two people with non-trivial megaphones who have taken against you personally, unfortunately.

Things seem to be calming down now a bit, for an outsider's perspective; we've entered the blog post phase, which usually allows for a bit more nuance in response. I hope it looks calmer from where you are, too.

Nic (Eve's Alexandria)

Date: 2013-09-17 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Good lord! I missed all of this, was offline a lot over the weekend. Sorta glad I missed it to be honest, there is so much drama on twitter on occasion. It's like a really bad episode of 90210!

I'm not sure I totally agree with your point about authors never entering a debate. For a factual corrections that's fine, but to enter an argument over an interpretation is just wrong. An author just writes the book, the reader recreates it every time they read it. (obviously *just* writes is an exaggeration. Writing is hard. But readers who bother enough to offer up interpretations deserve to have a space without "authorial intent" breathing down their necks).

Fence -

Date: 2013-09-17 10:57 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
No matter the fact that we disagree about this issue, I wanted to step in here and say that the way people are treating other people is DISGUSTING. There is such a thing as disagreeing and staying civil. Hell, I don't have to agree with what anyone says, but I do need to recognize that they are people, with feelings and stuff. The thing is, no matter what I think and feel, I recognize your talent, and your contribution to the SFF genre, and the way people are treating ANYONE who weighs in on this discussion is truly jading me. I thought it was possible to discuss things as adults. I guess not.

Now, a lot of people ARE staying civil. And to be honest, no matter what I think, the genre IS changing (hello, internet) and so is publishing. These are important issues that people are eager to discuss. There are some great points being thrown around that are incredibly thoughtful and insightful. And yes, a lot of these points are making me rethink my initial stance in some ways. That is important. If people are too set in their ways, how is there any progress? That's what I love about discussions. You show me why you feel the way you do. I respond, and your insights invariably impact my response and perceptions of what is happening. It's called the exchange of ideas. Brilliant, really.

But when people start being asshats and stop realizing that you can disagree while doing it in a nice(er) way, then I start getting sick. I've had a lot of terrible email comments, too. Horrible stuff. I feel like screaming, because these really good comments, these thoughtful discussions, the free exchange of ideas that will invariably impact my own perceptions of what is happening, is starting to get buried under so much crap.

Yes, we might disagree, but I tend to disagree with everyone at one time or another. Despite the fact that we come from different perceptions, I recognize that you have a right to your feelings, and I also think that these logical, rational discussions that are happening are very important to the genre, fandom, publishing, etc. There is NO excuse for how some people are treating other people. None. Zip. Period. It's sick. It's wrong. But I am also thankful that people can be adults, too. Much of this has been enlightening, and my opinions have evolved a bit since Sunday, but that's not really important to this post.

Anyway, I just wanted to stop by and tell you that, no matter where you are coming from, I respect you. I recognize your contribution to the genre, and I wish everyone would shut up, sit down, and act like adults.

And I sincerely hope none of this is offensive. That's not my intention.

Date: 2013-09-18 03:08 am (UTC)
krait: a sea snake (krait) swimming (Default)
From: [personal profile] krait
Huh. I suppose because I also participate in SF fandom as a fan, I didn't think there was anything controversial in your article? Like, yes, publishers have/are/will try to harness the power of independent reviewers if they can; that's self-evident? And the internet has made it much easier for authors to turn up in 'private' discussions of their works and make fools of themselves attempt to open debate where debate wasn't wanted or fairly weighted; anyone who spent years watching Anne Rice be her own worst enemy on [community profile] fandom_wank couldn't possibly argue that? And once a work is released and read by a brain other than the author's, "the author is dead" and that person's reading is valid to them and their emotional responses; duh?

Maybe it's just the lateness of the hour, but I couldn't quite figure out what had caused people to blow up. Perhaps I'll try rereading tomorrow and see if I can pick out where the furore blew in from?
Edited (hit 'reply' too soon!) Date: 2013-09-18 03:09 am (UTC)

Date: 2013-09-18 10:15 am (UTC)
spindizzy: I feel like I spent the whole day fighting guys in rubber suits! D: (I feel like I've fought fake aliens)
From: [personal profile] spindizzy
I have been so horrified over this that I'm not even sure what I can say anymore, or whether any comment I attempt to leave would be me engaging with your argument, engaging with the argument people THINK is yours (these are two separate things and I have looked at the comments going WHAT. WHAT. WHERE DID SHE SAY THAT. ARE YOU COMMENTING ON THE RIGHT ARTICLE.), or just pointing at people and saying "You are being rude and that was unprovoked!"

I am sorry that people are dogpiling you. If you want me to send you cookies or better books or something, let me know.


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