The World SF Blog

Speculative Fiction from Around the World

American Fandom goes to, err, War

Following our post on Heinlein and racism on Friday, maybe we should just do an American Week on the WSB? It seemed to have raised some interesting discussions across the Internet, as N.K. Jemisin writes.

There’s still a lot of debate going on right now post-Readercon and Genevieve Valentine’s complaints of being sexually harassed there. It appears the same person who did the harassing popped up at Worldcon serving drinks at a party (and apparently being up to his old tricks).

This in turn drew some support from people called SMOFs (Secret Masters of Science Fiction and no, we’re not making this up!), one of whom said that the incident, “which probably happens at every convention every weekend, was blown up [and the reaction to it] caused a huge overreaction.”

N.K. Jemisin has much to say about this and more at her blog:

On Heinlein and fandom:

the larger literary continuum in which Heinlein’s work existed was both created by *and contributed to* that flawed society. Heinlein’s work is one of the reasons why SFF has spent years calling itself progressive, and utterly refusing to listen to complaints about the racism embedded in the genre’s bones. That resistance is one of the things that’s made my career a greater struggle than a white author’s might be. The reason I read FF in the first place was because, when I first got active in SFF fandom and tentatively complained about some stuff that bothered me in the first Heinlein works I’d read, Heinlein fans yelled at me that he wasn’t racist or sexist, and Farnham’s Freehold was the proof of that. After I read that book I realized two things: a) that Heinlein was racist as *fuck*, and b) most of science fiction fandom was too.

On harassment:

Then you complain about the behavior of Valentine’s friends. But you don’t mention that Walling’s friends have not only protected him from con rules enforcement, but they’ve gone after some of the women who’ve complained about his behavior in the past. Some of the authors haven’t been invited to other cons as guests, some of the con staffers have been marginalized until they quit. In other words, Valentine’s friends are hurting his reputation, but Walling’s friends are hurting women’s careers.

And Nick Mamatas adds some more.

What’s your position? We’d love to hear from you, as always, in the comments.

September 10, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

  1. Fandom is silly. The writing of a star writer can be silly…. Dogma on both sides is silly. When will we learn to say eg Heinlein was a racist but then not demand the books be excised in order to make a “better” world….The “sensitivities” of the “enlightened” bother me because they seem to be the only purveyors of “truth”. And we have seen what that has resulted in over the course of human existence (history) … Lo’s of blood and some damn good sci fi.Fans should also learn that their idols are not “perfect”…. but mere false idols

    Comment by Stathis Paraskevopoulos | September 10, 2012


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