So there are some culture wars going on in the world of sci fi book publishing, and by culture wars, I mean that a neo-fascist with influence has openly declared war on feminists and dragged all kinds of people from all ideological stripes into it. What happened yesterday is all-around bad news for readers and writers of sci fi.
Some context: we’re in the throes of a controversy over Hugo ballot nominations. A group of conservatives who have been complaining about anti-conservative bias in sci fi publishing have been putting together slates of mostly conservative authors. They called it the “Sad Puppy” slate. For the first two years, it included nominations in several categories. This year, though, it included so many nominations in so many categories that it almost entirely pushed out non-Puppy nominations.
There have been many accusations and a lot of outrage, but this wasn’t necessarily the intent of the Sad Puppies. The Puppy nominations swept the ballot in part because Vox Day, owner of the new publisher Castalia House, put out his own Rabid Puppies slate the very next day, which had considerable overlap with the Sad Puppies slate, and then made a call out to Gamergaters to pay the thirty bucks or so to make nominations. (As it turns out, only the Sad Puppies nominations that were also on the Rabid Puppies slate made it onto the final ballot.) If you give Sad Puppies the benefit of the doubt, their movement was co-opted by Day.
As part of the general atmosphere of accusations and outrage, an editor at Tor books made a Facebook comment that was broadly taken to slander all Puppy supporters and authors. Ordinarily, it would have gone unremarked and unnoticed by almost everybody and dropped out of the Facebook feed, as such things do . . .
. . . except that Day saw fit to take a screen capture and release it several weeks later, thereby re-igniting the firestorm.
To make a long story short, Tor — which publishes a wide variety of conservative and other works — is now facing a boycott. It was called by Day, and also by others. (To his credit, Larry Correia, the original Sad Puppies slate-maker, has asked people not to boycott Tor. Thank you for that.)
Day went farther than this. He wrote:
. . . if Ms. Gallo and Mr. Nielsen Hayden are still employed by Tor Books in 2016, I will not nominate any books published by Tor Books for any awards. . . . I am the leader of the Rabid Puppies, I do speak for them, and I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that they will follow my lead in this regard. I am not concerned about whether the boycott is “successful” or not. The simple fact is that if Macmillan is at all interested in the long-term success of Tor Books, it will jettison both Ms Gallo and Mr. Nielsen Hayden . . .
In chess terms, this is what would be called a “fork.” If Gallo and Hayden are fired, many progressives will be angry and stop buying Tor books. On the other hand, if Gallo and Hayden are not fired, Tor also faces a boycott, plus a threat to take away Hugo nominations — which is a credible one, since Day swept the nominations this year.
Either way, Tor’s hurt, and who loses out? The readers.
Meanwhile, who benefits? Vox Day, who openly spouts hate speech of every flavor, and the publishing house he runs. That’s creepy.
The other bad news? Day is likely to keep on with his war, distracting authors fro the important job of writing and readers from the important job of reading.
Anyhow, I went ahead and ordered a book from Tor, The Goblin Emporer by Katherine Addison. New author, hope I like her!
For a firsthand look at Vox Day’s most extreme views, without the noxiousness of going to his blog, try the google search:
“Vox Day” site:http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/
For more on the Tor boycott, including who supports it and who doesn’t, visit “The Hammer of Tor 6/19”
For more on the overlap between the Sad and Rabid Puppy slates, visit this post from the ComixMix website.