s skippy the bush kangaroo: Notes on the Science Fiction Community's Culture Wars

skippy the bush kangaroo

Monday, June 09, 2014

Notes on the Science Fiction Community's Culture Wars

"History is written by the winners" seems cliche because it is. Instead, let us borrow a phrase of one of this year's Readercon Guests of Honor, Andrea Hairston:

History is the story we tell on the facts—which are of course elusive and indeterminate.

A good general rule, but there are moments that are immutable: it is FDR, not Charles Lindbergh, who was elected President of the United States twice after the War After the Great War broke out in Europe.

So it is in science fiction: it is the evil, Hugo- and John W. Campbell Award-winning Mary Robinette Kowal and the vile, multiple-Hugo-winning Seanan McGuire who went out of their way to destroy the genre.

Kowal was the focus of a cabal of Profession Science Fiction Writers(tm) who denigrated her intricate, arguably brilliant, work by stating that they believe it didn't sell much. (That primary proponent of this cabal was someone who works in the legal department of a publisher that is not Kowal's is, of course, moot.)

McGuire's skills as a termagant were so extreme that she caused the Eminently Noble Jonathan Ross to offer not to be this year's Hugo Toastmaster an hour after he had already volunteered to do so.

Clearly, if we could only give these women their Just Desserts, everything in the SF world would be perfect.

So let's look at the public record to see what can be determined.

Well, the annual Retro Hugo nominees have been announced. This is a central part of SF History; the Hugos started many years after science fiction fandom was formalized, and even longer after Hugo Gernsback started Amazing and made "scientifiction" a formal genre in the United States. This year's nominees include Ray Bradbury, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, E. E. "Doc" Smith, C(atherine). L. Moore, C. S. Lewis, T. H. White, Arthur C. Clarke, John W. Campbell, Jr., Henry Kuttner, Lester del Rey, Clifford Simak, John Wyndham, and H(orace). L. Gold. Not to mention that the media nominees include Orson Welles's broadcast of H. G. Wells's "War of the Worlds."

When the weakest writer on the list (Gold) is one of the two great editors of the Golden Era, you better be finding someone of Sufficient Stature to host the Awards.

The World Science Fiction Convention chose, er, Mary Robinette Kowal as their Yank.

Oh, well, at least that time-traveling McGuire isn't...er, what? "Mira Grant"? And not just this year, but twice last year, twice the year before, and once the year before that?

Never mind.

The facts have formed a coherent story. Glad that's settled.
posted by Ken Houghton at 8:34 AM |


That is the single most incoherent thing I have read since last Tuesday
commented by Blogger Juke, 11:32 PM PDT  
nonetheless, i am grateful you posted si much during my vacation, ken. thx so much
commented by Blogger skippy, 8:59 AM PDT  
I am greatly weighed down by your opinions for that specific tale. A additional deeper and staged expertise could well be very fine for me
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commented by Blogger tozca sudirman, 6:17 AM PDT  
Asemmm ilang kabehhhh... cuuuk :(
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