Herping your derp, with Damien G. Walter

Imagine a man. A man who thinks he loves Science Fiction. He also thinks he’s a writer of same. He fancies himself being one of the Smart People in the field. He talks what he believes to be Smart People talk. He reads the Smart People blogs. He name-drops the Smart People names. He even has a home with one of the Smart People media outlets — no guessing as to how much (if anything) The Guardian pays him. He’s tremendously concerned with making sure that the Smart People see him being Smart. Because that’s the key to being an Important Guy.

And yet, when Damien G. Walter goes “Derp!” in a forest, and nobody is around to hear him . . . does he make a sound?

Let’s face it, Science Fiction and Fantasy has a surfeit of commentary. Everyone who ever dreamed of writing spec fic lit — or writing lit about spec fic lit — has established a digital outpost for himself. Could be a blog. Could be a collective “genre news” outlet. Maybe it’s simply a Twitter or Instagram account? Thus you will never, ever lack for jabbering about SF/F books, movies, and television.

Especially jabber from people suffering a paucity of actual reading depth. They don’t know speculative literature, as much as they know the conversations and Names that get circulated by the Smart People. Which lends itself perfectly to performing as a gadfly. But does not, I am afraid, gift said gadfly with the ability to make observations which make sense.

Consider Damien G. Walter’s assertion:

If you want to make the world a better place, you need a space to imagine what that place might look like. From George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984, way back to Thomas More’s Utopia and even further,

It’s been said before, by better men than me. But somebody really needs to remind 21st century Western progressives that Orwell was writing cautionary tales, not instruction manuals. 1984 remains a chillingly current examination of the power of the tyrannical mindset. Reading 1984, one is reminded of this observation, by C.S. Lewis, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Nobody — and I mean absolutely nobody — should want to live in the world of 1984.

Just as nobody should want to endure a society akin to the allegory of Animal Farm — which is, in fact, a dire criticism of the collectivist state, and the eventual degeneracy of both leadership and conditions, in any environment that goes down the Marxist path.

Now, being very much a moral busybody, and a Socialist, Damien G. Walter might like the fact that his iteration of busybodiness is in vogue. Our entertainment spaces presently endure a locust-like plague of activists and haranguers, all eager to wag their fingers and scold us for being Wrongfans of Wrongfun. Maybe Damien sees himself among the Great Minds who will remain safely on the other side of the glass — from us common proles? Damien, the Outer Party man who is desperately playing at being Inner Party.

Or maybe Damien hasn’t read any Orwell at all? He just knows the name, and he knows two of Orwell’s enduring titles, and he drops them into his article — hoping that if he salts his bland mashed-potato progressive lit observations with enough Smart People sign posts, he will himself be magically transformed into the picture of a Smart Person.

Consider the fact that Damien G. Walter praises Samuel Delaney — infamous author of Hogg — while condemning John Norman’s Gor novels as being, “little more than misogynistic S&M fantasies.”

Better check yourself, Damien. Apparently some misogynistic S&M fantasies are more hip than others. Or must we simply assume that depraved sadism and sexual perversion (in literature) is cool when the Smart People do it?

Probably the latter. Natch. Got it.

Moving on, we’re treated to explosive diarrhetic diatribes against Military Science Fiction et al:

During it’s Golden Age sci-fi became deeply associated with the values of the American dream. As those values have unwound America’s conservatives have retreated to sci-fi as a safe space to indulge their nationalist military fantasies. Amazon’s Author Rank for science fiction is packed with military SF novels, most of them repeating the same themes of Earth under attack by aliens, through to full fledged survivalist “prepper” fantasies, most self published and appealing to a small but committed audience of Donald Trump supporting SF readers. Given their aggressive, paranoid tendencies it’s hardly surprising these fans are fighting an imaginary war against the other tribes of sci-fi by protesting the Hugo awards.

Setting aside the fact that values cannot “unwind” in the manner described — situations can unwind, without question, but this is why it’s a good idea to have and know your values; so that they carry you through those times when all others about you lose their minds — Damien seems to be claiming that he can read both hearts and minds. Everyone who reads Mil-SF is a Donald Trump supporter? Is that why Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson’s prospects got a colossal shot in the arm, the moment the Republican Party blundered into ensuring Hillary Clinton’s election, by putting ultimate-RINO Donald Trump at the top of their platform? Those “Donald Trump fans”?

Methinks Damien not only doesn’t know any Donald Trump voters, he doesn’t really know many Mil-SF readers (or authors) either.

Now, he’s close about one thing. There is a rhetorical war going on in SF/F right now. Mostly it’s about fans and authors and publishers who like to have fun, fending off the busybodies talked about earlier in this article: the moral and intellectual scolds who come to tell us all we’re Wrongfans having Wrongfun. Of which Damien G. Walter is a tedious, but perfect, example. But this rhetorical war stretches across the entirety of the field, and is not limited to Mil-SF. Much as World War Two was not limited to North Africa, or the Pacific. This rhetorical war is about style, and taste, and belonging, and recognition, and whether or not SF/F as a coherent form of literature is even going to survive the next twenty years — when there is no “center” to hold it all together.

The rest is merely Damien G. Walter performing a chicken-cluck dance, wherein he demonstrates (again, for the sake of trying to appear like one of the Smart People) his distaste for the un-progressive purveyors of “nationalist military fantasies.”

Does Star Trek fall into this category? For Damien? It’s hard to determine. After all, if 1984 is a progressive fantasy that somehow shines a light on the desirable future of mankind, surely Star Trek — with its regimented space navy, forever defending the Federation (and especially Earth) against alien invaders of all varieties — qualifies, under Damien’s “nationalist military fantasy” criteria.

I mean, my God, Gene Roddenberry flew bomber missions in World War Two! It doesn’t get more nationalist or military than that.

And here we all thought Star Trek was trying to portray a positive future. P’shaw!

But wait, isn’t Grandpa Heinlein also a purveyor of nationalism and military fantasies? Damien praised Grandpa Heinlein, earlier in the article. Probably because progressives love to draft dead conservatives, much as Teresa Nielsen-Hayden used Jim Baen’s corpse as her socket puppet — when it suited her.

But wait, Damien not only reads minds, he can tell the future too:

With Charlie Jane Anders All The Birds In The Sky and Daniel Jose Older’s Shadowshaper among a wave of recent titles presenting challenging visions and re-imaginings of our reality, progressive fantasy seems more and more like the future of sci-fi.

This is a common conceit of all Leftist rhetoric — that history is a more or less straight line trending forever in whatever direction Leftists are infatuated with this decade. Considering that Damien put 1984 among these supposed positive re-imaginings of reality, it’s a bit tough to discern the “win” Damien is prognosticating for the field. Again, 1984 is a cautionary tale. And Animal Farm even moreso. If the progressives are re-imagining our reality in positive ways, the citation of Orwell seems oxymoronic at best. Or maybe totalitarian hell-holes are a desirable end state? Certainly Venezuela qualifies, as a perfect example of the inevitable outcome — when men of Damien’s flavor are given access to the levers of power.

Is Venezuela the kind of “positive re-imagining” the Smart People (to whose ranks Damien aspires) have in mind?

We don’t really know. Damien spends so much time salting his bland mashed-potato article — namesy nameses, droppsy woo! — it’s tough to grasp what his actual opinion of the cited contents may be. Again, one senses that Damien has not read any of it. He’s merely scanned the Smart People conversations, and believes that recursively regurgitating other peoples’ shit, itself substitutes for cogent commentary.

And if he thinks YA “adventurous coming of age tales” can’t hold the attention of older readers, there’s this little series called Harry Potter that’s worth noting. Damien might want to jump on that one. He even talked up J.K. Rowling, among the commercial fictioneers. Harry Potter has only blazed an eight-lane interstate through the heart of the Science Fiction ghetto, demonstrating conclusively that not only will adults flock to a solidly imaginative and evocative YA universe, they will drive that universe to the top of the charts.

Of course, every stopped clock is right twice a day. Damien got this one on the nose: Lit Fic dilettantism does breed some dull books. Mostly because Lit Fic dilettantes don’t actually read much SF/F, and mistakenly believe that it’s “easy” to write and come up with original, or at least interesting, SF/F-ish works — while still thudding us in the face with the usual Lit-sy navel-gazing, angst, ennui, and nihilism. Putting my finger to the wind, I get the sense that many SF/F readers love SF/F precisely because it’s not pretentiously MFA’d to the nth degree.

And lots of SF/F authors want the approval of the “proper” Lit Fic scene?

I’d rather have a root canal, sans anesthetic.

Again, it’s tough to tease out actual analysis, when the bulk of Damien’s doggerel seems to involve mistaking bling-wordsieness, for substance. A common enough malady among those with nothing interesting to say, but for whom the pretense of meaning is paramount. Are there tribes in SF/F? Without question. Do they look anything like the fat-crayon scribble pictures Damien has gifted us with?

I was talking about this over two years ago.

Draw your own conclusions. You will undoubtedly do better than Damien.

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71 thoughts on “Herping your derp, with Damien G. Walter

  1. I noticed that …inverted… appraisal of Orwell too. Methinks the fine fellow is still at that stage where he knows more than his elders.

  2. If that is a true picture of Dear Little Damien, he looks like someone angling for a sock in the chops. And for someone to pants him, stick his head in a flushing toilet and write rude words in indelible marker on his pallid buttocks. I actually went to his link, and was put off by his offer to sign up for his blogfeed and learn how to write,

  3. A cross-dressing man who fears men, a black supremacist who fears whites and a daffy feminist who fears both. Promoting them as brave visionaries does in fact sum up the progressive SFF community, Orwell’s 1984 and the Nazi Party. Our new Nazi Party also operates on the theory of biological moral supremacy.

    If either Anders, Byrne or Older had any real brains, self-awareness or guts, they might write a story about a straight white male who passes for both PoC and trans just so he can keep his cat rather than having to put it down himself, because straight white men aren’t allowed to own them. That’s based on actual history with a name change. It may never occur but it won’t be because of a lack of effort by good Samaritans like Anders, Older and Byrne, a tribunal I’d be scared stiff to stand in front of for any crime whatsoever. As is, I’m guilty of historic offenses ranging from the “colonial gaze” to the “white savior” that grates on their sensibilities just by me waking up in the morning, as they never fail to obsessively remind me on their wise Twitter feeds and blog posts.

    The problem with Byrne, Anders and Older is they don’t write warning stories but instead have others write stories warning of them. I remember one called “The Marching Morons.” Now we need a good one about a cat. I mean… just imagine having to actually kill your cat because of the sociopathic paranoia of a bunch of supremacist freaks rolled out and mainstreamed into society as social justice.

  4. Very few of either Delany’s detractors or supporters seem to have read much, if any, of his science fiction. Yes, Delany wrote “Hogg” and “Tides Of Lust” and there are some graphic sex scenes in “Dhalgren” (not that many, considering how damned long the book is).

    However, Delany also wrote “Einstein Intersection” and “Nova” and “Triton” and “The Ballad of Beta-2”. While in some cases dated (his esthetic sensibilities are very much New Wave) these novels in my opinion stand up to any of the classic novels of Heinlein or Asimov. Sadly, though, Delany learned that he could make more money as an “gay Black author” than as a “science fiction author” and he stopped writing science fiction.

    It’s a shame that such a strong voice has become lost to identity politics.

  5. To my sensibilities, bashing Norman (in the same article that praises Delany) gives away the cognitive dissonance of the “analysis” being offered. Either depravity is depravity for all, or it’s depravity for none. Why is Gor bad, but Hogg not-bad? That would be the question I’d ask.

  6. What Western socialists never understand is the boogeyman will come for them someday soon. His name may be Adolf, or Abdul, or even Vladimir, but come he will, and they’ll dance for joy as his shadow falls over them. Charlie Jane Anders stood up for me when the Puppeteer Brigades were pissing on me from a height. That counts for something.

  7. I’ve noticed that, the more Damien attacks us, the higher his profile rises among the Usual Suspects. Purely coincidental, I’m sure . . .

  8. Attacking the Bad People™ is a tried and true method of “proving” that you’re one of the Good People™. Gotta make sure the internet understands precisely which side you’re on. Just ask Myke Cole. 😀

  9. Which is more likely:
    A: The “Big Five” collectively go out of business.
    B: A polite man with a gun insists you support their “quality programming”.

    Just sayin’.

  10. I don’t know Brad, it certainly sounds like he hasn’t read 1984 or animal farm…

  11. Io9 has been pissing on men and whites for 8 years now. The recent departure of the insanely radical lesbian co-editor Annalee Newitz hasn’t softened it. The sooner io9 and that entire Gawker shithole folds the better it’ll be for gaming and SFF. It was Gawker which published Scalzi’s white male privilege piece and Gawker which was at the center of causing the Gamergate pushback against the idiotic feminists doing to gaming what they were doing to SFF.

    These people had a chance years ago to sit at the table, show their talents and join the fun. Instead they decided to launch a crusade against men, whites and straights as being responsible for all the evils in the world. That honeymoon is over. There is no place in SFF for people like that. I reject every inch of their incitement against whites and men. I don’t give a shit about their claims of misogyny, racism, harassment, diversity, patriarchy and sexism. I don’t give a shit about their bright new line up of vibrant and diverse voices, because by an amazing coincidence, every one of them comes off as a supremacist bigot.

    Outside of SFF culture new voices like Van Bravo are starting to call these frauds out, as has Adolph Reed in his field for the last 20 years, and no – Bravo is no conservative – far from it. Once you get a few guys like that in here, the road shows like K. Tempest Bradford, Jemisin, Mikki Kendall and Older will be put down hard and they can scatter back under their rocks.

  12. He makes such a fool of himself, I almost feel sorry for Damien, then I remember what kind of person he is.

  13. Well done, Brad. Your ‘Smart People’ remarks are spot-on. DW is merely bending the knee at the altar of LeftThink, hoping for a benediction. And so clumsily, at that. He’s not even a middle-weight SJW agitprop contender. It’s like watching a man punch himself in the face while yelling, “Take THAT” at his opponent…

  14. Whenever something is so divorced from reality that I wonder if the writer is on a different planet, I stop and wonder if those from an opposite viewpoint have similar moments. It’s worth at least a moment to wonder. Because what you’ve quoted (quite aside from imagining Damien’s mindset) is so unbelievably divorced from any experience or reality that I know that I find it hard to figure out if he is writing fantasy on purpose or if he thinks that his imaginings have anything at all to do with the daily reality and politics of a country he doesn’t live in. Is this because we’re American or something? Everybody and his brother thinks they understand American culture? I’d never pretend to understand how the British working class thinks about anything. Nor would I pontificate about the progression of British society over the last 50 years.

    The “American Dream” has eff-all to do with nationalist military fantasies, for one thing. If someone is writing a “narrative” where this is true, it bears no resemblance to reality no matter how satisfying it feels or how much some like the idea.

    I also doubt, highly, that anyone anywhere ever has done any sort of survey to find out what Donald Trump supporters read. And much as I’m not a fan of the fellow, I haven’t heard him beating a military drum. But interesting anyway that Walter imagines that Trump supporters are Science Fiction fans and that, small in number, they read prolifically enough to push military science fiction to the top of charts. Good on you, Trump supporters.

    Someone who was, in any sense whatsoever, an analytical journalists presenting Ideas that had relevance, would bother to ask… “Why do you like zombie prepper fantasies?” Or “What makes military science fiction so appealing?” or even “What is the human reason that stories about heroes and fighting off alien invasions are so compelling?”

    The answers aren’t even mysterious, but even if someone’s reality was so detached from “flyover country” that they couldn’t guess, all it takes is *asking*.

  15. Delusional Damien is far from alone in his misinterpretation of Orwell. Anyone remember when Krystal Ball (AKA: Krystal Clear) ranted that Animal Farm was about capitalism? She later clarified herself, but her initial analysis was so far off base that Wiley E. Coyote would have had a better grasp of what was going on. While I sincerely think that readers can receive a different message than what the author meant, discounting what the author actually says typically makes you sound like a moron. Since this is Delusional Damien’s one trick, done over and over and over, it’s not surprising he’s doing it once again.

  16. For what its worth brad I actually laughed out loud when I followed the link to his website and an ad for his writing classes popped up. The sheer cluelessness and complete lack of self awareness was a perfect piece of unintentional satire.

  17. // Reading 1984, one is reminded of this observation, by C.S. Lewis, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.//

    I think you might be getting 1984 confused with Huxley’s Brave New World. IngSoc, the ruling ideology in Oceania is not one exercised for the good of its victims but specifically one to do them harm. The classic line from O’Brien as he explains the purpose of the state he upholds is: “There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”

    Having said Walters really is annoying.

  18. Walter forgot about this SFF tribe:

    A.) Mediocre SFF writer promotes work alongside intersectional feminist posturing about men and whites on a blog and Twitter
    B.) Inflammatory remarks raises the profile of SFF author. Gigs at Xojane, NPR, The Atlantic, HuffPo, NYTimes, The Guardian follow. Stories are published in intersectional SFF mags. Awards nominations start to come
    C.) Intersectional author achieves a mainstream profile. Book contracts and Patreon monies follow. Author becomes an authority on privilege, diversity and voice for Pee OH Cee or gender
    D.) The monetization of race and sex hatred is achieved – no talent required beyond an oily sly cunning and willingness to lie

    The masters of talent acknowledge the symbiotic worth they owe to one another:

    “John Scalzi @scalzi @nkjemisin I’d probs just release them directly electronically after a Patreon-exclusive period (or partner with a publisher to do it ).”

    “N. K. Jemisin @nkjemisin 14h @scalzi I could. I tend to pub in mkts that are free-to-read anyway. But why not send to them & hopefully help bring them some new eyes?”

    “John Scalzi @scalzi 14h @nkjemisin True enough. Incomewise at that point it’s all gravy, so you can use the pieces for strategic purposes.”

    “N. K. Jemisin @nkjemisin @scalzi I relied on those markets long before I had enough readers to even think about something like this Patreon. Nice to give back.”

    Translation: “I find the vein just above the back of the knee to be blood rich. No, no. Just above the back of the elbow leaves fewer marks.”

  19. Pingback: It’s Brad v Damien! | Camestros Felapton

  20. As long as we’re talking about his analysis of works he’s obviously not read, his characterization of China Meillville as being “weird for weird’s sake” is at least as insulting as his portrayal of military sci fi. “The City & The City” is one of the the very few Hugo winners of the last thirty years or so that I believe deserves to stand along side works like “Dune” and “The Left Hand Of Darkness.”

  21. And one more note about Delany. Yes, “Hogg” is violent pornography. So is “Tides Of Lust”. So are many of Delany’s short and (allegedly) non-fiction descriptions of sexual encounters.

    If the fact that an author has also written pornography disqualifies her or him from consideration as a serious author, then I suppose that ends any discussion. I suspect, though, that if all the pseudonyms in use over the past half-century were suddenly brought to light we would be left with a far sparser pool of talent than we imagine. Donald Westlake’s brilliantly bittersweet “Adios Scheherazade” draws on his own experience writing smut to pay the bills as he honed his craft and he implies that it was a common practice for writers of genre fiction.

    I, personally, believe that Delany’s science fiction should be read and appreciated for itself. Is “Hogg” any better than “Tarnsman Of Gor”? I doubt it seriously. But “Nova” and “Triton” and “The Ballad Of Beta-2” are unquestionably better than any of the Gor novels that I have sampled. Recently I wrote a review of “Einstein Intersection” on my blog and I had a number of people remark that the book sounds wonderful, but they refuse to read Delany because of his pornographic works. I think that’s a shame.

    Sorry, I know that this is off the main topic of your post, but I get irked when a man whom I consider to be a major talent is dismissed because of a fairly small sample of his output.

  22. On the one hand, the quote as currently presented is “From George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984, way back to Thomas More’s Utopia and even further, writers have fantasised about the possibilities of progress, both good and bad.” That last bit does change the meaning of the quote. Is there somebody that has skill with looking at archived versions of articles to see if that last bit was originally there, or if it’s something he’s added to cover up his mistake?

    On the other hand, he’s changed his article to go full Culture War. “Military Sci-Fi” is now “Military Conservatives”.

  23. Shorter Version of Damien’s article: “Guy who got a grant to write his first novel is still spending his time writing about everyone else’s novels instead…”

  24. Walter skipped another tribe, typified by this Nebula-winning heartache titled “Muh Lady of Zero Fucks to Give.”

    We rolled into Radar Love in a cloud of butt-stink and flies, trailing Ace bandages like Boris Karloff in The Mummy. Radar Love was one of the few scabtowns left in the YuEss of A that still took Patreon-Dollars, though we hadn’t been here in years. I turned off the eight-track player and gave the engine a final gun, noting the gauge on our Vegan-tank was near zero.

    I glanced into the back of the van where a recently snoring mound of tattoos began to separate themselves into Jazzy, Jacarunda and Jaquille. With me, Jizelle, we were the traveling band B’Dazzled.

    “There goes the last of the juice,” I moaned. “Looks like we’re on manual tonight, ladies.”

    I’d pulled up next to a fast-food joint called “Squee-Burger”;it had an inviting dumpster probably full of delicious slamburgers.

    “Time to draw lots for dumpster diving,” I cried as my stomach gave a rumble.

    “The internalized misogyny is strong in you, Jizelle,” yelled back Jaquille. “You go.”

    “Oh… of course. I just meant….”

    “Get your racist ableist ass out the door. You wanna catch these hands? Go!!”

    *

    A mile down the buckled asphalt was a bar called “Preepot’s Reebot.” As I walked up a guy was coming out wearing a tricorn hat with deer antlers.

    “Hi,” I said. “Play live music inside?”

    “Never seen you type ’round here afore. You ina band? You play anything famous?”

    “Well, I don’t know how famous they are, but we always get a reaction out of “Mansplaining” and “Ball Squeeze.”

    “You play that thesbian stuff ’round here and yore likely to get hunted naked in a laser-paintball tournament, forced to slop the hogs for a week and then ridden out of town straddling a creosote two-by-four.”

    My slamburger skipped an intestine and I did a poopy plops in my adult laser diaper. It was time to leave Radar Love.

  25. Walters is regularly criticized at File770, so maybe you and that group have more in common than you though? 🙂

    I’m not exactly thrilled about defending a doofus like Damian, but why do you assert that he only “thinks he loves Science Fiction”. How would you know? Are you some sort of CHORF now?

    Also, you left out the rest of the quote regarding 1984 and Animal Farm… Where you left off, he concludes with “…writers have fantasised about the possibilities of progress, both good and bad.” [emphasis mine]

    So what he is actually saying is not at all similar to what you are claiming, making your response nonsensical.

    Word of advice, when you look stupid attacking someone like Damien Walters, you have big problems!

  26. Trying to use facts in arguments with those who aspire to progressive pretentiousness is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good you are at chess, the pigeon is just going to knock over the pieces, crap on the board, and then strut around like he won.

    A better use of time is to read what you like and, for us writers, write what you like. Take away their attention and eventually the nattering, nihilistic nincompoops of narcissistic negativism will have nothing left to create their hollow echoes of disapproval. Then those empty thoughts and shrill protests will fade into the oblivion that their own imaginations create.

    Just my opinion.

  27. Don’t get me wrong, John Norman’s oeuvre deserves mocking, but no less an authority (and SJWish activist) than Cecelia Tan has discussed their importance in the field of smutty SF.

  28. You know what’s amazing? Magnets! Especially for dumb idiots like you.

  29. Don’t forget it’s Anti-Bullying Day” in SFF. Oppose the Patriarchy, whiteness and heterosexuality or the anti-bully dinosaur which only kills straight white males may come for you.

  30. Man, he’s even less creative and more repetitive than usual.

  31. With all his screen names, he’s a one-man zombie apocalypse.

  32. I find many of his tribal groupings to be very inaccurate according to his original stated goal. My understanding is that he was trying to state groups within the SF world that are largely insular. He states that some exceptions and overlaps are unavoidable, but it sounded to me as though he implied such overlaps would be rare.

    I can’t disagree with this enough. Many of those tribes aren’t parallel with minor overlap, they run roughshod in criss-cross patterns all over each other. Does he really count “commercial storytellers” largely separate from YA? Or Hard SF rarely intersects worldbuilding? In the latter, I’d say worldbuilding is even more important to hard SF since you have to keep hand-waving to a minimum.

    Even apart from the digs at military SF ( seriously, does he want to apply that line of thought to military slanted genres of other literature and art? ), this “article” seems to completely fail at its intended purpose.

  33. MishaBurnett: “I get irked when a man whom I consider to be a major talent is dismissed because of a fairly small sample of his output.”

    As a matter of general principle, I agree with and applaud this perspective. Unfortunately, when the small sample in question is something like Hogg, well, I have to admit, my reaction (and I grant that it is more visceral than rational) is that when you mix a tiny piece of s**t into a bowl of ice cream, you don’t get something that is still 99% perfectly fine to eat.

    Delany’s other books may well be brilliant — the first few pages of Dhalgren put me to sleep, so I’ll admit my own inability to proffer a worthwhile opinion on the matter — but the few bits of Hogg I read as quotes were so physically revolting that even to be reminded of them by association is too much unpleasantness to be worth my ever-diminishing leisure time.

  34. Clamps seems to have fixated on James May now. I guess his other regular targets still have him blocked. What’d you do to incite such hatred James? I haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary from your usual well researched postings.

  35. Why stop at Clamps? What set off any of that bunch of interchangeable idiot-modules? Scalzi, Hines, Swirsky, Leckie, Walter, Glyer, his commenters are all part of a cult of mentally ill bald-faced liars. When have you ever seen any of that feminist cult tell the truth or act rationally? You have to be out of your frickin’ gourd to believe you have to abolish gender distinctions in order to defeat some white Patriarchy, and yet these freaks work tirelessly towards that goal every single day. These are some seriously demented people and Clamps fanatical certainty fits right in with the general SocJus profile: doll-eyed sociopaths and supremacists who are convinced they are ultra-compassionate. Are a lot of them naive “allies”? Sure, but from the outside they look just as nuts.

  36. @Misha – Main reason why I don’t like Delany is his support of NAMBLA, and a willingness to make that destructive and ugly ‘mindset’ as ‘acceptable.’ His writing is one of the ways he uses to bring about that change, and that’s how Hogg looks to me.

    As fiction writers, we should be able to write about horrible things, including people being absolute monsters to each other. That ‘being able to write about it’ does not mean that we endorse or approve of such; which is one of the firmer lines between fiction and reality that one expects an author to be able to have.

    But

    Delany belongs to the subset of writers that both endorse the behavior, seek to normalize it, and is part of the group that likes to claim that just because someone is X, they are supportive of Y which leads to thought policing and ‘this cannot be written about because it endorses DANGEROUS THOUGHTS’ of the sort he/his group does not approve of. (ex: Orson Scott Card, what happened to Nick Cole, all of the examples James May brings to these discussions.)

    That’s my $AUD 0.02

  37. I agree with Shadowdancer. The sexual liberation of children in terms of them making their own choices which supersede the authority of their parents is explicitly stated in this feminist ideology. You can find such quotes from the founders of this sick ideology from 1970 on such as Shulamith Firestone and Andrea Dworkin to figures in SFF today such as the Hugo-winning Aiden Moher from A Dribble of Ink guest-posting at the feminist SFF review site The Book Smugglers, the Hugo-nominated Foz Meadows and SFF editor and Publishers Weekly reviews editor Rose Fox. You can see it in comics made for children like Lumberjanes promoted by one of Glyer’s dunces. These people across the breadth of SFF are not even making an effort to hide their intentions; far from it. In fact they actively promote this idea every single day and paint anyone an intolerant bigot, homophobe and transphobe who believes parents should have the final say over their children. “Choose your gender” has become an obsession with a cult which flat out states they wish to destroy gender distinctions and celebrates any whiff of it such as Ancillary Justice, Traitor: Baru or Karen Memory. The massive demographic overrepresentation of lesbians voices in SFF is a reflection of the fact radical lesbian feminism is the default orthodoxy of the SFWA, WorldCon, TorCom, Lightspeed, Uncanny, Strange Horizons, etc. This weekend WisCon started handing out pronoun stickers to its con-goers, and there’s a reason for that.

    “Unambiguous conventional heterosexual behavior is the worst betrayal of our common humanity” – feminist Andrea Dworkin, a woman who was, like Shulamith Firestone and others, against cultural taboos against incest. Dworkin also wrote that “Children are fully capable of participating in community, and have every right to live out their own erotic impulses.”

    “Foz Meadows ‏@fozmeadows Don’t tell your kids what they should like or be based on what you think their genitals mean. Let them discover themselves, & love THAT kid.”

    “Foz Meadows ‏@fozmeadows Fuck the gender binary, is what I’m saying. Fuck it sideways with a chainsaw, and ESPECIALLY when it comes to children.”

    There are obvious problems with allowing children their own head without adult supervision. What if they want to explore the Amazon or eat paint? While pretending to have no agenda feminists closely supervise that exact agenda and the difference between being a gender feminist parent and child abuse is nominal. However, me saying that relegates me to being a “right-wing” “MRA douchebag.” Don’t let anyone around your kids who uses phrases like “genderblindness” or states what their pronouns are. This is nothing more or less than a bid for legally institutionalizing pedophilia. Let me remind you three of the most influential voices without which French Queer Theory doesn’t even exist and nor Ancillary Justice all stumped for lowering the age of consent in France: Michel Foucault, Simone de Beauvoir and Jacques Derrida.

    And that brings us full circle to the Damien Walter who once announced in The Guardian “the future is queer.”

  38. I agree with “James May adds nothing to any discussion and should immediately shut the fuck up and also I’ve read works by both James May and Shadowdancer Duskstar and they are by far some of the worst things I’ve ever read.”

  39. “interchangeable idiot-modules”

    I’ll remember that one for future use. 🙂

  40. Heh, y’know what, James, Chris, you’re right: they’ve become quite interchangeable haven’t they? From the comments on one of his posts, it seems that they’re starting to blur together even for Larry. Very few of them even have distinct writing or speaking styles; and the few that do stand out simply from how more obnoxious or petulant or mental they sound.

  41. And it’s always because we prop up that devil of civilization: the heteronormative white male.

    http://maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/guest-post-rachel-swirsky/

    Very touching. That explains why bullies are only straight white males and how one concocts an imaginary anti-bully dinosaur that only kills straight white males. I could concoct the same paranoid trajectory of how great my life could’ve been if only were it not for Jews and blacks… or women. That is how anti-humanistic hate speech is mainstreamed as noble social justice. Swirsky apparently thinks our courtrooms and jails are some exclusive domain of straight white men. By an amazing coincidence, Swirsky has insulated herself from the idea anyone she knows was ever cheated by a woman, beaten by a non-white or stabbed by a lesbian. The DNA dino knows.

    Only a couple of daffy dames like Swirsky and Kowal would ever hit upon the idea of fighting racial-sexual supremacy by using a racial-sexual supremacist ideology. The difference is I don’t have to light up tens of millions of people identified only by their race and sex. I can just point to two actual people: Swirsky and Kowal and their mad crusade against white men who still bitterly cling to heterosexuality. In their world, the confusion between ideology and demography is too great for their brains to deal with, and so they embrace a creepy ideology as if it’s a demography and throw down an entire demographic as if it’s an ideology. In other words they are typical KKK.

    Are we surprised they’ve concocted a racial-sexual revenge story sub-genre of SFF with a number of noble avengers which include Selkies, mermaid-protecting man-killers, noble LGBT raptors, genderblind space zombies, black Marco Polos, East India Company-killing steampunk clockwork birds, etc? Just pretend they all avenge themselves on Jews to get the full flavor of what these sick people are pushing.

  42. Every single post by James May can be summed up with “minorities and feminists are the real KKK. Minorities and feminists are ruining science fiction.”

  43. I think to some degree, it’s that the Social Justice mindset has conveniently decided to use women and minorities as human shields in the culture war. Take this article from Vox (the liberal one, not the rabid one): http://www.vox.com/2015/12/7/9790764/partisan-discrimination

    The results showed, as you might expect, that Democrats exhibit an automatic bias against Republicans, and vice versa. What was surprising was that the bias partisans exhibited for their out-group exceeded the bias white participants showed for black people, or that black participants showed for white people.

    We don’t like an author that happens to be both politically and ideologically opposed and black, or female. It’s incredibly convenient to be able to say ‘they don’t like me because they’re racist and/or sexist’, because racism and sexism are bad, while disliking someone’s politics and ideology are acceptable. In fact, Social Justice ideology has, if anything, continued the problems it’s supposed to stop. By stirring up charges of racism to get minorities to back the Social Justice ideology, they’ve made minority group membership an indicator of political leaning, which means that the very political bias will disproportionately affect the minorities they claim to protect.

    When the conservative champions this election cycle have been black and latino, and the single most visible culture warrior opposing the Social Justice side is not just openly but flamboyantly gay, it’s hard to actually make charges of racism and homophobia stick, but the Social Justice side is so blinded by its political bias it can’t notice that the narrative it’s using is completely wrong.

  44. @Shadowdancer:
    Very few of them even have distinct writing or speaking styles; and the few that do stand out simply from how more obnoxious or petulant or mental they sound.

    There’s a reason I use “hive mind” to describe them. 🙂

    Aw, someone is cranky and needs a nap.

  45. “Minorities” have nothing to do with the issue. Third Wave Feminists do. In principle, they promote the identical supremacist biological doctrines as the Nazis did. What is so hard about that to understand? They themselves admit it in their actions. Do you think the zany anti-straight white male supremacists Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz at io9 which produced articles which start “When Will White People Stop…?” would ever in a thousand years do that with “When Will Blacks Stop…?” Of course not. It would be wrong. They can get to that point and no further, because they are supremacists. Do Nazis write “When Will Aryans Stop….?” or “When Will Jews Stop…” Which? Wake up, bitch.

  46. > That explains why bullies are only straight white males and how one concocts an imaginary
    > anti-bully dinosaur that only kills straight white males.

    Can we concoct an imaginary anti-bully dinosaur that only kills Clamps?

  47. Why would you be so merciful to Clamps? He deserves to live a long time knowing what a sad and pathetic creature he is.

  48. Steven Gould: Male [redacted]

    “Steven Gould @StevenGould
    ‘He’s wearing a fedora and has a bullwhip. So, is he cos-playing as Indiana Jones?’ ‘Nah, see the neck beard?’ ‘Ah, Men’s rights activist.'”

    Gould prefers manly women doing manly things in his SFF.

  49. Honestly Brad, do you think people won’t look up quotes you quote and see they say the opposite of what you say they say? The Internet is a thing you know….

  50. So there’s a couple dozen things that are embarrassingly bad about this post and I’m sure people have pointed this one out to you but I just want to reiterate one. You quote Damien as saying

    > If you want to make the world a better place, you need a space to imagine what that place might look like. From George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984, way back to Thomas More’s Utopia and even further,

    and cut him off here, then claim that he’s holding classic dystopias up as models for a future society. If you had resisted your urge to chime in with every pea of an idea rattling around in your head as soon as it occurs, you might have read the full sentence:

    > From George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984, way back to Thomas More’s Utopia and even further, writers have fantasised about the possibilities of progress, both good and bad.

    Just keep reading until that period, four more little words, and it’s made clear what Damien’s actually trying to say! Practically every educational source available to writers advocates reading as an important skill to have, so it’s a wonder you never picked that one up.

  51. Just in case you were wondering, I’m calling you stupid as well…

    Your amazing “gotcha” was discussed in the top half of the comments and about half-way up someone posted a screen shot of what Walters originally said before he clarified himself.

    But whatever… better late than never when it’s a party, what?

  52. Gawd that article was stupid. Point stands… the “and bad” was pointed out in the top half, if it was originally there or not. And that doesn’t change any of the rest of the divisive stupid that spewed from Damian’s keyboard. I suspect that “fan service” is what pays the bills and if that’s what pays the bills, that’s what pays the bills. There’s only one “tribe” that would really love that article. All the rest are going, “Wha??”, assuming they read it at all.

  53. Thinking subgenres are pigeonholes rather than ingredients is bad enough, but when start believing they’re “tribes” it just gets silly. Does anyone really read one narrow sub-genre to the exclusing of everything else?

  54. What does good and bad mean in Walter’s world? In that piece he openly supports no less than 6 voices who in principle would be perfectly at home in a Klan rally. In Walter’s world they are noble truth-tellers. That’s all aside from the fact Walter is a serial liar.

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