Sauce for the Gander

I am taken to task for daring to say Heinlein would not win the Hugo these days.

http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2014/05/appropriating-heinlein/

I regard the observation as unexceptional; a sufficient number of Leftists denounce Heinlein as a fascist and sexist, and who (by their own admission) do not vote on the merits of the author’s work but on his ideological purity, to defeat a nomination.

Admittedly I am speculating about the Leftist numbers in our community, but not about their ideology. I assume anyone familiar with the field is familiar with the ideological denunciations against Bob Heinlein.

Mr Davidson argues that Mr Heinlein was a gadfly, more interested in starting a debate than in promoting any particular ideology. This is a sentiment not only I agree with, but he himself quotes me saying so. I am glad he and I agree on this point.

He also says that Mr Heinlein would tell us to cease the political wrangling and get on with the business of living. Since this was precisely my point, I am again quite happy to find myself in agreement with Mr Davidson.

Nonetheless, there seems to be a point of apparent disagreement. Let me quote the beginning of the piece:

Where to begin?  The fact that this essay was published in the Intercollegiate Review, a publication that self-identifies as: “The Intercollegiate Review is a print magazine and daily site for conservative students. You’ll hear from leading voices in the conservative movement, get activist tips from top student leaders, learn how to thrive in the face of the liberal campus culture, and more.”

No. That’s beside the point.

The fact that author Wright’s entire essay happily denigrates the entire world of SF in a forum outside of the SF community?  No.  That’s beside the point as well.

I confess I am failing to see what the objection is. Mr Davidson is using the rhetorical figures of Antistrophe, Irony, and perhaps a touch of Aporia which make his meaning less than clear.

The objection cannot be that I am being secretive with my opinions. I had previously made my opinions known to the science fiction community, for whatever few persons might be concerned with them, in my resignation letter to SFWA, which I sent to the proper officers in the organization, and also published here, on my blog.

Nor can the objection be the opposite, that I am too free with my opinions. I assume only people interested in my writing visit this blog, so I was hardly thrusting my opinions into unwilling ears.

The editor of the Intercollegiate Review contacted me on his own initiative to solicit an article explaining my opinions about the witchhunting atmosphere which is afflicting the science fiction community. Ergo he, and presumably his readers, fall into the category of the willing.

My complaint is certainly not with the greater mass of science fiction readers or fans, but only with persons who attempt to impose an ideological purity test on science fiction writers, such as, for example, anyone imprudent enough to object if a conservative like myself talks to other conservatives about science fiction.

I am objecting to the Progressively Statist Politically Correct Collectivists, whom I lovingly call Morlocks, who are driving science fiction away from our current historical preeminence back into the ghetto of irrelevance.

The Morlocks are not the entire world of SF: it is a small but shrill minority who are harassing the entire world of SF, and are the enemies of that world.

Is Mr Davison’s objection that I am not a science fiction writer because I am conservative?

But that would be imposing an ideological purity test on science fiction writers, rather than leaving us free to make a living, which is a point Mr Davidson clearly supports. And Jules Verne would laugh in his grave. So that cannot be it.

Is he hinting archly that it was somehow uncouth or ungentlemanly or unprofessional to voice a complaint about my brothers and comrades to outsiders, to non-science fiction readers, to muggles?

Pardon me while I collect myself. I can type with one hand while wiping tears of mirth from my eye with another. No, that cannot be it either.

Since the article of which Mr Davidson complains was itself a complaint about complainers complaining, I believe he and I are once again in agreement on this point, and we are either both justified in our complaints, or both just contradicted ourselves, or both.

Hmm. Upon rereading that last paragraph, I am sure there is a paradox involved here somewhere, but I cannot seem to identify it.

I also suspect that if he could, Mr Heinlein would indeed tell the lot of us to shut the hell up and get on with the business of living. And I have no doubt that Mr Heinlein would greatly resent being appropriated for any political plank of any wing that he’d not put forth himself: I think this includes invoking the sacred name of Heinlein to denounce conservative SF writers who invoke the sacred name of Heinlein.

As to whether Mr Heinlein would object, as I do, to would-be censors and thought-policemen and busybodies and all the fainting Victorian matrons of the world, I believe his own words speak well enough for himself that they need no repetition here.

As for the business of living, I just published three new books this month alone, and made rather healthy sales. Not to boast, I believe I made the number one slot in the Amazon sales category ‘Science Fiction Stories About Samurai Vampires Fighting Australian Piebald Rabbits Born In a Month With an R In It.’ or maybe it was ‘Dying Earth Stories Shamelessly Stolen From Writers Slain in the World War One.’

So, to make extra income, I also wrote a piece for the Intercollegiate Review about the matter which was mentioned in Instapundit, USA Today, and elsewhere. I believe this is what Mr Davidson and I would agree is getting on with the business of making a living.

Science fiction readers and writers of any political stripe, those of us who read and write for education, entertainment and pleasure, and not for heavyhanded social justice messages, are naturally allies here. That small and shrill faction of busybodies and killjoys who put social justice crusades above science fiction are our mutual enemies. Mr Davidson’s real complaint, whether it seems this way to him or no, is not with me, but with the killjoys.

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