United Underworld Literary Movement Manifesto

A follow up to a previous post: Well, in the last 24 hours,  I’ve had at least fourteen people write me and ask to be members or minions of the Evil League of Evil, Gun Molls and Henchmen, and one guy wanted to be a Evil Janitor of Evil in the Lair.

It seems as if people would rather be Evil than Leftist. Ponder the irony of that for a moment.

At this rate, we can start a new Science Fiction Writer’s guild to compete with SFWA. I have already designed a new heraldic emblem and logo:

United Underworld

Or, if a new guild is too ambitious a dream, at least we can start a new literary movement, one meant to go hand in hand with the Space Princess Movement, which decreed that science fiction was meant to be filled with wonder and adventure and beauty rather than be mundane, that is, be drab and ugly and dull and socialist and self-righteous and whiny.

United Underworld02

UNITED UNDERWORLD OF SFF (From Left to Right: Sarah Hoyt, John C. Wright, Larry Correia, and Vox Day)

This new movement shall be one where the writer is allowed to put a message in his story, provided it entertains the reader, and provided he does not sabotage or ignore the story trying to shoehorn a message into it. Story telling comes first in stories.

All stories will be judged on their merit, rather than on the skin color of the author or authoress.

The writers are the servants of the readers, who are their patrons and patronesses. We are not the teachers, not the preachers, and not the parents and certainly not the masters of the readers. We are not social engineers with permission to manipulate the readers, nor subject them to indoctrination nor propaganda disguised as entertainment.

In sum, the three ideas of the so-called reactionary Evil League of Evil are that that Science Fiction stories should be workmanlike, honest, and fun. Stories should serve the reader rather than lecture, sucker-punch, subvert, or hector him. Stories should give the reader what he paid for.

Dear reader, do you understand that these three principles, these three points of simple common sense and common decency, these three principles are what the Leftist ideologues, who untruthfully claim to be fighting for the underdog, untruthfully call evil?

These are the principles our foes reject, and why we (including you, our readers) are subject to shrill yet tedious tongue-lashings by the scolds and shrews of these craven and no-talent know-nothings.

Does that sound like a new literary movement? It is older than Homer.

When the first storyteller of prehistory standing outside the cave in the circle of light shed by that newly-invented dancing sky-flower called fire, and with wide gestures and daring words, while the shadows leaped,  astonished the youngsters of the clan with the deeds of the great hunt which happened that day, he used these tools of the trade.

He told of the comedy of a spear thrown butt-first, the tragedy of a man trampled, the drama of the band of hunters aiding each other that the tribe might feast, that the tribe might live! And the youngsters with their eyes wide and mouths hanging round open listened in wonder. They were enchanted.

And then, as twilight deepened into night and the stars looked on, the tale he told turned to the of the eldest grandfathers and great hunters long dead but living again in the constellations, chasing the raging boars and mighty mastodons and swift smilodons whose images were in the zodiac — that unknown and unnamed first storyteller told a tale of stars and eternal things.

He told of the creation of the world, the kindling of the sun and moon, and how the High Spirit placed green trees and blue rivers in the mighty lap of the Earth. And he sang the names of their fathers and forefathers, and how the tribe was blessed in times long gone by the gods, and how these names and great deeds must never be forgotten, but told in turn to their sons and daughters.

That first founder of my guild knew the three things any storyteller who is honest knows: A story is not a lecture nor a sermon; the storyteller puts the story first, not the storyteller; the storyteller serves rather than rules those who hear his tale.

73 Comments

  1. Comment by RedJack:

    I humbly offer my services as a chemical engineer to your fine league of dastardly evil. If required I will happily brew up a concoction to assist the Janitor of Evil in his duties.

  2. Comment by Mary:

    What roles are open? How many Space Princesses does the movement need, and do we get titles to differentiate ourselves?

  3. Comment by samrobb:

    So… is there a form to fill out, or something along those lines? I believe my resume shows that I have experience acting in a broad supporting role in small, newly formed organizations. None of those have been *explicitly* evil, but I don’t see any reason why those software startup lessons wouldn’t be a net benefit to the EloE. Have you thought about evil robots? Something with evil robots would be ideal. For the right incentives, I might even be willing to Goon a little as well.

  4. Comment by Drew:

    I’ve avoided SF literature for a long time. The literature I have read before has been very anti-religious and even antagonistic towards ethics and morality in general. These things have been a part of the human culture for millennia. To dismiss it all as rubbish and never even mention religion, or if mentioned only in mockery, seemed more fanciful of a story than light-sabers. It did not seem real. It wasn’t until someone suggested I read Dune that my taste for SF was renewed. It wasn’t antagonistic towards religion but included it within the storyline. The story suffers if the author is being preachy (still have not read all of chapter 13 of Atlas Shrugged). I’ll just skim over the preachiness and continue on to the next action seen, if there is one.

    • Comment by MattK:

      Drew – start in the 30s/40s/50s with John Carter of Mars and the Lensman series, and then Heinlein and Asimov. My SF intro was Heinlein juveniles and the Asimov Lucky Starr novels : you can (and apparently did!) do a lot worse than Have Spacesuit – Will Travel, Red Planet and Citizen of the Galaxy as an introduction to the field. Check out earlier Arthur C. Clarke. Poul Anderson. Then start taste testing stuff from the late 60s forward to see what appeals to you and what does not. There is a HUGE body of work that does not preach to you, much of it published before 1970, when a certain portion of the authors began to aspire to be “literary.” Even after that, there are authors who managed to be experimental while still telling a ripping good yarn – I’m thinking of Zelazny in particular. The harder the SF, the less likely it is to be preachy in my experience, so Niven, Pournelle, Hal Clement and others in the 70s and 80s. Of course there is Dune.

      Thanks to our esteemed host and others mentioned frequently here, and in large part thanks to independent publishing, there is starting to be more high quality storytelling in the genre once again, rather than the PC anti-culture, anti-civilizational preaching that has taken over these last score years or so.

      • Comment by Rainforest Giant:

        First sci-fi I was given to read was ‘Star Beast’ by Heinlein. I was eight, about the same age my mom was when my grandad gave her that book.

        Back then the book mobile would not let me check out some of the other Heinlein books. The librarian/driver knew which was appropriate for an eight year old boy and had the moral authority to say ‘no’. I still love her for it. She always knew what an outdoorsy but bookish boy would love.

        That would be a heck of a thing to own, an old book mobile.

        • Comment by Centurion13:

          I remember writing to John Varley about his novel “Mammoth’. There were a couple of things I had a problem with, and I wanted his comments.

          First was a time machine that appeared to have no inventor.

          He hand-waved that, as it was something other story writers had done before. No explanation, otherwise, and nothing addressing it in the novel proper.

          Second was that, though both main characters were purportedly former Catholics, neither sounded as if they’d paid the slightest attention to anything the Church had ever told them. Their rejected version of Catholicism (and through it, Christianity) was suitable for a child of four.

          I was curious as to why Mister Varley had not done his homework on Catholics and said so. I did not at the time understand that (a) there were people who actually thought like this and did not see either the irony or contradiction and (b) there were such things as strawmen.

          His response was that as he felt the whole Christian thing was rubbish, he did not feel the need to do actual research or present the faith as it sees itself. “We’re all mostly empty space anyway” was his final take on things.

          I responded by asking what my body’s density had to do with the need for research on a given subject, even one he obviously disliked. I never received a reply.

          I liked his Titan series when I was a teen, but it was plain even then that Varley did not like certain aspects of our society, and especially went out of his way to disparage religion of all stripes. His ‘Blue Thunder’ and ‘Red Thunder’ are probably the best he has to offer – minimal trashing of his pet dislikes and concentration on science and adventure.

          Sorry for the book review, but I thought this pertinent to the conversation about authors pushing an ideology versus actually attempting to entertain their bosses.

  5. Comment by MattK:

    Don’t Be Evil.

  6. Comment by Rainforest Giant:

    I volunteer to rescue said space princesses. Even at the risk of possible loss of breath and anger from my wife when the beautiful space princess (they are all beautiful) throws herself on me and covers me with kisses.

    I will require a jeweled fighting harness, long sword, short sword, dagger, and radium pistol. A ray-gun will also be acceptable if no radium pistols are available. I can also take them as the spoils of combat if necessary but I feel positively naked without my jeweled fighting harness. It’s time for us to reclaim the jeweled harness for red-blooded, clean limbed, fighting men everywhere.

  7. Comment by Fail Burton:

    I already belong to a race of wormy swine-people. There’s no Latin term or funny hats or anything… just swine-people.

  8. Comment by Fail Burton:

    I also propose a new name that is more accurate than SJWs or PC: RSB (RacistSexistBigots).

  9. Comment by jew613:

    What positions are available in The Evil League of Evil? Are there any openings for fanatical Monarchists interested in serious minioning for a Space Princess? Willing to do anything to further the cause of said Space Princess and her genius Living Brain in a jar?

  10. Comment by Nate Winchester:

    UNITED UNDERWORLD OF SFF (From Left to Right: Sarah Hoyt, John C. Wright, Larry Correia, and Vox Day)

    Oh I thought that was Larry in the green since John always wears the dapper hats.

    Can I be the evil IT? It’s like regular IT but… ok there is no difference. Though from our standpoint, the Obamacare website is probably one of the best fictions of last year.

    Or I can be Dr Henry Killinger with my magic murder bag!

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      I puzzled over who was whom, but I figured Larry Correia would thank me if he had the umbrella gun. It is the only firearm in the group.

      Vox as Joker is self evident: he has WAAAAY too much grinning fun toying with the foe.

      Hoyt as Catwoman because we all love her, and because if one of us manly man were Catwoman, Mr Walter would think we were getting in touch with our female side of our suppressed inner Sodomite. And who wants that? Ew.

      By process of elimination, hat or no hat, I am stuck being the Riddler, because I say things in floral Victorianisms no one can understand, just like Riddler leaves clues no one (but Batman, using bat-logic) can understand.

      If you think about it, Riddler is the worst supervillain ever. Imagine you are holding the auditions for the legion of Doom:

      “Thank you for coming here. State your name and power, and tell us why we should want you in the Legion of Doom?”

      “Me am Bizzaro. Can pick up and throw moon like shot-put.”

      “Good! Next?”

      “Sinistro is the name! Of Space Sector 2396! With my magic ring, anything I think instantly is formed out of a power construct!”

      “Very good! Next!”

      “Lex Luthor. Criminal Mastermind. I can invent a weapon to destroy the Swamp Thing in four minutes by attuning his life energy to an exogalactic planet.”

      “Excellent! Next!”

      “Gorilla Grodd! Not only am I superstrong and also a criminal mastermind, evil inventor, and genius, I have psionic powers and can MAKE you want to have me join the Legion of Doom!”

      “Yesss… Master …. It was better than Cats …. Uh, Okay! Next!”

      “Catwoman! I am simply purr-fect! I steal cat-related jewels.”

      “No superpowers, then, Catwoman?”

      “If you let me join, I will wear the nosebleed stilettos in the lair, the leather catsuit, and carry the cat-o’-nine-tails.”

      “Uh. See me later. Next?”

      “Black Manta! My superpower is … I have a submersible boat ….”

      “Hmm…”

      “The Riddler! I have no powers, no super-strength, cannot fly, have no magic rings, not even a boat, but my super power is to send CLUES TO OUR ENEMIES and lead them right to us! HEHEHEHEHEHE!”

      • Comment by Nate Winchester:

        Someone made a joke once (can’t find it right now) about “Dude, you leave clues for the heroes. I think that technically puts you on their team!” Maybe it was one of Jabootu’s superfriends review.

        Also:
        http://textsfromsuperheroes.com/post/80722971865

        XD

        • Comment by Mary:

          There was a Batman Adventures where the Riddler decided to stop leave clues for himself, but leave them for other supervillains’ crimes. Batman and Robin deduced where he was from them. The Riddler voluntarily went back to Arkham because he thought he might be crazy.

          In the standard universe, the Riddler went straight and narrow for a while, working as a detective. Nightwing hired him once when Batman vanished. Alas, comics. You are never allowed a real character development because they are never permanent.

          • Comment by Nate Winchester:

            So the good Riddler stopped in comics already? I was aware of his heel-face turn and actually approved. Shame they reversed that.

            Haven’t been thrilled with this trend of “abusive father gave Ed Nigma a complex to always tell the truth” as an explanation for him. The prideful, “I’m smarter than Batman and THIS time I’ll definitely prove it” has always been the one I prefer.

            Then again… looking at the two, I guess the explanations reveal something about the times they were made in, huh?

          • Comment by Arwen Riddle:

            “You are never allowed a real character development because they are never permanent.” Yeah, that’s my problem with comic books and some long-running television shows. The movies tend to be a bit better.

        • Comment by Fail Burton:

          Well, I think the old trope is that psychopaths secretly want to get caught.

      • Comment by Nate Winchester:

        Oh and of course I found NO fault with your other two choices, they were obvious before I read the caption. ;)

      • Comment by vespersontherocks:

        Work on those psionics, Grodd. They’re supposed to say, “It was *much* better than Cats. I’m going to see it again and again.”

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          Darn! My geek credentials for Second City TV have been shot down in flames!

          • Comment by vespersontherocks:

            It’s worse than that, Jim. You were actually quoting Saturday Night Live. Sorry to nit-pick. I was actually just delighted someone else remembered that skit. Feel free not to post this. We have more pressing evil to accomplish!

          • Comment by Centurion13:

            But you get kudos for remembering the single-handed re-invention of Lex Luthor that took him from being a ranting joke in a powered suit to an insane genius in a power suit who absolutely reeked of evil during the four or five panels given him by Alan Moore.

            Swamp Thing’s life energy was de-tuned from Earth, disconnecting him from the Green (IIRC) but did not specifically assign him to another world (and it was in our galaxy – or did you just want to write ‘exogalactic’ to get it off your chest?). I have all the issues where he chased from one planet to the next. This story arc, all by itself, re-imagined Lex Luthor in such a way that the guy is still a genuine menace thirty years later.

            (It also re-invented Adam Strange, presenting him in a way we’d never seen before. He went from a 60s monster of the week guy to a human being doing his best to deal with a really creep situation…)

            Bleh. Geek cred has never done me any good, but I gots it.

  11. Comment by RS:

    I’d buy that t-shirt.

    I’m afraid I don’t have any chemical engineering capabilities– but I am a great cook. I can certainly provide cookies for the league meetings.

    • Comment by Sarah Hoyt:

      How are you on low-carb cookies? I have carb-processing issues (it’s not just a diet.) what say you? I have a recipe for low-carb brownies, but I’m tired of making them. And being the only chick in the group means the minute I start to bake, all of the guys stand around, and the cookies disappear in seconds.

      :-P

  12. Comment by Keith Glass:

    I was planning to keep it low-profile, color-coded jumpsuit and matching construction helmet.

    But this is war, and we need Special Forces. And I’ve been especially gassy this week. Well, sometimes a plan just comes together.

    And so, enters the minion: from over the horizon, comes a rumbling thunder, and a greenish cloud. Overhead, flashing past with a mighty roar, and an awful smell, propelled through the air by the power of his own wind. . . comes the Fart Wrangler.

    If I can’t out-argue the SJWs. . . . I’ll leave them writhing on the ground, gasping for air. . .

    And I’m preparing a gift for the Lord High Evil Masters. Sarah and Larry already know. . .

  13. Comment by AstroSorcorer:

    Muh-ha-ha! To entertaining sci-fa and fantasy!

    I shall need to gather a billowing black cape to swish dramatically!

  14. Comment by Xena Catolica:

    I’m feeling inspired to do something so as to warrant honorary Evil League of Evil status. Because titles bestowed (even minion) are much snazzier.

  15. Comment by lensmanx:

    Dibs on King Tut! Since my recent head injury, I have remembered my glorious past as the Pharoah of Upper and Lower Virginia, ruling from my monument-laded Thebes upon the Rappahannock. My minions shall wear t-shirts with Egyptian characters on them, but if the United Underworld wishes to standardize, we can switch to more naval jumpsuits to crew Mr. Correia’s Penguin Submarine.

    And John, cryptic skywriting is considerably more affordable than the usual kind. Gives the pilots a nice brain teaser while they’re working.

  16. Comment by pancakeloach:

    Are we signing up for the Evil League of Evil now? I want to apply to be a minion too! I can… help in the kitchen with the low-carb brownies? And cook bacon. I’d help skin and roast things, though, if there’s still a skinning-and-roasting spot open. ;)

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Everyone is signing up! Did you want to work in the regular kitchen or the torture kitchen? We have openings in both.

      There is a dress code, though. Kitchen staff have to wear full-face golden skull masks like everyone else, to allow heroes to sneak in through the servants entrance.

      Also, anyone on the Earthquake Machine crew — and that includes evil fry cooks and evil gourmet chefs working with the fielding teams — may be called on to work weekends and be willing to travel: we have to place the volcanic induction drillheads where the tectonic plate stresses are, not where the office is. Hope that is not a deal breaker.

    • Comment by Mary:

      One needs a number of minions in the kitchen. One can’t count on princesses filling all the roles, especially since that was traditionally a fairy tale princess not a space princess.

    • Comment by Arwen Riddle:

      Oh, can I be the evil Librarian?

  17. Comment by Fail Burton:

    I’ll just be one of the worms of the earth. Usually a mad flute player will summon me. Or some racist rubbish from anti-racists.

  18. Comment by Scholar-at-Arms:

    If henchman positions are open, then I offer my services! I can fence, dance, and am a partially-trained bodyguard! (James Bond flicks have taught me that this is the traditional level of training for an evil mastermind’s bodyguard).

  19. Comment by Gaeliel:

    Do you accept foreigners? I can construct machines and aircraft. And do calligraphy. And insane BBQ ribs. Just imagine: a silver throng of clockwork minions obeying our every command and enforcing the New World Order in an untiring, relentless fashion. And we could have the baddest-looking dinner party invitations and membership certificates, not to mention the threat letters.

  20. Comment by Stephen J.:

    Can I be the Evil Proofreader? (Special warning: I am sufficiently anal-retentively nitpicky when it comes to copy-editing that this position might actually descend into genuine malevolence. Just ’cause we’re Evil doesn’t mean we want to be Evil, knowwhat’msayin’?)

  21. Comment by Laserlight:

    I’m in. I can…um…well…ah! I can wield a saber, as long as my foes are also slow, creaky, and liable to twinges in the back and shoulder. I can provide an Evil Gleam and a Merciless Laugh.
    And I am resident in Lower Virginia–indeed, ten feet lower and I’d be aquatic. If the position Vizier of Lower Virginia is open, perhaps I qualify?

  22. Comment by mnementh:

    I do payroll for a living, which anyone will tell you means I am both inherently evil and twisted. If you need someone to pay the Minions and Princesses, that’s me. To maintain maximum evil, I will garnish wages indiscriminately and at random.

  23. Comment by Jake Freivald:

    I’m quite concerned. Since this organization is to be the antithesis of the disordered leftist horde, do we actually have to… you know… have talent?

  24. Comment by NRPax:

    Mr. Wright, I humbly offer my services. I am someone who only writes for fun but I can operate heavy machinery (Courtesy of a few years in the Marine Corps), can hit a human sized target at 500 meters without a scope (Especially if they are made of paper) and in case of enemy action I can starve myself of coffee and become the kind of warrior that even a berserker would hesitate to deal with.

  25. Ping from Making “BORED” into an Acronym « Yard Sale of the Mind:

    […] kick things off, here’s one for John C Wright’s Evil League of Evil literary […]

  26. Comment by TheMadProfessor:

    Can I be Evil IT Support Guy? (Yes, I realize that’s redundant.)

  27. Comment by Jared Anders:

    I would humbly like to volunteer as Evil Librarian. I actually have the experience to do so (my day job after all) and I’ve always wanted an altar of romance novels.

  28. Comment by Evil one:

    I would like to humbly offer my services.
    My qualifications? I’m a service manager for a car dealership. How much more evil can you get?
    Based on most people’s opinions of car dealerships, you should be my minion.
    I am willing to be an assistant under evil overlord.

  29. Comment by SabrinaC:

    Given that I am a QA engineer by day, I believe my Evil Qualifications are well established (and should any question them, I will produce a terrified and demoralized developer to corroborate that I have no mercy and screams are as birdsong to my ears.) Also I believe the Space Princess might graciously condescend to be a character witness.

    It is gratifying to see the eager response to the call to Evil Arms, and how varied and rich the talents on offer! With an Evil Librarian *and* Evil Robot Cookies, how can our plans for world^H^H^H^H galactic domination fail?

    I believe my talents and interest would be best put to use as a Plot Assassin, and herewith tender my application for the post. My editorial dagger will slice deep into the foetid entrails of the PeeCee Approved Works and…oh, hey. Do we have an Evil Haruspex yet, speaking of entrails? Because I think we should. Maybe advertise on Craigslist?

  30. Comment by MomKat:

    As a wife and mother, I have lots of skills to offer: I’m goodbat organizing, cooking, and time management, and I also served as the de-facto Sergeant at Arms for my daughter’s Lego League team several years ago. So I offer my application for Evil Scullery Maid, with a sub-specialty in Herding Cats. ;-)

  31. Comment by Raphael:

    I would like to apply for membership, if I may. I’ve always pictured myself as a mad scientist who threatens to destroy a city because no one pays attention to him, but I’m flexible.

    http://raphordo.blogspot.com/2014/06/evil-be-thou-my-good.html

  32. Comment by KHorn:

    I’d apply for membership, but alas, being a lawyer I’m afraid I’m overqualified.

  33. Comment by Ticker03:

    I humbly offer my services as Evil File Clerk of Evil for purposes of maintaining filing records of our evilness and projects. After all you need a dedicated room of floor to ceiling file cabinets with mundane information on HVAC maintenance cycles and personal records in any evil lair!

    Also when you start up a run of T-shirts count me in for an XXL!

  34. Comment by HMSLion:

    Of course we want to join the Evil League of Evil! We get nifty T-shirts with identifying numbers on them, and spiffy uniforms. What’s the opposition got?

  35. Ping from Snapshot 138 Unskillful in the world’s false forgeries | File 770:

    […] John C. Wright baited the hook of his United Underworld Literary Movement Manifesto with an irresistible picture of four Batman villains captioned, “UNITED UNDERWORLD OF SFF (From […]

  36. Ping from Amazing Stories | AMAZING NEWS: June 29, 2014 - Amazing Stories:

    […] New, Appropriate Word Move Over POCS, Women, LGBTQs and Make Some Space For Atheists On That Bench United Underworld Gets A Manifesto and a Cartoon (For accurate translation, see 1984) Bradley’s Daughter Accuses Her Of Abuse No More Clinic […]

  37. Ping from Literary Envy and the Last Redoubt | John C. Wright's Journal:

    […] of the United Underworld have said what we are fighting about. Larry Correia wrote our manifesto: We believe story comes before […]

  38. Ping from I’ve been summoned | T.L. Knighton:

    […] So, apparently there’s this blog hop thingy (totally a technical term) going around writer circles titled “I’ve been summoned”.  Yes, I’ve been summoned and stuff, so now I’m supposed to talk about some specific things.  I was summoned by Woelf Deitrich, who will owe me in some way. It’ll probably be evil or something, since I’m bucking for inclusion in the Evil League of Evil. […]

Leave a Reply