A comment by Brad R. Torgersen about a recent unsightly eructation at the Guardian
The piece he criticizes so sharply and ably is here:
You may read it if you wish, although I recommend against it. The column is the vaporings of a stranger to the science fiction field applauding the applause given a book called ANCILLARY JUSTICE on the ground that, let me quote:
It continues the tradition of feminist writing within science fiction, famously adapting its pronoun usage as the central character struggles to understand the alien concept of binary gender.
This battle for the political high ground, while it is often petty, is far from unhealthy. The future science fiction has forecast and helped to shape, the future we are now deeply enmeshed in, is a profoundly political place.
The theme of the column proposes that there is a political war going on in science fiction between evil reactionaries who want to enjoy stories and benevolent social justice warrior whose mission is to enlighten us.
By Klono’s brazen claws, does anyone actually READ these preachy novels of feelbad flounderheaded pontification-fests for fun?
Allow me to translate from the airy emptiness of Newspeak to the Vulgate: he is saying a novel whose only gimmick is the lack of the use of male and female pronouns in order to aid the attempt of social engineers, not to entertain science fiction readers as patrons of our craft, but to indoctrine and Pavlovitize them toward a false-to-facts neurosis about human sexuality, is healthy on the grounds that science fiction should be used not to tell entertaining stories about the future, but as a propaganda adjunct to the political program of socialist progressivism, which means pervert-loving, man-hating, white-hating, Christian-hating, liberty-hating, life-hating nihilism.
I note to any Martians reading these words that humans come only in two sexes, male and female, and that the Brahmins of political correctness have decreed that fairness to sexual perverts requires that sexual reality to be changed. Naturally, reality cannot be changed, but what people say in public can.
Therefore the gentleman writing this article rejoices in the idea that science fiction be made into a department of the Ministry of Truth, so that anyone speaking frank and plain truth about human sexuality, if he is weak minded, will come to fear that his opinion is in the minority and unpleasing to the society at large. Once the truth is unpalatable, unspeakable, outlawed as a hate crime, everyone is a liar. When everyone is a liar, everyone is a cynic, and cynics never embrace the ideals necessary to join a rebellion.
In short, the gentleman penning this piece is glorying in the prospect of perverting science fiction from its intended purpose and making it into an instrument to spread and glorify sexual perversion.
He is a hatred-filled freak of some sort. He is like some vaguely anthropoid weasel in his skanky slanderous approach to the topic, filled with sneers and innuendos, and like a dickless eunuch in his moral code, filled with no courage and no grace.
Baen books specialises in works of “military SF” that, behind their appalling prose styles and laughable retro cover designs, speak to a right-wing readership who can recognise the enemies of America even when they are disguised as cannibal lizard aliens.
Note scare quotes. Note the ad hominem assertion that the readership of a publishing house, not of an author, deliberately and effortlessly interpret any cannibal lizard aliens encountered in a war story set in space to be symbols of America’s enemies.
The ad hominem is the one sure sign of a Leftist, because, like the cat in The Last Battle, the Leftist has lost the gift of speech and reasoning, and instead can only spit at people whom they yearn to antagonize. The Left cannot argue, only yowl. Then they lick themselves and look smug.
Now, here is an earnest question for anyone reading these words: name the last science fiction book you read containing a cannibal lizard alien, or even an anthropophagic lizard alien.
Name the enemy of America which this lizard represented: the choices (I will list in reverse chronological order various foes from America wars) include Islamics, Serbs, East Timorians, Liberians, Afghanis, Cambodians, Bosnians, Haitis, Panamanians, Colombians, Hondurans, Iraquis, Viet Cong, Koreans, Nazis, Huns, Red Indians and Redcoats. And we fought the Empire of Spain at one point.
Next, name the last time you bought a book due to the publishing house name rather than the author’s name. (Baen may be an exception to this general rule, which would tend to speak to the quality of the editorial board, rather than the reverse.)
Finally, name the last time you read any science fiction book in order to recognize something from the current world and confirm your current political opinion rather than as escapism, to speculate about the future, or the wonders of the unknown.
(Does anyone aside from a mental defective read everything, including stories deliberately set in other worlds and other aeons, as being nothing but gossip about our local quotidian politics? What a sick way to live.)
Frankly, I can bring no maneating lizard aliens to mind except perhaps from the pages of OLD MAN’S WAR by John Scalzi, a gentlemen who is an open partisan of the Left. And there are the Gorn from STAR TREK, written by Gene Roddenberry, whose sympathies were certainly slanted to the Left.
Of course, there is much material written these days which I do not read and have no intention of reading, such as gimmicky books that instead of telling a story pull a stunt, like using no pronouns in order to challenge common binary notions of beancurds or something stupid and boring like that.
To be more frank, the last two military spacewar stories I read, FIRE WITH FIRE by Chuck Gannon and The Lost Fleet series by John Hemry, the bad guys in both cases were evil capitalists or syndicalists. Hmm.
So the comment is not true, and indeed is not likely to be believed by anyone who actually reads science fiction.
And I have quoted but two lines of many. The stupid article simply goes on and on in like vein, sneering at Space Opera (my own genre, as it so happens) taking aim at particular editors and publication houses based solely on their political leanings, urging with utterly unsubtle urgings, as if with clumsy Quasimodo-like grunts, that we all should abandon science fiction and merely read, breath, eat, urinate, secrete and excrete politics from now on.
Hail politics! Hail, horrors, hail! No more speculation, no more fiction, and no more science! No action, no adventure, nothing but cardboard politically-correct stereotypes! Nothing but leftwing talking points! Politics all day, every day, as if all the endless millennia of the future will be nothing but, us, us, us, the idiot generation, forever and aye!
And not normal politics, either. Normal politics is concerned with how to organize a society in peace and war to secure life and liberty. No, this is freakish cult of degenerate subhumans who dance beneath the moonless sky in the fever-swamps. The abormal politics of this strain of genetic defective is concerned with power and control. They want to rule us and ruin us. The do not want to control just the matters of taxation and warfare and other matters that are clearly political. They want to control everything in every aspect.
In this particular case, this particular defective wants to eliminate the limitation of having two sexes to a bisexual species, one assumes by eliminating truth, honesty, normalcy, decency and sanity. Hail, Azathoth!
I confess I was surprised to recognize the name of the gentleman, or, rather, the dickless weasel, penning such tripe.
When first I heard of one Damien Walter, who writes for an English far-leftwing newspaper, I heard that he, first, held forth to the public his opinions concerning the science fiction field, and, second, that he was living on the dole, having received grant money from Her Majesty’s government to write a science fiction novel, but — (as I italicize for emphasis, I invite the reader to envision me clutching my head as if against excruciating migraine-pain while veins pulse on my brow and blood spurts from my nose, yet laughing hysterically all the while like the Joker from a Batman movie) — but the worthy Mr Walter has never written nor published a science fiction novel at all. He boasts some short stories, or perhaps treatments, or perhaps scattered notes of some sort, but which have never appeared in any major magazine or anthology.
I work for a living. I know my field and my craft.
So, to hear the witheringly base and banal blithering of this dickless weasel, I thought at first amusing. He was no one I ever heard of, and expected never to hear about again, because he is nobody in the field, and brings neither insight nor amusing comment.
Does someone, anyone, take him seriously enough to read his material, or pay for it?
What he brings is pomposity — which the reader must assume is immense, if I (of all people) am able to perceive it through the thick, globose and odoriferous clouds of pomposity I myself give off — combined with bitterness, lies, and ignorance. The difference between his pomposity and mine is that he believes in his. He is being serious. I do not believe in mine, and live in dread that one day, someone, anyone, might ever take me seriously.
The other difference is that I am not a weasel, since I am a man and a frank and direct man at that. Men work for a living. They tell the truth. They have modest pride and a sense of honor that comes from not living their lives at second-hand. Men laugh at themselves.
Unlike Mr. Weasel, or whatever his name is, I have a functioning male member able to produce children and delight my helpmeet. (Men also unfortunately boast about their sexual organs in a fashion that is both tasteless and really, really funny.)
Well, as it turn out, this dickless weasel writes this stuff all the time, and apparently has some poor souls who read his opinion. I assume, after this, they will no more.
I understand the appeal of writing insults — this column here is peppered with them — and I understand the appeal of holding forth on matters where one is uninformed — as too often, alas, I also do.
But I do not understand telling malign lies which one expects no one to believe.
The only point of that which I can imagine is to cement his loyalty to whatever gang he belongs to, or seeks to belong to. The way it works is that one makes so vehement and expression of loyalty to the gang, and so openly mocks and offends the foes of the gang, and so openly humiliates oneself, either by eating a toad or committing a crime, that all bridges of retreat are burned and avenues of escape are barred.
The dickless weasel wants to get in good with that no-name nutbag who wrote some stupid article no one read about eliminating binary bugmuffens or something in science fiction. He want the neurotics, the deviants, and the perverts to like him. This is the kind of self destructive behavior common to people suffering deep spiritual blindness.
Allow me to quote, as is proper, with poetry. I select a man who wrote one of the earliest of science fiction stories, ‘With the Night Mail’ our Mr Kipling:
Three things make earth unquiet
And four she cannot brook
The godly Agur counted them
And put them in a book –
Those Four Tremendous Curses
With which mankind is cursed;
But a Servant when He Reigneth
Old Agur entered first.
An Handmaid that is Mistress
We need not call upon.
A Fool when he is full of Meat
Will fall asleep anon.
An Odious Woman Married
May bear a babe and mend;
But a Servant when He Reigneth
Is Confusion to the end.
His feet are swift to tumult,
His hands are slow to toil,
His ears are deaf to reason,
His lips are loud in broil.
He knows no use for power
Except to show his might.
He gives no heed to judgment
Unless it prove him right.
The poet was speaking of a different type of fool, but you may tell me if you see, as I do, the parallel here.
More foetid than the fat fool full of meat is the one thing the world of science fiction cannot stand: the opinionated penman who esteems himself an opinion maker, but is neither a fan of the genre, nor reveres its dreams, but hates it and them.
He seeks to use this genre, not to enjoy it; to use science fiction as a tool for social change, in pursuit of some dream of socialist egalitarianism from the Victorian Age. He is, indeed, a century past his sell-by date, but fondly imagines himself to be the wave of the future. And yet he hates books about the future, or about heroes, or about anything.
Only books about nothing please him.
He exists only to crap on our festivities like a harpy, and deems himself a warrior and redeemer of some unnamed and already forgotten social cause. He is a warrior without bravery and a saint without sanctity. And, let us not forget, a weasel without a dick.
He can neither argue, nor defend himself, nor mount a sensible attack, nor come to negotiate a peace, nor can he win, nor retreat, nor shut up.
He is without talent, and cannot write, and without a soul, he cannot read.
I mean he can read words on a page. I mean he cannot grasp what he reads. And if his only dreams are of the next general election or of revenge against straight white Christian men who built the comfortable civilization he loathes, his capacity to dream is so cramped and crushed and crippled that there is no story small enough in all the golden age of science fiction that can enter so narrow a peppercorn as what serves him for a soul.
I do not know Mr. Dickless Walter well enough to say whether this description fits him at all points, and I pray to merciful heaven that I never hear enough of him to be able to make that call. But if any reader knows this creature, judge for yourself whether he fits the pattern I describe.
ADDENDUM: Thanks to an article much calmer and more rational than mine, Space Opera and the Soul of Science Fiction, penned by the insightful Joel C. Salomon, and an an element of the dispute unknown to me was brought to light, and here I must emphasize it.
Here is a link to the original article by Toni Weisskopf to which Mr Walter is apparently referring in his article where he scoffs “Baen’s chief editor Toni Weisskopf went so far as to issue a diatribe against any and all sci-fi that did not pander to this conservative agenda.”
Her actual quote is this: “But is it necessary to engage those of differing political persuasions to get this method? I feel the answer is probably yes. You don’t get a conversation with only one opinion, you get a speech, lecture or soliloquy. All of which can be interesting, but not useful in the context of creating science fiction. But a conversation requires two way communication. If the person on the other side is not willing to a) listen and b) contribute to the greater whole, there is no point to the exercise.”
In other words, Weisskopf says engaging those of differing political persuasions is useful only when both sides talk and listen and contribute to the whole. Walter says this is a diatribe against all who do not pander to the conservative agenda.
Taking both statements at face value, the conservative agenda is therefore robust debate; the leftwing agenda opposing this with fierce contempt is therefore an agenda of fierce contempt in lieu of debate. That is what Walter just said. Anyone who listens to both sides of the issue panders to the conservative agenda. Logically, this means the leftwing agenda is to smother debate.
Conservatives want leftists to speak, so that everyone will hear and know what Leftists say and are and represent; Leftists want conservatives to shut up, so that no one will hear, no one will know.
Leftists hate truth as roaches hate light. Leftism is fear. Leftism is lacking manhood.
Leftism is dicklessness.
ADDENDUM SECUNDUM: The International Lord of Hate, Mr Awesomesauce himself, Larry Correia, also weighs in as he Fisks the Guardian Village Idiot Yet Again, in prose as subtle and indirect as a steel toed boot to the groin, and just as fun when it is not you. It is like watching a 900 pound gorilla wrastle an anemic chipmunk, or, if I may use the phrase one last time, a spayed weasel. Go, Larry, go!