Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

Sound and Fury in SF Fandom

Author Richard Morgan was asked to write a guest editorial for the 2008 WorldCon Postscripts anthology. He wrote about loud, angry factionalism, elitism, and generally prejudicial ugliness within the genre. The article wasn’t published because it was deemed too negative, so he’s posted it on his site instead.

Here’s a funny thing. Skip across the tracks to the world of crime fiction for a while, and you don’t see this shit going on. You don’t get this gnawing, mutilative thread of self-hatred, this bulemic purging of whole sub-genres or readership sub-sections as somehow unworthy. A quick trawl through a couple of dozen crime writer websites and messageboards reveals no agendas or dogme-style utterances, no towering rages or griping about how the genre’s going to shit these days, how there’s all this generic pap being published, how this strain of crime writing is so much more valid than this other strain, how maybe we shouldn’t even be reading or writing crime fiction at all, how we need to Get Back to Basics, or Rip it Up and Start Again, or any other misbegotten Year Zero bullshit.

Dude. Don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel.

I may have been out of the loop (Shadow would argue, well out of the loop) where various SF subgenera are concerned, but I’ve never encountered this level of bile regarding reading choices. The fans I know may occasionally poke fun at others’ selections (and, y’know, in the case of John Norman readers give them kind of a wide berth), but we’re mostly just happy that somebody else is reading our favorite genre. Is there some kind of SF culture war simmering beneath the surface of which I’ve been blissfully unaware?

Link (thanks, Shadow!)

Posted in Books & Authors, Conventions & Fandom September 22nd, 2008 by Chip