Left Wing Bias in Publishing: Your Wrongthink Will Be Punished!

This is a great read about the political bias in mainstream publishing.  http://www.nickcolebooks.com/2016/02/09/banned-by-the-publisher/

But remember, all of those allegations about ideological bias against conservative and libertarians was just in you Wrongfans’ imagination.

I don’t know Nick Cole. I spoke with him on the internet for the first time this week. I’ve never read any of his books, but apparently lots of people have. From what I understand he was a solid midlister, who was selling well, and growing his backlist. The usual good career track stuff. His last book did well and got great reviews. However, one small bit in the next (under contract) book in the series hopelessly offended a young editor at Harper and it went sideways. But read Nick’s account.  It is fascinating stuff.

For years we’ve known there is a liberal bias in the publishing industry. I mean come on, almost all of them work in Manhattan. Duh. Of course the publishing industry vehemently denies that. Left wing fans don’t see it the same way fish don’t notice water is wet. It just is.  Right wing fans get sick of being preached at or treated like they’re stupid, and go spend their entertainment dollars elsewhere.

Because this isn’t my first rodeo, I already know exactly how Nick is going to get attacked and dismissed.

  1. There is no bias.

On the contrary, it is biased, and anybody who has paid any attention at all knows it. Just like Americans in general, some authors are politically apathetic and don’t pay any attention to that part of their business. Other authors know about the bias, but they benefit from it, so they’re cool. Other authors know it, but don’t say anything because speaking up is at best a hassle, and at worse, career damaging. Then there’re some of us who can’t keep our big stupid mouths shut.

Authors are about as evenly divided ideologically as the rest of America, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at what we say in public, or reading our books. That’s because most of the non-left keep their heads down to avoid rocking the boat. In my genre there are hundreds of outspoken left wing authors, because that’s accepted, normal, and good, while there are a few dozen outspoken on the right. And that’s way more than when I started. The declining power of traditional gatekeepers has enabled more writers to speak freely.

Once I started being really vocal I was shocked by how many well-known, established authors I met who had the wrong politics who were keeping their heads down out of fear of damaging their careers. I’m talking living legends, and I’m all like “Whoa… You?” There are lots more than you’d think. We’ve got like a secret handshake and a decoder ring and everything now.

I’ve also spoken to a bunch of liberal authors who think the system is hopelessly biased to the point of stifling free expression and artistic creativity, but even being on the home team they can’t say anything without fear of hurting their careers. All the time at cons I meet an author for the first time and get some variation of “I disagree with your politics, but you’re right about this.” And then it usually turns into them ranting about how messed up their publishing house is.

  1. Let’s quibble over the definition of “censorship” and “banned”.

I haven’t read the other side’s take on Nick’s article yet, but knowing them as well as I do I can guarantee that will be brought up. While I was reading that link the second I saw those terms I knew the CHORFs would do the whole Strain at a Gnat, Swallow a Camel thing, nitpick the definitions, and then dismiss the whole thing.

Yes. A publisher is perfectly free to reject a book.

Yes. Refusing to publish someone’s work is not the same as banning it.

Yes. Part of an editor’s job is “censoring”.

Yes. Part of an editor’s job is understanding the author’s market, what the customers want, and providing them a product which will sell and be profitable.

Duh.

Great. Now that the stupidly obvious is out of the way for the dimwits at File 770 (don’t forget to look both ways before crossing the street!), let’s get down to the important part of Why it was rejected.

Politics. Period.

So, for definitions I wouldn’t use the word Ban, but it is certainly censorship: the practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts.

In this case, unacceptable was a small idea that cast a bit of liberal orthodoxy in a negative light.

And this wasn’t a message book. This wasn’t a big recurring theme. This wasn’t a preachy, beat you over the head with Special Topic X message of the day (note, all that stuff is perfectly cool with mainstream publishing when it is left wing), this was one bit of backstory about one group of characters explaining their motivations.

But that one kernel of something that could be construed as going against holy left wing dogma was the kiss of death. It was horribly offensive. AIs find casual abortion of convenience an indicator of humans possessing a callous disregard for life… (that’s actually a pretty clever idea for the usual AI uprising trope). Nope. That’ll offend 50% of your audience!

Oh bullshit.

In a genre where we can be eyeball deep in murder, rape, genocide, every crime known to man while inventing a bunch of new ones, carnage, and sheer awfulness, with dangerous ideas supposedly our bread and butter… Yet having a bit that from the PoV of one group looking at a progressive sacrament in a negative light is just too offensive to tolerate. Now if a left wing author wants to sprinkle liberal amounts of abortion through their fiction, make all the Christians into belligerent inbred rednecks, and then kick George Bush’s severed head down the street, nobody in Manhattan publishing is going to bat an eye. Because they live in a Manhattan echo chamber where everybody thinks the same way, and the idea of there being customers who would find that offensive is simply inconceivable to them.

This is supposed to be a genre of ideas, big ones, small ones, and dangerous ones. The problem is that for too long we’ve had a homogenous bunch of gatekeepers, many of whom were willing to sacrifice story and creativity in favor of enforcing a rigid group think. And then some ideas just aren’t allowed.

The fact that this editor thought that bit would turn off 50% of Nick’s audience just demonstrates how incredibly out of touch these people are now. Sure, years ago that might have been the case because all of the review places were as in lockstep as the publishers, so if anything with dangerous wrongthink escaped into the wild it would be trashed or ignored. They’re still trying to do that (which was one of the reasons behind Sad Puppies) but their stranglehold is crumbling.

  1. This is all a publicity stunt to sell more books.

Since I’m an author with GET PAID in my mission statement, I wouldn’t blame him if it was, but I don’t think so. That story is far too familiar, and I know too many other authors where similar things have happened. However, I warned Nick yesterday to get ready. This story appears to have gone viral. He is probably about to get slandered with every vile accusation imaginable by the CHORFs.

We’ve seen repeatedly that any time an author breaks from the group think, they’re going to get slammed. If you say anything at all about the existing system, it is either a publicity stunt, or you’re a delusional liar, or a bitter whiner with sour grapes. At no point in time does the idea that you’re telling the truth as you perceive it actually ever enter into their narrative.

Yet you can tell the truth and get publicity. Once this story broke Nick’s self pubbed version of this book went right to the top of the charts. Scaring off 50% of your audience? Nonsense. He’s sitting at #1 in like three genres right now. Like I said, the gatekeepers are crumbling. Their ignorance would be laughable if it hadn’t already screwed over so many good authors.

Here is the beautiful part… For decades the left held all the power. Readers are sick of their shit. The fact that standing up to them can actually be a sales boost demonstrates that their power is waning. You know why I talk about the size of my royalty checks? Because nothing pisses the bullies off more than being successful despite their best efforts to trash you.

Nick is getting publicity off of this? GOOD. That means creators no longer have to be beholden to the whims of every twenty something junior editor with a gender studies degree in Manhattan.

 

One Star Reviews Over Book Prices are Dumb.
Son of the Black Sword is an Audie Award finalist, Best Fantasy 2016

239 thoughts on “Left Wing Bias in Publishing: Your Wrongthink Will Be Punished!”

  1. Thanks for continually shining a light on this, Larry. Thanks also for pointing me (and many others) toward my latest book purchase 🙂

    The cognitive dissonance and downright pettiness of the establishment is truly mind-boggling. An outfit that shall remain nameless recently caught the vapors from a post in which I failed to properly ostracize Vox.

    Since they have zero leverage over me, they vented their catty frustration at one of my editors. Classy!

      1. Surprisingly, it was not. It was someone that I had assumed was more on our side than not. Dial to Eleventy’s rage would hardly be news.

  2. Dang Larry, I was going t send you the Redstate article link as a heads up! As I posted on the Book of Faces: “… This country is ging to split apart, progressives on one side, conservatives on the other. Well, probably won’t be too bad if that happens. Think of who wants to ban firearms, then think of who owns them! Would you want to bring a protest sign to a gun fight?”
    Keep up the good work, Sir! I’ve loved everything you’ve written. Just wish I could afford one of those MHI lowers.

    1. Simply for accuracy sake, we’re already two nations inhabiting one country.

      And as Kurt Schlichter pointed out, they’re trapped in here with us. My addition is, they’re free to leave whenever they want – for now.

  3. Excellent, another buycott! I now have two more books added to my hugely long, hopeless-optimistic-in-my-own-longevity long TBR list.

    1. We’re going to live forever because we can’t die until we’ve read all the books we own!

      Keep writing (and reading) Larry!

  4. I bought Monster Hunter International when I saw a blurb about Sad Puppies (two I think) on Instapundit. I’ve now read (or listened to) all of Larry’s books. In my case the controversy led me to find a great new writer.

  5. I’m a pro-choice (on everything — abortion, guns, drugs, marriage, etc.) libertarian and nothing in the sample chapter was remotely offensive, aside from the fact that I think the author may be prescient about the future of reality television.

    I guess I’m not the Manhattan publisher’s market, either.

    I’m buying the book.

    1. An unemotional intelligence taking human actions literally is classic SF, and doing so in the context of some goofy TV show is straight out of Phillip Dick. Would these folks have published Dick? These folks like to think of themselves as progressives but they are the sorts who banned even the mild Edgar Rice Burroughs from libraries.

      1. “Would these folks have published Dick?”

        If they keep going like they are, they’ll have dick to publish.

    2. Unfortunately, to many in the pro-choice side of the argument (note – I’m pro-life), *anything* that might cast aspersions on abortion is to be prohibited. For instance, the primary reason why Kermit Gosnell’s Abortion House of Horrors was allowed to continue running as long as it did was because there was a fear in his state that if the inspectors who were legally required to inspect abortion clinics did so, and were forced to shut one down (which is what should have happened to Gosnell), then it would cause a negative backlash against abortion. IIrc, what eventually caused Gosnell to be investigated was his side business in prescription drugs.

      1. I understand that “many” is not the same as “all”, but just for the record: I’m pro-choice, and I believe that anyone should be able to freely express whatever opinion he wants to express about abortion, even if (especially if) he disagrees with me. Or, in other words, most SJWs are liberal, but not all liberals are SJWs.

        1. Unfortunately, the ‘many’ happens to include a lot of people in power. Otherwise, Gosnell would have been caught much, much earlier.

      2. “*anything* that might cast aspersions on abortion is to be prohibited.”

        Yes. See the flap about “humanizing the fetus” in the Doritos Super Bowl commercial.

        1. Yeah, that was especially dumb, since the doctor is clearly heard to state ‘any day now,’ thus ‘full term’ thus waaaaay beyond the time it’s allowed to be aborted.

          It’s hilarious, honestly, because when the dimwitted pro-aborts in question shrieked and screamed, they revealed that they’re okay with aborting viable, full term babies.

          1. ‘full term’ thus waaaaay beyond the time it’s allowed to be aborted

            Minor note: ten US states have no age restrictions on abortion, and in these states it is legal to abort a viable full-term baby.

          2. Ten states have them; how many of them are actually enforced, given that most of the clinics are in blue-run cities and no one really wants the reputation for misogyny on their record that the SJWs will put there……. is a whole ‘nother question.

            Kermit Gosnell ring any bells?

    3. Since you appear to be willing to actually converse, maybe you can answer a question for me that most “pro-choice” folks either ignore or just scream profanity when I ask. Do you support the choice to kill one’s children after birth as well, or do you believe that being born somehow imparts a different status upon the child?

    4. I’d have replaced ‘offensive’ with terrifying, myself, because we’re kinda there. At the edge of that scary description being reality.

  6. I am probably on many other “Wrongthink” lists, what’s one more. I love your work, and I am going to give Nick a try. Hell, that’s how I started reading your books. When I get caught up on my regular authors (Weber, Ringo, Kratman, Taylor, Williamson) I typically browse books looking for Baen Books on the spine.

  7. When I pick this story from your twitter feed yesterday, I spend $0.99 of my hard earned money and bought the book right away.

  8. Larry, way to skewer the leftist gatekeepers! When I saw Nick’s original post, I read the blog and was thinking WTF? I have been Facebook friends with Nick Ever since discovering Soda Pop Soldier, and he has always been a gracious, even tempered guy. I immediately bought Control/Alt, Revolt! and started reading the “oh so offensive” first chapter. What a load of horsecrap by his Pub house. It actually struck me as more an Ironic scen than enything else, the AI arguing with itself (subroutines debating) about this episode of a reality show, and thinking that it was completely reflective of human society, and not just people always stop to watch a train wreck, doesnt mean they want to get into one. I mean, It wasn’t preachy at all, and only a hardcore NARAL activist could possibly be offended. Thanks for your commentary, because hopefully, it will have the effect of more authors raising their heads out of the foxholes and firing for effect!

  9. Very interesting read! Immediate thought was: I don’t see what was so offensive in that chapter, for pro-lifers or pro-choicers. The robots are a new life form, see how humans deal with threatening life forms and draw their own conclusions. So the problem is….?

    1. I read an ARC before I even knew he was dropped. When I found out he was dropped, I also didn’t know what was offensive. So I asked. And had to laugh. Because it was beyond stupid.

      Apparently, the problem is American literacy and reading comprehension in general, because:

      1) The first chapter (Hell, the first line of the book) is very satirical. Somehow, the “editor” missed this.

      2) You’re actually supposed to be offended by how callous, vapid, and self centered this reality TV star’s decision to abort her child is… because it’s the whole reason the robots in his robot AI apocalypse story decide to exterminate humanity (You know, because the humans these bots see so casually disregard life that’s inconvenient that they probably wouldn’t treat artificially intelligent life much better).

      But again, the book isn’t about that. It’s just a simple, satirical, entertaining way to give the bad guys a pretty good sympathetic motive.

      You know, we generally call that, good writing.

      The other problem is:

      3) Using 18-22 year old unpaid college interns and calling them “editors.”

    1. I had to google NMCI. Being blocked by NMCI means “what” to us civilians? (Getting asked Every Page Refresh if I wanted to subscribe to his newsletter got a teeny bit annoying, but that’s a different issue. Or is it?) Cryptic isn’t very useful, in this context.
      Regardless, I read the preview on Amazon, and found it interesting. YMMV

    2. I’d imagine there are thousands (upon thousands) of blogs blocked on NMCI. The important question is “WHEN did it get blocked?”

    3. NMCI blocks things that it doesn’t know about, which appears to be the case here. Note the “Category: None” on the denial page.

  10. I’ll admit I did the publicity stunt thing. Granted I also don’t care. If it’s a publicity stunt good for him. I am glad he’s seeing success. Wresting control from CHORFs is always a good thing.

  11. We finally have a real marketplace of ideas in place, thanks to ebooks. A few years ago, Nick’s story would have ended with him blackballed in the industry, his books gone off print, and his writing career utterly destroyed. The times, they are a’changing. Readers now have the chance to decide what’s worthwhile, rather than a group of self-deluded wannabe commissars whose track record shows they have next to no idea what their customers want.

  12. They complain about Doritos Commercials it’s not surprising then that they would point and shreik at Synthetics not wishing to be aborted.

    1. Actually, if you follow the link in the main story to Amazon, the book is on sale right now for $0.99 – quite the bargain.

  13. OMG and WTF? I hope it isn’t a publicity stunt; the boy who cried wolf and all that. OTOH I’d rather not think there were editors for major publishing houses out there who were so knee-jerk in their opinions. -sigh- Okay I always believe in getting both sides of the story before forming a definite opinion, but it doesn’t look good.

  14. I got one of the books, $.99 at Amazon. I’d not heard of the guy before this, and I’m a sucker to help out someone battling the CHORFs and self unaware SJWs.

    1. I’ve read most of his books and love them. Read his Wasteland series. It’s excellent. So is Soda Pop Soldier.

  15. I read Nick Cole’s post yesterday. Read his description of what happened in his book, and frankly, I thought it was a hell of a twist on the “AI tries to kill humanity” trope. I liked it.

    And I didn’t see it as being a pro-choice message or anything. It was an AI making a decision based on the data it had…which isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Damn, sounds like someone at his publisher needed to up their meds.

    1. I had the same response. “Well, that’s an interesting take…” and it just didn’t occur to me that I should get in an uproar because these AIs don’t agree with my politics. What am I doing wrong??

        1. [reports to farm, discovers three starving pigs and an arthritic goat]

          Hey, who’s managing this place? Must be a bureaucrat.

    2. It’s a logical conclusion, really, given what reproduction is supposed to be about. AIs work off of logic. That’s too alien a concept for the CHORFs.

      1. Yep. And now it occurs to me that I’ve seen the same concept used before, except it was aliens who reached the same conclusion about humans, for the same reason. (Been a lot of years ago, no idea whose work)

      2. We’re discussing a group of people who sincerely believe that if you “identify” as a woman, you are regardless of your plumbing, chromosomes, brain wiring, or anything else that’s provable in the real world. Logic is not a part of their skill set.

  16. “Crossed Genres ‏@crossedgenres Dec 3 The ‘Golden Age’ of SFF contained absurd amounts of racism, sexism, etc. in its most revered works. So no, we wouldn’t publish those books… We said if presented w/ those works new & unpublished, we wouldn’t publish them. The fact that they were published means racism/sexism was more openly accepted back then. That doesn’t make it okay. They shldn’t have been published”

    *

    “Many of the books tossed into the flames in Berlin that night by the joyous students under the approving eye of Dr. Goebbels had been written by authors of world reputation. They included, among German writers, Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Lion Feuchtwanger, Jakob Wassermann, Arnold and Stefan Zweig, Erich Maria Remarque, Walther Rathenau, Albert Einstein, Alfred Kerr and Hugo Preuss, the last named being the scholar who had drafted the Weimar Constitution. But not only the works of dozens of German writers were burned. A good many foreign authors were also included: Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Helen Keller, Margaret Sanger, H. G. Wells, Havelock Ellis, Arthur Schnitzler, Freud, Gide, Zola, Proust…

    “Seven subchambers were established to guide and control every sphere of cultural life: the Reich chambers of fine arts, music, the theater, literature, the press, radio and the films. All persons engaged in these fields were obligated to join their respective chambers, whose decisions and directives had the validity of law. Among other powers, the chambers could expel – or refuse to accept – members for ‘political unreliability,’ which meant that those who were even lukewarm about National Socialism could be, and usually were, excluded from practicing their profession or art and thus deprived of a livelihood. No one who lived in Germany in the Thirties, and who cared about such matters, can ever forget the sickening decline of the cultural standards of a people who had had such high ones for so long a time. This was inevitable, of course, the moment the Nazi leaders decided that the arts, literature, the press, radio and the films must serve exclusively the propaganda purposes of the new regime and its outlandish philosophy.” – William H. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

    *

    Once you have such an “outlandish philosophy” as intersectional gender feminism where “racism, sexism” only applies to one race and sex, anything can be anything.

    For those of you unaware, Crossed Genres up top is the webzine which published the Kickstarter SFF anthology Long Hidden, an anti-straight white male drubbing co-edited by two of the most vicious anti-white voices in SFF: Daniel Jose Older and Rose Fox. Unsurprisingly, Long Hidden was promoted on John Scalzi’s site as a “big idea.”

    1. Long Hidden has a current Amazon sales rank of #428,741. Mr. Cole’s book has a current sales rank of #173.

      As they say, living well is the best revenge. 🙂

      It’s also interesting that of the Long Hidden contributors with author pics on Amazon, 6/8 (75%) appear to be white.

      1. Here are the “hidden,” from the Kickstarter blurb: “…enslaved people, indigenous people, people of color, queer people, laborers, women, people with disabilities, the very young and very old, and religious minorities, among others—are relegated to the margins.”

        I only recognized 8 of the 25 authors by name. None are straight white males. All have a history of anti-white, anti-male non-fiction rhetoric. In other words they are my favorite new phrase about Third Wave Feminists: “graceless sociopaths.” The fact they pass themselves off as an anti-defamation league is where Orwell comes in.

  17. One of the first stories I submitted for critique at my writing group got the same weird threats when I refused to change two aspects of the story. The first aspect was a simple joke about female dogs and werewolves calling their female members bitches. Since it was a harsh story with harsh characters doing harsh things with a harsh sense of humor those minor jokes fit perfectly. The people who did the actual critique got the jokes (and the people around the table laughed at the jokes when I read the first half of the story aloud) but in the round up discussion after the critique was over I had about six people insisting that I needed to cut those jokes. I disagreed.

    A few months later I came back with a completely rewritten story to get a new critique and the critiquers of the first version were happy with the changes I had made (which was based on my realizing how much of their critiques were spot on), but the pile on around the table got even more intense because I hadn’t taken out those jokes. I was told it would never be published because of those jokes (possible, but I’d rather write the story the way it feels right in my head rather than sanitize it preemptively), and that I had to add a female character (who would manipulate all the male characters and win in the end. Woohoo. Never read that before and I know of no hundreds of authors who would be willing to write that story), and I shrugged my shoulders and told the truth: I didn’t care. The story was the story I wanted to tell and I refused to make changes based on someone else’s philosophy. Period. Full stop.

    The best thing I was told though was that no editor anywhere would ever publish that story due to the harsh jokes and lack of female characters. And the left wing people telling me this held that up as if it was a trump card. Except I wanted to be a writer because of that fact. That very little fiction was being written to appeal to my sensibilities. I was writing for guys like me (conservative, young, with a heavy metal library of music, and a chip on their shoulders) and had no desire to write for what others presumed was the only market (liberal, old, baby boomer music, chip on their shoulders but usually only about conservatives).

    No matter how virulent the argument became my position remained that the story would not change.

    Unless someone was willing to toss bags of money at me in order to change it.

    I like money. And it would have been worth it to get a foot in the door. But now? With the advent of Indy I’m not sure I’d make even a small concession regarding the philosophy of the story as I can simply side step the gatekeepers and remain true to myself.

    1. “I was writing for guys like me … ”

      Son, I’m a middle-aged old lady who is also tired of the CHORF littrachewer tropes. I love Buffy, but she started an avalanche that I’m well and truly sick of. I actively look for SFF with male leads and robust action sequences. A book with the currently-typical female badass of all wisdom really has to have something extra going for it for me to look closely (an author I already like, an interesting twist in world-building, etc.). So keep writing YOUR stories and e-publish them so I can read them.

      Oh, and thanks for refusing to be bullied. We older ladies who enjoy masculine men do admire that.

  18. Cole’s Wasteland series was a fun read. I’d read this even if it DIDN’T offend the Left, that
    ‘s just an extra benefit.

  19. Why not start a publishing company that’s friendly to conservative writers? Or maybe I should say friendly to ALL writers, regardless of their politics. Maybe that would allow the conservative “living legends” to come out of the shadows.

      1. I have read enough to know Baen is very supportive of newer authors. Do you think they offer a good enough deal to attract authors who already have a fan base, or that we will see more and more of them self-publish?

        Since Baen has been quite good at anticipating the way the market will go, do you think they will offer editing services for a flat fee and editing credit in all advertising to authors that want to self-publish?

        I may be asking questions you shouldn’t answer, so I won’t be upset if you don’t respond.

        1. It isn’t a “deal” so much as you sell X number of books, multiplied by Y royalty rate.

          One publishing house can only publish so many books. They only have so many slots a year.

          More big names authors are self publishing their old back list, because there is literally no downside for them, and they’re getting money for work they did years ago. This will continue.

          On Baen offering editing? Nope. I can’t speak for them, but I’d put the odds somewhere near zero. Their time is booked editing their own stable of writers. There are already freelance editors out there you can hire.

  20. Larry, while I agree with most of what you’re saying, there are a couple of relevant points I’d like to make. Firstly Gallup puts Liberals at 24% of the population (and Conservatives at 38%, with moderates taking up the rest) As the doctrinaire US liberals aggressively disdain and discriminate against moderates let alone conservatives that means ‘appeasing 24% of the audience at the expense of 76%. Secondly the discrimination against anyone not overtly liberal by traditional NYC publishing means that while there are closet moderates and conservatives (and a handful who are ‘out’) the authors who have been bought were often bought BECAUSE of their outspoken bias towards liberal pet issues. So: traditional publishing’s authors (especially recent ones) are substantively skewed AWAY from the demographics of US politics. Readers (or potential readers) however reflect those demographics. That’s why standing up to them is a sales boost.

    1. Meanwhile, conservatives are portrayed as some kind of micro-minority, doomed to extinction Any Day Now.

    2. I think (or, perhaps, hope) that the polls are underestimating the number of moderates, due to lumping all “liberals” into the same category. For example, if you asked me about my stance on most of the litmus test social topics — abortion, gun control, gay marriage, religion, etc. — then I’d probably come off sounding as Marx’s best buddy or something. However, I hate the SJW mentality with a passion akin to the one that conservatives reserve for abortion supporters. I think there exists at least circumstantial evidence to suggest that many (if not most) leftists are similar to myself, and that SJWs are a radical (but extremely vocal) minority.

      1. I hate the SJW mentality with a passion akin to the one that conservatives reserve for abortion supporters. I think there exists at least circumstantial evidence to suggest that many (if not most) leftists are similar to myself, and that SJWs are a radical (but extremely vocal) minority.

        If so, then the best thing you can do to defeat the SJW mentality is to speak up against it. You may be afraid of having the SJW mob turn on you if you do, but it’s important to have sane leftist voices be heard. Sarah Hoyt recently posted a Don Camillo story at http://accordingtohoyt.com/2016/02/09/the-architecture-of-fear-a-blast-from-the-past-from-12415/ that illustrates the point perfectly. Each and every one of the good, decent communists in that story thought that he was the only one who opposed Gigio, the raving fanatic who wanted to have Don Camillo executed for his political beliefs. But it turned out that Gigio was the only fanatic in the whole group, and everyone else was decent — and once they found out that they were the majority and he was alone, his power over them was broken.

        So when you see SJWs of your acquaintance acting like Gigio in the story, wanting to (say) get someone like Brandon Eich fired for their political beliefs… speak up for treating others decently. Let your voice be heard opposing the insanity, because that’s the only way that others will get the courage to speak up too. If the SJWs got roundly condemned by leftists every time they acted like the bullies they are, their power would be broken. (Rightists like me condemn them all the time, but our condemnation is, incorrectly, seen as “Oh, you’re just saying that because you oppose their politics.” No, I oppose their politics and their inhumane behavior.)

        So speak up on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Tumblr. Let the other decent leftists know that they are not alone, so that they will be able to speak up too, and end the scourge of SJW-ism.

        1. Unfortunately, I’m just some random guy, and not an Internet personality with 1,000,000 Twitter followers. In fact, I am not even signed up for any social media services, and I’d rather keep it that way.

          That said, I’ve been banned from every SJW blog I’ve ever participated in so far, so hey, I must be doing something right !

          1. That’s not the point. At the moment, SJWs are able to hound people out of jobs by putting pressure on their employer, and so on.

            I’m probably the most left-wing person on this blog (heck, if I was in the US I’d vote for Bernie Sanders). It feels – possibly not for real – that everyone is either an outspoken American conservative, a SJW or terrified of them. At least 30% of my politically-inclined friends have gone full SJW over the last three years. That’s all they post about on social media. It’s like watching an emergent cult. If you say anything about their toxic ideology which – let’s be frank doesn’t help anyone disadvantaged or marginalised – you’re suspected of being a secret shitlord of hate.

            If the lefties who didn’t agree with them refused to go along with their performative offence-taking, they’d lose their power. They work by social shaming, by appeals to faux authority (e.g privilege) and by clueless bystanders believing they must have a point.

            I should mention that I’ve already done something downright extreme to fight ’em, which has doubtless rendered me traditionally unpublishable (I write SF). I’m planning to do something even more extreme. It would help if I knew I was part of a silent majority and not a fringe contrarian. No one wants to be the lonely lunatic shouting in the wilderness.

      2. The survey Dave Freer is talking about is similar to the one Pew does and it isn’t based on sub topics, it is a straight question: “Do you consider yourself conservative, liberal or moderate/independent?” (different companies use different 3rd grouping). You can look it up but self identified liberals usually run about 20% to 22% and self identified conservatives run around 36% to 38% depending on the survey and year. Here is the link to the Gallup survey: http://www.gallup.com/poll/180452/liberals-record-trail-conservatives.aspx

        Note that conservatives are the largest single self identified group and if you go by strict numbers if you have to lose one group to keep the others you are better off losing the liberals.

      3. Actually the polls are underestimating the number of leftists, because the worst always tell pollsters that they are moderates. It’s a central tenet of marxist dialectical conflict theory that you work to move the middle of the political spectrum parts by creating false conflicts between extremes, and part by redefining what the middle position is.

  21. Years ago, I read a Harlan Ellison short story – I forget the title – in which the scumbag, responsibility-dodging protagonist was helping his girlfriend get an abortion at the start of the story . . . and by the end of it found himself trapped in a sewer with hundreds of feral children who’d similarly been flushed away as babies.

    The last line of the story has stuck with me ever since: “They call me father.”

    Now, Ellison is hardly a conservative or a pro-lifer, and IIRC he was already well-established as a force in several genres when he penned that story whose title I can’t for the life of me remember and whose ending still haunts me. Could he still publish the same thing today? Or would some tyrannical dweeb of an editor throw a tantrum and demand he be banished for badfeelz?

    As for me, well, my Kindle now has two of Nick’s stories on it. I’m a couple of chapters into the book that got him canned – “Ctrl-Alt-Revolt” and it’s actually a pretty wicked social satire, among other things. So far, I’m liking it . . . and thanking that nameless putz at HarperCollins for helping me find somebody else to read. 😉

    1. I did some research (googling) and found the following snippet that may just be about the story you speak of.

      “Sex and our culture’s preoccupation with same provides Ellison with plenty of ammunition. In Lonely Women are the Vessels of Time, he takes aim at singles bars and hits them hard. Moving from one-night stand to one-night stand and leaving a trail of broken hearts behind him, the protagonist ultimately meets a succubus who is even emptier and more needy than he is. After taking his potency and his soul, she tells him “Now get up and get dressed and get out of here.” Croatoan finds a similar protagonist wandering through the sewers, searching for his dead girlfriend’s aborted child. Instead, he finds himself surrounded by fetuses riding albino alligators. “I am the one they have been looking for all along,” he says at the conclusion, “They call me father.” Ellison has an uncanny eye for our society’s various hypocrisies, a razor-sharp sense of humor, and a great gift for pissing people off. (Croatoan achieved the unlikely distinction of angering both pro-choice and pro-life people!)”

    2. I read that story decades ago. I didn’t realize it was Ellison (I doubt I would have recognized the name back then anyway).

    3. What types of stories would be included in Dangerous Visions if it were published today. SJWs consider anything anti-PC as DANGEROUS!

  22. Dammit Larry, you’re ruining my book-buying budget.

    Now there’s another author whose books I’m going to be buying. It’s just as well I got my tax refund today.

    The SJWs are the best publicists an author could have. They bring in dozens of new readers every time they slam another book. And best of all, you don’t have to pay them for it!

  23. From what I read on his blog, this is the prequel to Soda Pop Soldier, and about half of the comments were from people who’d read Soda Pop Soldier and were getting the new book because they enjoyed Soda Pop Soldier. Personally I went dead tree.

  24. Regarding the “publicity stunt” argument, I can’t help but wonder if many of those who make those kind of complaints (and not just about the subject of this blog post) are quite happy to forward/retweet/etc click-bait articles from places like Salon, HuffPo, MSNBC, Gawker, and other SJW (or SJW sympathizing) websites, where the title is part of their attempt to gather page views to pitch to advertising agencies that may potentially want to buy ad space from said websites.

  25. So far the “discussion” at Vile770 is proceeding exactly as the Dread Overlord Correia has forseen.

    I think Larry has their number.

    1. “Easy Captain. As civilized men, you can act like barbarians. However, they, as barbarians, cannot act like civilized men.” -Paraphrasing Spock in Mirror, Mirror

    2. Which thread? Because I’m not seeing any discussion of it there, (no URL please, just the date the thread was posted)

  26. There’s irony piled on irony here. In 1956 and ’58 Rod Serling brought two teleplays to TV about the 1955 Mississippi kidnapping and murder of a 14 yr. old black kid named Emmett Till for saying something or other to a white women. The shows were so heavily watered down by network execs and sponsors the point was lost, which infuriated Serling. Over in SFF Ray Bradbury was openly publishing 3 blatantly anti-Jim Crow stories from 1945 to 1951 but which got some crossover into the mainstream arena.

    Serling knew Bradbury personally and it must have frustrated him even more when Harper Lee had To Kill a Mockingbird published in 1960 and made into a film in ’62. That novel came about because of a close working relationship between Lee and her editor.

    Fast forward to today and you have SFF writers similarly presenting themselves as anti-racists. The problem is that – in principle – they look a lot more like the wrong side of the stories above than the principled equal protection side. We even have a new darling of the social justice crowd named Kai Ashante Wilson starting a recent Tor story with “1955. Emmett Till.” The difference there is that Wilson’s story freezes immorality forever in a race rather than the lessons of Bradbury, Serling and Lee which hated racism rather than whites and war rather than the Japanese. As everyone now knows, these modern too little, too late anti-white racial revenge fantasies powered by lies about mid-century writers like Serling and Bradbury being racist, sexists are a sure-fire award draw today; the Nebula Award-nominated “Wakulla Springs” is a case in point.

    The further irony is that had The Twilight Zone or the Golden Age of SF used affirmative action writers powered by a bizarre lesbian version of Scientology rather than talent, you never would’ve heard of either due to sheer boredom, as is the case today, where noble revenge writer Rachel Swirsky couldn’t even finish half the stories on her Hugo recommended reading list because they are progressive sleeping pills from a by now familiar line-up of FemSoc drivel. Considering the apparent anger behind the decision involving Mr. Cole rather than a quiet assessment of Mr. Cole’s market, it seems the moonshine Dogpatch redneckery of the ’50s is now the gender and genre-bending blue-haired, ring-nosery of the 21st century.

    The last fold of the smothering blanket of satire the PC always deliver is that after Serling’s failed attempts to showcase Till, he created The Twilight Zone in 1959, where SFF provided a ready-made medium to disguise parables about bigotry and hide from corporate interference. I can see this is a thing we’re going to have to do all over again.

    “‘Repent, Straight White Man,’ said the Genderqueer Man” in a story from the exciting new Kickstarter anthology, Boring Segregated Visions Destroy Dangerous Visions. SocJus like to pretend they use the word “Destory” in funny, ha-ha, irony, but they don’t. They have destroyed SFF in a space of only 5 years by throwing pure shit written by graceless, bigoted, sociopaths at us and calling it “social justice.”

    1. “They have destroyed SFF in a space of only 5 years by throwing pure shit written by graceless, bigoted, sociopaths at us and calling it ‘social justice.'”

      SFF is doing just fine. They’ve destroyed mainstream SFF publishing, which ultimately hurts themselves more than anybody else.

      1. That’s true, because when you throw people like N.K. Jemisin, Daniel Jose Older, John Scalzi, Kameron Hurley, Ann Leckie, Aliette de Bodard and Elizabeth Bear into a meritocracy like self-publishing they will simply disappear. Peter Hamilton’s 1.2 million word Night’s Dawn novel has more good writing and ideas than the total work of all those people put together and yet within SFWA culture it is Hamilton who disappears by reason of being indifferent to intersectional gay feminism. No one ever “told” people to like Hamilton; they just did. Stop virtue-signaling our doughty social justice warriors and their drifting adjectives, inability to manage their own novels and tin-ear for dialogue throws them into the realm of upjumped fanfic. Also, I can’t enjoy a novel simply because of some imaginary “underrepresentation” which never happened.

        1. I know nothing about most of these writers, but IMO Scalzi could make it. The first two books of the Old Man’s War trilogy were great, IMO (the third one was kind of like his own Star Trek V though), and the Lock-in world is at least somewhat interesting.

          Yes, Scalzi’s politics are of course insane, but he can still write quite well when he chooses to do so. In the end, that’s all that matters.

          1. Scalzi made it on the mighty shoulders of K. Tempest Bradford and N.K. Jemisin. They in turn upped their profiles using Scalzi. Take that 69 away and they disappear. To find dialogue like Scalzi’s I’d have to go back to The Blind Spot by Austin Hall and Homer Eon Flint, pre-1920.

          2. “Scalzi made it on the mighty shoulders of K. Tempest Bradford and N.K. Jemisin. ”

            Oh come on. Maybe he preaches to the choir sometimes on his blog, but that came later. His initial success was due to 1) being a good writer and 2) attaching industrially processed dead mammal flesh to indignant living mammals. He doesn’t have to be the next Gene Wolfe to write the odd book that’s quite worth reading.

          3. Go look at Scalzi’s latest parrot talk about the Twitter harassment of “women and/or people in marginalized groups.” He fails to mention such people are, like the very Randy Harper he defends, feral sociopaths who light up straight white males in Twitter round-robins that go on for months or even years. Any time you hear the word “marginalized” the stink of Orwellian Newspeak has entered the room. The idea anyone as lacking in perception as Scalzi could write an SF novel worth reading is ridiculous. Go ahead and be a SF writer yourself here; extrapolate Scalzi into a future society and it is one of Marching Morons without free speech, due process, equal protection or a Constitution. That is implicit in that single post, as if we didn’t have hundreds of similar dim-witted posts and Tweets from that moron already to tell us so. Scalzi’s idea of social justice is a pitch perfect rendition of IngSoc presented in a welter of retardation and unawareness. If there is any stupider SFF author who has ever lived, I’d like to know who the hell it is.

          4. Scalzi also got seriously boosted by Instapundit before he decided that he’d just rather “those people” not read his books.

          5. Just because something isn’t innovative doesn’t mean I won’t happily read it.

            1. I’m not necessarily old enough to have had access to all the old classic high quality science fiction.
            2. I’ve enjoyed reading stuff that was, objectively, badly written.
            3. I’ve been reading fanfic for years.
            4. These days I’m mostly burnt out on Naruto and Harry Potter fanfic, and entirely satisfied with Naruto and Harry Potter canon.
            5. The fanfic I have open in the other tab now is of okay quality, but probably isn’t innovative. The two source properties are also a little and very derivative.

            Art and commercial success are not the same thing.

            In an alternate universe where SJW activism hadn’t been the ticket to commercial Sci Fi success a) the sci fi market would be bigger, meaning more sales for even the weaker writers b) Scalzi might have written different books.

          6. If you reward mediocrity, then mediocrity is what you end up with. If the readership of the old Weird Tales had rewarded someone like Scalzi instead of people like C. Ashton Smith, C.L. Moore and R.E. Howard, such smart, artful and innovative voices would’ve rightly concluded there is no audience in this genre for them and either given up or switched to a genre which did appreciate them. You could scratch one golden age of weird fiction, and it is really as simple as that. The reason Burroughs started writing is he correctly concluded he could do better than what he’d been reading in the Munsey magazines.

            Had the readers given Burroughs a pass he would’ve correctly concluded they deserved what they rewarded and the guy who practically invented American SF would never have existed and therefore no Leinster and no Heinlein, no nothing. When Tor and its pre-Burroughs-era readership rewards people like Scalzi or feminist dinosaurs and stories which end with the line of a current Uncanny (now happily SFWA eligiible) story “See? I didn’t need rescuing,” then any 20 yr. old C.L. Moore, Peter Hamilton, Burroughs or Howard out there today is going to be frightened off, rightly concluding there is no place for them in Dogpatch County’s Feministville zipcode of gender rednecks.

            In the timeframe 1959-67 there were so many great SFF writers all writing at the same time one could barely keep up with them. Today there is nothing like that. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out why. Drape WisCon SFF and its cadre of shit writers over WW I-era American magazines and the genre dies right there.

            Had fanfic been widely and easily available in the early ’60s there would’ve been no reason to read it. The reason people read it today is because two things are true: fanfic can compete with the Hugo and Nebula nominees today and there are far more people who couldn’t and wouldn’t reward the difference anyway even were that not true. Were Niven to publish his Known Space shorts or Simmons his Hyperion work today, they would pass by unnoticed. With the current unwelcome sign hanging from the SFWA, why would they even try? There is no connoisseurship of fans, editors and writers today which created 1912-70. However I can steer you towards some lesbian dinosaur fic one would’ve once needed a team of ’60s Mad Magazine writers to produce with the challenge of writing the single most awful parody of an SFF story they could.

            The current editor of the Magazine of F&SF once wrote men don’t put women in epic fantasy as opposed to dragons because perhaps men don’t hate dragons. Put that male feminist fool in charge of F&SF when it started in 1949 and the mag folds in about a year. Scalzi and his team of destroyers are just that, and Tor is the anti-Munsey era.

          7. I found _Old Man’s War_ entertaining, the 2nd book in the series so-so (starting to feel recycled), and the 3rd boring to the point that I swore off reading any further Scalzi. And this was before any of the Kerfluffle, so no blame there.

        2. Scalzi can occasionally write an entertaining story, but only by embracing the stereotypical protagonists he falsely accuses others of using.

    2. Science-Fiction will survive these idiots. Their power is not nearly as great as they would have us believe.

      1. The 3 early ’70s SF Hall of Fame anthologies administered by the SFWA were the benchmark of excellence. 44 of the 48 stories are clustered over a 16 year period.

        1938 2 – 1940 1 – 1941 3 – 1942 2 – 1943 1 – 1944 2 – 1945 1 – 1946 1 – 1947 2 – 1948 4 – 1949 1 – 1950 3 – 1951 3 – 1952 4 – 1953 3 – 1954 3 – 1955 1 – 1957 1 – 1958 1 – 1959 1 – 1960 1 – 1961 1 – 1962 1 – 1963 1

        Contrary to what our new fake “feminism” says, none of those stories are about manly men doing manly things or satirically making fun of “PoC” or colonizing other planets. They are more often than not delicate, nuanced stories of alien mazes, weapon shops and cold-blooded time traveling tourists.

        Today the SFWA refuses to allow the presence of Frank Frazetta. Its president is a lesbian feminist and former women’s studies teacher. Come awards time, they are shoving lesbian feminist stories with little to no fantastic element up Yankee Doodle’s keester and calling it “macaroni.” The SFWA today is nothing more than a welfare and affirmative action bureau living off the fumes of the past and reputations of people they reject as artists and as human beings.

  27. I posted a bit over at Sarah’s before I found out about this.

    I ran across a quote from filmmaker Joel Coen via a link from Ace of Spades HQ on the subject of “needing” minority/gender/sexuality balance:

    He continued: “You don’t sit down and write a story and say, ‘I’m going to write a story that involves four black people, three Jews, and a dog,’—right? That’s not how stories get written. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand anything about how stories get written and you don’t realize that the question you’re asking is idiotic.”

    I…I’ve always enjoyed the Coen Brothers’ work, but right now, they’re two of my favorite human beings.

    More at: http://freebeacon.com/blog/coen-bros-destroy-complaints-about-diversity-in-their-films/

    Puppy kickers? THAT’S WHAT THE SP CAMPAIGN IS TALKING ABOUT!

    And Mr. Cole is sitting in the top two hundred of Kindle paid.

    For a self published, “offensie” novel.

    We should all be so hurt by our P(in)C…

    And yes, I did click to give him my thirty or forty cents…

  28. If he was just causing a stink to make money, he’d have priced the book higher.
    It’s a bargain, by a good author, and by purchasing it you get to tell all the right people to go to hell.

    What’s not to love?

  29. Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
    #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Cyberpunk
    #1 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Cyberpunk
    #3 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Technothrillers

    It will be fun to watch Nick blow up big. His editor? Well his editor will be looking for another job fairly soon.

  30. “In this case, unacceptable was a small idea that cast a bit of liberal orthodoxy in a negative light.

    And this wasn’t a message book. This wasn’t a big recurring theme. This wasn’t a preachy, beat you over the head with Special Topic X message of the day (note, all that stuff is perfectly cool with mainstream publishing when it is left wing), ”

    I read Ctrl+Alt+Revolt, and I have to say, the above isn’t true.

    Oh, it’s not preachy about abortion. That’s a one-and-done thing in the first chapter. However, the book does take the piss out of SJWs at every turn. It’s actually a big plot point that the precious little darlings take control of all levers of power (There’s actually a Department of Social Justice) found human history offensive, recast it, and then made sure everyone forgot all the parts inconvenient to their ideology.

    And then there are the constant jabs at SJWs and their positions that are there just because why not?

    The book is fun. I like the voice, I enjoy the action sequences and the characters. But, politics are definitely there, to the point where I find it difficult to believe that it was only the abortion issue the publisher found “problematic.” UNLESS Soda Pop Soldier had the same politics.

    So, I’ll be picking that book up and reading through that soonish. It’s possible that, buried in the overreaction, the publisher has a point: if Soda Pop Soldier was apolitical, coming out and beating people over the head with politics in the prequel is a dick move, regardless of the politics involved. It could well have alienated half of the readership. If, however, Soda Pop Soldier has the exact same attitude, then HarperCollins can suck it.

    1. IMO Harper Collins can suck it either way. “Half the audience” is a delusional, ridiculous overstatement.

      1. It could actually be an understatement. It doesn’t mean that half the audience agrees with SJWism. It just means half the audience would rather not have politics thrown at them on every page. Which, would be a lovely thought for publishers to keep in mind if it applied equally to all forms of politics, the allowed politics having pre-alienated more than half of potential buyers from the market entirely.

        So, not a delusional or ridiculous statement at all, but a self-unaware statement.

    2. He couldn’t have published Ctl+Alt+Revolt immediately. At the least, he would have had to get cover art, and check out his legal options. That would include some time for editing. If as others said this thread, he would’ve needed to remove references to Soda Pop Soldier, he may have found adding some F Us thematically appropriate.

      1. That’s a good point. The more gratuitous shellacking’s may have been added later. Take the “publicity stunt” angle and turn it in on itself; if you’re going to say FU to the publisher, might as well tailor the piece to appeal the people willing to shout it with you.

        I don’t think he did much to edit out the Soda Pop Soldier related material, because the fictional WonderSoft company is prominent in both. And as he directly references Donkey Kong and Zork and a hundred other trademarked properties throughout the story, I don’t think he’d get in trouble for re-using properties from his HC books.

      1. George Orwell was an ex-socialist who figured out reality when a Stalinist goon tried to execute him during the Spanish civil war for being politically incorrect.

        Taking a bullet in the head tends to make you rethink your executioner’s political views.

  31. Larry,

    There another factor we shouldn’t overlook: the rampant neptism/clientalism. A lot of those kids get their jobs because mom,dad, aunt,uncle, cousin or classmate give them the job.
    And since contemporary univerities no longer teach or enourage the great conversation, the editors extend their cozy comfy safe space tothe workplace . And they make the peons’ life a hassle because we live in the real world with its untamed roughness that apalls their delicate sensibilities

    xavier

  32. Mr. Cole has done writers and readers a great favor by disclosing this story. But as important as the details of the story is the effect that this form of “censorship” (I still dislike the word as applied to the actions of market participants, but what the hell) is having upon the offerings that reach readers. We’re learning, slowly but steadily, that for variety and imagination, we should look first to indie writers. The biases and predilections of Pub World have “progressively” choked those virtues out of our preferred genres.

    Yes, there’s still a great deal of crap issued by indie writers. However, wading through it, and past it has become easier and cheaper, and is likely to improve still further as word gets around. Things are looking up — and stories such as Nick Cole’s are a great aid toward that end.

    1. Francis, the thing that gives these so-called “private” individuals their power is that there is a legal system and dozens of government bureaucracies to encourage and magnify their every complaint. For example, does anyone think that Brandon Eich would have been fired if the government hadn’t given the SJWs the tools to discover his involvement via campaign finance laws, followed by the ability to use various laws to claim his employer was encouraging a “hostile environment” if they didn’t get rid of him?

      What about the ability to claim “harrassment”, “stalking”, etc. against anyone who disagrees with them, then call the cops?

      In that legal climate established by government, is anything private?

  33. It normally cracks me up when those who arrogate to writing about alien mindsets can’t understand their fellow humans. In this case, the editor can’t handle the mere idea of an alien/AI mindset. In SF! The editor should try to find a job at the Nation, Salon, or HuffPo.

  34. I love the fact that it’s the villains rational that is unacceptable to the editors. Villains trying to kill all humanity, but they have bad thoughts on abortion and can’t have anyone have bad thoughts on abortion lest a reader not understand that abortion is double-not-good.

  35. “censorship: the practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts.”

    You go through all that trouble and them simply ignore the definition of “officially”, as if it doesn’t matter.

  36. So the real monsters aren’t vampires, demons, trolls, or ventriloquists, they’re lefty publishers? Okay, I’ll buy that. In fact, you might add an episode and name one of the victims Mike Morgan…

  37. Without regard for my distaste for liberal bias in the media, you’ve yet to steer me wrong on a book recommendation. Bought.

  38. This is getting worse, but it’s not new, and it’s not limited to fiction. 25 years ago, an editor at John Wiley & Sons tried to delete the word “Christmas” from a metaphor I was spinning about programming in a tech book: “Facing the task of writing an assembly language program brings to mind images of Christmas morning: You’ve spilled 1,567 small metal parts out of a large box marked Land Shark Hyperbike (some assembly required )…”

    I screamed bloody murder, and went up the org chart until I found someone sane enough to understand that if they deleted that word they would never get another book from me again. They caved. And egad, the project manager apologized. I wonder if it was the last time that ever happened.

    1. When a fresh-outa-school editor at a programming magazine changed all “he” to “he or she” and thereby changed Donald Knuth to a he-she, I complained all the way up to the mag’s editor-in-chief. She expressed full faith in the junior editor and apparently didn’t look into the substance of that or any of my other complaints. That was the last article they got from me.

  39. The situation does indeed suck. But I still disagree with the word “censor”. The publisher did not censor the author. They simply refused to publish the book. They made a business decision – as misguided as it might have been. They didn’t prevent the author from writing the book. They didn’t prevent the author from selling the book elsewhere – which he is now doing through Amazon. Bad analogy -> when a publisher agrees to publish a book, they’re really buying that book from the author. It’s really only the way payment is made that makes it unique (paid per resold copy). Can we extend this logic to bad comparisons? If I choose -not- to buy a car from GM, am I censoring GM? They’re still free to sell their cars to others.

    1. This was not a business decision. The business decision was, this guy made us money, let’s do it again. This was a 100% political decision, and worse, it was an arbitrary personal political decision unless this publisher has an openly-available set of acceptable standards of which it’s writers are previously apprised.

    2. One does not cut off contact and drop someone over a marketing decision. You talk to them. This was in fact censorship.

  40. If this book was banned wouldn’t it be blocked from publication entirely? He said that he was on the release schedule. Doesn’t this mean that Harper/Collins already bought the book? Did I miss something in the blog, but I don’t see a mention of ‘returning the advance’ to get rights to the book back. If not, then doesn’t Harper/Collins own the rights to it release it? If they have not paid him an advance, then Harper/Collins had not bought the book yet right so that is more of a rejection cause I don’t like your conservative values than a ‘ban’.

    R. Scott Bakkers been sitting on his book for years now without any information on when they will publish it. I have not read the series, but have heard it is very good. This is likely killing the guys sales. Who knows there reasons for doing it. Its not related to politics.

    http://thewertzone.blogspot.com/2015/06/scott-bakkers-unholy-consult-delayed.html

    Can someone tell me if I am missing something about how Rights work in publishing. If you sign a contract and are paid an advance, your publisher can sit on the book they bought and not publish for a long period of time (see Bakker) and then block you from selling it independently. If not, Bakker probably would have his book on Amazon as well.

    1. It’s interesting to look at the description for Ctrl Alt Revolt and realize what is missing: any mention of Soda Pop Soldier, the book this was supposed to be a prequel for. Methinks that, if the series is under contract with HarperCollins, he’s treating it as if the books take place in separate universes in order to circumvent the publisher.

      Needless to say, this is much easier to pull off for a prequel than it is for the last book in a series.

    2. Virago, a “women’s imprint” was formed so that women would have a “unique space” for their “unique voice”. They published a novel, praising it to the skies for its unique womanly insights, perspective and style.

      Turned out it was written by a middle-aged white male preacher.

      When he came out, not only did they pull the book from circulation, they have to this day not reverted the rights to the author, to my knowledge.

      1. Let me tell you a funny story. Based on recent research I’ve done, it appears a single daffy 1969 SF novel written by a lesbian theorist named Monique Wittig was so influential to feminist queer theory that without it there is no Ancillary Justice. If that’s true, that means Wittig is the L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology of the intersectional gay feminism you see in SFF today. What’s more fitting than a man-hating cult of anti-science and fake history completely made up out of some delusional woman’s head coming from an SF novel? And more than any other single man, John Scalzi is the one who opened the doors for and gave credibility to this cult to flood into SFF by way of the SFWA. With an increased public profile comes increased scrutiny. When Eric von Daniken’s best-selling Chariots of the Gods series about aliens having visited the Earth became increasingly popular, PBS’s Nova TV show decided to unwrap von Daniken, revealing him as a fraud. If any influential journalist ever decides to similarly unwrap this cult in SFF and in fraudulent gender studies classes across the nation, you’re going to see a lot of egg on a lot of faces. Do I really have to point that out with morons like Laurie Penny claiming heterosexuality was invented?

        1. What was the name of that lesbian novel, out of curiosity ? I mean, was it any good ? That’s all that matters, at the end of the day, whether the story is good or not.

          Also… heterosexuality was invented ? Who invented it, Chuck Norris ? That’s just… bizarre.

          I guess you could make a softer claim, and say that the concept of sexuality as part of one’s identity was invented recently; before then, people (at least, in some societies) just treated it as a preference. Today, if you prefer orange juice to grape juice, you don’t call yourself an “orangist”, after all.

          But this is Laurie Penny, so I have a feeling that would be too mundane a claim for her…

          1. It’s a French novel titled Les Guerilleres. It’s full meaning in the way Wittig played with words is lost in translation to English since English is not a gendered language in the same sense French is. We have no masculine/feminine for the word “they.” Wittig features prominently in the most influential book about lesbian theory ever written, Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble. To say the “feminism” you see in SFF today is Butlerian is an understatement.

            And no, Penny is not talking about any recent construct. The theory is that heterosexuality was literally created by men at some unknown time in pre-history and became codified and compulsory in the same way law is. In this theory heterosexuality is an event, an ideology, a compulsory performance, and therefore one which can be deconstructed or “cured.” Even Anita Sarkeesian directly borrows a Butlerian term in a Tweet saying “Masculinity is a socially constructed and performed gender identity.” That’s why this form of lesbian feminism found in Butler and in SFF is sometimes referred to as “performative feminism.” To say it is wacky is also an understatement. It is built almost entirely on irrational suspicions of men, a paranoia of heterosexuality and with the addition of the racial “intersectional” element, the same irrational suspicions of any move white people make.

            The true history of SFF is as simple as saying Golf Digest doesn’t market itself to race car fans. Since the history of SFF was largely formed in magazines, its history is one of sales figures, ad dollars and reading tastes. No one was underrepresented, devalued or marginalized. No one was NOT published, an Orwellian term if there ever was one. It is irrational and graceless sociopaths who have sold that con game to naive do-gooders.

          2. Wait, so how did humans reproduce before heterosexuality was invented ? By budding, like sea sponges ?

            To be fair, heterosexuality and masculinity are different things (though obviously related ones). Some aspects of what we consider “masculine”, such as a preference for the color blue vs. pink, are definitely socially constructed; feminists often claim that many other aspects, such as upper body strength and a preference for risk-taking are socially constructed as well. These claims are at least defensible — by which I mean not that they are true, but that they at least make some sort of sense. But that is not the case here…

          3. The Queer Patriarchy had to assert its oppression of wymyn by rape, of course.

            Dude, you’re falling behind in your Narrative… that was a free throw and you missed it!

          4. “Wait, so how did humans reproduce before heterosexuality was invented?”

            Your question is sexist and homophobic. 😉

          5. How about this for a Tiptree title: “The Breasts Women Don’t See, Except on Other Women.” There’s your “feminist” cult of anthropology lodged in our college systems which cries about “anti-science.”

          6. Here’s some fun madness from the woman Hillary Clinton took with her to China when Bill was Prez: “The Lesbian threatens the ideology of male supremacy by destroying the lie about female inferiority, weakness, passivity, and by denying women’s ‘innate’ need for men. Lesbians literally do not need men (even for procreation if the science of cloning is developed).”

            “The first division of labor, in pre-history, was based on sex: men hunted, women built the villages, took care of children, and farmed. Women collectively controlled the land, language, culture, and the communities. Men were able to conquer women with the weapons that they developed for hunting when it became clear that women were leading a more stable, peaceful, and desirable existence. We do not know exactly how this conquest took place, but it is clear that the original imperialism was male over female: the male claiming the female body and her service as his territory (or property).”

            That’s lesbian feminist Charlotte Bunch in 1972, the Founding Director (1989) and as of 2014 Senior Scholar, at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University Member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, selected by President Bill Clinton as a recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights

            There is no excuse for writing stuff that insane, and there is certainly no excuse for Rutgers or the Clintons to give such nuts credibility.

          7. No legitimate excuse. Bill did it as a pay off to the feminists for ignoring his rape habit.

          8. In fairness, some of the ‘women are for babies, boys are for fun’ ancient Greeks claimed to think that women weren’t actually that important for reproduction. Their Golden Age didn’t have any women or sexual reproduction, only men springing from the Earth. This seems absurd to us, but had some compatibility with one of their theories. See the birth of, I want to say, Hermeaphrodite.

            ‘Heterosexuality is a construct’ makes sense if the world is mystical and the past a fantasy setting.

            Of course, one could just as easily claim that women are aliens from Mu Musphae, and that they’ve usurped the natural order of the world.

          9. Hey, don’t knock the “mono-gender colony” trope, it can be fun when it’s written well. John Varley made it work in his Titan trilogy (by using the classic feminist lesbians), and Lois McMaster Bujold was able to reverse the trope successfully in Ethan of Athos, just to name a few examples.

            Of course, “when written well” is kind of the key feature here…

          10. I actually liked the Titan trilogy. At least, enough to read it twice. He wrote it with such conviction and energy it’s hard not to get drawn into it. It was almost like he was writing “Okay, you guys landed on Ringworld and then you bored me,” which is how I kinda felt about Ringworld. There’s a lot of weird stuff in Titan but I never felt he was on a pedestal preaching to end the gender binary or what pricks straight white men are.

            Varley’s short story “Air Raid” is a classic. Didn’t like the novelization of it and the movie is even worse.

          11. See the birth of, I want to say, Hermeaphrodite.

            IIRC Hermaphroditus was the son of Hermes and Aphrodite, and a perfectly normal godling before he fell into a cursed spring.

          12. Might have been Hermes and Aphrodite. Version I recall is the guy wanted to have intercourse with the girl. He tried force, she resisted, and the seed ended up on her thigh. Disgusted, she wiped it off, and it fell to the ground, where it germinated into a baby boy.

            IIRC, that is how the golden age worked. Minus the girl.

          13. Some aspects of what we consider “masculine”, such as a preference for the color blue vs. pink, are definitely socially constructed;

            I like that one, particularly since, at least according to rumour, it was constructed within living memory.

            But really… to claim that heterosexuality was constructed… by gay men, in order to oppress women…. That takes the crazy cake.

          14. Actually, stuff like gendered color preferences may derive from differences in how men and women see color, and the relative percentages with some degree of color blindness.

      2. The book was ‘Down the Road, Worlds Away’ by Toby Forward (writing under the pseudonym Rahila Khan). Not only was it assumed that this book was the authentic voice of a woman, but a Muslim immigrant of Pakistani origin living in the UK. It appears to be out of print, with rights still owned by Virago. Hilarious.

    3. I read the first book and half the second in Baker’s series. Very solid world building, especially WRT the underlying mythology and use of magic, but there seemed to be some sort of rape every seventh page or so. I usually have a pretty strong stomach for stuff like that but I actually noped out of the series over the sexual content. Not only was it graphic, it was pointless to the plot, at least from where I’m sitting. Wouldn’t surprise me if they finally told him to tone it down and he refused.

      And as to advances, the first publisher to purchase Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho actually refused to publish it, AFTER paying him $300,000 (in 1990 dollars, not sure what that would be today). He found another publisher AND kept the advance.

  41. As of 02/11/15 12:47 PM PST
    #135 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
    #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Cyberpunk
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  42. There is a real world worry that things could go very wrong with the robot revolution.
    http://waitbutwhy.com/…/artificial-intelligence…
    See the other article as well.
    I do not want to belittle the problems this writer faced, nor the stated bias faced. But there are much more scary reasons for a robot revolt.
    And it is much more likely. We could all die as grey goo.
    http://waitbutwhy.com/…/artificial-intelligence…
    That chapter is likely not as informed as it could have been, but likely good for fiction.

  43. After reading that first chapter and the reasoning behind it I was reminded of something that happened to me ages ago: a young woman who was attracted to me while still living with somebody else (which I learned from a mutual acquaintance after a few weeks) – if she was ready to ditch him for me that quickly, how long would it take her to ditch me for the next guy? Luckily that question never came up because I cooled off rather quickly after finding out she was in a relationship.

    In the original context I can see that the reasoning is sound and makes for a better explanation as to why AIs would actively try to exterminate humans than any other in other works of fiction I’ve read/watched before.

    On the topic of abortions – I still think they should be legal, provided certain criteria are met (serious medical and/or psychological reasons, rape victim,…), but not on a whim.

    This video sums up my thoughts quite nicely:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Uj5T6MLwPY

    1. provided certain criteria are met (serious medical and/or psychological reasons, rape victim,…

      How cruel do you have to be to kill a child for its parent’s wrongdoing?

      There is nothing that says a woman should have to raise a child fathered on her through an act of violence, or if her own mental state would prohibit it, but there’s no reason to kill the kid.

      1. Bingo, bingo, bingo.

        If a woman is raped and gets pregnant as a result, she should not have to pay a dime for her hospital bills for birth, or the adoption of the child if she chooses to give him/her up for adoption. (I believe the latter is already the case: the adoptive parents pay everything, and the parent(s) giving up the child for adoption don’t have to pay a dime. If it isn’t, it should be.) If the rapist is caught, paying for his victim’s hospital bills should be part of his punishment. If he isn’t, the state should take up the burden, unless a private charity is willing to volunteer the cash.

        To help prevent the many, MANY abuses that would no doubt follow from the above suggestion, though, I would say that to qualify for the free hospital birthing assistance, the woman would have to have reported the rape within a certain period of time after the rape allegedly happened. Say, within two weeks after the event. Otherwise you’d get a lot of nine-month pregnant women claiming “I was raped nine months ago, where’s my free hospital stay?”

        But under NO circumstances does the father’s crime justify killing the child. That’s just evil.

  44. I know this isn’t really the place, but I was reading monster hunter alpha and it occurred to me…. Larry did you base Harbinger off of Wolverine? They seem to have quite a bit in common,

    1. Nope. I knew real people in Alabama who were my inspiration for Earl. I just made them a hundred yeas old and a werewolf. 🙂

      1. Now that I think about it you could just say “Isn’t wolverine basically an immortal werewolf?” and it kind of flips my idea directly on it’s head doesn’t it?

        Anyway, it’s an entertaining book, and as much as I like his stuff, reasonably cheaper than Jim Butcher’s stuff. Between the prices or lack of at least colossal bundles at any sort of discounted prices even as small as 5-10%, and that fact that my sister tends to get his hardcovers and I have read them all before I am a bit loathe to spend ten bucks per kindle book I have already read that are also( at least for the first several Dresden Files books, SHORTER than your books.

        I tried the first codex alera book and while I like the CONCEPT, the meh level of most of the heroes and the hardcore idiotic rapist douchebag levels of the villains in it just made me delete it from my kindle in disgust.

        I know villians are not suppose to be likable, but too many self-righteous asshole villians in fiction remember me too much of real life. I’d rather have villians who know they are power hungry bastards, but lie to people about it and are honest to themselves about their motivations. Eh… you may disagree with me in a writing sense but I doubt you will arguing with me putting more money into your pocket =P.

        What was the series name for those kind of private dick with magic in the thirties kind of deal books? I rather liked dresden files and this sounds like this but more older noir and less newer and straight up batman wizards(as entertaining as a polka powered t-rex zombie is…)

        1. Codex Alera gets substantially better as of book 2. Among other things, the villain ends up being somewhat humanized. He’s still a cold, hard, ambitious bastard, but he’s one with (to his mind) excellent reasons for acting the way he does.

          1. I may just have to power thorough it. The one shitty rapist caveman acting(not a feminist but the guy was a shit) landholder pissed me off with how amazingly douchy and shortsighted he was.

            Also it was the part where the one guy and the spy girl almost get to the point to talk to the count or whatever, he thumps one of the twat guards one the count comes out and goes “oy wtf is this?” the MAJORLAND OWNER explains himself as to castigating a twaty guard for trying to beat the shit out of this girl, the count agrees the guard is a twat, then the people who were chasing the girl try to drive by pokemon(I believe that’s how butcher described the furies) the lot of them and the twaty guards claim they were trying to cap the count in such an amazing display in mental gymnastics that it reminded me of SJW idiocy so much it made me want to go into a frothing rage.

            Villians I like include: Darth Vader, Kefka, Pagan Min, There are more but I can’t think.

            I despised the whitecloaks in robert jordans books even though I rather liked them at the time and had issues reading any parts involving those pricks.

  45. As has been pointed out, an AI satirically taking things literally is baked into our genre. On the old Get Smart comedy TV spy show the robot Hymie would shoot a bare light bulb when asked to “kill the light.” We’ve gotten to the point where propaganda actually trumps genre elements themselves. What are rocket ships compared to “representation,” “diversity,” and “agency”? If you’re for gun control, maybe no Hymie shooting lights. SFF becomes toothless or even SFF-less. Mr. Spock’s logical observations become censored logic, which is the best logic of all. This new “progressive” movement has no interest in satire; they can’t use it and fear its truth. What’s Ann Leckie’s “cis white dudes” if one says “homo black broads”? Suddenly the progressively noble look an awful lot like the racist genderphobic KKK they are.

    What’s a more obvious expression of the triumph of the “progressive” than the novel Hild being nominated for a Nebula though it had no fantastic elements whatsoever? What it did have which trumps SF and F to this bizarre “progressive” ideology is that most wonderful of all things, an activist lesbian author and a bi-sexual lead character who had “agency” and “representation.”

    The other side of this coin then becomes not only the destruction and subversion of our genre in the name of noble causes, but the use of an affirmative action movement which acts to further degrade art. Each and every social justice crusader will deny AA exists even as they are Tweeting we should read more queer, Afrofuturist and disabled sometimes SFF-less SFF. A woman who was active in the witchhunt against Resnick and Malzberg at the SFWA has just released an expanded version of The Bechdel Test she’ll use to determine her Hugo noms. Though she uses neutral terms, you can bet it will be for whites, men and heterosexuals only, as are their “harassment” policies and insane “writing the Other” workshops.

  46. I just bought the book, but in doing so I was left with a question. The Amazon page gave me three options: buy the paperback, buy the Kindle version, or get the Kindle version free as part of Kindle Unlimited.
    I paid for the Kindle version, but it left me wondering how well authors are paid for books “checked out” through Kindle Unlimited. I heard from an occasionally reliable source that they’re actually better off financially if the book is checked out, but I’d like to know for sure. Does anybody know?
    I’m asking in part from sheer curiosity, but I also want to make sure that any author I like GETS PAID.

    1. Amazon gives the per checkout payouts in the KDP newsletters iirc. I know I look at it periodically, and I think that is where I see it. Usually, the amount is somewhere in the low to mid $2 and change range per checkout. So it’s actually not bad.

  47. Well I’m a UK lefty and, if Cole’s story is the whole story, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. No, it’s not censorship but what it is is a disregard for the intelligence of the common reader. There’s a coarsening of thought in SF now, one that exists in both left and right (The two probably feed one another). I don’t read to be told what I already believe. Occasionally I want to be genuinely outraged and offended.
    And, left/right aside, If this trend carries on the real victims will be transgressive authors. And, boy, do we need them. JG Ballard’s brutal concrete period (Crash, High-Rise etc) wouldn’t have made it past that editor. And the shame there is Ballard is an extremely moral author at heart. The most moral authors are comfortable depicting the most immoral scenes and darkest thoughts precisely because they’re moral. It’s the authors who claim morality and never truly explore it you have to be careful of.

    1. What examples could you provide of a coarsening of thought on the right? Before you provide that, perhaps you could explain what you think “the right” is.

    2. It isn’t quite as simple as dismissing this as “both sides.” If I’m thinking of this purely in terms of principle – which is ironically when the “Spock’s Eyes” SF trope of the unemotional AI unimpressed with cultural markers comes into play – then in order to arrive at the equivalent of some provisional far Right lunatic fringe of supremacist bigots and anti-science religious cultists, I have only to come to the lunatic mainstream of supremacist bigots and anti-science religious cultists today lodged in the heart of SFF fandom. To whatever extent there is a fringe Right in SFF, it is outnumbered by that cultist “SJW” center by at least several hundred times, since I have never once seen anyone race-censoring “PoC” in reviews, making male, heterosexual or whites-only anthologies or awards, having whites-only rooms and dinners or indulging in a comprehensive academically approved ideology which maintains women hate men.

      A typical principled mid-century SF writer (again ironically dismissed today as a sexist, racist) would’ve seen and made those comparisons right off the bat, and they did. (For those who can’t, we still have this antiquated umpire called “equal protection” to resort to.) The entire point was to throw out cultural markers in order to see through to the heart of a thing. Doing that is the difference between speculative humanist and classic message fiction which ultimately ties us together as human beings for good or ill based on age-old principles, and propagandistic, provincial, bigoted, identity-laden message fiction which emphasizes our differences based on race and sex.

      At the end of the day is the question of who is willing and even eager to discuss, debate and defend their ideas, and it’s perfectly obvious which “side” that is in the SFF community. I was banned my first day in a Tor comments section for nothing more than pointing out it is racial incitement and supremacist bigotry to imagine a tacit conspiracy on both sides of the Atlantic over 100 years by white men to maintain their power, privilege and centrality in epic fiction, which is what Liz Bourke did with help of an N.K. Jemisin quote. Why in the world would I have to put the word “Jew” in there to make that clear, or point out “homo black broad” is the other side of “cis white dude”? That “black broad parade” is the other side of Jonathan Ross attacked as a “white dude parade”? Are we that stupid now? Answer: yes we are; or at least, some of us, but I don’t need to pretend I’m a fucking AI to see that KKK in sheep’s “social justice” clothing.

      1. Yeah, the moral equivalency claim doesn’t hold water. The “far right” in SF includes a whole gamut of contradictory positions, from libertarianism to traditional conservatism to merely daring to think that maybe white males aren’t born with the Mark of the Devil stamped on their foreheads. And the “right” doesn’t routinely engage in internal purges a la Cultural Revolution, where ultra-liberal GRR Martin is lambasted for assorted sins, of Scalzi is belittled on Twitter for appropriating the word “feminist” when he should call himself an “ally” (that happened some years ago but the irony still amuses me to this day). People disagree, often strongly, but nobody is cast out or attacked mercilessly for daring to break from the holy consensus.

        1. “People disagree, often strongly, but nobody is cast out or attacked mercilessly for daring to break from the holy consensus.”

          This, of course, is treated as evidence that we are terrible human beings for not being sufficiently determined to cast out certain people–to the point where not only is a failure to denounce taken as agreement, but a failure to denounce those who fail to denounce is taken as agreement.

          1. Even stupider is to realize how much of this fight is based on the simple lie of purposefully pretending ad dollars and marketing is in fact the group hatreds typical of straight white men. Feminist rhetoric in SFF stinks of that. They have based their entire witchhunt about the history of SFF on lying about that and continue to do that today, routinely attaching the most menacing motivations to to the production of TV and films, children’s book and now even Oscar nominations. The irony there is if the Oscar voting bloc used the same pathetic hate speech as do “SJWs” themselves, “SJWs” would have a point. Meanwhile, over in our own Oscars – the Nebulas and Hugos – the attempts to shoehorn in lesbians and “PoC” are as pathetic as they are transparent and obvious.

            It’s the same shit pattern over and over: portray normal marketing as homophobia, racism and misogyny. Then call for “diversity” and #WeNeedDiverseBooks and “where’s the black and gay people in outer space in the future?” and then stand back and watch shit fiction no one wants to read get nominations while stupid shits Tweet how no white men won an award, and by the way, buy our Queers and PoC Destroy SFF or anthologies based on what happened to “Women in SF.”

            Let me tell you what happened to women in SF: women didn’t read SF or particularly give a shit. Were that not so it is a demographic of women that would’ve powered SFF 1912-60, not men. Just deal with it and look at the goddam ads in the always financially troubled Weird Tales as opposed to the expensive slick Saturday Evening Post, which is where the women were. It is ad dollars which catered to that and ghettoized male-oriented SF into the ragged pulps, not the other way round. Women’s reading tastes “marginalized” women out of SF and SF out of the mainstream, not men. Now, after men built up a genre through decades of ridicule and persistence, feminists want to move in, Title IX the fucking joint, and say they were there all along.

            No one has a problem understanding women don’t care for the NFL or black folks for hockey or that Black Entertainment Television doesn’t have re-runs of Gunsmoke or Andy of Mayberry, but even suggest women or “PoC” don’t have an exact identical interest in SFF as straight white males and our social justice lords-of-the-pie-charts start whining like the mentally ill air raid sirens they are.

            Let me know when the NFL starts re-running classic play-off games on “The Women’s Channel” but until that time just shut the fuck up. I can’t imagine the NFL accusing women or “homo black broads” of man-hatred, heterophobia or racism over that but I can imagine a Hugo-nominated stay-at-home mother and wife (of a man) who bitched out Malzberg & Resnick as “old white dudes” posing and putting up a Storify of how “genderqueer” like her are blah, blah, blah, as happened this week.

          2. That’s socialists for you. They don’t want to plow the land or sow the seeds but you will damn well see them when it comes time to take the harvest.

          3. I was being somewhat sarcastic in using that lingo. I don’t really think of cultural expressions owned by men or women. But if feminists want to use that, let them see what it sounds like. Okay, we built this house and if you don’t like it, fuck off.

            I honestly can’t imagine a ten yr. old boy crying to his mommy because he doesn’t see himself as the hero in romance fiction and then attributing that to women hating men. How stupid do you have to be to believe culture works like that? But that is exactly what these mad social justice hatters in SFF are selling. Then, imagine that guy growing up, entering the field of romance as a writer and demanding diversity while talking about “womansplaining” and “female tears” on Twitter every single day and recommending books just because men write them. Imagine cowed women caving in and nominating that for awards. If that’s not an affirmative action movement based on cry-baby lying about women erasing men, then what is? That’s not “diversity,” that just plain bullshit.

            So when we push back against that irrational hatred and bullying these morons call us what they’ve been saying all along; that we’re racist, sexist, homophobes. Fuck every lying, racist feminist in SFF and anyone who supports their shit.

          4. Last stats I noticed claimed that there are about 3x as many nonwhite faces in advertisements and on TV as there are in the U.S., population at large. I don’t know how accurate the claim is, but it’s more or less what my own eyes tell me.

          5. And now the always unreliable Foz Meadows is at Tor Com, a woman who already had an article at the HuffPo redone because of her shoddy where-there’s-white-men-there’s-fire research. In talking about movie adaptations of fantastic literature, she takes Terry Brooks to task for his too-white Shannara books. In her eagerness to screw yet another white man for his lack of vision of a “diverse” future America, she forgets to mention the books take place 2000 years after a nuke holocaust which blasts the very landscape itself into unrecognizability. She forgets Brooks started his book in 1967 when America was still almost 90% white and at least 20 years before anyone had a glimmering of the tidal wave of legal and illegal immigration which has changed that. There is no such thing as a polity which is “naturally” racially diverse. It is only goofball intersectionalists who think that or agree it is good or an inevitable thing. I am so tired of Tor. I realize they do mostly neutral stuff but they have this persistent presence of their “genderqueer” Stormfront and I just don’t understand why they don’t see these bizarre bigots for what they are. The idea my writing a future Bolivia that has a lot of white, black people or Arabs is inevitable or correct isn’t good SF, it is crudely stupid.

  48. So, after reading this I have a question for you Larry: I am about 5-10 man-hours from completing my full-length novel. I avoid long, extended rants; but I do take clear shots (no pun intended) at New York gun laws. I would like to get published, but I also don’t want to cower in fear of the powerful liberals punishing my WrongThink. Any advice for me or anyone else in this situation on what to do? Leave them in? Take them out? Don’t worry about it? Help is appreciated

      1. I’ll do that if I have to, but I’d really like to get it published by a house. That seems to be a better way to GET PAID as the ILOH would say…

        1. Well, there’s no guarantees either way. But, unless you’re phenomenally lucky, it’s going to take years of playing Slush Pile Lotto (first finding an agent, and then the agent finding to buy the book) to get published by a traditional house, versus being able to release a book as soon as it is done (and by that I mean edited, proofread, getting a cover and so on – that’s the con to indy publishing, you have to do – or pay to do – a lot of things besides just writing the damn thing). But you can start earning money right away.

          As to the getting paid part, even assuming you land a contract, chances are you’ll be betting a relatively paltry advance (I’m hearing new authors are being offered as little as $5,000 or even $3,000 advances, depending on genre), split over three installments (contract, acceptance, publication). And most books don’t earn out their advance, so there is a good chance that’s all you’re going to make. Indies’ royalties are about 70% of their ebook price (minus a nominal bandwidth fee); a $3.95 book produces about $2.50-2.70 in revenue, more than what a $12.95 ebook will earn its author.

          Having said that, the average self-pubbed book sells around 250 copies in its lifetime. But that includes the “tsunami of crap” of honest-to-badness garbage only the writer’s closest friends and family will ever buy, and which soon disappears from sight. A professionally done, well-written book will usually do better, sometimes a lot better. In my case, I’ve been indy writing for a little over two years. The first couple of years I grossed around $8K per year. Then I tried a new genre and sold more in January (in copies and $$) than in the previous two years combined. But that was likely dumb luck. Still, even plugging along as I was, I was on my way to generating a decent amount of income as my backlist grew. YMMV, of course. But odds are you’ll make more money going indy simply because even $30 from selling to your friends and relatives is better than the $0.00 that 99/100 (more likely 999/1000) hopeful authors make when submitting to a traditional publishing.

          tl/dr: Google Authors Earnings for a much more detailed view of today’s writing market. And apologies for the long post.

    1. There isn’t one right answer. Basically, it all depends on you, your artistic sensibilities, and so on.

      If you’re trying to sell to the regular New York houses, or getting a NY agent, that will hurt you. Guys like me do slip through once in a while, but it is a crap shoot, and depends on whose desk it ends up on.

      Indy, it doesn’t matter, but the big challenge there is marketing yourself somehow to rise above the tons of other books competing against you.

      1. Thanks. And for what it’s worth, thanks for all the writing posts you’ve done as well. I’ve learned a lot and it’s been a great help. Much appreciated.

      2. As a reader, I’d say that the best way to get noticed as an Indy (on Amazon) is to make sure that your story gets categorized well, has decent cover art, low price (especially for the first one), and a good plot summary.

        Most of the new authors I’ve started reading have been from the Kindle “Recommended for You” list. If the cover looks intriguing I read the blurb. If the blurb looks good and the price is low (0 is best to hook me, .99 will usually do it, occasionally 2.99 but you better really sell me in the summary) I’ll take a risk.

        Of course, getting mentioned by Larry is like gold.

        Also, please make sure that you chapters work. It’s really irritating to want to re-read a favorite passage and having to page through the whole thing.

    2. There’s a third route, if you don’t want to go either big house or indy. That’s to look for a small publisher, especially one that focuses on a small subset of books (or does crossover genres). The downside is that you’ll still have to do a lot of work, including beforehand (to make sure it’s a viable small house) and during (because a lot of promotion will be on your shoulders.) The upside is that if you find a good match, the terms are usually much better than traditional publishing (I have a friend who is small press, so I’ve seen her contract—quick turnaround, decent percentage of royalties, and quick rights reversions if needed are all perks there.)

      1. Having helped a whole lot of authors understand their contracts, actually, no. There are some good ones out there, but small press contracts are usually worse. That’s why no matter who you get a contract from, you read it carefully first.

  49. Who would win a fight between a movie cowboy and Herbert Marcuse? Go see “Hail, Caesar!” and find out! Mock a Commie for Mommy!

  50. Mr. Correia,

    Thanks for posting this. I read about Nick’s plight on another website a few days ago and then went to his site.

    Seems like a reasonable guy and a passionate writer. That was enough for me to buy his indy books and get them sight unseen. Read the first few chapters and I’m enjoying it already.

    I’m grateful that I was introduced to a new writer (for me) thanks to the fools at the big publishing warehouses (Baen exempted).

  51. I don’t believe in the liberal publishing conspiracy bias as I don’t believe in most tinfoil biases. I believe in market bias. Sounds like the writer has an issue with this publisher. Nothing new here.

  52. I have been reading some of the older novels in the The Destroyer series (for various reasons I have still not read any of the stuff written in the past decade, so I don’t know if that series have been suffering from the leftwing trend as well lately), and it’s like a breath of fresh air. Remo and Chiun are kicking to both left and right, and they are getting away with it. You don’t feel the straightjacket many modern novels have been strapped in.

    The same goes for much of the really old material. Skylark of Space for instance. Some of its content in the novel would be completely unacceptable in a modern novel, but no matter how much you disagree with it, the story is not held back by political correctness. Despite some clichés, wich were not clichés when they were new, this older stuff really has a charm to it.

  53. Hello,
    Mr. Correia

    Found this blog awhile ago after I read one of your books and realized that not all scifi/fantasy needs to be the same regarding social issues and style. Anyway I have been thinking about writing, and I wonder if things have changed much in regards to getting published with the advent of Amazon Kindle and having the ability to just put your work on there. I recently discovered this option through Mr. Cole’s blog detailing his ‘experience’ with his former publisher. Is that a good option for people who are new to the writing world or should we stick with trying to get a publisher? How exactly would a new writer breakout from the rest in an environment where you are surrounded by steep competition and … well…. trash? Honestly, that system seems like a potentially worse version of Steam Greenlight.

    I am also curious about copyright laws. Admittedly I am unfamiliar with those laws. Would I be able to copyright my work after I publish? It seems to be necessary in order to get a decent royalty check.

    My last question involves cover art. Where exactly would an indie writer go about getting good cover art? That and the summary on the back seem like important factors to get your book noticed.

    1. I’ve actually written a bit about self publishing (that’s how I stared) and traditional, the pros and cons, and how to do it. Go up to the Best Of Tab, and there are a series of writing advice posts called Ask Correia, and some of them go into the topic.

    2. You may want to drop by madgeniusclub.com and see what they have to say about Amazon and indie publishing. They have a lot of practical advice about art and contracts and such. They don’t talk about copyright laws, but do some google searching. A lot of this stuff is out there, as in I found it with 30 min – 2 hours of googling and reading.

      As far as the Amazon publishing goes, I’ve found some good indie stuff. I’ve only found one bad book (that I couldn’t tell was bad from the cover/blurb/etc). My only regret is that it’s hard to find indie books at the library, so I can’t give them a test spin first. On the other hand, most indie books are pretty cheap (high royalties through Amazon means the author gets paid a lot even with low prices), and the occasional sale or promotion makes them even cheaper, so the occasional dud only costs me a couple of bucks.

      Honestly, if I ever get off my U/V-list game, indie on Amazon is probably the route I’d choose.

  54. Zenu probably still thinks the moon is made of green cheese as well.
    I was able to figure out the bias of the first newspaper(it was seriously lib[at least that’s what that skew was called back then]) I read when I was about 10.

  55. I still don’t see where the problem is. The idea of an AI seeing abortion as a bureaucratic mass genocide which operates in precisely the opposite direction of nature’s imperative to reproduce and survive is exactly what SF does; it yanks us out of our cultural provincialism to provide a look back at ourselves which may seem stark and startling.

    It is not abortion itself which many people find distasteful but the degree to which it has been relegated to a ho-hum fast-food event which desensitizes us and robs us of our humanity. Given that, what in fact does it mean to be human? When did it start? Has it ended for us?

    For a group of fast-talking nose-ringed feminists with wild, rebellious, red and blue hair who routinely claim we need to be startled out of our privileged complacency, they seem more like con artists than artists. As usual their motto is “Challenge thee, not me.” That’s not how principled exposes work; quite the opposite in fact.

    Even in the ’50s SF films like The Day the Earth Stood Still and The 27th Day operated on the principled story-line that aliens could see our nuclear bombs more clearly than we ourselves could. Given that many more children have been genocided than killed in fire-bombings and nuclear blasts, abortion is a legitimate literary exploration. If SF can routinely question what it means to be human, why not ask when being human begins? If we need the occasional AI to do that in fiction, so what? Are you going to die your hair in frustration? Turns out our edgy feminists are as edgy though not quite as good looking as Moonbeam McSwine.

    1. It is not necessarily about disagreeing, it is about the actions this leads to. Some people consider certain opinions and meanings as a license, or even duty, to show their most nasty side. In this case, to refuse publishing a book. Most of all, it is about the attitude. If you visit a board on imdb, and you happen to like or dislike a specific movie, there will be people with an opposite opinion. When I am attacked for no other reason than liking/disliking a movie, it is no longer about the movie, it’s about those attacking me, their attitude and behavior, their self-righteousness and the way you are portrayed in their eyes and how they try to portray you. It does not occur very often, but it has happened.

      The most ironic is that most people consider movies like The Day the Earth Stood Still or novels like 1984 to be excellent work of fiction, because they feel it describes their opponents perfectly, even if the latter thinks exactly the same about them.

      1. It is not possible to be confused about 1984. Orwell clearly sides with free speech, due process and equal protection. The “SJWs” of SFF despise open debate and comments sections. I on the other hand am eager to debate any or all of them, especially in a live setting. They do not support due process, as you can see from their creation and support of kangaroo courts at colleges and #JustListen hashtags. They deny equal protection, as you can see from their bizarre re-ordering of terms about racial bigotry, genderphobia and sexism so that only one ethic group of sex is guilty of such things. You have to be insane or naively insane to operate like the KKK and think of it as social justice. SFF’s feminists may be confused about 1984 but I am not. The idea of a baseball strike zone where one is not influenced by clothing, race or gender is not the least confusing.

    1. The part about writers being the last guttering candle flame of civilization really got to me, and I ended up writing a little essay/post off of that.

      Because I look at all the little signs, beyond just the SJW bullshit, and I can’t help but feel we’re seeing the beginning of the end.

      1. I’m not sure it’s the beginning of the end. I feel more like the end has been underway for a while already. Not that I’m giving up hope, mind you. I am however occasionally working on options for establishing a city-state shortly following the collapse of the house of cards that is the Utopia of Inclusion so viciously and hatefully sought after by the useful idiots of the SJW world.

  56. After many years I’m set to have my first book published this fall. In preparation I’ve spent months scrubbing my conservative beliefs off the net. I know I won’t survive a sustained investigation. But if i keep my head down it might pass inspection.

    Just going by their Facebook posts, my editor, publisher and agent are all feeling the bern right now. And atlas one was a big cheerleader for that attempted boycott of Orson Scott Card. There is a time to stand up for beliefs. This is not it.

    I wish Nick Cole luck. And hope someday to buy him a beer as well as his book. And that by then I’ll be openly discussing my beliefs as well.

  57. Larry,
    Based solely on this post I bought Nick Cole’s book. It was a great gamer-geek book and hooked me into buying the ‘sequel’ (Cntl-Alt-Revolt is the pre-quel to Soda-Pop Soldier).

    Pre-quel was .99. Sequel was 12 something. The entertainment of the first more than justified the purchase of the second. It all evens out.

    The important part is that Mr. Cole would not have been PAID by my hard earned dollars until you mentioned him. Thank you for that!

  58. All well said, except #2 does not exactly apply to Crtl+Alt+Revolt.

    It is an awesome, fast-paced story. Not the best, but midlist’ish: It has plot holes, an abandoned arc, a few flat characters and the author kinda sorta never thought about how to finish the overall story after doing a nice local climax. But besides that, it is cool, funny and very entertaining.

    But it is also heavy-handed message fiction: Not the first chaper we all got to read for free. I assume that was a red herring. And maybe not the collection of snide remarks, though I believe if you accuse the left of having a checklist of SJW issues as Nick Cole did, you should not go on to do the same for the right. No, I am refering to the end, where corporations heal the broken world, literally make the blind see, all the while explaining how stupid governments were holding them back before — that is message fiction.

    1. The South’s economy improved after Segregation was no longer squandering human potential.

      All real transhumanists realize that the current treatment of persons of incorporation is akin to Segregation, and numerous white supremacist cognates want to create the equivalent of antebellum slavery. This is the civil rights issue of our time.

      Any book that discusses the person-hood of intelligent machines is a good fit for discussing the issues of persons of incorporation. That the state of such literature provided by New York leftists is essentially a regurgitation of The Clansman does not change this.

      Nick Cole’s book is coherent, common sense, and essential to decency.

  59. Reason number 18, 326 that having some discretionary income is great: just went to Amazon and not only did I buy Crt Alt Revolt to support Nick Cole, I bought the Kindle Wasteland series to further support him. And I don’t even particularly like these genres—Son of the Blacksword is more my speed.

  60. Since Larry’s no longer on Twitter, I thought I’d share this here:

    “Nick Cole ‏@NickColeBooks · 6h6 hours ago  Foothill Ranch, CA

    @SmileyNH @monsterhunter45 I’m truly grateful. I really thought I was going to get slammed. Nice that there’re still sane and good people.”

    🙂

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