“Sensitivity Readers” Are Bullshit, and You Are A Sucker If You Believe Them

Before I left on Book Tour I wrote this post http://monsterhunternation.com/2019/01/31/to-the-book-community-go-fuck-yourself-an-anti-apology/  about how the “Book Community” (more like the Screaming Harpies of Tolerance) attacked a new author for being politically incorrect, until she pulled her book from publication (even though regular sane people couldn’t figure out what the hell it was she supposedly did that was so bad). Then she wrote an apology letter to the perpetually offended for offending them.

Here we are a month later and it has happened AGAIN.

Some other writer just pulled his book, and issued an apology that sounds like one someone would write before getting sent to a communist gulag.

I don’t know any of these writers (I’m not super popular in liberal writer circles for some reason, go figure) but apparently this author has previously been part of that same “Book Community” (i.e. the angry mob) that was destroying other writers for badthink: https://reason.com/archives/2019/02/28/he-was-part-of-a-twitter-mob-that-attack?fbclid=IwAR0wzRPtd1uctHBZcUBXpgAv6dtWYHCmZWa9C9nrRfeoZ9_q4Uo25yX6u6w

So the lesson this week is, live by the social justice, die by the social justice.

At this rate there won’t be any more YA books published. They’ll just pull them all shortly after releasing the ARCs.

I’m not going to repeat everything I said last time. If you are a reader, author, or aspiring author, read my link above and heed my advice, because this shit is nefarious and these bullies will never ever stop. They create nothing. They can only tear things down.  These perpetually offended bullies only have power over you if you let them. It’s a handful of assholes pitching a fit. Ignore them. Then hope your publisher has the spine and the basic sense to ignore them too, and if your publisher doesn’t then you have my sincere condolences, but you’ll be better off long term working somewhere that doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.

But this time I want to talk about a few specific things and aim this at the aspiring writers in the crowd.

Something that has come up in discussions about this fuckery is the concept of “Sensitivity Readers”. People have asked me what I think about Sensitivity Readers. A Sensitivity Reader is usually some expert on Intersectional Feminism or Cismale Gendernormative Fascism or other made up goofiness who a publisher brings in to look for anything “problematic” in a manuscript. And since basically everything is problematic to somebody they won’t be happy until they suck all the joy out of the universe. It is basically a new con-job racket some worthless scumbags have come up with to extort money from gullible writers, because there aren’t a lot of good ways to make a living with a Gender Studies Degree.

Writing advice time. If you are going to write about somebody different than you, or stuff outside your area of expertise, don’t be a lazy asshole, do your homework. And if you know people who are experts on that topic, or they come from that world, there’s nothing wrong with bouncing it off them to make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row. But I’m talking about regular people, not professional grievance mongers.

Note, these Sensitivity Readers are always the typical progressive buzzword vultures, looking for racist/sexist/homophobic microaggressions, because it’s pretty obvious to anyone who has ever read a book from mainstream publishing that they don’t give a shit about offending any other group… Or even getting their basic facts right about anybody who isn’t Team Blue.

Seriously, I specifically set MHI in Alabama because of how sick and tired I was of how southerners are always portrayed as ignorant redneck hicks in most fiction. And I’m a westerner (though I lived there long enough Alabamans adopted me). Where are the “Sensitivity Readers” for combat vets? Where are the “Sensitivity Readers” for Christians? Or gun-nuts? (holy shit, these people are bad at writing action scenes, so they really could use that one)

Those don’t exist in Manhattan publishing. And that’s actually a good thing, because a right-wing finger shaking scold would be just as obnoxious as these left-wing fun sucks. Anybody who demands artists make art a certain way can fuck right off.

Now as writers, it’s our job to entertain people and make them happy. A good way to do that is don’t screw up your portrayals of them and their friends. You don’t need some bullshit Sensitivity Reader for that. You just need to not be a lazy dickhead.

Note, I said lazy, not “insensitive”. Because fuck your sensitivity.

You can’t make writing decisions based on whether somebody else got offended or not, because as we’ve seen time and time again, somebody is ALWAYS OFFENDED.

Screwing up your portrayals of people or rendering them down to cardboard stereotypes is just lazy writing. The key when you are writing about some group is make them people. Good characters are interesting, period. They have good traits and bad. Some of them will be smart, dumb, heroic, cowardly, good, evil, moral, or depraved. That’s true for any group.

If you listen to these Sensitivity Readers and the Twitter Mob, then you’re going to create boring shit characters who are totally predictable, because they’re all going to be the same and act in an approved way, and thus BORING. Any time somebody forces a checklist on the writer and makes them check boxes, it’s going to be crap.

It leads to clichéd writing. Here is Strong Female Character and her sidekick Noble Person Of Color/Gayness (and you’d better not give them any character flaws like an actual human being would have because that’ll upset the mob). Oh, there is the Rich White Guy. Gee, I wonder who the villain is going to be! (well, obviously it can’t be anybody else, because then they’ll yell at you on Twitter until you pull your book)

That’s just weak. It’s lazy. And the reader can tell when you are being lazy.

And before I get yelled at by random strangers who inevitably drift into my blog comments but haven’t read my books, I’m not saying you can’t write any of those. I’ve written all those character types, many, many times. I’m not the one telling you what you can’t do. I’m the one telling you it is okay to do whatever you want.

This guy got yelled at for having a Muslim terrorist bad guy. How does that make sense? There are Muslim terrorist bad guys in real life, but you can’t have one in a book? That’s just dumb.

But if you’re a good writer who actually gives a shit, you’re not going to just phone it in. You’re going to make that bad guy interesting, or bad ass, or scary, or even sympathetic (like the old saying goes, the bad guy usually thinks he’s the hero in his story). And then you’re going to have other Muslim characters who are good, ambivalent, or bad, heroic or cowardly, smart or dumb, moral or not, so on and so forth, just like you would any other bunch of humans. I’d do the same thing if the bad guy was Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, Agnostic, or was into Nurgle.

Because—and this is the super important part that progressives always miss, not just in books, but in real life—humans are INDIVIDUALS.  You can’t just stick millions of distinct humans into an easily managed voting block because they share one trait, and act like they all think and feel the same way about everything else. You can’t declare that everyone in Group A must be X, and everybody in Group B must by Y. Identity politics is goofy in real life, and it’s artificially limiting in fiction.

The best characters are the ones who feel like actual human beings the reader could interact with in real life. They are flawed. They make bad calls sometimes. They talk like people would actually talk.

A bad character doesn’t feel like a real person. They come off as a cardboard cutout that takes up space. They may fool sheltered people who’ve never interacted with that kind of person before, but they’ll come off as obvious caricatures to anyone who ever has.  It is why us flyover red staters laugh at how Hollywood usually portrays us, but we are used to it.

Sixteen years ago the Wire came out. It was one of the most successful TV shows ever because every character had meat to them. Nobody was just a collection of arbitrary traits. Every single one of them felt like a person, and none of them were perfect. That’s good writing. Yes, race, sex, and sexual orientation was part of each character’s identity, but it was only part of their makeup, just like in real life. Yet if you wrote Omar Little right now in a book in 2019, I GUARANTEE that somebody on Twitter would be super offended because you made a black gay dude a criminal. And depending on their mood, and how much they like you that day, they may or may not try to ruin your career because of it.

But Omar is one of the best characters on a show filled with interesting characters, which is why perpetually offended assholes should never be given veto power over what artists want to create.  Perpetually offended assholes are short sighted, and frankly, shit at creating anything of value. So what do they know about making audiences happy?

If I had been forced to listen to Sensitivity Readers I would never have written Big Eddie, or The Chairman, or Toru Tokugawa, or Ashok Vadal. Sometimes bad guys are your best characters, and sometimes the story is about the bad guy becoming a good guy, and sometimes the story is about a good guy becoming a bad guy, and sometimes who is the bad guy depends on where you are standing.

All that matters is that you tell the story you want to tell, and don’t let some assholes boss you around about it.

EDIT:  I was just reminded of something.

To further illustrate how Sensitivity Readers stifle creativity and suck all the fun out of books, at a recent writing convention I attended there was a panel on Intersectional Feminism or something like that. I didn’t attend it (I’m not a glutton for punishment) but several of my friends went because they were curious to see how much of a train wreck it would be.

The panel was a bunch of feminists and the whole thing turned into a big competition of who could be more offended, and who could speak for more “marginalized” people. At one point a certain author (who is an upper class white lady) had to establish her street cred, so she actually called her professional Sensitivity Reader and put her on speaker phone.

Seriously, this shit is like the victim Olympics. It has fuck all to do with creating books that readers will actually enjoy.

I went to a party that night where a bunch of people who’d attended that clusterfuck of a panel were talking about it. Apparently the only panels at this event which were more dreary was the one about the evils of capitalism (I shit you not), and the one about writing comedy which degenerated into authors who’d drank the social justice Kool Aid telling everybody what not to write because it might be “offensive”.

Luckily the vast majority of the convention was free of this crap, but never ever give them an inch. Anything in the creative world that gets infested with social justice identity politics gets corrupted and strangled until its nothing but artists cancelling their art and issuing Maoist style apology letters.

Here is an interview I did on the Worldshaper's podcast
A Note About Book Bombs

237 thoughts on ““Sensitivity Readers” Are Bullshit, and You Are A Sucker If You Believe Them”

  1. And in the end, even if you’re 100% bought in… the Sensitivity Reader can’t save you. No matter how many people read and approve your book, the perpetually outraged will find some way that you did it wrong.

    And hey, deja vu all over again… look who they’re going after.

    1. I remember a couple of decades ago, reading a book on writing, I came across this wise advice (paraphrased, it’s been years): “Accept that when writing about a culture that is not your own, that one will have to do extensive research. Then accept that no matter how much research is done and how much is previewed and vetted, one is still going to end up making a -ton- of mistakes. Just accept it. But still write your story. The better readers will appreciate that you’re TRYING.”

      1. Considering how different one person is from another, writing about your *own* culture means you’re still going to end up making a ton of mistakes. There will be multiples of people who didn’t share your experience.

        1. B-but…#OwnVoices! Your skin pigmentation, genitals, & culture of origin pre-determine EVERYTHING about you, things that are IRONCLAD LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE that determine how EVERYONE who shares those surface traits feels, thinks, acts! Because that is…that….*…sorry, must have absorbed a stray bit of nonsense while reading the links.

          1. Throne on Terra, I heard there were Nurgle worshipers around, I din’t expect to see them releasing brain plagues. If symptoms persist may I recommend a promethium purge?

    2. If the mob decides to come after you, your “sensitivity reader” is going to be one of the first to turn on you. He has to be, else the mob will destroy him too.

      1. And just why did you assume the gender of the sensitivity reader? The fact that you assumed xir was a “he” just goes to show how oppressed you are by deep-rooted, institutional, cis-gender, heteronormative patriarchy.

        I’m not going to bother looking up the correct adjective order on that since proper grammar is another oppressive tool of bourgeois capitalists intent on maintaining power by keeping wymyn and peoples of color marginalized.

  2. This post is spot on. Writing requires characters, not bizarre, one-note caricatures that jump after the latest trend.

    On a side note, I’m hopeful that these folks eating their own lately is a good sign. Better they self-cannibalize than bother real writers.

  3. I volunteered for a panel on ‘mansplaining’ at Heliosphere. Me, the middle aged White male army veteran / military science fiction writer.

    This ought to be good.

    1. Place your bets, place your bets, we’ve got good odds on a panel full of mutant SJWs with the token Evil White Conservative Enemy here to grotesquely strawman, flail ineffectively at, and declare glorious victory.

      Seriously? Good luck, stay safe. It smells like a trap.

    2. I’m half tempted to suggest that you don’t do anything at the panel except sit back, put your feet up on the table, let your head loll back and pretend to “drift off to sleep,” then spend the rest of the panel fake-snoring extremely loudly, and to anybody who complains later, simply point out, “Hey — if I’d said anything, that would have been mansplaining.”

  4. I am not your typical reader and I suspect we are on opposite sides of the fence on most political issues, but I can’t say I disagree with much of anything you’ve written here. And, secretly, I think much of publishing (and most writers) secretly feel the same way, but don’t want to say anything.

    I would estimate about .05 percent of readers are in this “community”/actually care about what they are spewing toxic fumes over. But the pile-on culture of Twitter is terrifying people into thinking any of it actually matters.

    The author of The Bone Witch was so-attacked and just largely ignored it. The book came out and was a bestseller. Veronica Roth (of Divergent fame), same. If I was an agent, I’d be telling all my YA writers to just ignore Twitter/the Goodreads whiners and write a good book.

    1. Unfortunately the publishers are not ignoring twitter. Going independent is about the only realistic option if a writer wants to keep his/her own voice if their publisher won’t back them.

  5. I get jumped on because I write my characters without race (alternate world where skin color doesn’t matter). The only time I mention skin color in that world is when the person in question is a different “color” than those around h/im. But somehow NOT mentioning color or whatever is WRONG. And if I do mention it, it’s wrong as well. Which is the whole problem in a nutshell.

    1. Joel Rosenberg’s “Guardians of the Flame” series had a discussion where a sword-and-sorcery world native tried to figure out why “skin color” is such a big deal in the main character’s home — our world. When there are elves, dwarves, and the fae running around, what does skin color matter?

      1. As Pratchett said about the Discworld goings-on, “Black and white lived in perfect harmony and ganged up on green” 🙂

    2. Heh. The lesson here is the same the computer in the 80’s movie War Games learned: “The only winning move is not to play”.

    3. It’s all kafkatrapping anyway – sentence first, show trial later. The SJW game cannot be won by playing within their rules, as even agreeing to play represents submission to their judgement. The purpose of their game is to terrorize and humiliate you, the author, into a self-abnegating proskynesis before them. Ruin your face against the cold flagstones for them, turn on your former friends, demonstrate all the tells of Stockholm Syndrome? Then they may deign to take you on as a slave. Power is their only goal, and terror is their favorite tool.

  6. This all being said Larry in an MHI book of the future can they get called to a worldcon and have to go kill a buntch of monsters with the panel yelling at them for what they are doing?

    1. Now I’m thinking of the “you can’t kill the poor Zombies” that was in one of John Ringo’s books. 🙂

    2. The MHI-verse does have a monster advocacy group if I’m not mistaken. Which is just fuckin crazy. But in this climate, if monsters were real, there really would be a pro monster group. And they’d be eaten or worse.

      1. Also. Sharyn MacCrumb wrote a mystery novel set at a con:
        Hilarious. Dead-on.
        {Link to amazon deleted since that males the comment “look like” spam, but seriously check it out.}
        She said it got her branded the “Salman Rushdie of Fandom.”
        Somehow I think Larry Correia is not afraid…

        1. Butcher did a con setting in one of his books. his name tag said “innocent bystander” and a cop had “Authority Figure” for his name

        2. John Ringo’s Queen of Wands had several stories set in various ‘cons. World Con, a small regional con (this was funny … lots of folks in the Baen MilSF/SF crowd showed up as characters under pseudonyms. This last one touched on a similar idea for part of it.

        3. You might mention the title.

          Bimbos of the Dark Sun

          followed by Zombies in the Gene Pool

          A two volume hardback is called Bimbos & Zombies

          1. Ooooh, there’s one copy of Bimbos & Zombies at the library. Gonna pick up tomorrow and read.

            Hey, if the Professional Grievance Mongers hated it that much, it must be good.

            I’ve been writing Fan Fiction for a couple of years now, and I’ve managed to offend both the Left, and the Right. I figure that means I’m doing pretty good.

            If your writing doesn’t offend SOMEBODY, you haven’t said anything.

        4. Kate Paulk: ConVent, ConSensual, ConFur
          So a vampire, a werewolf, a succubus and an angel get in the habit of going to SciFi/Fantasy conventions…

          Note – these excellent novels seem to have been disappeared. No idea why.

      2. IIRC, an advocacy group gets mentioned briefly in one of Larry’s books. One such group gets a *lot* more time in the spotlight in Ringo’s trilogy. The individuals that we see in the latter are ivory tower intellectual types. They’re not the ones that are typically going to have to deal with the results of their activism.

      1. I suppose it depends on just how one defines ‘monster’ and such. And yes, I might have a bit of bias there.

      2. Oh, yes.

        Pro-vampire, not pro-orc.

        Chad brought up a monster with a high PUFF bounty and told some Congressmen that he would go to jail rather than reveal where that monster is, in order to lend weight to his judgment that “pro-vampire” is insane.

  7. This makes me nervous as hell. My post-apocalyptic zombie survival tale involves information I’ve done my research on, even if it’s twisted to my own needs. This is going too far. I’m so tired of all this crap.

    1. Just write it. The folks who don’t give a crap about the sensitivity readers will judge it based on the story, and the screechers are free advertising.

      I mean, how many times have we gone to get a book simply because the screechers hate it, and we go “Hmm. There might be something interesting in this book, I’ll give it a go” ? Hell, there’s a few folks whose opinions on what’s considered ‘bad, horrible shitpiles that should never have been written” are considered recommendation lists around here.

      1. Back when I went to movie theaters, that was more or less my standard: if the critics hated it, it ought to be worth a shot. It sometimes was, maybe 50%, which is pretty good.

        1. Oh, well then.

          If you see anyone called ‘yamamanama’ on disqus; here he’s called Clamps but has been banned under multiple usernames (and frequently comes back under a new one). Pay attention to anyone he denigrates as awful. Amongst such folks, he considers Larry Correia, Tom Kratman, John Ringo, Brad Torgersen, Sarah Hoyt, and anyone from Mad Genius Club as ‘terrible writers, do not read them and you should feel bad for considering it.’

          Enjoy!

        2. I heard about somebody calling a critic horrible, because he hated every movie the critic liked, and liked every movie the critic hated.

          His buddy told him, the critic was doing an outstanding job of helping him decide which movies to watch.

  8. If you want to see the logical conclusion of this, go find the video of when Saddam Hussain took power. It’s him giving a speech to the government body, and every ten minutes or so, his goons come in and drag someone out to be executed.

    Anyone who wasn’t cheering him on enough.

    All of his supporters keep going more and more over the top in their support of him, to try to keep being the next one dragged off to be shot in the head. But even that didn’t save many of them. This is no different. Flinch for a single moment, and you’re the next one to be put up against the wall.

    The only way to win at this game is to refuse to play at all.

    1. Solzhenitsyn talked about something similar in The Gulag Archipelago. IIRC, the early Soviets had to put a time limit on how long people could applaud when their leader was speaking The reason for this was that it was okay to be the second or third person to stop applauding during a speech. But the first person to stop got a free one-way ticket to Siberia.

      The time limit was the only way that they could deal with this insanity. Otherwise everyone was too afraid to stop clapping.

      1. Ah, like the Dems in Congress during the previous administrations SOTU addresses….

        I was always waiting for sumoldfaht to have a coronary from all the fake clapping.

  9. AMEN!

    Do your research. But realize you’ll still “get things wrong”. Why? Because you can’t know everything about everything. If it’s not your expertise, you’ll get things wrong about vintage cars, space flight, baking pies, and people.

    So research. Then don’t worry about it.

    Just write interesting individuals.

    And forget the sensitivity crowd. They’re frequently not interested in the truth: https://www.johndbrown.com/micro-aggressionism-or-thou-shalt-not-disagree/

  10. You know what I want to read now? A book written like Dead Six – two different characters and points of view – but one character is a modern day John Wilkes Booth, and the other is Modern Lincoln. Both thought they were doing the right thing, and both were wrong.

    Someone write this, please.

  11. I suspect this extends to the other arts, not just books; you damned sure can’t play Zappas “Valley Girl” because the titular character hates “Lord God King Bu-Fu” in it.
    Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue” would be all about how the mean cisnormative Nazis (Republicans) didn’t meet his “special” needs, and it was all Trump’s fault.
    “First Man” died at the box office; the premier achievement in human history didn’t feature an LGBT character in it, crying.

    I can point to CJ Cherryh’s “Merchanter” series, featuring the geneticists of Reseune producing synthetic people called “azi”, as a success in addressing captive people in fiction; she writes from their point of view often.
    But that’s a hollow victory, because “the sensitive” have only what is current in their sights. They deplore an *image* of slavery in front of an American while THE REAL THING continues all over the 3rd world.
    It’s another example of Reasoning Deficit Disorder, kin to the Gell-Mann Effect.

    1. The people who say that about the honorable Mr. Cash clearly never actually listened to the song. Sue is a mean son of a bitch, and he can look after himself.

    2. “First Man” died at the box office; the premier achievement in human history didn’t feature an LGBT character in it, crying.

      I suspect far more box-office damage was done by the other thing the filmmakers chose to leave out: the image of the American flag being planted.

      1. Yeah.

        Playing down the fact that the race to the Moon was explicitly nationalistic (proving that the USA and capitalism ruled and the Soviet Union drooled) was a bad choice. Not only where there Team Colors, but the team colors were most of the point.

        I suppose some suit decided that shifting it all to an accomplishment for mankind as a whole rather than American jingoism would make for better overseas ticket sales.

        But that’s inherently flawed if not racist, based on the idea that it’s impossible for foreigners to admire the success of people on some other team somewhere else, when in truth, most people despise anyone who can’t be bothered to love their own team/family/children/country the best.

        1. First hand: I was given a book by the father of one of my friends, at the time, I thought he was just a policeman; but when I grew older I understood better that he was part of the Stasi (the apartment we lived in at the time was allocated housing for Stasi and military families of certain rank – we ended up there because the ‘Diplomat’s village was full.’ ) It was an encyclopedia of the various achievements of science and technology of Socialism and Communism. He gave it to me because his kids had mentioned that I loved to read. There was an entire section about the space achievements, including not just Sputnik, but supposedly being the first to reach the moon. (The US only believes that it got there first.)

          Even though I was a kid by this point I’d learned to hold my tongue about stuff I knew to be otherwise.

          I wish I still had that book; it got eaten by termites, or lost through time and many moves. I would have liked to keep it because it was an encyclopedia of lies taught to children. I’ve been looking online for a replacement but… no luck.

  12. Well said, Larry, thank you! To your point, one of the most fascinating and compelling ‘bad guys’ ever in a movie was Magua from the Michael Mann version of Last of the Mohicans. Not only because he was well written, but because you found out why he acted the way he did, and it made you realize when the reveal came that his train of reasoning and behavior was understandable. Besides that, the actor, Wes Studi did an incredible job of making this complex character believable and interesting.
    He wasn’t a cookie-cutter bad guy, or an aggrieved member of a group, he was a man who wanted vengeance at any cost and that made the character powerful and memorable.

  13. Sensitivity Readers have an incentive to find something “problematic” in every document they read. The more obscure and hidden the problematic subtext which they only found because of how skilled they are is just proof that they’re good at their job…

    They can see the Emperor’s Klan Robes and you cannot. Better pay them more money to find more problematic stuff in other books… Oh and they also offer a seminar you can take where they will raise your consciousness. It’s only $3,995 if you pre-register.

    1. They’re amazingly good at hearing dog whistles. It never dawns on them that it means they’re the dogs.

  14. I swear to God, Robert Heinlein must be whirling in his grave fast enough to supply power to the entire Eastern seaboard.

  15. I think it’s time to be more vocal. In every type of social media any of us use. In public, to the people we know. This kind of stuff has to stop and that will only happen if people start feeling like they’re not alone in their beliefs.

    It’s not just this book or that book. It’s everything. Constantly being offended, very often on behalf of others, has got to be tiresome.

    1. I remember being outspoken on a discussion forum about some politically correct idiocy a year ago or so. Not only were my comments suppressed, but i was permanently banned for “hate speech.” And I didn’t attack anybody, only stupid ideas. Social media are getting more and more controlled, and dissenting voices are getting systematically suppressed.

    2. Tell me about it. The most counter-productive aspect of such noble endeavors by the social justice busybodies, is the fact that the people most often affected are just about the only ones who take time to even *listen* to their arguments. The hardliners are disinterested to begin with. It’s the centrists who experience the bulk of such efforts… and then usually flock to the opposite end of the spectrum, where they’re met with nowhere near as much hostility, even regarding points of disagreement.

      That’s really the core situation here – nowadays, people can interact directly with both sides of a given issue, see who makes more sense, who is more rational and more informed, and judge for themselves what’s what. Apparently, that’s a rather scary notion for some. My guess is, such self-appointed censors have become so used to dictating what opinions others should have… or perhaps, so uncertain in the truthfulness of their own opinions themselves… that the only resort left is to try and block any dissent, lest a single word prove too dangerous.

  16. Pretty sure they only want you so that any time you speak, they can interrupt with, “see, that’s a perfect example of mansplaining.” It doesn’t matter what you actually say.

  17. I agree with everything you said. Now, I have a question: For those of us up-and-comers who run afoul the social justice lynch mobs, what’s the best way to combat them, besides giving them the obvious “go f*ck yourselves” treatment?

    1. Whatever you want to say about Vox Day, his two books about fighting SJWs are spot on.

      SJWs Always Lie
      SJW Attack Survival Guide

    2. Well, first of all, write under a pen name until you can make a full-time living at writing. Because the first thing these a$$holes will do is try to find out who you are working for and get you fired.

    3. I’d say you should channel the ghost of Hunter S Thompson, load up on the literary equivalent of proscribed substances, and drive the Red Shark into their metaphoric lobby, spinning doughnuts and shooting your snub Colt Python at their sacred cows with one hand while flipping them the bird with the other.

  18. This shit is the new religion. It’s chief characteristic being how loudly they can proclaim virtue, instead of living virtuously.

    1. Indeed. It’s a cargo cult morality- finding someone worse that you are, and pointing at them kind of looks like virtue… but without the actual hard work of doing good things.

      What’s easier? Calling someone’s post “problematic” from the comfort of one’s home, or going out and acting as a mentor to a poor kid? Piling on the latest subject of a Two Minute Hate, or taking food to a needy family?

      The fact that cargo cult morality is empty and hollow means they got to keep doing it to get their fix. They will eventually eat each other.

    2. The hippies grew up to be Mrs Grundy, and a lot managed to raise their kids as Grundys too (and onto third generation going now). What they protest may have changed somewhat from the older versions of said Mrs (and don’t you DARE to use Mrs!), but the behavior is the same, if often more aggressive.

      Sort of funny, I guess. They claimed to be for freedom when young, became worse than what they claimed to fight soon enough.

      1. They were for freedom, until they used the freedom to gain control. They freedom for others became a problem.

  19. This is the best writing advice out there these days. Write what you want, publish it, and let the ShirtStorm blow itself out.

    As this goes on I feel like I want to write a YA just so I can eat popcorn while the SJW horde hammers at the gates.

  20. Grabbed a friend when I was working on one of my Christmas stories and asked him to look over how I was developing a character. He reads it, turns to his husband who’s reading over his shoulder and turns back to me.

    “Damn, that’s good but. . . ” he says.
    “But?”
    “But you’re portraying a homosexual couple as . . . a normal couple,” he replies.
    “Aren’t you a normal couple?” I reply.
    “Yeah, but the ‘woke’ are going to hate this.”
    “I don’t write for the ‘woke’,” I replied.

    1. Mom was watching one of her soaps, and being the person of her generation and culture, didn’t like all the gay couples all the soaps were suddenly piling on with (went from zero, to several times the typical population density, in the same cast size).

      I told her I didn’t have any problem with homosexual couples on the show as much as the couples made my head hurt.

      I know several such couples in real life, but none of them acted remotely like the ones on the shows. In fact, despite nearly all the couples being men (never have understood why a segment of the female population is all agog about that – see “yaoi”), all the pairs of gay men on her shows were written in such a way they acted like all the LESBIAN couples I know, and NOTHING like the gay men.

  21. I’m getting ever more intrigued regarding the friendly fire among the social justice windbags. I’d be actually concerned, but as noted above, it was again the author himself who requested the book be pulled. So the feeling I get is not so much of one big Saddam ordering people killed. But instead, of them killing themselves at the mere thought of displeasing a small bunch of little Saddams, as if that means anything anymore. As with Ms. Zhao, I hope this is a sobering experience for the author in question.

    More to the point, though – given that we’re again seeing the pressured pulling of a *debut* novel, by an author otherwise fully in tune with the party line, this does seem more like a preemptive strike at a potential competitor, rather than anything to do with political sensitivity. Or at the very least, the muscle-flexing of a deranged mob no longer interested in reading anything, but simply venting its general purpose discontent at the nearest available person, for the slightest perceivable reason.

    I’m kinda reminded of an old sitcom cliche (as seen on Third Rock from the Sun, for instance). A main character joins a pastry club or some other neighborhood organization, typically comprised of bored housewives. And sees that all they actually do is sit around moping and complaining, all while the self-appointed queen bee is clearly getting off on her petty little power trip she gets from bossing them around.

    I find this to be the case for the modern “book community”… among various other entertainment circles. Essentially, the group is no longer fulfilling its original stated purpose, and only exists on sheer momentum, which can be shattered by any external influence whatsoever. Including, evidently, one ostensibly fully in line with their stated views. Because again, it’s not even about views. It’s about the queen bees frantically trying to retain whatever feeling of power they can, because – like the unfulfilled and unhappy sitcom housewives – that’s the only kind of power they can ever hope to have.

  22. There is a YA edit of John Ringo’s _GHOST_.

    This needs to be Officially Published.

    ” o/~ And we danced the Fuck You Dance! o/~ “

    1. “CF

      March 1, 2019 at 9:19 pm

      There is a YA edit of John Ringo’s _GHOST_.”

      So, it’s down to about thirty pages, then?

      :V

  23. This whole “sensitivity reader” thing is so icky. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I can say with complete honesty that a whopping 99.99% of all depictions in fiction I’ve seen of LDS characters has been at best inaccurate, at worst warped to the point of being completely unrecognizable!

    …yet none of these self appointed Sensitive People ever go “Wow! That is a staggering failure rate. We better help!” Because LDS aren’t on the approved Victim List. And there -is- an Approved List. Because the list actually about helping and protecting people, it’s about using entire groups as props and wedges for their own power and glorification. It’s just a softer, deceptive, sparkly sugar coated form of prejudice, perfumed and spruced up into a malicious tool. Fie upon it all.

    1. It’s been said ad nauseam, but it’s pretty much that way with Southerners, too. We’re kinda used to it, by now.
      The only thing that still gets to me is when a Southern character uses “y’all” when speaking to or about one person, not two or more (looking at you here, Larry, although other than that pet peeve, I think your writing is great).

      1. Yeah, you say that, but I lived in Alabama and Mississippi and personally heard southerners violate the Plural Y’all enough that I don’t feel bad at all having a fictional character do it once in a while. 😀

        1. They say “all a’ y’all”. That’s the plural of “y’all.” Even me, Canuckistan Boi, has heard that.

          Besides, Jeff Foxworthy has a whole bit he does on it. ~:D

    2. What you mean that scene in Around the World in 80 days where the Mormon missionaries are trying to recruit people to overthrow the US government wasn’t accurate?

    3. In the spirit of praising it when it’s done right, I really like the LDS character in Chaim Potok’s The Book of Lights. It’s very obvious Chaim Potok’s not nearly as familiar w/ LDS beliefs as he is with Jewish beliefs, but that’s OK. The main character, a Jewish US military chaplain, at one point goes on extensive fasts, to the point that all the military doctors & everyone around him are very worried that he’s starving himself to death. The LDS character is his driver, who worries about him & asks why he doesn’t take the doctors’ medical advice to eat more, to which the main character responds, “What would you do if a medical doctor recommended you drink alcohol?”, and the driver answers “I guess I would write home to my bishop to ask his advice.”

      It really doesn’t take much to make me appreciate someone being respectful & doing just a little bit of research. I think the “no alcohol” thing is pretty widely known, but bishops being the local congregation leaders who someone would go to for advice is maybe less well known – bishops in Catholic, Anglican, and other denominations tend to be more removed from the local congregations, and the local priest or pastor would be more likely to get asked for this type of advice. It’s a very little thing, but I appreciated that Chaim Potok got it right.

      As opposed to “A Study in Scarlet”, mentioned elsewhere in the thread. I wouldn’t necessarily mind the whole “forced unwanted polygamous marriage” bit – I can believe that somewhat similar things have happened, and it’s a fictional story so the author can do what they want, as long as it’s an interesting story. I have no problem with having LDS villains – they existed in real history, and can be pretty interesting (just like all villains from history). The bit that’s just so wrong it makes it obvious the author doesn’t know what he’s talking about is jumping out a window of the Salt Lake Temple and landing in the lake. Sure, it was written before the internet & Google made research super easy, but still… if you write about a real place in the world, take a glance at a map, will ya?

      1. Um, which book is that from? It is not in Study in Scarlet. They are all trudging through the desert and the canyons in that one.

    4. What? You mean not all LDS are the Great Brain?

      Because I am pretty sure Larry was in those books somewhere…

  24. The worst part is that the new political commissars tend to be Twitter mobs which a) Are very small in numbers (rarely more than a hundred, often consisting of a handful of people possibly augmented by multiple sockpuppet accounts), b) aren’t representative of the buying public (most twitterinas have too much time on their hands to be gainfully employed in the first place so their income is next to zero), and c) can be easily ignored by blocking all the offending accounts and ignoring their prattle altogether. But authors and publishers are hoisting up the white flag because they can’t stand the babblings of a few unhinged people.

    Mainstream publishing is allowing itself to be taken hostage by its own twisted ideology. The lesson there is that if you act like a Commie don’t be surprised when the Red Guards show up and proceed to purge everyone.

    1. Part of the problem is that a lot of these publishers care more about the opinions of their fellows in the industry than the opinions of their customers–and these Twits have outsize influence there.

    2. “But authors and publishers are hoisting up the white flag because they can’t stand the babblings of a few unhinged people.”

      That would be because that outrage mob of a few dozen can muster the technical tools and time to ruin every aspect of your life if they have a reason to focus on you. That doesn’t matter to say, Larry, because his income stream isn’t dependent on a company that can be hit by “hostile environment” lawsuit claims just for hiring him. To someone who’s using a day job to keep food on the table, it’s a problem.

  25. At this rate there won’t be any more YA books published. They’ll just pull them all shortly after releasing the ARCs.

    Don’t tease me like that! That’s a dream I know will never happen 🙁

  26. It’s almost a miracle any new YA novels get published at all. I can’t imagine what this must look like to someone trying to get a start in the field.

        1. Hai desu!

          I mean, heaven forbid they actually enjoy a series in a horrible setting for the characters.

          (Enjoying: Domestic Girlfriend, Goblin Slayer!, Yakusoku no Neverland, Dungeon Meshi…)

          Oh I saw a funny meme recently:
          The UN cares more than we do about fictional lolis, making them even more weeabo than we are.

          1. I can hardly wait to see how the react to the new translation of Urusei Yatsura, or the official English release of BEASTARS.

      1. I wonder how long until manga and anime get targeted for progressive destruction? I say a year or two.

        1. It’s already started, Christopher. The critics as one bashing the ALITA Hollywood adaptation because “No, you were supposed to love Brie Larson! STAHP!” CrunchyRoll giving precious subscriber money to an American band of cartoonists just because the staff is all women (what is the content of their show? They never say. But their staff is TOTALLY all women!), Anime News Network viciously attacking anyone with a different opinion from them on recent anime as “Nazis”, the Usual Suspects trumpeting sites like “Anime Wokeness & Progessives Unite” (or whatever) as the “New hotness exposing the TOXIC NATURE of the Evil Older Fans ™”, oh it’s quite in progress.

          Happily, thus far it doesn’t seem to have made much of a dent.

          1. Wait… someone is bashing Alita: Battle Angel because she’s stealing thunder from Brie Larson?

          2. Yeah, Alita got bashed explicitly for being a fun movie that didn’t push politics, while in direct competition with Captain Marvel. Or rather, for being *liked* for being a fun movie that didn’t push politics. Essentially, the haters aren’t even trying to conceal the fact that they put messages over quality as the reason one should watch a movie. Meanwhile, Rotten Tomatoes removed its pre-release interest counter, after it dropped to embarrassingly low numbers for Captain Marvel. Fun times overall.

          3. But wait, Alita can’t be doing well or receive favorable coverage, since I’m told all the white menz have a problem with female leads.

          4. That’s really weird. I mean, I love what they did (per the trailers) of Captain Marvel (go the Wonder Woman movie route, make it a flashback/’how did we get here’ story) so she stands alone storywise, versus being shoehorned in to Infinity War As The Avengers Were Doing Stuff. It’s a very good approach, IMO.

            Alita is, for those of us lucky to occasionally get those single-issue translations back in the day, one of those precious gateways to manga and anime. I especially liked that they went full CG on Alita herself.

            I’m looking forward to these movies. Hell, I’m looking forward to Pokemon too, because of what they did (Put in an original story into an established setting.)

            Hm. Alita. Pokemon. Godzilla. Epic movies, looks like loads of fun. All Japanese imports.

            TBH, social justice warriors couldn’t handle reading most manga and anime storylines. They’d be curled up, whimpering for The Government To Ban Them All, just from the plotlines.

            They’ll NEVER pick up Yakusoku no Wonderland; the main lead is a little girl, supported by her two male best friends, in a setting that was honestly, stomach churning for me to read, especially as a mom…

            Or they might, and then scream that it’s a pro-vegan manga or something stupid (it’s not.)

  27. When I first heard about a “Gender Studies Degree”, I thought they were talking about training people to be professional prostitutes. Turns out I was only half right> They’re not professionals at anything, and they’re not even the kind you want to take to bed.

  28. I think the big problem with several character tropes, such as “the black guy always dies first in a horror movie” is simply because the writer wants to be diverse, but doesn’t flesh out the character anymore than that. My advice is create the character first, THEN assign them a different race/religion/sexual orientation, etc. Most of these things shouldn’t be too important, and if it is important to the story, well, there you go. That’s already better than a character whose story arc is “the black guy stands around being…black.”

  29. Holy crap, are those “Sensitivity Readers” a real thing ? Are they actually required by the publishers ? Because this is exactly the kind of an occupation I would invent if I wanted to strawman the SJW position. Wow.

    On that note, what would happen if tomorrow I decided to write the Next Great Science Fiction Novel, but didn’t feel like hiring political commissars to vet it ? Assuming that Amazon won’t have me without the KPSS Star of Quality, could I just put it on my website and charge $5/copy, DRM-free ? Yes, obviously I’d lose the massive advertisement support, but there are ways around that…

      1. Sorry, I’m a software engineer, not an author, so I’m not really up to date on all the latest publishing arrangements.

          1. Makes sense to me because engineering has to make sense. So being doubtful when people describe something that is entirely irrational may very well have something to do with being an engineer.

          2. Re: Synova “doubtful when people describe something that is entirely irrational”.

            I like the “Pirate game” (Wikipedia’s article title) logic puzzle. Makes it clear real humans aren’t at all rational – the perfectly rational pirates are completely alien to real humans. (Real humans are also not perfectly blood-thirsty & greedy, the other characteristics of the pirates in addition to perfect rationality.)

    1. Sensitivity readers are real, and no, they’re not a Conservative Conspiracy Theory. Also, it’s weird that you think that Amazon is the only provider out there. It’s almost as if you don’t have access to the Internet.

      As for selling, assuming you’re not being facetious, the only thing probably stopping you from doing that is bandwidth, if you get enough clients, security for the payment methods, post-sale download access, and if any, a shop login for your customers.

      After all, you have to pay attention to the financial-details security of your potential customer base.

      I recall seeing the sites of authors who publish directly on their site and sell their stuff without Amazon. Since I cannot link here, I unfortunately have to direct you to Herr Google and make use of the search bar and try out search terms.

        1. Heck, I didn’t even mention DriveThruRPG and it’s sister sites.

          IIRC a lot of authors also direct-sell via a marketplace through those. Imagine my delight when I found out that Margaret Weis sold stuff there.

          Honestly though, these days it’s much easier to set up an online shop front.

      1. Well, obviously Amazon is not the only provider of books, but it is the largest by far.

        Regarding bandwidth etc., these are all good points, but IMO they all have easy solutions. When our team needed to set up a payment site, it took us about a week; and this was back in ye olde days. Granted, I might have some DevOps privilege here; what’s easy for me might not be easy for authors.

    2. Sensitivity readers were implemented a few years back because publishers were convinced their problem was not being politically correct enough. Yeah, they are that stupid.

    3. Is it challenging to come up with that much obvious bullshit, or do you honestly misunderstand literally everything?

      Yes. They are real. Duh. It is an actual thing.

      Are they mandated by all publishers. Obviously not. Again, fucking duh.

      The part you are cluelessly missing in your attempt to paint an actual problem as a strawman of the SJW position, is that these authors who have drank the Kool Aid are hiring these Sensitivity Reader assholes themselves, because they’ve actually bought into this ridiculous con.

      Your next paragraph is just fucking ignorant. Yes. You can totally sell your book on your personal website nobody has ever heard of and not in the largest marketplace in the world and expect great financial success with that… Seriously, you asked the stupidest fucking question in the world after the Book Bomb post, so you obviously know fuck all about this business. Why are you compelled to keep chiming in on it trying to sound smart?

      1. You’ve spent a lot of words on insulting me in your comment, but the gist of your answers is: a). Sensitivity Readers are not mandated by publishers, and b). Selling the book on your own is possible but difficult due to the small size of the potential marketplace.

        I do thank you for the answers, though I wish you’d be more concise in the future.

        1. No one ever claimed Sensitivity Readers were mandated by publishers. That was originally your stupid question. Speaking of strawmanning.

          But I do marvel at the epic cringe factor of watching you advise a successful writer how to write on his own blog.

        2. How about you take your advice and shove it your ass and I’ll keep writing the way that’s made me piles of money instead? 😀

          1. Bugmaster acts like a classic Gamma male.

            Annoys everyone by trying to prove to people he is really really smart by blatting out unwanted and often clueless advice.

            I was a gamma back in my teens and twenties. I improved myself to at least delta by learning effective self-defense, realizing that everyone does not need to be told how smart I am, and learning to Shut My Whore Mouth once in a while.

  30. Joy, bliss, f(yay!)-ing pie, and other things.

    I don’t care if you think I’ve ripped off the start of my book from somewhere else (I might have…which means I need to file the serial numbers off a bit harder). I don’t care about “inappropriate tone”, or hate me writing in first person, or think that I’m not properly representing a culture, or any of that.

    I’m too busy trying to figure out my main character’s motivations, responses, and how to have her tell her girlfriend that the MC is playing shortstop because her girlfriend is going to hurt herself trying to slide into third base.

    So, if you’re not helping me figure this out, or figure out how to make my first few chapters less clunky, you may cheerfully FOAD. Thank you.

  31. In hindsight, I can’t help but think of the modern social justice windbags – particularly the ones infesting fiction fandoms – as simply the current evolution of hipsters. As in, people who don’t watch a show or read a book because they actually enjoy it, but do it so they can brag to their friends for reading it… or, on the next level, brag about *not* reading it, because it’s problematic ‘n’ stuff. People who bash consumerism, but otherwise define their whole identity based on what they consume, rather than what they produce. People who have nothing else to be proud of, but the things they hate.

    Consequently, trying to please even one of those windbags is fundamentally impossible, because each one depends on any of the others for social status. If one member of the hive mind finds something offensive, all of them must nod in agreement or be ostracized. Respectively, fiction producers tend to fear the backlash a mob of windbags can unleash… for about five days, since their attention span is that short. And if the book market is affected, the worst examples come from cinema and television, because they also have to appeal to advertisers, who are even more paranoid about their image.

    Then again, given the increasing backlash from the *other* side – normal people sick and tired of getting patronized by films, shows, and now even ads – I hope advertisers will finally learn to stick by their actual paying customers, instead of trying to appease the unappeasable.

    Because, really, that’s the kind of people we’re talking about here. They’re not posh critics living in mansions, writing eloquent advice on multiculturalism while sipping Earl Grey from priceless china. No, these are the same people who pester supermarket workers over not offering enough vegan egg substitutes; the people who call pet shampoo companies to complain about how their products are tested on animals; in short, the people who are unhappy with *themselves*, and feel everyone else should be made miserable in turn.

    It’s no use trying to deal with such people. But what I find is becoming increasingly obvious, is that there’s no *need* to, and that the ones most in danger of their antics, are, like the authors mentioned here, simply those who willingly give in to them.

    1. Cargo Cult Morality is just as addictive as heroin. The false moral thrill one gets doesn’t last all that long- and coming down is a real bitch, because that means they have to live with the fact that they’re a useless wanker who does nothing to really improve the world they live in.
      By loudly virtue signaling, they can pretend to be Doing Something, and make the doubts go away again, if only for a little while.

      1. Commie-Socialist dumbassamine* is also one hell of a drug, and combined with Cargo Cult Morality, is both train-wreck fascinating, and annoying as hell. It’s like watching someone who took that Zombie drug, and instead of shambling, lose brain cells until all that can be spewed out are incoherent ‘arguments’ against straw men.

        *Credit goes to Orvan for that one, I think.

  32. “Those don’t exist in Manhattan publishing. And that’s actually a good thing, because a right-wing finger shaking scold would be just as obnoxious as these left-wing fun sucks. Anybody who demands artists make art a certain way can fuck right off.”

    Well said.

    ” . . . live by the social justice, die by the social justice.”

    Well said again. Anyone remember when social justice meant stuff like, well, treating people fairly? And not as an excuse to police “wrong-thought?”

    And as for that “intersectional panel,” maybe Larry should be on one. To be fully diverse it should include someone who cares about writing interesting characters, not using cardboard cut outs to virtue signal. And it would probably be more entertaining.

    1. It all reminds me a bit of what sometimes happens in “Christian” publishing with fiction.

      Over the years I’ve heard multiple authors who complained about having their stories rejected because they portrayed drug addiction or immorality in the book and trying to explain that it was a redemption story and necessary that the protagonist start out in trouble made no difference at all.

  33. So, what would be an effective solution? Telling Indie authors to “just ignore the morons” sounds good, but most of them don’t have your level of experience which makes that much more difficult. Indie authors largely depend on social media to advertise their product; social media has been weaponized to a great degree to attack what is perceived as “wrongthink”. Perhaps some of the more successful Indie authors could look at setting up a mentoring program to help newer authors navigate the minefield of social media and develop the willpower to stay the course when the inevitable shit-storm arises.

    1. I can think of several options, and a few factors to be considered. For one, as far as we know, in both cases referenced so far it was the authors themselves who chose to pull their books, rather than being pressured by their publishers. More importantly, the authors themselves apparently supported or belonged to the same petty cliques that ultimately bullied them into submission. Live by social justice, die by social justice indeed.

      To contrast, I’m less aware of any independent writers who were forced to pull their books by their publishers, or blocked from using private distribution and payment means. And social media shitstorms are just as likely to give them even more exposure as to harm them; no such thing as bad publicity and all that.

      Overall, the situation doesn’t look that grim, so long as one thing is kept in mind. Namely, that a writer doesn’t really need to be a celebrity or opinion leader, worshiped by a clique of devoted zealots at cons and whatnot. No; for the most part, you write books, you sell books, you get paid for books. As the saying goes, lots of people don’t really want to write, they just want to have written. They want the status, the fame, the self-image of being “real” writers. Not like those “fake” ones, who simply sell millions of copies each year and focus on entertainment rather than political messages. It’s precisely these kinds of people who willingly pull their books from publishing, once they see they won’t get that status they covet; even if the books would otherwise sell just fine. They’re the ones who have a problem here, and in that regard, I don’t think an effective solution really exists, or is even necessary for anyone else.

      1. Well, there is the ILOH himself. I reckon most of the current Baen regulars also count. But yeah, I see what you mean, particularly for sci-fi and fantasy – the popular impression is that the entire genre is now dominated by the howlers, even though that’s far from being the case in sales terms. Even I stumbled onto Baen by sheer chance, looking for more action-oriented urban fantasy. Funny story, really – I got word of MHI, glanced at some of the covers online, thinking “Hey, it’s like those cool and cheesy action sci-fi books back in the nineties; I wonder if anyone is still doing them anymore… What do you mean, there’s a whole publishing house for that!?” Basically, I was like the hobbits when they discovered beer comes in pints.

        So yeah, right now, getting the word out is key. Both potential fans and aspiring authors should know they’re not alone, despite what the mainstream media would have them believe. Book bombs are one method to raise both fandom awareness and writer profits, but there’s gotta be others as well. Food for thought.

    2. That’s the problem. Having a bunch of people online screaming at you looks intimidating to new authors. We need some counter-examples of people who’ve faced down the online mobs and prospered.

  34. One almost has to admire American ingenuity in this regard: you just have to pay a “sensitivity reader” a sufficiently big fee and “they” will attest to your good behavior, will be on-call 24/7 as your personal trump card for whenever one plays the “oppressed minority” card against you, will allow you to write whatever and then claim that it’s informed by your or “their” authentic experience of oppression, will defend you against attack on social media, etc..
    I’m curious who Stephen King’s personal sensitivity reader is, how they get along, and how much “they” is paid.
    To be clear, what’s admirable here is capitalism at work, not the idea of requiring a sensitivity reader to be published.

    1. Except that getting a seal of approval hasn’t actually kept any author or publisher from getting attacked.

      I forget the name of the book but the one YA (and it seems to be YA top to bottom) last year about a girl helping her Muslim friend escape to Canada (or something similarly silly) was read and approved by at least two Muslim sensitivity readers who thought it was fine. It didn’t stop someone on Good Reads from getting the vapours and starting an uproar about how the white girl learned not to be racist.

      (I believe that the book was published anyway and did very well in the end.)

      1. Maybe this just means she made a cheap hire. It’s like hiring some random street tough as bodyguard, versus hiring, say, the Bruce Lee of sensitivity readers.
        Or like hiring a cheap lawyer vs. an expensive one. You get what you pay for.
        More to the point, this is to say, she should have hired this person who criticized her on Goodreads, who clearly has a lot of pull, not these two Muslim nobodies.
        And probably you can’t just get away with hiring one or two of them, you need at least a dozen, so that they can overwhelm the enemy team in a street fight.

    1. Of course, Correia thinks the very idea of sensitivity is bullshit,

      Oh, boy. Anyhoo, think of all the starving clickbots in China Mikey is keeping fed. Truly a humanitarian of the first order.

    2. Glyer bleeds lies and gravy. He’s a predictable parasite. Take a post, twist its meaning, selectively quote parts, chum the water for his psychos, repeat.

      1. Him and his Mini-Me Contemptuous Flagellation are going after Brad this week. The years of Sad Puppies were the best years of their lives, weren’t they?

        1. They’ve literally got nothing else. They’re desperately trying to gin up 20booksto50k as a new Existential Threat!!! but these days even the Vile Minions don’t really care. Slate, not slate, whatever.

          1. God forbid that the actual new young leaders of the field should presume to vote for bestsellers written by their indie friends and colleagues.

            But it is totally okay for publisher shills, or for people who went to the right schools, to vote for books whom nobody much has bought or read, and whom nobody at all has enjoyed. MFAs are our betters.

            Yes, we have seen it all before in the Sad Puppy days. But Anderle and his folks are making more bank, and do not care about prestige or SFWA. So it is hilarious that the usual suspects do not even have the sense to suck up to people who could show them the way to prosperity.

  35. This is making me seriously consider getting into YA. Under a pseudonym, of course. All the crappy dystopias with bad worldbuilding and science were bad enough, but this is worse.

    1. To be candid… I don’t get the notion of YA anyhow. We didn’t have such a thing back when. A kid went from pictures books, to chapter books, to the novels that adults read. My school library had babysitter and horse books or sport stories and Goosebumps and then… Ian Flemming. There was a whole shelf of “kiss at the end” Harlequins. Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey.

      I mean, maybe adult books have changed in the same time-frame to something more or less universally inappropriate and impenetrable? Is YA a response to losing actual books to read? Supposedly the most common readers of YA are adults.

      1. Well, there were Heinlein’s juveniles, which could be appreciated by adults as well. Me, I went through a hybrid phase where I was reading stuff aimed at young adults as well as adult stuff.

      2. That’s more or less what happened. “Real” novels became unbearable, adults noted that many of the authors one could read for pleasure had migrated to YA, and ever since the joyless naysayers have been trying to recreate YA in their image. :/

    2. I suspect the two things are related, in a way. From what I’ve seen, young-adult dystopias are all about the main characters feeling oppressed for being secretly speshul and magically superior to everyone else, and the rules of the setting get frequently bent whenever they get in a pinch.

      Meanwhile, the fandoms of these books nowadays seem to be comprised of people who *think* they’re secretly speshul and superior and oppressed for it, and expect the rules of the world to get bent whenever they can’t fix their own problems. And a growing chunk of them are neither young, nor adult in the true sense of the word.

      So, in light of this, if I wanted to seriously piss off the usual cliques in the fandom, I’d write a book where the speshul snowflakes are really just useless blowhards, while the actual source of their abilities can readily be mass-produced, and they get increasingly violent and unstable at the thought of this happening. Basically an action-packed supernatural version of the modern book publishing conflicts. So in that regard, I guess it’ll also be a comedy as well.

  36. I’m taking note of some of the prominent writers of the field who normally weigh in on the behalf of “marginalized voices”, but who evidently have nothing to say on this particular matter. But they’ll probably wag their fingers at Larry for saying something.

  37. Can maybe these sjw activist groups be sued for loss of revenue or damages because of their fascist censorship ? People have the right to engage in lawful commerce even if that right is not enumerated in the constitution. And art has long been given extra due consideration under free speech laws.just asking

    1. There are clauses, in many new tradpub book contracts, which allow the publisher to repudiate the contract if the author gets sufficient hate on social media.

      So yeah, those tradpub authors who signed those contracts will not say a word.

  38. One of the first things I look at for a book when I’m considering is the one star reviews. This was how my interest in the MHI series started. The reviews saying how the book was written by someone obviously in love with his guns and was full of detailed descriptions of such, along with detailed battle with monsters of all sorts made it sound perfect for me. By the time I finished the first chapter I was hooked. Same was true for Ringo’s Black Tide Rising series.

    1. Likewise. For my part, I was just looking for an urban fantasy series that was focused more on the action and the grander conflicts, rather than the main characters’ personal dramas. I also liked how most of the main cast are still baseline human beings, even if skilled in combat, rather than superpowered snowflakes full of existential angst. And how the books don’t abuse the readers’ patience by milking drama out of irredeemable villains overstaying their welcome. For some reason, all these traits tend to coincide with social justice polemics, so eventually, I just began considering the latter as a red flag for what to avoid, so as not to waste my time.

  39. My author sister sent me an article on this newest one on Thursday of last week. When I read the article and saw that he was one of the people behind taking down Zhao’s Blood Heir.

    The first word that came to mind was…

    Karma.

    Oh, wait. Was that cultural appropriation? 😉

    1. When I was a university student in the ’90s, one of the bumper-sticker jokes that a lot of people of deliberately “anti-traditional” quasi-religious affiliation liked to trot out was: “I’m Sorry My Karma Ran Over Your Dogma.”

      At the time, I considered it at best a silly pun and at worst a rather snide wisecrack; that it was part of a genuinely malevolent campaign of proselytization wouldn’t have entered my head, and I wouldn’t have believed it of my friends who liked the joke if it had. But I have to admit that now, rapidly heading towards 50, I can’t pretend there isn’t a little schadenfreude about how these people are backing over their own dogmas with the karma they were so smug about.

  40. Oh, wow. That was surprisingly easy to find the class still listed online. I just looked it up by the author I suspected got out her phone and oh, hey, there’s the class. I was glad to see you there, btw. You’re one of my favorite panelists.

  41. Big Eddie is still very much a eye opener of a character for me. A billionaire playboy who have the means and motive to play crime lord. And he’s actually helping the family business.

  42. “You must make your book more inclusive by having a diverse cast!”

    “Okay.”

    “You must actually possess all of the “diverse” traits and attributes your characters have, or you are literally the worst person EVER.”

    “Wait, I’m supposed to be able to write about characters who are different than me. Well and good, that’s what a good writer DOES. But if I -do- write about characters different than me, I’m evil?!?”

    “Makes perfect sense to ME, dunno what your problem is!”

  43. Related, Jesse Singal put up a piece today detailing the shit-show that is the YA literary culture. Having watched the Puppy Insurrection from the outside, I can’t say that I’m terribly surprised. Still, part of me wonders how humans can be this shitty to each other. Is the YA market really that cut-throat? Or are human beings really this horrid to each other?

    1. They think they’re the Good Guys- so that means they can be as mean and nasty and horrible and awful to the “bad people” as they want to.
      Which actually makes them bad guys, but they just can’t see that.

      1. Exactly! Here are a couple of lines from a story I’m writing:

        “You’ll never see anything more diabolical than some idealist creating the perfect world. Give me an honest tyrant any day.”

        “But for the ones that want to create a perfect world…no cost is too high, no sacrifice too great, no atrocity too horrendous. Their goal is so noble and lofty that it justifies ANYTHING.”

        And, here’s a signature line I use sometimes:

        “There is no shortage of people convinced that they can create a perfect world. Trouble is, they all start out by fucking up this one.”

    2. I call this the difference between extremism and fanaticism: Extremists knowingly commit vile acts in the name of noble ends. Fanatics never regard their acts as vile in the first place. “It’s not a baby, it’s a lump of cells.” “It’s not censorship, it’s preventing hate speech.”

      Though I do think this affects the young-adult and comicbook market considerably more than the mean average. Nowadays, there’s an overabundance of stories that are mostly just special snowflake power fantasies, exhibiting precisely the mentality that actions are always good or bad so long as they’re done by heroes and villains, respectively.

      Consequently, they attract the same kind of readers to the fandom – people who are used to projecting onto the heroes of the story, and imagine themselves as morally irreproachable in real life. Who, for all their praise of “diversity”, are actually extremely hostile to newcomers, since any outside influence can shatter that fragile self-image.

      I must say though, I’m not entirely disliking this turn of events – social justice windbags beginning to attack one another. I only would have preferred for the books in question to actually reach the market – both out of disdain for such forced self-censorship… and so as to enjoy the even greater shitstorm that would ensue.

      1. It’s inevitable. SJWs are human vermin.

        Because they are evil and weak, once they run out of easy victims they turn on each other. Because they have no honor or integrity they happily make up any lies they need to do to justify their actions

        They are garbage. That’s all anyone really needs to know.

  44. I am so late to the party . . .

    Read this just now and thought of you, meant to put it at the end of your “go fuck yourselves” post, but saw you were already on the new thing & will leave it here instead:

    https://jessesingal.substack.com/p/ya-twitters-victims-and-critics-speak

    Same thing you are talking about from a left-wing, not-part-of-that-community perspective, but perhaps of note to you/anyone else w/something to say, the author is asking for emails from people who have experience being blacklisted or feeling intimidated out of writing what they want/being silenced/etc.

    Apologies if someone else already linked to this; insanely busy & I’m in a wee bit of agony and may or may not make it through all the comments right now but wanted to put this up fwiw.

    1. Wow, these are excellent articles (two at the moment, another new one scheduled for today, looks like).

      Everyone should click through and read them.

  45. Yikes! I missed that the Reason article was by Singal; the one I was linking to was something entirely different, tho on the same subject.

  46. Apparently my original comment got auto-sent into comment purgatory, possibly for the link?

    In case it’s gone forever, the gist, linkless: Singal wrote another post on YA publishing and efforts to blacklist/intimidate people and asked for comments from writers w/any direct knowledge of YA publishing; most of y’all who might have something to say aren’t in YA, as far as I can tell, but I thought it was worth putting here (in fact, reading it was what led me to come back here and see that Larry had put up a post about this; was shocked to see this had happened again so soon).

    1. If you just post “Here’s something similar” with a link and nothing else, I’m probably going to get rid of it. I don’t censor people, but I do try to minimize spam…

  47. I ran into this cesspool in 2018, when a story of mine got published in an anthology. Months later, the publisher sent me several e-mails saying something about a review. It took me a few days to pay attention, since I figured, it didn’t look urgent. Turns out that a fellow writer in that anthology — a gay Muslim convert — had published a scathing article calling my work anti-Muslim, hateful, xenophobic &c., and the publisher was in a panic. The publisher ended up yanking my story from the book retroactively and issuing a cowardly apology praising the Muslim and denouncing my evil writing. I told the publisher to yank every story I’d ever published with them, and a friend pulled whole books from them.

    The story was deemed evil because it portrayed some young Muslim girls as willing to commit violence when motivated by extreme fear and propaganda — based on a real Palestinian TV show called “Tomorrow’s Pioneers”. The hero, to readers’ horror, was willing to give them some of the blame while mourning their deaths!

    1. My take-away from your story is… did the editor not even READ it?

      In fact, that’s my take-away on all this stuff. Multiple editors and others, often “sensitivity readers”, have read whatever the heck it is and NO ONE managed to notice something was wrong until some random offendo-matic posts an angry review?

      Rationally, logically, particularly in the case of an editor who would panic and pull a story, the editor at the very least ought to have been able to notice a potential problem without being told.

      (Also, your experience sucks and I’m thrilled you had friends who’d back you up and pull their work from this publisher.)

      1. I have every bit of confidence that the editor read it. And every bit of confidence that because it was not yet the random subject of a Two Minute Hate, they honestly found nothing wrong with it.
        But once tagged as Doubleplusungoodthink by Minitru, they had to denounce it (or get a visit from Miniluv).

  48. I don’t see my comment here either, maybe because I linked to my Web site in the place where it was invited.

    Anyway, I ran into a similar censorship problem last year, where my story offended a Muslim months after it was published. Said reader issued a scathing, angry article on a review site, drawing a little Twitter lynch mob. The publisher panicked and yanked my story, issuing a groveling apology to everybody but me.

    Ironically, part of the lesson I take from this is, “Easily offended minority groups must not be allowed to have power, or they’ll deny me the freedom to write.”

    1. I kinda wonder – don’t these things void the exclusivity agreement between writer and publisher for the particular piece? How long does it take before you’re allowed to bring your work to another publisher, or self-publish it, or even put it on your website for free, just to spite the lynch mobs?

      I have to say, the whole thing starts looking very much like preemptive book burning to me. Crossed with the “everyone rats on everyone” mentality of the old commie days back here; a veritable nation of busybodies and Bertha better-than-yous.

      But like I noted in the post about Ms. Zhao, something’s got to give. Both cases ultimately feature social justice windbags turning on one another, meaning they’re about to be hit with a ton of “it could happen to you” paranoia. Meanwhile, everyone remotely sane will likely begin to ignore them wholesale. Fingers crossed.

  49. “Seriously, I specifically set MHI in Alabama because of how sick and tired I was of how southerners are always portrayed as ignorant redneck hicks in most fiction. ”

    I’m from NYC and I’m also sick of the racist filth that the “progressive” con artists keep saying about those people. How is demonizing anyone ok? When did they stop being human beings entitled to respect and dignity?!

    I’m going to now try out one of your books bc id like to see what you have to say about the southerners.

  50. “There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people run­ning about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist / Unitarian, Irish / Italian / Octogenarian / Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women’s Lib/ Republican, Mattachine/ Four Square Gospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme.”
    –Ray Bradbury

  51. You know, they’re doing AGAIN with this Yudhanjaya Wijeratne guy who had the -audacity- to get nominated for a Nebula.

    http://yudhanjaya.com/2019/03/incidentally-there-is-support-for-wijeratnes-story-a-response-to-file770-and-a-record-of-the-nebula-award-madness

    Couple of familiar names showed up, China Mike and flopping cameltoe, Frau Butthurt and the supporting cast of Vile666. They went after the poor guy hammer and tongs. He told them to shove it, TL/DR version.

    Somebody tell me again about all the Lefty lurve and support for brown people.

      1. Oh, dear. He is praising CF as “an un-biased observer” and accepting the warped, distorted version of “Puppies” as gospel though. :/

        1. I didn’t say he was a genius, just that he’s a target.

          He’s like the New Guy on the safari. He doesn’t know that when the birds fly up in the distance he should start looking for a lion. To him they’re just birds, and he is confused by all the old hands pulling out the express rifles. He’s thinking “why would you shoot a bird with a .600 double?”

          However he has now seen the lion, and is beginning to figure things out. Give him a year or two and he’ll understand why the puppies were sad in the first place. He might still be on Their side, but he’ll at least know the score.

          1. Hopefully he figures it out. (Hey, come to the dark side, we have cookies.)

            But I’ve noticed a “Thing”. You know those birds? The birds spooked by the lion in the distance, flying up out of the bushes? They’re crows. But if I’m surrounded by doves, what do I care that something scared the crows? Crows aren’t doves. Right?

            Because we noticed that before and nothing new under the sun… it doesn’t matter that someone is “punching” people, it only matters who they’re punching.

            And I imagine that enough “marginalized” people are getting punched now that someone will notice and be horrified and maybe act like they’ve recognized a problem , so long as they can find a locus to identify as having begun punching the wrong people.

            But no one is going to really catch on that it doesn’t matter who the target is. Never did matter. Never will. Why would anyone who didn’t figure it out before, figure it out now? They’re too focused on doves and crows.

          2. I do hope to see more precedents like this – harassed authors telling the windbags where to stick it. And, per the original post, the windbags themselves getting a taste of their own medicine.

            Overall, it’s become blatantly obvious that such campaigns amount to nothing more than creative blackmail – “write what we tell you, or else”. Or better yet, don’t write at all, lest you pose competition to the established (more like entrenched) industry players… who themselves face nowhere near that kind of scrutiny, for some mysterious reason.

            Consequently, I won’t be surprised if the young-adult industry starts suffering the fate of comics from a few decades past – a stagnant market over-reliant on a few perpetually ongoing franchises, amidst a dwindling, aging, and altogether unpleasable fanbase. I just wonder where all the prospective creators will go instead. Self-publishing? Posting chapters on ad-supported sites? Food for thought.

        2. Yes, he got a couple of really long, thoughtful and respectful replies from the Puppy side of things and didn’t bother replying. But he replied to CF and accepts the anti-Puppy argument at face value.

          Looks like he’s not quite yet ready to buck the groupthink. Or he could just be a dishonest hack who’s upset that it’s his ox’s turn to get gored.

          1. Given that he acknowledged that American conservatives are the ones backing free speech and the liberals aren’t, I think he’s trying to avoid ticking off the SMOFs.

  52. “if the bad guy was . . . into Nurgle.” NOOO! Larry, you have gone TOO FAR! How dare you suggest that worshipers of Nurgle might be bad guys in ANY context? In order to prove that we worshipers of Nurgle can NEVER be bad guys I will throw myself into the warp to be infected with all the plagues contained within Papa Nurgles realm. Then when I have fused my rotting flesh with a greater demon, I will lash together a machine of bone and blood, and fueled by my hatred for you and your blasphemy I will use this fear engine to bore a hole between the dimension of chaos and your pathetic mortal realm. When it begins, you will hear the sound of children screaming – as though from a great distance. a smoking orb of nothing will grow above your bed, and from it will emerge a thousand starving crows. as I slip through the widening maw in my new form, you will catch only a glimpse of my radiance before your flesh begins to rot and melt from your bones. Then as tears of bubbling pitch stream down my face, my dark work will begin. I will open one of my six mouths, and I will sing the song that ends the earth.
    That will teach you not to offend the church of Nurgle by casting us as the bad guys in one of your novels. I’ll bet no one accuses Nurgle worshipers of being bad guys after THAT!

      1. No, I’m not Tycho, but I plagiarize him credibly well. 🙂
        I’m pleasantly surprised at how many people got the reference.

    1. I can’t remember what it was that I did that pissed him off, but I vaguely remember that guy doesn’t like me. 😀

    2. “Readers never actually getting to READ the unpublished book in the first place is the closest we’ll ever get to readers actually having a say!”

      I…what…the…*…okay, I’m sure that makes sense to someone doped up on cold medicine at 4AM, but I, personally, am struggling. o_O

  53. Dave Truesdale jumped a panel topic at WorldCon KC 2016. Has happened before, will happen again.

    Delivered a screed on “Microaggressions are not real, just hypersensitivity on the part of the victim/judge”

    He was ejected from the con.

    I’m going to Dublin, because I’ve been planning/saving for quite a while, plus, hey! Ireland!

    But, given the schedule shriek-fest from last year, I think I’ll have a lot of free hours.

    Barring a WC in Vegas or SLC, this will be my last one.

  54. I always thought that books should be a place for new ideas, thoughts, and opinions. If those disagree with your worldview, then that is something you can choose to read or not read. It shouldn’t be anyone’s place to tell me or anyone else what I am allowed to read, because it offends someone. The people involved with these movements to ensure that certain books are not even published so that we can be “safe” from whatever microaggression will hurt our poor little minds today should be completely ashamed of themselves. I myself lean more towards libertarian views. I have friends that are both far right Bible thumping conservatives and far left libs. And we all get along. Yes there are some lively conversations, but we manage to keep it friendly. This is a small group of idiots, for whom this is all some form of self gratification. They probably sit around in a stanky circle jerk rubbing each other off to their Tweets and blog posts. It is probably a good way to find some good reads if I look for the books that they want wiped from existence.

    1. Would the phrase “mutual sucking-up society” describe them any better? Only advantages I can think of for it are – less metaphorical, and less profane. #2 is actually a drawback if you want to express a particularly strong level of contempt.

  55. “They probably sit around in a stanky circle jerk rubbing each other off to their Tweets and blog posts.”

    Not each other, I’d say. From what I’ve seen – and is now becoming evident in the cases mentioned above – every single windbag is also in a state of permanent paranoia regarding the opinion of the others. Moreover, in these circles, it’s usually more acceptable to simply denigrate something, rather than defend its flaws… excepting a few sacred cows whose flaws are simply not acknowledged at all. So as a result, every outside influence is preemptively bashed, rather than anyone risking the ire of the others by admitting to enjoy it.

    It’s like the proverbial crab bucket, only with every crab trying to get to the bottom, to be the one to disparage everyone else – because it is precisely the act of disparagement that’s the only form of empowerment these people have.

    Consequently, whenever a crab tries to go upward for a change – in this case, whenever a writer, even one ostensibly belonging to their own flock, starts gaining traction independently – it becomes clear exactly how much respect the windbags have for one another, as opposed to each and every one individually looking to boost their own self-image, at the expense of others. It’s only a matter of time before the inevitable implosion, with writers and the majority of fans simply ignoring these antics, all while the windbags turn against one another, seeking who to blame for it.

    1. The worst part is that I don’t believe it is any sort of majority of readers that participate or pay any attention to their antics. Just a small minority of those with limited or no success as writers themselves that probably just do not want to see others succeed. Most of them have little or no care for those they choose to “protect” with their chatter. Their only stake in this is the number of hits their stupid Tweets and blog posts get, so they can prove how successful they are.

      1. Pretty much. It’s the same mentality as the washout who always blames others for his failures, or the bitter spinster who keeps finding flaws in everyone but herself. Or, nowadays, the unemployed liberal arts major who imagines “Nazis” at every turn, so as to deflect attention from his own inadequacies and poor life choices.

        I still wonder if young-adult stories themselves don’t contain certain themes that appeal to such people, hence the resulting infestation. Cliches like sooper-speshul main characters that get magical get-outta-jail-free cards when facing any difficult situation or choice. Or bumbling sidekicks and one-note villains serving only as cheerleaders and punching bags, basically emotional enablers. Or grand global events existing entirely as props to boost the heroes’ fragile egos, with nobody else having any agency.

        All these elements tickle the fancy of the average social justice howler… so long as they can project directly onto the main character. Hence the demand for “diversity”, which really translates as “you should write according to *my* personal power fantasy”. For that reason, they get a free pass from the respective group, while any story bucking the trend is dismissed or outright hated, regardless – or perhaps *especially* – if it’s written by a minority writer itself.

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