Ending Binary Gender in Fiction, or How to Murder Your Writing Career

This was sent to me on Facebook the other day. I made some comments there, but then I got to thinking about it and decided this thing was such a good example of how modern sci-fi publishing has its head stuck up its ass that it really deserved its own blog post. My response is really directed toward the aspiring writers in the crowd who want to make a living as writers, but really it works for anybody who likes to read, or who is just tired of angsty emo bullshit.

First off, just here is the original blog post. http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/01/post-binary-gender-in-sf-introduction?utm_source=exacttarget&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_term=tordotcom&utm_content=-na_continuereading_blogpost&utm_campaign=tordotcombookcoverage

Okay, aspiring author types, you will see lots of things like this, and part of you may think you need to incorporate these helpful suggestions into your work. After all, this is on Tor.com so it must be legit.  Just don’t. When you write with the goal of checking off boxes, it is usually crap. This article is great advice for writers who want to win awards but never actually be read by anyone.

Now do yourself a favor and read the comments… I’ll wait… Yeah… You know how when my Sad Puppies posts talk about the “typical WorldCon voter”? Those comments are a good snapshot of one subtype right there.

I also know from that Facebook thread that a lot of people tried to comment and disagree for various reasons, but their posts were deleted. (and some of them even swore that they were polite!). But like most modern lefty crusades, disagreement, in fact, anything less than cheerleading, is “intolerance” and won’t be tolerated. Meanwhile, my FB thread had lots of comments and an actual intelligent discussion of the pros and cons from both sides (and even transsexual communists who actually like to enjoy their fiction thought this Tor.com post was silly), so remember that the next time a snooty troll calls my fans a “right wing echo chamber.”

If you can’t stomach the comments long enough to hear what a typical WorldCon voter sounds like, let me paraphrase: “Fantastic! I’m so sick of people actually enjoying books that are fun! Let’s shove more message fiction down their throats! My cause comes before their enjoyment! Diversity! Gay polar bears are being murdered by greedy corporations! Only smart people who think correct thoughts like I do should read books and I won’t be happy until my genre dies a horrible death! Yay!”  (and if there is beeping noise in the background, that’s because they’re backing up their mobility scooter).

So let’s break this pile of Gender Studies 101 mush down into its component bits and see just why some sci-fi writers won’t be happy until their genre dies completely. Like my usual Fisking, the original article is in italics and my comments are in bold.

Post-Binary Gender in SF: Introduction

Alex Dally MacFarlane

I want an end to the default of binary gender in science fiction stories.

I want lots of things too, doesn’t mean I can have them. Right out the gate that’s a pretty bold statement. And by bold, I mean ridiculous.

What is this “default of binary gender” he wants to end? It is that crazy old fashioned idea that most (as in the vast majority) of mammals, including humans, can be grouped into male and female based upon whether they’ve got XX or XY chromosomes. Sure, that’s medically true something like 99.999% of the time, which would sort of make it the default.

Oh, and “default” means that is your assumed baseline.

So that whole thing where people are male or female except for some tiny exceptions and that is kind of the assumption until proven otherwise is standard, so this guy wants to end that. (I’m assuming Alex is a dude, but then again, that is just me displaying my cismale gendernomrative fascism)

What do I mean by “post-binary gender”? It’s a term that has already been used to mean multiple things, so I will set out my definition:

Post-binary gender in SF is the acknowledgement that gender is more complex than the Western cultural norm of two genders (female and male): that there are more genders than two, that gender can be fluid, that gender exists in many forms.

Wait… male and female are Western Cultural Norms? Uh… No. That is a biological norm for all the higher life forms on Earth so that species can replicate themselves (keep in mind, this is SCIENCE fiction he wants to change). I like how Western Culture is the root of all that’s evil though, even though male and female are cultural norms in pretty much every human society there has ever been.

Also, nitpick. Gender was a grammar term for how you referred to the different sexes. Being male or female is your Sex. Or at least, that’s what the word meant until colleges invented the Gender Studies major for those students who found Liberal Arts way too academically grueling. 

Now, before we continue I need to establish something about my personal writing philosophy. Science Fiction is SPECULATIVE FICTION. That means we can make up all sorts of crazy stuff and we can twist existing reality to do interesting new things in order to tell the story we want to tell. I’m not against having a story where there are sexes other than male and female or neuters or schmes or hirs or WTF ever or that they flip back and forth or shit… robot sex. Hell, I don’t know. Write whatever tells your story.

But the important thing there is STORY. Not the cause of the day. STORY.

Because readers buy STORIES they enjoy and when readers buy our stuff, authors GET PAID.

Robert Heinlein had stories where technology allowed switching sex. Great. That’s actually a pretty normal sci-fi trope where in the future, there’s some tech that allows people to change shape/sex, whatever, and we’ve got grandmasters of sci-fi who have pulled off humans evolving into psychic space dolphins or beings of pure energy. If that fits into the story you want to tell and you want to explore that, awesome for you. I’ve read plenty of stories where that was part of that universe. If your space whales that live inside the sun have three sexes, awesome (that one was my novella push on Sad Puppies 1).

But this post wasn’t about, hey write whatever mind expanding sci-fi ideas you want, nope, it want to end the norm in order to push a message. Post like this are all the same. You can swap the message around, and whatever the particular norm is, or whatever the particular message is, when you put your pet-peeve message before story, odds are you are going to bore the shit out of your reader. 

People who do not fit comfortably into the gender binary exist in our present, have existed in our past, and will exist in our futures. So too do people who are binary-gendered but are often ignored, such as trans* people who identify as binary-gendered.

Will exist in the future? Probably. Should they be the default for your story? No way. Ignored? Hardly. Is that denying reality? Okay, so I write a book, and let’s say that it has 20 characters in it. What is the acceptable percentage of them that should be transgender? How many boxes must I check in order to salve a blogger’s liberal angst? Let’s see… Only like 1 in 50,000 people have sex changes performed. So at 20 characters a book… If I have one character who has had a sex change show up every 2,500 books I write, I’d be statistically accurate.

Oh, but now you’re going to tell me that gay people make up anywhere from 1-4% of the population. Fantastic. Except gay people are still the same sex they were born with. Gay dudes are still men and gay chicks are still women.  This blogger didn’t say he wanted an end to default sexual orientation, he wants an end to default binary sex. If you think sci-fi doesn’t have people who don’t swing both ways, you’ve not read much sci-fi.

Now, if I’m writing a sci-fi story set in Space Berkley or the Tenderloin District of the Future, then I’d probably have plenty of Hirs and Shmisters or whatever. Whatever fits the story, but until then how about not trying to enforce Equal Opportunity against our imaginary people?

(and if you really want to get crazy in the speculative fiction department, what with all this BS with made up pronouns to get rid of Him and Her, what the hell are romance languages supposed to do? Latino. Latina. Latinu? Latinsexyrobot?) 

Here’s the problem. From a nuts and bolts story telling perspective, your readers are going to assume that everything in your book is similar to the world they currently live in, until demonstrated otherwise. Unless you say that in the future everybody has been genetically modified to have 3 legs, they are going to assume that all your human characters have two legs. If you are going to demonstrate that something is different, then there needs to be a reason for it. So if you say all humans have 3 legs, but it doesn’t play into the story at all, then why bother? And every time you change something to be different from the expected, there had better be a reason for it or you will quickly just annoy your reader.

Reading sci-fi like that grows tiresome. It is like listening to an inexperienced little kid saying “Look, I can do THIS! And now I can do THIS! Isn’t that the neatest thing EVAR!?” And your response is “Yeah, yeah, that’s special…” when you’re really bored as shit and don’t care how tall their Lego tower is the 50th time.

If your story is about exploring sexual identity, awesome. Write that story. But only a fool is going to come along and tell you that you need to end the default of all your characters having ten fingers, because there are people in the world born with twelve and how could you be so insensitive to those who have lost fingers? Because awareness. 

So if humans having 5 or 6 sexes in the future is part of your story, write it. If it isn’t part of the story, why would you waste words on it? Oh, that’s right, because MESSAGE.

ProTip: Focusing on message rather than story is a wonderful way for writers to continue working at Starbucks for the rest of their lives.

I am not interested in discussions about the existence of these gender identities: we might as well discuss the existence of women or men. Gender complexity exists. SF that presents a rigid, unquestioned gender binary is false and absurd.

Yes. Topic of the Day X exists! You know what else exists? Child abuse. So I’d better make sure I put that in every book I write. Because readers love that. If I’m telling a story about rocket ships, readers love it when your characters pause to have a discussion about animal cruelty, pollution, the dangers of over prescribing psychotropic drugs, or how we need to be sensitive to people with peanut allergies too. Readers are totally into being preached at about author’s favorite causes.

Have you ever gone into Barnes and Noble, went to the clerk at the info desk, and said “Hey, I really want to purchase with my money a science fiction novel which will increase my AWARENESS of troubling social issues.”? No?  This is my shocked face.

Not that you can’t get a cause into your story, as long as you do it with skill. But the minute you destroy the default just to destroy the default, congratulations, you just annoyed the shit out of the reader. You want to slip in a message and not annoy your customers, that takes skill, so until you have developed your skills, don’t beat people over the head with your personal hang ups.

How about if my story isn’t in any way, shape, or form concerned with sexual identity (or whatever some reviewer’s personal hang up is today) I don’t waste words writing about it, and readers who want to can just assume that those people exist in the universe but they don’t happen to have speaking parts in this particular novel, if they care enough to think about it at all, which they probably won’t.

I intend to use this column to examine post-binary SF texts, both positively and critically, as well as for discussions of points surrounding this subject.

And I intend to use this column to go beyond Ursula K Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness.

Read that a long time ago among the thousands of books I read as a kid. Vaguely remember it. Thought it was good, if I recall correctly.

Kameron Hurley wrote several years ago about the frustration of The Left Hand of Darkness being the go-to book for mind-blowing gender in SF, despite being written in 1968. Nothing written in the decades since has got the same traction in mainstream SF discourse—

Maybe that’s because Le Guin told a story that happened to have this blogger’s pet topic in it, that was still a story readers found interesting, as opposed to crafting a message fic manifesto, that readers found boring and forgettable?

and texts have been written. For a bit of context, 1968 is almost twenty years before I was born, and I’m hardly a child.

HARDLY! Well, there you go. I know when I’m looking for professional advice about how to succeed as a professional writer, I’m going to listen to somebody in their mid-twenties.

Hey, you’d better listen up. I’m betting this blogger went to COLLEGE!

One of the reasons Hurley considers for this situation (raised by someone on a mailing list she belonged to) is that:

“…perhaps Le Guin’s book was so popular because it wasn’t actually as radical as we might think. It was very safe. The hetero male protagonist doesn’t have sex with any of the planet’s inhabitants, no matter their current gender. We go off on a boys’ own adventure story, on a planet entirely populated by people referred to as ‘he,’ no matter their gender. Le Guin is a natural storyteller, and she concentrates on the story. It’s not overly didactic. It’s engaging and entertaining.”

Holy shit… Wait… You mean this story has stuck around because “she concentrates on the story”?  Engaging and entertaining? Blasphemy!

Yet, people like this don’t get why message fic books win piles of awards, yet totally fail in the market. See, the problem the modern literati twaddle peddlers run into isn’t that readers are insensitive rubes who don’t understand the plight of whatever their liberal cause of the day is, it is because they want to enjoy what they read. Their entertainment time and money is limited. Why spend it being preached at?

The next few paragraphs are very interesting, because they give you a glimpse into the mind of the modern literati. 

The Left Hand of Darkness certainly has been radical, as Hurley says, in its time, in the subsequent years and in the present. I have spoken to several people who found The Left Hand of Darkness immensely important: it provided their first glimpse of the possibility of non-binary gender. The impact that it has had on people’s realisations about their own gender is not something I want to diminish, nor anyone else’s growth in understanding.

However, I do think it can be very palatable for people who haven’t done a lot of thinking about gender. It is, as Hurley says earlier in her post, the kind of story that eases the reader in gently before dropping the gender bombs, and those bombs are not discomfiting for all readers. Of course they’re not. How can one text be expected to radicalise every reader?

I don’t want to cast The Left Hand of Darkness aside. It’s an important part of this conversation. What I do want to do is demonstrate how big that conversation truly is. Other texts have been published besides The Left Hand of Darkness, many of them oft-overlooked—many of them out of print. Some of them are profoundly problematic, but still provide interesting questions. Some of them are incredible and deserve to be considered classics of the genre. Some of them are being published right now, in 2014.

Fascinating. To the literati, books are all about dropping truth bombs. (as long as the truth agrees with their predetermined notions, obviously) This one is about sex, but you could swap that out for the evils of capitalism, or whatever bullshit they’re hung up on today. And of course, since publishing is an insular little industry based in the Manhattan echo chamber of proper goodthink, all the message fic that gets pumped out is stuff that just annoys the regular reading public.

You want a truth bomb? Readers hate being preached at. Period. Even when you agree with the message, if it is ham fisted and shoved in your face, it turns you off. Message fic for message fic’s sake makes for tedious reading. Yet, as this stuff has become more and more prevalent, sci-fi has become increasingly dull, and readership has shrank.

Of course, the literati won’t be happy until everything is boring ass message fic and nobody reads sci-fi anymore, because then they’ll be super special snowflakes.  

Amal El-Mohtar wrote a piece about the process of finding—having to find—a pioneering woman writer, Naomi Mitchison, and followed it up with a post where she said:

“It breaks my heart that we are always rediscovering great women, excavating them from the relentless soil of homogenizing histories, seeing them forever as exceptions to a rule of sediment and placing them in museums, remarkable more for their gender than for their work.”

Ah, pseudo-intellectual university humanities department speak… How I have missed you.

Yes. Because you shouldn’t elevate a book because you thought it was good and you want to share it with others, you should elevate a book because the sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, or personal philosophy of the author checks a box on the liberal angst/white guilt checklist.

The typical WorldCon voter, when presented with 5 nominees for a category, and their clique’s personal favorite writer isn’t on there, and not having actually read any of the works, will go through the authors and rank them according to the order that best assuages their hang ups. Oooh, a paraplegic transsexual lesbian minority abortion doctor with AIDS who writes for Mother Jones?  You’d need a wheelbarrow to carry all the Hugos.

Quality? Popularity? Staying power? Influence? Isn’t that what makes something a classic? Not to the modern literati. We have to elevate works by people according to what they checked on their EEOC form. Meanwhile, hatey-McHatertons like me read books and like them, even when we don’t know anything about the author. I didn’t know what sex Lois Bujold or Wen Spencer where the first time I read one of their books, but I knew the writing was good. I couldn’t tell you what writers are gay or like to cross dress either, but I can tell you who I enjoy reading.  

It seems to me that there’s a similar process for post-binary texts: they exist, but each reader must discover them anew amid a narrative that says they are unusual, they are rare, they sit outside the standard set of stories. This, at least, has been my experience. I want to dismantle the sediment—to not only talk about post-binary texts and bring them to attention of more readers, but to do away with the default narrative.

Because nothing is going to make an author successful like copying things that were unpopular before.

That process of (re)discovery is probably inescapable. A bookshop, a library or a friend’s/family member’s bookshelves can’t contain every book ever published, so new readers will always have to actively seek out stories beyond the first ones they encounter. What if, El-Mohtar wonders, the first books often included Naomi Mitchison? What if the first books often included multiple post-binary texts as well?

Wait… So the purpose of reading is to get people to accept non-binary gender? Well, huh… All this time I’ve been under the impression people primarily read for enjoyment. So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong!

The English professor says: “For young people and new readers, wouldn’t it be nice if we shoved IMPORTANT WORKS about Special Topic X down their throats rather than something they might enjoy? Now I wonder why most Americans don’t read for fun anymore after we beat them over the head through their entire education and forced them to read tedious classics until reading was seen as a chore… Odd.”

And for the small and dwindling percentage of us that still actually like to buy and read books, what I’m getting from this blogger is that they’re thinking “Let’s get this mind blowing stuff out there. Yeah, that’ll rock their little bourgeois world!” Okay, dude… They’re SCIENCE FICTION readers. You’re probably not going to stun them with your big shocking ideas. You really want to shock a sci-fi reader with your book nowadays? Actually entertain them.

As an interesting side note, the Guardian just did a report that revealed how much published authors really make. For most of us, it isn’t that much. I think the average was like 30k. The majority of published writers still have their day jobs. Only the top 1% made six figures. 

cismale

I am the 1%.

So aspiring authors, if you want to actually make a living doing this, you can either listen to me and put story first, or you can listen to the grad student and focus on the pet message of the day.

Regular readers will know that I always say writers should have GET PAID in their mission statement, the reason I do that is because most of us DON’T.

Conversations about gender in SF have been taking place for a long time. I want to join in.

Judging by how they’ve been “grooming” the comments there, when they say conversations they mean shut up and listen while they lecture you about something.

I want more readers to be aware of texts old and new, and seek them out, and talk about them. I want more writers to stop defaulting to binary gender in their SF—I want to never again read entire anthologies of SF stories or large-cast novels where every character is binary-gendered. I want this conversation to be louder.

Read that paragraph again and think about it… Think about it really hard. Nuts and bolts. Every single SF book, he wants to default to something other than what your audience thinks is normal. I want more people to seek out not just great books, or mind bending books, but books. Period.

Speaking of great sci-fi, wouldn’t Firefly have been so much better if Captain Mal had been a pre-op transsexual? And just think of the hilarious banter they could have about Jayne not being a girl’s name… never mind, because in the future that is insensitive.

Of course, good writers will just write their characters so that they’re interesting and compelling, rather than to check a box to make a special interest group happy. If I’m writing a story and it would make the story better to have some character be something other than the default, then I can put that in. If it doesn’t have a point, then it is a distraction to the reader.

Except even then, a Hatey McHaterton like me will still probably do it wrong. There was a bad guy in Swords of Exodus named Diego. This guy was an enforcer for an international crime syndicate. He participated in underground knife fighting arenas against Yakuza and Russian Mafia members for fun. Diego could match Lorenzo in a fight. He was also a gay cross dresser who made a very convincing Celine Dion, so obviously, I got a review that talked about how I hate gay people… Even though in a book where almost all of the characters, including the protagonists, are some degree of bad guy, obviously this character is a demonstration of my homophobic hatey hate mongering.

Then there’s Big Eddie, but really, you can’t think of Eddie that way. His sexual orientation was Hurt People. If you were to give him a psych evaluation to see what his “gender identity” was, he’d check all the boxes, then burn the test and stab the psychologist.

As far as a character’s proclivities, for all you know my books are filled with pre-op transsexuals, only I’m not going to stop and talk about them and what they do off screen. In fact, the only time I talk about a character’s feelings on any topic in a book are when that helps flesh out that character in a manner that helps tell the story I want to tell.

To that end, I’ll be running this column: posting every two weeks, with discussions of books and short stories, as well as interviews and roundtables with other writers and readers of post-binary SF,

Oh good. Because this topic really needs to be beaten home. I hear that there are actually some consumers out there who still actually read sci-fi, and we will never rest until this genre becomes so incredibly boring that we drive everyone away!

because I strongly believe it’s important to hear multiple voices.

Just not the ones that disagree in the blog comments.

I’m particularly interested in science fiction at the moment, but I expect I’ll cross genres as I run the column.

Yeah. I can’t wait until he gets to urban fantasy. Yay.

I hope you’ll join me in making the default increasingly unstable.

Wow. Yeah. I’ll show you, Dad! You can’t tell me what do! Down with your cismale gendernormative fascism!

EDIT:  This saga continues when Social Justice Warrior and crusading sensitive white man Jim Hines swoops in to save the day: https://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/5687/

And for one shining moment, I become more hated by the SFWA crowd than Orson Scott Card. Achievement unlocked. 🙂

362 Responses

  1. Larry, you tried, but I don’t think you’re getting through to them. But keep on cranking out your book and my money is ready to buy Monster Hunter Nemesis.

  2. I am so tired of these pretentious twats. Err, dicks. Err… pre-op alternative genitals. Damnit! They’ve ruined criticism!

    • Let’s not be Cisgendered Gendernormative Fascists. They’re obviously “twicks” and “dats”. Except for the ones that excrete eggs/and or sperm, and please, not on the rug. . .

      • How dare you be so domainist! Think of all the plants, fungi, molds, and plankton you are discriminating against! You should also be including seeds, spores, and mitosis in your post-binary gender message lit.

  3. Nothing like a good fisking to start the day.

  4. The hilarious thing is my books are filled with characters who are non-white, non-male, non-straight, occasionally trans and from a mixmaster of genetic and cultural backgrounds.

    But I don’t write books for leftist pussies so they’ve never read my books, and still call me a racist, even though I’m less cisgender heteronormative white male than 90% of them.

    Because they’re pussies.

    • Please go post this at Tor! Please!

      • Feel free to post a link. I’ll be impressed if they don’t delete it. 🙂

      • evidently I got banned. I didn’t really insult anyone unless being called a Trekkie is an insult some how to supposed scifi fans. But I did say that gender was binary and your still a man if you have a penis and dress in drag and call your self a woman. And then I said they were behaving like a bunch of star trek fans trying to get my default English computer to default to Klingon or Romulan. Both comments deleted and now I can’t post there.

      • Well, according to one of the moderators, the deleted comments were ones that violated Tor’s policy in some way, so you must have been a Hatey McHaterson.

        Heh.

    • Don’t forget being called a racist, hateful misogynist because you like guns and stuff.

    • Michael,

      I read your stuff, and I’ve never really noticed. You may have mentioned the non-straights and transes, but I guess they weren’t important plot points of the rocking stories.

      I probably saw it, and said ‘oh.’ and kept going. Because the story is what I cared about.

      I have a really, really, really hard time seeing Owen Z Pitt as a pre-op tranny, though.

      I have a pretty easy time seeing a younger, single Owen meeting a good looking pre-op guy and thinking ‘good, more chicks for me!”.

      Accounting majors have to take basic economics, which all cover supply and demand laws the first day.

    • Damn I love you Mike, in a heteronormative way though.

  5. Good read as always. I read through that Tor post and found it to be really stupid. The comments are onviously being managed to keep it “polite” *cough onesided*.

  6. Hoo, boy. I think I don’t need to bleach my brain this week, so I’m nagonna surf over to the referenced article.

    Larry, figure that Tor will never publish you, and take your money and laugh all the way to the bank. It’s the only way to stay sane in the midst of a deluge of this stuff.

    It is possible to have discussions about this (and milder appeals like “could we have some more outlier characters in the genre, please?”) without deleting comments, but… yeah. When you start deleting all objections, that doesn’t work so well.

    • I don’t know… It can’t be everyone at Tor that’s this stupid. O.o Larry’s part of the 1%, from a purely monetary angle I suspect that someone there would hire him. That said, I prefer Baen. =D Hmm… or Del Rey, come to that. Right, just saying just because several people over at Tor are out and out morons doesn’t mean they all are! Although… That David Weber book, Out of the Dark? The one that pissed me off because they used *spoiler* to win, when there was no other discussion about them even EXISTING throughout the whole damned book… wait… Never mind. Screw Tor. =P

      • Just re-read that. Man it was obvious that Weber had either painted himself into a corner or excised huge portions of the manuscript and the story became very disjointed as result. Liked the idea but the execution was not just poor but rather amateurish.

  7. Honestly, I didn’t read the entire thing Larry wrote for one reason. I didn’t need to. I got to the part about “readers hate being preached to” after he had discussed that message kills enjoyment, and he was absolutely right. I want a message, I want to be preached to, I go to church or school. My money is very little and therefore has to be allocated tightly. I enjoy what I enjoy. Binary gendernormative ending blah blah blah blather blather fuck all. Tell a story that’s engaging, has elements that will spark that some little thing that grabs the imagination, and get the fuck outta dodge. Say it and shut the hell up. Preach at me, and I guarantee my money will go elsewhere. Larry, I’m sure it was a great response. I hope future would be writers take heed. But you had me at ‘message kills’. message kills…. machete kills….. see, i let my mind have fun. Good job Larry. You, unlike so many others, know how to write. They should take heed.

  8. Just for clarification, Alex is a she, her full name is Alexandra.

    • As I’m also an Alexandra who goes by Alex, I’d like to state for the record that she’s a freakishly stupid anomaly and should not be taken as standard (or default, if you will) for the name.

    • Whoops. I’m such a hate monger.

      • I’m sure Alex shouldn’t care. To care is a sign of binary gender BS in our real world, and she’s all about not doing that kind of stuff. Right???

      • Now you see I assumed Alex was a woman, because of cismale gendernomrative fascism. I, at least, was correct. 😉

    • My money was on “she” before I saw your comment. The middle name, Dally, looks too much like a maiden name slipped into the middle POST-MARRIAGE (gasp).

      • To me, the middle name just looks like a standard think of female writers using a middle name or middle initial. It’s almost a standard nowadays.

  9. I want to see sci-fi get away from the assumption that in the not-so distant future, leftists haven’t been exterminated.

    • The closest I have is a story line that has a bunch of puzzled kids in a High School History class struggling to understand why so many people loved the thoroughly discredited Communist system.

  10. I began reading SF with the Heinlein short story collections that my older brothers left around the house in 1968, and did all the Asimov, Clarke, Hugo and Nebula awards collections and anthologies of all flavors that my school and public library carried for the rest of my childhood and adolescence.
    I subscribed to and enjoyed Analog for 26 years and generally enjoyed it, but let my subscription lapse in 2007 when I realized that I hadn’t read an issue cover to cover in 2 years. I subscribed to Asimov magazine for a year, and hated it, Fantasy and SF, same deal – it could not hold my interest.
    I have purchased a dozen or more of David Weber, John Ringo, and Harry Turtledove’s works – all of Lois Bujold’s books, frequently in multiple copies to give as gifts, I have owned everything by Heinlein that I could find for more than 20 years and guess what…I read these authors and spend my hard earned cash for their works because the stories are gripping and engaging.
    I bought Deep Six and Swords of Exodus, and struggled through them, despite having very deep doubts about the characters because it is a damn good story, depicting a world in which moral ambiguity is the norm. Bravo – take a look at any newspaper and if your eyes are open you will see a morally ambigous world.
    Do I really care that the vast majority of the characters in the fictional universes i mentioned above are binary-gendered? Yes, because I am very definitely one of the 2 default sexes of Earth mammals, and only interested in courting and mating behavior with the complementary species and sex. But in those cases where the author has made the sex of the character important to the story, and subordinate to that story, I care because of the story, not the anatomy, physical or perceived, of the character.

    Larry – thanks for a great column, and a bunch of great books.
    I still haven’t tried your horde series, but the GrimNoir and Monster Hunters and Deep Six universes have been entertaining enough that eventually I will be sucked into that molasses swamp as well, even though my personal tastes run more to the “good guys wear white hats and never do despicable things” genre.

    Warmest regards
    Ken 84663

  11. Larry, one of my closest friends is getting some sort of PhD in comparative literature at University of Oregon. That is relevant because a few months ago Ursula K Le Guin spoke there. I was not able to make it but my buddy did. In a nutshell, folks were kind of freaking out about Left Hand of Darkness and the gender stuff and what was her thinking and inspiration. She said it interested her at the time and so she wrote about it. She did not see any issues with men and women being men and women.

    This quote is interesting:

    “Nothing written in the decades since has got the same traction in mainstream SF discourse—and texts have been written.”

    Perhaps all the stuff since Left Hand has sucked. Perhaps the reason Le Guin’s book DID get traction is because she wasn’t making a point but just exploring an idea that interested her.

    • And of course LeGuin wrote a cracking good story while she was exploring those ideas. Same with, e.g., THE DISPOSSESSED. The only writing that lasts is the stuff that’s entertaining.

  12. “Other texts have been published besides The Left Hand of Darkness, many of them oft-overlooked—many of them out of print.”

    Oft-overlooked? Out of print? Why is that, I wonder? Could it be (gasp) they weren’t entertaining to the readers?

    • Meanwhile, MHI is in like its 8th printing. 🙂

      But that’s nothing, since Ender’s Game is in like it’s 500th.

  13. Larry, you gendernormative chauvinist! Shame on you, for assuming that “Alex” is a “he”. The bibliography on her Amazon page is amusing, though:

    http://www.amazon.com/Alex-Dally-Macfarlane/e/B00CBJILXG

    • “When not researching ancient gender and narratives”

      “Ancient gender”? I suppose it’s good for me that I stopped at my Bachelor’s Degree.

    • There I go again, being all hatey. If anybody says anything about it, I’ll just play the race card and say I’m a passionate latin, so how dare they judge my culture?!

      • Can you roll your Rs like a proper Latin? That will go a long way in backing you up.

      • Actually, the Portuguese don’t do that. It is a soft R sound. In America it sounds like Korea, but originally it sounds like Koh whey Ha. But since most people don’t know that, I insist that leftists who pronounce Sotomeyor as Sowtow Meyorrrrrrrr and Nicaragua as Nick har wog whaaaaaaaaaaa have to roll the Rs when they say my name, or I’ll be super offended by their cultural insensitivity. 🙂

      • You don’t fool us you White Hispanic Gender Cisnormative Fascist!

      • Now I want to see Larry ambush someone and start talking like Billy Crystal’s Fernando character. . . in dim light. . . looming. . .

    • I just checked the Amazon sales ranks for the collections she’s contributed to. Three of the four are at 1,260,000+. This is amusing to me because I’m a brand new self published guy and know a little something about terrible sales. For example, my most recent book has sold exactly one copy and it’s sales ranking is at 1,190,000.

      That means I finally found someone who sells less than I do! 🙂

  14. Is this why TOR publishes David Weber’s “Safehold” series? (great books, BTW). Because “personality of female warrior implanted in android whose body appears male” marked off a couple of checkboxes? If so, then props to Weber for finding a sneaky way of getting a great series printed!

    • No, Tor publishes Weber’s Safehold series because when David Weber says “I have this idea..” science fiction publishers get excited about numbers with lots of zeros and a dollar sign.

    • A woman in a male android’s body who has LESS sex than Morrissey.

      Frankly, Weber’s sin in the Safehold series has nothing to do with the genderbending. It’s black powder porn.

    • Yeah, I’m always amused when leftists claim that something isn’t being done in science-fiction when they really mean that it’s only being done by writers who are actually on the right. Nimue/Merlin is so many different kinds of potential gender confusion (she’s a personality backup of a dead woman embodied in a super-powered android designed to look like a male human) that she would be a poster character for people like Alex except … she’s not a Marxist. Not an anarchist. Nor engaging in bizarre and depraved orgies to prove she’s living in a Free Love Future.

      Instead she’s doing her duty, advancing the plot, and trying to make sure the Good Guys win. You know, like a sane character might do in her situation.

      So obviously, she’s a fascist.

  15. Larry, I’m not sure if you’ve ever gotten into PC games. A good sci-fi RPG game series called ‘Mass Effect’ has a great set of options for the player in the romance side stories: You can play as a male or female, you can be straight or gay, and heck, there’s even a few aliens – male and females – that can be romanced. In fact, one of the aliens come from a female-only race; and she may be pursued by either gender. The real thing is that the writers of the game’s plot left the options open to the player if they wanted to pursue a relationship and with who. So…was I being a CGF that I played a male character who pursued the ‘genetically perfect’ human female? Or should I, as the game player, appease someone else by playing a lesbian, or should I play a male homosexual alien chaser? I’m confused as to the best way to earn someone else’s respect by *MY* gaming experience! (sarcasm)

    I’ve chosen to play the game series several times to explore the various plot lines with different genders and orientations. Good times. Thing is: despite the gender and sexual orientations, the gameplay and major plot is not affected. Funny that.

    • Played them all, the only thing that bugged me about that was that if you were nice to somebody, at all, then immediately they wanted to be romantic. So by the 3rd game my gay shuttle pilot is telling me a sad story about his dead husband, and I took the renegade option and told him to quit being a baby because I really didn’t feel like turning down any more gay sex. (and for the record, I turned down all the sex because my kids were watching me play!)

      But that was way better than DragonAge 2. Holy shit. Is there an options box I can check somewhere so that all the dudes in my party quit flirting with me? “Good job killing those skeletons, Emo Elf Warrior!” HEART. “Why thank you, muscular warrior man…” DAMN IT.

      • This is why I almost invariably play male characters in online rpgs, despite being the other half of the binary. For awhile, I faked being male as a player, too, since it was the only way to get the idiots to leave me alone OOC. There was one memorable period in a WoD game where I was a gal pretending to be a guy playing a guy pretending to be a gal — keeping the pronouns sorted was an adventure in and of itself.

      • The way to stop the romances in Dragon Age 2 is to find the broken-heart option when it crops up in a dialogue. That permanently ends the romance dialogues with that character. At least in theory. I’ve used it on Anders and still had flirty heart options crop up later, but I just don’t select those and he doesn’t seem to be particularly flirty after the broken-heart gets selected.

        I’m a huge DA fan (read:addict). I find the romance mechanic interesting, and fun to explore just to see the responses and how it affects the game, but I often play a Dragon Age 1 or 2 game without bothering with the romances at all, as they aren’t central to the story.

      • This kills my suspension of disbelief. It is the same as 90 lb pixies kicking ass on 250lb trained killers in stories. It’s an annoying and impossible intrution with no real reason except the message and how can you read a story with a banner saying, ‘All the Way with the Gay’ pasted over the pages?

        Give me a good story or game and do not shove your message at me.

      • This kills my suspension of disbelief. It is the same as 90 lb pixies kicking ass on 250lb trained killers in stories.

        Which is my main complaint about _Under a Graveyard Sky_, Ringo’s zombie book. I don’t care how hyperthyroid his 14 year old female protagonist is, nor how good with guns, nor how gung-go. When she’s dogpiled by zombies, while wearing upwards of 100 pounds of gear, she’s NOT going to “throw them off” or whatever the wording was. There are limits to my suspension of disbelief, and I can accept viral zombies before I can accept *that*.

      • John Ringo’s obsession with harem-porn made me ‘just say no’. Which is a shame because I’ve enjoyed the books except for those parts.

        If you want me to suspend my disbelief about zombies or ftl or whatever do not throw patently false stuff. Might as well keep referring to things floating in place when you drop them. It is just as unlikely as 14 year old girl burdened with 100+ lbs of gear ‘shake off’ a dogpile of zombies.

    • Not being a gamer much anymore, but being an active writer (who gets where Larry is coming from re: tell the story and the rest sorts itself out), this notion of a “female-only race” is kinda interesting. The fact that you can actually HAVE a race of ONLY a specific gender…howzzat work? Fission?

      • The race is called the Asari, Stephanie, and here’s a little bit about them here: http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Asari

      • Lois Bujold explored the how-make-do of a religious isolationist male only culture in Ethan of Athos.

        Ethan is an off shoot of the Vorkosigan saga and like all of Lois’s books highly recommended.

        Otpu

      • “Athos” displayed the fragility of a single-sex society. The men of Athos were still dependent on women, even though most of them tried not to think about it. And their religious prejudice against cloning just made it worse.

        While I enjoyed the story, I doubt I’ll ever re-read it. Most of Bujold’s writing merits multiple reads as long as one doesn’t think about the tech implications too deeply. Why didn’t the Athosians go the Beta Colony hermaphrodite route? Or why not engineer a living uterine replicator that could provide half the necessary genes, but was not sapient and didn’t resemble a human female? Or maybe something that would allow the merging of gametes from two males? Given the general tech level of the Nexus, all that and more should’ve been possible for them.

      • I haven’t read any books (at least that I can recall) that have monosexual (unisexual?) races. Then again I’m such a hatey-hatemongering species-centrist that I don’t tend to pay that much attention to the aliens in sci-fi novels, so I probably wouldn’t remember them if I had. The closest thing that comes to mind, other than Ethan of Athos, is David Brin’s Glory Season, with its matriarchal parthenogenetic-clone-dominated planet of Stratos. Even there, though, that pesky binary gender reality reared its ugly head. There were men (albeit as second-class citizens), and reproduction took place the normal way in addition to the cloning. I have no idea what Brin’s politics are, but for a society that essentially declared itself a feminist utopia, Stratos didn’t come off at all well.

      • Brin is definitely on the Left, to the point where he was delusionally predicting in 2008 that Obama would rebuild the US military.

      • jabrwok: RE: Ethan of Athos

        1. Athosians were explicitly “militantly” both “pro-male” and “anti-female”, literally believing that women were nothing but a source of evil. Going herm would mean that each of them was _part_ female.

        2. “Possible” and “cost effective for effectively ALL planetary population replacement or growth” are two very different things. Using vat grown (divided and cloned and recloned) ovarian tissue and fairly straight forward and economical in-vitro (for the setting, and compared to advanced techniques like creating ovarian tissue complete with full and healthy chromosomes FROM SCRATCH or 100% construction of a new and unique DNA utilizing exactly half of each “father’s” DNA, etc.), the Athosians were effectively gutting their economy. That’s why they were (as a nation) so cash strapped, they couldn;t even afford their own ship, had gone with teh lowest bidder on THE MOST CRITICAL IMPORT THEY COULD HAVE, and were hard pressed to give Ethan more than the bare minimum finances necessary to get the job done. The alternatives you describe are rather closer to “experimental lab techniques” than they are “cost efficient, proven, and safe tech, ready to be used for 100% of the population, at their most vulnerable point of development.” Bujold’s most advanced medical tech is expressly NOT described as being “magic fix-everything, for pennies” repeatedly throughout the series — and what you describe is actually MORE ADVANCED than the Cetagandan reproductive methods reserved to the most elite of their population!

        Whereas Bujold isn’t at all hesitant to use Handwavium(tm) to make teh story go, she does know biology fairly well. She’s just more concerned with the _story_ and Larry’s mission statement (“Get paid.”) than she is trying to invent the actual tech in teh story.

      • Bujold’s most advanced medical tech is expressly NOT described as being “magic fix-everything, for pennies” repeatedly throughout the series — and what you describe is actually MORE ADVANCED than the Cetagandan reproductive methods reserved to the most elite of their population

        That’s just the thing. By the time of Athos, humans had been fiddling with genetics for centuries (the Quaddies being the earliest canonical example I can think of). Given that amount of time, and the resources available to the various civilizations in the Nexus (Jackson’s Whole, Cetaganda, etc) I find the depicted tech level far *below* what it should be, though we don’t actually *see* most of the Cetagandan tech, so we don’t know whether my proposals would be beyond them or not.

        I understand that Bujold didn’t want to make the society wholly alien, as it would be given the tech I described, and I like most of the stories so I suspend my disbelief. I just find the Athosians willingness to risk their entire society on such a fragile system of reproduction without, apparently, even *exploring* other possibilities, to be excessively implausible. Their situation is so contrived for the sake of the story that I have difficulty accepting it.

      • This actually occurs in nature, occasionally. It works by “parthenogenesis” (literally “virgin birth”) and it occurs when a mutation develops that allows self-fertilization of eggs. Usually, for long term survival there has to be an allied sexual subspecies with which the parthenogenetic subpsecies occasionally breeds, in order for there to be the necessary occaional admixture of genetic diversity.

        For some reason, lizards are especially prone to doing this.

      • Jurassic Park was beyond binary-gender!

  16. One thing to consider:

    That recent graph that shows how much published authors make–it includes poets and authors of “literary” fiction. To all those who are afraid they can’t make a living as full-time authors, there is still hope…as long as you write things that people actually want to read.

  17. Larry, thank you for slapping on the body armor and wading through that essay so we don’t have to.

    • It’s like Stephen Green (Vodkapundit.com) drunkblogging Big O’s interminable speeches, but less frightening subject matter, since the columnist featured today can be safely laughed at, then ignored.

  18. Thank you for the snort of the day. I read and purchase a great many books. I read to be entertained, not preached at . Perhaps the writer feels his morals are more important than money…thereby labeling you a sell-out.
    But…in order to be a sell-out, you would have to sell out.
    Laugh ALL the way to the bank Mr. Correia.

  19. Okay, I really want a T-shirt with that “Cismale Gendernormative Fascist” pic on it for Con-gregate this year…

  20. “interviews and roundtables with other writers and readers of post-binary SF”

    I think this is a great idea. I’ll even provide the table:

  21. Two comments, one a nit, one an observation:

    Nit: Alex is a “she” not a “he”.

    Observation: A friend of mine once observed “non-profit is a tax filing status, not a business plan.” Most writers would do well to pay attention to that.

  22. Well, you know that “right wing” (by which, apparently, they mean anybody who doesn’t follow every jot and tittle of the “left’s” belief system) authors would never have transgendered characters as sympathetic characters, let along protagonists.

    Oh, wait, “I Will Fear No Evil” by Robert Heinlein (okay, possibly the worst thing he ever wrote, IMO, but the worst by Heinlein is better than many author’s best).

    I wonder if McFarlane would include that one in his discussion of “post binary gender” SF? (In fact, comment with link to said title now posted as a comment over on the blog. We’ll see what happens.)

    • When Sarah Hoyt (who loves Heinlein) wrote a blog post for Tor.com about Heinlein, the comments there were all ripping him (and pretty much any “pre-modern” man) apart. It is trendy for the literati to despise Heinlein as a racist warmongering hatey-hatemonger, even though he wasn’t. Don’t matter. He’s from the Before Times, when sci-fi was about using science ideas to tell awesome stories, and that is BADTHINK! Of course, those comments didn’t get “massaged” out. So I fully expect Heinlein to get mocked over there.

      If it was up to me, they’d be naming high schools and warships after Heinlein.

      • Heinlein? The guy who wrote the free love Martian space Jesus book? He’s the oppressive voice of narrow minded hate from the stone ages? I got nothing that can cure that.

      • Andrew: He also wrote the “Man trapped in a woman’s body” (AKA “Really thourough sex change” ) book, the “homeless veteran with PTSD” book, the “politically active non-nuclear nontraditional families” book, the “Riot Grrl” book, and the definitive cross-gender cross-generation short story.
        Honestly, these people just have no imagination.

      • Lets not forget the greatest time travel story ever, All Ye Zombies.

      • If we (anyone in the anglophere) ever commission military spacecraft the first one should be named Heinlein

      • FWIW, the book I’m working on with space colonization has all of the colony ships taking off from Heinlein Station.

        It’s the least I could do for the man that wrote Starship Troopers.

      • I can see it now…

        “This is the lead ship of USS Heinlein class LHA. It can land a battalion of Freedom by LCAC or it’s organic rotary wing assets.

        “She can support both additional rotary or fixed wing support and attack aircraft, and thanks to new CorreiaTech design paradigms it also hosts 2 double automatic 8” turrets and VLS.

        “It could be safely referred to as a full case of whoop-ass. Brought to you by CorreiaTech enterprises, because FREEDOM!” 🙂

      • And RAH named one of the starships in Starship Troopers Mannerheim. *love* Well, I would anyway, but that was the topping. 🙂

      • “Warships after Heinlein” sounds almost like a book title. I’m just not sure what the plot could possibly be.

  23. Good Lord! THAT person (maybe the “Alex” label was chosen deliberately to blur the pre-binary gender lines?) is considered literati? With such a poorly-written column, s/he ought to be hanging hes head in shame. I’d put it at about 8th grade writing level.

    If this is the level of education of the typical WorldCon voter, it’s no wonder the GOOD writers don’t win awards. These loonies wouldn’t recognize good writing if Earl Harbinger yanked out their guts and used the intestines to piece out quotes from Jane Austen.

  24. Larry,

    Keep the pronouns. With all the he/she concern re:Alex, by calling the XX chromasomal author “he” you could claim:

    * to be supporting a gender variation scale
    * tributing LeGuin’s “Left Hand of Darkness”
    * “poking the bear” to see if a gender identification might ensue
    * taking the piss on all of the above.

    Where some may have seen a mistake, I have glimpsed genius!

  25. […] Monster Hunter author Larry Correia, who responds here with characteristic glee, writing that it’s fine for writers to work their pet causes into their stories — as […]

  26. One small nit to pick. XXY, Klinefelter syndrome, seems to be about one in a thousand births, so your “Sure, that’s medically true something like 99.999%” is a bit high. More like 99.9%.

    • I knew a guy with Klinefelter syndrome. He was my room mate for 4 months in Alabama. So I’m familiar with it. He took testosterone shots every couple of weeks and suffered some pretty harsh medical problems, but he was still a man, who identified as a man. As for the one in a thousand, sure, expect that most of those will never seen any symptoms manifest, severity varies, and they go through life unaware of their 47th chromosone.

      So even if I was to write this person into a book as a fictional character, he’d look like a regular man, talk like a regular man, and sound like a regular man, and the reader would think he was a regular man, and the only way it would come up is if we got to know the character better and it benefited my story to reveal that he had a rare medical condition.

      But if it makes you feel better, call that last 9 a typo. 🙂

      • I also know someone who is XXY and appears male. But the statement I was responding to was about “can be grouped into male and female based upon whether they’ve got XX or XY,” and that doesn’t include someone genetically XXY, whatever the resulting morphology.

        And it’s the last two 9’s.

  27. Wow, what a mess. You know, I actually read a lot of sci-fi in college. (good ones I mean, like Neuromancer, Snow Crash, the Machine Stops, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) These texts were picked to challenge us, make us think. Do you know why else they were picked? Because they were well written and fun to read.

    What bleeding good is the message of any book no one wants to read because it is boring? Books are not art (or anything more than ink and paper) unless someone reads them.

    Heck, if I were published right now instead of just working on my first couple novels I’d be labeled cismale gendernormative fascist by the literati faster than I could double check that I spelled it right, and yet one of my current projects is about a female former child slave-labor merchant skipper and the other a young mage from a genderless shapeshifter species surrounded by elves, humans, and dwarves. Did I do this to make a point, any kind of point? Nope, I just think they make the story more interesting.

  28. Dammit…can’t I just have books about decent people discovering cool things in spaceships with lasers?

  29. They have no love for Joan Eunice Smith? That is not one of Heinlein’s better books, but he definitely did play with genders and sexuality in his later ones. Well, Heinlein, that writer of grandpa’s generation, famous for being a conservative fascist (presumably also cismale and gendernormative) so of course nothing in his books can count. Or in the books of any other writer of his ilk. 🙂

  30. Know what I love? Watching people whose entire lives and belief systems were made possible by the runaway sucess of Western Civilization… attacking the basic principles that make Western Civ so sucessful.

  31. Yes, I frequently fight off cravings to read books by belligerent leftists looking down their nose at me and celebrating how enlightened they are.

    This reads like a description of that show Girls — patting themselves on the back for being different and special unique snow flakes.

    Cool, whatever you want, but I just don’t care.

  32. She’s editing a reprint antho called something like “The Mammoth Book of Women in SF.” I subbed three stories to that.

    All the protags were cishet gendernormative males.

    Form rejection. (I was not surprised.)

    Whoops.

    Clearly, I am Doing Woman Wrong. Apparently the voice of a woman who enjoys reading and writing male protagonists is Unacceptable. Shame on me.

    • Is there a suitable label for women like us, ones who really truly love these cismale gendernormative fascists as main characters whether we write them or just like to read about them?

    • You and me both, sister. You and me both.

    • Or maybe she didn’t like the stories for other or multiple reasons? Christ, she didn’t declare war on all authors who have ever written a story with binary-gendered protagonists – just argued that since in real life gender is a lot more diverse and complex than the binary, more sci-fi stories can and should be more representative and imaginative, and reflect that reality – i.e. there are far more stories to tell than are being told at the moment. So, I’m not sure why you’re assuming that that was the reason (or the only reason) you were rejected. This – “Clearly, I am Doing Woman Wrong. Apparently the voice of a woman who enjoys reading and writing male protagonists is Unacceptable.” just sounds like sour grapes, frankly.

      And even if it does end up being the case that all the stories in the antho feature post-binary gender, seeing as the vast majority of sci-fi has ‘cishet gendernormative’ protagonists, I don’t think the world is going to end if one anthology is a bit more diverse. In fact things like that will lead to good things, inspire writers to be more imaginative, to tell stories that aren’t being told (without suggesting a pox on the houses of writers who don’t tell those stories – not sure where you’re getting the persecution complex from), inspire gender-non-conforming kids who love sci-fi, embolden gender non-conforming writers to keep drawing on their own experiences in their own sci-fi writing.

      What exactly is wrong with diversity, and why are diversity and quality writing / story-telling mutually exclusive? They’re really not.

      (Also, using the logic in this blog, if your stories are good enough they’ll find a home elsewhere – it’s not like there’s a dearth of acceptances of stories with “cishet gendernormative male” protagonists).

      • …apparently you missed the part where I said “REPRINT” anthology. Those stories have already found homes elsewhere. One of them found a home in a SFWA market. It’s not “sour grapes” to point out that a person who has a clearly-demonstrated bias against cishet gendernormatism rejected three stories that had cishet males as the protags, it’s pointing out a correlation.

        As it sits, I will continue to crank out the kind of stories I want to read and write, in which protagonists of both genders–oh, wait. I also write stories starring asexual genderless beings. However, since those beings are clearly Biblically-based angels and demons, they probably don’t count because Bible. Or something. Anyway. I will continue to write stories where protagonists of every stripe kick ass and take names and (occasionally) destroy the planet. Because that’s how I roll.

        And anyone who thinks I’m Doing My Own Sex Wrong can, frankly, suck it. As a conservative woman in a field loaded to the gills with liberal women, MY voice is actually the “diverse” one.

      • “What exactly is wrong with diversity”

        Well, the people who usually shout “diversity” usually enforce a sameness of philosophy and/or politics. For them “diversity” is literally skin-deep.

        When they say “diversity” they really mean “quotas”. I’ll pay quota-mongers respect when they make the same demands of, say, NBA teams.

      • MacFarlane doesn’t want “diversity”, MacFarlane wants a new norm in sf in which genitalia does not correlate with gender. Apparently it never occurs to it that there might be very strong biological reasons for those with penis and testicles to feel like men, and those with vagina and ovaries to feel like women. (Hint: google “Charles Darwin”.)

    • How about the “Book of Mammoth Women”? And I don’t mean prehistoric elephants.

    • Don’t you understand how liberating it is as a woman to be told what kinds of characters you can and can’t write about?

      • I swear I default to cishet gendernormative male protags out of spite, these days…

        The Hardy Boys apparently ruined me for life, because I couldn’t get into Nancy Drew at all (so badly written, OMG–the stilted dialogue made 11-year-old me cringe), so here I am.

      • Spite is a very underrated motivator.

    • Interestingly, I’m male and tend to like writing female protagonists. They tend to be heterosexual, though, and as we know all women are actually transgendered gay men, so … guess I’m not Enlightnened enough 😉

  33. I did read that blog post and the comments in order to better appreciate your fisking of it. And now I’m reminded of why I stopped visiting the Tor website despite the fact that some of my favorite authors are published by Tor.

  34. Really want to get on their nerves? Remind them that John Lange has sold more books by himself than the whole boiling of “consciously post-binary gender” types all put together…

  35. “I am not interested in discussions about the existence of these gender identities: we might as well discuss the existence of women or men. Gender complexity exists.”

    In other words, this “person” can’t actually defend their nonsense and must rely on “the debate is over, man/woman/dolphin/rutabaga” in order to justify the drowning out of any logical arguments to the contrary.

  36. “interviews and roundtables with other writers and readers of post-binary SF”

    Wow. That doesn’t sound pretentious and boring at all. Sign me up.

    I’m really glad I don’t write for these clowns. Not that they would’ve published Dead Six anyway. But to reiterate what others have said, if they think talking social questions or gender roles is something that’s not done in science fiction, they clearly haven’t read much classic science fiction.

    You want to talk about gender roles? Talk to any veteran who witnessed an Afghan man raping a goat. We’re more worldly than the full-of-himself grad student is giving us credit for.

    • How dare you use your western cultural norms to judge the poor Afghan’s tradition of Man Love Thursday!

      And even in Afghanistan which has got to be the gayest place possible outside of a Brony convention, they still have that crazy cultural norm of Man and Woman… Just that their women are property, and it is culturally okay to molest children and farm animals. Sheesh… But it is western culture who are the bad guys.

      • Afghanistan is a harsh land that has known little but war and suffering for maybe thousands of years. It has bred harsh people with customs that are strange and cruel to our Western sensibilities.

        But no, I’m sure a pampered American graduate student who’s never had to take a shit in a cold field will tell me how ignorant I am of the world, blinded by jingoism and commercialism. Such things have happened to me before. 🙂

      • I remember that discussion on Facebook where some dipshit 20 something grad student was telling you about how ignorant you were about the Middle East, because what you saw with your own eyeballs while living in a few different Islamic nations didn’t match with what he’d been taught in his political science classes. (and the fact you majored in political science too was pretty darned funny) 🙂

      • It wasn’t even that the grad student was ill-informed. It was just that he was so damned sure of himself, and was so condescending about it. Never mind the fact that I lived for a year in one Islamic country, in the city with the locals, and spent six months deployed to another. Never mind the fact that I’ve worked with, dealt with, and walked onto the battlefield with people from a completely foreign culture. Never mind the fact that we broke bread with our Afghan counterparts, swapped stories and knowledge, earned each other’s respect.

        Never mind all that. His Middle Eastern Studies class taught him everything he needs to know.

        This is why I don’t want to go back to college. There were…uh…incidents the last time I went, and that was before I’d done any of this. Now? Holy hell, I left the last fuck I had to give in Afghanistan.

      • LOL
        Mike, this should be a t-shirt given to all returning vets “I left the last fuck I had to give in Afghanistan.”

      • Hubby spent part of his life in Saudi – swore that was something he wanted no woman to experience. The fear his mother experienced having to go out to do the normal things like grocery shopping is an oppression that the anti-West movement just isn’t capable of understanding.

        ““I left the last fuck I had to give in Afghanistan.”” – I want that shirt. I know people who to give it to.

    • I had a Marine friend tell me that some of the Marines used to shoot the goats in the middle of the raping.

      • This…is…AWESOME! Necrophiliac goat-F*****s! HAH:-)

      • The afghanies didn’t mean to be necrophiliacs. The marines just thought the expression on the afghanies face as the goat’s head explodes during a vigorous rogering was hilarious.

      • How cruel — especially since there was someone else they could have shot during this activity, someone who would have been less sadly missed … (*runs*)

  37. I’ll read anything that doesnt require me to geld myself before opening the book

  38. Can you imagine how heads would explode if you featured an Erin Palette character in a book?
    (I have a feeling she’d make a pretty badass Monster Hunter…)

    • Even if I made a transgender Hunter, it wouldn’t matter to the literati, because they hate my guts so much that I’d be doing it wrong somehow, and thus would CAUSE OFFENSE. These are the same type of reviewers, where one of them actually read MHI and was SHOCKED that despite what they’d heard, and Larry Correia being an outspoken hatey-hatemonger of hate, he had “People of Color and Women in positions of importance and authority”?! HOW CAN THIS BE?

      • HOW CAN THIS BE?

        It’s simple really. You’re engaging in “stealth racism/sexism.” You see you act (in this case “write”) in a non-racist/sexist fashion to conceal your real racist/sexist feelings*. It’s the same thing the Tea Party does when they support people like Allen West and Herman Cain.

        *Because, of course, how people feel is so very much more important than how they act.

      • simple
        Rule 1: you are guilty of (whatever)
        Rule 2: in case of an apparent violation of Rule 1: see Rule 1

  39. For the record, though, The Left Hand of Darkness was a good book.

  40. Larry, if I had one criticism of your fisking, it would be this:
    As others have already noted, there are some pretty famous counter examples to your statement that audiences don’t like to be preached to, even ones that are preachy on the plasticity of gender identity; like Stranger in a Strange Land, Slaughterhouse 5, others are more straight-up preachy like Fahrenheit 451, The Handmaid’s Tale and many more. Wasn’t the entire original series of Star Trek a series of parables? Ditto the Twilight Zone. Preachy science fiction is hard to do right. But so is comic science fiction and military science fiction and every single other genre. It probably pays less than writing a straight up space opera, but there’s also plenty of really good space operas that don’t seem to have made their creators any money either. The audience you’ve found for your work may not like preachy science fiction, but there is an audience out there for good stories that make us reconsider our assumptions about our society and ourselves.

    • Of course there is an audience for preachy message fiction. It is called WorldCon attendees. Don’t worry. I’m sure they’ll have a panel there called Why is Science Fiction’s Readership Dwindling?

      Of your examples of popular but preachy and commercially successful sci-fi, do you have any examples that were written in the last 30 years? Because hate to break it to you, Handmaid’s Tale was written when I was in 5th grade. And the only reason that annoying piece of shit is still in print is because of college English classes have it as required reading. When was the last time you heard somebody on the street say “Wow, I sure do love me some Handmaid’s Tale! I can’t wait to enjoy reading about the dangers of the male patriarchy and their systematic oppression again!”

      So you can criticize all you want, but like I said, I wrote this as a counterpoint as advice for aspiring authors who want to make a living at this stuff now, not during the Reagan administration. You can find tons of preachy message fic, but you’re going to have a damned hard time finding much of it that sold worth a damn. And of those that sold worth a damn they’re going to be the big award winners that got marketed like crazy. Of those, there aren’t that many that actually had staying power in the market, and of them I bet you’ll find that they probably have a decently entertaining story.Ender’s Game actually has a message about the sacrifice of innocence, but the reason it has stuck around for decades is becuase it is an entertaining book first and foremost.

      It is sort of like the movie American Beauty. It won a zillion Oscars. It got a huge marketing push. Everybody watched it. Once. Then you can count on your fingers the number of people who watched it TWICE.

      • I read “A Handmaid’s Tale” once. Because I was in a non-English speaking country and only had access to one library with English language books and I was desperate for something to read. I haven’t read it again because I only need to be hit over the head with that sledgehammer once.

      • Reading your response, I guess I don’t disagree with you. You’ve got your audience figured out, and you know how to write the books that they buy and enjoy. And that’s fine. But Margaret Atwood, Octavia Butler and Sheri S. Tepper and others have also been making a living, and getting paid by writing books that people (presumably world con attendees) have been buying and enjoying (even in the last 30 years). If your sole objective in this writing gig is making money, why are you even bothering with sci fi in the first place and not writing the next Tom Clancy novel or legal thriller? Something about the genre must appeal to you. In the same way the authors and readers that Alex was addressing in her column get something else out of the genre. I think Alex in her column was over-reaching when she says “I want to never again read entire anthologies of SF stories or large-cast novels where every character is binary-gendered.” Clearly she is a not-very-loud voice in a very big room. But science fiction is big enough for Gor novels and for feminist sci fi, and transgender sci fi probably even brony or furry sci fi too. There may be even room for all of that in the same novel. (I’d read it just to see how the author fit all of those themes together) To bring it back to your movie comparison, if preachy sci fi is like American Beauty, and your fiction is like an action movie, there’s clearly room for both in the market. Every year movies are released that are clearly ‘Oscar bait’ and then there are movies that are designed to put butts in seats in the multiplex. I’d say to aspiring writers that they should know their story, know their audience, and tailor their expectations accordingly.

      • FWIW, I’m fairly certain that I remember at least one panel at one of the last two WorldCons that was pretty much exactly that, something like “what to do to reverse the declining readership of SF among youth”. I didn’t go to it, but I’m certain that they wouldn’t have liked my ideas anyways.

      • I remember at least one panel at one of the last two WorldCons that was pretty much exactly that, something like “what to do to reverse the declining readership of SF among youth”.

        If the answer is not “write more stuff that young people would like to read (as opposed to what I think they should read)” then they’re doing it wrong. 😉

      • I read Handmaid’s Tale and thought it should be entitled “The Way Things Ought To Be.”

        The preachy message just wasn’t getting through the way the author intended. =)

      • “When was the last time you heard somebody on the street say “Wow, I sure do love me some Handmaid’s Tale! I can’t wait to enjoy reading about the dangers of the male patriarchy and their systematic oppression again!””

        My girlfriend, last month, though not in so many words. Don’t judge her though, she’s a big Heinlein (before she met me) and Ringo (after she met me) fan.

      • Lois Bujold has been “preaching” about handicapped issues for 35 years and last I heard she was still making buckets of money. Thing is, the stories are so interesting you mostly don’t notice it and the literati are so blinded by all the honor, personal responsibility and splodey things that they will never see it.

      • Yep. Story first. She’s a great author.

      • “Handmaid’s Tale” just reprises a concept that was done to DEATH in actual science fiction from the 1940’s through the 1960’s. And then that arrogant twat had the gall to claim she was being uniquely creative.

    • Stranger in a Strange Land and Fahrenheit 451 were both well written and entertaining. Slaughterhouse 5 was meh. Haven’t read The Handmaid’s Tale.

      Real authors write to make money, not to get a pat on the back or an award from a bunch of snotty literature professor types.

      My English teacher in college has an MFA in Creative Writing. You know what she is doing? Teaching a college English class. Making us read boring stories that have veiled messages in them.

      No one sane likes preachy entertainment.

  41. Larry, please tell me that this is all a goof, that you wrote that piece under a pen name, and that the responses are fake. Please. I need to hear that. Because the alternative is that there are real people out there who actually buy into this.

    • Not only do they buy into this stuff, they’re the Typical WorldCon Voter. Which is why only we can stop Puppy Related Sadness!

  42. Maybe the write thought the word was “convert-sation”?

  43. I’d like to congratulate Alex on her discovery of the Westboro Baptist Church Method Of Making Friends And Converts.

    I can’t think of anything that will bring the issue of non-default gender identities into popular acceptance like figuratively standing on a street corner outside a major league football game and screaming at people that they’re going to go to Hell.

    (Hint to Alex: The WBCMOMFAC is not a scheme designed to accomplish a theological goal. It is a legal strategy designed to provoke confrontation so they can win civil suits and big cash settlements. It is a hearts and minds campaign, just not in the way you think.)

  44. (You should read the next sentence in Kirk’s voice from Star Trek 5, where he asked why God needs a starship)

    Why do we need to radicalize every reader? Are we trying to bring back the New Soviet Man?

  45. As I said when I read the original article when it was linked on FB. I read it and my brain hurt. Fucking seriously? Someone pull the 2×4 out of her ass and the “Sister Betty Lou Better Than You” cinder block off her shoulders. Sit her down on the cinder block and smack her upside the head with the 2×4. Maybe she’ll get a clue. If nothing else she’ll have too much of a headache to write such inane, fit only to be toilet paper worthy bullshit for a while.

  46. One of the few Sci-Fi books with a message I like, is “Fallen Angels.”

    That’s a good read and it’s not preachy, it gets its message across pretty well.

  47. So, let me get this straight.

    Step one is to “write what you know”, which means I should write about men, women, and the occasional gay male or lesbian since that is what I know.

    But I’m also supposed to write about other “genders” that I’m told just “exist” without a single shred of information to back up that claim, but because some twenty-something who knows jack all about the real world tells me it just is?

    How about I do this instead: I’ll write what I know, speculate on some other stuff based on what I know, and try to write a kick ass story that people will want to read. Not socially conscious enough for you? Tough. I’ve got a family to support, to say nothing of the fact that the issues I would pick would probably not be on the “approved” list of the typical WorldCon voter.

    Guess I’m never gonna get a Hugo, am I? Poor puppy related sadness. I still blame Wendell.

    • I actually know someone who may in fact be transgendered. I know her very well, as she’s my sister-in-law.

      If I wrote a transgendered character exactly like her, I would be accused of hatred toward transgendered people, since she’s also more than a little crazy. And not specifically regarding her sexual identity, either.

      • Clearly, the hate is strong with you in that case. After all, it couldn’t be the transgendered person’s fault they’re crazy, but the fact that we cisgendered people make life so difficult for them.

        The fact some of don’t give a flip whether they are or aren’t is irrelevant apparently.

  48. Aaaand once again the LGBTWTFBBQ community I refuse to participate in does not cease to disappoint. As a transgendered Iraq-war Veteran enjoying the GI Bill benefits awarded by my beautiful country I have plenty of time to read again, and I own everything Grimnoir, Monster Hunter, or Lorenzo-related (coolest character I’ve read yet Mr. Correria, please do it again, and take more of my money), I think I derive a special amount of amusement from this exchange.

    Because you see, in the end, Alex MacFarlane doesn’t give half a shit about me, any more than she does about the ozone or whatever. She simply, today, finds me to be a convenient bludgeon with which to cow all the lesser unenlightened beings into her groupthink, including me. (Confusing logistics there, but yes, that’s how the LGBTWTFBBQ community treats any non-card carrying socialist.) Tomorrow she may not, she may decide to throw me under the bus for polar bears or food stamps soaked in methadone or whatever.

    Whereas the kind Mr. Correia just wants to sell me books. In these books, monsters are fought (both the creature and man types) by badasses I want to drink with.

    I’ve decided who I want to spend my time and money on. (Now pleeeease hurry up and let me spend my Nemesis money!!)

  49. Larry, I thought the money quote in Alex’s article was:
    “I want to never again read entire anthologies of SF stories or large-cast novels where every character is binary-gendered.”
    Classic Leftism. Not only must my viewpoint be represented, it must be the ONLY viewpoint.
    Interesting the Helmut is the only one to mention that line, if only to mention that Alex “over-reached.” Sorry, Helmut, but that’s not over-reaching; that’s Totalitarian.
    I wonder what Orwell would have to say about today’s literary world.

  50. *sigh*
    ive been following the Tor website for a few years now and in retrospect it’s been kind of exhausting. On the one hand, it’s a publishing house that keepit’s nes putting outstanding material on the market from authors like Sanderson, or Card. On the other hand, it’s politics are just slightly to the left of chairman Mao. All a writer has to do in their eyes is come up- with /empowered female character, or act as a spokesperson for the lgbt movement.
    You mentioned Enders Game being on its 500th printing. What you didn’t mention was just how conflicted the movie adaptation left them. One of their flagship novels was finally making it to the silver screen, something fans had been waiting for years to happen, and there was hardly any hype for it from them. Why? Because in their circles, card’s name is the third C word, (one of the others being Correia). That the movie was mediocre is irrelevant, EG was their baby for decades, but the moment Card generated controversy, they proceeded to avoid him like his herpes had aids.
    Or look at an article they did about 2 years ago about female roles in military sci fi. The author criticized tom kratman, he chimed into the comments with an essay he’d written on the subject, and the next thing anyone knew, it escalated into this huge debate between essentially kratman and the rest of the site. They lost, incidentally, and proceeded to close the comments.
    I love their work, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. But I don’t see their politics changing any time either. I’m a recent immigrant to the MHN, I’ve only been following this site and your work for a few months, but it’s comforting to know the next time I’m looking for the next WOT reread and I come across a link claiming Margaret Sanger was the greatest thing to happen to humanity since jesus, that there are alternatives.

  51. All high school and college literature classes do is make you hate reading, in my opinion. The list of good books I read in those years is short (Nineteen Eighty-Four, A Rumor of War), and the list of terrible books and short stories I had to choke through was painfully long. All had some kind of heavy-handed message.

    “Where are you going, where have you been?” A short story about a kind of trampy high school girl that gets kidnapped and, presumably, raped by a creep named Arnold Friend. You kind of get the idea that the author was implying that she deserved it.

    “Hunters in the Snow”: A painful short story about three guys who go hunting. One of them is fat, the other one is in love with an underage girl, and the third one is an irredeemable asshole who constantly berates the other two. They accidentally shoot the asshole, and because he was an asshole, basically slowly let him bleed to death.

    “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant”: I had to read this TWICE in high school. It’s a depressing, boring “great American novel” about a mom and her two daughters that lead lives full of angst and failure.

    “The Great Gatsby”: I read it as a junior in high school, circa 1997 or so. I can’t even remember what it was about. A rich guy with problems I guess.

    “The Scarlet Letter”: Adultery makes you feel guilty, and the Puritans were miserable people apparently. I didn’t even read this one. I refused.

    “The Grapes of Wrath”: the 1930s were very depressing. And dusty.

    • Don’t forget “Of Mice and Men.” We had to do an “artistic project” about it. I drew a Luger to Lenny’s (I think that was the simple guy’s name) head with a Nazi armband around the arm holding it, because my case was that the message was the same as the Nazi’s: he was mentally defective, therefore he had to be killed. I didn’t earn any points with the teacher, but then, she was pretty widely hated anyway.

      And then there was “Crime and Punishment.” I ended up skimming the abridged version. Couldn’t take more than a chapter of the unabridged.

      • “Crime and Punishment” was awesome. It made me wish I had taken Russian instead of German in high school so I could read it in the original. If you want horrible, try “Jude the Obscure”. Classic English literature grey goo. I talked the teacher out of assigning more works by that author to our Senior class.

    • Don’t forget the abominable “Cry, the Beloved Country”, epitome of the evil-white-man, noble-African genre. I love to read and I could barely slog through that one (and I was even an “egalitarian liberal” at that point!).

    • “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”― H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy

  52. I never read the “Left Hand of Darkness”. from the title it sounds like a good book involving assassins and people being killed by rogue government departments, either that, or something religious based.

    I did read the “Marid Audran” series by George Alec Effinger, way back when i was in my teens. I thought it was a good story, and part of it involved sex changes and cross dressers. Was it part of the main story – no, but it did impact on the story. The protagonist from memory was a drug addled booze hound who swore he could tell sex change women from real women and ended up finding out his girlfriend was a change. Apart from that, I didn’t particularly care as long as it was a good book.

    Basically, it all comes down to did you like the story? Yes or No. If so, would you tell your friends about it and get them to read it. if yes, the author makes money. If no, then it sits in the second hand book store gathering dust.

  53. Reblogged this on Enlightening, i'n't it? and commented:
    Sex verus Gender?
    Natural sexual traits based on genes versus Gender rolls?
    Sex versus Sexuality?

    Why do people always need to be grouped and labeled anyway?

  54. Larry,

    “For a bit of context, 1968 is almost twenty years before I was born, and I’m hardly a child.”

    Jumped out at me when I read the original article as well. As a cranky old man I liked your response.

    Also, had a mojito with Wendell this afternoon in Orlando. He sends his regards.

  55. I love the articles on io9.com but the comments section reads like the attendees of a typical world con convention.
    e.g. a summary of good entry novels on Science Fiction:

    http://io9.com/the-best-entry-level-science-fiction-books-to-convert-1510802842

  56. Case in point: the classic “The Mote in God’s Eye” by Niven and Pournelli. The Motie’s gender and gender changes are a major plot point. However, this is not brought up in a heavy handed, anvilicious sort of way

  57. Now I know how to win a Hugo!

  58. Wow glad I was already following the advice of remaining true to the story, if anything I write has a message it was probably part of the story, and that over the whole of the story like good versus evil, or are they real or just think they are.

    Also thanks to this I think I will keep on not checking out Tor’s site, it might push my chew out idiots button until it sticks otherwise.

    So glad I was homeschooled and never had to read stuff that made me hate reading. I think the stories that I’ve read with messages involved have generally been of the sort where the message was masterfully built into the story, like The chronicles of Narnia, or Fahrenheit 451 where the message was the story concept and decently done.

  59. Good lord. I’m an active member of a number of liberal groups, I regularly have discussions on cultural gender norms and sexuality, I actually think a study of historical gender narratives might be kind of interesting, and this kind of crap makes me want to vote Republican just to spite this person. Writing a character as non/alternative-gendered because you wanted to increase the diversity of the cast, instead of because said identity fit the character, means you’re writing backward.

    For those of you who are decrying liberals as a group, keep in mind that this person is about as representative of the average liberal as actual racists are of the average conservative, or Alex Jones is of the average gun owner.

  60. Unfortunately, articles like this at Tor, and the groupthink imposed in the comments section about race, “gender issues,” etc. by the editors writing on it (or those who claim to be editors), have changed my opinion of the company from “They published the Wheel of Time. Cool. I should try something else by them” to actively avoiding their works and the works published by their parent company. Not only that, I actively hope that few authors still read that publish through Tor find another publisher.

    Don’t these people realize that their conduct might be the problem? That it’s costing them sales? Diversity is not supposed to be conformity.

    • Tor.com used to be awesome. About three years ago they took on some feminist writers who went about screwing it up. I’ll give you an example.

      The individual who does the Wheel of Time Reread (and Read of Ice and Fire) is a girl named Leigh Butler. At first, Leigh was awesome if a bit… full… at times. It’s hard to describe how she acts but anyone who reads her stuff knows what I’m talking about. She went into the series at a depth I’d never considered and I learned quite a bit about storytelling from her analysis of Mr. Jordan’s work. It was a great reread and I enjoyed it immensely.

      Unfortunately Leigh got bit by the feminist bug going around their office. She started getting a little ranty about feminist issues and it detracted from her interesting analysis of the series. It got worse over time. She would go on rampages about adding gay men to the series or equality issues instead of analyzing important story aspects. Basically, stuff that didn’t matter to the story but offended her feminist sensibilities became more important than the actual story she’s devoted years of her life to analyzing.

      I think Brandon Sanderson was affected by some of it at the end, because while Mr. Jordan was very subtle about his gay characters (after all, gay is NOT their character– it’s a character trait) Brandon made two gay man references in the final book that felt sledgehammered in. I don’t care about the sexuality of the characters but the references added nothing to the story– and story should always take precedence over message. In my opinion, it was a case of probably the best epic fantasy writer around adding something to soothe a tiny segment of the fanbase. The book was still great, but it was an irritating distraction (along with a couple others) and I don’t think Mr. Jordan would have caved like that.

      There are other, far worse, people at the site. I’ve become someone who used to refresh the page all morning when a new WOT Reread was due to someone who doesn’t even bother to read it any longer. Same thing with the whole website… now it’s only worth visiting for the tremendous DS9 Re-Watch Keith R.A. Decandito does.

      As for the sales… look, some people will sacrifice anything for ideology. Feminists are one such group. It doesn’t matter if Tor is/was the best publisher around. I’ve read messageboard conversations the Nielsen-Haydens have had with people who disagree with them, and I find it hard to believe they would publish a right of center author unless he put up Robert Jordan like numbers. And even then, who knows?

      At least we have Baen. Toni Weisskopf seems like an awesome, open minded person who wants to meet Larry’s main requirement for his Mission Statement. If only Tom Doherty would step in, institute some common sense, and run Tor like Baen…

  61. I would be willing to bet the author of that mind numbing crap identifies as a feminist and owns cats. But then again I’m probably just a racist, sexist, hatey McHate hate…

    • Shame on you Hatey, owning cats does not, by itself, make you a liberal leftist (I repeat myself). I have three and am very conservative. The liberal cat lover is the one who talks to them like babies and spends more money on their comfort than they spend on themselves.

  62. Here is a quote from one “intelligent” comment on the TOR article: “I recently finished reading Jordan’s 14-volume Wheel of Time and I was really angered by the traditional steretotypical gender representation.”

    This begs the obvious question: Then why did you read all 14 volumes of the series? Is it because it was a good story, perhaps, and the gender representation did not take away from that?

    I’m stunned that people can be this blind to what they themselves feel and love as readers.

    What do you prefer, to write a 14 volume series that million of people will buy or to write a “non-binary” book that even your mother will only pretend to read?

  63. Irrelevant insertion of politics? I call that “Political Tourette’s”:

    http://daddywarpig.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/this-i-find-aggravating/

  64. I’m one of several folks who managed to get a civil, disagreeing comment through over there. I’m not convinced that disagreement is being censored.

  65. […] week later, author Larry Correia wrote a response to MacFarlane’s piece, called Ending Binary Gender in Fiction, or How to Murder Your Writing Career. (Side note: you’ll probably want to avoid the comments on that […]

  66. Larry, you’re hurting the Sad Puppies Campaign. Think of the puppies. Think of the puppies!

  67. So, If I write Sci-Fi erotica where my main character is an alien evolved from something vaguely amphibian that can change sex and is travelling the galaxy to explore sexuality with every other type of alien regardless of sex/gender, will I win awards? There might be orgies!
    (Using a gender neutral pen-name, of course)

  68. Added this comment to Hines’ site:

    Amy Bauer: I invite your attention to this: http://www.tomkratman.com/Ranthhour.html

    Now _that’s_ how one sneers at intellectualism, which, by the way, has essentially nothing to do with having or not having a college education. (Me? BA, Poli Sci, BA, BC; Philosophy, JD, W&L.)

    Brian: Ya know, while it strikes me as wrong to fail to include a group that was present and large, such as you cite to, this isn’t quite the same thing as giving large scale play to a group that is present, but tiny. Leaving aside the potential dishonesty, it’s also fraught with risk: “Oh, me, oh my, oh, nonononono, I can’t have the gender-reassigned person be the villain…” or “Oh, no; I’ve mentioned the transvestite awaiting gender reassignment surgery, but is he or she – Oh, no, I am so confused; what’s the latest code pronoun? – prominent enough. Never mind that – please, somebody, PLEASE supply me the latest code pronoun – isn’t very important to the plot; I must still make – I am still waiting for that pronoun, people! – central, key, to make up for the oppression of the ages….”

    Bah.

    You know one of the worst examples of lying in fiction? Shaara’s Joshua Chamberlain. Yeah, him. Medal of Honor. Brevetted 2 star. War hero. Governor of Maine. Head of Bowdoin College. Him. Shaara made him a great abolitionist, an idealist. It’s all nonsense. He was a militarist, through and through; worse than I am, matter of fact, and I’m pretty militaristic. He never gave a rat’s ass about slaves or freedmen. He was not an abolitionist. He tried to turn Bowdoin into a military school. He offered his services to the King of Prussia for the Franco-Prussian War. He loved war for its own sake and as a great test of manliness.

    So, just out of curiosity, since you object to lying by ommission concerning black cowboys – and I agree with you in this – do you also object to lying by commission about the character and values of a great man?

  69. Ummm…Jennifer, that might require research. Ummm…hands on research. And that opens up possibilities for another entire universe of awards…

    hehehe

  70. […] stupid, because of X, Y and Z, which means you want MESSAGE FICTION not STORY FICTION." By Larry Correia. 3. "No, actually what YOU said was stupid, because of A, B and C, which show you have no […]

  71. I read that, and wow, I am embarassed on behalf of my gender (my gender being gendernormative cisfemale, I suspect, according to the new specifications.) I especially liked the end where the actual interesting technical discussion just was too much for them – we need to all appreciate the irony of a discussion on warfare, an entirely confrontational topic, ending with “I’m taking my ball and going home.” Seriously, if you can’t even fight a metaphorical battle, you shouldn’t engage on topics related to real ones.

    Also I realized I just used a bunch of gendernormative idioms here. I better knock that off as well. Some people will get more confused.

  72. Larry, I know it’s surely too late to retrofit into Monster Hunter Nemesis, but could you please do a companion short story exploring the gender identity of Agent Franks?

    I mean, you’re really pushing the boundaries with the interspecies relationship of Tanya and Edward, but the cisfallen genderindeterminate perspective has to be the least understood, and therefore most oppressed, point of view there can be.

    If the MCB human resources director of diversity can’t come to grips with Agent Franks gender identity, how in the world can ze ensure a supportive, non-discriminatory work environment?

  73. […] Mr Larry Correia conducts an incisive, warm, and final deconstruction of the true meaning of Miss Macfarlane’s disquisition for your edification and amusement. For me to add a word, verily, a syllable, a letter, or a jot, would be but to gild the lily. Read it here. […]

  74. The lefties also have no sense of history or any clue to what went on before Monica didn’t swallow. The Wikipedia article on “Gender in speculative fiction” mentions stories with humans or aliens which have one sex, or none, and other sexual themes, but doesn’t even mention “The Gods Themselves”, “Xenosystems”, “Distress” or “Lilith’s Brood”. The article on “Sex and Sexuality in Speculative Fiction” mentions “The Gods Themselves”, but not the other three. This even though there’s an article about each of those four books (where there are three or more sexes), and they’re listed in the “Third Gender” article.

    Though I suspect the author of that article, when presented with evidence of SF’s consideration of even odder sexuality than she’s complaining about being lacking, would complain about SF’s adherence to the “gender ternary”.

    • Given the way Wikipedia articles are generated, it’s quite possible that the author or authors of the articles just weren’t aware of the books you mention.

      Besides, nothing stopping YOU from adding to the entries.

  75. Thank you Tom for the info that Hines posted a reply – not too hard to find. Interestingly, as another person commented on THAT particular page, he actually made a couple decent points that perhaps Larry’s hyperbolic style overshadowed the substance of the argument at times.

    Sadly – Hines missed the point of what Larry was complaining about (as did at least one other author who’s dad’s name is recognizable). “Oh look, another right-winger complaining about how leftists are ruining SF! Such amused!”. Larry wasn’t complaining that Alex wanted to see a few more stories where maybe we didn’t just have two “default” genders to go with our default sexes and some exploration of how they are tied, or not, to each other (see the copious list of materiel that Larry and other commenters here have mentioned – and for that matter, I’m amazed she forgot to mention Jack Chalker…..) – he was complaining that this person was so lost in her little bubble that she was ANGRY that so much SF had the default genders – and that she wished to never again have to see a title that had those built in norms. That the world should be reshaped so she should never be offended.

    Sadly – Hines was unaware enough to miss the point of what he was defending. Not unsurprising. I sort of liked the Goblin books overall, but the shtick of “monsters good, adventurers bad” wore after a while – especially when it became clear that humans were the worst, human men especially (the women were smart). So a guy who wants to poke Larry for the angstiness of writing thousands of words in reply to some person in detail can’t see the irony of throwing out that accusation in the midst of the same sort of “fishing.”

    That said, this is also a guy who wanted to protest the objectification of women in SF book covers by cross dressing to spoof specific covers – of books written by, and marketed towards women.

  76. Excellent column…yes one who writes to fulfill an agenda takes the risk that only those few who like the type of book and like agenda will buy it…quick way to starve as a writer.

  77. […] Larry Correia wrote a fantastically dickish blog post about Alex Dally MacFarlane’s post on Tor.com in regards to the default gender binary […]

    • Obviously, you didn’t read for context any of the pieces. Alex actually wants to do away with the two gender thing entirely. In YOuR post you say you specifically want bisexual female heroes, most people don’t care. Larry’s incredible sales shows he’s successful, posts in his blog and on his facebook page have come in with support from transexuals, homosexuals, lesbians, and just about every other person of novel sexual orientation. Notice the word SUPPORT of him. Story above all, if you can fit a message in, fine.

      • Don’t worry, she made up a super evil version of what I said to take a brave stand against. If I recall correctly Acks is the same woman who led the witch hunt against Resnick and Malzburg.

  78. […] couple of days ago, in Ending Binary Gender in Fiction, or How to Murder Your Writing Career, Correia fisked a blog post that appeared on Tor’s website somewhere. (I looked at the […]

  79. “And the only reason that annoying piece of shit is still in print is because of college English classes have it as required reading.”

    In the end, people are going to write what they want to write about, and people are going to read what they want to read, whether you, the Christian libertarian intelligentsia, or the LGBT community like it or not.
    Leave it to the gatekeeper elitists from each of these groups to devour one another in their wake for the “truth”.

    • Oooh… Christian Libertarian Intelligentsia. That’s got gravitas. 😀

      Except here’s the thing. I’m all about writers writing whatever they want. My side isn’t the one that wants to end anybody’s defaults. I can think Handmaid’s Tale sucks, but if people want to buy it, buy it. Now, sales number wise, I’m guessing most of that books sales are mandatory college English class purchases, so if you’re planning on writing Handmaid 2: the Reckoning, keep that in mind. 🙂

      • “My side isn’t the one that wants to end anybody’s defaults.”

        Patently false. Like any gamma who attempts to ruffle feathers by puffing up like a peacock, your own words clearly demonstrate your gatekeeper, elitist intentions. YOUR words…

        “Readers want to enjoy stories where they can find characters like themselves, but to libs like Hines, that always comes down to race and sex, or whatever convenient little box you can put people in. Fuck that.”

        You are falling into the same trap that you allegedly disdain by attributing characteristics that readers OUGHT to have and that writers OUGHT to possess, because kill off sci-fi. You are a vociferous in your calls against the anti-Pink SF brigade. And that’s fine. But let us not kid ourselves when you claim that the important thing is STORY, not the cause of the day, while simultaneously promoting your own agenda. Hypocrite gonna hypocrite.

        “I can think Handmaid’s Tale sucks, but if people want to buy it, buy it.”


        Again, you are equally as guilty of shoving down people’s throats what ought not be promoted as well, an intricate member of the modern literati, lecturing from your own high horse to your fellow colleagues how they ought not “distract” the reader with “check box, binary gendered characters”, lest it further infest the host known as the sci-fi genre. You are another gatekeeper despite your implied assurances to the contrary. You are a carbon copy of those authors whom you oppose.

        “I’m guessing most of that books sales are mandatory college English class purchases, so if you’re planning on writing Handmaid 2: the Reckoning, keep that in mind”

        Actually, I’m working on a tome that is right in you and the Dread Ilk’s wheelhouse of you and the Dread Ilk–Brazillian Fart Porn. Just catering to the will of the people!

        Again, at the end of the day, readers are gonna read, and writers are gonna write.

      • Okay, it is late and I’m tired, but am I the only one that only understood like a third of wtf ever this guy was talking about? I’m behind on my buzzwords there gamma peacock dread ilk pink and blue, huh? I guess I’ll just get a good night’s sleep and try to deciper it in the morning.

      • I was going to ask what he’d been drinking to come up with a pile of gobbledygook like that, but I thought maybe I was just an unenlightened hick or something.

      • Okay, fresh and awake, let’s try to decipher this thing again… Still not sure what any of the code words mean, something relating to Vox’s fans, I think, don’t really get the inside baseball there. I think he’s trying to say I’m a gamma male. Which is odd, since I’ve been getting slammed for my cismale alpha male meaness all week, so that’s a welcome change.

        As for the rest, he’s conflating me writing a blog about a political topic with a message, with my fiction writing, where I try to put story first, yet specifically said you could put in a message if you can pull it off, but always story first.

        The next bit… Holy shit… Don’t really know what he’s saying. Apparently because I didn’t like Handmaid’s Tale, and gave an honest opinion of the book (BORED BORING BORED), I’m a gatekeeper who is just as bad as somebody who demanded an end to Special Topic of the Day X.

        That second to last paragraph, absolutely zero idea what any of his code words mean.

        Well, that was certainly fruitful.

      • You should take it easy on trying to decipher things like that. You might hurt your brain enough to make it hard to write.

      • Whatever, that’s just zulu bravo of the Nigerian buttersnaps. And if you don’t respond, I know you don’t want a real debate! Because spray primer coffee mug pencil sharpener!

      • Another person with reading comprehension issues.

        Given the number of people around here who have fervently stated what kind of stories they like to read ( and pointed out the ones that aren’t just “default) laying this all at Larry’s doorstep as putting words in people’s mouths is simply disingenuous.

        Even funnier – given that authors on the left (Such as LeGuin, and even Jim Hines) agree that “checkbox fiction” is bad, Larry isn’t exactly treading the hinterlands of authority advice.

      • Larry,

        I believe he is referring to the people who hang out at Vox’s site with the “dread ilk” reference.

        That said, his repeated attempts to conflate “This is (what I believe, right or wrong) readers want” with “this is what readers OUGHT TO want” smacks of poor english comprehension, or deliberate misrepresentation.

        Given that he takes what you say in clear english and then interprets is to mean the opposite (“I don’t like book X, but if it floats your boat go ahead and write/sell/read it” turned into you commanding what people should write and read yet again) because you somehow not liking something means you’re telling other people not to (despite what you actually say and how you actually act), I’m leaning towards willful ignorance and misrepresentation.

      • Meanwhile, saying “I want to end X” totally means that someone doesn’t want to actually end binary gender default.

        So, let’s remember: “people don’t like to be preached at, but if that’s what you want to write, so be it” totally means “DO AS I HAVE COMMANDED but saying “I want this to end” means “Oh, do whatever you want because I didn’t really mean the words I just used.”

        No wonder I stay so confused with the left sometimes.

  80. Larry, I’d say that you struck a nerve or maybe goosed her with a cattle prod. That’s one angry little gal right there.
    http://www.alexdallymacfarlane.com/2014/01/civility-and-comments-sections/

  81. […] more entertaining fiskifications (shut up, it totally is a word) was authored by the redoubtable Larry Correia (you don’t think he’s redoubtable? Just look at the man. Plug him into a gap in your […]

  82. “Even when you agree with the message, if it is ham fisted and shoved in your face, it turns you off.”

    L. Neil Smith’s Probability Broach came to mind instantly. This is a wondrous story, not because of the libertarian pap (a lot of which I personally agree with), but because he took the time to breath life into his characters and fleshed out not only his alternate world, but he alternate world’s history.

    That being said, even as a kid (I think i read the first time when I was about twelve), when Smith got into his preachy areas, like how law suits are handled in a system without a central government for instance, I KNEW I was being preached at and, again, even at twelve years old, skimmed right through because it’s…wait for it…TEDIOUS to be preached at when you’re trying to relax and enjoy a story.

  83. Interesting that you should mention Tor. They around a year or more ago bought the rights to print market Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius graphic novels, didn’t actually do it because they (by their own admission) don’t know how to market graphic novels, and have been dodging the Foglios’ calls while sitting on a huge printed run of them. To the point that Phil Foglio is now publicly complaining about two of their editors by name. So, Larry, you’re probably way better off steering clear of Tor — they are apparently incompetent as well as bigoted.

  84. Hi Larry, and thanks for this awesome post! I couldn’t agree more with you. As a reader, what matters to me is 1. THE STORY, 2. THE STORY and 3. THE STORy. A well-crafted story featuring characters with whom I can identify, for whom I can feel empathy and a plot that will keep me captivated will always win my vote, versus some conceptual books that are the product of intellectual masturbation that ends up in nothing but the author’s self satisfaction. Basing a book on a concept/message rather than on proper plot and characterization reminds me of these music composers who will venture in free-jazz, spectral music or whatever! They will explain what they meant and how superior their music is compared to something more mainstream, but as I listen to their composition, or, in the case of free jazz, their improvisation, I end up bored to death and with a headache the size of Texas. 🙂 Your post reflects implicitly this on-going debate: underground vs mainstream, while actually the only thing that counts in the eyes of the public is the quality of a production and the pleasure it gives. I don’t know how it is in the USA, but, I am French and in France, you can’t be a writer, be popular and be liked by the literary critics and the intellectual elite. Modern science fiction is considered as an “under-genre” and let’s not even mention modern fantasy. We have good authors though and a handful are popular, but they are not acknowledged the way they deserve to be, and that, just because of this intellectual snobbism. Anyway, I am very fortunate to have a perfect understanding of English and therefore to have the opportunity to enjoy each and every of your book. I might not share your political views, far from it, (and, although you don’t bash us readers with them in your books, they are present in your stories and especially in the MHI series), but, one thing is for sure: as long as you write good, gripping and fun stories, I know I’ll read them.

  85. I “default” pretty much to literature norms… if you can tell a great story, you can put whatever the hell you want in it. Stretch my brain, make my envelope a little wider, that’s why I read SF and Fantasy in the first place. If you can slide a little message in there, or pointed examination of the human (or alien) condition, bully for you.

    But, oh for the love of the gods, STORY first, please.

    Hurley’s quote in the original article pretty much hits this point. – ” Le Guin is a natural storyteller, and she concentrates on the story. It’s not overly didactic. It’s engaging and entertaining.”

    Tell me a good story, I’ll come looking for more. Tell me a GREAT strory and I’ll BUY your stuff and tell others to do so too. You could have a society where families willingly give their daughters to tentacle monsters to create Esper Hybrids if it’s a ripping yarn. But here’s a thought, the more radical the idea, pointed the social criticism or Heavier the Message, the stronger the STORY has to be to carry it without alienating the reader. Heh… ALIENating… heh heh.. (sorry)

    But preach at me, or worse, BORE me, and we’re DONE. The marketplace would seem to agree with my approach. Except for those pushing agendas, so do most editors who care about readers and selling a book or two.

  86. […] and praising, a link was passed to Mr. Larry Correia, and passed around his readers. He went on to write about it. Arrows were thrown, and many users at MHI said they were getting their comments deleted, this only […]

  87. […] and praising, a link was passed to Mr. Larry Correia, and passed around his readers. He went on to write about it. Arrows were thrown, and many users at MHI said they were getting their comments deleted, this only […]

  88. […] A few days ago, Alex D. MacFarlane posted an article on Tor.com about the past and future of post-binary gender in science fiction. It was smart and good and so, predictably, the trolls of the internet crawled out from under their bridges to offer their perspectives. […]

    • I just replied on your blog, you seem to have difficulty with reading comprehension or you’re just plain ignorant of facts. Here’s the reply for those reading here.
      “…like the fact that non-dualistic gender systems and identities have existed in the past and do exist today ” They are not the norm and are a miniscule part of the dualistic gender system. They are anomalies, whether in the human, plant, or lower species worlds.

      :… Alex MacFarlane never promoted the use of these nefarious “checklists” for book-writing…” She most emphatically did, twice. She stated very strongly that she wanted to get rid of the dualistic system.

      “… that The Left Hand of Darkness is an example of post-binary gender fiction and if you think it didn’t have a message you’re either dumber than a bucket of hammers or lying…” Ursula K.le Guin said it herself that she was interested and there was no message.

      You should think before you write.

      Oh yes, it’s awaiting moderation which means it’ll probably disappear into the internet wasteland.

  89. dgarsys–“laying this all at Larry’s doorstep as putting words in people’s mouths is simply disingenuous.”

    How noble for the damsel in distress to come to the rescue of her white knight. Speaking of comprehension, I clearly delineated that all groups involved in this fracas are snobbish.

    “Larry isn’t exactly treading the hinterlands of authority advice…”

    Well then, I best ensure that I consult with those authors, Blue SF and Pink SF alike, as to what constitutes “checkbox fiction” as the resident experts on the matter and make the required changes in my reading habits!

    • For one with pretensions of a literary nature, you kind of suck at conveying meaning. Your pedantic sophomore with a thesaurus sneer is seems to be less about presenting your point and more towards inflating your ego.

      • I really like the ‘clever’ way in which he tried to lob an insult Damsel in distress? Heh. Much insult! So name calling! Wow! Such smart! So ashamed!

        Given that the snobbery he accuses Larry of doesn’t exist because he completely misrepresented what was said (and made crap up from whole cloth) to twist it that way – the moral stance of “a pox on both your houses” is just further intellectual laziness.

  90. […] calling those adults children. By the way, do you have a link to the text in question? I've read a post on Correia's blog, but have no idea if it's the one referred to. (I tend to doubt it, if only because while it's […]

    • Oh good. More people telling me how my side needs to be more civil in every discussion. I wonder if the SFWAblogosphere gets the vapors and urges civility whenever the left leaning authors talk about teabagging racist hatemonger greedy 1%er evil capitalist destroying the earth and wanting old people to die in the streets because of the war on women and our guns that we love to murder minorities to compensate for our tiny genitals? Guessing no.

      But oh well. As we’ve seen amply demonstrated, even when we are civil, it really doesn’t matter because they just manufacture some crazy, hateful, racist, thisphobic and thatphobic shit that we never actually said, hang our picture on it, and then take a bold stand against that imaginary scourge.

      • http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Tone_argument

        Like I say: Sauce for the goose. If using a “tone argument” is derailing for their side, it’s derailing for ours too. We can also play that game, and liberals can’t act all shocked when they step on our feet and then get yelled at.

        But, you know. I’m the “mean one” in some of the circles I run in.

      • LC–“Still not sure what any of the code words mean, something relating to Vox’s fans, I think, don’t really get the inside baseball there.”

        Playing coy, I see. With all due respect, you are indeed familiar with the lingo espoused at VD.

        LC–“he’s conflating me writing a blog about a political topic with a message, with my fiction writing, where I try to put story first, yet specifically said you could put in a message if you can pull it off, but always story first.”

        Great, you put story first. Congratulations, have a Scalzi treat. So do Blue SF’ers, as well Pink SF’ers. They may even embed their message in the story, covertly or overtly, which is clearly within the author’s creative expression and discretion as you admit. BUT, your insistence Pink SF is ruining the genre because they are not following this supposed “rule” still constitutes as preaching, still wreaks of gatekeeping, regardless if you are writing outside of the realm as an author. After all, if Pink SF simply died out, you would not shed a tear.

        In the end, readers are going to read and writers are going to write, and I will enjoy the entertainment that the “Pink Brigade” and “Blue Squad” provide over their ideological differences amid the Twitter and blog firestorms.

        LC–“Apparently because I didn’t like Handmaid’s Tale, and gave an honest opinion of the book (BORED BORING BORED), I’m a gatekeeper who is just as bad as somebody who demanded an end to Special Topic of the Day X.”

        You must have enjoyed as a child the Three Little Pigs, most notably the one who built their house with straw. I never made this claim, I simply and correctly stated your actions are similar in nature to those authors whom you have utter disdain for.

        WB–“I was going to ask what he’d been drinking to come up with a pile of gobbledygook…”

        I wouldn’t expect you to keep up with a conversation that is above your ability to comprehend even the most basic of ideas.

        dgarsys–“I don’t like book X, but if it floats your boat go ahead and write/sell/read it” turned into you commanding what people should write and read yet again.

        When Larry states that Pink SF is an “annoyance” because of “proper goodthink”–after all, it bludgeons readers with a gender agenda–he would welcome the opportunity for it to be silenced.
        And Pink SF’ers would enjoy nothing more than for Blue SF to remove any and all vestiges, real or imaginary, of the ‘isms from its storyline. In any event, elitism runs deep.

        dgarsys–“Much insult! So name calling! Wow! Such smart! So ashamed!”


        
I congratulate you on your self-reflection.

        dgarsys–“the moral stance of “a pox on both your houses” is just further intellectual laziness.”

        

Cancer, not pox. Stimulation, not laziness.

        LC–“As we’ve seen amply demonstrated, even when we are civil, it really doesn’t matter because they just manufacture some crazy, hateful, racist, thisphobic and thatphobic shit that we never actually said, hang our picture on it, and then take a bold stand against that imaginary scourge.”

        Nigga, please. The left AND the right, the pinkshirts AND the blueshirts, are equal to the task of digital ink blunt force trauma.

        Joe In PNG–“For one with pretensions of a literary nature, you kind of suck at conveying meaning. Your pedantic sophomore with a thesaurus sneer is seems to be less about presenting your point and more towards inflating your ego.”

        Emotional response on your part. You must be female. If anyone is going to take you seriously, try dialectic conversation.


      • LC–“Apparently because I didn’t like Handmaid’s Tale, and gave an honest opinion of the book (BORED BORING BORED), I’m a gatekeeper who is just as bad as somebody who demanded an end to Special Topic of the Day X.”

        You must have enjoyed as a child the Three Little Pigs, most notably the one who built their house with straw. I never made this claim, I simply and correctly stated your actions are similar in nature to those authors whom you have utter disdain for.

        You might not have made the claim but scroll up. Look at the thread title. Look at the blog post which Larry was fisking which was calling for an end to “binary gender in fiction.”

        Someone claling for an end to this particular “Special Topic of the Day” is the very topic of this blog entry.

      • Emotional response on your part. You must be female.

        An emotional response (so claimed anyway) means the person must be a female?

        Sexist much?

      • “When Larry states that Pink SF is an “annoyance” because of “proper goodthink”–after all, it bludgeons readers with a gender agenda–he would welcome the opportunity for it to be silenced.”

        [Citation needed]

        He said it’s annoying and it’s running readers off, because a lot of people are leaving science fiction because they’re sick of being bludgeoned over the head with the topic du jour. People IN THIS VERY THREAD have said that. As a result, they’re leaving behind a lot of stuff that does no such thing. If you disagree, so be it, but it’s his opinion and the opinion of a lot of folks here.

        However, saying that he would welcome the opportunity for it to be silenced is just you projecting or something. Message fiction that doesn’t put story first should probably not be published, only because it’s not good. Message fiction that does isn’t what Larry’s talking about….as he’s said more times than I feel like counting.

        Or, do you have the reading comprehension of a turnip?

      • Pretty much that. I’ve never called for anybody to be silenced. I can think something is stupid and bad for our business because it chases off our customers, and it not be a call for censorship. Duh. I don’t really know how many times I could say in multiple blog posts that I really truly do not give a shit what other writers write and my problem is them shoving their bad business practices on us and demanding conformity.

      • Not playing coy. Hell, you can ask Vox yourself. I’m friends with him online, but mostly from private correspondence over the last year. I find him to be a sharp guy, even when we disagree, and we’ve had some good discusson of various topics. He’s fully aware that I don’t have time to follow a bunch of blogs, and I only usually tune into his when he gives me a heads up that it is something I might be interested in, and vice versa with him reading my stuff.

        But hey, if it helps you to think that a guy who writes and publishes as much as I do a year has the free time to follow every related blog enough to intimately understand all of their insider cultural references, then you are huffing paint. No. That is not a cultural reference. Stop huffing paint. It is bad for you.

        As for the rest, oh no. I’ve been morally condemned as a hypocrite by a random anonymous internet pussy. How will I live?

      • As for the rest, oh no. I’ve been morally condemned as a hypocrite by a random anonymous internet pussy. How will I live?

        That’s Ok, Larry, Just because I couldn’t decipher the pseudo-intellectual ramblings of a person who is clearly what some people refer to as someone, “So educated that his brains fell out”, he called me a moron.

        To the RAIP (Random Anonymous Internet Pussy): Even though I could make out the general meanings of most of the fashionable buzzwords I haven’t had the time or inclination to go learn in the “hallowed” halls of some Leftoid institution (where most of the people should be institutionalized), doesn’t mean I don’t have the ability to think, Unfortunately for you, you’re not communicating with a bunch of fuzz-brained “intellectuals”, who are so used to convoluted stream-of-consciousness blather that contains all the “smart” words they are looking for that they will cheer anything that is pasted together with them. The people here actually expect to read something approximating correct sentence usage, at least from someone claiming to have a brain. Yes, there may be plenty of people here who are not the greatest shakes with their grammar and/or spelling, but they at least will acknowledge that fact.

      • GMC- perhaps the words I used in my reply were too big for you? So allow me to explain… no, allow me to sum up. You seem to think that using really big complicated words makes you look really smart.

        It doesn’t. It just shows that you do not know how to communicate.

  91. […] Larry Correia, an author that I not only respect, but rather enjoy for his outspoken views and ‘lay it on the line’ presentation of himself to the world; came out with this response to the original post. (warning, this has strong content. Then again, if you wish to have censored material this might not be the blog for you) :  https://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/ending-binary-gender-in-fiction-or-how-to-murder-your-w… […]

  92. Tom–“As a result, they’re leaving behind a lot of stuff that does no such thing.”

    Then that is the problem of Sci-Fi readers, NOT the authors of Pink Sci-Fi. If “odds are [Pink Sci-Fi] authors are going to bore the shit out of [the] reader”, then publishers will be mindful of that trend and start giving what the audience wants. However, Pink Sci-Fi has actually INCREASED in readership, so apparently there must be a market for those stories.

    Tom–“However, saying that he would welcome the opportunity for it to be silenced is just you projecting or something.”

    “Binary gender” will be a part of sci-fi. To what extent? Longevity? That remains to be seen. So, if this “problem” remains a consistent thorn in the side of Blue Sci-Fi’ers, the only legitimate way to solve it is to eradicate it from existence.

    So be fucking honest. If Pink Sci-Fi became extinct, the Blue Sci-Fi’ers would hold a bonfire in honor of the last vestiges of this scourge being forever removed from the sci-fi community.

    Anyways, one can request “no more ‘binary gender’ in sci-fi”; and those who advocate its place in this genre will say (and rightly so) “Fuck you”. Likewise, if the Pink Shirts hold a rally denouncing the “machismo” of Blue Sci-Fi, and demand it be boycotted (because sexist), the Blue Sci-Fi’ers are equally right to say “Blow me”.

    In the end, people are going to read what they want to read, and people are going to write what they want to write.

    
Joe In PNG–”It doesn’t. It just shows that you do not know how to communicate.”

    Stringing together “big words” in coherent sentences that drive home a cogent point is a sign of intelligent discussion. Jealous?

    WB–“The people here actually expect to read something approximating correct sentence usage”.

    I wil keep that in mine next time I right. 🙂

    WB–“To the RAIP (Random Anonymous Internet Pussy)”

    I thought only leftists were the ones who weren’t civil!

    LC–”As for the rest, oh no. I’ve been morally condemned as a hypocrite by a random anonymous internet pussy. How will I live?”

    You’ll do just fine writing and selling your books. As far as being “morally condemned as a hypocrite”, God is keeping track of the overall score.

    
Tom–”Message fiction that doesn’t put story first should probably not be published, only because it’s not good.”

    “Probably”? That’s weak sauce. Be a man and state what you really think.

    “Not good”? No, that’s not gatekeeper talk couched by a value judgement. My bad.

    “I can think something is stupid and bad for our business because it chases off our customers, and it not be a call for censorship.”

    

Of course it’s not censorship! But if something has been “proven” to be harmful to an audience and the financial bottom line, what is the logical solution? Enable it to continue to exist, despite its overall negative consequences? Riiiight.

    thewriterinblack–”Sexist much?”



    Yep. Got a problem with that? Take it up with consumer affairs.

    WB–”“hallowed” halls of some Leftoid institution (where most of the people should be institutionalized)”

    Thread winner, ladies and gents! Thanks for the laugh!

    • Then that is the problem of Sci-Fi readers, NOT the authors of Pink Sci-Fi. If “odds are [Pink Sci-Fi] authors are going to bore the shit out of [the] reader”, then publishers will be mindful of that trend and start giving what the audience wants. However, Pink Sci-Fi has actually INCREASED in readership, so apparently there must be a market for those stories.

      As so-called “pink sci-fi” (whatever the hell that is) increased it’s own readership, or readership of sci-fi as a whole. Sure, message fiction will see increases in those who are simply interested in the message, but it can hurt science fiction as a whole.

      However, if writers are putting out crap that pushes readers away, then it’s on the writers. If they put out good books, most readers wouldn’t give a damn what message they’ve got.

      “Binary gender” will be a part of sci-fi. To what extent? Longevity? That remains to be seen. So, if this “problem” remains a consistent thorn in the side of Blue Sci-Fi’ers, the only legitimate way to solve it is to eradicate it from existence.

      But that’s not what good old Alex said that she wanted. No, she wanted to end it as the default, which means she wants to make it so all science fiction has characters that are only a small minority of the population.

      Meanwhile, we’re just saying she and folks like her need to butt out and just write what they want to write and let the rest of us right what we want to write.

      So be fucking honest. If Pink Sci-Fi became extinct, the Blue Sci-Fi’ers would hold a bonfire in honor of the last vestiges of this scourge being forever removed from the sci-fi community.

      Not really. Most of us don’t pay enough attention to it to even notice. It’s not until they start blabbing about how they want to end science fiction as we enjoy it that folks like us get spun up.

      If it ended, we wouldn’t celebrate it. We wouldn’t even notice it.

      Tom–”Message fiction that doesn’t put story first should probably not be published, only because it’s not good.”

      “Probably”? That’s weak sauce. Be a man and state what you really think.

      First, you must be dense. Do you not comprehend that there’s a difference between message fiction and fiction with a message? No one is saying the second type doesn’t have a place.

      And, for the record, there’s plenty of message fiction coming from the right side of the political spectrum. You want to know something? That stuff sucks too. As a whole, I dislike it just as much. It’s not what the message is, it’s that the message is put first and I don’t like being preached at unless my butt is sitting in a pew on Sunday morning.

      Second, I did say what I really though. I’m not in the book publishing business, so if a book sucks, it probably shouldn’t be publish. If I were a book publisher, I wouldn’t. I don’t know what business decisions have driven other publishers to decide otherwise.

      “Not good”? No, that’s not gatekeeper talk couched by a value judgement. My bad.

      Bad writing is bad writing. Good writing is good writing. This isn’t gatekeeper talk at all. Good writing puts story first, even if there’s a message in there and no one is getting worked up about that. I might not like the message, but I’ve read a lot of stuff like that and I kept reading because the writing was good.

      

Of course it’s not censorship! But if something has been “proven” to be harmful to an audience and the financial bottom line, what is the logical solution? Enable it to continue to exist, despite its overall negative consequences? Riiiight.

      First, read you post that I was replying too. Go on, I’ll wait. In it, you said, “When Larry states that Pink SF is an “annoyance” because of “proper goodthink”–after all, it bludgeons readers with a gender agenda–he would welcome the opportunity for it to be silenced.” To be silenced requires censorship, something no one here has proposed. We just have an issue with being told we should write fiction that conforms to what someone else thinks is “fine”, when they don’t bother to write what we happen to think is fine.

      Second, enabling it to exist is extreme. Enabling indicates we would do something actively to permit it. Ignoring its existence is more like it. They do their thing, we do our thing, and no one cares either way.

      What you don’t get is that there is no one here is talking about so-called “pink sci-fi” disappearing. We’re talking about a specific fault of a lot of fiction that we all think completely and totally blows…because it doesn’t put the story first. Put a good story first, and I don’t care if your main character is a gay transexual turnip. A good story is a good story.

      • Probably a waste of time to argue with him Tom (just “Tom”). He has consistently ignored the plain and direct meaning of what was said, added other things that were utterly made up, and proceeded to construct an edifice of large pretty words as if he was the smartest guy in the room or something.

        Since the foundation is just so much bullshit, the rest of the structure he’s built on top of it isn’t even worth debating. Mocking – perhaps (and that retort to my memetic jab was so sadly predictable). Pointing out the lies and obfuscation that form the base assumptions to expose him as a bulshitter – certainly (until it’s obvious you’re wasting time better spent elsewhere)

        There are reasons one may not speak in the local cultural buzz speak where one finds oneself – one may still be ignorant of it, or deliberately speak in plain language to make a point or deny someone the cover of jargon so they must explain themselves and not obfuscate matters.

        Outside of that, deliberately speaking in pseudo academic, jargonated, or “newspeak”-ish language when it isn’t necessary for technical precision in a group where such talk is not the norm doesn’t point to intelligence, but instead to pretentious intellectualism (as opposed to actual intellect). In short – a douche.

        Smart people don’t have to put on airs – and a person who can speak plainly of a difficult topic demonstrates far more mastery and understanding.

        It’s also amusing he thinks we’re hypocrites for being rude in return – supposedly complaining about liberal intolerance – without, yet again, getting the full context. We believe in being combative when necessary (forex: the ideal solution to the prisoner dilemma once it leaves the realm of pure reason and reputation/human factors become involved). We simply hate the hypocrisy of someone who preaches civility to get his opponent to shut up while saying nasty passive-agressive things.

        But of course, the “both say mean things sometimes so now they’re even” is just another logical fallacy in a long, long string of them.

        Funny how the ones who believe aggression can be necessary and should be prepared for are the ones most consistently polite, yet the ones who make passive aggressive attacks and throw names about are the first to whine when someone responds in kind.

      • Yeah, but I don’t want Larry to have all the fun. 🙂

      • Point taken. 🙂

    • Jealous? No. I own a thesaurus.

      But I must say that your sophmoric screeds do remind me of an old ‘Calvin and Hobbes” strip, the one where Calvin decides to use really big words to make his writing assignments more impressive.

    • thewriterinblack–”Sexist much?”



      Yep. Got a problem with that? Take it up with consumer affairs.

      Ah. So you’re a bigot as well as an idiot. Nice to know. It puts the rest of what you say into perspective.

      • No, not a bigot. Just a professional cruelty artist.

        Besides, racism, sexism, homophobia are WAY overrated and overused by the left and the right. But thanks for throwing out one of the cards that leftists heavily rely on!

      • No, not a bigot.

        So you’re at step 1. Now let’s see if we can get through Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and finally to Acceptance.

  93. Hey, larry, Hines took to first redacting or obliterating my comments, then to simply leaving them in Limbo. Mind if I post them here so people I’ve tried to answer don’t simply assume I ignored them? If not comfy with that, go ahead and delete the below:

    • Tom Kratman
    January 31st, 2014 at 4:57 pm
    [Yadda, yadda, “thoughtcrime,” yadda yadda, “no offense was intended,” yadda, yadda, “free speech,” yadda, yadda, goblin snack food.]
    • Tom Kratman
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    January 31st, 2014 at 7:12 pm
    Not really concerned with free speech, Jim. Utterly amused at liberal hypocrisy, though.

    ************************************************************
    • Lenora Rose
    February 1st, 2014 at 1:08 am
    So now you’re saying that you’re too lazy a writer to do basic research. Looking up the term people use to call themselves is no harder, in fact, than double checking a map of a city to make sure the street corner you mention actually exists.
    • Tom Kratman
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    February 1st, 2014 at 2:34 pm
    If the acceptable words stayed the same, Lenora, I’d probably go along with it. They don’t. They move around too much. I object to that for the same reason I object to Newspeak, for the same reason illustrated by Thucydides in the passage I quoted above. Playing with the language – deliberately manipulating it for political ends – is playing with fire and I will not acqueisce in it; I will not support it; I will not surrender to it.
    It’s not that languages can’t change; they do. But they do so naturally at a rate that doesn’t undermine basic meanings and understandings. The same cannot be said for deliberate manipulation of languages. That’s how Jew becomes fremden becomes untermensch becomes inmate becomes a lamp shade. That’s how hard working peasant becomes kulak becomes enemy of the people becomes inmate becomes fertilizer.
    And, again, I’ll have no part in it.

    Morgan
    January 31st, 2014 at 1:58 pm • Reply
    Glad to know that people like me (genderqueer) and my partner (transgender) are a joke to you. I will make a point not to buy your books.
    • Tom Kratman
    January 31st, 2014 at 3:14 pm • Reply
    [I’m tired of the “you’re just looking for reasons to be offended” nonsense. This comment was therefore given to the fire-spider to use as nesting material. -Jim]
    o Tom Kratman
    January 31st, 2014 at 4:45 pm • Reply
    Typical. Sure, toss out the good with the bad and leave Morgan in ignorance as to what the post actually says.
    [Tom, you’ve posted about 50 comments here. If you haven’t been able to make your point by now, it ain’t gonna happen. It’s time for you to stop wasting everybody’s time. -Jim]
     Tom Kratman
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    January 31st, 2014 at 7:10 pm • Reply
    Oh, I’ve made my point, and you’ve contributed to it, but you don’t seem to know what the point is nor to understand how you contributed.
     Tom Kratman
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    January 31st, 2014 at 7:35 pm • Reply
    No one is obliged to read anything I’ve written, Jim, so any “waste of time” is on them, if they choose to. But if someone comments, and it raises another or side point, or rebuts or purports to rebut something I’ve written, simply politeness suggests I answer.
    • Tom Kratman
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    January 31st, 2014 at 4:46 pm • Reply
    Identify the joke you think you see, Morgan. Then try harder and identify the real world problem – no goddamned joke – it illustrates.

  94. Joe in PNG–“But I must say that your sophmoric screeds…”

    
At least Tom has the gumption to respond a tad intelligently. Your lack of substance is telling. Clearly, you are too tall for this ride. You remind me of a little annoying kid who says “Yeah, you’re wrong” when it was his classmates who exclusively crafted the argument.

    dgaysys–“ He has consistently ignored the plain and direct meaning of what was said, added other things that were utterly made up, and proceeded to construct an edifice of large pretty words as if he was the smartest guy in the room or something.”


    Mirror, look into it.

    dgaysys–“Outside of that, deliberately speaking in pseudo academic, jargonated, or “newspeak”-ish language…”

    I suggest you carefully review your 8:58 p.m. post, because it is the poster child for what you described. Ironic, is it not?

    dgaysys–“We simply hate the hypocrisy of someone who preaches civility to get his opponent to shut up while saying nasty passive-agressive things.”

    
Strawman. I haven’t told you explicitly or implicitly to “shut up”, nor have I outright condemned you regarding any incivil tone or language.

    The gist of the argument proffered is that “‘Good’ sci-Fi authors focus exclusively on story to draw in their readers, but that story may contain gender and gender changes…so long as the message is not brought up in what I THINK or MAY CONSTITUTE as a “heavy handed, anvilicious sort of way”, lest, the genre is being ruined! But I won’t interfere with this bastard child of Sci-Fi called “message fiction”, because I don’t believe in censorship, even though it is overall ruining the genre.

    
Except, certain individuals are taken it upon themselves to solely determine that the content of specific writing is “crap that pushes reader’s away”. Ultimately, when something is being “defiled”, the followers of that something actively take action to purge it. Otherwise, the purity of that something becomes rotten to the core.

    Tom–“If it ended, we wouldn’t celebrate it. We wouldn’t even notice it.”

    Bullshit. There would be a ticker tape parade.

    Tom–”Do you not comprehend that there’s a difference between message fiction and fiction with a message?”



    There is no difference! It’s called literature. As Billy Joel opined “”Hot funk, cool punk, even if it’s old junk, it’s still rock and roll to me”

    
Tom–”We just have an issue with being told we should write fiction that conforms to what someone else thinks is “fine”, when they don’t bother to write what we happen to think is fine.”
    
Which…is…exactly…what..you…are…doing…like…any…elitist…and…gatekeeper.

    dgaysy–“Funny how the ones who believe aggression can be necessary and should be prepared for are the ones most consistently polite, yet the ones who make passive aggressive attacks and throw names about are the first to whine when someone responds in kind.”



    I find it utterly amusing that you desire most vociferously to put words in my mouth and project your actions onto me. The only little school girl whining about passive-aggressive attacks and being rude is you. By all means, continue with your use of Alinsky tactics, I find it fascinating.

    
Thanks to everyone, you have inspired me to write.

    There is conflict within sci-fi
    A community up in arms
    The blueshirts wield their mighty pen
    When the pinkshirts sound the alarm

    At issue with all the blueshirts
    They know for certain what was meant
    They bemoan the pinkshirts are turncoats
    With the past works they must reinvent

    How dare that readers are smitten
    New spin on classics read as a child
    The damsel in distress is now a man
    And the chick rugged and never beguiled

    So man up you bitch ass gammas
    You shan’t ignore the gatekeepers call
    But when the customer is always right
    Who in the end gives a fuck at all

    Finis…

    • I strongly doubt that this is truely finis, gmc. You’ll return.

    • If I may interject in regard to the following.

      (Tom–”Do you not comprehend that there’s a difference between message fiction and fiction with a message?”



      There is no difference! It’s called literature. As Billy Joel opined “”Hot funk, cool punk, even if it’s old junk, it’s still rock and roll to me”)

      I have to agree with Tom that there is indeed a difference, yes they may all fall under the definition of liturature both consisting of the written word and holding many simularities, but as I comprehend the differance Tom is getting at I believe he is viewing it as the following.

      1. message fiction is fiction in which the story is about a ham fisted message, an attempt by the author to shove their belief/opinion upon another in the guise of being a fiction story.

      2. Fiction with a message is a fiction story-emphasis on the story- which just happens to contain a message either well inplaced so as not to ditract from the fiction story but is rather a working conributing part of it, for example the need for good to unite in order to conquer evil, as could be seen in the lord of the rings trilogy. a message it may be but it doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the story.

      I could say more but I believe I have stated this with enough clarity so that it hopefully wont be misunderstood by anyone, and Tom if I am misunderstanding your intended meaning please let me know as I would be inturested to here what your take on it is in more detail otherwise.

      • oops and to go along with the either on the second line of 2. the other form might be a message being present as part of the story but unintentionally included.
        Sorry about that lapse on my part.

      • Nope. You pretty much said it exactly the way I intended it. I thought it was fairly obvious, and since you and I have NEVER interacted online before as far as I know, I’m going to guess that it was pretty obvious.

      • Yes! Correct comprehension of intended meaning.
        Achievement unlocked!!! 🙂

    • The pretentiousness that made your inability to leave the standard argument checklist moderately amusing is getting old, but perhaps there’s still some amusement available. I’ll note you may be trying for cruel, but you’re coming across as petty, and you are no artist. Yet I’m sufficiently at loose ends that this is more entertaining than other stuff near the top of my todo list.

      dgaysys–“ He has consistently ignored the plain and direct meaning of what was said, added other things that were utterly made up, and proceeded to construct an edifice of large pretty words as if he was the smartest guy in the room or something.”


      Mirror, look into it.

      Look in it every day, and have measured myself against nature in man in multiple careers and means, any one of which would be challenging for many. You still don’t seem to comprehend the difference in nature/quality between what Alex was asking for and Larry was, yet misrepresent them as the same (or Larry as worse), my point stands. You are full of bullshit.
      (And how cute – “dgaysis”)

      dgaysys–“Outside of that, deliberately speaking in pseudo academic, jargonated, or “newspeak”-ish language…”

      I suggest you carefully review your 8:58 p.m. post, because it is the poster child for what you described. Ironic, is it not?

      Jargon? Nope. Newspeak/PC? Nope. Maybe a bit dry because I wanted to make my point crystal clear, but if you honestly think what I wrote was academic, then that is further evidence your english comprehension doesn’t come anywhere near your pretensions at being cleverer than us bears of little brain.

      I of course await your educating me on what I said that was jargon, newspeak, or academic – especially since I know plenty of country boys who are glorified power plant mechanics and never went to college who have no problems reading that sort of thing. Back up your assertions – it’s already been pointed out where what you’ve said justifies my saying the foundations of your arguments are dishonest bullshit.

      dgaysys–“We simply hate the hypocrisy of someone who preaches civility to get his opponent to shut up while saying nasty passive-aggressive things.”

      
Strawman. I haven’t told you explicitly or implicitly to “shut up”, nor have I outright condemned you regarding any incivil tone or language.

      Now now. You didn’t say that to me – but you did make a lot of nasty and petty snide comments, and one specifically directed elsewhere calling someone out about civility, and how conservatives like to complain about liberals not being civil. I was correcting you in pointing out that we don’t believe in 100% civility – punishment/retaliation is justified – but get tired of behavior we’ve seen over and over again: constant calls for civility made after somewhat denaible passive agressive attacks. Having seen pats on the back for tolerance from people who’ve just wished a person espousing a “conservative” view to die a horrible death, or the ceremonial washing of the hands regarding Orson Scott Card anytime someone begrudgingly decides Enders Game must needs to be brought up, I was calling bullshit on hitting someone over civility.

      You were granted civility as a default, and have proven yourself unworthy of it – I won’t grant you any further civility beyond that I owe the proprietor of this blog.

      The gist of the argument proffered is that “‘Good’ sci-Fi authors focus exclusively on story to draw in their readers, but that story may contain gender and gender changes…so long as the message is not brought up in what I THINK or MAY CONSTITUTE as a “heavy handed, anvilicious sort of way”, lest, the genre is being ruined! But I won’t interfere with this bastard child of Sci-Fi called “message fiction”, because I don’t believe in censorship, even though it is overall ruining the genre.

      Skewed, but reasonably within shouting distance of what was written as paraphrases go. Not exclusively though – primarily. This point was made repeatedly – and it is not a subtle or unimportant distinction.

      
Except, certain individuals are taken it upon themselves to solely determine that the content of specific writing is “crap that pushes reader’s away”. Ultimately, when something is being “defiled”, the followers of that something actively take action to purge it. Otherwise, the purity of that something becomes rotten to the core.

      …and HERE is where your rephrasing leaves reality behind. That weasel word – solely. Yes, I – and everyone else here – have the right to SOLELY (for ourselves) determine what is crap and what isn’t, and have our opinions on what’s killing the genre. You are the one who thinks we wish to SOLELY determine this for everyone else with no justification – which is ironic because it was originally Alex who wished that no book be allowed to be published that conflicted with her worldview.

      Who else should determine for me (or Larry) what kind of stuff is crap that pushes readers away? It’s an opinion. You too are allowed to have one – it’s a natural right. But you can’t tell us which one we must have… and we’re not telling you which one you must have.

      There’s a difference between saying “here’s what I believe is screwed up, if you want to sell a lot of books don’t do this, or you’re making a big mistake” and “Here’s what I believe is a bad way to write books, I don’t want to ever have to see that kind of book.” hint: One implies a degree of authority – moral or otherwise – over someone else to make that determination for them, and the use of force to employ it. You may be too educated to see that distinction though.

      Tom–“If it ended, we wouldn’t celebrate it. We wouldn’t even notice it.”

      Bullshit. There would be a ticker tape parade.

      Calling people liars over what opinions they hold, and what they think their friends would do – with far less evidence than the patently disprovable bullshit you’ve peddled. Especially given piles of evidence that we not only don’t care, but actually enjoy a lot of stories that are not “message fic” that nevertheless hold a radically different worldview in their core assumptions.

      Unfortunately, repeatedly ignoring what people here and elsewhere have said about what they like to read/etc. is just par for the course so far for you.

      Tom–”Do you not comprehend that there’s a difference between message fiction and fiction with a message?”



      There is no difference! It’s called literature. As Billy Joel opined “”Hot funk, cool punk, even if it’s old junk, it’s still rock and roll to me”

      But there is – it’s one of emphasis. This has been well addressed in depth by someone else.


      Tom–”We just have an issue with being told we should write fiction that conforms to what someone else thinks is “fine”, when they don’t bother to write what we happen to think is fine.”

      
Which…is…exactly…what..you…are…doing…like…any…elitist…and…gatekeeper.

      You almost have a point here. Almost.

      1) There’s a difference between saying “we don’t care if you want to have oddball genders, but if you are bringing it up simply because you are tired of the existing (nature’s) default, or want to always shove in some non-default binary gender rather than making sure it fits the story, the story will suffer” and “I’m mad about seeing stories where people are the same genders as in real life, let’s end this, I never want to see another story like it”

      It’s the difference between “does this difference make the story/character work” and “we need to have one person of this gender. Now – what’s the story”. Again, it’s a difference of emphasis.

      2) Being a gatekeeper means one must have the power to let you pass or keep you out.

      3) Nothing wrong with wanting the best. Elitist is good or bad depending on the moral axes used, and that dog doesn’t hunt.

      dgaysy–“Funny how the ones who believe aggression can be necessary and should be prepared for are the ones most consistently polite, yet the ones who make passive aggressive attacks and throw names about are the first to whine when someone responds in kind.”



      I find it utterly amusing that you desire most vociferously to put words in my mouth and project your actions onto me. The only little school girl whining about passive-aggressive attacks and being rude is you. By all means, continue with your use of Alinsky tactics, I find it fascinating.
      
Thanks to everyone, you have inspired me to write.

      You are easily amused. Not a problem – so am I – it means there may be some hope that you’re not irretrievably stuck on “highbrow” and able to enjoy the lowbrow now and then. Too bad you can’t tell the difference between when I am calling you on your bullshit specifically, and when I’m making a commentary on commonly seen behavior patterns.

      I like the projection / hypocrisy card. Too bad that one’s overdrawn, especially since I don’t hold the worldview that it’s wrong to be rude to someone who’s proven themselves an asshat. You earned it and destroyed my willingness to extend default civility toward you. I’ve also very directly mocked your pretentiousness, and called you either incompetent at comprehending english or a deliberate and disingenuous bullshitter for how you’ve twisted words about. No passive aggression there.

      • Since you’ve already rebutted the comments directed toward me pretty much as I would have, I see no reason to respond directly, except to say:

        gcm: I have never tried to peer into the hears of men I disagreed with. I said “probably” earlier about publishing what I feel is crap for just that reason. I took Alex’s words to mean what she said, not what she may have felt or intended. I don’t claim to know what she meant and won’t unless she writes something else later.

        Her words were that she wanted to end the default. I take her at her word. Since I have no intention of writing to a checklist, which is what we would have to do to make sure we meet her approved default, we would be at loggerheads. Since she says she wants to end the default, and plenty of us have no intention to stop writing the default, there’s reason to suspect that she would see us censored. Either way, she clearly wants to change how we write.

        Yet we’re the elitists and the gatekeepers because we simply want the message crowd to put the story first? No one is telling them to stop with the messages. We’re telling them to not be so hamfisted about so more people will read their books…even if we don’t care of the message.

        It’s funny. We’re trying to help people we disagree with to write stories that will reach people who normally wouldn’t even give them the time of day, and we’re the elitists and such.

        You, however, seem to know what is in our hearts and minds? Absolutely pathetic. To quote W.C. Fields, “Go away kid, ya bother me.”

  95. […] A Look At SF’s Right Wing History (crowd sourcing) Post Binary Gender In SF …  Correia’s Rebuttal  … Hines’ Response Women In the Military BSFA Profile On the Father Of Black History […]

  96. Probably my last comment to Hines, as my fun meter there is about pegged:

    Hines: [Maybe I wasn’t clear, but this is not the space for people to come try to argue about how people asking to be addressed and referred to in certain ways is like the dehumanization that led to the Holocaust. So let me try to be a little more blunt. All of your Nazi/Holocaust comparisons will be fed to the goblins and the fire-spider. No matter how “politely” they’re written. -Jim]
    Tom Kratman
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    February 2nd, 2014 at 7:12 pm
    Why, Jim, what an ingrate you are. I am shocked and appalled, yes, appalled and shocked. Why here I am, saving you the trouble of having to hunt for offense and are you grateful? Why, no! Tsk. For shame. Think: By just giving it to you, gratis, not only am I saving you time and trouble, I am fulfilling my Christian duty to offend those who so obviously and so desperately _need_ to be offended that they’ll look for and find offense even where none is intended or offered. Once again, tsk.
    This comment will be on Correia’s, and probably Baen’s bar.

    • In other words, Jim Hines can’t take what he dishes out.

    • You just have to love when they trot out this hoary, belaboured strawman:

      Quote:Elizabeth McClellan (@popelizbet)
      February 1st, 2014 at 3:38 pm · Reply
      Once again, Tom makes the rookie mistake of claiming his free speech and freedom of thought are being impinged by not being allowed to say whatever he wants in a private forum paid for and maintained by someone else…his online living room, as Popehat & others put it.

      Tom, I’m waiting for your home address. Your position on free speech leads me to assume I’m welcome to come recite obscene poetry in your actuak living room for hours without being interrupted or asked to leave, since you value my free expression so much. It’s rare that a person values my free speech so much, so I’m looking forward to it. Don’t you dare refuse, lest you be accused of intolerance for my free speech.

      You never brought up the issue of “free speech”, as it it, correctly, doesn’t apply to a non-governmental blog.

      They’ll resort to any lie to avoid having to admit to the fact that they can’t have a discussion without censoring the opposition so they can win.

      • Argh! Formatting silliness….

        For clarity, the two longer paragraphs in the post above were the quoted part. The end-quote tag fell off….

        The two seperated sentances at the end are mine.

  97. This is quite possibly the silliest thing I’ve seen. As an aspiring writer, my opinion is that the story drives the characters, not what I think people want to read or should be reading. While diversity is important and all people regardless of their shape, gender, color, religion, politic, or sexuality, it should not be a requirement that all of them be represented in a story.

  98. […] this piece by John C. Wright discussing issues of more philosophical import. Mr. Wright linked to a post by Larry Correia which rebutted an article on Tor.com by Alex […]

  99. CS–“Message fiction is fiction in which the story is about a ham fisted message” vs. “Fiction with a message is a fiction story-emphasis on the story”

    Purely subjective categories. Besides, who is doing the labeling? What credentials do these individuals have in undertaking this task in determining the criteria for “hamfistedness”?

    dgaysys–”The pretentiousness that made your inability to leave the standard argument checklist moderately amusing is getting old”

    Yet, you find it well within yourself to pen a diatribe with the same tired arguments that have been repeatedly refuted.

    dgaysys–”You still don’t seem to comprehend the difference in nature/quality…”

    

And you don’t seem to understand that people here are insisting on that difference is being elitist and a gatekeeper.

    dgaysys–”but if you honestly think what I wrote was academic”

    There is nothing academic about your bullshit.

    dgaysys–”I of course await your educating me on what I said that was jargon, newspeak, or academic.”

    
Never made the claim. More straw on your part.

    dgaysys–“You didn’t say that to me – but you did make a lot of nasty and petty snide comments”

    Feelings hurt yet?

    dgaysys–“…, and one specifically directed elsewhere calling someone out about civility.”

    Mocking someone about their civility. Listen, conservatives and liberals are EQUALLY guilty of being uncivil. Got it, Cochise? Good.

    dagaysys–“You were granted civility as a default, and have proven yourself unworthy of it.”


    OMG, what am I going to do now that you deemed me to be uncivil?

    dagaysys–”You are the one who thinks we wish to SOLELY determine this for everyone else with no justification”.

    The justification, from my vantage point, is rooted in tortured logic and confirmation bias.

    dgaysys–“But you can’t tell us which one we must have… and we’re not telling you which one you must have.”

    
You can have your opinion, I’m just saying its convoluted; in the end, people are going to read what they want and people are going to write what they want, even when labeled “message fiction”.

    dgaysysp–“There’s a difference between saying “here’s what I believe is screwed up, if you want to sell a lot of books don’t do this, or you’re making a big mistake”…

    A mistake from YOUR vantage point.

    Tom–”Yet we’re the elitists and the gatekeepers because we simply want the message crowd to put the story first? No one is telling them to stop with the messages. We’re telling them to not be so hamfisted about so more people will read their books…even if we don’t care of the message.”

    And what happens if they continue to be “hamfisted”? The decline of the genre. So if something causes something to decline, people insist that this decline stops. What is one way to ensure this decline comes to an end? Mmmm.

    Tom–“We’re trying to help people we disagree with to write stories that will reach people who normally wouldn’t even give them the time of day, and we’re the elitists and such.”

    Such charity should be recognized and celebrity!

    Rewritten for accuracy–We are trying to shame authors we believe focus on gender too much by telling them that their stories do not measure up to our preconceived standards of “story first”.

    Bill–”it should not be a requirement that all of them be represented in a story.”

    Of course it is not mandatory, but if an author feels compelled, in their own story, to make it that way, that is his/her call to make.


    • I called it. I said that gmc would come back, and he did.

      All those electrons and pixels just to say “You meanies do it too!”

      And note- this isn’t Lit class. You don’t get course credit by hiding the meaning of your words through dumping enough jargon and BS that the poor TA gives up and gives you a passing grade, just so they can go an do anything else but decipher whatever the hell it is you’re trying to say. You make James freaking Joyce look like Hemingway.

    • [willow voice]Bored now.[/willow voice]

    • gcm- in reply to your reply to me I would say that it would lie with the readers to decide ultimately what is hamfisted or not based on whether it interferes with their enjoyment of the story or not.
      If you want someone with better credentials doing the catagorizing, I would recommend taking the majority opinions of authors who have several years of experiance, plus large sales to back up that their own stories are good enough to likely meet standerds of the general public rather than drive them away.

      I will also still hold that message fiction and fiction with a message are indeed viable sub-catagories of literature, just as much as your use of pink and blue sci-fi catagories.

    • That’s it. I’m done.

      gcm: I’ve tried to be as polite to you as I possibly could, especially considering how your responses are worded, and not just to me but to everyone. I’m just done.

      I’m done dealing with a pompous windbag who seems to know what I mean based on his or her own perceived biases, despite the fact that I wrote EXACTLY WHAT THE FUCK I MEANT!

      You can keep putting words in people’s mouths all you want, but it’s fucking bullshit. You obviously lack the intellectual capacity to actually debate the topic without resorting to such tactics, so I’m just done with you.

      I’m done feeding the troll, and yes, his behavior qualifies as trollish by this point (no offense to Melvin!), so now it’s time for him to be ignored so he will go away to munch elsewhere.

      Before it’s said though, disagreeing with me isn’t trollish. I deal with that all the time. However, constantly putting words in people’s mouths, “translating” what they said to mean something completely different, and other such dickish behavior earns him the title of troll. Good job, dipshit.

      • CS–”I would recommend taking the majority opinions of authors who have several years of experiance, plus large sales to back up that their own stories are good enough to likely meet standerds of the general public rather than drive them away.”

        Except that “Pink Sci-Fi” has INCREASED in sales, according to the venerable Vox Day. Regardless, “mission fiction” is rooted in abject subjectivity, a vehicle by which its adherents vehemently oppose its subject material in the political sphere, which invariably seeps its way into an author’s consciousness.

        JoeinPNG–“He keeps going on and on, and doesn’t say one single thing of any sort of substance.”

        And you want to be my Latex salesman!

        Tom–”However, constantly putting words in people’s mouths, “translating” what they said to mean something completely different, and other such dickish behavior earns him the title of troll. Good job, dipshit.”

        
Thank you for agreeing that dgaysys meets YOUR criteria for what constitutes a troll. It took gumption on your part to overcome your natural tendencies to support your brethren regardless of the circumstance.

        Tom–“We’re telling them to not be so hamfisted about so more people will read their books…even if we don’t care of the message”.

        Your benevolence astounds me–”Hey, all you sci-fi authors out there, you really should write a book that has story first, not a story that I believe is hamfisted and has a message I think bludgeons the reader to death. Because, you know, you probably won’t make it financially, because it’s likely readers don’t want to be directly lectured about your message. Now, of course, we agree that you can have your message (even though its contents I bitterly oppose politically and philosophically and ultimately lead to the degradation of our society), but it shouldn’t be at the expense of story, because if you continue with this undesirable trend, well, then the genre will die because readers are pissed off. But it’s not elitism because ‘experienced writers’ are genuine in their approach in calling out the hamfistedness of the message. Authors ought to heed this ‘well-intentioned advice’, and if ‘message fiction’ dies out as a result of an epiphany, no skin off my nose.”

        Fuck…that…shit. Your opinion is just that, an opinion. Authors are going to write what they want, and readers are going to read what they want. [Laughs} But, hey, knock yourself to help authors “for their own good”. Because murder your career.

      • Are you still babbling?

        Usually, when someone spews that much shit, they have to flush somewhere in the middle or risk clogging the toilet. You might want to look into that.

      • What you’ve got here is that weird internet arguing thing where they just keep going and going after everything has been said, because like a little kid, they think if they get the last word in that declares them the winner. But remember the important thing about arguing on the internet is that it is a spectator sport, so it is only worth your time to argue with a dumbass if you’ve still got an audience. A week later, far down in the blog comments, there is minimal audience. Once the traffic drops off, there’s no point, because you’re not going to sway the delusional guy who just makes shit up, and there’s hardly anybody else left to entertain.

      • Yeah, but now mocking him is amusing to me, if no one else.

        I’m done arguing with him though. No matter what I say, he’ll hear what he wants to hear. Why bother?

      • gcm- Thanks for responding to my comment politly.
        It seems we have some diffrence of opinion regarding our reading material that isn’t likely to be resolved.
        As such might I suggest that we agree to disagree on the matter and move on with our lives, as it stands I believe we are beginning to trendle off of the subject of the initial discussion.
        Thanks for the interesting discussion/distraction.

      • Also gcm. Was that part about pink sci-fi sales having increased meant for a diffrent conversation thread? Because it really seems off topic with what I have been discussing.
        My argument from the start has been that message fiction and fiction with a message are indeed two seperate sub catagories of liturature, with my only referance to blue and pink sci-fi being that the above stated sub catagories are just as much sub catagories as the blue pink sub catagories.
        Referances to sales on one side or the other of blue and pink don’t really have any relevence in the discussion between the two of us seeing as pink and blue sales likely both consist of message fiction and fiction with a message. As such sales on one side or the other wouldn’t really prove a point in regards to the original conversation I joined in on.

      • Speaking of entertaining, Larry, did you see that Kindle Worlds has licensed GI Joe? So now someone out there could… theoretically… write stories with more Spreadsheet! 🙂

      • C.S.–I will also still hold that message fiction and fiction with a message are indeed viable sub-catagories of literature, just as much as your use of pink and blue sci-fi catagories.

        Category 1 –> Message fiction or Pink Sci-Fi.
        Category 2 –> Fiction with a message or Blue Sci-Fi

        Viable? No, They are bullshit categories/labels used by high and mighty writers.

        Tom–“I’m done arguing with him though.”

        An admission that your position was exposed to be “hamfisted”. I suggest in your best interest that your refrain from “mission fiction” in the future, lest you lose potential customers.

        LC–“What you’ve got here is that weird internet arguing thing where they just keep going and going after everything has been said, because like a little kid, they think if they get the last word in that declares them the winner.”


        How cute, Larry. Are you now going to take your ball home, too?

        Tom–“Yeah, but now mocking him is amusing to me, if no one else.”

        Civility…the gift that keeps on giving.

      • Damn, you’re still blabbering. I’m surprised they let you out of your padded room so late at night.

        Or are you sneaking out? Don’t worry. I won’t tell.

      • Take my ball home, he posts on my blog? Uh… Okay? Suuuuurre.

        Called it. He has to have the last word. And since there are only like 4 of us still reading this, and three of us think he’s a doofus, he can’t even grasp why that’s so dumb. 🙂

      • Okay I didnt realize that pink and blue sci-fi were considered the same catagories as message fiction and fiction with a message.
        Or at least that seems to be what your trying to tell me gcm, something for me to consider.

        I shall stck with my statement of agreeing to disagree in those areas where we still do but I hope we have been able to increase in our understandings of one another and our seperate opinions.

        Have a nice day.

      • Well, in addition to being a pendantic smug little git, gmc is also rather dishonest. How many times in this thread has he taken other commentators words and twisted their meaning- show of hands?

        And this strange Vox obsession- I get the feeling that he somehow thinks Larry is Vox, or perhaps he’s been spanked one too many times over that way and is looking for new locals to waste text on? Who knows?

      • You and your posse have proceeded to commit verbal diarrhea in an effort to deflect from this immutable fact–“mission fiction” is a bullshit concept.

        Thanks for the memories.

      • That “Word of the Day” calendar really paid off for you, didn’t it?

      • Told you so. Watch. I posted, so now he’ll REALLy want to post again. 🙂

      • So, basically, you’re agreeing with Larry’s original point? In the main text of the post, he states:
        “Readers hate being preached at. Period. Even when you agree with the message, if it is ham fisted and shoved in your face, it turns you off. Message fic for message fic’s sake makes for tedious reading. Yet, as this stuff has become more and more prevalent, sci-fi has become increasingly dull, and readership has shrank.”

        So, all of your overly worded, insulting smugness, and in the end you’re agreeing with the guy you’re trying to argue with. Not only do you really suck at writing, but maybe you should really work on the comprehension skills too, mmkay?

  100. “I called it. I said that gmc would come back, and he did.”

    So, how much money did you win in the pool? Because your two cents worth ain’t cutting it.

    If you had a modicum of intelligence, you would be focusing your efforts on engaging in dialectic rather than shouting “jargon” like an old woman who just won at Bingo.

  101. And, gmc, should I mention who you remind me of? You’re like that smug little git at meetings who could ask short, little quick questions, but won’t. Oh, noooo, this guy just wants to show everyone else how smart he is, and so he opens his piehole, and just. Won’t. Shut. Up!

    He keeps going on and on, and doesn’t say one single thing of any sort of substance. Meanwhile, the rest of the staff is wondering what the proper ritual to summon Dread Chuthulu and put them all out of their misery… and what’s this? Great, now Captain Obvious is trying to tell everyone stuff they know already… this same freaking idiot who can’t tie his shoes without giving 5 different people a call asking for instructions. Yep, it’s almost 5, and the empty yacking is showing no signs of stopping. It would be one thing if he could say one interesting thing, but no, his ego wank won’t allow that.

    • Now, now. That’s an insult that the smug little git doesn’t deserve. Sure, he’s an ass, but is it REALLY are to compare gcm to him? Really?

      • That should really read, “but is it REALLY fair”. No edit function and all that. My bad.

      • I’ve got editing disabled, because when somebody comes along and says something batshit crazy, and then gets called on it, he can’t go back, delete it, and then get all indignant about us putting words in his mouth. I like to let the initial posting stand for itself. 🙂

      • I remember you saying that earlier. Just pointing out why I couldn’t fix it. Not criticizing the decision in the least. In fact, I agree with it completely.

        Kind of like how gcm can’t go and say he wasn’t “translating” my words into what I really meant…because it’s right there for everyone to see 🙂

      • Yeah, I liked the part where he made it so I was in favor of censorship. He must be new around these here parts.

      • Either that, or he/she/it (see? Non-binary gender, FTW!) is a complete moron.

        Personally, I think you’re giving ’em too much credit.

      • Tom–“That “Word of the Day” calendar really paid off for you, didn’t it?”
        
Rather than doodling porn on them like you do, I actually learn the etymology of the word and seamlessly employ it into my everyday vocabulary. Perhaps as a result of your studying, rather than drawing dirty pictures, you could enjoy a modicum of success in keeping up with my word-smithing 😉 I also suggest you purchase a thesaurus; Wal-mart carries them.

        For someone who stated unequivocally that you were “done” feeding the “troll”, you certainly are throwing a ton of peanuts in this elephant’s direction! (Tsk, tsk) promises, promises.

        Jo(k)e–“So, basically, you’re agreeing with Larry’s original point?”

        No. I’m calling him out on it.

        Jo(k)e–“Yet, as this stuff has become more and more prevalent, sci-fi has become increasingly dull, and readership has shrank.”

        
So why in the world would you want “this stuff” to continue to be published if it results in “dire” consequences for genre? Oh, that’s right, silly me, gently reminding those authors their careers will be “murdered” if they repeatedly hammer home “a message” rather than “story” will do the trick. (rolling of eyes) Because mission fiction.

        Jo(k)e–“Message fic for message fic’s sake makes for tedious reading.”

        

What is tedious to you is interesting to others. And, yet, customers are buying “message fiction”, aka Pink Sci-Fi–which in reality doesn’t exist but in the minds of elitists/gatekeepers and their purple-haired, plump acolytes. It is merely a label for them to rally around. How noble a cause to insist authors refrain from “lecturing” their audience, lest they alienate them and ultimately lose profits, because their story is not about characters, but solely about an issue. Indeed, readers hate being preached at…by know-it-all authors and their toadies.

        Since the SciFi market is overall shrinking, then those authors who want to survive, or even thrive in the market must figure out…how…to…adapt. Traditionally, as with other businesses, such hard times can be the making of opportunity.

      • You silly, silly twit. I was feeding you when I was trying to engage you in reasonable debate.

        Now I’m mocking your pretensions of adequacy for my own personal amusement. There’s a difference.

        Of course, you don’t really understand differences between things, as indicated above.

      • gmc… the “” around those points that you are attributing to me? That indicates a thing called a ‘quotation’. I was quoting Larry, in the post above.
        I guess you still need to work on the whole ‘comprehension’ thing.

      • “Now I’m mocking your pretensions of adequacy for my own personal amusement. There’s a difference.”

        And I’m verbally assaulting you to drive home a simple point–I don’t believe your “well-intentioned” efforts.

        Of course, you purposely mocking someone in and of itself is offensive to God. I will pray for our forgiveness by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

        Havee the last word to provide comfort to your damaged ego. I have exhausted all reasonable means to demonstrate to you of your hypocrisy in this verbal sparring arena.

        Ego vobis valedico.

      • You’re still here? Don’t you have meds to take before you go back to your padded room?

        And where did you get the idea that I was a good Christian? I’m not. I’m flawed, including the ways I amuse myself at the expense of the disabled, such as yourself. I’m sure God will forgive me.

      • Well, you know the argument is won when the lunatic has Jesus condemn you. 🙂

      • It could be better.

        He could have run off crying because we were mean to him. I’m sure he has, but he won’t admit to it.

      • He really wants to come back and get that last word. You know it is tempting him so. 🙂

        Personally, I like to debate with people, but when I don’t understand half of what the guy is talking about, he keeps referring to things that I’m not familiar with, using terms that he made up, and then he just changes my responses into whatever he wants anyway, and then tops it off with praying for my eternal soul… hoo boy… crazy town. If there’s no audience to entertain or sway, just walk away.

      • Wow, gmc, reading your mockery…Dorothy Parker and Oscar Wilde would have surely wept to have composed such a mockery! Such wit!

      • I know this is rather late and this article has died off but I was just reading the internet arguing checklist.
        I think gcm has hit all of them, though I would have to recheck on the calling racist part, gcm may not have done that part yet.

        Also I noticed that gcm was present way back on the internet arguing checklist comments, but I don’t think it ever took off like here because everyone just ignored that comment as far as I could tell.

      • Yeah. I admit it. I fed the troll far longer than I should have.

        But I’m also the kind of guy who would kick a nest of yellow jackets just to see if they were still around…
        …before a swarm stung me and now I’m allergic. You’d think I’d learn 😉

    • A message to all the people responding to this fool gcm: why do you bother? Why do you even read what they post? They’ve made clear they’re a troll.

  102. It seems a lot like saying “We need to write more KKK SF, which will draw in people who would normally not read SF.”

    That you’d be alienating folks who would look at the genre and covers and go “OMFG, no damn way. I’m gonna go over to the Harlequins and see if I can find some space-based or time-travel based romance that’ll be less of a dreck-hole” doesn’t seem to register in the desire to mandate more of what they might think the genre needs.

    (And if anyone wants some KKK-style SF, I’d recommend Norman Spinrad’s “The Iron Dream”, published in ’72. It’s … memorable – and I sure haven’t seen it’s like since – thankfully.)

    And whether those who want to shape the genre appreciate it or not, it’s the customer who decides what they want to buy. All you have to do is remember the ‘New Coke’ debacle of the ’80s. They did all sorts of product testing, leading up to a massive change in the taste, because their research indicated the customers would just LOVE it!

    Profits would SOAR!

    And Coke took a massive hit when they didn’t. Turns out people didn’t like the taste of ‘New Coke’, despite choosing it in a blind taste test. Seems there’s a certain ‘flavor’ associated with the Coke name, and they wanted that – not something else.

    It’d be smart for those pushing to end binary genderism in SF to remember that. Just because you and your friends are convinced it’s a great idea doesn’t mean it IS.

    • Agreed.

      As a long time reader and lover of sci-fi I have to say I can’t think of a time I have gotten a sci-fi book thinking ah yes this looks like an interesting look into gender variations.

      Seems likely to me that were I interested in gender differances I would be looking in an entirely diffrent section of the bookstore, or more likely looking it up for free on the internet because why in the world would I want to waste money on something like that.

  103. […] the plague. Not because I don’t want to take sides – Glenn Reynolds, Sarah Hoyt, and Larry Correia (followup) are perfectly correct that raw story should take precedence over politically-correct […]

  104. How do you “dismantle sediment”? That’s where I lost it.

  105. Larry, I must humbly admit that I haven’t read any of your books, but, after reading this delightfully fulsome and deliciously brutal article, the ol’ Kindle’s likely to be heating up a bit. Love it!

  106. […] Bourke’s Post. Though hers is the day after McFarlene’s post before SHTF on January 22 Larry Correia’s Response Post on January 28 Jim C. Hines Response to Correia’s Post on January 29 Alex Dally […]

  107. […] an exhortation to stop writing binary gender. New York Times bestselling author Larry Correia wrote a scathing response to MacFarlane, in which he calls her — and other unnamed sci-fi writers — out for “wanting […]

  108. […] Larry Correia’s Response Post on January 28 […]

  109. Isaac Asimov had a story, The Gods Themselves, about contact with aliens from another universe who had three sexes. It also had a powerful energy source that would lead to the destruction of both universes if it was used, which the protagonists had to figure out how to stop. It was published in 1972, which is when Western Civilization was at its zenith.

  110. >>you need to end the default of all your characters having ten fingers, because there are people in the world born with twelve and how could you be so insensitive to those who have lost fingers?

    As someone who was born with one extra thumb, how _dare_ you suggest the binary default of ten or twelve fingers. When I was only one year old, my parents, without ever consulting me, had my extra thumb removed (and it was probably just chucked out with the regular garbage back in those days, leaving a piece of me to rot in the city dump). Not only did it scar me for life (literally, and I do actually mean literally in the original sense of the word,–not in the what is the allegedly acceptable misuse of the word, because so many people use it to mean THE EXACT OPPOSITE of the word they are now saying one can use it in place of figuratively–since I still bear the scar from the surgery), it destroyed any chance I ever had of becoming a concert pianist. And now? Now, I have to deal with being publicly humiliated by your hateyMchaterson intolerance…. *sniff, sniff*

  111. […] Interesting… Notice how Damian doesn’t ever link to what I actually said and never uses any actual quotes from me. Here is my “virulent attack”. If you’ve not read it yet, read it for yourself and decide if it matches anything Damian goes on to accuse me of: http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/01/28/ending-binary-gender-in-fiction-or-how-to-murder-your-writ… […]

  112. […] Interesting… Notice how Damian doesn’t ever link to what I actually said and never uses any actual quotes from me. Here is my “virulent attack”. If you’ve not read it yet, read it for yourself and decide if it matches anything Damian goes on to accuse me of: http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/01/28/ending-binary-gender-in-fiction-or-how-to-murder-your-writ… […]

  113. Yeah – pretty much completely changed my mind about the original post. Really well written and entertaining counter.

  114. Too many comments to read but I read the entire essay (not the original column unless it was quoted in its entirety here – it was awful).

    Mr. Correia, your essay resonates with me because it was just the same way I felt about “Atlas Shrugged.”

    Contrast this with “Unintended Consequences” which, while equally preachy, let the story and the characters drive the message and not the other way around.

    gvi

  115. […] Larry Correia’s talked about this before.  Most notably, he mentioned it following a blog post on Tor.com calling for an end to binary “gender” in science fiction.  Now, the idea of diversity becomes a bit irrelevant to this discussion (I’ll give my thoughts a little later), but Larry offered some thoughts on message fiction that I thought were worthy of repeating. […]

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

  117. I know this is nine months old, but I just stumbled upon it and wanted to ad my two cents.

    Larry, I get the feeling that, as a conservative, you sometimes feel like a minority in the SF community whose voice is either ignored or silenced. You had a campaign to try to get more right-leaning authors to win Hugos. You think yours is a voice that is not well-represented in mainstream SF and you want to correct that. Fair enough. I don’t have a huge interest in reading political rants masquerading as scifi, but I read plenty of fiction from conservative writers and so long as they are good writers and their political bent doesn’t ruin their writing, I’m fine with it. i plan on reading your grim noire series, and am probably going to continue avoiding John Ringo’s output. He’ll live.

    Alex MacFarlane is someone who, as interex, feels like a minority. She wants her voice to be better represented in scifi. I think her demand that most sicfi include non-gender binary characters is a pipe dream and I think that many writers will ignore her demand and keep doing what they are doing. From the comments to her article though, it seems like there are a lot of people who are interested in what she is talking about. If the result is a niche of non-binary scifi that I can ignore, fine. If the result is non-binary scifi that is really good and I can enjoy, great. I’m pretty sure either way your fan base won’t be affected, and you won’t feel the need to shoehorn in characters who are interest or trans or whatever. You’ll be just fine. Don’t worry about it. Everyone has their issue. Scifi will survive. Bad writing will kill scifi. Distribution monopolies might kill scifi. But including non-traditional character types in stories will not kill scifi. Even if tomorrow half of all scifi books published were about or by gays, women, people of color, and transfolk, there’d still be a healthy market share for stories about straight, cis-gendered, red-blooded white dudes. Our market share in general might be shrinking a bit, but it isn’t a zero sum game. We’ll be fine. And i think you have more in common with MacFarlane than you realize. You both are tired of having your voice silenced. You are both tired of the mainstream community ignoring you and your fans. And you both want to write and read about people who share your viewpoint.

    • Correia and MacFarlane want two completely different things; if you think otherwise, you’ve misread the rant above.

      Alex wants more alternatively gendered characters in science fiction stories. She calls for representation of tri/quad/penta/octa/dodecagendered in science fiction stories even when gender is irrelevant to the actual story. She made no mention of writing good stories or growing the science fiction audience, only of “Being more inclusive”. Which is not the same thing.

      Looking at the articles she published later, she’s judging stories solely on whether and how they include transgender characters. Which is fine, that’s a valid way to compare stories, but she’s holding them to some kind of standard I can’t figure out, and nobody else I know can suss it.

      Correia isn’t asking for more flyover-country gun nuts to make an appearance in books. He’s asking for good stories, period. Maybe those stories will be about transgendered immortal space marines, but we aren’t going to get there by holding stories back and demanding that they fill the right boxes on an EEOC form.

      So, yeah. Nice job pointing out the middle ground that doesn’t exist.

      • Alex dally MacFarlane so wants to end “binary” thinking there is a book coming out that she edited…

        It is titled “the mammoth book of sf: stories by women”…

        I’m still waiting for outcry of sexism from the world con intelligentsia (though I am not holding my breath)

      • Larry tried to load the Hugos with authors who shared his political perspective. So it wasn’t just about having quality stories.

        There is a middle ground and it already exists. Larry writes his stories and gets a ton of readers, some of whom share his political worldview, some of whom just like the stories. MacFarlane gets to judge books based on how well they present non-binary gender. Larry and his audience can ignore MacFarlane’s blog. MacFarlane and her fans can celebrate fiction that explores non-binary genders. And we can all get on with our lives without having to write thousand-word blog posts dissecting people who have views we disagree with.

      • This “reading comprehension” thing is difficult for you, no? If whomever SIMPLY said “hey, it would be nice if we had more stories with other genders, who wants to write some” we may laugh at the naiveté at how the world works, or their ignorance of the genres iconic works, but would otherwise say “go for it.”

        But that’s not what was said.

        The people crowing about the Hugos and the Nebulas weren’t going on about how fun and entertaining a read the stories were, but instead about which checkboxes they achieved. (All women! Achievement unlocked!). Much like the so – called gamers (who later admitted they don’t play any of the games they complain about, even the ones where women and female avatars are on an equal footing….) who in other venues stated games should NOT be about fun, but about teaching people or a cultural artifact. And if you disagreed you were something doubleplusungood, keep away from him!

        The people who were pissed off at Sad Puppies vowed to NOT judge works on their merits but on the perception of their author, and smeared and harassed Larry.

      • MacFarlane is a bigot and supremacist. Her close ties to a lesbian psychotic supremacist racist like Requires Hate speaks volumes. That would be like LC having close ties to David Duke.

        MacFarlane Tweeted “Cis peeeoooople” as an intended slur when comments were still live in that Tor.com piece. We do not write things like “Homo peeeoooople.” We don’t believe in stuff like that.

        We do not want the same things.

  118. Irony is that much of the canon of science fiction plays with gender. It is such a defining part of humanity that any work if fiction will usually touch on it and scifi has such an ability to play with the script that many authors surrender to the temptation.

    Asimov wrote a story about a trigendered alien race with a fourth gender as a huge plot reveal. It was also a story about inter dimensional proton balances. So……

    Alfred Bester loved to play with gender roles in the context of radical societal change.

    Even among modern writers you guys like Richard Morgan who loves to play with body swapping and sexual identity. Of course he us too visceral to get a gold star from “issues” academics.

    Selective perception at its best.

  119. […] is why some turd-scented Morlock on Tor.com called for an end to binary gender [sic] in SFF, and why Larry Correia was subjected to the Two Minute […]

  120. […] Ending Binary Gender in Fiction, or How to Murder Your … – This was sent to me on Facebook the other day. I made some comments there, but then I got to thinking about it and decided this thing was such a good example of how …… […]

  121. […] when I mocked the foolish demands of End Binary Gender lady on Tor.com http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/01/28/ending-binary-gender-in-fiction-or-how-to-murder-your-writ… and then defended myself from the White Knights who rode up to defend the poor damsel in distress […]

  122. Did anyone else here find Ancillary Justice, by Anne Leckie as mind-numbingly boring as I did? I read the first 100 pages of that book, and by the time I stopped, my head was beaten and bloody from the INTENTIONAL GENDER CONFUSION HAMMER Leckie kept hitting me with. I discovered Larry and his books AFTER I attempted to read Leckie’s book, which I bought on a whim from Amazon because the description made it sound interesting. I’ve since purchased every one of Larry’s books. Why? Because they are fun to read.

    • It made me want to scratch the back of my eyeball with an icepick.

      To call it boring is an afront to boring books throughout the world. It was a heavy-handed gimmick that did nothing to advance the story in any way, but instead told me all I needed to know about Leckie’s politics.

      The thing is, she’s a good enough writer that she could have told that story without it (though I couldn’t finish the book, so maybe I’m wrong).

  123. […] base. Which boils down to pretty much one concept: fun. Again and again the central complaint of Correia, Torgersen, and others boils down to this nostalgia for sci-fi as pop entertainment. I’m not on […]

  124. […] some new ideas. But their more recent stuff: again, meh. The bottom line for ANY author, is this: Get Paid. If you’re not getting paid, and especially not getting paid enough to support yourself and your […]

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