Does my Cismale Hate Mongery Know No Bounds?! Responding to Jim Hines.

So apparently Jim C. Hines didn’t like my response to Tor.com’s blogger wanting to end the default to binary gender. http://www.jimchines.com/2014/01/fiskception/ Jim is one of those noble crusaders, best known for raising awareness and protecting authors from the evils of having attractive women on book covers (you know, that stuff the marketing department does in order to try and get people interested enough to pick up our product in stores long enough to read the back cover blurb, to try and better sell our books).

If you want this to make sense, make sure you read this first. https://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/ending-binary-gender-in-fiction-or-how-to-murder-your-writing-career/

I’m unfamiliar with Hines’ work. I think I might have been on a panel with him at a con once because it sounds familiar. I actually thought he was the new SFWA president, but that’s somebody else. I looked him up on Wikipedia. We’re the same age. He has an eight year head start on me for being published, so he’s been around. We’ve even written the same number of books.

Interesting. He wrote a “rape awareness novel”… I taught hundreds of women how to shoot rapists while certifying them to carry concealed firearms. I’m sure me and Jim will get along super good.

So let’s have some fun.

Since it is very confusing for the readers to fisk the fisk of a fisking, I’m just going to have me and Him here, and I’m not going to quote my entire original response.  My comments are in bold. Hines are in italics.

This is gonna be a long one.

Not really. He mostly hits and runs and does some check listing. I’m the long winded one.

The backstory: Author Alex Dally MacFarlane wrote an article called Post-Binary Gender in SF: An Introduction over at Tor.com, calling for “an end to the default of binary gender in science fiction stories.”

One 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 one.)

That last part is very interesting. You’ll probably want to avoid the comments… Why? Because I don’t edit them in anyway or “massage” them? Between the blog post and the corresponding Facebook post, I’ve got a few hundred comments. Of those, there are a handful that are very mean (this is the internet) but most of them are reasonable, and interestingly enough I’ve also got homosexuals and transsexuals who posted in the comments who thought the original Tor blog post was as ham fisted as I did.

I tried to ignore it. There’s no way I’m going to change Correia’s mind about this stuff, any more than his post changed my thinking. But of course, there are a lot of other people lurking and participating in the conversation,

He’s correct. Arguing is a spectator sport. You don’t waste your time on the already decided, you convince the undecided, and give ammo to your side. If there isn’t an audience, don’t waste your time.

and while I know this is going to do bad things to my blood pressure, I think it’s a conversation worth having.

Heh… My blood pressure is fine. Arguing with lefties on the internet is what I do to relax.

In my last fisk, I talked about how the blog post was angsty emo bullshit.

I wonder which is more angsty … an author calling for our genre to move beyond binary gender, or another author spending 4000+ words about how people like MacFarlane are symbolic of everything that’s wrong with the genre, and are destroying fun.

The original. Obviously.  Nice check listing though. I wrote lots of words, ergo, that’s angsty… Or it could just be that I’m a WRITER who averages 3k of paying fiction a day, I threw that thing together while I was waiting for the matinee of I Frankenstein to start. Considering half of those words were a cut and paste of the original Tor article… Man… That means Jim Hines just wrote SIX THOUSAND WORDS to respond! Holy shit. That’s hard core!

PROTIP: Your editor does not like to pay you for the words you cut and paste from other people’s blogs. 🙂

Destroying fun?  Quite the contrary. If you’d bothered to read the comments then you know my readers have had a whole lot of fun with this. Oh! You mean destroying the fun of reading sci-fi and killing off our slowly dwindling genre. Well, yeah. That’s sort of the point. 

I wrote my post for the aspiring authors who might read Tor.com and think that Ending Binary Gender in Sci-Fi was good advice. I pointed out that when you write with the goal of checking boxes to satisfy the cause of the day, your writing will probably suck.

I agree that if you’re writing a story with the kind of checklist Correia describes, you’re probably going to get a bad story.

Yep. But I said it in a mean way that hurt their delicate lilac scented feelings.

But what exactly are the suggestions Correia objects to? MacFarlane never says all writers must now include at least one non-binary character. She says only that she wants readers to be aware of non-binary texts, and wants writers to stop defaulting to them. Not that authors should never write cismale or cisfemale characters. Just be aware that there are other choices, and make conscious choices about your writing.

Uh… No. That’s not what she said. For example, from the original:

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

—I want to never again read entire anthologies of SF stories or large-cast novels where every character is binary-gendered

I then went through why that was really dumb from a business perspective.

Jim then cherry picks through hundreds of comments to find the following super offensive hatey-hate monger, which proves that not only am I a bad person for allowing this hate speech, but my readers are knuckle dragging Klan members. 

From the comments to Correia’s piece:

  • “I am so tired of these pretentious twats. Err, dicks.      Err… pre-op alternative genitals.”

That was an attempt at humor, as in I want to call you a name, but I’m not sure what the proper post binary gender acceptable genitalia are. 

  • “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.”

Ah, interesting. I notice you cherry picked this one and left out the fact it was written by well known and successful science fiction author Michael Z. Williamson, whose books actually have tons of homosexual and transgender main characters, including the primary PoV in a few, yet the SFWA crowd you hang out with actually despise him even more than they dislike me, because as a libertarian and an immigrant, he argues against big government and statists.

  • “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.”

Yep. Somebody said something mean on the internet. Holy shit. How will you live?

Do we really want to start arguing about what one’s commenters say about one’s audience?

Why, yes. Let’s do exactly that.

From those same comments Hines warns people not to read:

  1. 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.

Or this:

  1. 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

 

Wow. Feel the hatey-hate mongery of the Monster Hunter Nation.

As for that first one where you play the humorless finger shaking card, here is the rest of the joke you left out:

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. . .

And

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.

How dare people make jokes about such a super important topic? Don’t they realize the internet is for serious business? 

I pointed out several of my posters on Facebook said their polite and disagreeing comments on the Tor.com site had been deleted.

If Tor.com is deleting comments for disagreement, then that’s a serious problem. But skimming through the 100+ comments on the article, I find plenty that disagree with MacFarlane, or argue with what she’s saying. Tor.com does have a moderation policy, so I’d expect comments that violated that policy to get booted. Beyond that, I don’t know the details of the allegedly polite commenters who claim to have been booted for not cheerleading enough,

He doesn’t know the details, so good thing he warned his readers not to read those details from my readers in my comments.

so there’s not much more for me to say about this one.

Except for when he does again later.

Hines obviously doesn’t get most of the running jokes here on MHN, so he’s totally oblivious why I talked about the Typical WorldCon Voter, but luckily you guy know how to combat the scourge of Puppy Related Sadness. 

Because calling for an awareness that not all people fit into a simple binary gender system = KILL ALL THE SCIENCE FICTION!!!

Already pointed out, so we all know that’s not what she said. 

What’s killing all the science fiction is the preponderance of boring ass message fic turning off readers and causing the genre’s sales numbers to shrink.

In other news, I believe we should do something about racism in this country, which actually means I WANT TO DESTROY AMERICA!1!!!1!

Well, Jim, that depends on what that “something” you want to do about racism is. If it is throwing more tax money at failed bullshit social programs that have destroyed the nuclear family in America’s inner cities, equal opportunity nonsense, race baiting, or the other typical divisive nonsense the democrats use to keep Americans divided into easily managed voting blocks, then I would have to say that is bad for America.  

Now, if you want to bring up racial issues in your fiction, and do it as a compelling part of the story, awesome. I’ve done that, repeatedly. If you want to write some heavy handed message fic, then it will probably fail miserably. That was sort of my point that you insist on missing.

Adding a cut-tag here, because I am a merciful blogger…

Not really, because what follows is a confusing mishmash of the original, my response, and Jim’s response to my response. Mercy would be taking the original behind the barn and giving it the Old Yellar treatment.

How dare people want things! How ridiculous that people want things I don’t personally agree with! You empty headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction.

I suspect Jim is new at fisking.

Then I mistakenly referred to the original author as a he, and even put in that I wasn’t aware what sex Alex was. 

  1. 1.     Alex MacFarlane is female.

Hines pounces like a cat!

2. You ask what the default is that she wants to end. She answers that in the following paragraph. Which doesn’t seem to stop you from running off to declare gender = chromosomal/biological sex.

Don’t you just hate when words have definitions and stuff?

Cismale gendernomrative fascist? Whatever.

Jim wasn’t around for that part. See, as a writer who doesn’t “massage” his comments in any way other than deleting spam and the occasional crazy person death threat, I will often have people who disagree, and sometimes even really hate my guts, show up to argue with me, and holy crap, I actually LET THEM. (liberal bloggers just gasped) Somebody called me that term as an insult. I had to look it up. It made me laugh, so I’ve been using it ever since. (it means man born as a man who still identifies himself as a man and thinks men are usually men and women are usually women, and fascist) We’ve been laughing about it for a year now.

Because if you use the word cismale or gendernormative in a regular conversation and you’re not being ironic, odds are you are a pretentious douche with a gender studies degree. 

What Correia is displaying here is his awareness that he’s making an assumption, his awareness that the assumption might be wrong, and his unwillingness to do 30 seconds of research to verify his assumption. Either because he’s lazy, or because he doesn’t see any need to treat people he disagrees with respectfully. Or both.

I didn’t look up the author’s sex and mistakenly referred to her as a she. Of course, I don’t actually give a shit what sex Alex is, because I’m going to judge an idea on its merits rather than the sex, race, national origin, orientation, or religious beliefs of its creator, and this was a dumb idea, but hey, hate monger or something. 

But if Jim had read the comments, he’d know that one of my smart readers pointed out I was simply paying homage to Left Hand of Darkness with the Him pronoun. 🙂

As for me being the lazy writer… In 5 years I’ve published 10 novels, a couple dozen short stories, 1 novella, several hundred blog posts, and for most of that time I still had my day job as the finance manager of Utah’s small business of the year, where I managed millions of dollars worth of complex military contracts and government auditing. So safe money is on I just don’t give a shit. 

I talked about what Tor.com wanted us to do. Hines disagrees with my assessment.

Read more carefully. The Western cultural norm is to genders; that doesn’t mean two genders is exclusively a Western cultural norm. See also, nickels are coins, but not all coins are nickels.

And yes, male and female are cultural norms in pretty much every human society EVER! Except Mesopotamia, India, Siberia, Illiniwek, Olmec, Aztec, Maya, Thailand, Lakota, Blackfoot, Indonesia, Swahili, Azande, and all of the other cultures that historically or currently acknowledge the existence of more than two genders.

Wait a minute… Other than the long dead obscure ones, I’m actually familiar with a few of those cultures and I call bullshit. Now, I’m not a gender studies major (my degree is in accounting, because I like not living on food stamps while begging my local college for a guest lecturer position) but I think in most of those he’s trying to cite like India and Thailand there was a small contingent of the population that was gelded, served as sex toys, or other corner cases, but even then, the norms in each of those would be male and female. And a couple of those he cites have to be a wild ass guess, because anthropologists know dick (or whatever the acceptable post binary genitalia is) about some of those civilizations.

But even if true, pointless, since I’m giving advice to aspiring writers, and unless they’re trying to sell books to the Olmecs or ancient Mesopotamia, then everything I said about sticking to story first and foremost rather than message of the day stands. 

I said: 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.

Paraphrase: “Ha, ha. People who disagree with me are dumb!”

If you got a student loan in order to get a college degree that barely qualifies you to work at Starbucks the rest of your life, then pretty much. Please, gender studies masters who are living in their parent’s basement, go occupy some street somewhere and demand a bailout for your student loans.

Hmmm… You might be sensing Larry Correia doesn’t have much respect for the soft degrees. YOU THINK?!

I then said that I think story comes first. Never message. Story. I explained why this article was bad advice, in depth, repeatedly.

I … actually, I pretty much agree with him here.

Because I am totally correct. They know it. However, a mean right winger said hurtful things and interrupted the circle jerk of like-minded people telling each other how brilliant they are, so the wagons must be circled.

People read for story, not for checklists or quotas or lectures. I see nothing in MakFarlane’s article to suggest she believes any differently.

Except for the parts where she did.

Calling for authors to be more thoughtful about their craft doesn’t mean you’re telling authors to abandon story for MESSAGE.

And Jim does as much disservice missing the original’s point as he does missing mine, so now Jim is trying to re-explain what Alex meant. Good thing that poor young woman has this brave white guy to come in and explain what she REALLY meant to say.

But you know, readers also tend to enjoy stories where they can find characters like themselves. Which is easy if you’re a straight white dude, and gets progressively more difficult the further you stray from that default.

Oh, bullshit. Let’s analyze this for a second… 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. My average reader is probably a white male in his thirties, (judging by my sales and fan base I meet on tour, straight white males are the biggest single group, but really my fans are actually very diverse, but run with it for right now) yet my main series characters are a half-Polynesian mutt, a teenage Okie girl, and a man who grew up in foster care and is of indeterminate genetic heritage (who passes at different times for Hispanic, Indian, or Qatari).

Only my readers do find something of these characters like themselves, only it isn’t race. Owen’s culture is “military brat” and “gun nut” and “has issues with authority”. The first group of fans that “find characters like themselves” with my first main character were Libertarians.  Faye is a homicidal maniac with a good heart. Lorenzo is a snarky asshole. They’re all people who get shit done. That appeals to readers who like the concept of get shit done.

Second, from a purely nuts and bolts writing perspective, if what Hines is saying is true (which thankfully it isn’t) then if you actually want to make lots of money, you would write your books with whatever demographic it appeals to, which would mean even less diversity in characters (which they supposedly want) or if you wanted to write about transgender people, you’d be limiting yourself to one tiny market.

Luckily, Jim is full of shit, so we can basically write about whatever type of character we want to, and if it is entertaining enough, we can sell that story. If what Jim said was true, then who would read about Miles Vorksogian? What’s wrong with all those white males who love Honor Harrington? Could it be that character is far more important than checking a box on an EEOC form? Unpossible.

Maybe if we want to write enjoyable stories, we should try looking beyond the same old default that’s been done again and again throughout the history of the genre.

You know what they call something that has been done again and again and again? A trope. Do you know why tropes show up so often that there is a hilarious webpage that chronicles how many times different tropes show up in different things? Because tropes WORK. If they didn’t work, writers wouldn’t keep using them.

In fact, I then very carefully explained that there is nothing wrong with using diverse or oddball or unique characters, cited some of the grandmasters of sci-fi who pulled it off, and then pointed out that when it was pulled off, it was because they were story first, message WAY later.

Yep. Putting message before story will tend to bore your reader.

No shit.

Now, if the only way you can imagine including a “non-default” character in your story is to make it a Message Story, then guess what — you’re probably a shitty writer. You can have gay characters in a story without making it a Gay Story. Austistic characters without having to write an Autism Story. Black characters without having to write a Race Story.

So what the fuck is his problem? Oh, wait. I’m not a fucking cheerleader for stupid shit that tends to produce bad writing.

It’s a pretty big world out there. Why are we so scared to write about more than a limited, narrow piece of it?

Duh. We’re not. Only those of us who are actually making a living at this are going to write whatever character we find the most compelling for that situation, rather than suck up the special interest group of the week.

I then pointed out that transgender types are a tiny group within the human population.

Oh, yay. We’re back to quotas and checklists.

Because if somebody insists we cram them into every story, that isn’t realistic or truthful to what humans are.

Ignoring the uncited and inaccurate statistics here, let’s flip this around.

What? I said that about 1 in every 50,000 people have a sex change. That was based on a couple seconds of cursory Google searching, and the best answer I could find was some wild ass guesses, and since I threw this together between breakfast and leaving for the movie theater, I’m sorry I didn’t cite it like a fucking college paper, professor.

As for my only other stat, if you’d read those comments that you warned people away from, somebody brought up the extremely rare Klinefelter Syndrome and its 47th chromosome, and I even had a roommate with that so I’m pretty damn familiar with it. But only a small percentage of men with the extra chromosome show any symptoms, but if it makes you feel better you can pull of one of those .99s.

How many musclebound manly white men do I have to write about in my stories in order to convince people like Correia that it’s not a secret subversive left-wing liberal Message?

Interesting. Where in everything that I wrote did I ever say you need to write “musclebound manly white men” or imply anything even sort of similar to that? In all of my fiction, and all of my main PoV characters, I’ve got only one character that fits that description. But Jake Sullivan would still think you are a subversive left-wing pussy, but he thought the same thing about FDR. 🙂

How many big-busted blonde women need to throw themselves on my hero’s penis to satisfy his insecurities that non-white, non-male people might start to have an actual voice?

Again with the wildly incorrect guesses about what I write, with some really strange race baiting going on as well. Do you think it would upset Jim to know that I’m legally considered a Latino, and I grew up in a poor immigrant community? Probably not, because any diversity that thinks liberals are full of shit is the wrong kind of diversity.

But let’s humor Jim and think that bit of nonsense through. An author writes a manly white male protagonist who has sex with beautiful busty women. Yes. I too appreciate Captain Kirk. But wait… if readers choose to purchase this book, how does that harm some other author who wants to write about Hir Schmister Captain Fluffy Von Rainbow Tear and the Starship ElfSparkle? You see, writing isn’t a pie. If somebody else gets a bigger piece of the pie, that doesn’t suddenly make your piece of the pie smaller. (libs also struggle with concept when it comes to wealth) When you produce a product you take it to the market. If your product is appealing, then people will purchase it. The more people it appeals to, the more people who will give you money. If somebody else produces product also, and people buy that product instead because they like it better, that’s their choice. You can demand that this other author no longer write about Kirk, and instead write about Captain Von Sparkle Tear, but why the fuck would they listen to you? They’ve got pie.

 I said that someone will bring up that gay people make up 1-4% of the population, but that’s irrelevant, because most of them still identify themselves as the sex they were born with.

Right, so you’re throwing bad statistics out about a made-up argument that you acknowledge MacFarlane didn’t even bring up.

First. Not a bad stat. http://www.gallup.com/poll/6961/what-percentage-population-gay.aspx That’s from Gallup. Second, I talked about lots of stuff the original article didn’t bring up, because this is my blog and I’ll talk about whatever I feel like, and I’ve had this particular argument with the literati twaddle-peddlers before, so forgive me if it bleeds over into the next one.

I think you’re wrong, because kitties are cuter than puppies.

Wrong. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzGKlOkQsxY

Which has nothing to do with anything Correia actually said, but that seems to be how we’re playing the game now.

Says the man bringing up big breasted white women throwing themselves on penises…

Language

Fragment? I think he started to type something and then got distracted.

In talking to readers, I find that most of them assume SF/F books will portray worlds dominated by straight white folks. Not exclusively, mind you, but the representation in our genre is most certainly not that close to the world we currently live in.

Wait… So now you’re saying that statistics and quotas should match the world we live in? I thought that was bad before when I pointed out transgender people are a tiny minority and if they showed up in books as often as they show up in real life, we’d never see them at all?

Meanwhile, all the hatey-hate mongers like Mike Williamson, John Ringo, and Sarah Hoyt are pushing all sorts of odd human boundaries in their sci-fi. Maybe those Typical WorldCon Voters you’re talking to should actually read stuff from the people they’re supposed to hate?

I talked about how if you change up a character, it should only be done for a good reason.

I agree. When you make a choice about character, you should have a reason for that choice.

Again. He agrees all my nuts and bolts writing advice is correct, but I’m bad, because of diversity or tolerance or whatever the buzzword of the day is.

Making a character male or female is a choice. Making a character white is a choice. Making a character straight is a choice. But it’s a choice often made because these are the default, and the writer is lazy.

Uh huh… Hear that writers? If your character is white or straight, or you didn’t make the choices that the super tolerant Jim C. Hines made, that’s just because you’re lazy… and totally not because that was the best fit for that particular character.

I talked about how check box diversity for check box diversity’s sake is tiresome and compared it to a little kid trying to blow your mind with how tall his Lego tower is for the 50th time.

I’m not sure what sci-fi he’s referring to, and I’m a little skeptical about how much of it he’s actually read, given his arguments.

Remember earlier, when I was making fun of gender studies majors? The difference between me and Jim is that when I insult somebody, I’m not a big pussy about it. I think he’s trying to imply that I’m not well read. Not only does Jim know that I’m a white guy who writes sexy white on white action, he knows how many books I’ve read. (sure, poor kid with nothing better to do than go to the library, who then put himself through college working at a bookstore, who then taught himself how to write fiction through read other people’s books, obviously hasn’t read much) Of course, we talk about various message fic done wrong and right in the different comment threads, but he warned you not to read those, because you might be exposed to hate or something. 

But I find stories that explore a more diverse world, that present different characters and stories I haven’t read a thousand times before, to be much more interesting. There’s comfort and enjoyment in reading the same-old genre tropes and tales too, but Correia sounds a lot like he’s bashing a genre you’ve never read.

I never said you couldn’t explore a diverse world or have different types of characters, and in fact, explicitly stated repeatedly the opposite, but it is easier for Jim when the scarecrows he’s arguing with are wearing white hoods.

Also, screw you. My LEGO tower is AWESOME.

Sorry? What was that? I got so fucking bored that I fell asleep and hit my head on my desk.

And then I wrote more that pretty much goes exactly against what Jim is accusing me of.

ProTip 2: If the only reason you can think of to include characters who aren’t the default is because MESSAGE, you’re a shitty writer. You might be a popular writer, because there are certainly plenty of people who want to devour books that don’t challenge them in any way, but that doesn’t make you a good writer. That’s probably an argument best saved for another blog post, though.

Wonderful. I’d love to hear Jim’s take on what makes somebody a *real* writer. I like the disdain for popular (it was deserving of an underline!) I might not care for Twilight, but she’s a real writer. You might not like Harry Potter, but she’s a real writer. Basically, if somebody is willing to give you money for your stuff, you are an honest to goodness professional.

Note how judgmental Jim is here about what he deems to be “good”. People read books that don’t challenge them? How dare people enjoy themselves in a manner you don’t deem appropriate! Because once again, people like Jim are all about diversity as long as you agree with them.

It’s so much easier to argue with people if I deliberately misinterpret and oversimplify what they’re saying, isn’t it?

BWA HA HA HAAW HAW! Snort. 

Then I’ve got 4 paragraphs giving advice, and how writers should use whatever character best accomplishes the task, and if some particular type of person doesn’t show up, if any reader cares enough to think about it (which they won’t) they can just assume that those people exist but didn’t show up in your book.

 “Those People exist in my stories. They’re just not important enough to have speaking parts in this book. Or those other books. Or the majority of the books in our field.”

Heh… Pot. Kettle. Because of course, there aren’t any diverse or interesting types of characters in speculative fiction, a genre which includes stuff like shape shifters, and beings of pure energy, and psychic space dolphins… Yet earlier, Jim accused me of not being well read in a genre that has gender bending authors Robert Heinlein, Piers Anthony, Spider Robinson in it… Go figure.

I discovered that the original author was in her mid-twenties, and made a joke about it, because I know when I want advice about my writing career, I want if from somebody who just got out of college.

 “MacFarlane is wrong because I’m older than her!”

No. She’s wrong because her wish to end default binary gender in sci-fi is foolish. I’m sure relative inexperience helped her come to that conclusion, but then again, that doesn’t explain the Typical WorldCon Voter who feels the same way, and their average age is one hundred and four.

More straw-manning.

Heh… Jim is new to this “internets” thing.

Yay. But yes, there are in fact people who think that maybe — just maybe — we should have stories that are more than mindless fluff perpetuating the same tired stereotypes.

Good. I’ve said repeatedly that writers should write whatever they feel like. This should also work both ways though, so when a writer chooses to write something you don’t like or you don’t approve of, even if it is big breasted white women jumping on manly penises, maybe you should just let that artist express themself, rather than sneering at them for not checking the proper box on your Liberal Butt Hurt Form.

There are also people who recognize that all stories carry certain assumptions and messages and “truths.” Good Triumphs Over Evil.

I didn’t know you guys still believe in those concepts. Oh wait, you’re being ironic.

Freedom Is the Bestest Thing in the Universe.

You want to know why I sell tons of books compared to most of you statists? That actually is my standard message. 🙂

Intellectual Arrogance Will Destroy You.

Okay, that one made me giggle. One note though, disagreeing with you assholes doesn’t make somebody anti-intellectual, because that assumes you deserve the title. Intellectual my ass. Judging by all my fans I’ve visited at NASA and Rocket City recently, we’re all laughing at your humanities degree. 

If Correia thinks his own personal bullshit doesn’t shape the stories he writes, then he’s a fool.

Again, in the very post he’s flailing about trying to fisk, I clearly said we all put messages into our stories, only you need to concentrate on the story first if you want to make it as a professional, and lay off the heavy handed message fic until you’ve got the skills to pull it off.

Also, damn. Bitter, much?

BOOM! Internet Arguing Checklist FTW! #2 Disqualify That Opinion, subcategory: You Must Be Angry.

But yeah, when I watch my favorite genre shrinking, and I see fewer and fewer Americans reading because they’ve been turned off or they’re tired of being insulted or preached at by their entertainment, and I watch people like you trying to shove political correctness down new writer’s throats, it makes me biter. I’ve seen skilled and talented young writers come along and damage their careers while trying to incorporate all the liberal angst box checking into their fiction. I’ve seen the SFWA types rundown people they disagree with, or actively campaign against some writers because they fall into some category of diversity that it is okay to hate. I watch no talent hacks attack grandmasters like Mike Resnick for sinning against the proper groupthink, even when the Resnicks of the world have done more to promote sci-fi and fantasy to the masses than a hundred Scalzis or Hines or Jesmins or Haydens or whichever activist it is out there railing against the proper cause of the day, and telling our customer base how stupid, backwards, racist, and hate filled they are.

Don’t worry, I’m sure there will be another panel at WorldCon called “Why is Sci-Fi Readership Shrinking?” and then the answer will be shit like ending binary gender. 

I said something similar in the last post, about message fic being boring and turning off readers. (what would I know, I’ve just got hundreds of comments from fans who’d given up on reading for these exact reasons, before being drawn back by something they actually enjoyed).

You know what’s boring? Yet another book about manly straight white dudes doing manly straight white things.

Pause with me, gentle reader, and think about who is really the one filled with bias and hate here… Manly straight white dudes, doing manly straight white things? Like what? If Hines is bitching about popular books that people actually purchase, then I’d assume those “manly white” things would include things like having adventure, exploring new worlds, fighting for their beliefs, and having a really good story. You know, stuff readers actually like to purchase. I’m not the one saying that other races, sexes, and orientations can’t make awesome characters, he’s the one implying readers are all stupid and you just want WHITE MAN SMASH!

As much as Jim has tried to take me to task, he’s only really helped demonstrate exactly what I’ve been talking about.

You can’t preach about how boring conformity is bad for the genre, then spend 4000 words arguing with someone trying to challenge a piece of that genre conformity.

Like I said, cut and paste, but I’m assuming Jim doesn’t come from a STEM background.

And again, characters? Write whatever tells the best story. The only boring conformity I’m against is this bland politically correct leftism masquerading as intellectual thought.

Okay, obviously you can do that, but I think it’s rather silly.

Apparently I’ve got thousands of readers who disagree with you, but we’ve already established you think they’re all hateful and stupid.

I made fun of university humanities speak.

Writing should be simple and basic. “Invisible prose.” Because Conformity. Or something.

Yep. A standard liberal SFWA member is lecturing one of the handful of outspoken conservative sci-fi/fantasy writers about conformity.   

You realize that’s what El-Mohtar is saying, right? That we need to stop recognizing women writers as curiosities, noteworthy because, “Hey look, a woman wrote something good!” That we need to move past the assumption that all of the great works of literature were written by men. That we need to stop ignoring women’s accomplishments just because they’re women.

So, the guy hung up on forced diversity, angry at white people doing white things, is lecturing me, the person that doesn’t give a shit what equipment the writer has, about recognizing people’s accomplishments… But don’t worry, the brave sensitive white male champion has swooped in to explain what the female minority author REALLY meant to say. 🙂 (oh, how that irks them so).

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

MacFarlane: “I want to talk about these books and stories that don’t get a lot of attention, and expand the kind of stories we read and create.”

Correia: “Copying unpopular stuff will make you unsuccessful!”

Hines: “Huh???”

Good thing Hines is such a more eloquent communicator than the original author to clear that up.

Bored now. I hope Correia moves on to something new and interesting soon. The same old misreading and straw-manning is getting dull.

As usual, I’ll leave the relative entertainment value up to the audience to decide. 🙂 

I then got into the nitty gritty of making it as a professional author, and how that requires quality over message. I also pointed out that most of the beloved message fic stuff isn’t commercially viable. It is a good way to get praised by the popular kids at SFWA while making very little money.

I went into the report for the Guardian that revealed most published authors don’t make very much. Contrary to the image many aspiring authors have, most of us don’t make enough to live on. Most of us keep our day jobs and write on the side as a second job, or we’re supported while our spouse works. The average makes somewhere around $30k a year (if I recall correctly it was like $28K).  Only the top 1% makes over 100k.

I’ve done very well for myself. I’m financially blessed and successful. I’m well into that 1% now. Part of that is luck and being at the right place at the right time, but most of it is from hard work, being analytical about my market and how to grow my fan base, being a self-promoting machine, but most of all, trying to tell an entertaining story that will make my fans happy.

I pointed out that you could either take the advice of somebody who is making it as a professional writer, or you could take the advice of somebody who just got out of college.    

Correia makes more money than you. Therefore he’s right.

On the topic of making a living as a writer, damn right I am.

I’ll certainly grant that Larry Correia is a successful writer.

And oh how that infuriates some folks. 🙂 

Therefore you should do what he does.

Concentrate on story first, and message way down the list. Yes, yes you should.

So is Ursula LeGuin. Who wrote an amazing novel about non-binary gender that’s still popular today. Therefore you should do what she does.

Ah, but if you read the comments that you tried to warn people away from, you’d see the part where LeGuin went and spoke at a university and explained that Left Hand of Darkness wasn’t ever intended to be message fic, she put STORY FIRST, and wrote what she was interested in at the time… Which is what I’ve been saying the whole time.

Look, NOBODY IS SAYING THAT STORY ISN’T IMPORTANT, or that you shouldn’t put story first.

Except for when you insult other authors for their character choices, or call them lazy for not doing what you want them to do? Or that you need to end the norm? Or that you never want to read another book with gender norms again? But that’s totally not telling people what to do! You’re just guiding them so that we can all be diverse in the exact same way!

That bullshit may work on the new writers who don’t know any better, or the squishy headed ones forever interested in appeasing the cool kids or someday joining the cool kid’s clique, but those of us who’ve been through this grinder and who understand how to write and just want to make a living can safely tell you to go fuck yourself (in whatever post binary gender manner you choose to go fuck yourself in) then we write what we want.

What they’re saying is that there are more stories out there, and more characters, and more possibilities to explore.

Set that straw on fire!  You know a crazy possibility to explore? A future where consumers still purchase science fiction novels because leftists suck wads have failed to drive everyone away.

She said she wanted a conversation, I said just not in the blog comments…

 [Citation needed]

Oh for fuck sakes, how about reading the blog and Facebook comments you warned everyone not to read, where people have reposted their comments that were removed? Wait. I forgot. I’m talking to a leftist, where eyewitness testimony is anecdote not evidence. Now, if that testimony was quoted in Salon or Mother Jones, that’s evidence.

Yep. How dare she wish for books to more accurately reflect the diversity of the real world…

Wish in one hand… I’ve already explained that repeatedly, and if your speculative fiction did accurately reflect the real world, and it took place anywhere other than Space Berkley, you probably wouldn’t have any transgender characters anyway. Luckily, your fiction can reflect whatever reality you choose to build, so you can write whatever you want.

Characters who are not straight or white or cisgendered male or whatever Larry Correia and most of the rest of the world thinks of as the default have a reason to be included in the story. (Fortunately, white dudes like me don’t need a reason to exist. We’re the normal ones, you see. We’re supposed to be here.)

Can’t you just feel the white guilt oozing through the page? Jim Hines is extremely sorry that human beings have been mean to each other in the past, and he is genetically responsible for all of your suffering. How dare you not have a rainbow of fruit flavor in every book! You are keeping your imaginary people down!

It is okay, Jim, we Warm Beige People forgive you. (for the record, that’s what these Home Depot paint chips say I am. I’m the same color as Cheech Marin).  Though I’m pretty sure my badass conquistador ancestors would still think you’re a pussy.

Back to the nuts and bolts of writing, EVERY character needs a reason to exist. If you have a character in your story, why are they there? What purpose do they serve? That guilty white people stuff is just bullshit. If it makes sense for a character to be white, or black, or gay, or a space whale, or a leprechaun, write it. Worry about making your readers happy first, because no matter what, you’ll never make the Jim Hines and tor.com bloggers of the world happy, and you should probably still feel guilty about something. 

Here’s a reason: because people other than your narrow-minded “default” exist in the world. Because if you want to write a story that’s in any way reflective of the real world, you have to acknowledge that fact.

Sigh… Note how they’ve gone from END THE BINARY GENDER DEFAULT to the much milder acknowledge people are different. That’s all bullshit though, because as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, sci-fi has no problem acknowledging and exploring how people are different, but no matter what the activist outragers will find some new thing to get outraged about. Remember, to a liberal, being a victim gives you super powers. 

I talked about some of my characters that deviated from the norm.

“See, I wrote about a gay cross dresser, so you can’t accuse me of being homophobic!”

Correction. I’m not homophobic because I’m not particularly scared of gay people. I wrote about a badass motherfucker in a setting that is all about badass motherfuckers murdering the shit out of each other, and giving this particular supporting character this one trait made the narrative more interesting and allowed for some fun lines like “I’ve never met a transvestite I couldn’t take in a knife fight.”

Just not the ones that disagree in the blog comments.

Again, try reading the comments. Also, you seem to be accusing MacFarlane of deleting comments, when I suspect it’s the Tor.com staff who are responsible for moderating. I’m not 100% sure on that, but I suspect you’ve got your snark crossed here.

Holy shit… Yes, Jim, I really did think that the website of a massive publishing house which has its own in house moderators was having their guest blogger manage the website. If my snark is crossed, your snark sleeps in a helmet.

And back to the mockery and criticizing the author’s age rather than her ideas.

That part wasn’t even about her age. It was about the whole attitude about how sci-fi is all about dropping truth bombs and rocking the reader’s bourgeois little worlds.

#

Well that was fun. My congratulations to anyone who read this far.

Why? Do you normally have a problem with readers finishing your writing? I don’t have that problem.

As a reminder, I do moderate comments here, because I’m a freedom-hating commie because I don’t have time or interest in trolls, name-calling, threats, etc.

Meanwhile, over on the right wing hatey hate monger’s various feeds, we leave up pretty much everything because we actually believe in free speech.

You’re welcome to comment, but as Wil Wheaton says, don’t be a dick.

And since Will Wheaton is a hypocrite that doesn’t seem to mind being a dick to Republicans, the Tea Party, the NRA, or anybody who makes up the half of the country who agrees with those groups, I wouldn’t put too much faith in that. But maybe that’s just because I fondly remember how Will Wheaton likes to blame the people most likely to prevent mass shootings for all the mass shootings.

So anyways, my whole point is don’t pay attention to the cause of the day types urging you to cram Special Topic X into your book. Even if you do, they’ll find something new to be outraged about tomorrow. Write whatever you want to write.  Have fun. Get paid.

 

EDIT: Just check Facebook and Twitter. So it turns out in typical statist fashion that the proper goodthinkers are petitioning my publishing house, Baen Books, that they need to distance themselves from their awful authors like me, Williamson, Ringo, and Kratman (as in a bunch of their bestselling authors) before we tarnish Baen’s image. So… threats of boycott against a publishing house they already don’t like, to not purchase books by authors they already hate… Yep. That’s the free speech I know and love from the lefties. Thanks, Concern Trolls!

250 Responses

  1. ‘Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.’ – George Carlin

    Also, please don’t waste valuable writing time on the argument. Where’s another Grimnoir book? What sort of shape is MHI Nemisis in? More stories, please?

    P.S. I’ve read one of Hines’ books. On a scale of 1-10 it came out at about a 4, which is not much above “readable, but nothing special.”

    • I used to think the same way, Ed Bear. However, I’ve observed that if you don’t call idiots idiots, people believe them.

      • Have to agree with you, Andrew. It’s not like this was particularly hard for Correia, or even took up much time. Personally, I found it highly entertaining.

        Entertainment value aside: Here’s the most important thing: Liberals, Democrats, Progressives, whatever they prefer to be called in their label-sensitive world, they thrive only because good people ignore them when they say asinine things. Sure, Hines comments were nonsensical, and probably beneath LC. But Correia wasn’t writing for Hine’s benefit. That was for us. And it was AWESOME.

        Side Note: I work in an industry that censors Improper Groupthink mercilessly. If I came out of the closet as a RWNJ, I’d never work again. So I have to stay silent while everyone around me says stupid crap like this. ALL the time. I’ve heard people say the vilest thing about minority conservatives- it’s not at all uncommon. In the next breath they stick their noses in the air and congratulate themselves for not being like the hatey-haters on the right. It’d be comical if I weren’t forced to be silent about it.

        And you know what? The truly sad thing about all of this is that because I am forced to remain silent, the people who have no opinion either way never get to hear a differing opinion from the Proper-Goodthink that the left spews out daily. I have a choice to remain silent and put food on the table, or speak up, be heard, and starve.

        So when Correia goes off like this? I love it. I love it because I can’t do it myself.

      • I made the mistake of making a few comments here and there under my real name to blow off steam during college and wonder if that ‘outed’ me as ‘against the groupthink’ in my own industry…

      • I should add that this post really doesn’t have much at all to do with politics. If we were going to sum up- it’s mainly about how Message-Fic is boring and people should focus on Story-Fic.

        That’s it.

        I know Hines got all pissy and tried to make it about race (?!) and gendernormative fascism. But he’s a lefty idiot who is obsessed with race and genders and lots of other label-du-jour, which is why I found LC’s take-down so amusing.

      • “Sure, Hines comments were nonsensical, and probably beneath LC. But Correia wasn’t writing for Hine’s benefit. That was for us. And it was AWESOME.”
        This right here. So much, this. That’s the part so many of them don’t get…

  2. Just realized something: Hines’ least un-well-known book is actually a postmodern hodgepodge of (literal) borrowing from other works. And he says “we should try looking beyond the same old default that’s been done again and again”?!?!?

    • Hah, that actually flew right over my head. Good catch! I was intrigued by the concept of Libriomancer, so I read it. It was more or less capably written, but I didn’t enjoy it, particularly because he so amateurishly shoved a 3-way relationship into the story as a plot mechanism. Because bisexuality and polyamory is a plot device apparently.

      • I have that one on the bookshelf because the premise seemed intriguing…but I realized that I already tried to read it and when I got to the 3 way relationship that really had nothing to do with the plot….I took it back to the library.

      • I’ve been in a poly-ship myself. I don’t see how it would make for a good sci-fi plot device. Unless one of the persons in the ship were secretly the villain, or there was a whole combining DNA in a unique way.

        Other than being “novel” to, voyeures, people who haven’t been in one, or those who like diversity for diversities sake, polyamourous relationships are just like normal ships. It’s not much to hang a story hat on, unless it’s somehow relevant, the same goes for most ships though. They are background fodder, they don’t alter the foreground much.

        Unless the relationship defines the characters, or gives them a path for growth and development, they are just set dressing. Revenge is also a possible plot line, but revenge is hard to write well.

        Talk about defaults though. Being in a relationship is such a cliche default. Defining characters by their relationship status, or the “I need to be in a ship”, is so over done. What about single characters too busy saving the world/universe to worry about set dressing like a ship. I guess it’s okay to default to characters having relationships, if the ships check off the right boxes.

        Characters should only have as much set dressing as fits their character and the story. If the set dressing doesn’t improve the character, consider keeping it off camera. Or if the author feels it’s important to define the character, show that in the story. Don’t just place it there like a sack of wet garbage.

      • I’m such a hatey-hate monger on this subject of polyamory and gender bending in writing that I’m somehow friends with Laurel K. Hamilton! 😀 (we talked on Twitter yesterday and she marveled at how me and Mike Williamson put up with this crap)

      • In the context of Libriomancer, it works. The character in question was drawn from a book and molds every aspect of her personality to her lover’s desires. By engaging in simultaneous relationships with two very different people, she preserves some measure of free will.

  3. Unlike Hine’s post, I actually managed to remain interested in this response.

  4. Can’t wait for Hines’ next installment; Fisk 4: The Diversity Must Be Uniform

  5. Just one request, since I’m not a huge technophile, I have no idea where to find these facebook places asking Baen to distance themselves. Please, oh for the luvva god please, point them out to me. I begs ya.

    • Please do ’cause I can’t find it either…and while I am not a masterfisker like Larry…I can do my share.

  6. bravo, most enjoyable to read. Based on their request for a boycott I suggest a BUYcott for all Baen products

  7. I don’t really care about the argument because it isn’t applicable to most readers. Good fiction, particularly today with the advent of self and e publishing, will find a way to readers. Bad fiction, be it bogged down by heavy handed messages or not, usually won’t.

    With that out of the way, attack Hines for his position but it is sophomoric to attack him for his work, at least in terms of its quality and market penetration – something Hines is seemingly guilty of in his response to Larry, true. Hines is a successful writer, not 1% successful or at least wasn’t when he revealed a great deal about his personal book sales a few years back, but much more so than the super majority of authors. His opinion, ill informed as it may be, is at least from an experienced and successful fantasy author. He may be wrong. He may be stupid even, but to intimate he is a not a “good” writer because you don’t like him or know of his work is the antithesis of Larry’s original point; it is the story dummy, everything else is service to it, bifurcated gentiled, three gendered mutant physic shark included.

    • I don’t think I ever attacked Hines’ fiction anywhere that I can think of. How could I? I’ve never read any of it. As for market penetration, I have no idea what his sales numbers are either. I very specifically try never to attack the fiction of authors I disagree with, no matter how annoying I may find that author personally.

      • I’m just gonna leave this here, don’t mind me. http://www.jimchines.com/2014/01/2013-writing-income/

      • I will make no comments upon Jim Hines’ personal finances. Good for him. I hope his trend continues and he can eventually quit his day job.

        I know I’m going to get flamed in his comments for this, and I’ll hear about how I’m just a rich white(?) cismale rubbing his wealth in the faces of the unfortunate, but in the interest of honesty about who you should take business advice from when it comes to appeasement versus story, I will say that I made about 3x that this year. That doesn’t count my income from my military industrial complex job I still had for the first few months of 2013, nor does it count any ancillary income from things like Amazon refferals or merchandise.

        He said he’s been doing this for 18 years. I’ve been doing it for 6. And before one of the nitwits invokes privilege or some bullshit, I grew up on a farm, poor, with an alchoholic mother and an illiterate father, so I have worked very hard to get where I am.

        So maybe, just maybe, when I talk about how there’s a giant market of fans out there who’ve been disenfranshised and turned off by preachy, predominatly left wing, boring genre fiction, I know what the fuck I’m talking about because they are my primary audience. And when I talk about people who quit reading fiction because school made them despise reading boring, pretentious, Big Message, dreck, until a friend gets them to try one of my books and the discover that reading can actually be fun? Yeah, I’ve met plenty of people like that. I’m not just making this stuff up.

      • I was responding to the comments here (and on Facebook to a greater extent.) You were pleasantly sarcastic as usual.

      • My point was that Jim Hines is a successful writer by most any financial metric in the field and not simply a twenty something blogger to be dismissed, which is the impression some posters (again, mostly on facebook) gave of his work.

        I think it is fascinating to learn about what other professions earn; people will share their religious, sexual, and political beliefs most readily but won’t give any vague figures as to what they earn. I guess it is easy for me since I am poor and have little share.

        A

      • I’m one of those people that stopped reading because all i saw was preachy fiction. hell, I stopped *writing* because all i saw was preachy fiction and I thought that’s all you could get published, until a friend introduced me to John Ringo’s books in 2000.

      • “And when I talk about people who quit reading fiction because school made them despise reading boring, pretentious, Big Message, dreck, until a friend gets them to try one of my books and the discover that reading can actually be fun? Yeah, I’ve met plenty of people like that. I’m not just making this stuff up.”

        +1 to this. I can attest to it personally. In college I took an English class (to meet a requirement, sure as hell wasn’t going to major in it) that was based around reading and writing about fiction. I grew up reading SFF so I thought there was no way they could ruin that for me. I was wrong. After some of the crap I was forced to slog through that Semester, and being told by the prof basically what the “right” opinion/interpretation was, It turned me off to it for a good while (the only high note was the assigned Phillip K Dick stories). Larry, I haven’t ready any of your stuff just yet, but you can bet I will. And definitely before I read the Spunky Crossdressing Adventures of Mimsy Sparkletaint by Jim Hines (Foreward by John Scalzi).

      • Nate,

        I had a fellow student who once joked that the only thing she needed to do to get an ‘A’ in the English class we were both taking was to publicly disagree with everything I said.

        😛

        As an English major, noting the foibles of each instructor was a basic survival tool.

      • Interestingly, Larry, I attribute your success, and therefore income, directly to your upbringing. From birth, you *learned how to work*. You were on a farm, so your family had to be self motivated, or you’d all starve.

        Just by coincidence, I was having lunch with two company presidents today. While the restaurant manager came over to chat, one of the presidents said:

        “Here’s my secret, anyone who says they were raised on a farm is hired, period. They always show up on time, work hard, and can solve any problem. I’ve never had to fire one, either”

        Manager:
        “Yeah, come to think of it, the only two farm boys I’ve had are still here, and they work their asses off.”

        Larry, you got a far better upbringing and preparation for life than you seem to think.

  8. I wonder if Baen will give the goodthink groupthinkers a hearty “f-you!” or if they’ll just ignore them.

  9. Aw. Man, I need to hurry up and finish this space opera. I want a boycott too! Obviously I don’t rate that level of hate just yet. I can’t help but see it as a promotional gold mine.

    Oh, and, like, my main character is a lesbian. I’m sure that will outrage them somehow, because how dare I?

    • Dang it, Mike, are you taking my idea for lesbian AIs…darn…that was two years down the drain

      • madsci, I hate to break it to you but I wrote about a lesbian AI in a backup story to a superhero comic I was writing back in the mid ’80s. Here’s a citation:

        http://www.atomicavenue.com/atomic/titledetail.aspx?TitleID=19219

        Meanwhile, my first science fiction novel is due out in March and it’s wall-to-wall binary gender characters. Actually, just by reading the novel, you can’t tell the sexual preferences of most of the characters because it’s not relevant to the story. It’s a good old fashioned planetary romance, complete with a princess in need of rescuing and a brave hero willing to come to the rescue. I’ll probably be accused of filling the book with white, gender normative characters even though the most detailed physical description I give for a character is to say she has raven hair and green eyes (admittedly, the cover does show the two main characters as white).

        I don’t know Larry’s take on self-promotion in his comments, so I’ll stop here. (And, seriously, anyone reading this now has enough information to find the book once it’s available.)

      • I don’t care if people self promote. Just don’t go nuts. 😀 Links to books and blogs are fine.

    • I am boycotting anything else previously published by Mike Kupari because I am outrageously outraged at his outrageous use of imagination to write something other than what he is. Also, I hate buying a book twice. BUT the boycott is in effect. Unless I decide to buy Dead Six for a friend. But then, the boycott is definitely probably going to happen.

      • Yaaay! I’m being boycotted! I’m a controversial figure now! ^_^

      • I have the paper copy of Dead Six. About to buy the audio when it comes out. But after that, I SHALL JOIN YOU IN THIS BOYCOTT, BROTHER.

      • I love Audible.com. I’ve got 4 new books coming out from them on February 4th. I’ve done really well in audibook.

        Just out of curiosity… Some quick ten key (retired accountant don’tcha know) and… Wow… If I post this I’m totally going to be a dick, but then again, judging by the SFWA blogosphere it isn’t like they can hate me MORE, so in the spirit of full disclosure: Jim Hines has 192 reviews on Audible averaging 3.7 stars. I have 22,864 averaging 4.5. That is a bit more of a discrepency than I expected, but my ignorant redneck racist fanbase must have nothing better to do that listen to audiobooks while they commute to their jobs at the hate farm. Though I do have one more book out there than he does currently, I don’t think that would bring up the average enough to make a statistical difference. 🙂

      • The hate farm, where we grow hate by forcing liberals to read Larry’s books over and over, interspersed with his blog posts. Its the most efficient fuel this year…

      • I’ve said before that if I could just figure out how to harness the friction created by liberal hand wringing I could cure the world’s energy crisis. I would then sell that hand wringing device patent to Big Oil for a zillion dollars, just to be a dick. 🙂

      • I’m continually boycotting Mike Kupari. I only buy his books when they come out, and never twice unless a friend borrows it. (Baen books never seem to make it back home…)

    • I’d be interested to read it, because…

      You know the term “magic negro?” I think Spike Lee invented it. It’s when the uptight White main character needs help to solve a problem, and a Black character shows up with a liberal application of soul food or some other Black stereotype and via their Blackness is able to solve the problem of the uptight White main character, and it’s so overdone that it becomes a trope.

      So after recently watching a favorite TV show recently and they had the obligatory “being gay is wonderful” episode. I told my wife, “This is bordering on “magic Homo.” Wife says, “HUH?” So I explained the “Magic Negro” thing. I said, “I’m tired of every TV show having an episode where they have a gay character show up, and through the power of being a flamer, they solve the problem of the uptight Hetero main character. As if all gays are flamers! Can we get past this already? When I was in the Air Force in California, my unit was full of lesbians! And shockingly, most of them were people, rather than caricatures!” I’m just sick of gay characters on TV always being flamers in general, rather than three-dimensional characters and real people, where their sexuality is one aspect of their personality, not the sum total of their entire existence!

      So if you follow Larry’s advice and write a compelling story, good for you. You’ll be better than most TV writers.

    • Are you me? I’ve been kicking around an idea for some kind of space-opera-like thing with a lesbian MC for a while. Not that I can actually write yet (practicing with some silly fan fiction right now). I kinda want to do so even more now just so I can be in the same boat as guys like LC and John Ringo and piss off the SJW’s.

  10. What’s shocking to me is not this discussion, but the sheer number of words Larry can write in a day! It’s astonishing!

  11. A certain author said:

    “My way of dealing with spec fic’s racial lopsidedness (on the writing side, at least) is somewhat passive-aggressive: I avoid making any sort of overt racial identifiers at all with my characters unless it’s required by the plot, which for my books it generally isn’t. This is not the same as actively specifying minority characters in my books, which is a point no doubt many will be happy to make, and they’re right. But it’s not excluding them, either, which is not trivial.”

    According to the source post, that is in fact trivial. In fact, Steven Barnes (who, for the unaware, is a phenomenally good writer who happens to be “of color” and trained in enough martial arts to take several of Larry’s or my characters, but is an awesomely kind dude) publicly said it was trivial.

    Jim probably thinks it’s trivial, too.

    So I await the leftist SF community boycotting John Scalzi.

    • Heh… I remember that quote. Barnes pointed out that if you don’t say what some character is, most readers assume they are white. Meanwhile hatey-hatemongers like us just have characters that are different ethniciites and say so. Hell, I had black and biracial characters in the 1930s, and even wrote it realistically for the ’30s and all the interesting (and sometimes tragic) story elements that entailed.

    • Many years ago I read something to the effect that characters written without overt racial identifiers were easier for a diverse audience to identify with. The author who wrote that opinion was R. A. Heinlein, who sold a few books, and knew a little bit about science fiction, too.

      • Hey, I’m the one that thinks we should be naming schools and warships after Heinlein, yet I’m fairly sure I could disagree with him about writing techniques without anybody turning into a butthurt crybaby. 😀

      • In some cases (I Will Fear No Evil) the character is vague, but is intentionally designed to invoke perceptions of more than one race. In Starship Troopers, we get told at the end the character is Filipino. And there are hints throughout. So he wasn’t ignoring the issue. He was presenting it carefully.

      • maybe we should petition to have one of the new gee whiz bang “stealthy” subs after him. then if it ever fires a shot in anger the casing on the missile or torpedo can read “you’ve just been Heinlen’d. have a nice day” 😛

      • Oh new thought. Hey Mike> Maybe Elke can emblaze Heinleins name across a planets surface with nukes? Alright fine I admit I just wanna see Elke play with nukes again. or maybe a massive orbital laser which she could write across the surface of a planet with.

      • Yet we must also remember that RAH wrote in another time. So if one reads THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS closely it’s pretty clear that Mannie would be considered “black” on Earth today (and in the novel), it is kept subtle enough not to scare the muggles of the time.

    • Let’s see… Heinlein did that, as well. And Joel Rosenberg.

      • I think Heinlein rather purposely did it, either waiting until nearly the end of the book to drop the fact of the character’s ethnicity, or else throwing in just enough clues that, if you went back and looked, you could figure it out for certain, but if you didn’t pay close attention, it was not obvious.

      • I actually did sort of the same thing with MHI, and Owen’s family history was only revealed as it was pertinant to the story. His mom being an immigrant didn’t come into play until we met his family and it comes up in the description. It is from his PoV, so why would he bother to stop during the current narrative and dwell about what color his dad is? To Owen, he’s dad.To other people, he’s named Auhangamea, (unless you served with him in Vietnam, and then he’s Destroyer or Augie) 🙂 and that’s the first time readers get the idea he’s not from around these here parts. Only it doesn’t matter, because culturally the Pitts are American Military Family first and foremost and the only “identity crisis” Owen experiences is the one that makes sense for his character, in that he’s not followed in his father’s footsteps as expected. It makes for some great character bits over the series.

        But gee whiz! Wouldn’t that be better if I hadn’t automatically defaulted binary gender! Then I could have checked a box!

      • To continue, the first time I bring up Owen’s ethnicity was when he’s signing in at MHI and describing what the other fellow recruits look like. And that’s just because like most swarthy, not quite sure what genetic heritage this guy is by looking at him hyphen American, he thinks of himself as an American, and the other stuff is mostly cool for family history purposes and telling stories about your relatives. The first time he meets the other primary characters, he describes what they look like. Trip is obviously black. So he is identified as such. Whoop. Holly’s white, but since this is from Owen’s PoV, he’s way more hung up on the fact she’s good looking. (wait… an athletic American cismale in his mid twenties notices beautiful women? HATE!) Lee is obviously Asian. Milo is obviously one strange individual and a GINGER!

        Towards the end of the book (since Owen is such a libertarian cismale of hate-mongery) he makes a joke about his team’s diversity. Not to celebrate it, oh no, because his character really isn’t the type of person to give a shit, but rather to think that it is kind of funny this group of militant badasses on a mission of destruction is actually diverse enough to make Jesse Jackson happy. But they’re not there because of their skin color, they are there because they’re good at their jobs and they get shit done.

  12. Love the whole thing, but my favorite part had to be about how hard it is to find characters you can identify with unless you’re a straight white male, and how resoundingly untrue it is. I began tearing through Baen’s catalog precisely because I found characters I could identify with and story I liked. I’m pretty sure there’s a word for people who identify with others solely based on skin-color, sexuality, gender, or anything other than their ideas and I’m also pretty sure I don’t want to associate with them, or read books targeting them as an audience.

    It never ceases to amaze me how “diversity” ends at physical traits with some, and how they can place so much emphasis on appearance over ideas and thought, and cap it all off by calling someone a racist.

    But the beautiful thing about gun culture is the people involved are grouped together by ideals, not physical traits. It’s inclusive by nature, the sole requirement being safe-handling of firearms. Gunnies are by and large been the kindest, most welcoming, and understanding people I’ve had the pleasure to spend my time with. I’ve never had anyone stop me from participating at a shooting range because of my appearance, thoughts, politics, or race. The same cannot be said for LGBT groups, classroom discussions, or even grocery shopping. It really is a special place.

    (P.S. You gotta warn me the next time you’re gonna quote me front page like that, the blood vessels in my face can’t handle the pressure.)

    • Sorry. Should have warned you. 🙂 But that was so well stated, and after he’d mined and cherry picked hundreds of comments to find the ones that he could try to show all my fans as being offensive knuckle draggers, I had to do it.

    • I get around in a wheelchair and have very little in common physically with SF/F and Thriller characters. However, if I were to find myself in a similar situation, after my boss wolfed out, midst the giblets formerly known as me, I’d like the MCB to find a .45 with the slide locked back. So, there is a commonality between us. It’s just a bit deeper than the flesh.

  13. To go with what Alexander said, I believe the book(s) that he is referring to are his “princess” series, which to be fair I have read and to another commenters point . A lot of travel and ebooks do that to you. But basically all he did with those was take fairy tales, force the princesses into the “male role” of secret agents and make like half of the characters gay, and then show how dumb the “white male was” ie Cinderella’s husband, by having him never really to my memory figure out what she did all day…

    • Actually, Libromancer. Though the Princess novels work as well.

      If you want to do postmodern reworking of existing works, fine. But it’s the depth of hypocrisy to complain that others need to be original.

  14. OMG! He used a part of my comment as an example of Hatey McHaterson commenters! Because it was mean. But funny. At least this dude is a better writer than the chick who wants to end binary gender-whatever. This just made my day!

  15. “But you know, readers also tend to enjoy stories where they can find characters like themselves. ” – Jim Hines

    So some part of me must be female, given the way I enjoy the Honor Harrington series. I must also have that “one drop of blood”, given my enjoyment of Foster’s “Journeys of the Catechist” series, as well as “Maori”.

    I prefer characters that I LIKE, regardless of color/sex/affiliation. For example, I never cared for “Shakespeare In Love” because I found the title character to be a jerk. Yet – strangely – he was a straight white dude.

    That preference is a good thing, since I’ve found a remarkable shortage of overweight 50-ish white straight Christian male computer-savvy protagonists in science fiction.

    Ah, well … now to dig up the source of “Call me cismale” for proper attribution – I want to put it on a T-shirt to wear at the next con I attend.

    • “But you know, readers also tend to enjoy stories where they can find characters like themselves. ” – Jim Hines

      They say that, and then they wonder why I have market success when I have republicans as something other than the bad guys, and I have southerners as something other than dumb racists. 🙂

      • About that ‘finding characters like themselves’ part – I’m a fat middle aged white spinster with a boring and badly paying job, but I’m afraid I probably would not care to read a story where the main character is a fat middle aged spinster with a boring and badly paying job, at least not if that was the whole story. Why the hell would I when I’m living it? Much more fun to read something like stories where manly men do exciting manly stuff, beat overwhelming odds and win in the end. Hey, I may be a spinster but I am a woman. I like men. And since I don’t have one reading about them will have to do, I’m afraid. So sue me. (And yes, I do know I just gave a free gift to anybody who wants to dismiss my opinions from now on. Fat middle aged spinsters are really funny when they are wrong thinking and not suitably sensitive and stuff. 😛 ).

        Also, due to age and some health issues I don’t have much of a chance of ever getting out of the pickle I’m in, no matter what I do. And that makes the chance to read fun stories very important since it’s one of the few ways I can escape my life for a moment, and to keep depression at bay. Been there, several times, and yes, one coping system which really does work is to avoid depressing stuff whenever possible and to concentrate on finding anything which just makes you feel good. The way a fun to read story can. So I’d say people who write stories like you do, Mr. Correia, are doing something quite important.

    • Ah, well … now to dig up the source of “Call me cismale” for proper attribution – I want to put it on a T-shirt to wear at the next con I attend.

      Wasn’t that In “Moby Cismale Gendernormative Fascist” by Melville? first line in the book?

  16. I want to find the Tweets and other material about the attack on Baen to get rid of you naughty boys.

    • It was on Twitter, and Jim Hines acknowledged that it would be a foolish move since authors like Ringo, Correia and Williamson make them mucho moulah.

      • Sorry, you can follow the rest of the Twitter conversation there, blahblahblah. It’s a dumb suggestion. If every publisher tried to police their authors like that, they’d never make any money. Kind of the point of publishing these authors in the first place, y’know?

      • Except that the publishers DO police the politics of the authors.

        And that’s part of why publishing is in trouble…

      • Which ones?

      • Okay, disregard…that was likely a dumb question, but I don’t pay as much attention to the publishing industry as I ought to. I just know which publishers I like.

      • holy crap! the fail and stupid is epically strong with that one.

      • Why are they saying this about Baen and its authors and not, say, Tor and it’s website?

        Oh, yes. Double-standard.

        There’s a phrase about a beam and an speck of sawdust that comes to mind…

  17. As much as I love to see you destroy the mediocre minds of the world, I gotta say that such people should be beneath your notice.

    Take satisfaction in the fact that you’ve already won, Larry. Binary gender is not going to end, in literature or in life, through all the remaining generations of time. Furthermore, inexperienced authors are not going to be fooled by MacFarlane’s article (those few who even read it or heard about it) so you do not need to protect them, either.

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, I think you should keep fisking idiots whenever they arise, but when you start rebutting their rebuttals, it all becomes so circular and pointless.

  18. Heh. Yeah – Hines basically showed a textbook example of “arguing past the statement” both in what YOU said, Larry, and in what he was purportedly defending. The latter especially, for so consistently misunderstanding it.

    Side note on bringing up Mike Resnick – his daughter decided to weigh in positively on Jim’s screed.

    As to Hines’ writing. Read and sort of enjoyed the Goblin books (plural. I liked the first one enough to buy the next two). The “what are dungeons like from the perspective of the monsters” schtick got old in a manner entirely consistent with his level of unawareness displayed in his protest of the objectification of women on book covers (the ones he protested were written by, and marketed to… hint: not men)

    Had no desire to read his “princess” fairy tale satires after that.

  19. What pisses me off most about Hines’ post is that he assumes that you are not respectful to those who argue with you! Like I told you at LibertyCon, you are one of the most respectful people to debate/argue with because of how respectful you are. Until someone crosses the lines set for proper arguing that is. Then all fun…err…hell breaks loose and rightfully so!

    I actually got to meet Mr. Hines at MarsCon last week and he was a nice enough guy in person. He seemed very anxious/nervous so I would be interested to see how this would have taken place were it not from behind a keyboard. You have to love the internees, they give everyone a sense of invincibility. Personally, I would not write anything online I wouldn’t say to your face!

    As a white, social liberal/fiscal & governmental conservative, I can honestly say that I love any story that is written well and that the books I avoid most are the ones with a preachy/beat-over-the-heady message. If the STORY happens to show me a message that is one thing but when you can obviously tell what an author is trying to explain to you it’s a bad story. I don’t need a book to tell me rape is bad mmmk? I have that pretty well figured out and someone who doesn’t needs more help than your book is going to give them.

    Thank you Larry, Mike, John, Tom, David, and others for your fantastic stories! 😀

    • When my fans have a serious discussion about rape, it is usually concerns shot placement and caliber choice.

      • As it should be! 😀 .45, 2 to the chest, one to head, and maybe one to the genitalia.

        I just wish that more writers would recognize that if we wanted to read about a message we’d probably be reading non-fiction or taking classes referencing the topics (and by the way if you ever wrote a book about guns or accounting I’d buy them). I don’t want to be lectured to when I read, I want to have fun and engage my imagination. I don’t want to be pulled out of the book because the author has spent two pages shoving a message down my throat when the protagonist should be doing something. I love morality and choices in books when they make the story make sense not because they serve a message. Your’s and most of the other author’s books I read don’t even give me indications of your political/religious/moral backgrounds! If I’ve wanted to know I’ve researched it and and even if I disagree, since you don’t beat me over the head with it, I enjoy them anyway! That is how it should be IMHO.

      • Shot placement for shooting a rapist? hmmmm well if you can get him where he’s not where the poor lass he was trying to rape, isn’t in the line of fire….
        Kneecap, kneecap, nuts, followed by a 3rd eye in the forehead to finish.
        Otherwise where ever you can conveniently shoot the bastard is fine.

      • That is begging to be condensed and trimmed into something suitable for a tshirt…

      • Shot placement?

        Robocop. Original movie. Would-be rapist using his intended victim as a human shield.

        ‘Nuff said.

        😛

        (wouldn’t try what Robocop does in real life, of course)

      • I’m told by a very reliable source that the best double tap is center mass, then hip.
        The targets are far larger
        The chest wound is probably fatal by itself
        The hip shot will cause massive abdominal damage from frag, bone shrapnel.
        Nobody walks anywhere after their hip is shattered.
        The two far different wound areas will overwhelm the system.

        Nobody is going to stand still for a head shot, especially after getting shot in the chest.

        If they’re lying motionless on the ground for the third eye, ballistics and blood splatter will show it. Judges and prosecutors look down on shooting helpless people between the eyes, they call it ‘execution’.

      • Disagree. I went to a wound ballistics course once and looked at a whole mess of autopsy photos. Pistol rounds usually don’t do a lot to an adult male pelvis. There is a major artery there, but it isn’t in the easiest place to hit for such a big area. Pistol bullets usually hit the pelvis, maybe crack it, maybe not, but it isn’t going to neccesarily knock anybody down. They just don’t have that much energy.

        They’re not going to stand still for the chest shots either, but COM is easiest to hit. There’s a reason pretty much everybody in this business teaches chest, and if that doesn’t work, head, and if that’s not available, shoot them in whatever is.

        As for the last, lying motionless on the ground, Reasonable Man no longer says 1. Ability 2. Opportunity 3. Immediate threat of Serious Bodily Harm, you shouldn’t shoot them anywhere. If they are on the ground, but still acting as a threat, then you can shoot them. Standing, sitting, prone, doesn’t matter. A reasonable man ascertaining a threat based upon the above criteria does. That’s how self defense law works in most US states.

        But don’t take my word for it. I was only a firearms instructor. You should see what NK Jesmin says about it. 😀

      • Miz Jezmyn, no doubt, would tell you to give them what they want and/or wait for the police to arrive.

        Nevermind that police response time here is nine minutes for a shots fired 9mm call.

      • er, 911 call.

      • Re: double taps:

        No argument at all, Mr. Correia, your correction and instruction was kindly given, and I appreciate it.

        This thread is about rape defense, which implies a light pistol, concealable for a woman’s carry. My double tap instruction assumed an assault rifle in a lawless environment, and it was doubly foolishness of me to conflate the two.

        “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” Proverbs 9:8

        The crow in this humble pie sure is chewy…

      • No problem. Didn’t know you were talking rifles! Even the lowly 5.56 absolutely smokes the best defensive pistol rounds when it comes to breaking bones. No need for crow. 🙂

    • so basically, whenever a woman gets raped it was her fault because she didn’t shoot or shoot quick enough? I don’t think I can follow that logic. Rape should be prevented, and not happen in the first place. Rape isn’t always done by a stranger lurking in the dark who grabs the first woman that comes along. Rape is done by spouses, family members, at parties where someone’s gotten so drunk they weren’t even able to give consent.

      As for stories that are enjoyable: I read whatever peaks my interest (scifi mostly, but also some fantasy). I don’t mind them having messages. A story with a message doesn’t have to be a bad story only because it does have a message. I find that rather one-sided thinking to say otherwise. I do like my aliens in stories as diverse and different from humans as possible but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a story where they aren’t.

      • “so basically, whenever a woman gets raped it was her fault because she didn’t shoot or shoot quick enough? I don’t think I can follow that logic. ” – You can’t follow that logic because your ignorant restatement is utter bullshit. I taught self defense tactics, certified thousands of people to carry concealed weapons, and even provided weapons. Those women are out there, making rapist’s jobs more difficult, and those women even help provide some element of herd immunity to people like you. I’m under no delusion that you can fix every single problem with a single tool. I helped make a difference in one way and helped prevent some violent crimes. One time after one of my students shot a rapist we threw a party. Even had a cake. In the meantime, I’m really super sorry that I was unable to cure all of the world’s ills simultaneously and not end domestic violence, or heck, cure all human evil while I was at it. And just like Jim’s Big Book of Rape Awareness doesn’t do shit to deter the kind of violent criminal assholes I was defending against, I hope it made a difference to somebody and “taught them not to rape” but having learned a lot about violent criminal assholes, kinda doubt it. You know something that is really an effective tool for teaching people not to rape? The threat of putting a bullet in them or the threat of sending them to prison.

        You want to argue gun control and violent crime, I know way more about that particular topic than I do about publishing.

        And your second paragraph, oh, that’s nice. You agree with me. Like how I specifically said writers can have a message, but the only way to pull it off is when you make the story good enough to carry it. Of course, there is successful message fic that’s message fic first, but it is rarer than people with non-bindary genders. 🙂

      • I don’t want to argue gun control and all that stuff. It’s nothing that concerns me because I live in a country where the majority of private people don’t have guns.

        as for my second paragraph: you aren’t making it very clear what you think about stories with messages because this post, just like your previous one, sounds a lot like all message stories are bad stories because they are about the message and not the story. If I got that wrong, I apologize, but I don’t understand then what your problem with MacFarlane’s or Hines’ post is.

      • First rule of holes: when in a hole, stop digging. Your “you aren’t making very clear” falls very flat when his explicit words are that you could include “message” so long as “story comes first.”

        This was pointed out to you and reiterated.

        At this point, “the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars…”

      • First off, sucks to be you, because freedom is awesome.

        Second, I’m not making it very clear? So if the like dozen or so paragraphs between two long blog posts that explain the importance of story before message aren’t clear, and a couple hundred other people aren’t haveing any trouble grasping that (including a bunch of others who aren’t native English speakers), then I’m not really sure I can help you out. If you don’t understand what my problem with MacFArlane’s or Hines’ posts are yet… Hooo boy… I don’t think another 2,000 word essay will clear that up for you either.

      • “Rape should be prevented, and not happen in the first place.”

        Good call. I agree completely.

        A lot of bad things should not happen in the first place.

        But, back in the real world, what about when those bad things DO happen?

        Oh…right…report it to police and let them deal with it if they have time…because that will make you all “un-raped” or “un-dead” or something.

        Personally, I believe that the best way to remain un-raped or un-dead is to be prepared, trained, and determined to defend yourself when the utopian solution falls short.

        Here’s a thought for you: A rape victim is a victim, whether they tried to defend themselves or not.

        A person who defended themselves by creating multiple .45 inch perforations in the torso of their attacker is still a victim of a violent crime…but they have the added benefit of not having been raped.

        They are both victims…neither is responsible for the criminal acts perpetrated against them. But I sure know which one I’d rather be.

        If you consider that to be “blaming the victim”…well…medical science is pretty advanced these days, I’m convinced that competent psychological help could be of assistance with that issue.

  20. […] blog to see if he corrected himself, and he did… kinda? In that somewhere in the word salad of this long response to Jim he corrects himself on Alex being “she,” airily dismisses it as a mistake and says he […]

  21. Having had the… pleasure… of personally being on the receiving end of Wil Wheaton not “being a dick”, I have to say that Mr. Hines sets the bar pretty damned low for his comment section.

    • Every time someone invokes “Wheaton’s Law” I can’t help but laugh in their face. What a maroon.

      • Remember his big fuck the NRA no more dead children tirade? Yeah… Don’t be a dick. 😀

        And if any of the libprog trolls bother to actually read these scary hate filled comments, this is why Wheaton had absolutely no clue what he was talking about: https://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-opinion-on-gun-control/ And if you’re new around here, and you think I’m controversial on publishing, you’ve not seen anything yet. 🙂

      • I’m not all that new. Been lurking around your blog for a while—probably since your gun control post last year. Mostly I just make popcorn and enjoy the show. Good luck on the Hugo’s this year. I’ll be voting for your nomination. Again.

      • Thanks.

  22. My favorite part was where he berated you for assuming Alex was a guy without double-checking, and then proceeded to continuously assume you were white for the entirety of his response.

  23. Wow. Jim C. Hines, mule for rent.

  24. Bravo. This was an amazing, beautiful fisk. You covered some golden points. Thanks for not sitting back and taking their crap.

    You know, I was already a fan of your writing, but this has pushed me into the fan-for-life category.

  25. But you know, readers also tend to enjoy stories where they can find characters like themselves. Which is easy if you’re a straight white dude, and gets progressively more difficult the further you stray from that default.

    Well, assuming that’s true (and I do), doesn’t that hole the original Tor article at the waterline? Are there really enough tranny SF readers out there you can make a career writing about them?

    • Pretty much. Which was what I said to begin with, but the important thing is I gave them someone new to hate. 🙂

      • I went and looked for statistics on the prevalence of transexualism, and found estimates from one in 200,000 to 1 in 332. That means you left somewhere between $1.00 and $540.00 on the table last year by being such a non-inclusive Hatey McHatemonger. How do you make a living with such bad business sense? 😉

      • But wait… I’m still getting the transsexuals who just want to be entertained by a good story, and who don’t want to get treated like tokens while being preached at about dying polar bears.

  26. Is Hines actually trying to imply that his writing is more than “mindless fluff?” I have read his work and, while it is entertaining enough for what it is, it’s *all* fluff. It appears that all you have to do to make Hines and his crew happy are to throw in a few characters with questionable sexuality (or sex identification, or something..) and you get to escape the “fluff” label.

  27. This is one of those moments where I am actively confused by the power of human beings to ignore what is right in front of them. I mean, he basically agreed with everything you were saying, but because it was coming from a ‘white (heh) conservative cismale’ you had to be wrong.

    I especially couldn’t get how he could be berating the response for saying that you were saying the only way to include characters that aren’t white straight male heroes and white straight female love interests was to do a ‘message story.’ What the flying frak? How do you get the exact opposite meaning out of what was written? It wasn’t even in literary densespeak.

    To paraphrase something a Weber character would say – arguing against this is like pushing chicks into a pool of sharks.

    • What the flying frak? How do you get the exact opposite meaning out of what was written? It wasn’t even in literary densespeak.

      Simple: They lie.

      Like that Grit character above.

  28. […] A 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 original post, but to be honest, Correia’s fisk was a lot easier to understand.) Some dude named Jim Hines (no idea who he is, nor do I care) took the time to fisk Correia’s fisk, so Correia responded by fisking the fisked fisk in Does my Cismale Hate Mongery Know No Bounds?! Responding to Jim Hines. […]

  29. Shorter Hines:
    “How dare this peon have a different opinion than I!”

  30. Damn you, Larry! Just last night I promised myself: no more book buying until I cut my stack down. Now you went and became the target of a boycott, so I have to buy more of your books.

    You’re a marketing devil, that’s what you are…

    • Yeah but don’t you have all of them already? If so it kinda means you have to gift the new copies to someone and bring them to the dark side. 🙂

  31. Wholey crap! I am twice your average reader demographic, the wrong sex, AND the wrong flavor? And I bought the first three monster Hunter books three times….

  32. Dogs vs. cats – a video comparison of character.

  33. Forgive the inside-baseball reference here, but it turns out Rabbit was mistaken about your middle initial. The “F” in Larry F Correia is obviously “Fiskmeister.” Now hurry up and turn Nemesis over to Reader-Force-Alpha.

    • Whoa whoa whoa. *I* am the one who coined “Larry Friggin’ Correia”. That David Spade lookalike is clearly trying to steal my achievements. LAWL.

      • awww look! Bender gets indignant just like a real boy! 😛
        Actually Bob, he’s right- I was just the one who said he needed to start signing his name “NYTBSA Larry Friggin Corriea.” The original Meme did in fact originate with Mike… ;D

  34. Oddly enough, about two months ago I was having a conversation with a co-worker about political things. He intended to “end” the conversation by stating; “…and as Wil Wheaton says, don’t be a dick.”

    I looked him straight in the eye and said “Wil Wheaton is one of the biggest dicks on the internet.”

    He didn’t stop laughing for about five minutes. Which only cemented the opinion for the rest of the office that the accounting department was a bunch of complete wackjobs. Which was correct, of course, but not quite in the way they thought.

  35. When Jim C. Heinz57 and Alex MacHyphenated Last Name write compelling fiction about lefthanded dodecasexual progeria victims in space, I’ll check it out if someone I like gives it a good review. Until that day, when someone I’ve never heard of, who has never been recommended to me by someone I actually HAVE heard of, they’re going to have to sink or swim based on the merits of their work. But, since there’s absolutely no chance that their work would include cover art featuring an attractive woman or a large-bore weapon, I suspect that the only way I’ll ever come across them again is if they can get Dunkin’ Donuts to let them sell their books at the drive-thru window.

  36. he’s the one implying readers are all stupid and you just want WHITE MAN SMASH!

    In a couple of my first stories my CEO of the biggest corporation in the Solar System was handicapped–mild handicap but still a handicap (traumatic injury to the knee when young, long before the “then I took an arrow to the knee meme”, long before “meme” was a “thing” in fact. He lives his entire life in low G to avoid that. His “go to” guy when he wants an engineering problem solved now is a black man. In one of those stories I had two parallel storylines going on and crosslinking back and forth. That second storyline’s protagonist was a female EMT.

    A later story has, as its main characters a female doctor in the Navy and a Chinese-American sailor. Yet another has as its main character an independently wealthy woman with a muted form of Multiple Personality Disorder (or whatever it’s called these days).

    That’s just in Science Fiction. In Fantasy I have a female journeyman wizard, an elderly female warrior, more lucky than skilled (it’s complicated, but the follow on stories never got told–now that we have options like self-epublishing I may need to change that), with just a hint of magical ability (and an extremely strong duty drive), oh, wait, here are some white males: A former surpreme court justice, a former state supreme court justice, an old west trapper and scout, and a Greek demigod.

    About the only one for whom “White Man Smash” might describe their “default” approach is the demigod (and you want to tell the Son of Zeus that he can’t?).

    Very short publication list so far so I can go through my entire history.

    So… threats of boycott against a publishing house they already don’t like, to not purchase books by authors they already hate…

    And I’m sure Toni is quaking in her boots. 😉

    • Space Boots. Toni is the editor of Baen. She wears Space Boots, and like Dr. Evil, she’s surely shaking in them even as I type this.

      See, that’s what’s even funnier about this. Larry’s own editor and writing boss is a businesswoman. Clearly this secretly offends Larry’s intrinsic chauvinism. Or Calvinism. Or whatever it is. I don’t really follow the “isms” all that much.

  37. Maybe Larry needs to draw a cartoon to illustrate the difference between “awesome story” and “The Preachy Adventures of Captain Token and the Minoriteam (heart!)”?

  38. Hines was the one who complained about scantily-clad warrior woman types being on covers, right?

    Someone please tell me the background on his Twitter account is meant to be ironic because of that. Please? I don’t want to believe there would be someone that nakedly hypocritical if that wasn’t the case…

    • Yes. One and the same (with Scalzi). So much so he posed as several of the covers, cross-dressing to complete the effect.

      I could generally care less, but the point he seemed to have overlooked in his protests was – I apologize for being repetitive here – that the covers he was spoofing were books written by women, primarily marketed to same. Not something about conan with a boris vallejo print.

    • I never did understand his complaint about covers and comic books objectifying women.
      Romance is much less of a niche market, and it objectifies men at least as much. (At least the hawt elven chick or the spandex-clad superheroine don’t have their faces cropped off!)

      • Personally, I shut up and let my publisher, artist, and marketing department do their jobs, rather than trying to micromanage them. If that means the female body armor on the cover of some of my books isn’t techncially accurate, but it means ten thousand new readers pick up a copy in a book store long enough to read the blurb, I call that a win.

        Monster Hunter Alpha sold like hot cakes. It has Heather on the cover turning into a werewolf. Is her cleavege enhancing outfit accurate to what she was wearing in the story? Not even close. Was MHA the #3 bestselling fantasy in the country release week, and then spent 20+ weeks on the Nielsen Bookscan bestseller list? Why, yes. Yes it was.

        And I work for a woman. My publisher, our boss, is a woman, and an extremely intelligent one at that. Luckily for me and the rest of her authors, she’s a lot more interested in selling books than the BS issue of the day.

      • Romance is much less of a niche market, and it objectifies men at least as much.

        Men? Romance covers objectify women as much, if not more, as SF/F.

      • Women love being objectified–why do you think they love those romance novels with the big, bad, muscle-bound, uber-rich alpha male and their near-rape fantasies so much? Why do you think Twilight and 50 Shades of Twilight sell like to hotcakes to women of all ages? Women are freaks, but somehow, men still love them. Thanks, guys. (You guys are freaks too.)

      • And sci-fi and fantasy are TINY compared to romance! So I’m sure all those romance publishers with their icky degrading sexy covers were swayed by Jim’s photo shoot.

    • I went to Amazon and looked at the covers of his books. Of those with humans on the cover, one book with one Asian male, one book with one white and blond male, two books with one white female, four books with three females on the cover, at least two white in each case (couldn’t expand the cover to see details on those). Absolutely nothing to suggest non-cisgendered protagonists on any of them.

      Obviously he’s a bigot, and his publisher is owned by KKK members.

  39. Jesus Jumpin H, Larry!
    That took forever, even SKIPPING what you cut and pasted of Jim Hines stuff.

    That being said…one of the things that confuses me about Jim. He’s White! He has a wife and two kids according to his bio. So he’s apparently Het. So why does he hate straight white manly men and womenly women so much? I’m confused. Is he maybe actually gay and feels he is unable to come out of the closet after being married and having kids and so…taking out his impotent inwardly directed raging about his lack of willpower out on the rest of us?

    Fuck a duck! I don’t know and upon second thought I don’t give a damn.

  40. So a few points here. One, this Hines guy sounds like he is writing a paper for a college composition one class, take citations and then twist them from their original state to somehow fit into whatever argument you are making for your assingment.

    Also my grade point average currently is 3.81 so in your face Hines for trying to make me look like I haven’t got any intelligence.

    So much fun to read these things, maybe Hines should try writing an argument in less than a 1000 words so that he can keep things straight.

    I do admit that I do lack experience in some of this, being currently not published, but I’m still working on actually writing the stories and finishing them for the most part so give it time.

    • By the way does this site have an edit feature cause I haven’t noticed one and I realized I forgot to number the rest of my points, not that it really matters.

      • There is no edit function (I believe primarily because Larry doesn’t want people in his cross hairs going back and editing what they’ve said) 😀

      • Exactly… I like having the originals around for when I get “Oh, I didn’t say I wanted to murder your entire family in cold blood! You just took that out of context! Learn to read more good better!”

      • I like the idea of the lack of an edit. Makes me stop and think will this post make me look like a ass.

      • Okay makes sense to me.

  41. It was nice of Jim, when he used my quote about my characters, to keep my name off it, so I won’t be shamed by public association with Larry.

    I’m assuming that was the intent. Otherwise, it was to avoid admitting that a reasonably well known non-liberal author uses more minority characters than most of the liberal authors, thus diluting his argument and giving me free publicity.

    He’d never be that shallow.

  42. *sits back and puts feet up* You know, I think I could like it here….

  43. My main characters in my WIP are: male robot, human woman w/ robotic arms, alien that looks kinda like an Indian demon that’s vaguely dog shaped, middle eastern air-ship captain who happens to be a woman. The story starts in an alternate Victorian England.

    And they’re that way because it makes a damn good story. Who the fuck cares about anything else?

  44. Well, I have to say that I was completely unaware that when I read all four MHI books and then promptly began salivating at the thought of a fifth, I was really just incredibly insulted and in a feminist rage over Owen and Earl taking center stage. Thanks for pointing that out, Jim. Clearly I’m dying for fiction headed by a tall, skinny female character with brown hair in a pixie cut who plays video games, owns more guns than her father, and prefers lifting real weights to build strength as opposed to tiny weights just for tone. I’ve never seen THAT character grace a story. Why is nobody writing about a character so clearly like me? Oh and, she has to have knives. Lots and lots of knives. Especially a kukri knife. Or three. Three is better. She also has to be more than just marginally “pro-life” (ooo, story twist: a gender traitor!) and ardently pro-military and pro-capitalism. And Mormon. From Utah. This is a character that screams “write a book centered on me and my pet issues!”

    If you could get on this obvious winner of a story and have a copy to me ASAP I’d really appreciate it, Jim. What’s that you say? You aren’t volunteering to be all edgy in your character choices, you were just attempting to call out Larry (badly, I might add) for humorously showing one of your sacred cows to have all the substance of post-fight Moon Yu from “Kung Pow”? Well damn, nobody is going to get to hear about the amazing gaming adventures of a racist, homophobic, baby-killing, bigoted, teabagger, gun nut, gender traitor female with an awesome side kick and kick-ass arsenal of knives and guns.

    I guess this means if I want to be taken seriously by you “intellectuals” I have to run outside with a binder full of my libido and yell at my neighbors to stay out of my uterus. #waronwomen! or whatever.

    • Don’t be surprised if Larry writes you in somewhere … lol

    • Hum… Other than glasses and knives, Larry have already wrote you in his MHI novel. Julie. Albeit, she cannot quit compete with some of her ancestors who’ve been collecting guns far longer than she’s been alive.

    • Wow. I think I’m in love

    • Well, let’s see, I just finished a book in which there’s a six-foot-tall thirteen-year-old girl who has lots o’ guns (though probably not more than her father, although she’s catching up) and lots o’ knives (including a kukri, yes). Pro-military, yes. Pro-capitalism, yes. Lifts weights? Sometimes. Pro-life? yes. Video games, not so much. Also not a brown-pixie-cut Mormon from Utah (she’s Australian). And she’s one of the primary POV characters.

      It’s not by Larry, though, it’s John Ringo.
      Under a Graveyard Sky and To Sail a Darkling Sea.

  45. Alright, so I admit it… the argument itself was pretty fun to read, at least your side of it. Getting past that though, there really is some good advice there. Concentrate on the story, not trying to shove a message down the readers’ throat. It sounds, at first glance, like common knowledge… but how many people out there swear it’s about the message of your work? I like the idea of just writing the story, and if it has a message of some sort then it’s probably something in the back of my mind sneaking itself onto the pages. So I got to thinking… what do I like in books I read? Well, I like to be entertained, sure, but have I ever cared about what sex/race/species the main character was? Not even a little bit. So thank you, both for making me think and for some damned good advice.

  46. I think the only time I have cared about what sex/race/species any character was when it got in the way of the story. I think is sad that he seemed to work at ignoring that your point is in many modern Sci-fi that the message gets in the way of the story. You are right I love
    Sci-Fi and enough of the modern ones I have picked up were put down unfinished for preaching to me. Add that to growing numbers that are just bad and I fear for Science Fiction in the years to come.

  47. The same thing that is killing SciFi is also killing the market for film. Use whatever characters/themes make for a good story, but fer the luvagawd stop preaching at people with the more-accepting-than-thou twaddle. It shows, every time.

    Great fisk, Larry. And I love your cheerily homicidal farm girl.

    • *cough* *cough* Elysium *cough*

      • The great irony of Elysium: the ‘hero of the little guy’ lives in a multimillion dollar condo in Malibu, and has a ten million dollar home in Beverly Hills… two communities that can be considered as much of an exclusive and separate community as Elysium was.

      • Meanwhile, Lone Survivor makes another zillion dollars. Hollywood is confused. So they go to work making a movie to “make the NRA cry”. Which will bomb, while another movie like Lone Survivor makes another zillion dollars. Repeat.

      • And they are all standing around going “big budget effects films are failing at teh box office! kill them all! Outsource the effects work to Tadjikistan!” instead of thinking if the plot of said films are making people not go see them…

      • Wait… You mean White House Down, where America hating Jamie Foxx played a thinly veiled Barack Obama as an action hero going all Die Hard against the Evil Military Industrial Complex bad guys made up entirely of veterans didn’t appeal to the people who like to watch action movies? I can’t see why.

      • I could explain why, but it would require you to take three years of film theory classes.

        Or a couple beers next time you’re in SoCal. Either way works.

      • Personally, I’m convinced that the background of Elysium (which I freely admit I haven’t seen, and am not likely to) is pretty much what will happen if the enviro-nuts ever take control. That makes the presence of its leading actor somewhat amusing, imo.

      • Never seen WHD. Olympus has fallen was pretty OK though, even if the presidents wife was a Nag who seemed to – in the handful of minutes she was onscreen – have a knee-jerk need to countermand any male about her, and the traitor was an anti-one-worlder who sold out to the commies.

      • Just gonna leave this right here.

        http://www.nationalreview.com/article/369702/tinseltowns-propaganda-problem-jonah-goldberg

        ***********

        The legendary media tycoon William Randolph Hearst believed America needed a strongman and that Franklin D. Roosevelt would fit the bill. He ordered his newspapers to support FDR and the New Deal. At his direction, Hearst’s political allies rallied around Roosevelt at the Democratic convention, which some believe sealed the deal for Roosevelt’s nomination.

        But all that wasn’t enough. Hearst also believed the voters had to be made to see what could be gained from a president with a free hand. So he financed the film Gabriel Over the White House, starring Walter Huston. The film depicts an FDR look-alike president who, after a coma-inducing car accident, is transformed from a passive Warren Harding type into a hands-on dictator. The reborn commander-in-chief suspends the Constitution, violently wipes out corruption, and revives the economy through a national socialist agenda. When Congress tries to impeach him, he dissolves Congress.

        The Library of Congress summarizes the film nicely. “The good news: He reduces unemployment, lifts the country out of the Depression, battles gangsters and Congress, and brings about world peace. The bad news: He’s Mussolini.”

      • Quite right. The perfect example.

    • Killing Sci Fi? For who? Morons who don’t like reading outside their comfort zone?

      Wow.
      Such Hyperbole.
      Very strawman.
      Much angry.
      Wow.

  48. […] Correia was more than a bit amused by this and decided to fisk the fizzle of his first fisk , complete with the observation that Hines’s followers (does that make them […]

  49. Just a middle aged, middle class white guy (you know….Silent Majority..) who reads sci-fi for fun and relaxation speaking up. I live and work in the real world where I deal with leftists, right wingers, moderates etc. every single day as a part of my profession. I’m constantly bombarded by different ideals, agendas, cultures, genders,,,yadda, yadda, yadda! And I love every minute of it! It’s a big messy, steamy pile of chaotic opportunity to earn a living and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
    But, it does wear a fellow out after a while. So, for fun and relaxation, I read sci-fi. I like my tropes, I enjoy reading good stories where good triumphs over evil. I like busty strong willed heroic chicks that dig having straight sex after washing off the monster gore and drinking a beer with the big ugly assed hero that helped her kill it!
    I enjoy reading about a society where you work hard for the common good of all by doing your job well in a capitalist setting that rewards motivation, moderation and kicking the shit out of the bad guy who wants to mess with their Zen! (Thank you very much M. Williamson!)
    Any writer who tells a good story (Most of the Guys/Gals at Baen) trumps anything written by any writer who promotes their favorite social agenda of the day!
    BTW WTH is a Cismale? Why should I care about binary gender whatchamacallits? And all you Baen guys quit pussyfooting around with all these whiny-assed liberals and write some more good shit so I can throw more money at you!
    Damn!…I need another blood pressure pill and a beer!

  50. As a guy with a “soft” degree in English (my school cancelled the Physics major I was taking) I think you hit the ball out of the park about popular novels. Our literature profs would make a passing mention that in this decade, or those fifty years, ninety-five percent of the nation’s fiction was about X, but we never read an example of X because during those ten years some poet was super-inspired by how enlightened his view of nature had become, and that was worth reading. So, despite putting in two years of eighty to ninety hour weeks to scramble and get a fresh degree, I still haven’t got any idea of what actual American literature looked like outside of a lib bubble on the East Coast. Then again, looking at what stories have been made repeatedly into films for the past hundred years sort of makes up for it.

  51. Always late to the party.

    The only thing that turns me off to an artist more than message fic (or ‘message TV/movies’) is loudmouthed, tone-deaf, anvil-banging issue advocacy by artists.

    Even if I knew nothing else about N.K. Jemisen, the fact that she recently accused Arthur Clarke of ‘batshittery’ (for *imagining* a post-apartheid SA where whites are persecuted) is enough to keep me from ever reading anything she writes.

    Write all the message fic you want, girls. If it’s good, people will read it – and your ideas will be planted in the heads of some unsuspecting cismale gendernormative fascists.  Tell them up front how stupid, angry, and racist they are (or the stories they love), and you virtually guarantee they’ll ignore you.

    What?  You don’t want my money because it has pictures of dead white guys on it?  OK;  I’ll give it to Larry and Mike and Tim and Lois and JK and Jerry and Bob and JRR…

    • I’m pretty sure she’s the same writer who went off about how Stand Your Ground Laws were just to make it legal for white people to shoot black people whenever they feel like it, which isn’t how actual self defense law works at all. I suppose you shouldn’t take my word for it though, since I was only a legally certified subject matter expert on the topic, because hate: https://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/on-profiling-and-stand-your-ground/

    • Alas, a well-meaning friend, knowing that my wife and I are fans of science fiction and fantasy, gave us a trilogy by N.K. Jemisen for Christmas. I dutifully tried to read the first book, and I didn’t even get as far into it as I got into Twilight before wanting to throw it across the room. (I actually managed 100 pages of Twilight – I wanted to know what my students were reading. Then I did my best to get them reading something else.)

  52. […] 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/ […]

  53. I’m pretty sure Cismale Gendernormitive Lad will be the side kick of my Hero in the next Supers game I play

  54. Well, this is the most fun I’ve had all day.

    And now I have a reason to actually walk back into the SciFi section in search of one of your books. I’ve not bothered in years, because I’d gotten so very tired of the “message fiction” that has invaded the genre. (Really, I’d like a Surgeon General’s Warning; “Leftist drivel fiction that could put a cup of coffee to sleep” placed on them all. It would have saved me a lot of time).

    • I’ve heard some variant of this a thousand times, where a regular reader has been turned off of sci-fi/fantasy becasue they’re tired of lefty preaching in their entertainment, so they take their dollars elsewhere. But of course, that can’t possibly be true, and what you readers really need is more truth bombs to rock your little worlds.

      Then somebody like me comes along, finds that huge market, and sells tons of books, despite me not obeying their rules, and in fact, railing against them. So the only possible explanation is that my fans are all stupid hate mongers (which is why goodthinking people shouldn’t read the comments here, obviously!).

      They can’t seem to grasp that our country is divided approximately in half with irreconcilable differences, and why 10 media outlets competing for the same half don’t get the ratings of Fox News competing by itself for the other half. And Hollywood does message fic that wins a pile of Oscars yet bombs at the box office, while something like Lone Survivor makes mega bucks. And the libprog elitists scratch their pointy little heads, talk about how stupid flyover country is, and then shoves more crap at us.

      • And as I remarked elsewhere and earlier, and doubtless will again — this messagefic thing is a good deal of why too often after I read a recent novel, I feel a need to wash my brain out with the words of a prior century. I am so bloody =tired= of PC and the lockstep brigade.

  55. Also looseley relevant ( I just remembered it) on the topic of checkbox fiction – Ringo’s Ravencon rant, largely focusing on a lady who presumed that writing a novel from the perspective of a dog qualified as a whole new genre.

  56. According to the Williams Institute ( http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/census-lgbt-demographics-studies/how-many-people-are-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender/ ) there are about 700,000 “transgendered” people in the US. That, of course, is much larger than the number who have the actual sexual reassignment surgery but let’s go with it for sake of discussion.

    There are about 314 million people in the US. So all those people who think of themselves as something other than the sex they physically presented at birth amount to about one in 450.

    Now, let’s look at the “average” novel (a similar analysis can be made for shorts). How many characters does the average novel have that are either POV characters, or people known well enough to the POV character that S/he/t would both know the transgender nature _and_ it would “come up” in the course of events*, or who interacts with the POV character in the normal course of the story in such a way that the trangender nature would naturally come out? I don’t have a good number for that but, at a WAG let’s just call it 20.

    That means there should be one such character, on average, per 22 (give them the “rounding) novels or so.

    Looking at my bookshelves, I don’t think they are underrepresented by much if at all.

    *I have at least one “transgendered” friend. I don’t think of this friend as “the person who was born with male parts but considers him/herself female”. I think of this friend as “my friend xxx”. Unless there’s a reason for the topic to come up (and since neither one of us is hitting on the other such reasons don’t come up that often) I just don’t worry about it.

    • About the only thing anyone agrees on in these statistics is that the vast majority of transsexuals keep that part of their life to themselves. (For which I thank them muchly. I am SO sick of strangers expecting me to be interested in their personal lives.) So, in those fifteen novels Larry has under contract, he should take one new character and decide that he/she/it/whatever is transsexual, announce that after the fifteenth novel is published, but respect the character’s privacy and refuse to tell anyone who they is. 😉

  57. They’re all people who get shit done. That appeals to readers who like the concept of get shit done. Which is why I like your books. Simple, direct, solve the problem stories. No over arching message about how the world is just not fair for XYZ gender, just solve the problem and get stuff done.

  58. Jim wrote: “You might be a popular writer, because there are certainly plenty of people who want to devour books that don’t challenge them in any way, but that doesn’t make you a good writer. That’s probably an argument best saved for another blog post, though.”

    Actually, it doesn’t make one a good writer. Good writing makes one a good writer.

    However, Larry’s original fisking was about a writing career, not about writing that a SFWA member might consider “good”.

    I’ve read tons of stuff. Most of the time, the stuff that’s called “good” by the so-called intelligencia is usually among the most mind boggling boring stuff I’ve ever encountered. This is true of not just books either, but a lot of movies as well. So many of them just draaaaaaag.

    You know what though, Jimmy boy? If I’m forking out my hard earned money for some entertainment, who are you to have an issue with whether or not I want to be challenged? I face challenges in real life, so I don’t need you kind of “challenges” in my reading. Not interested.

    Instead, I want to read about how a character overcomes their own challenges. I want to read how THEY deal with stuff, not be told how I should have to deal with it.

    And screw you if you’ve got a problem with that.

    Larry mentions: “EDIT: Just check Facebook and Twitter. So it turns out in typical statist fashion that the proper goodthinkers are petitioning my publishing house, Baen Books, that they need to distance themselves from their awful authors like me, Williamson, Ringo, and Kratman (as in a bunch of their bestselling authors) before we tarnish Baen’s image.”

    Do they mean mean the image that lets me know that I’m more likely to find the kind of books I want to read at Baen than at any other publisher?

    Do they mean the image that tells me that, as a political blogger with hundreds upon hundreds of blog posts outlining my libertarian politics listed under my real name, Baen is the only publishing house that will publish my fiction book…so long as it’s good enough to be published?

    Do they mean the image that illustrates what science fiction publishers are SUPPOSED to be doing, which is publish good stories that I might want to read?

    Maybe we should start a petition to get Larry, Mike, John, and Tom a freaking pay raise as a great big UP YOURS to Jimmy and his crew. 🙂

  59. […] by free thinkers of all political stripes. And when the wagons circled? Mr, Correia went on to ridicule the wagons. Other authors had weighed in on this. John C. Wright wrote an excellent essay not only on this, […]

  60. […] by free thinkers of all political stripes. And when the wagons circled? Mr, Correia went on to ridicule the wagons. Other authors had weighed in on this. John C. Wright wrote an excellent essay not only on this, […]

  61. I found a fascinating juxtaposition as I plowed through the fisking. “Those who get shit done” versus “Those who circle-jerk about the theme of the day.”

    That is all.

  62. Does everyone know about the Literature Map?

    http://www.literature-map.com/

    “The closer two writers are, the more likely someone will like both of them.”

    Cut to the chase and find out who Larry hangs out with:

    http://www.literature-map.com/larry+correia.html

    • First I’ve heard of it, but it’s utterly fascinating. Thanks for linking that.

    • Thanks for sharing this, it is awosome.

    • Their algorithm is a bit odd, though. What’s with all the romance writers all up in Lois Bujold’s space? Georgette Heyer? Ye gods.

      • Very probably it’s picking up on the comparison made between “A Civil Campaign” and Georgette Heyer. I think that quote might even be on the cover of the paperback.

        Really, that book is as much a Regency Romance/Comedy of Manners as it is SciFi.

      • From what I’ve learned interacting with fellow Bujold fans, a fair percentage are fans of Georgette Heyer. I’ve got one of her books, and I’ll read it Real Soon Now.

  63. So can someone please explain to me this bullshit about “people need characters that look like them in order to relate to the characters”. I admit this may be my cisnormative gender binary white male privilege showing up, but I never once in my life had trouble identifying with, enjoying or wanting to be like a particular character because they looked different from me. Heck, when I was a kid, the character I most wanted to be, in all of sci-fi ever was a blind black man (Geordi LaForge) (of which I am neither), to the point where that was what I was for Halloween. I never had trouble identifying with teen-girl characters (Buffy), or anthropomorphic turtles (TMNT) or female dinosaurs (Raptor Red). Sure, I never wanted to be the pink or yellow power ranger, but that has more to do with the fact that red was my favorite color, oh yeah and the green one had that cool knife. I also didn’t want to be the blue or black ranger either even though of all of them, the blue was definitely the one that I should have most identified with. I mean, maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to identifying with a character, their personal plumbing or skin color are usually way way way way way down on the list of things that make them relatable.

    • You’re spot on. That whole bit about readers needing characters to be like them is bunk.

      Yes, characters need to be relatable somehow, but that relatable could be about attitude, or desire, or because we want to kick ass like them, or we think they’re funny, or we think they’re compelling in some way. But to a libprog activist, relatable always seems to come down to skin color, sex, and sexual orientation. That’s the real bias, because they’re taking complex people and putting them into one tiny box. Oh, this character needs to be black so that black people can enjoy the book… WTF? Are you telling me that all black people are exaclty the same and have exactly the same background, shared experiences, and have drawn the same conclusions about life? Bullshit. The libprog activist types would probably hate Trip, even though he’s one of my most popular characters, because though he checks one of their mandatory boxes, he’s also profoundly, devoutly Christian, and you know how THOSE PEOPLE ARE.

      I like the sticom How I Met Your Mother. Of the 5 main characters, the one that I’m the most like in real life personality wise is Marshal Erickson, by far. (my wife says I’m an angrier, right wing version of Marshal). But my favorite character on the show by far is the scumbag, whoremongering, womanizing, cowardly, sociopathic liar, Barney Stinson. I don’t even like magic tricks and I hate wearing a suit. But he’s freaking hilarious, and I care more about what that character does than the rest of them put together. Why? Because he’s the character I find the most interesting.

      James Bond is one of the most popular fictional characters of all time. Gee whiz, according to Hines it must be because he’s white, which is why we can so easily relate to a globe trotting suave secret agent badass who scores with hundreds of hot chicks while driving million dollar sports cars and killing thousands of bad guys, because that’s SO MUCH like how the average white guy lives.

      Hell, that doesn’t explain how come my favorite TV character of all time is John Luther though. Oh well. It must because of all those years I was a London cop.

      Saying that a character needs to fit some demographic to appeal to that same demographic of readers is utter bunk. Make the character interesting, and people will be interested in them.

      • I have to admit it though. All this time, I thought that it was her internal self doubt that made me relate to David Weber’s Honor Harrington, only to find out that it just HAS to be my feminine side talking instead.

  64. The Right and Honorable Toni, of the ancient and noble house of Weisskopf, Lady Baen Herself after the order of Our Lord and Publisher, Jim the BAEN (Long May She Publish!), is sad – like a puppy – to report that nobody has actually managed to put on their big non-gender-determinate panties and file that complaint they were threatening to.

  65. Over on Jim’s site Kratman made a comment about writing a tank wearing a dress.
    You mock me screeched the queer, never going to buy your books! as if, knock it off wined Jimmy boy.
    Now, in yellow eyes Tom had the AI running the cruiser buy several hundred yards of silk for a dress so she could look pretty in port.
    Which just goes to show we read some of there output and they read none of ours.
    Sarah Hoit made a similar point several posts back using examples.
    Thanks for the laughs Larry, Tom and others who’ve taken the time to take this crap apart.

  66. Nice article. Regarding the end of it… I actually used to follow Wil Wheaton on Twitter, but I got sick of all his lefty posts about how sucky people who think like me are. I unfollowed him about the same time I started following Adam Baldwin. I figure that’s about an even trade, right? I still retain my sci-fi geek cred but have to read less whiny leftist BS.

    Incidentally, as a fantasy-type writer who is trying to get published, I find your practical writing advice very helpful and encouraging.

  67. […] entertaining as it might be to watch the Correia vs Hines Fiskfest, I have news for you.  It. Doesn’t. […]

  68. Just wanted to chime in… I got here through a series of blog links (Instapundit -> Sarah Hoyt -> Kate Paulk -> here). I may be one of those readers you’re talking about that’s been leaving SF, but I’m trying to get back in, and not just rereading the Heinlein, McCaffrey, Herbert, etc. I grew up on.

    I like what you have to say, and will definitely be checking out your books on Amazon.

  69. As an aspiring writer, wow. Reading the exchange just proves the point about how message-platforms are generally boring. Write characters, not identities.

  70. Oh.My.God.

    That was a MEAL! A delicious, delectable, savory filling meal, part ole’ style Bar-B-Q, and part culinary masterpiece.

    Thank you, Mr. Correia for taking the time to prepare it. Bravo!

    I admit I had not read anything of yours before, but I bought two of your books from Amazon just now. Cannot WAIT to read them on the train on the way home.

    It is truly amazing, and insidious, how the left insinuates itself into various communities and organizations, and then tries to subvert and convert those whole thing into another arm of their ideology. And true to form, instead of just DOING the thing they want more of (you know, writing those kind of stories themselves, and make them interesting enough to sell), they will insist that EVERYONE who writes does so.

    Same thing with the video game community and the complaints of feminists. Instead of making more compelling games with female characters and/or will draw the interest of females, they bitch and moan about how OTHERS should do it, and how “hostile” they space if for them. Uh, you think maybe it’s hostile because you arrive on the scene, having created nothing yourself, and then tell everyone else you are doing it wrong?

    Do it your damn self, and leave us alone.

    I find your message particularly resonant with Hollywood. I have realized for a while how badly “message” fail, no matter what the other factors involved. They make for boring, unbelievable stories, which is the antithesis of what entertainment is all about.

    Again, thank you!

  71. I think Hines’ comment about don’t read the comments is borne out of fear.

    When these people attack someone, it’s total war. They are throwing we hatey hatemongers out of civilized society. The only problem with that is it doesn’t convince many people who aren’t already true believers.

    Now when we hatey hatemongers do it, it’s obvious that our main intent is humorous mockery, not personal destruction. It is more appealing to people who don’t already agree with us. We’re having fun. Are they having fun? Sure doesn’t look like it.

    So don’t read the comments to Correia’s blog posts, or his Facebook posts! You might see people who are not consumed by the need for regular Two Minutes Hates. You might see people having fun. You might read things that are more agreeable to you than a slab of postmodern academicspeak with a side of actual bigotry. The Hineses of the world know that if people actually read what they condemn, most of them aren’t going to agree with the Hineses.

  72. I got linked here to read about the whole saga, and I was just amazed at how interesting the whole thing was. I got outta the game of reading SF a few years ago because I was so bored at seeing the same messages (environmental mostly) shoved down my throat on every page. I couldn’t just sit and ENJOY it, I always had to wonder, ‘Where is the slap gunna come from?’ and that get’s so tedious.

    A budding writer myself, (though I’m more a crime fiction person than SF) I’ll definitely be taking your advice to heart.

    Also, your books sound so interesting that I’m gunna go buy few for my Kindle. I’m always looking for more unique things to read. (Every girl needs a break from cheesy, but safe, romance novels once in a while.)

  73. Is this really true?

    “Readers want to enjoy stories where they can find characters like themselves”

    I want to enjoy stories that include characters who are NOTHING LIKE me.

    I already know myself; why would I want to read more about THAT?

  74. […] McFarlene’s Post on her own site on January 29 Book Staffer’s Review on January 29 Correia’s Response to Hine’s Response on January 29 James May’s Essay. Not really sure when this was posted but it is one of the […]

  75. I’ve read much of your work and I like it. It does tell a good story, especially the MHI stuff. Its why I like guys like Jim Butcher. I can’t tell which way they lean (e.g., conservative, liberal) in their writings. I suppose some of your own philosophy will undoubtedly seep into your writings, but when they come across ham-handedly… god what a turn off. I like Ringo, but even he’s gone a little overboard with his conservatism… we get it, liberals are determined to short circuit evolution and I even agree to a certain extent, but story first man! I publish the most unreadable shit on the planet. Scientific Papers. I just thank God I don’t have whiny grad students complaining about how we do it. Also, I have an overwhelming need to go find out Jim Butcher’s life philosophy now. Damn you LC.

  76. The most fascinating thing in all this, to me anyway, is that it never occurred to MacFarlane to give any reason for why the ‘cisgender default’ should be broken.

    She wants sf authors to write stories in which it’s routing for people not to identify as male/female gender just because they were born with the appropriate sex organs. Yet that is exactly what over 99% of the population does. Why should we expect the transgendered to go from less than one percent to a fairly high percentage of the population?

    Because that what she would prefer, I guess.

    Oh, btw, for those who criticized Larry for referring to MacFarlane as “he”? Why should he assumes she identifies as female, just because her full first name is Alexandra?;)

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

    which demands this quote:

    Stan: I want to have babies.
    Reg: You want to have babies?!?!
    Stan: It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.
    Reg: But … you can’t HAVE babies!
    Stan: Don’t you oppress me!
    Reg: I’m not oppressing you, Stan. You haven’t got a womb! Where’s the foetus gonna gestate? You gonna keep it in a box?

  78. […] Correia’s Response to Hine’s Response on January 29 […]

  79. “You might be a popular writer, because there are certainly plenty of people who want to devour books that don’t challenge them in any way, but that doesn’t make you a good writer.”
    So “challenge” is one of the euphemisms for “heavily push the left-wing ideology”.
    Jim Hines probably has no idea how much he sounds like a kommissar.

  80. “EDIT: Just check Facebook and Twitter. So it turns out in typical statist fashion that the proper goodthinkers are petitioning my publishing house, Baen Books, that they need to distance themselves from their awful authors like me, Williamson, Ringo, and Kratman”

    When they write columns complaining about the prevalence of “cisnormative” characters, I ignore them.

    When they write columns excoriating those who disagree with them, I laugh.

    When they try to harm the careers of those they disagree with, I stop laughing and think they should be encouraged to emigrate to Cuba or North Korea or Iran, where they can live among people as cruelly depraved as themselves.

    • “Alles klar, herr Kommissar?”

    • Libprogs are super caring and understanding and are all about freedom of speech. Just ask the CEO of Mozilla, or ask Condi Rice about how it is working out for her at DropBox.

      • Indeed. In fact, I think it’s past time that we retire the idea that libprogs arrive at their oppressive policies throught innocent but mistaken good intentions. Power over others is at the core of their identity.

  81. Frank Capra said, “If you want to send a message, try Western Union.”

  82. […] If Jim’s pathetic slap fight attempt at taking me down strikes you as “excellently dissected” I’d hate to live in your sad little Everybody Gets a Trophy world. It was more of an attempted playground hair pulling, so then I responded by metaphorically knocking his fucking teeth in. Here is an actual dissection of excellence, where I take Jim Hines out and kick him around like a soccer ball. http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/01/29/5687/ […]

  83. I’d just like to point out that the main character of Heins’ “Libromancer” series is a white male. Also a few of the main characters from his alternate fairy tale series are also white, straight, and single gendered. So… him preaching about gender diversity is amusing. He does have some sexual preference diversity, and it is… kinda awkwardly written. I don’t think he is as solid as he would like to believe on these issues.

  84. […] If Jim’s pathetic slap fight attempt at taking me down strikes you as “excellently dissected” I’d hate to live in your sad little Everybody Gets a Trophy world. It was more of an attempted playground hair pulling, so then I responded by metaphorically knocking his fucking teeth in. Here is an actual dissection of excellence, where I take Jim Hines out and kick him around like a soccer ball. http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/01/29/5687/ […]

  85. Quoting from above “Well that was fun. My congratulations to anyone who read this far.

    Why? Do you normally have a problem with readers finishing your writing? I don’t have that problem.”

    Found that hysterical since I stopped reading his article before I reached that point because it bored the hell out of me, and I’m still going strong on yours.

  86. I may have missed something, I could be wrong. But in all of this, did someone answer the obvious question?
    If it is so terminally important that we have these stories that do not end use the, uh, well…”default binary gender”, why the hell have not Jim C. Hines or Alex MacFarlane written the Novel? Or hell for all I know they did, the end result is the same. It did not sale.
    The argument should be settled there? No, why not?
    I do not know what the goal is, unless they figure, well, if all Science fiction has to avoid the “default Binary Gender” they could make some money with their work…finally.

  87. […] the White Knights who rode up to defend the poor damsel in distress from my Big Evil Swarthy Menace http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/01/29/5687/ I heard from a whole bunch of authors, ranging from just beginning to superstars, but mostly […]

  88. Well I for one would like to thank you for writing stories that are about good people killing evil people/monsters without all the graphic crap that writing PC crap seems to come with. I like to be able to turn my boys(all four came with penises and the doctor declared them boys) on to entertaining writers that I’m comfortable with them reading and my 16yr old is hooked on all of your writing. Thanks for keeping it real and teen friendly in sci-fi.

  89. I see I am in good company. After you, Mr Hines has decided to slander me.

    http://www.jimchines.com/2014/12/john-wright-legend-of-korra/

    Alas, I do not have the stomach or the free time to rake him over the coals as he deserves. Your soul must wear hip-high wading boots to be able to slog through such ooze.

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