An Open Letter
You are showing your ass in public. I cannot overstate the aptness of this metaphor. This kind of behavior is exactly the same thing as running out in the town square, dropping your pants, and slapping your pustule-laden ass while babbling about the end times.
The Internet is the public sphere. It is not a private salon where only your friends will hear you and forgive you because they know you're a really nice guy at heart. Apologies to all, but fuck Usenet. That ship has sailed. This is becoming embarrassing for everyone. Why it's always people in my genre that feel the need to jump up and holler I have no idea, but seriously, knock it the fuck off.
I'm not going to try to talk y'all into, you know, not thinking stupid things, because I think we all know that's a lifetime's work and the truth is everyone involved has better things to do. Allow me, instead, to appeal to a baser, more primitive instinct than the basic fucking sense of decency that might lead you to not shit all over anyone different from you.
You are hurting yourselves.
It's a pretty simple equation, really. Limited lifespan divided by number of books it's possible to consume due to vagaries of money and mortality equals I am not buying your books if you behave like a fuckmuppet in public.
Oh, but it should be about the art, shouldn't it? We should separate the art from the artist.
Allow me to be frank.
I might be willing to do that kind of forgiveness for genius-level work. I can get through Aristotle and Euripides even if they aren't so hot with the chicks. Ditto Tolkien, Eliot, Henry Miller. I can stomach a little Lovecraft, even. I can just barely almost start thinking about Ender's Game and Wyrms because he wasn't spouting that shit when I read them. Hell, I'll even throw in Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale, (author is a neocon copyright illiterate sack of hubris) but Winter's Tale is the bargain basement lowest denominator level of genius I require before I even start trying to overlook your ass in my public.
For your derivative hacktastic doorstopper fantasy? Not a chance. You guys? Are no Winter's Tale. Y'all aren't even Wyrms.
It takes work and energy above and beyond the reading of the book for me to get over authorial fuckmuppetry. I am not sitting down to that task for pastel-covered, ______ of Made Up Word _______, sloppy Joseph Campbell blowjob extruded product. Especially since that product is likely colored by the personal beliefs of the authors, which are, in general, ugly and cruel.
Guys, learn this rule. Love it. Embrace it.
Every time you bloviate offensively on the internet, a reader swears off your work for life.
It is so easy to lose readers. A cranky day at a con will do it. A single bad book will do it. Insulting an entire swath of readers, calling them evil and immoral, or shouting their concerns down and swearing at them? Especially when SFF readership has rather a lot of the sort of readers you're likely to insult with this kind of nonsense? Will do it so incredibly efficiently it'll make Bookscan spin. Especially if you happen to be a midlist or indie writer, and can't weather decreased sales with a shrug and a grin.
Not to mention? If you really, in your heart of hearts, think there is a homosexual agenda, a PC army, a feminist conspiracy--why do you feel so comfortable and gleeful spewing bile about them in public? I assure you, the easiest way to determine who has power in a culture and who does not is to look at who feels safe to speak freely, and who does not. The homosexual/feminist/PC agenda? I'll give it to you in one sentence:
We would like to be treated as humans.
That's it. That's all. And that does not actually impinge on your right to be treated as same.
Some days I feel like the internet is a possessing demon, and when people I thought were on my team start slashing at me and mine with claws out, teeth bared, it was just their turn to be possessed. It's easier than dealing with the idea that I've misjudged people so badly. That I pass enough to earn the basic minimum of human treatment in person, but that thin veneer of passing is all that protects me from their dark, ugly internal drives, their fear, their rage. I don't want my "office" to be peopled with dangerously unfiltered folk who hate people like me, and only hug me when we meet because for a moment, I looked like them.
But I am digressing. I said I wouldn't try to change your minds. It's pointless. All I'm saying is that when given an opportunity to spend my $10 on a book by someone who hasn't personally insulted me and my friends, and someone who has? It's an easy choice. It's a predictable choice. And fortunately, not a one of you is making it any harder by writing such heartbreaking works of genius that I have to second guess that choice, even a little bit.
So, uh, thanks, I guess.