Posted on | June 16, 2016
I ought to be a Sad Puppy.
No, I’m not a supporter of snot-nosed Vox Day’s ridiculous and stupid campaign to overwrite the will of Hugo voters. I’m not going to say that he and his ilk deserve anything othen than public opprobrium in the face of their self-serving and malign campaign to deprive the science fiction community of its next level up.
When it comes to what I like to read, well… I generally like what Baen has to offer. Sad, but true. I bounce off women writers more often than I do men, I like bad space opera and ridiculous tales of derring-do, and I cheer when the hero gets laid. One of my favorite writers is David Friggin Weber, which is about as silly as its sounds.
I’m a little more sensitive now that I was in my 20s. Admittedly, in my 20s I was living through the early Cyberpunk era and its post-New Wave backlash, which both embraced and attacked the mores and ethics of New Wave feminist SF 1970s. These days I wince if the story is too obviously written by a an old white guy who thinks a homogeneous, conservative version of Southern California in space!, where the men are men and the women are pliant bubble-breasted double-jointed vixens with no gag reflex, is paradise. But the truth is I’m an old white guy who likes reading stories written by other old white guys.
Which is why I really can’t stand the Sad Puppy / Rabid Puppy thing at all. Look, boys, we’re old. Like, really old. Kids these days are going to forge their own worlds, with their own stories, and there ain’t a damn thing we can do about it. You can poison some awards processes and wreck a fine time you could have otherwise enjoyed. The kids will have this world long after we’re gone, and the only thing we can do is try to hand off a world of faith, hope and caritas… or, in the case of the SP/RP crowd, a burning cinder, a hellscape fixed forever in a universe of pure hatred.
Nobody is stopping you from writing. No one is preventing you from buying John C. Wright’s books. (I wouldn’t encourage anyone to give Wright money, though; his hackneyed, ridiculous style would disqualify him long before we start discussing his manifest personal cruelty.)
Go ahead, write the swash and the buckle. Just remember that you’re outnumbered. Your niche rose to prominence because of the privileges we white, English-speaking guys had in the early 20th century. But in the age of the Internet, you are outnumbered, you are a minority, and you are an embarrassment if you continue to write with the kind of deft wit and narrative grace that brought Ken Robeson or Victor Appleton fame.