With the whole Sad/Rabid Puppies and the RH/BS incident, it’s been a rough year for Speculative Fiction writers (and fans) who were hoping for some civility of dialogue in our chosen genre. Sadly, no sooner had the followers and admirers of Vox Day been given a Hugo drubbing and Laura J. Mixon won the Best Fan Writer award for “A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names”, when prolific SFF author Sarah Hoyt denigrated Liu Cixin, the first Chinese winner of the Hugo for best novel (for The Three-Body Problem) as a “Chicom” writer (this is a derogatory and racist Vietnam War era term for Communist Chinese).
A part of me wonders how much of this bile is native to the genre (perhaps due to long-seated personal and professional rivalries) and how much is actually a reflection of the deep conservative/liberal divide in American politics. As an outsider who comes from the kind of country looked upon by the West as “savage” (check out the odiously yellow-peril “No Escape”), I am often astounded how dialogue can quickly degenerate into mud-slinging in the United States. We get our share of ugly fights too but rarely this rabid and self-damaging.
In her acceptance speech, Mixon said: “There’s room for all of us here. But there is no middle ground between “we belong here” and “no you don’t,” which is what I hear when people disrespect members of our community. I believe we must find non-toxic ways to discuss our conflicting points of view.”
That really is the key to moving forward – Detoxifying SFF. Someone needs to call a giant time-out and put everyone in a corner until we can talk too each other like conscientious, responsible people. But I guess as a SFF writer myself, this may be just a naive fantasy I am spinning. Perhaps this is something that will never come true, perhaps the idea of peace in SFF is nothing but vaporware. But isn’t this an ideal that is worth striving for? I really don’t think any writer or fan deserves any of this poison.
I will end this by posting a link to the text and a video of Laura J. Mixon’s Hugo acceptance speech. I am so proud to have contributed a small part in getting this message through. As she said: “In the end, we don’t win this struggle with hate. We win it with curiosity, joy, honesty, persistence, resistance, and love.”