Woke SciFi Group Eating Their Own

 

Mercedes Lackey

Most on the Right know that as the Woke have driven the knuckle-dragging wrong-thinkers from their precious institutions, eventually they would turn on the only ones remaining to harangue — themselves.

To whit, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) this past week turned on one of the most reliably liberal and accepting members, who had just received the prestigious award of Grand Master status at their Nebulas convention, and kicked her, and her husband who wasn’t even present, out of the convention.

Her crime, according to the SWFA was her use of a “racial slur” during a panel discussion.  More on that in a minute.

When she was announced as the next Grand Master in 2021, the SWFA had to wring an apology out of her about her advice to aspiring writers that copy-editors are going to force you to choose a set of pronouns for your trans character and force you to stick with it and thus if you truly want to write a fluid character it is better to refer it them by name or title.

From SWFA in 2021:

After we announced Mercedes Lackey as SFWA’s next Grand Master on 11/4, stances that Ms. Lackey had taken on writing trans characters resurfaced online. One was from a reader Q&A conducted in 2003, and another was from a 2017 Quora response on her feelings towards using chosen pronouns at the time.

We recognize that these comments have caused harm to the trans community. Last year, we said, “We have a responsibility to admit our failings and to continually commit to dismantling [..] oppressive and harmful systems, both within this organization and ourselves.”

SFWA cannot apologize on Ms. Lackey’s behalf, but we can acknowledge our contribution to this hurtful situation and stand with those in the trans and nonbinary communities. With that in mind, we asked Ms. Lackey if she would make clear her current feelings on these issues.

and Ms. Lackey’s response:

Before all else: trans women are women, and trans men are men. This is something I fiercely believe, and will always support.

I have made awkward statements that have caused pain or distress. My desire is, and has always been, to support the trans community and be the best ally I can. I regret that I communicated poorly and fell short of the mark.

I’m affirming here that I do, and always will, support trans rights and trans people. An individual’s pronouns are every bit as valid — and far more important — than the dictates of copy-editors in the commercial publishing industry. I wish I’d listened to you and fought for those pronouns when copy editors changed them.

I have never felt that I had the ability to write trans point-of-view characters well, and I expressed that badly in the past. Trans characters in fiction are more than just their gender, and their stories should show the richness of their whole lives in full. I am grateful for the many authors who are doing that well today. They are inspiring.

I will do everything in my power to continue to grow and learn, as I feel we all should. I have learned a lot from patient friends and fans. I apologize for hurting people.

Samuel R Delaney

I mean this apology has it all.  She abases herself before the mob.  She admits that she caused distress and could have done better.  That she was ignorant of the proper way of dealing with the topic, even though that “proper” way wasn’t around when she made some of the statements.  She even admits that in attempting to write trans characters she was causing pain to trans people because she can never truly understand them.  Mao would have been proud of this struggle session.

One would think that after abasing oneself before the work mob that one would be fine…but one would be wrong.  Fast Forward to the Nebulas and Ms. Lackey is on a panel called “Romancing Sci-Fi & Fantasy”.  They are discussing the work of Samuel R Delany,

During this conversation about Mr. Delaney’s books, full disclosure I have never read any of them so I cannot say anything about their content or quality (though I am assured it is high), Ms. Lackey referred to him as a “colored person” while praising his body of work.  The SWFA has graciously removed the video of the panel from their website so great is the shame of this racial slur.

This was absolutely terrifying to another author on the panel.  Jen Brown, who has to her writing credits: a novelette;  short story; two podcast episodes; and two “flash” (not sure what that is), but she is Black and Queer and she/her are her pronouns so she is obviously an authority that should be listened to.  She didn’t say anything during the panel, because…well, you can read her Twitter thread.

The “silence might be suffocating”, by which she means that she didn’t say anything about the racial slur of calling a Black man “colored”.

As to why the SWFA immediately kicked out Larry Dixon (spouse of Mercedes Lackey) who was not at the panel, nor did he say anything on the subject…well, you could ask them, but I doubt they will respond.  Guilt by association one supposes because they don’t even mention that in their statement:

Dear Nebula Conference Participants and SFWA Members,

We learned yesterday that while participating in the “Romancing Sci-Fi & Fantasy” panel, Mercedes Lackey used a racial slur. First, we apologize to our attendees and the other panelists who were subjected to that slur. We’ve disabled access to the panel to avoid any additional harm being caused.

Second, we are immediately removing Mercedes Lackey from the conference and the additional panels she was scheduled for, in accordance with SFWA’s Moderation Policy. The use of a racial slur violates the instruction to “Respect all cultures and communities. Do not make derogatory or offensive statements even as a joke.” That applies to everyone in a SFWA space, at all levels of their career

The NAACP could not be reached for comment, though sources say that Mr. Delaney did not take offense.

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  1. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    Stad (View Comment):

    Dbroussa: Ms. Lackey referred to him as a “colored person” while praising his body of work.

    If the term “colored person” is unacceptable, why doesn’t the NAACP change its name? Morever, how is “person of color” not racist but “colored person” is?

    Because it is all about power. The left likes to bully everybody else and push them around when it comes to language (and everything else), and that is all the change from “colored people” to “persons of color” is.  Bullying.

    • #61
  2. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    I don’t have any of her work.  Not my style.  And she’s been woke enough for long enough to keep me away.

    This couldn’t happen to a more deserving person.  I have zero sympathy.

    • #62
  3. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    We are living in an era when the quickest way to get public recognition is to pretend to be a victim. It does not speak well of our culture that so many people want everyone to feel sorry for them. Even worse is that for that cheap sentiment, people are willing to cast well-meaning people as villains.

    genferei (View Comment):
    I’m even reluctant to buy anything written by a woman…

    That would be a big mistake.

    Should I tell Rowena?

    • #63
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Progressives as latter day Pelagians?

    That’s a thing to ponder a while. I like it.

    • #64
  5. Dbroussa Coolidge
    Dbroussa
    @Dbroussa

    mildlyo (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    I’m sure I’m a terrible person, but these days when I see something has won one of the SF or Fantasy prizes I assume it is woke trash. I’m even reluctant to buy anything written by a woman… How did it get to this?

    I think I’ve read one Hugo nominated book in the last decade. It won’t be remembered.

    I have new favorite authors in the kindle book world, and centuries of treasures to discover.

    I did read the Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu and it was very interesting, mostly for its direct portrayal of the Cultural Revolution in a negative light.

    Jim Butcher has been nominated for a Hugo and his Dresden series is fabulous.

    • #65
  6. Dbroussa Coolidge
    Dbroussa
    @Dbroussa

    DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic … (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    I’m sure I’m a terrible person, but these days when I see something has won one of the SF or Fantasy prizes I assume it is woke trash. I’m even reluctant to buy anything written by a woman… How did it get to this?

    I’ll go even farther: when I see something has won any kind of award, I assume it’s woke trash. Unless I know for certain that the organization giving the award is anti-woke, I’ll just assume it’s all woke.

    The Dragons were fairly good for the first couple fo years, but the woke are working to ruin even them.

    • #66
  7. Dbroussa Coolidge
    Dbroussa
    @Dbroussa

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    I have found that nearly all the Sci-Fi I have read that was written in the last few years is focused on trans or other sexual deviance.

    I think you need to avoid the publishers (go indie) to find anything that doesn’t parrot the rainbow world view.

    Well, or read Baen

    • #67
  8. Dbroussa Coolidge
    Dbroussa
    @Dbroussa

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Thanks for bringing this absurd event up for discussion here. It had been all over two of my FB groups (Write of Center Authors and the Monster Hunters International fan group run by Jack Wylder for Larry Corriea) since Sunday evening. The “woke”-corruption of SF has been going on for a while as several here have pointed out. Baen seems to be the only sane publishing house left. Buy Baen books.

    I’ll admit I first saw it on MHI and then when Larry wrote his (restrained so he doesn’t get banned again) essay on FB.

    • #68
  9. Dbroussa Coolidge
    Dbroussa
    @Dbroussa

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    It is interesting how the people who insist they are the most marginalized, constantly beset by the oppressive forces of society, somehow muster the power over and over to banish people who offend them.

    I’d say that is its purpose.  The entire concept of cancel culture is to empower the “weak” at the expense of the “strong” and the bigger and more popular the better so that “speaking truth to power” is become keeping the trees all equal with hatchet, axe, and saw.

    • #69
  10. Dbroussa Coolidge
    Dbroussa
    @Dbroussa

    Autistic License (View Comment):

    I just get kind of sad picturing this woman getting excited about this convention, never suspecting that she was going to get pilloried over her choice of words. Did anyone there seriously believe that she was a racist? What a nightmare. Will it end up being like a DEI training, with those who can staying away, and those who attend clamming up, or sounding like a tourist reading from a phrasebook?

    I remember Dahlgren , but even reading it as a teenager I found it a bit mannered; maybe Delaney wrote it as a very young man. Even Herbert had to get though Destination Void before he could settle down to relatable writing. I’ve been thinking about re-reading “Case and the Dreamer “ (Sturgeon) but I’m a little afraid it’ll now look like an old Kolchak episode, a cardboard monster with a laughable recorded roar. Now, the Caves of Steel trilogy, that may have an early-sixties vibe but I just re-read them and found something I missed as a teenager: the message Do What Scares You. Can we rebuild a do-what scares-you world?

    What’d this woman write? Maybe I should buy one, a gesture on behalf of those who mean well.

     

    Her most popular works are set in a fantasy setting commonly referred to as The Heralds of Valdemar.  The main characters are psionically gifted young adults to adults who bond with a horse (called a companion), that is actually a powerful spirit with access to magic.  They serve their kingdom against enemies foreign and domestic and tend to die young and alone (well, except for their companion) saving their people from evil.  Its not necessarily deep writing, but she is one of the best emotional writers that I have read making you truly care about her characters and the choices that they make.  She also was one of the first authors to write a series around a gay main character (and you honestly its one of the least important aspects of his character).  

    If you do decides to read something of hers, I recommend Arrows of the Queen (this is the Omnibus) which I tend to re-read every few years.

    • #70
  11. Dbroussa Coolidge
    Dbroussa
    @Dbroussa

    This is reminiscent of the kerfuffle over Elizabeth Moon (Author of the Deed of Paksenarrion, the Herris Sernao, and the Vatta series) when long ago (LiveJournal days) she made a post about her experiences with Mulsims when she was stations overseas (she was a Marine).  Now, Ms. Moon is a reliable lefty but it was no defense for her in the stockade of left wing opprobrium. It drove her off of LiveJournal which was a shame.  I may not have agreed with her politics, but we had met a few times at cons and I found her to be a pleasure to visit with.

    • #71
  12. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    W Bob (View Comment):
    Why is “oriental” off limits but not “Asian” … when they’re synonyms? Answer: Because they say so. They really get off on this. Such disgusting people. 

    I am not an international traveler myself, but I understand that pretty much the whole rest of the world still uses the word “oriental” and it is not considered controversial at all.

    • #72
  13. Autistic License Thatcher
    Autistic License
    @AutisticLicense

    James Lileks (View Comment):

     

    I can understand why. Burgess’ spec-fic wants nothing to do with the genre; it’s apart, on its own, wanting to be read as literature instead of something that might be lumped in with rocket-ship pulp. Although he’d have to admit that part of The End of the World News is straight sci-fi, since he’s just novelizing a script for a failed remake of When Worlds Collide, if memory serves.

    Why did he call the meteor the CAT?   That’s always kinda bothered me… (in my best Peter Falk voice).

    • #73
  14. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    The coming Economic depression can’t get here soon enough, to teach these idiots what real “Harm” is like.

     

    • #74
  15. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Headedwest (View Comment):
    I have found that nearly all the Sci-Fi I have read that was written in the last few years is focused on trans or other sexual deviance.

    Well, it is “fiction” after all.

     

    • #75
  16. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    It is interesting how the people who insist they are the most marginalized, constantly beset by the oppressive forces of society, somehow muster the power over and over to banish people who offend them.

    It’s been said that if you want to know who has power in a society, look at who you’re not allowed to make fun of.

     

    • #76
  17. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Autistic License (View Comment):
    I just get kind of sad picturing this woman getting excited about this convention, never suspecting that she was going to get pilloried over her choice of words.   Did anyone there seriously believe that she was a racist?   What a nightmare.   Will it end up being like a DEI training, with those who can staying away, and those who attend clamming up, or sounding like a tourist reading from a phrasebook?   

    Frankly, she should be tossed out of polite society for writing that cringe-inducing pre-apology.

     

    • #77
  18. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    From 2014

    1985.  It’s right in the text of the first panel.

     

    • #78
  19. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    From 2014

    1985. It’s right in the text of the first panel.

     

    The date when I looked it up must have been a reprint – Bloom County actually stopped in 1989(!) but I remember some papers kept running it on Sundays.  Maybe even under a different name.  It’s all the more meaningful for being 37 years old.

    • #79
  20. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    W Bob (View Comment):
    Why is “oriental” off limits but not “Asian” … when they’re synonyms? Answer: Because they say so. They really get off on this. Such disgusting people.

    I am not an international traveler myself, but I understand that pretty much the whole rest of the world still uses the word “oriental” and it is not considered controversial at all.

    Anything people use widely the left will try and squelch.  Look at what they’re trying to do to “man” and “woman” . . .

    • #80
  21. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Autistic License (View Comment):
    I just get kind of sad picturing this woman getting excited about this convention, never suspecting that she was going to get pilloried over her choice of words.   Did anyone there seriously believe that she was a racist?   What a nightmare.   Will it end up being like a DEI training, with those who can staying away, and those who attend clamming up, or sounding like a tourist reading from a phrasebook?   

    No one really needs to attend SFWA events, ever.

    • #81
  22. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    From 2014

    1985. It’s right in the text of the first panel.

     

    I see 1988.

    • #82
  23. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    By the way, in terms of Modern Times, I’d recommend “The End Of The Dream” by Philip Wylie, from I believe 1972, published shortly after his death.

    I remember some relevance too from “Ecotopia,” by Ernest Callenbach.  From about the same time.

    • #83
  24. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Autistic License (View Comment):

    I just get kind of sad picturing this woman getting excited about this convention, never suspecting that she was going to get pilloried over her choice of words. Did anyone there seriously believe that she was a racist? What a nightmare. Will it end up being like a DEI training, with those who can staying away, and those who attend clamming up, or sounding like a tourist reading from a phrasebook?

    I remember Dahlgren , but even reading it as a teenager I found it a bit mannered; maybe Delaney wrote it as a very young man. Even Herbert had to get though Destination Void before he could settle down to relatable writing. I’ve been thinking about re-reading “Case and the Dreamer “ (Sturgeon) but I’m a little afraid it’ll now look like an old Kolchak episode, a cardboard monster with a laughable recorded roar. Now, the Caves of Steel trilogy, that may have an early-sixties vibe but I just re-read them and found something I missed as a teenager: the message Do What Scares You. Can we rebuild a do-what scares-you world?

    What’d this woman write? Maybe I should buy one, a gesture on behalf of those who mean well.

     

    It sounds like the author has been on the woke path herself, just not fast enough to suit the new woke.  Supporting her now may not be the best idea.

    • #84
  25. Autistic License Thatcher
    Autistic License
    @AutisticLicense

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Autistic License (View Comment):

    I just get kind of sad picturing this woman getting excited about this convention, never suspecting that she was going to get pilloried over her choice of words. Did anyone there seriously believe that she was a racist? What a nightmare. Will it end up being like a DEI training, with those who can staying away, and those who attend clamming up, or sounding like a tourist reading from a phrasebook?

    I remember Dahlgren , but even reading it as a teenager I found it a bit mannered; maybe Delaney wrote it as a very young man. Even Herbert had to get though Destination Void before he could settle down to relatable writing. I’ve been thinking about re-reading “Case and the Dreamer “ (Sturgeon) but I’m a little afraid it’ll now look like an old Kolchak episode, a cardboard monster with a laughable recorded roar. Now, the Caves of Steel trilogy, that may have an early-sixties vibe but I just re-read them and found something I missed as a teenager: the message Do What Scares You. Can we rebuild a do-what scares-you world?

    What’d this woman write? Maybe I should buy one, a gesture on behalf of those who mean well.

     

    It sounds like the author has been on the woke path herself, just not fast enough to suit the new woke. Supporting her now may not be the best idea.

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Autistic License (View Comment):

    I just get kind of sad picturing this woman getting excited about this convention, never suspecting that she was going to get pilloried over her choice of words. Did anyone there seriously believe that she was a racist? What a nightmare. Will it end up being like a DEI training, with those who can staying away, and those who attend clamming up, or sounding like a tourist reading from a phrasebook?

    I remember Dahlgren , but even reading it as a teenager I found it a bit mannered; maybe Delaney wrote it as a very young man. Even Herbert had to get though Destination Void before he could settle down to relatable writing. I’ve been thinking about re-reading “Case and the Dreamer “ (Sturgeon) but I’m a little afraid it’ll now look like an old Kolchak episode, a cardboard monster with a laughable recorded roar. Now, the Caves of Steel trilogy, that may have an early-sixties vibe but I just re-read them and found something I missed as a teenager: the message Do What Scares You. Can we rebuild a do-what scares-you world?

    What’d this woman write? Maybe I should buy one, a gesture on behalf of those who mean well.

     

    It sounds like the author has been on the woke path herself, just not fast enough to suit the new woke. Supporting her now may not be the best idea.

     

    • #85
  26. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Why is my comment quoted twice, with nothing added?

    • #86
  27. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Why is my comment quoted twice, with nothing added?

    It was just that good.

    • #87
  28. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Why is my comment quoted twice, with nothing added?

    It was just that good.

    I’ll buy that!

    • #88
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