Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Crimes of George R. R. Martin

 

or, In Which I Defend the Indefensible Man

If you follow the Hugos any more, which I don’t, you’d learn that popular author George R. R. Martin has stirred up quite the hornet’s nest. He’s being denounced as a racist, different types of -phobes, and others. His crime? He mispronounced artists’ names and he dared praised dead white men for their contributions in the past. Most notably, he talked quite a bit about John W. Campbell, editor of Analog magazine, and also Robert Heinlein, one of the winningest authors of the Hugo awards. For those who have claimed the Hugos as their own private club, this was unacceptable. And so Cancel Culture goes for George R. R. Martin not for failing to finish his series, but instead for Wrongthink.

I will note that I haven’t too much sympathy for Martin. When people were noting that the Social Justice Warriors were claiming the Hugos as their own and stacking the deck for their favorite checkboxes, Martin was there defending the latter. He helped build the gallows they want to hang him on.

I find it more interesting to look at John W. Campbell. There’s a reason there was an award named after him, and it’s because few have had as much influence on modern American science fiction than he has as editor for “Astounding Science Fiction” which changed to “Analog Science Fiction and Fact” under his editorship. He steered Science Fiction away from the pulp scene and demand his writers understand the science they were writing on and to understand people. In a notorious episode, this included a story about the development of a possible atomic bomb and how it might happen — a story that brought attention to the FBI who investigated and tried to get him to pull the magazine from the newstands as indeed, America was attempting to create an atom bomb (Campbell won out). Science fiction today owes a lot to him, and he was editor for many of the visionary greats of the time.*

As for being a racist — well, that might be true. He said and wrote some things that even at the time could be considered racist, including defenses of slavery while noting that the industrial revolution would eventually make it obsolete. He was also known to play devil’s advocate — taking the opposite to foster discussion. There are other incidents that perhaps lean generally toward racist however, which would not be an unusual idea back in the 1930’s. So it creates a bit of a dilemma for the thinking person: do we dismiss his work based on his major personal flaws, or do we recognize his great influence in spite such. Those on the Left recognize no personal flaws in themselves and tolerate no such flaws in others; they immediately choose the former option. For authors who have been writing for decades, like GRRM and others, they can recognize the influence a man had because in many ways they would not be here without such persons.

Isaac Newton famously said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” The Leftists, they stand on the same and claim they are the giants. Pretending to have perfection, they cast stones at anyone who meets their disapproval – even at those who met approval only months ago.


*A lot of the more mature writers remember the influence editors had in their work and in starting their careers. Another editor who has received praise was Gardner DoZois of Asmov’s Science Fiction magazine. DoZois passed away recently, and many older authors wrote to praise him for how he helped their careers as writers.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Campbell had some kid named Asimov in his office once. He gave the kid a quote and a quest.

    If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown!

    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “Write the story, kid.”

    The kid did, and it became one of Issac Asimov’s most famous works.

    • #1
    • August 3, 2020, at 11:17 AM PDT
    • 20 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I treat “Hugo Award Winning” as a denunciation. Saves time.

    • #2
    • August 3, 2020, at 11:18 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  3. Barfly Member

    Martin is a scribbler of less talent than that hack who wrote the Shannara mess. I’d rather read Piers Anthony, and note that I despise cute. Martin’s only excuse for existence and taking up useful oxygen is that he occasionally partied with Roger Zelazny, PBUH. May the Jacobins find him tasty.

    • #3
    • August 3, 2020, at 11:25 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. DouglasJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Campbell had some kid named Asimov in his office once. He gave the kid a quote and a quest.

    If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown!

    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “Write the story, kid.”

    The kid did, and it became one of Issac Asimov’s most famous works.

    That was one of Campbell’s favorite methods of getting a story. He’d frequently buy art for magazine covers and get an author to write a story about it. He liked challenging them with situations like that, and as noted above, he got some great results.

    • #4
    • August 3, 2020, at 11:26 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    C. U. Douglas: The Leftists, they stand on the same and claim they are the giants.

    Not really. In most cases they’re tearing them down.

    • #5
    • August 3, 2020, at 11:29 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. RightAngles Member

    He said and wrote some things that even at the time could be considered racist, including defenses of slavery 

    Now see, that’s the thing about freedom of speech. It means people are allowed to say bad things. Things we don’t like, things we don’t agree with. If we don’t allow it, we’re no different from any tinhorn despot dictator. And trying to destroy someone’s life, career, and livelihood for saying it = not allowing it.

    • #6
    • August 3, 2020, at 11:35 AM PDT
    • 19 likes
  7. Bob Thompson Member

    C. U. Douglas (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Campbell had some kid named Asimov in his office once. He gave the kid a quote and a quest.

    If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown!

    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “Write the story, kid.”

    The kid did, and it became one of Issac Asimov’s most famous works.

    That was one of Campbell’s favorite methods of getting a story. He’d frequently buy art for magazine covers and get an author to write a story about it. He liked challenging them with situations like that, and as noted above, he got some great results.

    Freshmen at Georgia Tech were frequently flunked out that year in English composition. I remember when the professor placed an empty original Co-cola bottle on the window sill and said to the class, ‘write a thousand-word essay on that’. I don’t remember what I wrote but I passed the course.

    • #7
    • August 3, 2020, at 11:35 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  8. Arahant Member

    Science fiction used to be good. Maybe it needs more racists to make it good again?

    • #8
    • August 3, 2020, at 11:40 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  9. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Barfly (View Comment):
    Martin’s only excuse for existence and taking up useful oxygen is that he occasionally partied with Roger Zelazny, PBUH.

    Touché!

    • #9
    • August 3, 2020, at 11:43 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    C. U. Douglas: Isaac Newton famously said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” The Leftists, they stand on the same and claim they are the giants.

    C.U.,

    Perfect.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #10
    • August 3, 2020, at 11:48 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    C. U. Douglas (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Campbell had some kid named Asimov in his office once. He gave the kid a quote and a quest.

    If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown!

    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “Write the story, kid.”

    The kid did, and it became one of Issac Asimov’s most famous works.

    That was one of Campbell’s favorite methods of getting a story. He’d frequently buy art for magazine covers and get an author to write a story about it. He liked challenging them with situations like that, and as noted above, he got some great results.

    They do that now, kinda.

    “Write me a story about a polygender starship captain and xis gender-questioning second-in-command.”

    When they do get published, the craters they leave behind are visible from orbit.

    • #11
    • August 3, 2020, at 11:49 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  12. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. DouglasJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    C. U. Douglas (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Campbell had some kid named Asimov in his office once. He gave the kid a quote and a quest.

    If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown!

    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “Write the story, kid.”

    The kid did, and it became one of Issac Asimov’s most famous works.

    That was one of Campbell’s favorite methods of getting a story. He’d frequently buy art for magazine covers and get an author to write a story about it. He liked challenging them with situations like that, and as noted above, he got some great results.

    They do that now, kinda.

    “Write me a story about a polygender starship captain and xis gender-questioning second-in-command.”

    When they do get published, the craters they leave behind are visible from orbit.

    True. Much like comics, in fiction checkboxes for both author and story have become more important than quality.

    • #12
    • August 3, 2020, at 12:04 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  13. GeezerBob Coolidge

    I remember reading Campbell’s observations on slavery. I do not remember it as advocacy. Rather, it helped me realize just why the American founding would mean the end of slavery, and thus that the 1619 project is profoundly and maliciously wrong.

    • #13
    • August 3, 2020, at 12:06 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  14. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. DouglasJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    GeezerBob (View Comment):

    I remember reading Campbell’s observations on slavery. I do not remember it as advocacy. Rather, it helped me realize just why the American founding would mean the end of slavery, and thus that the 1619 project is profoundly and maliciously wrong.

    Well we just aren’t reading it as someone sufficiently woke and self-righteous should.

    • #14
    • August 3, 2020, at 12:08 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  15. RightAngles Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    an empty original Co-cola bottle

    OMG all my Texas relatives call it that too. “Co-Cola.” And they call every soft drink “coke.” They’ll say things like “My favorite coke is Dr. Pepper.” Okay back to your originally scheduled programming.

    • #15
    • August 3, 2020, at 12:19 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  16. Bob Thompson Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    an empty original Co-cola bottle

    OMG all my Texas relatives call it that too. “Co-Cola.” And they call every soft drink “coke.” They’ll say things like “My favorite coke is Dr. Pepper.” Okay back to your originally scheduled programming.

    Well, you see, being from Georgia, and Co-cola being a Georgia product, one must give it the correct enunciation. I’ve got lots of relatives who migrated to Texas from Georgia. What fascinates me even today is how many ideas I could work from to accomplish the assigned task in that classroom. Asa Candler, later a mayor of Atlanta, was an original leading investor in the Co-cola product when it went corporate. My understanding was always that the original formula (still in use and secret) was developed by a pharmacist and included some use of cocaine. My grandfather worked for Candler at his Briarcliff Estate caring for the gardens in the 1930’s. Then in the 40’s when I was a young boy my grandfather had a local grocery store so I was very familiar with all the other soft drinks trying to compete with Co-cola which came only in the 6 ounce curvy green-tinted coke bottle (the one on the window sill). Dr. Pepper was the only one that competed with a 6 ounce offering. Pepsi, Royal Crown (RC Cola), and Red Rock all offered 12 ounce versions that we all called bellywashers. I don’t remember any of these being available except in the single bottle version then, no cans yet. But none could match the taste of Co-cola.

    So there’s a short version of the essay.

    • #16
    • August 3, 2020, at 12:40 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  17. Raxxalan Member
    RaxxalanJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    an empty original Co-cola bottle

    OMG all my Texas relatives call it that too. “Co-Cola.” And they call every soft drink “coke.” They’ll say things like “My favorite coke is Dr. Pepper.” Okay back to your originally scheduled programming.

    Yep which leads to one of the truly Texas questions what kinda of coke do you want? To which an answer of Pepsi is acceptable, if odd.

    • #17
    • August 3, 2020, at 12:45 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  18. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. DouglasJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It’s a little salty, but here’s JustSomeGuy’s breakdown of the current problems with the Hugo Awards and GRRM this year. Good and succinct, and not afraid to dish out criticism to those who deserve it.

    https://youtu.be/Gy8VNTxeZm4

    • #18
    • August 3, 2020, at 12:53 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  19. Richard Fulmer Member

    C. U. Douglas: So it creates a bit of a dilemma for the thinking person: do we dismiss his work based on his major personal flaws, or do we recognize his great influence in spite such.

    I have it on good authority that, on more than one occasion, Adolf Hitler is known to have said, “eins und eins sind zwei” (one and one are two). I’m not sure that his implicit endorsement for basic addition fully discredits it, though it may.

    Interestingly, while Jean Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx were rather nasty pieces of work (Marx was even a racist), the Left seems strangely uninterested in canceling either them or their writings.

    • #19
    • August 3, 2020, at 1:01 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  20. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):
    Interestingly, while Jean Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx were rather nasty pieces of work (Marx was even a racist), the Left seems strangely uninterested in canceling them.

    Richard,

    They are not only willfully blind but selectively willfully blind.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #20
    • August 3, 2020, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  21. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    C. U. Douglas: So it creates a bit of a dilemma for the thinking person: do we dismiss his work based on his major personal flaws, or do we recognize his great influence in spite such.

    I have it on good authority that, on more than one occasion, Adolf Hitler is known to have said, “eins und eins sind zwei” (one and one are two). I’m not sure that his endorsement for basic mathematics fully discredits it, though it may.

    Interestingly, while Jean Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx were rather nasty pieces of work (Marx was even a racist), the Left seems strangely uninterested in canceling either them or their writings.

    Anyone who has read The Motorcycle Diaries ought to know what a racist swine Che Guevara was.

    • #21
    • August 3, 2020, at 1:17 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  22. Richard Fulmer Member

    Percival (View Comment):
    Anyone who has read The Motorcycle Diaries ought to know what a racist swine Che Guevara was.

    I’m sure that’s not true. Think of all the people he liberated.

    • #22
    • August 3, 2020, at 1:18 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. Arahant Member

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):
    Think of all the people he liberated.

    Through killing them?

    • #23
    • August 3, 2020, at 1:20 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  24. Richard Fulmer Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):
    Think of all the people he liberated.

    Through killing them?

    Well, there is that. But I was thinking of all those people who escaped liberated Cuba by sailing leaky boats through shark-infested waters to get to the Florida Keys.

    • #24
    • August 3, 2020, at 1:27 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  25. David Carroll Thatcher
    David CarrollJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Martin is a scribbler of less talent than that hack who wrote the Shannara mess. I’d rather read Piers Anthony, and note that I despise cute. Martin’s only excuse for existence and taking up useful oxygen is that he occasionally partied with Roger Zelazny, PBUH. May the Jacobins find him tasty.

    Stop sugar-coating your opinions and tell us what you really think!

    • #25
    • August 3, 2020, at 1:29 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  26. Richard Fulmer Member

    Science fiction is so silly. It’s written as if the English language would have undergone no changes over the course of a century or three. More realistic would be something like:

    Suddenly, I was faced with a gibulous Zorbian zerb. Quickly, I reached for my deframbulator and bestronked its molecules into gluck.

    Never mind.

    • #26
    • August 3, 2020, at 1:54 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  27. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    C. U. Douglas (View Comment):

    It’s a little salty, but here’s JustSomeGuy’s breakdown of the current problems with the Hugo Awards and GRRM this year. Good and succinct, and not afraid to dish out criticism to those who deserve it.

    https://youtu.be/Gy8VNTxeZm4

    I already decided to listen to that tonight before bed. I like JustSomeGuy’s stuff a lot.

    • #27
    • August 3, 2020, at 2:51 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. DouglasJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    C. U. Douglas (View Comment):

    It’s a little salty, but here’s JustSomeGuy’s breakdown of the current problems with the Hugo Awards and GRRM this year. Good and succinct, and not afraid to dish out criticism to those who deserve it.

    https://youtu.be/Gy8VNTxeZm4

    I already decided to listen to that tonight before bed. I like JustSomeGuy’s stuff a lot.

    He has a good eye for what makes a good story, and can explain in detail why something does or does not meet that criteria.

    • #28
    • August 3, 2020, at 3:00 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    C. U. Douglas (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    C. U. Douglas (View Comment):

    It’s a little salty, but here’s JustSomeGuy’s breakdown of the current problems with the Hugo Awards and GRRM this year. Good and succinct, and not afraid to dish out criticism to those who deserve it.

    https://youtu.be/Gy8VNTxeZm4

    I already decided to listen to that tonight before bed. I like JustSomeGuy’s stuff a lot.

    He has a good eye for what makes a good story, and can explain in detail why something does or does not meet that criteria.

    CriticalDrinker does that too. He’s another favorite.

    • #29
    • August 3, 2020, at 3:13 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  30. TBA Coolidge

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    C. U. Douglas: The Leftists, they stand on the same and claim they are the giants.

    Not really. In most cases they’re tearing them down.

    True, but even while in Wile E. Coyote free-fall, they still count themselves giants. 

    • #30
    • August 3, 2020, at 6:03 PM PDT
    • 1 like