You Asked; I Answered

roflbotSo I got home from a weekend away and a surprising number of you have requested my thoughts on the SFWA petition, the forum re-posts, the libel suits, and the general wash of buffoonery that I missed while I was off the grid. I’ve read through the petition and here’s my takeaway:

“We miss the days when we could say whatever we wanted and people laughed and put up with it because we were elite and powerful and nobody dared object.”

I’ve read through the forum commentary as well. First, to be honest, I dropped from SFWA years ago, mostly because I found the secret forums to be awful to read. So many authors I had admired proved to have feet of clay, saying heinous things with apparent lack of remorse and complete equanimity. Given the way my own work was consistently marginalized, I decided the organization had little to offer other than dated attitudes and offensive remarks. I haven’t regretted letting my membership lapse. I haven’t missed finding barbs from people whose work I used to enjoy. That which was posted was about what I saw when I was a member, weighted by an inexplicable prejudice against youth and new ideas. Heavens forfend that people should treat one another with respect Period. That runs the gamut of race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, creed, etc. The people who shout the loudest against “political correctness” basically just want the old guard freedom to say horrendous things and to marginalize someone else without being made to feel bad for it. They cry censorship without having any real clue what the first amendment entails. Hint: it doesn’t apply to private organizations.

But anyone who’s stunned that the words they posted inside the secret clubhouse made it to the outside world? I suspect that person doesn’t understand the nature of the internet.

I’m not sure if this is the reaction you were looking for, dear readers, but for certain parties, this is business as usual. They dig and dig, never realizing they’re excavating their own graves with vitriol and bitterness, never acknowledging that their lack of relevance contributes to declining sales. Not all dinosaurs will become extinct in a catastrophic event. Some will just keep shouting into vacuum, puzzled as to why fewer and fewer people care about their message. Don’t we realize How Very Important They Are? Why, in the Old Days… Oh, right. In space, nobody can hear you whine.

And I’m out.

Let’s talk about sex, baby. And SF.

Perdition

Think about your favorite SF novels. Now consider how much sex takes place in them.

Think of your favorite SF films & TV shows. Is there more sex or less than the books?

I’m curious about this proscription, to be honest. Most of the SF I’ve read (with the exception of Heinlein) seems to operate on the assumption that human beings are divorced from their sex drives in the future. But at the same time, they don’t include it in the worldbuilding. Frex: The year is 2304. Natural reproduction has been eliminated. They all use robot nannies and live in bubbles. (Wow, that sounds like a really terrible dystopian actually.) No, the writers just don’t look at it, like it’s a creepy person singing and touching himself on the subway. I don’t want to read SF like that. I want to know how my heroes and heroines feel, what they’re looking for. I think this is a critical part of diversity in the genre, to be honest. If there’s no sex in SF, there can be no questions about sexual orientation. There should be gay men and lesbians in SF, and if you don’t at least nod at their sex lives, then you’re basically omitting them from the genre. I say balls to that. Action and plot are necessary, but for me it rings hollow without emotional development.

I’ve taken a lot of heat over the years for all kinds of things, but it especially seems to rile some readers up when they realize I’ve included sex scenes in my SF aka smut & filth. Let me state for the record: I don’t consider sex to be smut or filth, and it kind of aggravates me when it’s referred to that way. I’m really puzzled by certain aspects of American society, where casual violence is fine, but let loving, consensual sex enter the picture and suddenly it’s something we need to protest. That’s a different post, however, so back to SF. Why can’t there be sex and relationships and SF? Why does that suddenly make it something else, something other?

I’m opening the floor to talk about this now; I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ll give a random commenter a copy of Perdition.

+1 bonus entry: tell me who is the sexiest SF character ever & why.