The High Church of Science Fiction and Tor

In our last episode, Brad Torgerson and Vox Day led a surprise attack against Castle Hugo, shocking the entire kingdom with how easily the fortifications were overrun…

I have been a science fiction fan from day one.

I can say that, with all honesty and a straight face.  My mother loves to tell the story of how she watched an episode of Star Trek while in the hospital in labor, and asked my father to buy a television set so she could watch more.

I’ve also been a reader of science fiction for as long as I can remember, since she loaned me her copy of Dune when I was eight years old.  My tastes in science fiction have always leaned towards the “hard”–Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Robert L. Forward, Frederik Pohl, Jerry Pournelle, to offer up a few examples.  It’s getting harder and harder to find stuff by those authors, for the unfortunate reason that many of them aren’t around anymore.

And I also write–science fiction, fantasy, horror, non-fiction, you name it.  I’ve got several million words in short stories, poetry, articles, ten half-finished Nano novels, and more.  I’ve only managed to publish a bare handful of those words so far.

I had heard, from several reliable sources, that it was next to impossible for a libertarian science fiction writer to break into the field.  I absolutely refused to pretend to be non-libertarian just to get published, and so I followed Larry Correia’s Sad Puppies campaign with interest.  Brad Torgerson and Vox Day were able to gather a core following of 360 voters and completely sweep the Hugo award nominations.  Yes, it only took 360 science fiction fans to completely overwhelm the existing system.

One Bright Star to Gui... John C. Wright Check Amazon for Pricing. The fallout from that event still has not settled, and the awards won’t even be announced until August.  But the reaction makes it obvious that there is a sizable percentage of science fiction fandom that is “not satisfied with the products and services being offered.” Entrepreneurs have a name for this situation–”market opportunity.”

However, to date, it appears that only Castallia House is focused on providing science fiction for this segment of the market; they have even signed a new deal with legendary writer Jerry Pournelle.

For their part, Tor Books seems content to continue to ignore this dissatisfied segment of science fiction fandom.  And, in fact, Tor employees are content to insult them.  Irene Gallo, the Creative Director at Tor Books and an Associate Publisher at Tor.com, wrote

There are two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups, called the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies respectively, that are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy. They are unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic. A noisy few but they’ve been able to gather some Gamergate folks around them and elect a slate of bad-to-reprehensible works on this year’s Hugo ballot.

Transhuman and Subhuma... John C. Wright Check Amazon for Pricing. In Ms. Gallo’s defense, these remarks were posted on her personal Facebook page.  On the other hand, they were in a thread announcing an upcoming Tor release.  In any case, her comment set fire to the debate that had been simmering since the Sad Puppies campaign started.

Writer Peter Grant was infuriated:

I’ve remained silent about many previous slanders and libels about this situation, but this is just about the last straw.  I would very much like to know whether Tor shares and/or espouses the false, slanderous and libelous views expressed by Ms. Gallo.  If that company doesn’t take a stand against such lies, or even chooses to remain silent about them (despite their being propagated by one of their editors), then I will have to assume that the time has come to openly call for a boycott of Tor by all objective, non-partisan, independent fans of science fiction and fantasy…

I can’t imagine that any reputable company would choose to stand behind anyone on its staff who leveled such blatantly false allegations (and then showed cowardice by refusing to further explain them, or retract Riding the Red Horse Vox Day, Christopher N... Check Amazon for Pricing. them when the truth had been pointed out).

He called for a deadline of June 15th, but was convinced to extend that deadline to Friday, June 19th.  If he has not heard any acceptable response from either Tor or Macmillan by then, he will call for a general boycott of Tor.

And so, when Ms. Gallo accused me – me – of being ‘unrepentantly racist’ purely because I happened to support the Sad Puppy cause, that was the last straw.  I’d heard that lie from SJW’s before, of course, and been able to get over it . . . but lies like that are like the Chinese water torture.  Sooner or later, something’s going to snap.  Her accusations were, to me, unforgivable;  and since she’s never seen fit to retract them, they still are.  Since her employer has seen fit to allow her, and others like her, to pontificate about something of which they apparently know absolutely nothing, to make false accusations and toss denigrations around like confetti, doing so on company time and using company computers and networks . . . that employer is complicit in the whole mess.  Hence my outrage against Tor.  Hence the boycott for which I will call on Friday if Tor and its holding company, Macmillan, don’t act against those responsible.

A Throne of Bones (Art... Vox Day Check Amazon for Pricing. I won’t take this any more.  I know I’m far from the only Puppy supporter who’s had enough of the SJW’s lies and slanders and libels.  They want a war?  They can have one.

Vox Day called for a letter writing campaign, not only to Tor, but to Macmillan, their parent company.

What the people at Tor don’t understand is that this is not merely a backlash of momentary outrage at a few recent actions by Tor’s senior SJWs. This is an expression of righteous fury for the way in which thousands of us have been routinely deprecated, insulted, denigrated, and marginalized by a very small group of individuals who believe they have the right and the duty to thought-police the world of science fiction and banish badthinkers from it.

Since many of those emails were copied to Vox and to Peter Grant, they were definitely sent.  To date, Tor has not responded to the emails or made any acknowledgement of the situation.

War To The Knife (Lare... Peter Grant Check Amazon for Pricing. By the way, I can only describe as ‘catastrophic’ the performance of whoever’s responsible for customer relations at Tor and/or Macmillan.  There’s been an absolutely inexplicable, deafening silence from both companies in response to e-mails and other communications – not even so much as an acknowledgment of receipt.  When I was a manager and, later, a director, if I’d had a customer relations person who performed so abysmally, they’d have been fired the moment I found out about it.

L. Jagi Lamplighter requested that science fiction fans take pictures of their Tor books and email them to her, “not to shame Tor, but to help readers let Tor know they are real people.”  

I have always preferred Robert Heinlein to Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Forward to Samuel Delaney, and, more recently, John C. Wright to John Scalzi and “A Throne of Bones” to “Game of Thrones.”  Somehow, those preferences in science fiction and fantasy apparently make me something other than a “science fiction fan”–at least in the eyes of the current science fiction establishment.  And, in the opinion of some, they make me a pariah, a “heretic against the true church of science fiction.”

At least, now I know I’m not the only one.