Feminist Killjoy. Badly Behaving Bookliker. Writer and reader of all things speculative.
Okay, guys, whether or not I make it through this book in the end, we are gonna need to have a talk.
Because with all the reviews about it, I was not prepared for the vile amounts of ableism and mistreatment of mental health issues. I had no idea. And we need to talk about this because it is not okay and no one is talking about it.
Today, a racist sexist homophobic rape apologist who called a woman of colour a "savage" and implied she shouldn't be surprised if she was shot was just nominated for a Hugo Award.
Say No To Vox Day.
Read more on Bibliodaze.
Kaia's note: There are actually people in the comments rushing forward to go "But what if his writing deserves the award?" And I just want to say a couple of things about that.
1. No. Fucking no. Just no. Shut up. If that thought even begins to cross your mind, find the nearest frozen tuna and smack yourself with it.
2. Because science fiction is supposed to be a progressive genre, and it's not. It's not even close. It's a genre largely written by privileged white cis men for privileged white cis men. It is full of homophobia, racism, eugenics, etc. Some of the most beloved sci-fi stories of all time are actually horrifically overloaded with bigotry that goes utterly unacknowledged. Just look at the much acclaimed I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by the much acclaimed Harlan Ellison, or read any critical analysis of Ender's Game if you need proof of that. How good or bad Vox Day's writing is has absolutely no merit here.
3. And even then, modern examples aren't great either. People love all over Mira Grant, but her work is heavily anti-science, pro-counterfactual conspiracy theory, and poorly researched to boot. And don't get me started on her love of Hollywood Crazy. It's time to started speaking out against shitty science and shitty view points in science fiction and yeah, that means taking a much closer look at just who is getting these awards.
All right, everyone, I'm going to try to keep this short and sweet.
As many of you know, I'm autistic.
You might also know of April as "Autism Awareness Month." Well, let me tell you what April is to me:
April is the month where further misconceptions about autism and what it means to be me are spread around like wildfire. It is a month of fighting for my voice to be heard above parents/cousins/siblings/etc. It is a month of hearing "you're not like my child" and "you don't seem autistic" and so on. It is a month of having my opinion devalued because years of abuse at the hands of society have forced me more into the allistic mode and I am "not autistic enough" for my opinion to account. It is a month of being told shit like "autism is a mental condition in which fantasy dominates over reality as a symptom of schizophrenia and other disorders.”
It is a month of seeing people like me described as tragedies and burdens. It is a month of nauseating slogans and puzzle piece art. It is a month where people "light it up blue" in support of Autism Speaks, a truly deplorable piece of shit company that is to autistics what PETA is to animals. It is a month of pitying parents and family members instead of accepting autistics.
I hate it. And I loathe Autism Speaks.
Autism Speaks doesn't speak for me. They want autistic people wiped off the planet. There are no autistic people involved in their organization. They are anti-vax. They speak over and bully actually autistic people. Most of their money is spent on cure research and glossy campaigns like Light it Up Blue; only a tiny percentage of what they get goes to families in need of assistance. Oh, and their members are more than happy to talk about how they want to kill their autistic children.
Here is a good place to start learning about the horror that is Autism Speaks. This was collected by a fellow autistic.
If I see puzzle piece ribbons or light it up blue shit come across my dashboard, I will probably unfollow who ever it came from. If you come here and try to argue the merits of A$ with me, I will block you. If you dare tell me I'm not like your child/cousin/brother/whatever I will slap you through the internet with a frozen tuna. See if I don't.
Autism awareness is laced with ignorance and lacks acceptance. And I am done putting up with it.
Like, if this is for serious...how do people like this never learn not to wave their douche bag flag where everyone can see it?
This was almost picture perfect. Had the author not felt the need to use the r-word (which added nothing) I'd have given it five stars. The world-building is cool, the art is fantastic, the characters are great--hell, I had no idea comic book dudes could write such cool female characters.
But I said once that I would remove half a star for every instance of the r-word in my media, and I wasn't kidding. Normalization of ableist slurs is not okay by me. Leaving that word out would not have changed a single thing, except the loss of a half star.
Oh, and to cover the "realism" argument for once quick second:
1. If you want to deal with the "realism" that people use ableist language, then you'd best be prepared to deal with the reality of the harm it does. As of yet, I haven't seen a single author who uses the "realism" argument as justification actually do that.
2. It's got royal robots with TV heads, rocketships that grow like trees, magic, and people with horns or wings and we're going to talk about realism? Don't even. I will fish smack anyone who tries it.
Okay, uh...I have big problems with that. I really, really do. I can't say what without spoilers, but I'm not amused.
I've kept silent about some of the things that have bothered me about this book (it's not terrible, but it's flawed) but I can't bite my tongue on this one. The romanticizing of Wolf's manpain, broodiness, and violent outbursts is gross, gross, gross.
And while I'm really starting to love this idea more and more, I already have a WIP. Why are they always so much more prolific when you're in the middle of something?
This if from my writing today. I want to see if people can guess from the description alone what I'm talking about.
Something landed on my back, something that felt suspiciously like it weighed two-hundred pounds and had toothpicks for feet.
I seem to have this thing where, when I'm writing YA, I make my female protagonists unable to cook, almost fatally so, as a reaction to the cook/caretaker Bella Swan stereotype that's sprung up over the years.
Like, you know, being female really doesn't matter, some people should just not be left to their own devices in a kitchen.
As a writer myself, I'm really tired of the attitude that both some writers and some readers uphold: That writers are somehow special beings that aren't required to behave like every other paid professional.
We talk about writers who rant against reviews all the time, but what I want to cover is slightly different. It's about timeliness, accountability, and communication. Muses and inspirations be damned; this is a fucking job, and it needs to be done in a timely manner. If it's not, we as writers need to take responsibility for that.
The class example is one George R. R. Martin. Many people love to quote Neil Gaiman on how "George R. R. Martin is not your bitch," but I question how many of those people (including Gaiman himself) are quite aware of the situation surrounding that particular furor. You'd think people had been sending Martin death threats after only a year by the way some people reacted, but that isn't the story at all. There are a few key facts that people seem to be missing.
1. Not only had it been a good couple years since the last book, but the next book had fairly recently been pushed back. This, incidentally, in spite of an author's note from Martin himself at the end of A Feast for Crows stating that the fifth book was all but done. As well, this is also after the series went from three books to five to seven. Fantasy readers in particular have very good reasons to be leery of that sort of behavior, as they've been exploited by Ever Expanding Series Syndrome more than once.
2. Martin blogged. A lot. All the time. About everything but his books. Meanwhile, he was also constantly editing other things, going to conventions (and he refuses to work when he travels) and constantly pushing ASOIAF merchandise and other merchandise on his blog. Readers generally didn't even get anything so much as a "Don't worry guys, I'm working on it." Yes, authors are people, but readers connect to Martin through his work and thus it's not unreasonable to expect that at least a little bit of what he would be talking about would be relate to his, you know, job.
3. It all came to a head with a blog post from Martin that appeared after a five hour stint of blogging. In the talk of BBAs who rant against readers, somehow Martin's name never comes up, despite the fact of that post. What it was? A post decrying every and any person who had ever felt even the slightest bit of impatience over the time it was taking him to finish his work. Every and any. Only people who never had a complaint at all were spared. Everyone else was classified as evil haters who didn't even want him to have the chance to take a piss.
Despite my own frustrations with the delays, I had continued to defend Martin up to that point. Nonetheless, I got lumped in with the haters, because how dare I have an opinion, am I right? To say that I was disillusioned would be an understand. Fine, George R. R. Martin is not my bitch, but guess what? I'm not his either. I am no one's bitch.
So as a writer, I want to say to my fellow writers: READERS ARE NOT YOUR BITCHES. If you take five years to finish every novel, you don't get to complain when your readers get tired of it. People love to say that writers don't owe anyone anything, but news flash: Writers have contracts. They are in fact legally bound to owe their publisher a goddamn finished project.
In professional terms, they owe their readers something too. The success of a writer's career is dependent upon readers; without enough of them your books don't sell, and if they don't sell, you don't get to have a career. I want a career. As a writer, I promise any future readers that I will always do my damnedest to get my work done on time and if for some reason I don't, I will take full responsibility. And will always, always, always make sure to communicate. If something goes wrong, if a book needs to be pushed back, especially if I don't know how long, I will at least do all of you the professional courtesy of telling you what I do know, however much or little that is. For the people supporting the one thing I want to do most in the world, it's the least I can do.
Trust me, I know better than many that writers are people too. Do I ever. And I know how much some of the criticism can be frustrating as well. But the fact remains that a job is a job. A lot of writers only seem to want to be acknowledged as people just like anyone else when it means something positive to them. But when it comes to consequences? When it comes to the fact that any other person just like anyone else would be fired for not getting their job done for as long as Martin didn't get his done? Suddenly writers are a special breed of workers and oh, no, no, they need special treatment and it's not their fault and blah blah blah.
You can't have it both ways. Shit happens, yes. But admit to that. Don't be George R. R. Martin. Be Patrick Rothfuss, who wrote a long apology to his fans, which basically amounted to "Sure, shit happens, but I am a responsible adult, this is my job, and therefore this is still my bad. I'm sorry." Communicate. Let people know what is going on. And for god's sake, allow readers to have feelings too. If we want them to respect our feelings, we have to respect theirs.
If you're just going to classify anyone who doesn't lavish praise on you, who occasionally speaks justified criticism of you, as a hater, regardless of the fact that they actually love your work and are waiting with bated breath for your next book, you're a fucking spoiled asshole who needs a reality check.
(Okay so maybe that wasn't so short. It just kind of...kept rolling once it started.)
I don't get people on my reviews telling me how I'm supposed to feel and behave.
Shanar stood at the center of the carnage, bare shoulders back, beautiful breasts heaving against a leather corset.
I'm pretty sure one could, if one wished, write an entire series of articles comparing the male gaze to the way romance novels are written because even though that sounds like something out of a Harlequin, it was written by a dude.
Tie-in books are not normally a thing I do. Ever. But Kenyon also did Diablo 3: The Order back before the game first came out, and it was decent for a tie-in. As well, the books he's been writing for Diablo 3 appear to be relevant to events on the game, and since the first expansion, Reaper of Souls, is due out in March, well, here I am. Hopefully it'll be as passable as The Order was.
I am, unsurprisingly, late to this party. But at least this time it's not a social malfunction. I'm only just recovering from sleep deprivation which I actually attempted to work through and have only recently found the wherewithal to do this.
1. I'm autistic. This isn't something I'm secretive about, and a lot of people tend to know it these days, but I've reached a point in my life where I'd happily shout it from the rooftops. I am not ashamed of who I am in the least.
2. I got my start writing when I was twelve and it wasn't long before I realized it was what I wanted, with all my heart, to do for the rest of my life. But before that, I wanted to be quite a few different things, including a veterinarian, a paleontologist, a jockey, and a champion three-day eventer. I still want to be a couple of those things, and have added cryptozoologist and paranormal investigator to that list. I also want to help my husband make video games. No, I do not know how I'd find time to do all that.
3. Considering how many of my desired careers included animals, it should come as little surprise how much I love animals. I basically want my own minor zoo someday. The list includes: Some horses, including an Assateague pony and a miniature horse; parrots, namely parrotlets, Indian ringnecks, and African greys; rats (I'm planning on getting my first pair some time this year); possibly some bunnies; a cat or two, particularly silver Egyptian Maus, maybe even for breeding purposes; a capybara if I can provide the appropriate environment; maybe an iguana; some pigmy goats; a potbelled pig; and a border collie to keep everyone in line.
4. One of my goals in life is to start a charity/rescue organization called Freedom Feathers, which will work to educate the world on exotic bird smuggling and to help rescued birds recover from their ordeals.
5. Despite having pretty severe fine motor control issues, I'm an absurdly fast typist. People have a tendency to look over my shoulder to make sure I'm typing something other than gobbledygook.
6. I write on average two manuscripts a year. I even did so the last two years, despite suffering severe depression.
7. I have a pretty nasty cocktail of physical issues: hypermobility, fibromyalgia, and Raynauds, which is a condition that causes me to be unable to keep my blood circulation in the cold. I also have reflex sympathetic dystrophy in my right wrist. I don't suggest looking that up if you ever want to sleep again.
8. Books about the profundity of death don't move me. My father died when I was nine. I've lost multiple friends and family members over the years, to the point that I jump in terror when the phone rings before noon (as the bad news has a tendency to arrive in the morning). I find the views of death written by white, middle class people to be banal and immature. *sticks tongue out at John Green*
9. Even though death rarely moves me, I am not the emotionless automaton people think all autistics are. In fact, when it comes to just about everything else, I tear up at the drop of a hat. I can't even help it, I'm just a great big baby. I do try very hard to hide it, though.
10. I'm a gamer. I love games like Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy (although the last couple have kinda sucked) and Prince of Persia. I'm a huge Diablo fangirl and the only thing I've ever, ever gone to a midnight release for was Diablo 3. I have a Funko Pop Tyrael sitting on my desk, and may have--may have--squealed like a little girl a few weeks ago when I saw that the newest expansion is due out in March. May have.