The Passion I have for Genre Literature

The Passion I have for Genre Literature is a two edged sword, especially today.

Today, revelations, information and documentation came out regarding a particularly ugly episode in the small, intense hothouse of online genre literature. See Laura Mixon (MJ Locke), here, for starters. There has also been stuff from Athena Andreadis, and Jim C Hines, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear. And more.

Back in the day, back when Requires Hate was at full bore, I was harassed not by her directly, but by people in her coterie. After (what I thought) was an innocuous comment in another venue, they decided to come to my blog (this one in fact) and started commenting randomly on posts, haranguing me. Cyber-bullying, essentially. I know from real bullying to see and know it in an online form.

They eventually gave up doing so and left me in peace.

Compared to some of the stuff in Dixon’s report, however, it was *nothing*.

Some days, like today, I wonder if I shouldn’t give up being a genre voice. Just watch, listen, buy books. Forget podcasting, blogging, reviewing, commenting, tweeting. Go dark. And then I realize that would eviscerate the passion I have for Genre literature in the process. It would make me less of who and what I am (“A Change of Mind”, the Prisoner episode, comes to mind).

But still…being a connected fan in genre is tough. Its a good life if you don’t weaken, as Elizabeth Bear says, but today I feel weak.

13 thoughts on “The Passion I have for Genre Literature”

  1. I’m very sorry to hear you were on the receiving end of RHB’s supporters. I sincerely hope you’ll stay in the field, Paul. We need the voices and words of smart, passionate people to cast light and bring optimism and joy. Yours has always been that.

    This is going to be a hard period, while we grapple as a community with RHB’s actions, and lots of tempers will fray. But at the end of the day, we’re all in this together. We’ll work this out. I truly believe that.

  2. I am reminded of the phrase, “No matter what I’ve done, I don’t deserve to be treated this way.” But no one deserves to be treated this way.

    There’s no way to undue the harm caused by cyberbullying, but there are ways to transcend it. After all, the best revenge is living well (and continuing to do your good work!)

  3. Huge hugs for you Paul. I’m sorry this happened to you. But I also want you to know that to me you are a valued part of my SFF community and my genre life would be the poorer for it if you went dark.

  4. When I discovered science fiction wasn’t just a literary genre but a community as well, I was delighted. I’d never had one before, you see (reasons for that being several, and not germane to this topic).

    I’m glad you chose, and continue to choose, to be part of it. You’re helping make it the kind of place I felt welcomed into. (Did that sentence make sense? I hope so.)

  5. It’s continuing to surprise me just how widespread RH’s bullying has extended, and I’m sorry to hear it reached you. I think if we take one thing away from this sorry episode, it’s that we’re not islands, and the way to stop this kind of thing happening again is to talk about it and support each other. Someone very like RH is bound to be back.

    I hope you don’t give up blogging, Paul. I always enjoy reading your perspective.

  6. I know how you feel, Paul. Whenever one of these scandals surfaces, I just want to crawl into a hole and cover my head. Seeing authors and fans behaving so badly kind of destroys a little of my love for the genre. I wish I could just remain oblivious to all of it.

    One of the reasons I read SFF is to escape from the world for a while and this kind of stuff is exactly what I’m trying to escape from. It’s disturbing when reality crashes in like this.

  7. I’m so sorry. Please feel better.

    You’re having a normal reaction to a major community dust-up. I think we all go through spells of despondency when these happen, and some people — often the ones who care most — take real and lasting damage.

    The most effective treatment I know of is pleasant, normal human contact with people you like — ideally, ones who are aware of what’s going on in the SF world, so you can talk about it and feel less isolated and voiceless. Sunlight and fresh air help too.

    Don’t isolate yourself, and don’t cut ties. It’s much harder to recover from that. Worse, it will not help. You’ll go on brooding and feeling miserable , but there’ll be nothing to break you out of that loop. The cure for feeling bad about SF fandom is more SF fandom, only not as toxic this time around thanks.

    (Remembered with love: Chuck Harris, Arthur Thompson (“ATom”), Vincent Clark, James White, and Walt Willis, who were weathering fan feuds before I was born, and who held my hand and kept me sane during the 1980s TAFF wars.)

  8. I’m totally out of the loop on this one, but sorry to hear. Be true to yourself. If you are getting some heat, it is only because your voice has garnered attention.

    The truest compliment anyone can pay you online is to show you derision and anger. Because quite likely they are showing you that your voice has grown loud enough to matter.

    I have joked before and I’ll state again, in all seriousness. The day I have a hate club, will be the day I have finally hit it big as a fantasy author. Ah, to dream…

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