Choose Monkeys or Robots

Apparently fiction writers fall into two different camps, depending on which type of sexual predator they prefer to socialize with, vote with, shoot with, shoot up with, dress up with, or drink with. Sounds a lot like election season in the US.

I have been a reader of fiction, apart from the standard picture books and excerpts presented in grade school, since around age seven. That was when, while on a long vacation with my grandparents, I discovered my grandfather’s collection of 1950s- and 1960s-era science fiction paperbacks. I soon realized, in some subliminal way, that these represented a more sophisticated version of the characterization and storytelling I had come to appreciate in Marvel Comics. (For all those who are too ignorant or too young to know better, during the 1960s Marvel Comics attained the same position relative to DC Comics that 1960s science fiction held relative to Mother Goose nursery rhymes.)

Eventually, my parents decided that it was a good idea to encourage me to read adult-level fiction, so they enrolled me in the “Science Fiction Book Club”. For several years I received a slick little brochure advertising a discounted book-of-the-month volume and various backlist titles, and my parents would invariably buy me at least one book per month.

By the time I graduated high school, however, I had decided that reading most fiction was an imposition on my patience and good faith. The particular elements that I derived pleasure from, it turned out, were the entertaining, adventurous parts and the analytical, philosophical parts. Books that lacked one of the two had to compensate by being brilliantly well crafted and not too verbose.

Not all interesting stories or interesting arguments are compellingly written. But since I have never been without the need to work, I simply could not rationalize giving attention to something not obviously useful or thrilling. Likewise, verbosity is not necessarily a sign of incompetence, despite what many would-be writers have presumed to tell me, but it is the refuge of all bumbling, solipsistic dreamers. Such dreamers speak mostly to themselves, but only while half-awake, drawing in the hollow others who superficially yearn for a magical fantasy to envelope them in a similar dreamlike state.

So I callously avoided “classic literature” and “modern literature” while obsessed with science fiction and mystery stories, and then pushed it all away when confronted with calls to focus on reading for educational, vocational, philosophical, political, or religious purposes. I later suffered a rebuke, insofar as I ended up obligated to read a large number of classic works in German, then write long literary analyses of them in German, which is probably even more boring than doing the same in English.

Over time, I came to be known as an editor. Since most people have no idea what “editing” involves (including most people with the title of “editor”), I was often approached to “just read” something to see what I thought. In most cases, the reading material presented to me was a half-baked, illegibly scrawled or incompetently typed, inadequately thought-out, puerile, sentimental, irrational, worthless piece of crap. An unsolicited inquiry was almost always fiction. The writer rarely wanted to accept editing advice, much less pay market rates. If I provided a straightforward response, full of red ink and impatient instructions, they left heartbroken and sullen. If I did not provide an initially straightforward response, I soon found myself enmeshed in a codependent relationship in which I was expected to diligently hold the toddler’s writing hand as he struggled to express himself in crayon, since of course his other hand had to be free to keep his thumb in his mouth.

Although the above characterization fairly describes fiction writers, I will grant that the nonfiction writers have had slightly more maturity, since they have always been willing to accept instruction in grammar, logic, spelling, and fact-checking. However, they generally suffer the same sense of entitlement, believing that their awesomeness will somehow shine through despite all the cruelties they force on the reader, as if they were play-acting some crude satire on Beauty and the Beast.

All of the preceding verbosity is simply background to explain why I still have a childlike appreciation for interesting fiction, but an adult cynicism towards fiction writers. It is quite unfair to characterize them all as whores, since most fiction writers have no idea how to please a client, even less a wealthy client. Those who can give it away, or even make money at it, still tend to lack a sense of craftsmanship. They are thoroughly infected with corrupting artistic trends, such as expressionism, that keep them forever in an infantile condition.

One indication of their juvenile corporeality is their obsession with adolescent fantasies of sexuality, sometimes expressed as attacks on rival depredations. There is no demon so hotly focused on battling the heavenly realm, no demon who even cares about the actual messengers of God, who is as enthusiastic as a demon applying his torments to another demon wrestling to take possession of the sexual cravings of some witless souls. That, in sum, describes The Troubles currently afflicting SFWA, and more broadly all science fiction and fantasy writing (as well as fandom).

EDITS:

  1. I clarified whose other hand is referenced in the writer-as-toddler imagery.
  2. For a second time, I inserted a new link under “depredations” to reflect the feminist claims more fairly.
  3. I clarified that the problem afflicts writers and fandom.
  4. The “monkeys or robots” phrase refers to this cartoon. You get to pick which side is which in the present situation.
  5. I had to add a link under “The Troubles”, because reading fiction leaves little time for reading history, I suppose.
  6. I removed the extra link to another progressive blog, and added one about Kramer next to the one about Farrell, in order to maintain the theme of binary opposition throughout.

Sorry, I left a lot of big words in there, and even though they are strung together in grammatical order I know that “reading” can be confusing for some folks. Since the most intellectually challenged visitors seem to be coming from The Hive of Angry Bs, I will point out that Vox Day supports and encourages one type of sexual predator, and progressive activists support another type of sexual predator. 

There is no “debate” — both sides are repulsive. Their particular obsessions are not caused by their politics — their politics rationalize their sexual obsessions. 

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