Mourning the Loss of Escapism

del rey

Photo of Lester Del Rey

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What disturbs me more is the whole concept of purpose as applied to any literature. To the Marxists, intent upon subordinating everything to the good of the state, the arts must serve a direct purpose of life — usually propaganda, I’m afraid. But why people in this country accept such Marxist ideas is a puzzle.

Lester Del Rey as quoted from The World of Science Fiction, 1926-1976: The History of a Subculture

I suppose it’s a mild coincidence that I’m quoting Del Rey on his birthday. These words from his tome, which I reviewed HERE and HERE, are predictive of the world of science fiction (and entertainment in general) we experience today.

Del Rey saw SciFi as a lot of things, including instructive, but most of all, he believed it should be fun.

But where has the fun gone?

And while Lenin read a book of Marx
The Quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died

And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died
And they were singing bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing, “This’ll be the day that I die”
This will be the day that I die

Don McLean from “American Pie” 1971

Just substitute “escapism” or “fun” for the word “music” above, and it fits. There’s a lot inspiring this missive, including this recent one.

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Hugo Admin Team Members Resign, But Why?

hugo

Found at io9.gizmodo.com – No image credit available

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Over the past several years, I’ve watched WorldCon repeatedly implode.

Well, not exactly. It imploded in 2018 in a very spectacular way. WorldCon 2019 didn’t exactly implode, but then again, Jeanette Ng’s “acceptance” speech of the John W. Campbell award (now renamed “Astounding”) was her long awaited stab at a long-dead science fiction icon which spawned more of her displeasure at the “stale, pale, male crowd,” as well as a long list of other award renamings. The irony is that Ng also won a “Best Related Work” Hugo for 2020 because she complained about Campbell the year before. A rant wins you a Hugo. Who’d have thought.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, famed writer George R.R. Martin was accused of racism at the totally tanked WorldCon 2020. On top of that, the World Fantasy Con in the same year wrought its own disasters. If you read those blog posts, you’ll see the collection of “usual suspects” who complain about everything and anything that’s even a hair out of place compared to their high and mighty expectations.

Now we come to this, which I found online at Locus Magazine, a small article called Hugo Administration Team Resigns.

In the words of the prophet, WTF?

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Loving and Fearing SF/F Fandom

EDIT: I picked up some additional material on the twitter stream and thus the content. Any changes I’ve made in this blog post are bolded.

I started following fantasy author Jeannette Ng on twitter after she gave a rather “unusual” acceptance speech upon receiving what used to be called a “Campbell Award.” I recorded my reactions HERE.

I follow her, not because I’m likely to read anything she’s written, or even that we agree on much (if anything), but to understand differing points of view. Most of the time, I don’t give her much thought, but today, I saw a thread on twitter that caught my attention. I only read part of it since, due to the nature of twitter, threads get nested in interesting ways requiring a lot of clicking and time to open them and read.

So I took a screenshot (several actually, and I edited them together) to capture what I thought were the most representative points. Apparently, the discussion was about what got various people interested in Science Fiction and Fantasy (SF/F).  However it was also a debate regarding progressive vs. traditionalist voices in SF/F, and if it were possible to speak to the positives of what an author crafted while setting aside the more “difficult” aspects of their life (More text beyond the screenshot).

Update: Someone I know on twitter captured a much more straightforward vision of this thread Here. Since people sometimes delete their material, I redid the screenshots and updated the image below. Oh, and Ms. Ng, if you ever get around to reading this… “Stale, pale, male crowd.” Cute.

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In Response to “Toxic Fandom”

toxic

Found at knowyourmeme.com

Oh heck. I wasn’t going to comment on this here. Seriously. I admit, when I saw the title of the File 770 article Fandom, Entitlement and Toxicity I had a pretty good idea of what it was all about. When I saw the author was my old “friend” Hampus Eckerman (really, we’ve only had brief online encounters, but they were pretty unpleasant) I was sure of it.

Turns out I was wrong.

What Eckerman was really saying was that his “ownership” of certain characters and franchises, he focuses on “The Amazing Spider-Man” comic book, can lead us as fans to respond pretty badly at times when the creators of these pieces of work do something that rubs us the wrong way.

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