Science Fiction author John Scalzi has had a strange obsession with me since I first rose to popularity with the nomination of my debut novel for the Dragon Awards for Best Military Science Fiction last year. For some odd reason, my success was threatening to him. It bothered him that my books get accolades, even though it doesn’t detract from him in the least. It shows his insecurity as an author, and I have pity for the way he treats other writers in the field.
He went on to write several rambling tweets and blog posts about me — savvy in the way he does so where he doesn’t directly name me. He, in many ways, is a lot smarter than many of his peers who have attacked me, in that he understands that by not naming me, he can cut off a portion of the additional fame I receive from the attacks. What he failed to understand, is the context is fairly obvious in what he said, so I was able to maximize the leverage anyway. Here’s some of the examples of the passive aggressive attacks on me at the time:
Incidentally, that last thread wasn't for the guys already being jerks. Too late for them. It's for anyone thinking it might be a good idea.
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 8, 2017
Come at me with "The way to solve a particular problem you note is to promote MY career!" you're not likely to be happy with my response.
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 7, 2017
Context of this is Scalzi’s dropping out of the Dragon Award and coming back, as he literally failed at trying to make it a culture war:
Note to the authors who tried to win an award by positing it as a culture war with me on the other side: You sure wasted your time, dudes.
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) September 3, 2017
And ironically, he calls me passive aggressive after ranting passive aggressively. My @-ing back is just aggressive, nothing passive about it:
Also, if you "@" me in passive-aggressive tweets designed to elict guilt, your account gets an express bus to Muteberg, population: you.
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 12, 2017
There’s more tweets over the months, he’s written about me in his blog several times, even going so far as to make snarky remarks about me when he received a Hugo Award nomination by calling me a “2nd rate wannabe” in his blog post on the subject. He can’t simply be happy with what he’s received, he has to snipe at me and try to pick at my career constantly. As if my success is a threat to him. The amount of time he spends thinking about me and trying to attack me is absurd, and given how he’s admitted he struggles to get solid writing done every day — he should definitely consider readjusting his focus to where it’s not on me.
It’s odd, as my most recent book has been compared favorably by several people to the Old Man’s War, Scalzi’s best work. One would think he would be open and embracing of another science fiction writer in the field.
But in the world of identity politics, John has seen I’m a Trump supporter, and therefore, it makes me the enemy. Furthermore, it makes anyone even remotely associated with me his enemy. It’s really sad to watch, and what he did to a mutual fan of ours is tragic.
A Fan’s Request
A couple of weeks ago, a fan DMed me on Twitter. He told me he was going to Scalzi’s signing and he wanted me to do something. He asked me to sign one of Scalzi’s books, and he would bring my book to the signing, show him me signing his book, and have Scalzi sign one of my books. I thought this was all in good fun, so I agreed. Here’s what I sent to my fan:
It was totally uncalled for for Scalzi to call me a “2nd Rate Wannabe” and I think the friendly ribbing back is fair. I expected a bit similar in return. Good natured and laughing all the way. Unfortunately, Scalzi decided to take out his rage against me on the fan.
An Old Man’s War On Fans
Our mutual fan went to the event. It’s best to watch the video below and see how Scalzi reacts:
— Kevin Xu (@kxu65) April 25, 2018
As you can see, he completely dismisses the fan. He snarks at him telling him he wasted money to come see him. There was no joy, no fun, not even a little humor there. Scalzi clearly wants this fan of his to stop reading his book for the crime that he reads my books also. This is what hate for a whole class of people looks like.
It shows how absurd the identity politics has gotten. The hate is so engrained over identity that they can’t even begin to comprehend that someone could both read his books and read my books. Even in the act of giving Scazli, as he says, $25, he has to throw shade and hate — not me — but the reader in question. No friendly ribbing back, not good natured fun, just pure dismissal and vitriol.
Note his tone of voice and when he talks to the fan, and the way he won’t even look him in the eye like a man. No gratefulness that the guy likes him enough to come to his signing. Not even dignifying him as if he’s a human. Just “Oh Good Lord.” “Bye Bye.” He pushed his own fan away as quickly as possible.
Identitarianism can do this. This is the end result, and it ends up turning readers away. After the tone in which this reader was talked down to, do you think he’ll ever read a John Scalzi novel again? What good does this accomplish? Does he think he got at me by hurting one of his fans? The reader will go on to read my books, because I treat him with respect, but he won’t read Scalzi’s any longer.
I feel bad for the reader, and anyone who’s being treated like this because the “us vs. them” in science fiction publishing has gotten so catty, so high school clique-like, that it’s forcing wedges between fans.
A Call To Action
It’s time for change. It’s time to come together. It’s time for unity as artists. We have a way to a new path forward, bringing science fiction out of this past division, and into a new golden age of culture. Lets’ have it start now.
John — I know you read this blog. Let’s start today and change this together. You can repair your relationship with your moderate or conservative fans who happen to like both of our works. You don’t have to signal to people that they’re not allowed to read books like mine. It doesn’t hurt you that they do.
We’re both here to stay as successful, professional authors. I know how to fix this and to bring people together so we can all enjoy fandom again and create art out of love, not spite. You have my email. Let’s show the way and transcend the pettiness.
I came out with a great space opera people are saying reminds them of the feeling they got from Old Man’s War and Babylon 5. Check it out and see if this multi-award nominated author is a “second rate wannabe” or the real deal.