I’ll be chatting books and space force…. and maybe space force books. You won’t want to miss.
Lately I’ve been reporting on a lot of trouble in science fiction conventions. Even though the attendees, guests, and organizers often beat their chests and signal to each other constantly by shouting “diversity and inclusivity!” from the rooftops, the reality of these conventions is often anything but diverse or inclusive because of the way they actively shun any ideology or identity but a single voting block.
My mere act of reporting on these problems since last February has caused a lot of people in power in the science fiction publishing industry to try to silence me by threats, intimidation, harassment, and blacklisting.
Nevertheless, I persisted.
The Origin Story:
I attended the San Francisco Bay Area’s Friends Of Genre (FOG) Convention this weekend, a convention I’ve been to twice before. This is a convention I’ve spent time with some minor editors in the field, and met Angry Robot Book’s Michael Underwood and shared a drink and good conversation with him. I was fairly well known even before becoming very popular with my award-nominated books and journalism for very high profile sites.
That all changed last year when hate website File 770 wrote article after article attempting to defame me, incite other authors to hate me, and encouraged the powers that be in the field to say horrible things about me. It’s been surreal, and bizarre, but it’s been innuendo, rumor, falsehoods, and it’s only escalated.
If you’re aware, it escalated so much that Worldcon — the premier conference in our field — made an unprecedented move in banning me because of their petty political squabbles. They were adamant that me as a popular writer and journalist cannot attend, holding me to standards others were not because of my political affiliation. Their calling me a “racist bully” on their website only further enflamed bigger names in the field, creating a derangement where people just went unhinged. The amount of intimidation and nasty remarks I’ve received over the last couple of months have been pure torture. And it’s not going to calm down any time soon unless Worldcon does the right thing and apologizes.
I Wanted To Attend A Sci-Fi Convention As A Sci-Fi Author
Several friends were going to FOGCon, so I decided to attend. I was cautious about it, because I was well aware there are a lot of people who despise me over my journalism and political affiliation — something well known, and so I didn’t buy a ticket to try to avoid conflict with the convention staff, but decided to go to the hotel bar at the convention. With my friends, I had a great half hour, talking books, not bothering anyone. The room, however, was giving me angry glares shooting in my direction (I saw you!). People were whispering about me. The environment was a hostile one for my mere act of being present, peacefully sharing drinks with friends. It was very bizarre and creepy. And it became more frightening.
A really large man (6’8″!) came up to me from to the side. “Hey Jon,” he said, as if he were familiar. My heart started racing. My friends later told me that because of the oppressiveness of the room that I was already hunched over, looking stressed. My body language betrayed the sensation of pain inside me from receiving that much negativity. You can only imagine how this would put someone on edge, as not many people have been in a room with this much hostility before, including myself. I looked up. I didn’t know the guy, making my spider-sense tingle more. I’ve faced a lot of online harassment, was this someone who had been after me?
The man proceeded to grill me, rattling off questions in a challenging manner. “What are you doing here? Why? Are you intending on broadcasting here? Are you going to be bothering anyone?” They came in rapid succession, challenging…. I finally told him “this tone is getting pretty hostile,” as I wasn’t sure what he was getting at at all.
This is where things changed. His eyes widened a little and he said, “Oh!” The man dropped to his knees and smiled. “I’m 6’8″ I guess that can be a little intimidating. Is this better?” His tone changed to something a little more humorous. Almost expertly, this man defused the situation and the tension that had been escalating evaporated.
We started talking at length, and I learned this man was from the convention security, and that someone had complained about my presence there — in essence doing exactly what I was afraid of happening atWorldCon — trying to harass me via making false claims to convention security into getting kicked out, even though I’d done nothing wrong. This fellow with security at FOGCon though was very different, and actually showed how great conventions and the science fiction community can be.
The conversation migrated from the bar, as we got dinner and broke bread together after that, for more conversation. I briefly was able to say hi to my good friends and excellent writers Andrew Roberts and Brian C.E. Buhl in passing on the way… and then the most surreal thing happened.
On the way back to being seated, we passed a group from the Codex Writers forum, the forum who removed me from the group simply for saying “don’t attack another author.” Their members actually narrowed their eyes and glared at me as I walked past, as if to tell me I shouldn’t be allowed to be there. It was a nasty intimidation tactic by them — and to the Codex Writers — why do you act like this? what do you think you’re going to accomplish other than becoming a living embodiment of the Mean Girls memes? It’s not helpful to your business, act like adults. Talk to me instead of going on your forum and saying nasty stuff behind my back. It’s only a bad look for you. But I digress.
The fellow from convention security was wonderful in every regard. He certainly is one of the smarter people I’ve had the pleasure of talking to, and is a genuine, wonderful human being who cares about others. I really wish we could all be more like him. This is the type of person conventions should be having running things, someone who de-escalates situations and isn’t there to discriminate, a great move by FOGCon having him there. Let him be a blueprint for other conventions. I’d name him… but, I don’t want him to have to face any ire in his community just for being praised by me. He’s not an author, just a good guy, and I don’t want to inadvertently cause him harm.
But Was I Going To Be Welcome?
After the evening with con security, I went home. And I thought about it.
Was I just sequestered by security, taken away from the convention over the course of the evening and ushered out? Was this really a good evening or did I lose what I was trying to accomplish by being present, being a human face for a group that’s discriminated against openly by the science fiction publishing elites, and not being able to talk to others and show that?
It looked like it to some extent. So I was worried. I thought about it the rest of the evening. And I decided on a course of action: I would attempt to actually buy a ticket.
This would serve a couple of purposes: 1. it would confirm if the convention really was acting in good faith and 2. I’d be able to support them financially if they were. Both things I wanted to be true and do. I didn’t want to buy one and risk the kick out the night before, but I’d had my night with my friends at least, and made some progress. Now it was time to put my money where my mouth was.
I showed up the next morning, migrated down stairs and asked to buy a ticket for the day. The two wonderful women running registration didn’t know who I was (which is an interesting aside — even with as high of a profile as I have, only a few people like the Codex Writers even recognize me — they have no power, there’s very few of them even though they’re loud, and you don’t need to be intimidated by them!), and were eager to sell me a ticket. I was just about to wrap up paying, when convention chairman Steven Schwartz asked me to step aside and chat with him.
It was frightening again. What was going to happen? Was this the “you need to vacate the premises” I was afraid of?
Just like the security fellow from the night before, Schwartz asked a couple of questions, his tone was pleasant, he had genuine concern — not only for the safety of others, but what blew me away was he was concerned for my safety as well. He asked some questions based on the absurd rumors propagated by Worldcon that I was some boogeyman, I let him know I never intended anything of the sort at any con nor even implied it — for FOGCon or Worldcon, and Schwartz took me as a man of my word (which I am), and told me if anyone tried to attack or harm me, he would defend me as surely as anyone else.
Talk about refreshing!
I actually went into a panel where he was speaking about how people group themselves– a very apt topic for what’s going on in sci-fi. It was a great panel. Though the panelists all made jokes about Trump and Trump supporters, and everyone kinda gasped when someone mentioned Vox Day like he’s Literally Voldemort, and it was very one sided… it mostly stayed away from the political. In those moments I thought about speaking up, but did not. It wasn’t the time. Though I hope my continued presence can start moving these conversations away from the petty partisan politics in the future, and get us back to sci-fi. When people think there’s no one there who thinks differently, it will always devolve into those jabs, which only perpetuates the cycle of keeping conservatives away from the cons. It’s going to take a lot of work and time to change. Still, the panel was run well, and it didn’t go off into tangent-land on these political topics, which is all that can be expected for now.
After the panel, I hung out and relaxed, getting lunch at the bar. I had a great conversation with another writer, saw a couple of people from the panel and had good chats with them as well, all was good. The tension had been diffused fully.
I have to say, getting glares and knowing that people are actively trying to remove you from a convention is exhausting. The amount of stress and pressure it puts on you is very overwhelming, even for someone like me who’s used to taking heat. A lot of people won’t even think about that so it needs to be said.
This post will make the rounds almost certainly, and so convention organizers, listen up: there are a lot of conservative authors. they don’t attend these cons because they are made to feel like this, and it’s not fun, and it’s awful. The several hours I spent while getting glares was extremely tough. No other groups have to deal with this sort of thing at sci-fi conventions these days. You want real diversity and inclusivity? Act like FOGCon’s Steven Schwartz.
Honestly, it was handled great by the convention staff. They can’t help the glares, they can’t help the hate from the Codex Writers and a few of their friends, they can only make sure it’s clear that everyone is welcome, that science fiction is a place about ideas — all ideas — and that’s how we pave a way to a better future. And that’s exactly what FOGCon did.
With all the rumors, they were right to ask questions, even if the rumors are based on fabrications by another convention over petty politics. In contrast, Worldcon never bothered trying to talk to me, never attempted to resolve things, they just dug their heels in “hate of the other” and that’s where the situation escalated tragically. FOGCon did the opposite. They walked the walk, they talked, they treated me like a human being and it worked out great for everyone. It’s all I ever wanted, and it’s my mission to present the human face and be a person where it’s safe to ask questions, where it’s safe to talk to. It’s going to be a long road before conservatives feel like they’re safe to be open and out of the closet at many of these conventions, but if it can be done in San Francisco, it can be done across the country.
This is what convention organizers should do:
Only with these steps can we ensure fandom is a safe place for everyone. And if these steps are taken, you’ll start to see an increase in attendance, because right now, half the country feels like they’re not welcome. That’s a large group of people who should be reading books (and are if you look at the sales of people like me, Larry Correia, Nick Cole and others), and should be able to have fun discussions too. Right now the world is a tough place because of social media, but we are the visionaries of the future. Let’s work together and change it.
Great work FOGCon. You have my full support and endorsement and I look forward to next year.
If you appreciate the work I’m doing for civil rights in fandom, support my books! My new novel, The Stars Entwined, is coming out next week. It has themes about how people can ostracize the other when no one talks, and how dangerous that can end up. And also lets people know we’re more similar than we are different. You’ll love it if you love great space opera.
The last couple years has seen a resurgence in amazing Military Science Fiction series. Daniel Arenson, Richard Fox, Nick Cole and Jason Anspach, J.A. Sutherland, C.J. Carella among others have all come out with really awesome series that have took off like wildfire in this market starved for fun action-adventure.
Mark Wandrey & Chris Kennedy created an amazing world with the Four Horsemen Universe– mechs and monsters, space fleets and mercenaries, strange aliens, cool characters, it’s all there. I was so excited when I first discovered Cartwright’s Cavaliers and Asbaran Solutions, phenomenal books with a really in depth world. And I was even more thrilled when Chris asked if I’d be up for writing a story in one of their anthologies to expand the universe, A Fistful of Credits. The short story I wrote in there, “Lost And Found” is my favorite short I’ve ever written because the world is just that fun to write in.
And now Chris and Mark are opening up the universe to other writers. I’ve seen Kacey and Marissa through Mark Wandrey’s feed as he’s been talking about them for awhile. They are great up and coming talent and a worthy to add to this universe. I’m happy to share their new book with you now.
Assassin, while the 11th in the universe, is an opening story by itself, no prior knowledge required, though it is such a great universe I do recommend all the books in it. Synopsis is below:
Depik. The race of cat-like assassins is feared galaxy-wide. Few living people have seen them, as the sight of one is usually the last thing its victim sees.
Clan politics on the Depik home world of Khatash are complicated, with clans jockeying for contracts and the prestige and wealth they bring. There’s only one rule—Depik do not kill other Depik. Ever.
When Reow is implicated in killing the Depik Governor, though, her clan is declared anathema. Her four offspring are placed under interdict—they are to be killed on sight—and Del, Flame, Blade, and Death must flee with their molly, Susa.
With Reow dead, and Hunters tracking them across the galaxy, will they live long enough to find the real killer, or will they find themselves assassinated by their own kind?
I first announced my GoFundMe publicly on Tuesday, only a few people knew about it prior to that. The day before, Monday it leaked to the hate-website File 770, where people I didn’t know mocked and derided me, treating me as if I weren’t even a human being. They’ve been doing this, encouraging science fiction writers and publishers to do so since Worldcon first announced that they would be discriminating against me over my political affiliation, which they coded in a defamatory statement to falsely label me a “racist bully”. It’s been a struggle having this go on, but it makes it all the more important to ensure it stops.
When an institution like Worldcon writes such nasty falsehoods about a science fiction author (instead of championing my work like they should be doing), the defamation causes real harm. It makes people whose lives are steeped in fantasy think they are a superhero in their own movie, and they believe by harassing and blacklisting me, they are taking down a super-villain. It’s really tragic how they justify their own hatred to themselves. Which is why in person communication is so important, and why I must attend Worldcon.
I’m just a guy who writes books that are fun that everyone can enjoy like For Steam And Country and the forthcoming The Stars Entwined. I work, I’m raising children, I’m not hurting anyone, and I have the right to my political opinions like any other author does. The message needs to be sent for them to respect that and treat me with fairness and equality. This is important especially for other conservative/libertarians who are coming after me, afraid to speak because they see what they’ll have to endure. I’m absorbing these blows as best I can, but others shouldn’t ever have to deal with this psychological torture being inflicted.
But the good news is there are friends who understand this fight. Yesterday, we crossed the $1,000 threshold — which means we’ll be able to file this case against worldcon. My attorney is currently drafting up the legal documents to do so, and we will be filing shortly.
We still have a long way to go because with a civil rights case, it will take a lot just to fight. Tell everyone you know and raise awareness because this dehumanizing of people on t he right can’t continue. It’s imperative that we go to these industry events like Worldcon so they see faces, see humans, and realize we’re not so different. Forced segregation will only lead to more hate and suffering, and it needs to end so we can once more be a community that dreams of the stars and a bright future together.
Please support my GoFundMe if you haven’t already, and make sure to spread the word:
It’s been a couple of days since my GoFundMe for getting justice for the defamation and discrimination Worldcon enacted upon me was announced. We’ve raised nearly a thousand dollars now — which is enough for the initial filing fees so we can proceed. This is with no media help and is only due to friends and fans here being super supportive, for which I thank you so much.
On the other front, they’ve gotten nastier since Worldcon came after me…
A seemingly racist insult from a Tordotcom writer:
Someone trying to justify bullying of me in that “no one” defends me:
A book reviewer who I asked for a review of my forthcoming Space Opera, The Stars Entwined a month ago necro’d my email just to swear at me:
Writer Ann Leckie who I’ve never interacted with is using the same metaphors and same swear words about me (which shows this is all coordinated to try to hurt/bully me):
A. Merc Rustad, a writer who’s been championing harming me for more than a month, even though I don’t know them at all, mocks my civil rights:
I don’t know most of these folk beyond emailing after they started attacking me and saying “hey, please don’t attack me.” In which it seems to only get them to push harder to try to harm me. This is why legal action is my only option after what worldcon did, justifying in these folks minds the way they constantly berate another human being. It’s disgusting and it has to stop. I can’t imagine how they decided that spending all of their times doing this is productive, and though I do my best to persevere through this, it does get difficult some days.
But we have to be able to have open dialogue about serious issues facing our society without fear of intimidation or over the top retaliation over political affiliations. It’s been escalating for a few years not just with me, but with the way really nice guys like Brad Torgersen have been treated, the way Dave Truesdale was treated, and many others. It has to stop here, and this is why we must stand now and fight this before it goes further.
I’ve already had people calling the FBI on me to try to swat me, which I have documented. We all know from the PJ Media article about how they sent me a creepy anonymous package last year when I wrote an article on just the numbers of stories being printed, and how they started threatening me with my children’s medical information. It’s going to be real violence from this crowd if this continues and the only way to stop it since they show no signs of being willing to talk, is to take firm, legal action.
Help me make a change so we can have a hopeful future like the greats of Science Fiction used to envision before this nihilistic crew took its place and tried to destroy anyone who remotely disagrees: https://www.gofundme.com/make-worldcon-great-again
A month ago, the World Science Fiction Convention made an unprecedented move in pre-banning me from the convention–something they haven’t done since 1964, which they only did then with a known and later convicted child molester, Walter Breen, and with him, only for one day, not for the whole convention. To be treated with less human dignity than a pedophile is horrific enough, as I’ve committed no crime, but their excuses for treating me in this manner were nebulous, holding me to a different standard than other attendees for no other reason other than because I am an outspoken political figure.
Many of you know me from conventions, and also know that I’m a fun person to be around, who’s never caused a problem or even been accused of such. I’ve attended dozens over the years, including Worldcon itself, without ever having an issue with anyone. I’m a loving, accepting guy who is truly passionate about science fiction and cares about others. That’s what makes this all the more bizarre, and why it’s obviously due to a political motivation.
Conservative-libertarians have been targeted in culture with blacklisting, hate, threats of violence, harassment, and worse. As the original article on this matter in PJ Media stated ( https://pjmedia.com/trending/
Threats to conservative-libertarians have a occurred at conventions across this great nation as of late, against not just me, but others who share my identity: Richard C. Meyer, a prominent youtube comic reviewer was threatened by industry professionals in a secret Facebook group, ,as they conspired to frame him for a crime at New York Comic Con. Kevin Sorbo, the popular actor, was banned from East Coast Comic Con. Threats to my safety and to others are real, and growing in number.
Enough is enough.
One of my first writing lectures I attended as I learned my craft was by science fiction legend, David Gerrold, back in 2012. He moved me and many others in an argument he made in favor of gay marriage, presented in a manner beautiful that nearly brought the crowd to tears. In that speech, he said that gay rights would eventually prevail because for them, it was life and death, and for the opposition, it really didn’t impact them personally. The message was clear: it matters more to you, if you care about a cause, if you care about freedom, then you will prevail.
His words especially inspired me my fight for the right to have my own career in science fiction, for my own freedom, and for my own safety in this industry. We have to make sure science fiction is a place where ideas can be written, where the future can be molded into a diverse and inclusive place. Which is why I do what i do on a daily basis. Conservative-libertarian ideas are blacklisted, and though I did not desire to become the face of those ideas, events have proceeded because of the bigotry involved in places like WorldCon and SFWA that I must speak out on the behalf of not just myself, but hundreds of other writers who do live in fear of these hate mobs that try to destroy people’s lives. For the sake of these people’s careers and lives, we must triumph together, we cannot allow the bullies to force good people out of the industry.
But I need your help to accomplish making fandom inclusive again, and creating a safe space for us all to enjoy science fiction together.
I tried to resolve this by talking, but the chair of Wolrdcon would not speak with me or elaborate as to why I was banned. My attorney then sent a letter with very reasonable demands, and I did not receive word back. Worldcon has not responded, not engaged in a dialogue with me at all, including back to my initial letter of concern for safety of other conservative authors back in November 2017. They made their ban over hatred and fear of the other, and made it clear through their actions that they illegally discriminated against Conservative-libertarians who speak out. They’ll defame people they don’t agree with, and this must change.
Today I’m launching a GoFundMe to raise the funds necessary to take legal action, just as was done for gay marriage when people wouldn’t listen. Now in culture, this needs to be done for people who identify as Conservative-libertarian. We must be allowed t o attend professional conferences without fear of injury, must be allowed to have our stories shared, and allowed to speak freely. The State of California, through their Unruh Act has taken action to ensure we are all equal — and this needs to be applied to our cultural institutions in science fiction as we’ve exhausted all other options.
This is where you can help. Tomorrow I’m going to go public with my lawsuit to ensure fairness and inclusivity at Worldcon for all. Share this information and my link, spread the word. Many of you, my friends, are well respected people in the science fiction community, and your word carries much weight. Together we can make change for a hopeful future of love, tolerance, and diversity of ideas, as the founders of science fiction would have always wanted.
The link is here.
Thank you so much for your help and support through these trying times. We’re t the ones molding the future with our visions. Please share this around. Let’s make a better one together.
Much love and with hopes for a brighter future,
I did an interview with the showrunner and writer for Extinct, a tv show I really loved last year that sadly wasn’t renewed. It was nice seeing characters that were family-oriented in sci-fi for once. Aaron knows a lot about writing and is one of the most thoughtful interviewees I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.
You can check out the interview here: http://thefederalist.com/2018/02/08/orson-scott-cards-extinct-resurrects-sci-fi-tv-ages-can-enjoy/
And if you like my work, support my Patreon! Help me create comics, write short stories, get more content out for everyone. We’re making real change in culture!
I love when fantasy hits on good Christian concepts, and this looks to be an excellent work in that regard. Evil comes as wolves in sheep’s clothings. They don’t tend to show themselves as the ugly, hateful creatures you’d expect. This book looks like an entertaining fantasy/horror read:
Demon is such an ugly word.
Malach prefers “angelically-challenged”. After all, it’s not his fault that he was kicked out of Heaven.
And if you’ll just listen, he can explain everything.
GOD HATES ME: The Diary of an Ex-Angel is a smart, funny, and surprisingly moving tale of a demon who means well and would really like to figure out how to get back to Heaven one day. But how do you make a case for yourself when no one seems to care enough to listen?
The cover is… quite interesting as well. You can check it out here.
The Happy Frogs highly anticipated first annual Ribbit Awards now has a date and time: February 20th at 7 PM EST. Come watch the 2nd most prestigious awards in science fiction live with co-host, grand master of Science Fiction, one of the greatest writers in the field, John C. Wright!
It’s going to be a great night with some wonderful surprises in the awards. Do be sure to tune in!