Another Pedophile Exposed In Mainstream Science Fiction

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Ever since Moira Greyland released the book detailing just how her mother, Science Fiction legend and feminist icon Marion Zimmer Bradley sexually abused her — and used the convention circuit to allow her friends to do the same, I’ve posted warning about the pedophilia that’s been normalized within the mainstream science fiction community.

In hindsight, I’ve seen it in the works. There’s a lot of books with young children in it with gratuitous nudity scenes in the “classics” and beyond. We know full well about SFWA Grandmaster Samuel Delaney’s very vocal thoughts on the subject matter (SFWA has still not disavowed him). There are so many examples it’s nauseating.

A new one came out today, with Gerrad Jones, a former writer for Marvel and DC Comics admitting guilt to child pornography.  

Too many of the top publishing organizations have harbored and possibly still are harboring known pedophiles within their ranks. It’s systemic throughout the fiction, and it needs to stop. SFWA actually cited in their reason for banning me for their club, despite my qualifying, that it was because I make articles speaking out against pedophilia.

More people need to ask why these science fiction, fantasy, and comics publishers keep hiring people like this to produce their work. We need to take action to protect our children from this normalized group of sickos. Demand that SFWA, Tor, Marvel, DC and others unequivocally condemn pedophilia. They are not doing enough to put a stop to this epidemic, and their lack of action enables monsters.

 

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Con Carolinas Set A Dangerous Precedent For Sci-Fi Cons To Advocate Fascism

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When Con Carolinas removed John Ringo from their convention, effectively banning him because a small internet outrage mob attempted to harass him out of a convention, they did more than just attack a single author. They set a precedent for other conventions to start pushing their “code of conduct” policies to a point where they can start removing people they don’t like because of their political affiliation.

The mantra was what we would expect from a convention. They claimed they wanted to stop harassment, giving no details as to what actually occurred when they made their post. To the outside observer, it could look like they were removing Mr. Ringo for harassment, which is absurd, as he was the one targeted in this situation, and he did nothing, not even responding to the attackers directly.

But it’s encouraged conventions to get more brazen in targeting conservatives, within a month after the incident with Mr. Ringo.

Fogcon, the convention I attended in March in which, like at every convention, my behavior was exemplary and professional, made this post on their facebook page last evening:

This post was made specifically to target me as it seems someone around the concom was upset not that I did anything — which is on record everywhere that I didn’t do anything other than sit at the bar with friends and attend a panel peacefully — but because my identity upsets them so much they wanted to try to bully me out of future conventions.

This happened at the convention itself as well, as security was called on me because I was sitting at the bar, having a drink, and speaking with a friend. We weren’t bothering anyone, but someone went out of their way to falsely try to accuse me of wrongdoing because of who I am. This is exactly why I said it was necessary for me to have a security camera on me at Worldcon in case someone attempted to harm me, or attempted to accuse me of something. Worldcon chose to ban the victim of what is truly reprehensible behavior because of my political affiliation. It again, set a precedent where conventions are going to do this and even take more extreme measure in the name of political purity–I mean, “diversity and tolerance”.

With their post on Facebook, Fogcon is taking a step further in delving into authoritarian fascism with this post. This is the kind of behavior where Nazis attempted to root out Jews from businesses, from social life, and eventually to throw into concentration camps. It’s saying that they will take select people and go through and research into their online profiles, who they are at home, etc. before allowing them to attend a convention. It’s a big can of worms where I don’t think they understand the long term implications of what they’re doing.

When they institute a policy like this, they can’t apply this standard equally to all attendees. Almost everyone who attends a convention and has a Twitter or Facebook account was probably mean on the internet to someone at some point. I even have had a run in with FOGCon chairman Steven Schwartz the last two days, as he tried to rile up my very much harassing trolls to push further. Will they be investigating his twitter account and seeing if he’s mean? Will the same standard be held? Or is it okay because he harassed the “right” person?

His last three tweets on his account were encouraging known harasser, Kelli Stassi, who has been defaming me daily since Worldcon made their illegal proclamation. What about before that?

His entire account is simply used to @ Donald Trump and harass the president up until he decided to attack a conservative author.

You see how as soon as you delve into anyone’s social media, you can find this sort of thing. And now there’s a blog where it’s documenting convention chair of FOGcon’s known harassment of authors of political figures. A con with rules surfing social media would have to act if they apply this standard to conservative figures. In California, if double standards are applied based on politics, it’s illegal.

This is the path conventions will start to go down if they pursue this path, not because they’re keeping conventions safe — as a Christian, family man, and businessman I’ve never harmed a soul intentionally, and they’re aware of that — but to keep ideas and people out of conventions so that the politics goes unchallenged.

The long term strategy where this is bad for them is science fiction isn’t nearly as lockstep as they think. There’s huge swells of conservative authors, christian authors, and others who don’t agree with the SJW mantra, or want conventions to be panel after panel of identity politics whining. When those people take control of conventions, and these policies are in place, they’re going to start to ban in reverse because of the left’s behavior. If I’m bad for firing back at John Scalzi after he attacked me, it necessitates that John Scalzi is bad for trying to harm my career in the first place. Elizabeth Bear is bad for wishing death on me on twitter when I had never interacted with her. Jim C. Hines is similar for stalking me and posting the fruits of that on his blog to try to defame and destroy me. The list can go on.

“It can’t happen to our team, we control the cons,” they might think. Or perhaps they may not think at all. But this is what happens when the path of silencing dissenting ideas is taken. In California, I’ll remind, that there are civil rights laws to address this kind of behavior by organizations. It’s called the Unruh Act, and FogCon, in their attempt to appease a few bullies trying to hate popular conservatives out of fandom, would be good to remember that not applying standards equally to all is very illegal in this state.

Pursuing silencing of people and ideas is not a safety matter. Perhaps my safety would be in question at their convention because people might attack me, but I am no danger in attacking anyone, which is well documented. Since this isn’t a matter of safety, it’s a matter of silencing certain people and ideas, something we should not allow to happen in our society. I will continue to fight for the civil rights of conservatives and others to be able to speak, live, and work professionally, and I will not be intimidated into silence.

If you like my writings and civil rights work, support my fiction, cuz that’s what it’s all about. Despite a very loud minority of angry sci-fi authors and establishment publishing goons, I’m very popular with readers who don’t have extreme political agendas, just look at my reviews. I get messages every day about the work I do and how fun my books are. That’s why I’ve got an award winning Steampunk novel, For Steam And Country. Check out here.

 

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Literature Isn’t Declining – But The Gatekeepers Want You to Think it Is

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A couple of articles were brought to my attention on monday about the state of the industry. It’s no wonder the publishing world is shaken, after Barnes & Noble is undergoing a decline. It’s literally their last, best outlet to maintain control over what people see, keeping a limited selection of perspectives and ideas.  What will the sensitivity reader racket do if they can’t control the few publishing companies left?

Publishing Perspective put out an article at the end of december, sounding the alarm:

‘Overall the books selling well’ in the UK ‘are not literary,’ Arts Council England’s commissioned report announces. Even breakout hits, the study says, ‘are selling fewer copies overall and making less money.’

Not literary. What they mean by this is they’re not boring pieces that are pushing extreme leftist social agendas. There’s never “literary” books from a Christian perspective. There’s never “literary” books from a conservative one. There’s never “literary” books that aren’t pushing a very specific social agenda. Notice as science fiction as a genre tries to go more “literary” they’re cutting off a big portion of their audience as well. It doesn’t matter how many awards they give themselves for their boring society of as one author put it on twitter, “a society that doesn’t need men!”

Of course the garbage isn’t selling. No reader is interested in rehashing the exact same generic establishment-approved ideas of the last 50+ years. They are interested in different ideas, positive worlds, not negative dross coupled with flowery language. Their report goes further:

The team’s executive summary highlights these points (edited here):

  • Print sales of literary fiction have fallen over the last decade in the UK, particularly after the recession. They remain significantly below where they stood in the middle of the last decade
  • There is only a small “long tail” of novels that sell in sufficient quantities to support an author
  • The price of literary fiction has fallen in the past 15 years; book sales are down by volume and publishers net less per copy sold
  • While ebook sales have made up much of the fall in print sales elsewhere in the book market, this does not appear to be the case for literary fiction, while genre and commercial fiction predominate in ebook format
  • Large prizes have become even more important to literary fiction
  • Advances are very likely to have fallen for most writers
  • Literary fiction is dominated by “insider networks” hard to break into [This point is primarily referring to the diversity debate, and the ongoing conversation these days about the London-centric nature of the UK industry.]
  • Nonprofit support for literary writing is unable to fill the gaps

The woes of traditional publishing are very real. It’s a warning. And the warning is the old business model is failed. The price points are too expensive because there’s too many middlemen. The content is something most sane people don’t want to deal with after they’ve been bombarded with the fake news all day long telling them they’re awful people, who wants more negativity in their lives?  And to pay for it as entertainment? It’s the same thing sinking most of the establishment culture. But there’s good news!

Despite those negative points, the Canelo team offers some upbeat remarks

  • New independent publishers continue to emerge
  • There’s no conclusive evidence that publishers are reducing their marketing, even if this is a common feeling among writers
  • Film rights, translation rights, audiobooks and new crowdfunding models are all on the rise as ways of supporting literary fiction
  • The growth in creative writing courses offers teaching opportunities for writers, but also creates a more competitive landscape for authors

It’s the indies that are being successful. It’s those pushing boundaries and not limiting their ideas for the outrage mob who cries “literary!” who are selling books. There’s growth and opportunities, it just doesn’t involve the few gatekeepers in New York trying to force the same cultural mantra down our throats for decades. We are winning, and this report sounding the alarm actually is a breath of fresh air for independent authors.

There’s no decline in culture in reality, there’s just a wider net being cast and the barrier to entry has been evaporated. Indies are dominating the ebook market with more than 50% of ebook sales going to authors like your humble correspondent here. The big book companies blame amazon, like they did wtih B&N yesterday. But the problem is they are telling the audience “we don’t like you, and we want a different audience reading our book.” Like always, that’s a bad plan. Love your audience, don’t alienate them, and there won’t be problems.

Meanwhile, the rest of us can enjoy while big publishing burns their own ships and complains about it as they’re still standing on the deck.

Speaking of ships. I like space ships. Most my readers like space ships too. I think my book is very literary in that it’s about standing up to collective behavior, even in extreme environments that are ingrained genetically. While the world around them descends into chaos, the individual making a path can still keep her soul. Check out The Stars Entwined here! 

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Barnes & Noble’s Death Would Be Great For Indie Authors

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The New York Times yesterday came out with an article on how necessary it is to save Barnes & Noble, the original local bookstore killer. Remember, this is the company that made your local bookstore go out of business in the 90s. The company launched a number of failed initiatives to compete with Amazon over the last decade, and have pushed their bookstore out of its primary business to try to focus on toys, games, and the like but providing a more upscale environment than another failing chain, Toys R Us.

As such, their book space shrank, and also became homogenized. You won’t see much variation from one B&N to the next. It’s faking giving that nostalgic bookstore experience you used to have when you went with your parents as a kid, discovered new authors, found out about random SF/F authors because of the stealth preferences of some of the employees there and what they stocked. No, you’ll get the same Scalzi book, the same five copies of Ender’s Game, the same full shelf of Lord Of The Rings when you go to a Barnes and Noble.

So what is there to save? It’s providing books more expensively than amazon, with a worse selection. In fact, it’s the only thing keeping traditional publishing from completely caving. The book buying/selling system that is outdated and hasn’t changed since the 1930s is all B&N is promoting. You must get an agent who takes a percentage, who goes to a publisher who then takes a majority of a percentage, who marks up to a distributor who takes a percentage, who then is at the whim of a book buyer who only buys select books and cuts out most of the midlist without some arm twisting.

This system is the only thing holding indie back from being 100% dominant in the field. We can produce faster, we can produce better, we can produce less expensively. Once B&N is down, Amazon equalizes all of us, and we don’t have to compete with the shelf displays from the bloated system. It means we’ll be completely free, the market will decide. And you can bet that the $10.99 ebooks from big publishers are going to lose to $3.99 indie books every time because price point matters. The publishing industry can’t sustain itself without the big margins because of the middlemen. It will destroy gatekeeping completely and books will once again become the realm of ideas.

The New York Times fears this because it is the system. Their bestseller list is about manipulating this system for big publishing. They’re tied in with other New York publishers. They are representing them in their columns and promotions. They’re not looking out for author’s best interests. ‘

Good riddance, Barnes & Noble. You are the last vestige of a dead system and it’s time to embrace change.

If you are interested in indie books at reasonable prices, check out my new space opera, The Stars Entwined. It’s on Kindle Unlimited and $4.99, great value compared to its traditional published peers and a better story too. Check it out here.

 

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Should Authors Work In Multiple Genres?

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Like anything, it depends on your goals. Working as an author is a balance between art and commercial appeal, and so one has to keep both in mind while creating.

Over my one year span of releasing in the business, I’ve released works in three different subgenres of science fiction: Space Opera / Mil SF, Harder Sci-Fi, and Steampunk.  While those aren’t completely different genres like a mystery, sci-fi, and romance would be, the Amazon market is such that it splits into very specific readers. Even between the subgenres I write, readers rarely cross over.  And I see this is in my own reading habits. When coming up with awards nominations for the Dragon Awards, I find I rarely read fantasy or horror, even though those are considered by the wider audience to be within the same genre.

The Quick Answer Financially

So is it a good idea to even switch subgenres as I have? Financially, no. Amazon rewards you based on having books that look the same categorically, so they can sell it to a subset of customers. If you hop around, you’re both starting from scratch and Amazon isn’t helping cross promote your own books. It’s really best to just work within one series, keep them coming out, and having people keep finding those. It’s a simple, but very disciplined path, also one hard for an artist.

Amazon readers like to binge read, just like most people want to binge watch, binge drink, or binge whatever else they do. The truth is, staying in the same subgenre/series is very important to cultivating readership.

But There Are Other Reasons

There are other reasons to do so, beyond just strict sales ranking comparisons, and this is what an author has to weigh when writing, especially in early stages.

1. One never knows which subgenre will get hot over the next couple years. If you’re writing a hunger games clone now, you’re probably a little late to the game. That was hot a few years ago, but isn’t so much now. Maybe you have a book you didn’t sell when you were trying to approach big publishing, but you’re looking to put it up now, and that’s fine, but you may not want to spend your time pushing a series of that. It makes sense.

2. It’s easy to stagnate as an artist. You want to keep your books fresh. I have fun writing my steampunk books, but I have a LOT of other ideas too. So I like to get those out periodically and work on those in between working on my other books. Doing so makes it easier to come back to the steampunk world and not burn out in the process. However, it is best to stay focused when doing this so you have your main project and then your others. Your financial viability can be very tricky here.

3. Sometimes an idea is just too good not to pursue. This happened to me last year when I came up with my Deus Vult in Space concept. I just had to write it, and put everything else aside for the time. Are these rewarding? Time will tell. The idea has to connect with an audience for it to be worthy.

Timing Is Everything

Amazon rewards a writer for being fast these days. Ideally, you should be coming out with at least a trilogy in the same series/subgenre so that you establish yourself before drifting off. I didn’t have that luxury with the way my career began. I was working on someone else’s property with my first Military Sci-Fi book, the Dragon Award nominated Star Realms: Rescue Run. It meant it was up to the game company as to whether that would continue with sequels or not. While it was a great experience, it hampered my brand as an author to some extent when I was forced to hop around.

I caught up to my first work in sales on my award winning For Steam And Country, but it took some time establishing myself again as a Steampunk author. In my case, I had to come out with something quick because my brand was building rather quickly, and i needed another effort out there. Since the main series people were finding me for wasn’t an option, my next best work that was ready was what was important at the time. And it worked — over time, now I’m more known for being a Steampunk author. But my next problem was I didn’t expect this to become so popular, so I was working on more Space Opera / Mil SF over the summer. And now I’m in a multi-genre position.

It’s not ideal, but I’ve seen a lot of the industry over the process and have a firm handle on how it works now. Focus on your subgenre is definitely extremely important for financial success. It won’t kill you to vary a little as I have, my readers are very loyal and wonderful. But an author needs to be very careful nonetheless. If I ran out with a historical fiction novel for my next release, I think people would start to be making fists and demands at me (I’m not doing this!). Remember when you write a new genre, you are starting from scratch except with your readers who have bought into you personally. Most people want to read in their comfort areas, and those areas are small in variance. Know that the choices you make in releases will either have carry over for most readers, or they will not. And if you’re making informed decisions based on your own goals artistically and financially, you won’t go wrong.

This summer I’ll be going hard in my Steampunk universe. I’ll be coming out with books 2 and 3 of my award winning Adventures of Baron Von Monocle series, plus a novella featuring the main male lead from the series, which all started with For Steam And Country last year. Check it out here and get ready for the airship ride of your life.

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Flash Fiction Friday – “Fired Up In The Desert”

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I don’t usually write much random fiction in the middle of projects, but this popped into my head today. It’s extremely short, but I’ve been meaning to do a little more weird west and don’t have time for much so this hopefully will quench my thirst for awhile. Free to read, fresh off the word doc:

People associate the desert with heat, but at night, it gets so cold it can chill you to your bones.  It took a strong will to be able to survive. Cameron had been prospecting in the Arizona desert for weeks, but tonight, he couldn’t stop himself from shivering.  Twigs rested in a pile—the fruits of hours of labor in trying to assemble something flammable to quell the evening chill.

Cameron grabbed two stones and struck them together. They warmed in his hands, but he couldn’t get them to spark. The third time he tried, he smashed his fingertips between the stones. “Arg!” he shouted to the heavens. The sound of his voice died in the wind. No one would hear him. His fingers throbbed, and yet he had no fire. 

Angry, Cameron threw his stone to the ground. He needed a fire, or he wouldn’t survive the night. His fingertips pulsed with heat as the pain grew. He held his hand out over his piled sticks. If only he could will fire into existence, force the heat from his throbbing fingers into the wood.

He screamed again, and the twigs burst into flames. 

 

By the way, I’ve been putting out short stories every month on my Patreon, including a novella sequel to my award winning book, For Steam And Country this month. If you like my writing, you’ll love what comes through the pipeline here. Great science fiction and fantasy you can look forward to every month. At the very least, support my work for the sake of it! You can sign up here and get short stories for as low as $3/mo, which is less expensive than most authors. 

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Happy Frogs: Moving The Cultural Needle

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We have a lot of work to do with the Happy Frogs, and we’re just getting started. So far as an organization we’ve:

  • Posted a 2017 Dragon Awards Recommendation Slate, and gotten every person nominated
  • Posted 2017 Dragon Awards Finalists Recommendation Slate
  • Posted a 2018 Hugo Awards Recommendation Slate
  • Posted a 2018 Hugo Awards Finalists Recommendation Slate
  • Made our own awesome T-shirt 
  • Held our own wonderful awards
  • Grown our membership by substantial numbers in less than a year of doing this

It’s only going to keep growing. Movements in culture take 5-10 years to really reach critical mass. Part of it is an attrition and a patience game. Most of us who were involved last year were nearly no-name authors at the time, and now we’ve all being lifted to respected professional status. The Happy Frogs over time is going to be a tide that lifts a lot of boats, and we’ll have more and more people tuning in just to ask “what the heck are they going to do next?”

Well I’ll tell you. Next is the 2018 Dragon Award Recommendation Nominating list. This will be unveiled on Monday, and we’ve created a slate that’s definitely going to draw attention, this time even better than last year.

It’s freeing on my end, now that I’ve achieved “award winning author”, I’m pushing the Happy Frogs to greater heights, as I’m not using it to try to get my own award. Now it’s purely about helping others and building a culture out of the ashes of the toxic one the establishment has burnt to the ground.

The awards will be done on Periscope, just like the last happy frogs announcements. So be sure to follow me there and tune in.

We’ll have more Happy Frogs updates soon, as we have a lot more planned. We’re organizing a community and taking activism to a new level.

And if you like changing culture, make sure to check out my award winning novel, For Steam And Country. I took Steampunk in a new direction when the genre stagnated. And people love it. Read it here.

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Retro Review: The Rebel Worlds by Poul Anderson

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The next story in the Dominic Flandry series brings about another change for the character. Ensign Flandrey brought us a nice war with the Mersians and showed how one world escalated a galactic conflict. A Circus of Hells showed Dominic floating around doing spy work, expanded the Mersian conflict, and it truly felt like a James Bond in space novel. This one, Flandry is given command of a ship as we set out to the frontier where a Rebellion is stirring against the Terran Empire.

It begins from the perspective of an Admiral accused of treason, who is breaking out of prison and his beautiful wife is being held captive by a local governor. Flandry goes out to investigate, finds the Admiral has declared himself Emperor of Humanity and has amassed a fleet, and through a series of really fun events, we end up on another alien planet.

What’s interesting is Poul Anderson weaves these world-changing political events into a story, but has each time moved us to a planet where we saw some strange alien species that has a big difference to them than general humanity. This one is perhaps the coolest alien concepts of the books yet — with a species that has three different creatures to it, and when they come together, they form sentience. When they part, they separate sentience. They also can combine with other creatures to form different entities. They have strange memories and a strange way of being and I loved this conceptually. They play a huge part in the book and overall story.

What’s interesting is Anderson really has the conflict of the major worlds going on in the background, while Flandry is in his own little mission doing his own thing. I like this style of writing, it adds to the space opera flare in my opinion. Flandry can influence events, but he’s not at the center of the battle because of his position. And Even as he roams around on other planets, eventually his actions do amount to solving the conflict with the Rebel Worlds.

The story also, like the others so far, centers around a woman — the wife of the rebel admiral who is so captivating, everyone falls in love with her. This subplot adds a nice dynamic to the story, and highlights Anderson’s excellent characterization in this. Flandry, of course, falls for her as well, and like the prior stories it ends without fulfillment for Flandry. A minor annoyance is that the past loves and past adventures really don’t get referenced, despite this being somewhat of a continuance from those, but these older books are all meant as standalones more than the way series are written today, despite the shared universes.

It’ll be interesting to see how this goes. This is probably the second best of the trilogy so far, with Ensign Flandry being my favorite still. There’s many short stories next in the Baen collected version of this series I’m reading, and not sure if I’ll review all of those. The next novel to take place in this series apparently doesn’t star Flandry proper, but is set in the universe.

Overall, this is some of the best space opera out there. Highly enjoyable read.

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Culture Convention Watch: BayCon

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BayCon was the first convention to give me problems over my political affiliation. A lot of the people involved in it are also involved in this year’s WorldCon, as it’s in the same location, and so it makes sense that the discrimination I face now on a much bigger level originated here.

I like to monitor local conventions to see just how political their content is, and if they’re pushing that agenda much more than they are trying to accomplish what we all strive for: a fun time celebrating science fiction and fantasy.

I looked in 2017 at BayCon’s programming, the year where I was removed from the programming because I’m a vocal trump supporter, and saw that it was riddled with angry identity politics. As with most conventions after the election, they decided to go all in on grievance and making sure that families, conservatives, christians, and the like were not welcome at their convention. The panels were awash in negativity — where it creates an environment that’s simply not fun for attendees. Part of what led to the culture problems we’re experiencing this year with myself, Kevin Sorbo, and NYT bestseller John Ringo.

This year, I took a look at the programming as well. Like every year, there is a heavy focus on identity politics, which it would be better for conventions and fandoms to move on — especially this year, when 2018 is the year where we’re uniting as one culture, one people, and one love, with the great messages Kanye West is bringing to the people. It’s been a breath of fresh air.

There are actually more identity politics related panels this year than there were last year (by one). What’s interesting about these types of panels is they split groups. This panel is only for African Americans. This panel is for women. This panel is for X group. It goes on, and it always excludes whites, males, and Christians. It’s about division, and about sewing seeds of further division between us, and the best way to frankly run a convention at this point is to knock those out, and just have programming where everyone can love each other rather than lock ourselves into identity groups.

The Panels

I counted 7 panels this year vs. the 6 identity politics themed panels last year, which I’ll go over in a little detail :

Diversified Fandom, Diversified Canon – As much as this is about “diversity” in choosing who to read, these are the same panelists I see on pretty much every identity politics panel across the bay area for the last 5+ years between Con-Volution, FogCon and BayCon. That’s a lot of panels and a lot of same-ness for talk of diversity. I know Dr. Bradford Lyau and Dr. Heidi Stauffer, and they’re both very intelligent, nice people. But will there be real diversity here or will it be a call to action to not read white, male authors like I see at every single one of these types of settings?

Enough with the f***ing Nazis – This is an interesting topic. It’s actually about Nazi-themed books, movies, art, and using Nazis as villains, and how it’s getting tired as a concept. I would have not put the F in the programming even with the stars, to keep a family-friendly discussion in the program, but this could actually not end up an identity politics fest if it’s done right. I hope for that, but it can easily devolve. Participants will have to be careful about the direction here. But actually kudos for an interesting topic idea.

Female Heroes/Female Villains – Finally, a strong female lead. ’nuff said. At least it’s a positive title, unlike years past. Hopefully the panel stays that way.

Saving what we love: the different layers of resistance –  We know what #Resist is code for today, unfortunately. This is probably going to be the most politically charged panel on here save for the second #Resist panel. It shouldn’t be. What would be really interesting would be if they were brave enough to bring someone like me who’s actually resisting the lockstep trends of most artists who are bound by professional publishing. They all have the same message, it all looks the same, what is that resisting? But, alas, these aren’t about brave, new ideas.

Art as Resistance – This should be my panel. Why am I not invited? Oh, because I’m actually resisting. Can’t have that. Stay on the plantation! Same comments as the other #Resist panel.

Fans of Color in SF/F Fandom – Where’s the fans who are color-challenged panel? Again, like the female one, at least this is positive and the theme isn’t on the attack. It’s on the panelists not to let it turn negative.

Afrofuturism 101 – During the same time as Fans of Color in SF. So they’re splitting the split hair.  Programming timing error. I find this topic actually interesting because of Black Panther as a movie and other works coming out.

Gender in fandom and genre media – We see this all the time. This is going to be hard pressed not to turn into a hyper-negative fest. I’ll note my novel, The Stars Entwined, features an alien race, The Tralos, who are genderless and reproduce by molt. I’m diverse, or something.

Sex and Fandom – No, they’re not using the scientific word for the made up word “gender” sadly, though that would be funny since there are 2 sexes. they mean talking about things getting pornier and probably celebrating the culture changing into smut-based nonsense from what it used to be when stories didn’t revolve around shocking/turning people on.  It’d be nice to have a dissenting voice about how shows like Game of Thrones actually hurt culture rather than push anything forward, but that won’t be allowed.

The Result

The end result is — these panels aren’t nearly as bad as last year. Even though the quantity is higher, the negativity factor is lower, which is a good step forward. We have to give Baycon credit in that. Because of pressure of a few insiders, it’s very hard to erase identity politics altogether and come together in fandom. Despite this being Patchwork Fandom as a theme, a large chunk of the population is left out. Only the small patchworks are allowed leaving a big hole in the quilt.

The problem with all these panels is while they could be very open-ended, could have different perspectives, they will all have a monolith perspective. There won’t be free thought, there will only be what the gatekeepers of culture want for thought — much like what comes out of traditional publishing. Nothing else is allowed. No new ideas are presented, just the same we’ve heard for years, at every convention.

But having very few negative-themed panels (the two resist ones and likely the gender one will be the most charged in that regard), they’re moving toward a little bit of positivity, and acknowledging that none of these groups are discriminated against in fandom. They’re celebrated at every convention. How many more decades can the conventions last when they push the political theme this hard, turn away families, turn away fun? It won’t last much longer.

We’re in a new era of unity, and a new era of culture that just started these last few weeks. I challenge the participants of these panels to be positive, to show love, not to attack outside others, not to turn these into competitions of faux-diversity (who can be MORE diverse?), and not to turn it into hatred of half the country. It’ll be very hard to do, but it’s an important step if we’re going to heal science fiction and make it fun again.

If Baycon pushes more toward positivity in future years, and reduces the number of grievance panels, we might just have a good convention everyone can enjoy again.

If you like fun, real diversity in thought and action, you’ll probably love The Stars Entwined. It’s got different cultures working together. It’s got its problems too, but our characters work out of love to resolve them. Check it out. 

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New Releases: Knight Training novella + New T-Shirt

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Just because we’re winning awards around these parts doesn’t mean we’re stopping working. I’ve got two very exciting things to announce that are out now:

One, the James Gentry novella, “Knight Training” is available for $3/mo patreon subscribers. This is the direct sequel to For Steam And Country and it’s set between books 2-3. Readers demanded to see James as a main character, and so I delivered. It’s a really fun story, you’ll want to check it out.

Second is the t-shirt. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a release in the Jon Del Arroz collection, and it’s time to come out with something completely cool. Introducing Dragon Energy! 

Show your friends you’re one of the few with the highest forms of energy, among select brethren who are changing the world.

That’s all for today. Always producing more, always creating new art. We’re being the change in culture by constantly creating culture over here.

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