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.
Clayton Barnett says
Joke: if you’ve the time, Jon, to humiliate an old woman like this, I’m having you mow my backyard along with the front!
Broke: reaching out? To someone who’d not just deplatform us but who would caper – spastically – in front of a bonfire of our books?
Woke: “Let the dead bury the dead.” That wizened meat-sack is the past. Authors such as you and I shall be the best-sellers in our Dissident Right New World.
Foi Conego says
Mr. Del Arroz,
I’m afraid I didn’t see the same things in the poorly-shot videomthat you did. I saw an author being purposefully blindsided by a “fan”, who chose to ignore it. That’s all. He did wave goodbye to the cameraman with a bit of a twinkle at the end.,
Mostly, though, I fail to understand why you are writing this at all. Okay, you don’t like him— fine. He may well not like you either, although he doesn’t attack you by name. But does it really matter? Does it effect the quality of your writing, or the frequency that you publish? That’s what your readers care most about. I’d far better prefer that you got one more page written that half a dozen anti-Scalzi blog entries. I’d prefer that you and he each got another page (or a chapter!) written than that he emails you and the two of you start a dialogue— and I care less about who either of you voted for a year ago than about what you can tell me is happening 500 or a thousand years from now. I disagree wholeheartedly with the way one of you voted, and i read both of your books.
So,please, focus on what is truly important to,your readers— your books— and leave the sideshows on the side.
I’m not sure if you mean it or if you’re just here to attack. But I focus on my books. I don’t have any side shows. I don’t want Mr. Scalzi attacking readers, which is what was done here, or penalizing them for simply mentioning my name. It’s not right and I have to say something to stand up for the reader when professionals lean hard on them. Readers are to be treasured, don’t you agree?
Anonymous Coward says
Stop speaking for all of Jon’s readers, you low life troll. Take your concern trolling and ask Scalzi why he was so rude to an Asian man.
While you’re at it, concern-ask Scalzi why he thinks he’s above being polite to a reader and fan.
Xaver Basora says
Don’t bother. Scalzi is blinded by wilfulness. You’ve done your part now let the Lord take over and you write books.
Entertain us and we’ll pay you 🙂
Good one Mr. Del Arroz!!! Well played. I liked that it’s forever immortalized on video!
Well, this was not my idea. this was the reader’s. I wish Mr. Scalzi would be a little kinder to our readers, I don’t really see any joy in this.
One thing that puzzled me though, you put quotation marks around “2nd Rate Wannabe” four times (counting the photo of the inscription in the book), but the actual quote is “second-wave wannabe”.
Second-rate and second-wave are two completely different things.
Jon Bromfield says
Scalzi’s latest derivative novel HEADS UP has been steadily sinking on the Amazon rankings since its release April 17th. It’s now not even on the top 100 in SF Books and SF Kindle.
I’m wondering how many people showed up for this event. Scalzi has always posted photos of adoring crowds on past book tours, none so far on this one and it’s finishing up with just one more stop.
I’m betting even money Tor finds a way to get out of his 13 book contract.
Jon Bromfield says
HEAD ON. Please correct.
I don’t really wanna talk smack about another writer’s work. I wish John the best. I just want him to treat readers with respect.
Jon Bromfield says
Jon, this isn’t for posting, but I disagree with you. Scalzi is certainly not wishing you the best. He has and will continue to attack you in his signature passive-aggressive style with no regard for civility or your feelings. The only way to respond to his smears is to hit him back harder. He gives no quarter and deserves none.
But hey, it’s your reputation and career he wants to destroy, not mine.
Ryan Jones says
Mr Del Arroz,
I thought you should know, while your books touch on some of my favorite themes (steampunk, etc) I’ve opted not to give them a chance, based entirely on the way you’ve been conducting yourself. I recognize you’ve got a crowd cheering you on for encouraging or engaging in stunts like this, but for every person who tells you you’re hilarious, there’s going to be others who don’t want to support the career of somebody who behaves this way. I can’t see how your career as a writer is advanced by alienating people who might have otherwise enjoyed your work, since I rather doubt I’m the only one turned off by stuff like this.
Sorry you feel that way. I haven’t done any stunts though. You’re clearly not reading what was written. I just don’t like people treating readers poorly. What it tells me is you weren’t going to read me anyway over politics. Which is your choice, but it’s not going to work as a concern troll tactic. 🙂
Nope. I’m not shocked one bit.
I first heard of Scalzi via Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit about the time Old Man’s War came out. Reynolds recommended the book. I subsequently saw it at Barnes & Noble, bought it, liked it, starting reading Scalzi’s blog.
Urk. I’m not especially interested in the politics of people I pay money to entertain me- I’m pretty sure I’ve left exactly one comment on Larry Correia’s site, defending Charles Stross, for God’s sake- but Scalzi worked hard to earn my hostility.
Again, I only heard of him because conservative Glenn Reynolds recommended him. Yet I distinctly recall reading Scalzi wish all right-wingers could be exiled to a desert, despite the sure fact that he’d sold a lot of books based upon that one right-wing recommendation.
I read Scalzi’s blog for a year or two, if I recall. End result- I’ll never give him a nickel, or even read his work for free, because he’s a loathsome individual who deserves nothing but contempt.