I was done with science fiction conventions before this Readercon debacle.
Don’t know what that is? Lucky you. Let me ruin your morning.
A female writer was repeatedly sexually harassed at Readercon by Rene Walling — a SF bigwig of some kind. Though the con has a policy of zero tolerance for that sort of behaviour and has established a precedent of banning offenders for life, Walling’s friends and admirers on the board only gave him a two year ban.
The reaction to this was hardly positive.
People (correctly in my view) figured this light sentence was due to his high standing in the community and chumminess with the board. The Readercon board replied to complaints with a short note that basically said:
‘While the facts of the case are not in question, he said he was sorry, sheesh.’
They acted like any ruling elite.
And being pulled out from under rocks and exposed to the light, they have all since resigned or announced their intention to.
I guess that’s good. Really, they should’ve just enforced their policy.
Instead they circled the wagons, which I am told is typical, writers demanded that reviewer ACM be denounced if one wishes to speak about Walling, which is a totally left-field request born from personal grudges about bad reviews, and they engaged in a bunch of other nonsense that, given the history and nature of the industry, are viewed as threats.
All sorts of stupidity.
I don’t even know what a denouncement from science fiction fandom involves. Do storm troopers show up at your house and demand you hand over your raygun before they strip you of your pointy ears? Just what the fuck are these people talking about? Denouncements?
And who do they think they are?
Now, post-resignation of the board, Rene Walling’s friends, who are big wigs in the SF community –though I really have no idea who these people are– have started making vague threats of blacklists for everyone who complained about the con’s handling of this affair.
Apparently the SMOF [Secret Masters of Fandom, a term I frankly wish I never heard] are angry. They also seem to think they have some sort of power over people’s careers, that writers are made by attending their parties and that anyone in the world actually gives a shit what they think.
These folks run the awards or something? I don’t know what they do.
Also, don’t give a fuck.
I find myself agreeing with Nick Mamatas, who thinks fandom should be destroyed. Not the fans, you understand –those are just folks– but the whole “professionalization of squee.” It just leads to stupidity and the attempt to abuse power by people who, really, have none.
(I also share his detest for the term “newbie.” I wrote a book. Been writing most my life. I didn’t just show up in your gaming environment and I resent the idea that you can legitimize me or my work. I don’t care about the absurd conceit that you can do either of those things. You can’t make me. I am me. You might like or hate me, but you got fuck-all to do with it. Period.)
I love science fiction but I got no use for this bullshit.
Before I cut whatever ties I have to this so-called community, though not to my friends within it, I do have something to say to the people defending Rene Walling, threatening those who spoke up and all of that shit. It comes in musical form. Enjoy.
And add me to whatever list you want. Like I give a fuck.