Keffy

everything i do is so fucking amazing that sparks are going to shoot out of your eyes

Author: Keffy (page 1 of 6)

An Open Letter With Respect to Reviews Published on Rocket Stack Rank

By now, many have heard criticisms of Rocket Stack Rank’s reviews of stories containing non-binary and/or trans characters. Reviews that misgender characters in a story, that misgender authors of stories, that focus heavily on genitals or delegitimizing non-binary pronouns. On the site, RSR explains that its criticisms are limited to stories and publications, but that its negative reviews shouldn’t be considered criticism of an author. And yet we find it hard to understand how a criticism of a character’s identity, especially when shared by the author, should not be considered a criticism of the author, or any reader that would share that identity.

The reviewer, who is not trans and/or non-binary, makes judgments about the validity of pronouns and identities, and decides which author “makes good use of [transness]” and which authors do not. This is problematic and hurtful. This is a way of saying “you do not belong.” A way of saying “stories about you don’t belong.” When reviews specifically cite pronouns of characters as justifications for rating a story down, a line is crossed. A line where not only writers but readers may find their identity questioned, belittled, and willfully misunderstood. A line that RSR crosses often and with seeming impunity.

Things get even more uncomfortable when we look at the way that non-traditional narratives are treated by the site. Especially for styles that come from outside a Western/European/White American tradition, the complaint of “this is not really a story” rears its ugly head. “This is not a story” type of sentiment seems to be disproportionately applied to stories by authors of color and/or non-Western authors. RSR reviews of stories from authors of color and/or non-Western authors frequently use dismissive and outright offensive language, such as calling some of these stories “exotic” and similar. Here, like with stories by non-binary/trans authors, RSR signals to marginalized authors: “you do not belong.” To us, this dismissive approach shows a complete refusal to engage with texts on their terms – which, in effect, disproportionately negatively impacts writers coming from outside the traditional inroads into SFF.

RSR and its main reviewer, Greg Hullender, have gained a considerable influence in the field, with a Hugo nomination, a third-party link on the Hugo website, and now a place on the Locus jury. RSR has positioned itself as an authority on short fiction, an objective source of reviews with an emphasis on numbers and ratings to aid in the selection of stories for awards. The deeply ingrained biases of the reviews (pointed above), are especially problematic considering RSR’s growing influence. RSR and Greg Hullender’s approach once again seeks to reaffirm the institutional inequalities of short SFF by dismissing undesirable “outsiders.”

When confronted with his biases, Greg Hullender often refuses to acknowledge he has an issue, pointing out that he is a gay man who engaged in GLBT activism in the past, and thus cannot be transphobic.

Greg Hullender also uses his identity as a gay man and former activist to police and pass judgment on the kinds of sex characters can have in stories – and the judgments go beyond the stories reviewed, to what kind of sex people can have. Here again, Greg Hullender often insists on his views being generic and objective, judging acts outside of his preferences as disturbing, abusive, and deviant. These judgments often go hand in hand with other issues – such as an anti-trans and an anti-NB stance – in his reviews. Thus, reviewing JY Yang’s Tor.com novellas, Hullender equated sex with a nonbinary person with paedophilia.

We have repeatedly observed how RSR’s main reviewer, Greg Hullender, uses his identity as a gay man as a shield against legitimate criticisms. The assumption is that because the main reviewer is a gay man he has some sort of inability to be bigoted toward any other marginalized group or person. That this would excuse him calling stories with non-binary characters fads or arguing that singular they pronouns are somehow not correct unless they are tied to a specific genital state.

This Twitter thread by Bogi Takács contains a large number of screen-caps and commentary, including specific instances of the issues mentioned above: https://twitter.com/bogiperson/status/934609665966727168

We have been working to draw attention to this ongoing problem for almost as long as Rocket Stack Rank has operated – at first indirectly. But the amount of problematic reviews continues to grow just as RSR’s stature in the field continues to increase. The exclusionary reviews and their growing influence in the sphere of awards cast a long shadow in the field. It is worrying to see important institutions within SFF endorsing and promoting RSR over the objections and concerns of writers, readers, and other reviewers (including writers, readers and reviewers of color and trans writers, readers and reviewers).

We hope that our concern is acknowledged and that current promotion of problematic reviewing habits cease to be rewarded in SFF publishing.

Thank you for your time,

Brooke Bolander
Indrapramit Das
Ada Hoffmann
Keffy R.M. Kehrli
Rose Lemberg
Sunny Moraine
Suzanne Palmer
Charles Payseur
A. Merc Rustad
K.M. Szpara
Bogi Takács
JY Yang

Note: The above signers collaborated in drafting the letter, additional people who wish to cosign have commented below.

Edited to add: Statement by Locus: https://twitter.com/locusmag/status/936291052100579334

How to Get Away With Harassment

 

 

This is based on a riff by @evilrooster.

Image description: Red and black text on a white background. Layout and design is a pastiche of the cover for Joanna Russ’s classic nonfiction work, How to Suppress Women’s Writing. (WHICH, incidentally, is getting an ebook version next year: Amazon link.

The text in the image reads:

(Large, red): I didn’t do that.

(Small, black): But if it’s clear I did the deed…

(Large, red): I did it, but it wasn’t harassment.

(Small, black): (It was only a compliment, a look, a hug, an innocent question.)

(Large, red): I did it, but look who I was doing it to.

(Small, black): (They’re a slut, poly, fat, sexy, kinky, easy, queer!)

(Large, red): I did it, but only once, to one person.

(Small, black): (I was led on, and anyway should my whole life be ruined by one mistake?)

(Large, red): I did it, but I’m not a harasser, and accusations hurt.

(Small, black): (Don’t you see how hard I’m taking it? Isn’t my apology enough? Forgive me!)

(Large, red): I did it, but others were doing it, too.

(Small, black): (It’s locker room talk, don’t be so sensitive. Nobody else has a problem with it.)

(Large, red): I did it, but it’s my very own personal weakness.

(Small, black): (It’s just one bad apple, we don’t need a whole policy…)

(Large, red): I did it, BUT…

 

 

On my own part, I retained gender-neutrality, because although cis straight men typically harass women, there are victims (and perpetrators) of all genders. And, although this came out of discussions of harassment in science fiction and fantasy circles, I resisted the urge to insert too much single-location specificity, because this is not a problem constrained to one community.

I don’t have much more to say about the piece except that these excuses (which are not even remotely comprehensive) are so common that those who have been harassed and tried to talk about it to others can recite them by heart. If you find yourself mouthing these excuses for inaction, shut your face.

-Keffy

we are one…

 

we are one

rage-induced aneurysm on a golf course

from the president

wanting me hanged with

all the other faggots

yet you expect me to believe

the only threat to my existence

is a crying parent

fleeing under a single star

holding an injured child, desperate

we remember

our shared humanity

The Potty Post: Gender-free restrooms at SF&F Conventions

I’ve been to (and peed at) a large number of science fiction and fantasy conventions in the past ten years (oh god, ten???).

I will say that there are two main reasons for “failures” on the part of conventions in this area. One is that society in general is extremely cis-binary, and thus, most hotels, convention centers, etc, are set up with a strict MALE/FEMALE toilet situation. The second is a combination of ignorance and not having thought about whether or not someone who is neither male nor female is going to need to take a piss at some point over a long weekend.

Besides the situation in which someone is not male or female, and thus neither room “fits,” there are also a lot of binary trans people who either don’t pass, or pass weirdly, or pass sometimes, or aren’t sure if they pass, or etc, who are made nervous by the notion of going into one room or the other.

I’m short, fat, and up until last May, had an extremely large chest that I tried unsuccessfully to flatten with binders — and oh, do I have a binder rant, but I’ll get to that later, and won’t be paid for it.

Anyway, even after three, five, seven… years on testosterone, it was questionable as to whether or not I would be perceived as male or female. I got a random smattering of he or she in public, even from people who had known me for years and should have known better. However, I almost never got a non-binary pronoun, since presumably anyone who knows the option exists to just not gender people if you don’t know, also are aware enough to know my pronouns. So, even when I didn’t bind, my hairline marked me as other, and even if my massive chest was clearly unbound and visible, I would still get Suspicious Eyes in women’s restrooms at times. Typically men’s rooms don’t involve making eye contact (that could make you GAY, I guess), but occasionally some cheerful cis man would explain to me where the women’s room was, since I was quite obviously lost.

Gender neutral restrooms would have been much more comfortable if they were available, but if they weren’t, I would frequently make the journey back to my hotel room to use the toilet, sometimes even if it was in a different hotel, if I didn’t feel like dealing with the potential awkward situation.

In any case, some conventions are coming on board with being more welcoming to non-binary people by making gender-neutral toilets available. Some. More would be nice. Add this to your to-do list, along with making sure that your harassment policy is on board, that you have guests who aren’t all white and male, or all white, or all male, and remembering to ask the hotel for fucking ramps for your motherfucking stages.

(Also, I just want to throw it out there that although I’m non-binary, I still use male pronouns and I am not the appointed leader of the non-binary contingent, so others may and will have their own opinions about this stuff.)

 

The naming of the names.

This is not an exhaustive list of the gender-neutral toilet situation at every science fiction convention. Nor is it exhaustive for the ones I’ve been to. Overwhelmingly, though, most of the conventions are in the first category.

Norwescon/Orycon/Most conventions I’ve attended: No public gender-neutral restrooms at all. If you’re not comfortable in either a MEN’s or WOMEN’s room, you better plan on running to your hotel room every time you have to go… which sucks if you’re cheap like me and stay in a different hotel altogether.

Worldcon 75(Helsinki): I did see a gender-neutral toilet. Unfortunately, the one that I saw also seemed to be an accessible toilet, by which I mean, the only accessible toilet? I think? I spoke to several non-binary people who were a bit uncomfortable taking up an accessible toilet, but I spent so much time not figuring out the layout of Messukeskus that I could be wrong, in which case, I apologize.

Wiscon: There is always a gender-neutral toilet on the second floor of the convention, which is not officially a public restroom, but is in one of the meeting rooms/hotel rooms that is rented by the convention. It’s centrally located… but really insufficient in quantity for the number of non-binary people who attend Wiscon. Good, solid effort, but we need more toilets.

Arisia: I attended Arisia for the first time in… uh…I think 2017? I honestly can’t remember if I went this year or last year, though I’m pretty sure it was this year. That just shows you how busy I’ve been. In any case, they solved the problem in the hotel by just labeling both rooms as gender-neutral. This worked fine. I never knew if I was going to end up walking past people using the urinals, but overall, it worked fine. Nobody spontaneously combusted.

I haven’t attended a convention that did this, but apparently at least one person has seen restrooms labeled “urinals” or “no urinals”, which is mostly a good plan, I guess, although I would prefer an explicit gender-neutral tag on the sign as well, otherwise I, personally, would get caught up in assuming cis biological essentialism and guessing that urinals = men’s room. (TFW you don’t agree with a cis-normative line of thought, but fall back on it frequently in a desperate attempt to guess what others are thinking.)

 

Thoughts and suggestions and whatever.

1.) Single-use rooms should always be non-gendered. Gendering these rooms is fucking stupid anyway, because what happens when there’s a line for the arbitrarily-marked women’s room? Cis women will just piss in the other room, anyway, in an attempt to shorten the line, which is only logical. Just. Come on.

2.) Single-use accessible restrooms should be non-gendered, because, hey! People who use wheelchairs come in all the genders of people who don’t. But, the single-use accessible restrooms should not be the only non-gendered restrooms.

3.) Assume that non-gendered restrooms will be used by more than one person. It’s really not just a theoretical exercise. Non-binary (or binary people who don’t “pass” and feel more comfortable not worrying about it) people do come to conventions.

4.) If at all possible, just make all the toilets non-gendered.

5.) Regardless of gender, I want everyone to just stop pissing on the floor, for fuck’s sake.

 

Pee.S.

Finally, if you must gender your fucking restrooms, (which is stupid), can everyone stop using cutesy-ass weird words to denote male and female? I DON’T KNOW, WHICH ROOM IS PRESUMABLY FOR MEN IF I HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN A MOOSE AND AN ELK? IS THIS SOMETHING I WOULD KNOW IF I WAS CIS??? WHY DO YOU FUCKERS HAVE TO MAKE IT SO HARD.

Pee.Pee.S

People in Switzerland Want to Know Who Is Clogging Their Toilets With Wads of Cash

Science Fiction is a Magical Unicorn Genre that Contains No Works

After several years of listening to self-professed science fiction fans and experts talk about what is and isn’t a part of the genre, I have come to an important conclusion. It turns out that even though I have read and written science fiction my entire life, none of what I have consumed is actually science fiction. Here are many of the reasons why:

 

It’s just a story about science/doing science

That science is impossible, therefore it’s fantasy.

The science is too realistic, therefore it’s not science fiction.

Any fantasy elements whatsoever exist in the story, therefore it is 100% fantasy, regardless of any SFnal elements.

If you removed the science fiction elements, it would be the same story!

It reifies the status quo!

It’s not progressive!

It’s too progressive!

I DISAGREE WITH THE POLITICS.

Someone put a different marketing category on it.

The author is well known in a different genre.

The author outsells my friends.

The story has elements of another genre, therefore it’s just a ____ story in space/after the apocalypse / in the future / with aliens.

The author is a woman and therefore it’s just a ____ story in space.

The author is a person of color, and therefore it’s just a ____ story in space.

The author is non-binary, but I don’t understand what that even means, and have considered them to be a woman, and therefore the story must be a romance or something set in space.

I think there were metaphors in it, so it was probably not science fiction.

The author works at a university and has an MFA, so it’s literary fiction.

It provides commentary on the present, rather than pretending to predict the future.

It’s not set in the future.

It’s not set far enough in the future.

It’s set too far into the future.

I don’t like the subgenre, so it’s not really science fiction.

 

With a little bit of thought, and a minimal amount of effort, I’m sure that you will realize that all your favorite, cherished science fiction novels are actually fantasy… or something else entirely. In any case, we should clearly realize that science fiction is, in itself, a myth. There is nothing contained within the genre. The set of Definitely Science Fiction Works is an empty set, and we can all go home now.

2016 Awards post (*updated)

Hey all,

I’m in the middle of being slammed in the …

uh, just slammed by PhD stuff.

Yeah.

 

Anyway, last year was not terribly productive for me, but here’s what I had out to remind you if you wanted to consider them for the Hugo awards, or just to be like HEY READ MY STUFF, regardless.

Eligible short stories:

“The Road, and the Valley, and the Beasts” in Clockwork Phoenix 5

GlitterShip is eligible for *Semi-Pro Zine.

*It just occurred to me the other day that my essay in Upside Down, which was also published in Apex in December, 2016, is eligible for Best Related Work:

“Tropes As Erasers: A Transgender Perspective”

 

Other than that, I did pass my qualifier for grad school, so while I’m not ABD, I’m officially allowed to propose by the end of Nov 2017.

 

Readercon 2016 Schedule

Hi all, I’ll be at Readercon this weekend (showing up in time for my first panel tomorrow).

My schedule is:

 

Friday:

1pm: Nonfiction for Fiction Writers

2:30pm: Reading

5pm: Clockwork Phoenix 5 Group Reading

6pm: Who Gets to Tell My Story?

Saturday:

12pm: Kaffeeklatsch

3pm: Story Hospital (30 writers can sign up for this AT the convention, signup is at the info desk).

Sunday:

2pm: Ace, Aro, and Age

What I did in 2015 & eligibility & some books I liked

AAAH, how is it already 15 days into 2016???? If I don’t write this now, I’ll end up putting it off until it’s already 2017. D:

 

Anyway. I spent way, way waaaaaay more of 2015 being sick (hospital, and later pneumonia from a DIFFERENT illness), maneuvering un/underemployment, applying for graduate schools, interviewing for graduate schools, traveling to the east coast and back, moving across the country, and somewhere in the middle of all that, running a successful Kickstarter and starting a magazine (GlitterShip).

Speaking of which, I still owe a LOT of Kickstarter rewards, so, that’s on my “OH NO OH NO DON’T HATE ME” GET IT DONE list for 2016.

I did not have as much fiction out this year as I would have liked, so my “here’s what I wrote that is eligible for you to consider for whatever” is just this:

 

“Singing Wings” in Fireside Issue 27, September 2015. Flash fiction.

“And Never Mind the Watching Ones”  Uncanny Issue 6, Sept/Oct 2015. Novelette.

 

So if you’re inclined to recommend these to others, thanks! If not, please recommend and nominate the works you DID like. (Although, I admit to not feeling much like there’s a point, since undoubtedly the s/r pup organizers will show up to shit all over everything again. Gee, thanks.

 

EDITED TO CLARIFY:

According to the Hugo Award rules, GlitterShip is NOT eligible as a semiprozine because it is eligible as a fancast.

So, if you enjoyed GlitterShip last year and wish to nominate it for Hugos, it is eligible as a fancast.

I am also eligible as best editor short form, but let’s be honest, there are a TON of other editors eligible. Do go look up who is editing your favorite magazines and anthologies!

GlitterShip is a podcast and a magazine. It’s probably eligible for something, somewhere. I know there are Parsec awards that have to do with podcasts specifically, but I haven’t followed those very closely.

 

My reading has mostly been subsumed in reading Tiptree recommendations, and in terms of THAT award you just have to wait until we’re all done with it in March and then the whole jury will let you know.

 

However, here’s a list of 2015 books that I personally enjoyed, and should not be considered an endorsement for anything other than “here are some books from last year that you might like.”

It’s a mix of YA, adult, fantasy, science fiction, collections, comics.

 

Radiance – Catherynne M. Valente

Signal to Noise – Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Red Girls – Kazuki Sakuraba

Magonia – Maria Dahvana Headley

Aurora – Kim Stanley Robinson

I Am Princess X – Cherie Priest

Shadowshaper – Daniel José Older

The Fifth Season – N. K. Jemison

Falling in Love with Hominids – Nalo Hopkinson

Three Songs for Roxy – Caren Gussoff

Cherry Crow Children – Deborah Kalin

The Only Ones -Carola Dibbell

Sorcerer to the Crown – Zen Cho

Planetfall – Emma Newman

The Beyond Anthology: Queer Science Fiction / Fantasy Comics ed. by Sfé R. Monster & Taneka Stotts.

No, Jaden Smith wearing women’s clothing is not bad for trans people, wtf is wrong with you.

What the fuck is this?

Here I go, arguing with people who are more important than me and really wouldn’t care what I thought even if they saw this…

A trans writer and editor who writes about trans issues for the Independent wrote a piece that is so unbelievably wrong-headed that I’m having trouble determining if it’s satire or not. Because… um.

“Male-to-female transgender people rely on props like clothes, shoes, make-up and hairstyles to create the gender identity they want to portray to the world because most of the time their bodies alone are unable to do that.  There are a few lucky ones who don’t have to do a thing to put across a female persona, but most trans women have to work hard at it.

The danger for trans women is that if wearing what are traditionally women’s clothes becomes the norm for men too, then trans women will no longer be able to rely on these props to help them display a female gender identity – and for many, that could be a serious problem.”

I…

Okay, first of all, if “wearing a dress is the only way I can tell the world I’m female” is your biggest trans problem, I fucking envy you. But I’m also really exhausted with the notion that the only trans people who exist or matter are trans women. So, my first response was honestly the least helpful, but here goes:

Oh, fuck off. As a trans man who is always wearing masculine-coded clothing, most of which comes from the dude’s section, join the crowd. I sometimes “pass” (regardless of if I bind my breasts, which is interesting) but that has literally nothing to do with clothing and everything to do with male pattern balding and six years of testosterone. Because, it turns out, the “masculine” clothing is coded as “mostly unisex” or “more powerful” so people don’t expect ONLY MEN to wear them.

There’s literally no way in which my clothing signals “actually male,” because feminism has at least done a decent job of letting women choose between feminine clothing or more masculine options. Hooray.

Also, I am trans? But I’m trans male? But I also would be fine cross-dressing now that I’ve divorced clothing from my gender ID? SO if I am trans, but not female, but might want to wear a dress, but don’t necessarily ID as a crossdresser am I or am I not harming trans people? This feels like one of those obnoxious logic puzzles.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, however:

There is literally no way in which “cis men might wear feminine clothing, ruining the gender-specific nature of that gender uniform” is a bad thing for the majority of trans women.

Let’s imagine that this somehow manages to usher in a world in which cis men merrily wear feminine clothing without feeling the need to violently defend their fragile masculinity.

That could mean…

Trans women who are not out yet could experiment with wearing more traditionally feminine clothing without necessarily being outed for doing so.

Children assigned male at birth would be more free to experiment with how they want to present themselves to the rest of the world.

Trans women who don’t “pass” would be physically safer in public.

Maybe it would push us more in the direction of “the body parts that are or are not underneath said clothing are 100% none of your fucking business.”

Fewer transmisogynist jokes that center around what different genders are allowed to wear.

I could go on.

 

“But trans people should be aware that well-known faces like Jaden Smith are starting to encroach on our territory.  They’re starting to wear the trans uniform without actually stating that they are transgender, and they’re claiming it for themselves under the guise of gender-neutral fashion. All of which begs the question: where does that leave us?”

Much better off in almost every way.

That said, I do want to address “encroaching” because there are legitimate concerns that come out of that arena. I admit it concerns me, too, since I still see a ton of fiction about trans/non-binary people primarily written or created by cis people, and I have that gut worry that there’s something of a creative gold-rush going on with our stories to be used and then discarded once we’re boring again.

Encroaching on transgender territory is doing things like, making sure that the only people who play trans men are cis women, and the only people who play trans women are cis men. Encroaching is doing things like making an entire film about a trans woman and not bothering to pay the trans consultants.

transhollywoodcap

Also:
Trans ™: how the trans movement got sold out

That linked piece is basically a discussion of how some aspects of trans-ness are worth money now, so capitalism is merrily mining that for all it’s worth. No surprise there, same shit, different minority.

A cynical side-eye at a major brand and a celebrity joining forces to mess with the gender binary is not out of line. But…

The other thing about getting pissy about people who have not declared themselves to be trans dressing in ways we identify with trans people is that it’s relying on making the exact assumptions we have been fighting against.

  • Not all trans people are, can be, or want to be out. Period. This is the biggest problem I have with the notion that trans experiences are being co-opted, because in a lot of cases, we’re just assuming that the person we’re talking about is cis and has never questioned things. If someone is trans and feels like that is a private part of their history or identity, then it’s none of your god-damned business.
  • Jesus fucking hell, don’t police other people’s gender identities just to shore up your own. I mean, seriously? This is the huge problem that gets in the way of trans people being respected. Cis people don’t like hearing that gender is fluid, that gender doesn’t match what is assigned at birth in all cases, because the question then becomes “how do I prove that I’M a man/woman?”
  • Trans people shouldn’t be the only people who get to experiment with their gender and how they’d like to be perceived. I am all for normalizing the notion of gender fluidity, and people actually thinking about their genders, rather than just going with what they’ve been told unless it’s too painful to do so.
  • THERE IS NO FUCKING TRANS UNIFORM.
  • If there IS, and it’s somehow “amab wearing feminine clothing,” wow, you just defined me and a ton of others right out of our trans identities, thanks.
  • Excuse you, there are people with genderqueer and non-binary identities who DO NOT also identify as transgender, and they should not be required to do so just to meet the necessary qualifications to put on a dress sometimes.
  • Nobody should be required by their perceived gender to act out any version of the gender binary. Ever.

The tl;dr takeaway is: No, it’s NOT harmful to trans people for “I think that person looks like a man in a dress” to be socially OK and NOT an incitement to attack the person in question.

Most likely all that will come of this are some pretty pictures of Jaden Smith and a smattering of “wow this is so great for humanity” and “this is the destruction of civilization” articles. Louis Vuitton will sell some more overpriced designer goods that most trans people can’t even think about affording.

(Hopefully some teens get some drool material out of the photo shoot, too. Somewhere out there is a 15 year old who wants to see fancy photos of a cute boy in a dress, and I hope nobody gets on their case when they pin them on their walls.)

But if, for some reason, this is the start of a revolution in which feminine clothing is no-longer seen as “only for women, those terrifying and inexplicable creatures” hey, I welcome it.

And yeah, I’m still chafing a bit at yet another article about trans people that starts and ends with the assumption that the only trans people who matter are trans women who pass.

The “Insert Here” Awards, and Trying to Keep SF/F Perpetually 12 Years Old

So… the “Tron Guy” wrote a ridiculous post on the Black Gate website proposing a new award for SF&F because there aren’t any awards that he, personally approves of. While I don’t really have a problem with the perpetual twelve-year-olds of the genre building their own 501(c)(3) NO GURLS, QWEERS, OR POCS ALOWED!!!1 treehouse, (frankly, they can do as they want) my snark didn’t really fit within the confines of Twitter, so.

Tron Guy wants the “Insert Here” award for SF&F Storytelling. As opposed to… literally every other award in SF&F, which somehow manage to not be about storytelling, apparently.

“… it’s a way to ensure that at least one set of awards for SF/F represent what it’s truly about: the story above all else.”

Which means… what, exactly?

From comments by tron guy himself:

The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere and Ancillary Justice. The former is a standard coming-out story with a bit of fantasy bolted on the side, and the latter, while it may be military space opera, wouldn’t have had the acclaim it did if it hadn’t been for the gimmickry used to drive home the SJW-approved message about gender.”

No messages about gender, OH NO. Is Tron Guy too hypocritical to realize that all fiction has a message to it, even if he agrees with it sometimes? Or is his reading comprehension too low to notice said messages? It is a mystery.

“See, for example, the protagonist in Lock In, whose gender is left unspecified throughout the entire book. Scalzi’s been praised for doing so, but to me, it leaves me unable to form a mental image of the character, and I have a much harder time reading a work if I can’t picture the characters involved.”

Nothing that requires effort to read! NO! NO! NOOOO!

File:Darth vader no.gif

Ok, ok, so the problem with awards in the genre, such as the Hugos, is presumably two-fold, by Tron Guy’s reckoning:

  1. Because he disagrees with the winners of said awards, they Do Not Represent TRUE fandom.
  2. It is full of icky SJW-approved messages, and has been infiltrated by the PC police, who won’t let Just Plain Stories win awards.

Fixing the problem of the Hugos not being accessible to enough eligible voters, well, that’s admirable, right? I mean, the fact that you have to pay to be a member of Worldcon to vote is usually a barrier to some people, if only as a contribution to general “meh” over having a say, unless the Hugos are in the process of being hijacked by some racist fucknuggets.

So, obviously, Tron Guy announced how he’ll make the Insert Here award more open, right? Perhaps, no cost to vote? Actively reaching out to groups of fans who don’t typically vote in major genre awards to see what they liked this year?

Let’s see:

To become an eligible voter for the (insert name here) Awards, a person must be vouched for by one or more existing eligible voters.

But… wouldn’t that… limit the number of fans able to vote?

This is defined as having a trust level of 1 or greater. When first registering to vote, a person’s trust level is 0.

So if you decide to vote, you first have to prove yourself, or what? How does one do that? Are you given secret award secrets to test if you leak them to the Evil SJWs?

An existing eligible voter whose trust level is 3 or greater may raise or lower the trust level of up to three other people by 1 each, and this number rises by 1 with each additional trust level until a maximum of a trust level of 10 is reached.

Are we voting for an award here, or designing a tabletop game?

The undersigned, as well as prior recipients of a (insert name here) Award and current and past members of the Foundation Board of Directors and Judging Committee, may raise or lower the trust level of any person by 1. A voter may not raise the trust level of anyone who raised his own, nor of anyone in the chain of trust leading back to those holding unlimited trusting privileges.

Ok, but what happens if someone registers to vote and none of your friends knows that person personally? Do you just reject them out of hand? Does that mean that they’re not actually a science fiction and/or fantasy fan? Yeah, I’m being facetious. Obviously this award to make sure that all of fandom gets a voice and that true fandom can vote on awards untainted by SJWs intends to limit the voting membership to Tron Guy’s friends. Which, more power to you, but why do you think anyone is stupid enough to believe your stated reasons for the award?

I’d respect the NO GURLS ALOWED clubhouse shit-show more (not a lot more, but more) if Tron Guy were just honest about wanting to be in charge of the genre and what is Considered Good SF Storytelling.

All registration and trust level processing shall be done automatically by the (insert name here) Award website. All records of trust levels being raised or lowered shall be retained for a period to be determined by the Foundation Board of Directors; this period is intended to be limited only by practical methods of data storage.

This last bit is quoted just because of my own personal LOL. Keeping a record of who vouched for who to make sure that NOT ONE SINGLE voter is improperly allowed to vote, and, presumably, to make sure that if someone turns out to be an SJW, the people who vouched them can be reprimanded for their lapse in judgement sounds like a lovely breeding ground for future hilarious drama.

So, he’s going to “give all of fandom a means of influencing an award that represents them” by starting an award that can only be voted on by people that he and his friends “trust”. Sounds legit.

 

What about his second concern, that SJW disapproval is ruining science fiction for the rest of us?

Obviously, in order to make sure that the award isn’t hijacked by political grudge matches, and the like, and that political correctness won’t ruin the awards, it’s important to make sure that worthy, interesting, GREAT STORIES aren’t excluded. Therefore, obviously no work should be excluded for politics, right? Clearly the voice of the voters should be tantamount, and whatever they say, goes. After all, these are voters with “trust levels” who need to have their very own award that isn’t tainted by politics.

The nominees are then considered by the Judging Committee. The judges shall evaluate each work solely by its storytelling. The judges may disqualify any work they find to have an emphasis on other than telling a good SF/F story.

Oh.

 

It’s hilarious, because this award proposal is abysmally stupid, and so very obviously full of shit. It’s not-so-hilarious, because I think Tron Guy believes the shit he’s shoveling, and truly does believe that  a story about gender neutral/gender unmentioned/queer/POC/women can’t possibly be Good Storytelling. That’s depressing because it’s just same-shit-different-day.

That said, Maynard can continue to gleefully tootle the Tron theme on his dog whistle if he wants while I go back to writing filthy “SJW-approved” fiction, like the 8,000 word NOVELETTE I currently have in Uncanny issue 6 (available if you buy the issue now, and free in October), or the flash I’ve got in Fireside Magazine.

PS:

Best Novella – Written SF/F stories between 5,000 and 50,000 words in length.
Best Short Story – Written SF/F stories 5,000 words in length or shorter.

Giving yet another god damned word-range to what counts as novella is not going to minimize voter confusion, for the love of Jesus H. Tiptree.

 

PPS: I’m now a grad student and will not complain if you throw money at: paypal.me/keffy

Just saying.

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