Monday, February 17, 2014

SF Writing Community: A Three Ring Circus

For some time now, I've been watching controversy after controversy after controversy erupt within the SF writing community. Being someone who hangs out on the fringe of the SF writing community (I do write, and I do write SF once in a while), I used to think I should listen to what the "pros" in that community have to say. I no longer think that. I no longer have respect for "pro" writers simply because they've made enough "pro" sales to qualify for the status of "pro". I've come to realize that these "pros" don't always act like professionals.

Brats on the playground constantly picking on each other, that's what certain parts of the SF writing community look like to me. All sides in these endless SF writing debates/flame wars often end up acting like obnoxious asses. True professionals should be able to carry on rational discussions without resorting to flames wars, name-calling, and adolescent antics.

It has become apparent to me that the status of "pro" in the SF writing field has nothing whatsoever to do with acting professionally. It's mostly about sales, and very little else. I've been watching the SF writing community for seven years now, and for seven years I've seen circus, after circus, after circus. While it can be entertaining, it's not the sort of thing that earns respect. It's the sort of thing that makes those supposed "pros" involved in such circuses look less like professionals and more like a bunch of bratty little children.

There was a time I had hoped to make some pro sales, enough to qualify for membership in an association of professional writers. At this point, even if I had the qualifying sales (I don't), I wouldn't bother joining the SFWA. I wouldn't want to be a part of an allegedly professional organization whose members (current and past) always seem to be at each other's throats. It wouldn't be worth the aggravation! (Seeing as how, over the course of seven years, I've had a plethora of works published in "lesser mags", I think I've already figured out most of what I need to know about publications. I can do it on my own.)

Does sexism exist within  the SF writing community? Yes, I'm sure it does. Does sexism still exist in the "real world"? Unfortunately, yes. Does racism exist within the SF writing community? Again, I'm sure it does. Does racism still exist in the "real world"? Unfortunately, yes. Is turning an important issue like sexism or racism into a three ring circus the proper way of dealing with that issue? Um, no! Of course, that's exactly what happens in the SF writing realm over, and over, and over again.

Personally, I think people in the SF writing community shouldn't be giving those sexists idiots within that community much attention at all, because attention is exactly what they want! I also think a lot of this is a manufactured controversy for the sake of getting attention, a la Madonna, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, etc. This is true of BOTH sides. In my opinion, the whole thing makes the whole bloody "pro" SF writing community look less-than-professional.

By the way, as for women writing science fiction, women have been writing science fiction for some time now, and women will continue to write science fiction. Women writing science fiction is not a new thing. Anyone remember A Wrinkle in Time? Yep, that was written by a woman, Madeleine L’Engle. Anyone remember Anne McCaffrey's The Ship Who Sang? Yeah, that one was science fiction.

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