Posts Tagged ‘dangerous visions’

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$(KGrHqN,!o0E9cz)Z3E7BPm0!92M)g~~60_35Latest internet shit-storm was over a couple of articles in the SFWA bulletin.

I’ll attach the scans of the article below, they’ve been circulated pretty widely but it’s good to have back-ups and redundancy is one of the chief advantages of the internet.

Honestly, I don’t see anything particularly bad with what these chaps are saying. They’re expressing bewilderment at what seems to be a backslide towards the kind of censorship that existed before the 60s and 70s shook up the SF scene and liberalised depictions of sex, drugs, blasphemy etc.

I share their bewilderment and, like them, I worry about the atmosphere of de-facto censorship when someone (a woman even) has to resign because of the presentation of a point of view in an author’s circular. I share their worry about the catch-22 of ‘writing what you know’ and the desire for there to be more women and persons of colour in SF&F and the implicit assumption that you can’t imagine or empathise with someone else’s situation that goes with it.

Troll McTrollington (Vox Day) doesn’t help matters, but nor does notorious ‘Uncle Tim’ Scalzi. These guys are poles of the same magnet and equally problematic in their own way.

We write fantasy, science fiction, we surf the ‘could be’s’ and the ‘what if’s’. We imagine better worlds and worse worlds, transhuman futures and bloody battles for the throne. We need to be free to write good fiction and bad, to write about things we know and things we don’t, to indulge adolescent power fantasies alongside mature and nuanced points of view. We’re supposed to be in the business of dangerous visions.

The landscape will change as we make different art but it is not acceptable to silence other voices for being ‘insufficiently radical’. Old soldiers deserve their rest.

Whatever you think about all this we can’t have any meaningful dialogue, progress or understanding if people are shouted down, if people assume their points are so clear as to not need explaining and if people are forced to resign for airing different, or difficult, points of view. All that’s happening is that people are getting entrenched and embittered, people who – really – believe in much the same things. It’s also possible to explain one’s points clearly and evenhandedly and still be wrong – or at least not believed.

I’ve only written a few games, some short stories, some erotica and an unpublished (as of yet) literary/crime novel, as well as sticking my oar in on censorship issues in the past, so I don’t expect my point of view to be particularly respected but it would be nice just to add my voice to a call for genuine dialogue rather than shouting at each other and then running back to Tumblr to complain about everyone.














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