Fuck the Science Fiction Community

Bet that got your attention, didn’t it?

I thought about letting this go, but I feel like it’s incredibly important to highlight as just an example of how truly awful people in the science fiction community can be to one another.

Cirsova got mentioned in the comments of a blog post as “One of the interesting things to come from Sad/Rabid Puppies”.

Because we were brought up in a discussion about short fiction, I mentioned that we have a decent chunk of content freely available if anyone was interested in checking us out, and I pointed out that despite our fans having a conservative bent, we really only care about good stories, and I offered to field any questions.

And I got called misogynistic fascist.

By someone who is a regular columnist for Interzone Magazine.


Let that sink in a minute. An editor for a SFF publication responds in a conversation on a SFF blog where the publication was brought up and offers to field questions



This bothers me more than the time Nick Mamatas said I’d have to answer to Jesus for my lies, because everyone knows he’s kind of an asshole.

It even bothers me more than Joachim Boaz, who I’d had pleasant discussions with on WordPress and even plugged him a few times, blocking me on Twitter for no discernible reason.

I didn’t approach as a troll, a rando, a sad puppy, a rabid puppy, a member of Gamergate, the Alt-Right, or anything. I approached as an editor of a magazine willing to discuss what was going on in fiction and publishing.

Frankly, it blows my mind how fucking awful so many of people in our “Community” can be.

45 responses to “Fuck the Science Fiction Community

  1. Just pandering & virtue-signalling to his tribe.

    You were upsetting his pontificating narrative.

    Anyone who is not vetted by the tribal elders must be from an enemy tribe, and unworthy of being treated with any consideration as a human being.

    I’m starting to understand why Jeffro seems like some days he’s just blasting away with napalm trying to secure a beachhead, even though I think a softer touch might ultimately bring more people around. If Superversive & Pulp Revolution are smothered in their cribs, the gatekeepers cans stop worrying about any potential competition.

    (Wonder what these “progressives” were doing during Occupy Wall Street? I was donating countless sleepless nights documenting Twitter feeds and watching livestreams for evidence of police brutality. Hung out a lot at Firedoglake with the anarcho-lefty crowd that considered Obama practically a fascist at times. But I suppose I’d be a fascist too just for associating with the “wrong” people these days.)

  2. Yep, asshole.

    But the reason so many are being assholes is they’re afraid of losing their audience if people find out about new stories. The base they’re sitting is fragile, they sense it even if they won’t admit it, and they’re panicking.

    I’m pushing to do a pulp panel at the next local con. That’s a way to bypass those gatekeepers. Amazon is already killing them.

    And as for Interzone . . . SFWA kicked them off the professional market list because they weren’t paying enough. They won’t admit their current pay rates, and no one’s posted them, which means their contract must include a non-disclosure. Their median turnaround time is two days so the slush pile isn’t overwhelming them. So not that major.

    PS. The Xenogenesis article is worth reading.

  3. Pingback: The Culture War has come for you. | Mars Is

  4. “O, woe is me, short fiction is dead, the internet destroyed any hope of anyone ever making money from short fiction, alas, alackaday, so sad!”

    “Excuse me, but I am paying authors good money for short fiction. Would you like to know how I do it?”

    “Begone from me, thou evildoer!”

    “Now… let’s go back to moaning about how no one makes any money from short fiction.”

  5. Civil discourse seems to be a forgotten skill or maybe bile and vitriol is now the default setting for interaction outside of ones tribe.

    I read the comments, both yours and other gentlemans and I was somewhat taken aback by his response. It is a sad state where we cannot reasonably discuss any topic without someone attacking.

    The simplest explanation is this person has no reason, no arguments and no idea, all he has to offer is abuse.

  6. I fear that the SFF community is going to be (if not already) split in an irreparable way. Neither side will be able to talk to the other. If you approach the other side as you did and got nowhere…shouting matches are all that is left.

    • … only because one side not only hates the other, but actively shivs anyone on their side who responds politely to someone from Right who approaches the other side to say, “Hey, Leftie, maybe we can find common ground: let’s talk.”

  7. They sneered at my first fans. Directly.
    They pressure people that associate with me to write somewhere else.
    The publicly ask people that link to me to not do it.
    Any moderate or uninformed person that comments on this subject ends up taking their stuff down when it gets noticed.
    They went silent when the book came out… but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a response.
    Just mentioning this will be met with accusations of entitlement or conspiracy theory or mockery.
    I never expected an audience to spring up around this– if you’re late to this party, you have no idea what kind of ostracization I assumed would last forever back when CH Blog had a pariah status.
    This crowd is primarily people that left sff long ago or else were cast out recently.
    The establishment knows that its game over for them is we get a foothold. They cannot compete in an open marketplace and they have access to the people that use the media to destroy inconvenient people.
    When they figure out that we’re dominating the marketplace in sff commentary and directly responsible to stealing their thunder… well… who knows what will happen.

  8. It shouldn’t be this hard to find normal, well adjusted people in this community. It really shouldn’t. That’s why we need you more than ever, man. Somebody has to staunch the bleeding and remind the normies that we aren’t all bizarro world sociopaths.

  9. Pingback: a dying community | Rod Walker, Science Fiction Writer

  10. Rod Walker agrees with your assessment. The old SF/F community is a grim and joyless place, and RW stopped paying attention to it years ago. Before late 2016, the last time RW left a comment on another blog was something like 2010 or so.

    The Superversive/PulpRev blogs are vastly more interesting than anything happening in the old “community”.

  11. The two things that hit me after reading that link:

    1) Imagine if, after you told him about Cirsova, a civil response led to the two of you putting your heads together and finding a way to add a regular column of his to Cirsova: Win-win, right? He gets paid and you get to add someone with a built in group of readers.

    2) Besides sounding like a colossal D-Bag, he’s shockingly defeatist. Ponzi scheme? More writers than readers?

    With an attitude like that, don’t expect the situation to change.

    Keep fighting the good fight. I’ll keep buying and recommending Cirsova to friends.

    The past few years ago, I would have thought the cultural battle already lost. Cirsova, Castalia House and the various Puppies have shown me that the battle is far from over and I can see the tide turning before my very eyes.

    The good news? For everyone? We don’t want to vanquish them. We want everyone to be able to read whatever, whoever they enjoy. Their goal? “We win, you lose.”

    But it could be “We all win.”

    As the president says:


    • From what I’ve seen “Ponzi scheme” isn’t a bad description for some of the more ‘literary’ SF zines. There’s been complaints about some mags announcing that they’re going to favor subscribers when considering submissions, which is just bringing into the open what that guy is complaining about.

      Meanwhile the overwhelming majority of SF&F readers are buying novels and collections through Amazon and don’t even know this hothouse culture of short story writers exists.

      • Y’know, this could’ve led to an interesting discussion on the financial aspects of running a short fiction outlet.

        I’m sure that some pubs that did not start out “ponzi schemes” may have ultimately moved in that direction as they tried to stay afloat. In a way, it makes sense that one would try to support the writers who are supporting the publication.

        The simple economics of a zine is that story needs to bring in enough sales so that the submission has at least paid for itself in order for a market to be self-sustaining. And that’s often not possible, especially with unknown writers writing in small markets.

        Cirsova’s own finances and acquisitions choices are still shaped by love of the stories and desire to support writers over all else, but there may reach a point when either the stories can become self-supporting or money runs dry.

        I could’ve theoretically forced out one or two more issues this year, even having significantly limited the scope of submissions beyond invitations, had I chosen to either pay in copies or force some kind of quid pro quo to be published, but that’s really a road I don’t want to go down. I don’t ever want to force writers to be beholden to us in any way, though it is a reality that when people, including authors, purchase copies of an independent magazine like ours, said magazine will have more flexibility in terms of acquisitions. But I do always want to make it clear that contributors are never under any obligation to purchase, promote or support us.

      • You may be correct about the Ponzi scheme, Karl. I haven’t done enough research to know.

        But his defeatism regarding such things (and if every short fiction publisher was actually a Ponzi scheme, what’s stopping him from doing what Cirsova is doing?) was nearly as offensive and off-putting as his bigotry.

        Anyhow, what publishers are rumored to be this way? I have a stack of rejections from Clarkesworld, Deneath Ceaseless Skies and Intergalactic Medicine Show. It be good to know if they were some of the culprits, before I ever submit again.

  12. Cancer, plain and simple. Though this is a good reminder of what we’re trying to depose. These fucks care more about politics and pecking orders than they do about good fiction. But thanks to these new movements like Pulp Revolution and Superversive, they’re about to reap a fucking whirlwind. Give it two years and they’ll be completely irrelevant, while Cirsova Magazine will become THE MAGAZINE in sff. We lose nothing by building our own damn clubhouse and bringing sff back to the glory days.

  13. Frankly, I thought his response to you was beyond the pale. I was already turned off by the tone of his post and the false characterizations he made. But then I realized he was with Interzone, a publication I decided a long time ago wasn’t worth wasting my time on. To say the guy is an asshole would be to insult assholes everywhere.

    It’s reactions like this that make me consider shelving my goals of writing sf & f, shutting down my blog, and walking away from the field. Then I remind myself that to do so would be to let the bastards win.

    I’d respond to more of the crap he wrote, but it’s late and I want to go to bed. I’ll close with this: Kudos to you for reaching out and trying to build a bridge. Keep the faith. We’ve got your back.

    • Mostly I was replying because of Vivienne Raper’s comment:

      “One of the interesting things to come from the Sad/Rabid Puppies is the pulp revival movement in short fiction. This is a bunch of predominantly conservative/alt-right writers who have gone back to before the Golden Age of SF to the swashbucklers & spaceships age of John Carter & Barsoom, etc. and are writing short stories in the fantastical pulp style of Leigh Brackett and other authors. They’re even more hyper-conservative than the sentimental stories in some ways, but – at the same time – knowingly so. It’s retro and neoreactionary rather than nostalgic. They’ve started a magazine (Cirsova) and it’s possible something interesting might come of that.”

      If that wasn’t a good opportunity to try to make one’s case for one’sself, I don’t know what it.

    • True. Though unless the douchebag deleted the comments, people wandering in can read it and notice the difference in behavior. The “evil” person is polite whilst the “good” person is a douchebag. That might lead someone wandering in to conclude that the “good” person isn’t quite as good as he claims and the “evil” person just might not be evil.

      ….and if he did delete it, the archive is there but that will have to be linked.

  14. That’s ridiculous. People need to chill out and stop assuming such a hostile/defensive stance.
    Though, let’s face it, it’s kind of the climate of the whole US right now, more so than even in the last several years. But it shouldn’t leak into everyday lives. I know, however, it’s also been the climate of the SF atmosphere, especially come awards time. And that, too, needs to chill out.
    Maybe once an institution has been around for too long, it inevitably becomes infected by politics? Maybe if everyone decides to stop paying attention to it so much, it’ll lose some of it’s power and glow and either be forced to reconsider it’s posture or just fade away. Kind of like fantasy realm gods who’s followers turn away. Or celebrity millionaire reality TV stars who serve no purpose other than to be famous. If everyone would just stop paying attention to them, they’d just go away.

  15. I’ve never been involved in fandom. I’ve always wanted to be part of it because I thought it would like home to be surrounded by people that like the things I do. Then I became active online and I discovered it rife with politics and scorn. As someone who loves the old pulps and the later sword-and-sandal tales of adventure, reading about the backstabbing and whiny gossiping in fandom really turns me off. It makes me think it’s not about the stories anymore, which obviously it isn’t.

    And for the record, I don’t play games. I also don’t do the shame by association thing, nor do I tolerate it.

    It’s a pity this happened to you. Dont stand for it and don’t let it take root.

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  17. McCalmont lives in England, right? And their libel laws are much different that those in the US. Here the burden of proof is on the accuser, and my understanding is that over there the burden of proof is on the defendant. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. Given the nature of the comments that have been added since last night, you might have a case against him. What I’ve seen today certainly rises in my mind to intentionally harmful speech. Probably not worth the effort and expense, but something to keep in mind.

    • I’m not that worried, since it’s pretty obviously apparent that we’re not a “misogynistic” or “fascist” publication. If he wants to act like a heel on his blog and in his comments, he’s free to. If such an accusation was leveled, say, in an actual Interzone article or somesuch, I might be more concerned, but I’m not worried at present.

  18. That comment by Vivienne Raper was an opportunity worth taking a shot at, and I think it indicates that Cirsova’s reputation is spreading. It may not have gone the way you’d like, but you certainly came off as more mature than that McCalmont twit.

    And you definitely handled it better than I would have. What a smacked ass.

  19. I don’t like politics in my SFF, whether I agree with it or not. I’ve read the first 3 issues of Cirsova and I’m working on #4, and I don’t recall a hint of politics in any of the stories.

    If I had to guess about a natural market for Cirsova, it would be current and former role-playing gamers, which I wouldn’t expect to be a politically homogenous group.

    So, I’m not sure where this guy gets his idea that people who enjoy pulp-style writing can be equated with fascists.

    Incidentally, I’ve only read one issue of Interzone, but it led with an editorial which was hostile and political, and not too careful with facts. When I get home, I’ll have to look up whether this guy was the author.

  20. Pingback: In Defense of Guys with Screwdrivers | Adventures Fantastic

    • Thanks, but don’t spend money on us because some guy was dick – spend money if you like what we have to offer. Our first two issues worth of stories are currently free here on our website. If you enjoy what we’re doing, then by all means, we’d love to have your support!

  21. You miss nothing, by ignoring the “community.”

    What you’re skipping is the Cool Kids Club, for all the children in adult bodies who were never allowed to be in any of the cool kid clubs when they were, y’know, still kids. So they have to build their own, and enforce a dizzying assortment of ever-expanding Correctness rules. Get caught running afoul of any of them — or be seen associating with anyone who has been deemed an Unperson by the proles-who-want-to-be-Inner-Party-but-cannot-even-manage-Outer-Party-status — and you’re going to get the lash.

    Yep. A charming lot. Be proud of your exile. It’s more human out here. The ghetto (of their own making) isn’t worth the effort.

    • Hey, Brad, thanks a lot for stopping by and commenting. You went through your (un)fair share of garbage, too, I know. So while this shouldn’t have surprised me, I must admit that I was still somewhat taken aback.

      • The mandarins of SF/F may ultimately discover that they have called so many professionals and fans “fascist” and “racist” and “misogynist” with such mind-numbing repetition, that the hall has been emptied. Leaving the mandarins on their moral stage, alone, to shout and scream at nothing but vacant seats.

        The farce of their “diversity” manifests itself in the monotone sameness of their ideologically-obsessed doggerel. When is the last time any of them qualified a statement in terms of pure enjoyment? It’s an astonishingly rare thing, actually. Almost everything they write — regarding the genre — is couched in terms they’ve imported from academic grievance studies.

        We are (apparently) not allowed to just have fun anymore.

        We must be challenged. We must have our awareness raised. We must be shown our privilege. Typically by people who need a service animal and a dixie cup’s worth of anxiety meds, just to be able to leave their front doors.

        Value their opinions as you see fit.

        What I learned from 2015 was, the mandarins will happily incinerate all that they claim to love and cherish, in order to keep any of it from falling into the “wrong” hands. Selfish barely begins to describe them. More like, pathologically closeted — to the extent that any actual diversity of thought or ideas, terrifies them.

  22. Pingback: Fuck the Science Fiction Community — Cirsova | Red Pill Nation

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