Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Called Worse Things By Better People

I seem to be a scab. By giving my stories and novels away for free, I'm stealing bread from the mouths of all those those hardworking fellow scribes who are trying to make a real living at storytelling. It must be true, because I read it on the web.

Normally, of course, one would barely notice such a waste of ascii — drivel is bound to be everywhere on a continent where over half the population believes in angels, for chrissakes — except that this particular rant was posted by Howard Hendrix, the vice-president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. And given that he was democratically elected to his position, it follows that if his feelings don't reflect those of SFWA's membership, they must at least reflect that membership's inability to choose a competent spokesperson.

John Scalzi has already dissected Hendrix's fallacious arguments with his usual relentless skill, all the while keeping a far more civil tongue in his head than I ever could. Charlie Stross has been among those to find fault with Hendrix's inflammmatory and utterly inaccurate use of the term "scab" itself (although I can't find the appropriate link at the moment). Jo Walton has declared April 23rd "International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day", on which all and sundry are encouraged to post their writings from trivial to profound online, gratis, just to piss this reactionary Hendrix doofus off. I myself was one of those approached by Galleycat for my reaction, but since the story they ran only quoted a couple of lines, I thought I'd give you the unabridged verbiage here:

I was actually unaware that Howard Hendrix had written the various novels, essays, and short stories posted on my website. I could have sworn that I had written them, and that the only person I could be accused of undercutting would be myself. The only alternative is that Hendrix regards authors as so utterly interchangeable that a public posting of "Atlas Shrugged" would, for example, somehow compromise sales of "Harry Potter and the Overdue Bitch-Slap". It seems unlikely that anyone possessed of such idiotic perspectives could ever have been elected to the vice-presidency of any body so august as the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America— or at least, if he was, it certainly doesn't reflect well on SFWA's choices.

Then again— these days, what does?

Moving on. I am tickled by these strangely Victorian elves, and honored to be lampooned in the same panels as the vastly better-known Charlie Stross. When someone can drop your name into a scenario with the obvious expectation that most of their readership will get the joke, either that writer is delusional or this one actually has some kind of public profile. And "ice-water enema" is one of those almost Nicollesque quotes that I dearly wish Tor would use as a blurb on Blindsight. (Assuming, of course, that I could get Tor to actually put any blurbs on Blindsight that weren't for some other title entirely...)

Finally, I'm pleased to announce that David Nickle, frequently cited in this column and the man most directly responsible for many of the things you don't like about my writing, has at long last, and after much prodding, constructed his own web site. It's still in its early stages, but is nonetheless rife with style, wit, and generally better prose than you're likely to find here. I recommend it highly.


Blogger Peter Watts said...

So, this would be a comment.

April 18, 2007 1:21 AM  
Blogger TheBrummell said...

So would this.

[/annoying twit]

I've been reading your newscrawl since I discovered it via your Vampire Domestication talk a couple of years ago. Thanks for letting the ravening hordes out here post some commentary.

April 22, 2007 12:03 PM  
Blogger Scott C. said...

This post has been removed by the author.

April 27, 2007 4:26 PM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...

It is, isn't it? Sadly, it was written in review of a rifters book, which was fine so long as rifters books were all I had churned out. Now that I've branched out, though, I figure the limited quote space on my splash page should reflect my whole ourvre, not just the trilogy that nearly ended my career.

What I could do at some point is stick up a javascript text-animation that cycles through a whole series of quotes, which would solve the limited-space issue. But that raises the whole limited-time issue...

April 27, 2007 9:09 PM  
Blogger Janbo said...

Did Charlie S. tell you that his "minions" (his word) answered his call and provided him with a T-shirt to commemorate April 23rd, which he then wore on (I think) the Saturday or Sunday of Penguicon 5.0 (April 20-22)? I saw him wearing it at a panel at that con and got all excited, because I'd just read your Crawl entry concerning Howard Hendrix the day before at the con's Computer Lounge. Dude, I wish you coulda been there, you would've had so much FUN. Really.

May 31, 2007 11:56 AM  

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