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Not enough facepalm in the world

Jesus jumping Christ on a pogo stick, this again?

I just read Foz Meadows’ post over here responding to Paul Cook’s piece at Amazing Stories about “When Science Fiction Isn’t Science Fiction”. Foz has several quotes from the piece in question, and, SPOILER ALERT: apparently, according to Mr. Cook, SF isn’t SF when it’s written by women. Because they’re writing about girly things that only women with their girly brains would be interested in, and that people like Lois McMaster Bujold are writing thinly disguised romance novels, not “real SF”.

Lois. McMaster. Bujold. Let that sink in for a minute, you guys.

Also, he has a side helping of going all ranty mcrantypants about steampunk, especially when steampunk involves zombies, so apparently Cherie Priest isn’t writing real SF either.

And I’m not sure what makes me go WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN more: that he’s got it in his pointy little head that only women are interested in reading about things like balls, gossiping in corridors, palace intrigues, and the like; that presumably, by contrast, he must therefore also believe that women aren’t interested in reading about rocketships or whatever ground he feels that “real SF” actually breaks; or that he pulls in comparisons to Alexandre Dumas. Comma, the guy who wrote The Three Musketeers, which last I checked was chock full of swashbuckly manly action and palace intrigue, so I can’t even figure out where the hell he was going with this.

(I don’t even know where the hell I’d fall in this guy’s perception of readership, either. I am a female reader who gives exactly zero fucks about fancy shoes or fancy purses in my personal life. I’m way more interested in spending my money on computers and musical instruments. I also generally give zero fucks about sex scenes, but I do like reading about a love story. I’ve got some hard SF on my shelves, too. None of which would make a damn bit of difference, I think, since I am after all still a girl.)

And don’t even get me started on the digs against the entire romance genre. I’ve expressed my deep frustration before with SF readers snarking on romance (and how a LOT of it is driven by sexism). A whole HELL of a lot of other writers have continued to express their frustration over this as the year continues, including this excellent post by Ann Aguirre, asking exactly what the hell is wrong with having sex in SF, anyway?

I saw James Nicoll link up to this a couple days ago too, and only paid passing attention at the time. I kind of wish I’d continued to pay passing attention. But on the other hand, women in SF/F don’t really have the luxury of not paying attention to this.

We have to keep talking about it until it stops.

ETA: Link roundup for other people’s commentary!

J.B. Whelan has a great skewering of this entire concept, written by his wife Stephanie, quoted in full over here. BWAHAHAHAHA.

Chris Meadows points and laughs.

Cora Buhlert facepalms right along with the rest of us.

Steven Brust pretty much makes the o.O face over here.


So I skipped PAX this year

… in no small part due to how I’m back in edit mode for Vengeance of the Hunter. But from what I’m hearing, first from Dara’s PAX report and then from rumblings around Twitter this morning, apparently Gabe opened his mouth again and highly unfortunate things fell out.

PAX has always been a bit of a problem for me. For one thing, hi, raging introvert girl here. So many people attend that thing that my tolerance for the crowds goes only so far if I’m there too. A couple of hours on the expo floor and eventually I get to a point of wanting to go all Invader Zim and stand up yelling STAND AWAY! YOU SMELL LIKE FEET! Which, y’know, not terribly productive.

There’s also the problem that I’ve never been a console gamer. There’s other types of gaming covered at PAX, sure–Big Fish has had a booth there the last couple of years, so casual games do have a presence. I’m given to understand we were hawking our forthcoming Zombie Zombie Zombie match 3 game, and yeah, I’ll be playing the hell out of that. But mostly, the whole event is filled with stuff I’ve never been particularly interested in. I quite enjoy watching Dara and Paul play various console games, and experiencing their stories vicariously–I really liked the storyline of the BioShock games, enough that I went and grabbed the tie-in novel just so I could read about the founding of Rapture. Portal and Portal II, also great fun to watch, and of course between Paul and Dara we’ve been HOUSE OF SKYRIM for a while now too. Also great fun to watch, if nothing else because Skyrim’s always struck me as a way fancier version of Nethack.

But. Looking from the outside in, and seeing repeated incidents of misogyny and queerphobia in gaming culture, I can’t help but get a big vibe of ‘yeah that? That’s not for me.’

I’ll be going to GeekGirlCon, though. And who knows? Maybe I’ll see something there that’ll change my mind about console gaming, even before Dara and Paul launch their campaign to try to pull me into Elder Scrolls Online next year.

ETA: First of the pertinent commentary links that have come across my radar: From Make Me a Sammich, who has generally Had Enough of This Shit

ETA #2: Elizabeth Sampat says Quit Going to PAX already, in no uncertain terms (Dara’s in the comments over there, too)