A reviewer implies “Please don’t read this terrific book”
Yesterday I stumbled upon an enthusiastic review of a new apocalyptic fantasy novel. The book sounded different and interesting.
I nearly stumbled back out again when the first words out of the reviewer’s keyboard were a snotty complaint about how too much SF and fantasy has historically been written by and for white men. The reviewer didn’t literally tell males and Caucasians not to read the new book, but might as well have.
The tale sounded terrific, though (once she finally started talking about, you know, the actual plot and characters instead identity politics), so I queued Trail of Lightning at the library.
And I wondered … What do people imagine they’re going to gain by kicking prospective readers in the balls? Seriously, how are snide, exclusionary remarks good for book sales or anything else?
Trail of Lightning sounds like a promising story from a promising new writer. The fact that Rebecca Roanhorse is a woman of complex racial identity whose novel is set in the Navajo homeland of the Four Corners ought simply to make it more interesting to any curious reader.
I haven’t read it yet so I don’t know. We’ll see.
But not one of the thousands of SF/F readers I’ve met would ever think, “I don’t want to read a book because it’s by a woman. Or by a mixed-race person. Or draws on Native American tradition.”
Most would, however, conclude, “I don’t want to be lectured at about my racial or sexual incorrectness.”
Here’s a chance to build bridges with storytelling, a chance to educate through entertainment. Instead writers and reviewers are constructing walls.
Unfortunately Roanhorse herself seems very much a part of the whole ‘you’re too white’ movement that has riven SF and fantasy. You guys who’ve been watching those controversies (which I haven’t, except from a distance) probably know more about that that I do.
None of those infamous white male SF/F authors ever said, “Only other white males should read my books.” Who benefits when female minority authors look down their noses at prospective fans who just happen to be a different race or sex?
It’s a damn shame that we can’t simply go in peace to enjoy good writing, wherever it may come from.
#WalkAway: Hope it becomes a movement
Could it be? A growing number of those who are supposedly “protected” by the PC/SJW left are beginning to catch on to how divisive and generally unwholesome that business is.
There’s a new #WalkAway trend by members of traditional left-wing constituencies who can’t stomach attacks on free speech, intolerance of differences, and being used as political pawns.
How big a movement, how strong a trend this is going to be, who knows? But it all began with a viral video posted by a handsome gay man who’s had enough.
Problem is, where are these bold dissenters going to walk TO after having walked away?
(H/T Wendy the Great.)
Some sanity from Canada
MJR sends three guidelines for politically crazed opponents to return to Planet Sanity.
Happy Independence Day!
Finally, because I hate being expected to perform expected blog rituals on expected occasions, I’ll join the smart crowd in wishing you …
Happy Independence Day, July 2!