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SF Tidbits for 9/17/10




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6 Comments on SF Tidbits for 9/17/10

  1. S. F. Murphy // September 17, 2010 at 7:50 am //

    Per Elizabeth Moon and the Fail types, here is what I posted at Jed Hartman’s blog.



    I read the post. I’ve read the entry three times. Folks DID misread the post and pull out the standard issue Failfandom Mob Attack playbook.

    This Fail stuff has been going on for nearly . . . what? Three to five years now? The pattern is pretty clear.

    Writer/fan/reader makes a comment, airs an opinion, an authentic opinion.

    A member of the Fail faction finds it, mobilizes an Internet mob attack on the person in question.

    If the person is a writer there are calls made to boycott their work.

    It seems to me that rather than helping change the situation, all that is being accomplished by this strategy is polarizing people into two very distinct camps. Which is odd, that isn’t the objective as I understand it.

    I would also say, though it was deleted elsewhere, that there is a basic disagreement about what the problem is, particularly with regard to the definition of terms such as racism, sexism, any given phobia and the issue of white privilege.

    Shweta Narayan was grousing at her blog (before she deleted the comment, to show that Elizabeth isn’t the only one deleting comments) that she didn’t understand why this sort of thing continued to happen.

    It is a very simple, fundamental difference in terms of definitions.

    The other part of the problem is that when one doesn’t meet the defined standards held by the other side, the result is usually to start chucking perjoratives at them. In the case of those chasing after Elizabeth Moon, the perjorative of choice has been Islamophobe.

    Here is the irony of it, Jed. I’m a published writer, a research consultant to a major novelist, a college history instructor and I’ve been a soldier. I always expected that the ability to express one’s opinion would be tightly constrained in the military and as a college professor.

    Yet I had far more freedom as a soldier and as a professor to say what I want to say.

    I can’t say that as a science fiction writer. We’ve become a community of blacklisters and thought police. A pretty sad state of affairs if you ask me.

    And something worth fighting against.

    Steven Francis Murphy
    On the Outer Marches

  2. S. F. Murphy // September 17, 2010 at 10:49 am //

    I got a question, since you guys are on this topic.

    Is it now acceptable policy of failfandom members to go over to Elizabeth’s blog and call her names? I think what is particularly gutless about that behavior is that folks are engaging in such behavior without identifying themselves.

    On the other hand, it seems to me that Elizabeth’s main mistake, aside from giving her honest opinion, was to sign her name to it.

    Further, what about this boycott of her products I keep reading about?

    Just wondering, because if folks in failfandom have a boycott in mind, I think I’ll organize a counter boycott starting with a series of reviews of Elizabeth Moon’s novels. After that I think I’ll read some of Elizabeth Bear’s work and review that as well.

    Steven Francis Murphy
    On the Outer Marches

  3. Perhaps someone could offer me a nice, concise definition of “FailFandom,” beyond “the usual leftist sorts saying the usual leftist things,” which is by and large what I see going on here…

  4. S. F. Murphy // September 17, 2010 at 6:16 pm //


    You write or say something that these folks don’t approve of and they come after you. 


    Didn’t even need to go into politics. 

  5. What Murph said.  It’s not a political thing per se.  It’s about a sub-group of SF fans — and a few writers — who seem to have taken it upon themselves to be the Thought Police of the genre.  Any writer or editor or fan caught expressing an Incorrect Thought (see: Moon) is promptly set upon by the Correctors and their squadrons of hangers-on.  “Education” then ensues, wherein the targetted author or fan is decried for various “isms” and any attempts by the accused to defend or explain him or herself, are met with further name-calling, derision, character assassination, etc.

    Failfen (I call them FaceRailers) are a noxious pox on the genre, at least as it exists on-line.  They are particularly viral on LiveJournal, damaging not only the very causes they claim to champion — by generally being pests and jerks — but also the LiveJournal community image as a whole.  Others who  have been targetted by theh FaceRail-Failfen group:

    Jagi Lamplighter
    John C. Wright (married to Jagi)
    Myself + Murph
    Elizabeth Moon
    Mike Ashley
    Paul Di Fillipo

    And that’s just the ones I know about.  I am sure there have been others.  Failfen are a very active (hyperactive?) group of children who seem to have nothing better to do than lance at imaginary windmills — and take giant dumps on respectable peoples’ web blogs, forums, pages, etc.

  6. I made a failfandom 101 cheat sheet that might be useful:

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