There are apparently science fiction writers who openly hate each other. That’s not really new. When I attended conventions fairly regularly in my youth, and was a casually active participant in fandom, I heard rumors. It was far more professional then. The beef between people was based on something related to the profession itself. Someone didn’t get paid. Another writer got credit for something they didn’t do, or plagiarised something. An editor screwed someone over. It wasn’t about politics, religion, culture, or any of that. It was about the job.
Most importantly, they behaved professionally in front of the fans. These writers didn’t air their dirty laundry in public. No one was outed for any real or perceived misconduct unless they were a total scumbag. It was more of a whispering campaign sort of thing. At least, that was how it seemed to me as a casual fan.
I know, sometimes there is a benefit to shouting things from the rooftops, but those have to be broader issues, not personal grudges. If they’re assaulting women and touching kids, please scream loud and often. If you’re looking to dig up dirt on them because you don’t like their politics, that’s not the same sport. Please let yourself out and don’t come back.
In the present, I am not active in any sort of fandom, SF/F or otherwise. I am not even the casual fan I was back in the day. The only things that I see are what bleed over through my limited exposure to social media. Which means that if it crosses my eyeballs, it’s blown up pretty big. It’s probably been going on for a while before it comes to my attention, and a lot of people have to be talking about it.
Forgive my if I’m late to the party, a metaphor that barely works because this is decidedly not any sort of party, but there are authors who have websites that read like rap battles. They have thoroughly-researched information about rival authors, and devote a lot of words to taking them down. A lot of this is comprised of screenshots from social media sites, with commentary. One writer says something, usually something political, that the other writer doesn’t like. They post a rant about in on their blog. The other writer claps back, usually on Twitter followed by a long ranting post on their own blog. Repeat, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
Other writers, and members of fandom, will also jump into the fray and back one side or the other. Then those people get dissed and dissected, and they start writing rantly blog posts, and it keeps escalating and dragging on. If there was a good point to be made, and there occasionally there was, it gets lost in the obvious grudges and transparent personal animosity. Objective facts end up lost in the snarky name calling.
I don’t get where they find the time for that crap. You know that I string words together for a living, and I barely have time to write this blog. I’d rather devote my time to working on my next book, or finding more time to read. Seriously, I spent 10 or 15 minutes glancing at their sites, and this post is only going to be around 600 words. They seem to spend hours on social media every day nit-picking and hounding one another. The screeds they write go on for thousands of words sometimes.
It’s all very off-putting. I have no desire to read the works of any of those authors. Getting anywhere near fandom, in spite of the nice people that still seem to exist there when you can find them, is a no-go for me. It certainly has inspired me to not only avoid that corner of social media, but social media in general.
The upside is that I’m getting a lot more writing and reading done, and my life is calm and peaceful.