The Story They Wouldn’t Publish

As soon as I wrote this story I realised I would most likely have to self-publish it. To my delighted surprise, though, an editor at one of the big online magazines offered me, shortly after, to publish it. Two days later, however, the publisher of the same magazine declined the story, not wanting to deal with any potential fallout. I then showed it – unofficially – to a handful of people, and got a potential offer to publish it in another big magazine, if only I were to change some of the references in the story.

I decided, instead, to publish it here.

Note: if, after reading the story, you feel like contributing a buck or two towards it, please click on the Paypal button below. I would ideally like to make the $60-$120 I would have been paid for this story, but I don’t necessarily expect to. However, I will raffle one signed printout of the story amongst contributors just in case you fancy one of those. If you just want to leave a comment, of whatever nature, feel free to do so too.

The School

 By Lavie Tidhar

There had been another boy at the school, called Ender, but he’d attacked and seriously hurt and in at least one case we knew of killed one of the other boys, and they finally had to put him down, though he kept protesting, the day they came for him, that it wasn’t his fault.

No-one wanted to be put down at the school. They bred us very carefully, lines of genetic lineage, great-great-grandparents and parents all down the generations selected by the board and certified and mated to produce us. If we were an aberration we were put down and our progenitors were mated again, to try and create a better version.

My earliest memory is of white men in white coats holding clipboards, examining me. They measured my skull and prodded me with thick pink fingers and made careful notes. There was a war coming, they kept saying, and we had to be prepared.

Because of aliens.

#

White people are better than brown people and white people of Nordic extraction are better than dirty-white people like the Italians or the Irish. When I grew up I learnt there had been factions amongst the Teachers and that one faction had tried, over centuries, to breed a new kind of human, blending African and Jewish genetic lines–“to mix the African’s physical prowess with the Jew’s intellectual power”, I think it says that in the original notes. But the project was disbanded and all the samples destroyed, and now they only breed us out of good white stock–the best kind.

#

When a technologically-advanced society meets an alien society with less firepower, the only result–so the Teachers say–is war. There is, the Teachers say, admonishing us, no other possible outcome, no negotiation, no compromise.

This is known as the David Weber Axiom.

#

Humans are the best possible life form and white humans are the best possible humans and, also, we have a manifest destiny and the universe is our heritage.

This is known as the John W. Campbell Axiom.

#

There was a boy at the school who raised his hand once when a Teacher said that, when she was telling us about war and why it was inevitable; and he said that in the South Pacific, in Melanesian society (everyone sort of sniggered when he said Melanesians) they had a strange concept called Pis, which was absolute. So, say, if a neighbour killed your son, or you stole his cow, or whatever, you couldn’t fight it out; you had to do a Pis Seremoni and exchange goods, both the victim and the perpetrator had to pay each other off, to maintain the peace. Even when they had wars, they were agreed on in advance and lasted a specific length of time and the winner got tallied by official score keepers, and then there was peace again and everyone went home for tea.

There was a silence after the boy said that and then the teacher said, “There aren’t any Melanesians any more.”

Also, they sent the boy to the showers shortly after.

#

We had showers at the school, and then we had showers. That type of shower didn’t have water in the taps, it had a very humane sort of gas and that’s how they put you down. There was also a small crematorium, and we had to use a wheelbarrow to transport the boys who didn’t make it from the one to the other.

“It is a great opportunity for you boys,” the Teachers always told us. We had a picture of the Leader in the communal dining room and he looked down at us with sad, wise eyes. “The galaxy will be ours,” the Teachers said. “Think how lucky you boys are.”

#

There were no girls at the school. Girls are for childbearing.

#

The school was in low Earth orbit, in a specially constructed habitat. It was inside a hollowed-out asteroid and had the most advanced training programme of the time. There had been an enemy called the Buggers but the Leader had long ago initiated a gay extermination policy just like we did with the Jews a few centuries later. “We have to destroy the aliens within,” the Leader said, “before we can destroy the aliens without.”

#

Homosexuality is a genetic defect. This is known as the Eric James Stone Axiom.

#

We had a fleet of starships, billions of tiny, deadly devices, a swarm controlled from a distance by a human mind–which would be one of us. Each swarm was to take on a different solar system. Each boy from the school would control one swarm. Each swarm would descend on all inhabited planets in said solar system and destroy all potentially threatening life forms, before human colonisation could commence.

Each of us would be a hero, each of us the liberator of entire worlds.

Think of the glory!

#

There are aliens out there. Non-human, dirty, disgusting things. They have to be exterminated. This is our destiny.

But recently I’ve been having doubts. I keep thinking about the Ender boy. I keep wondering if it was really his fault. Soon it’s going to be my turn at the controls, the swarm descending on a solar system far away, the billions of robotic killing machines obeying my every move as I sweep down to exterminate the vermin of space. I’m not sure what I’ll encounter there, what manner of strange creatures live on those nameless planets, Buggers or Jews, but they must be removed from the universe for humanity–for the right kind of humanity–to live on.

#

Can I do it, I wonder? They bred me for this, the Teachers; they programmed me and planned my childhood the way they had planned my genetic line and selected my parents and their parents and their parents’ parents. They had tested me in every way and conditioned me to do it, and absolved me from responsibility, for I am just following their orders.

Will I do it?

Even raising the question I risk the showers, I must hide it deep inside of me and never let it out, never let it betray me. Some say the Ender boy never died, that he ran away and joined the aliens and took up Buggery. If so, the story gives us hope.

#

But these are lies, misinformation fed to us by the Teachers, to test us.

#

Only war.

#

Manifest destiny.

#

Press the button, and they die. Press the button, and something inside you might die. But you’ve been trained for it. You’ve been bred for it. Let go of childish doubts. You are ready, now. Press the button. Press the button. Press the button. Press the button. Press the button.

THE END.

 

112 thoughts on “The Story They Wouldn’t Publish

    • … how to insert John C. Wright.

      I’m guessing you’d want to start with a generous application of lube, but it altogether depends where exactly you intended to insert him… ;)

  1. The references feel a bit heavy-handed. I mean, I get the whole lebensraum thing, but bringing Jews and showers into the mix doesn’t exactly make it more original.

  2. Nicely done commentary on the inherent bigotry of so much of classic science fiction. I agree with Damien – a paper analyzing the right-wing axioms of classic SF is needed, not just in order. This story is a live grenade with the spoon off, an explosion looking for a place to happen, and I can see why the industry didn’t want to publish it. Someone, somewhere along the line, is going to take it the wrong way and be fiercely offended. The story is fiercely offensive, but so is the subject matter, and if you don’t talk about offensive things, you can’t try to fix them.

    • People are much too easily offended in the SF fandom, Andrew. I totally agree with you as to the need to a paper analyzing the right-wing axioms of classic SF (damn, not only classic, but also – unfortunately – contemporary SF).

      And you’re spot on: “if you don’t talk about offensive things, you can’t try to fix them.” I wonder why so many people don’t want to talk about such things.

      • People don’t want to talk about such things because it’s painful and they’re afraid that it’ll start a big, ugly fight that won’t get anywhere.

      • Science fiction was once about “if you don’t talk about offensive things, you can’t try to fix them.” and exploring new ideas. It was also scandalously liberal. It has become mindless right-wing entertainment. I don’t care if it is right-wing or scandalously liberal but it has lost its sole. “Fear is the mind killer.” the Frank Herbert Axiom.

  3. I love the Lady Gaga approach. The simplicity and over the top references really hammer home the points. I know the next sci-fi book I read will be through slightly different eyes.

  4. Cory wrote that there was a science-fiction story here, but all I see is a poorly-thought-out, shallow and obvious political tract and character assassination — THAT is why you had to self-publish. You can do better.

  5. “Lady Gaga” is a really interesting referent from Tony. I think it’s important to understand the simplistic voice of the narrator as part of the story. Makes it all the more effective, to me, as an angry work about some mostly-unspoken truths.

    It is, for all that, a little more heavy-handed than I would have liked, but that’s kind of what it wants to be.

  6. Where the deliberate heavy-handedness works: “There had been an enemy called the Buggers but the Leader had long ago initiated a gay extermination policy…”

    Where it fails: “… just like we did with the Jews a few centuries later.” Ham-handedly kludging in the gas showers and an alt-history Jewish holocaust that just happens to mirror Hitler’s. It distracts without adding anything to your point.

    What would make this story better: A plot.

  7. “David Weber Axiom”

    Robert A. Heinlein Axiom, surely (Specifically, the RAH who wrote Starship Troopers)? I’m no fan of Weber’s but I think this specific criticism is a bit unfair for two reasons: firstly, I don’t remember him asserting this (although happily head injuries have pretty much erased any memory I had of his Starfire books) and even if he did say it, odds are he’s emulating some earlier SF writer. Don’t punish him for an originality he lacks!

  8. Just in case you forgot to feel guilty for a few hours while reading escapist sci-fi, Lavie Tidhar has followed you into your fantasy, nagging you from behind. Now there is nowhere safe from White Guilt.

  9. THIS NO STORY! ME NEED PLOT GO BOOM BOOM FOR STORY. YOU NEVER HEAR SHOW DON’T TELL? LOL!

  10. Why do you think you should be paid for writing fanfiction that rips off Ender’s Game? Do you have explicit permission from Card to use his characters?

    • It might be fair to call this commentary on Ender’s Game, among other things. If you think this is “fanfic,” however, you’re missing the point.

      Fair use doesn’t require permission.

      • This is fanfiction – it’s taking another author’s universe and creating your own story, which is practically the dictionary definition of fanfiction.

        And yes, you’re quite correct: you do not need permission to write and publish fanfiction. However, if you’re trying to make money off it, you have to tread a very careful line, which is why most fanzines are sold at cost. “Fair use” is notoriously ambiguous in these cases. This story has enough references to material which is still under copyright that should it go to court, I would not want to guess the outcome.

    • The Things was published in Clarkesworld and was clearly a re-interpretation of movie called The Thing by Carpenter. And it got nominated for some awards.

      So Long Been Dreaming has a story that takes a character in Blade Runner and runs with a different dynamic.

      Not unheard of.

    • SF has always been a dialogic form of literature, commenting on, expanding on, riffing on, and criticizing its own tropes, forms, etc. The references are usually a little more obfuscated, but it’s not a new idea in any event. The Stars My Destination is not Dumas fan fiction. Fan fiction is a limited and very new idea; dialogue and re-interpretation of relevant cultural and literary subject matter, from genuine re-imaginings to satire, is older than the printing press – Lucien’s “True History,” arguably the first SF novel, is a satirical take-down of Homer which includes characters from that work.

    • “Taking another author’s universe and creating your own story, which is practically the dictionary definition of fanfiction.”

      So, according to your definition much of what Shakespeare wrote, including Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet are fanfiction? Interesting view.

      • As a matter of fact, much of Shakespeare qualifies as fanfiction, and so does Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. What changed since then are expectations and copyright laws.

    • But is this a version of Card’s work or a future where people have read Card’s work and took some inspiration from it?

  11. Excellent story! Might I suggest you submit it to Escape Pod? I’d also be interested in seeing your published version with highlights on the references that were suggested to be removed.

  12. OK, while I realise they probably ain’t *big* enough, I strongly suspect that my ex-colleagues at Interzone would have seriously considered this.

    And there is the reincarnation of New Worlds, who do intend to publish both online and print, and who might also have been sorely tempted.

    Therefore, to call it “The Story They Wouldn’t Publish” is a bit over-the-top. Yes: two big markets turned it down, but if I have to drink a beer for every story of yours that has been turned down by more than two markets, I’m sure that even my semi-legendary beer intake isn’t sufficient…;-).

    I love the way this piece challenges old, deeply settled SF axioms. What I would have loved even more is a story that proves all these old, deeply settled SF axioms wrong.

    Showing, not telling? Ah, Nick already said that…

    • Yeah, me three.

      “Girls are for childbearing.”

      OK, fair enough for this particular very entertaining story, but can you write a story with shockingly non-childbearing girls next. KTHXBAI.

      • Point, but missing the point- lots of stories show don’t tell this sort of thing, but that doesn’t exist as a comment on the genre itself, in order to criticize you need to point out, you need to show. He is showing by telling, by coming out and explicitly stating he’s not being subtle, he’s showing you exactly what’s wrong, rather than just showing you how to be right.

        It leaves less wiggle room for debate, but it’s time for the kid gloves to come off.

  13. I read Ender’s Game in Analog in the 60’s, and there was no breeding program. Ender was a street kid from the slums, hence the good reflexes and the implication was that street kids were expendable, just like they were in Vietnam at the time. When Card rewrote it, all that bullshit about his family brains was added, perhaps a touch of Mormon elitism.

  14. While I agree that this is heavy-handed, it’s also devastating. Not particularly stunning to see how many people really don’t get it.

    That…adds to the painfulness, really.

  15. great story… one thing that bugs me though (and does whenever I see this) is the use of “solar systems” – Isn’t there only one “solar” system? (Our sun star being named “Sol” thus our system is the “Solar System”). Generic terms for other systems like ours would be “star systems.” It’s a niggling, little thing, but it always bugs the hell out of me.

  16. This system doesn’t seem to thread, but anyway, the person who said, “you do not need permission to write and publish fanfiction” is half-wrong, but horrifically so. Noncommercial publication of derivative works (like fanfiction) can still be legally problematic for the author and publisher. It’s still infringement.

    Fair use is a defense against infringement, and fair use can be commercial.

    • Wow, I was quoted in this post! I would reply there but you have some strange login requirements and I’d rather stay here with all the other blog comments. I’m the guy that wrote the quote about white guilt which you argue against in your essay. Since you’ve taken so much time to write all of that and include me as an antagonist, I guess I’m obligated to respond and shore up my argument, to be polite.

      When I originally wrote the comment, I was only responding to a gut dislike of Lavie Tidhar’s essay. I won’t call it a story because there’s no story. I just didn’t like it, and after some self-reflection I have realized that I didn’t like it because I thought it was a lazy half-assed reach. Mr. Tidhar just goes to the controversy shelf in his pantry and throws in a bunch of racism, sexism, homophobia, and genocide into some kind of caesar salad. Then he calls out a few famous names and basically says “You! Your works are homophobic! And that guy over there, he’s racist! And your friend hates the Other and wants to shoot it in the face! Neener neener!” The examination of possible themes in science fiction on such a scale is worth one book easily, perhaps a trilogy, but Lavie Tidhar just devotes 1100 words to it and calls it a day. Then he also takes it a step further and positions it as too controversial to be published. Its weak. I write that much on Google Android apps. Such a weighty topic should really deserve more, for one.

      Also, I think that he’s tilting at windmills. Using Ender’s story to call out the inherent racism in science fiction only works if you ignore all the inconvenient parts of the Ender series that would mess up his argument. Three that immediately come to mind are that the children in the Battle School are from every country in the world, the fact that Ender had to be tricked into committing genocide because he was too empathetic of a child to ever do it with full knowledge (unlike the children in his essay), and the regret that shapes Ender’s life during all the other books.

      And finally, while he rails against the racism, homophobia, etc of everyone else, he also invokes the noble savage archetype of Melanesians which he uses for contrast. I’m sure it makes him feel good to think that he’s pointing to dark-skinned pacific islanders as having a morally superior culture and using their noble savagery to admonish all the white people, but in so doing he’s only being racist in a different way. Next thing you know he’s going to be consulting a Magical Negro on what novel to write next.

      So, in summary, this essay was a short, flippant, take on an actually serious issue that struck me the wrong way. Its got straw-man elements and inherent racism of its own, and falls short of contributing significantly to understanding or world peace or anything beyond stirring up blog comments. Weaksauce!

      • That isn’t what you said. What you *said* was, “You’re getting your thoughts in my escapism!” You can decide later that you don’t actually feel that way, but you can’t defend the statement based on what you retroactively decide you wished you’d said.

        As for the rest…I disagree that the connection between racism, homophobia, genocide, and aliens as “other” is random or wasn’t already there. It IS already there, in every claim that aliens/elves/people who are black on one side and white on the other are a “metaphor for race,” as well as in the concept of intersectionality. Racism, sexism, and homophobia are all different specific manifestations of a single impulse, to define some humans as “really human” and others as not, and therefore expendable. “The School” makes that connection explicitly.

        That’s quite a lot to cover in 1100 words. You’re right that it would take a lot more to cover it thoroughly…but I don’t happen to think that the failure to cover a complex subject in depth is a valid criticism of a microfiction. On the contrary, hitting all those notes at all in that amount of space is something of an achievement.

      • I’m not rewriting my earlier comment, I’m adding to it, because someone wrote an entire essay on my two sentences. I felt like a poorly-dressed man at a wedding. What else can I say along the lines of those original two sentences anyways? I can try to express my exact level of dislike about people trying to make me feel guilty for what kind of literature I read, but I gave up on that in high school after trying to explain my sci-fi and fantasy literature preferences to my mom. So instead I looked deep within myself, found the exact reasons why I responded with gut-instinct negativity, and put it out here for everyone to see.

        So I do still feel that way, but I also have other thoughts and feelings too. Got it?

  17. Couldn’t you have written an essay? This is pretty thin stuff. Controversial it is not. Great satire it is not. I feel like we’re all back in high school. Go polemic!

    • But it is an essay, just not a traditional essay- it’s length is more essay length, it’s just wearing a mask, that’s all. Like how Barth was saying the novel was dead, and what we had were things in the shapes of novels, pretending to be novels, but weren’t novels? In a way this has all the marks of an essay, or a shortstory, but isn’t. And that makes it in some ways more interesting.

      Sure, it’s heavy handed, and can be a bit obtuse. But the comedy (for me) works better in this piece when it’s hit with a heavy hand. And yes, you could say he ticked off a bunch of liberal boxes to please the crowd- but what he’s commenting on really are problems in their own right and we need to be talking about them more- the fact that we are talking about them more now, isn’t that worth it?

      • Paul: Debating Barth’s meaning in that context is a whole different thread.

        Ignoring for a second that my comment was solely about the piece being heavy handed and obvious, I’d like to believe any writer worth their salt thinks about such things by default. And as I say below Orson Scott Scott’s been called out for decades. Stone has, bizarrely, endorsed his own flaying while explaining himself not a bit. Weber I’m a little perplexed by, but I don’t read him and must’ve missed something on the blogosphere. JeffV

      • Hey Jeff- not letting me thread this here.

        Of course, writers think that. But not everyone on the blogosphere is a writer, no?

        And yes, could debate Barth’s meaning on that for days. Would like to do that with you someday, would be interested to contrast your thoughts on that with mine.

        It is heavy handed, you’re right, but for me that’s part of the charm. I can see why it turns you off, though.

  18. A brilliant satire. I can see where taking direct aim at other contemporary authors might make an editor or publisher nervous, but y’know, all’s fair in love and literature.

  19. Seriously? Wow. Satire must mean something different these days. I like a lot of Lavie’s fiction but this is pretty piss poor. There’s a difference between agreeing with a social or political position in a piece…and the actual quality of the piece. So this ticks a lot of progressive boxes while striking me as fairly pedestrian. Agqin, way to go out on a limb. Yes, homophobia bad. Unexamined imperialism and othering bad. Yes, very very controversial. Next you’ll be telling me shoving a spike in someone’s eye is a terrible thing.

    • If you think criticizing imperialism, othering and homophobia isn’t controversial and sufficient to catch someone a lot of flak, you have not been paying sufficient attention.

      Actually, the reaction to this is a case in point. There are lots of “pedestrian” microfictions out there. Few of them provoke this much vitriol.

      • Sara–most of the “vitriol” here is just about whether it’s fan fiction or not. And none of the editors I know in the field would penalize any writer for speaking about these issues. If you’re speaking about my vitriol, it’s not meant that way. Nick M can attest (I think) that I can come off aggressively at times because I am heart a passionate person but it’s not meant as vitriol.

        What I really want to read is Lavie’s Osama. Adam Roberts’ review makes it sound very enticing.

        JeffV

  20. On the other hand maybe it was worth it to see Stone come here (actually him?) and basically acknowledge he agrees with Lavie’s positioning of him in the piece. Seriously, Stone. You’ve said fuck all about your crap position on homosexuality…but someone sends you up and *then* you comment to say you like the satire? That is pretty damn…actually, I don’t know what that is except it is pretty strange. (Tomorrow I’ll paypal Lavie a couple bucks as payment for putting up with my harangue.)

  21. @Eric: Cool! ;-)

    @Jeff: I think it works just fine as a satirical polemic. It’s as simple and blunt as its source material and doesn’t overstay its welcome. If it has a flaw, it’s basically the same as Peter Watts’ “The Things” … If you haven’t read “Ender’s Game,” you may be left just scratching your head. But as more than a million people at least have read “Ender’s Game,” I don’t think that’s a fatal error.

  22. Sara–honest differences of opinion over the quality of fiction do exist, believe it or not.

    Mike–it is kinda insider baseball-ish. to an extent, yep. No crime in that but given the build-up, fairly disappointing. Everyone and their mother has beat up on Ender’s Game. SF Eye took a chainsaw to a Card book back in the late 80s or early 90s.

    • Yeah, I’ve read what I thought was a lot of sff and didn’t recognize all the names, much less the sharp end of the knife, so to speak. I think the story might actually have been stronger without the names, or maybe with the stories referenced more obliquely. As it was, it felt like I was supposed to recognize references immediately.

    • I disagree that the vitriol is all about whether it’s fanfiction, and I suspect some of that is motivated by emotional dislike of what the story says rather than reasoned literary critique. Also, some of the vitriol is happening else-Internet.

      My point was, if you think that criticizing homophobia, racism, and sexism is totally non-controversial and will earn the speaker a bunch of sage nods and applause instead of random hostility..I sure would like for you to reveal the location of the island on which you live. The one where the bunnies frolic and the bluebirds bring your mail and no discouraging word is ever uttered. I want to move there.

      The relative merits of “The Story” as a piece of writing is another matter entirely. *I* think that hitting all those connections in that short of a story is awesome, and the heavy-handedness is due to the constraints (and not necessarily a bad thing). Obviously, you don’t. Feel free to suggest a microfiction that does that much with the same subjects, if you know one.

      • Sara–Again, no editor I know would penalize Lavie in the least for this story or these views. Granted, I’m not pals with peeps who think Orson Scott Card is god’s gift. But there seems to be a view because of outbreaks of asshattery that the publishing world is filled top to bottom with idiots and ne’er-do-wells…and that view is just as suspect as saying there are no asshats out there. I hope you’ll grant I at least live on an isthmus, not an island.

        Anyway, I enjoyed your blog post on this issue–I think it was yours. I’ve been reading all of this on my phone which tends to sometimes confuse things. JeffV

    • I don’t know why, but the blog won’t let you reply directly once a thread has gotten to a certain length. So this is really in response to your comment above…

      I think we are talking about two different things. I was more pointing at the response here and around the Internet, and general attitudes, not the publishing industry per se. I know not all editors are like that. Some of my best friends are editors *eg*

  23. Let’s try to make all people of Nordic descent fell guilty. Less politics, more fiction please.

    • I’m sorry the historical fact that reams of self-aggrandizing racist propaganda was produced extolling the superiority of Nordic Europeans to justify genocide hurts your feelings. Would you prefer that we alter reality, change the history books, or just never ever speak of it again?

  24. I thought the Jewish stuff was appropriate given the discussion of whether or not the original text is a Hitler apologia.

  25. Hi I feel the need just to post and say I read the story but don’t understand it. I read the essay by Sara A. that was linked in the comments and still don’t understand the story. I read science fiction (pretty selectively) and yet don’t understand. Does it make its point a little too strongly? Perhaps I am choosing to ignore what doesn’t quite make sense to me.

    • Well, my essay wasn’t an explanation of the story, more of a commentary on the controversy preceding and surrounding it. Also, I haven’t actually read Ender’s Game, and I still “got” the story BUT…I have spent a lot of time thinking about the connections between “isms” and the problems with the “metaphor for race” trope.

      One-sentence explanation: There is a relationship between the cultural concept of purity (as in racial and sexual purity) and violence.

      Hope that’s helpful…

  26. Is it just me, or is everybody’s avatar a swirly version of the swastika? the Rachel Swirsky one is particularly blatant. (I’m assuming they’re autogenerated for people without avatars but to be honest I don’t really fancy debating under the crooked-cross).

    The story, yeah yeah it’s alright, it reads from start to finish and at no point in between did I get bored or go for a cup of coffee or look something up on Google, but you’ve done better before, it’s a bit bland is all, needs more bile, some moral peppersauce, just reads a bit tired, a bit lacking in punk.

    David Weber – I saw him sitting at a table at Eastercon, with three fans all dressed in uniforms described in his books, loving attention to each militaristic detail. I pointed this out to my mate, and his reply was
    “You are so jealous right now” – he was right, obviously. Shooting uphill always has its problems.

  27. Deeply disturbing, the way a good story should be.

    I can’t say I enjoyed it, it was too disturbing for that, but I am very glad I read it and I’m going to post the link to it as far as I can

  28. Sweet, we can all come and leave our comments and critique the piece. Excellent. Let me pull on my rubber suit. It has some stains, but that’s what it is for.

    The thing that struct me mostly about it is the fear folk had to publish it. I mean, why the concern? Afraid of upsetting who or what, exactly? I’m more interested in hearing that part of it than the actual story itself (sorry).

    For me, the biggest problem with the story is it starts with Card, who is a fairly easy subject to satire. That and the subsequent mentions leave the story a bit of ‘preaching to the choir’, at least from my point of view. It left me a bit flat on it, personally, because of that, and I can’t imagine anyhow who digs Card or the others here would bother reading it as it intended. But others seem to dig what left me a bit flat and that’s taste for you.

    Otherwise, like i said, the accepted then ditched part is more interesting. it speaks of a certain conservatism that is running round in SF in general these days.

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  30. We would have published it over at Expanded Horizons.

    If you’re willing to let us put it up there too, we will still give you $30.

  31. “The State TV d-d-ddidn’t hire me to the p-p-pposition of a news anchor. They are antis-s-semites!” – “No, Moishe, that’s because you’re a stutter”.

  32. Thank you for this! There’s a reason or 12 I haven’t read 90% of what’s classified as sf/fantasy, and the attitudes you take to town are a good chunk of it. “Wait, what – I’m supposed to LIKE this guy after he raped the telepath girl? Oh right, I’m one of those Humorless Feh-muh-nists.”

  33. This is a demonization of “the nebulous right,” or perhaps just “people whose opinions offend us” which is pretty much exactly what the right-wing vanguard did to argue their views in genre last century. This is a pretty sad commentary on the state of genre if our only response to rightist paranoia is to shift to leftist paranoia.

    But let’s all go pat ourselves on the back… Good thing we’ve all gotten over the reactionary, myopic generalizations and ham-handed morality plays that those guys pushed in their fiction. Right, guys?

    I guess I’m not surprised that one of the intended targets thinks it works well. It’s straight out of that old school playbook and just as cringe-inducing.

  34. Let me illustrate my point.

    (In advance, I ask forgiveness from Mr. Richard K. Morgan and Mr. Tiptree. I have nothing against either. Get creative and insert your own punching bag into slot one!!!)

    [Removed. Cute - but save it for your own blog.]

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