I was going to do a quick post this morning about publication times over the next week or two. Then I made the mistake of getting onto social media and seeing a couple of comments — one by an author and one by a supposed fan — that tossed that topic right out the window. The author claimed that a con dis-inviting an author as guest of honor after announcing the author’s presence wasn’t an attempt to silence — or muzzle — the author. The so-called fan basically said that Sad Puppies is reason enough for a con to tell an author it had already invited that he couldn’t come. Both stances are not only misguided but wrong. More than that, those stances are foolish, especially when you consider one truth most cons (and a number of authors) refuse to admit. That truth? Authors don’t really need cons, not any more. But the cons need authors and other luminaries in the genre to draw in fans.
When a ConCom invites an author to attend its convention as a guest of honor, that ConCom is offering that author a platform to discuss any manner of topics: the author’s work, topics germane to any panels the author might be involved with, random topics that come up during conversations with those attending the con. It is a time for the author to help support the con and to do some bonding with his or her fans.
When a ConCom suddenly dis-invites that guest of honor and puts out that the reason for doing so is because the author has expressed views that aren’t in line with those of the con, especially when it does so without giving specific examples (here’s looking at you Origin Gaming Fair), it is doing a disservice to the con, to the author and to the fans who would have appeared. It is also basically telling any author or anyone else who might want to appear at the con as a guest, they have to toe the line with what they say on social media and elsewhere. The problem is, by not being specific about what the supposed infraction was, the potential guests don’t know what line had been crossed. The result? if they want to attend the con at some future date, they have to stop making political comments or just about any other comment online that doesn’t deal directly with their work because they don’t know why the previous GoH was dis-invited.
Yes, Ms. Author who said dis-inviting an author wasn’t muzzling someone, it is exactly that. It is telling every other author or potential guest of the con they have to watch what they say or forget being invited. In some ways, this form of silencing opinion is worse than coming right out and saying “we won’t invite someone who supports X” because there is no definite line put out there that, once crossed, will keep you from being invited to the con. So, you are being “encouraged” not to talk about anything that might controversial lest you cross that line.
Now, as for the fellow who said he had no problem with Larry Correia being uninvited to Origin Gaming Fair because of his “behavior” during Sad Puppies, not once did he give any proof of what Larry’s bad behavior was. Like so many, he has the knee-jerk reaction of Sad Puppies are bad simply because they rocked the boat. Larry’s real sin was pointing out that the Hugo Awards were supposedly a fan award and he encouraged fans of the genre to buy a membership and vote for books and movies, etc., they thought were the best. That took the control out of the hands of the Fans (with a capital F). They didn’t like that one bit so we had the Noah Ward year — or, as some of us call it, the Ass-terisk year. But the other side wasn’t satisfied with just that. They made sure new rules were put into place to make sure the unwashed fans never again sullied their precious awards.
That’s fine. Larry, as well as Brad and others, proved what they set out to. They showed the Hugos were anything but a true fan award.
As for bad behavior, I suggest those so quick to point a finger at Larry, Brad and others look at their own side. Who called who Nazis? Not the Sad Puppies Who tried to get editors to quit buying certain authors because of their stance on the Hugos? Again, not the Sad Puppies. I’ll give you a hint. Many of them are the same ones now crowing on social media about how great it is good men like Larry and John Ringo have been uninvited from cons. There’s more but you get the message. Not once did Larry or any of the other leaders of Sad Puppies try to put another author out of work. That dishonor falls at the feet of the so-called true Fans of SF/F.
As for the cons who have taken to bowing down to the demands of a few vocal snowflakes, you are only hurting yourselves. You now have a reputation among authors of being unreliable. They are going to want certain guarantees now that you won’t pull this sort of bullshit with them. As for fans, you’ve told them you are willing to use bait and switch tactics to get their money. How long before they start suing you for not only the return of their membership to the con but for their plane fares and more? How long until they start talking to all their con-going friends, telling them what you did? How long before this hits your bottom line so hard you have to close your doors?
Authors don’t need cons. The internet has seen to that. Fans don’t really need cons either. We can interact with authors online. But cons? You need us. You need us as authors and you need us as fans because we are what bring you money. Go ahead. Keep pissing us off and see what happens. I promise, you won’t like the result.