Now I want a "Pixel-stained technopeasant corn" userpic.
Also, a letter.To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: Declining your kind invitation
Thanks again for the invitation you extended at Readercon for me and my partner Josh to visit you in Providence. As I told you then, I've never been there and was looking forward to finding a good weekend to go up, see the town, and hang out with you.
Following your recent participation in the discussion over the Mammoth Book of Mindblowing SF, however, I no longer feel I can take you up on that offer. It would be entirely too awkward for all of us were we to get into an argument and find ourselves unable to resolve it while you had responsibility for hosting us and we were far from home. Moreover, as you have now compared women and people of color to weeds; implied that homosexual men aren't really men, or that your critics believe so; and suggested that women like myself must have some sort of professional ulterior motive to object to a major anthology TOC being solely the province of white men (even though you as an author in that anthology have a significant professional stake in this discussion, and I as a journalist and magazine editor have no professional stake in it whatsoever), I find it hard to believe that you actually want to spend a weekend in my company, given that I am a queer woman who has recently made it extremely clear that she cares a lot about minority representation in genre fiction circles and isn't shy about getting into loud discussions of same.
You have always been very kind to me in our direct interactions, but I cannot reconcile that with your wholesale dismissal of these classes to which I and many of my friends belong. You state that your error was in breaking your policy of remaining on the sidelines of arguments. I disagree. I think your error was in coming into a conversation and turning it into an argument by espousing an absurd, offensive position and backing it up with absurd, offensive rhetoric. I very much hope that you reconsider your exit from the conversation at least long enough to post an apology to the numerous people you have insulted, explicitly declare your affiliation with the book under discussion, and either reconsider your position or recuse yourself from further conversation on the very reasonable grounds that as an author in the anthology you cannot--as you yourself have noted--possibly have anything like an unbiased opinion of the selection criteria used by the editor.
I know you're fond of my father and I was hoping I could become friends with you someday as well. For that to happen, though, you have to see me as a real person, and see all people like me as real people, even the ones whose fathers you don't know. If that happens, and if you are willing to make a public statement to that effect and make a serious effort at understanding exactly why women and POC and queers and other minorities get so furious every single time a straight white man publishes a book full of stories by straight white men, drop me a note and perhaps we can reschedule that weekend visit.
Unless we can psychologically accommodate change, we ourselves begin to die, inwardly. What I am saying is that objects, customs, habits, and ways of life must perish so that the authentic human being can live. And it is the authentic human being who matters most, the viable, elastic organism which can bounce back, absorb, and deal with the new.
--Philip K. Dick
Amazon has pulled the sales rankings of books with queer and feminist content, calling them "adult" books.
(Apparently this has been going on for months
. EDIT: Or possibly since last year.
) Here's a list of the affected books
, which includes such filthy smut as Heather Has Two Mommies
, The Mayor of Castro Street
, and Brokeback Mountain
. The policy is being applied very inconsistently; in some cases one edition of a book has been de-ranked while another has not. If you do look up books by title, in some cases Amazon only permits you to purchase the Kindle version
, which of course puts more money in their pockets.
I recommend complaining to Amazon
, supporting other bookstores
(such as Powell's
, which is considering a GLBT book sale in response), signing this petition
, commenting in support of this open letter
, and possibly participating in a Googlebomb of "Amazon Rank"
, though I'm holding off on that last until I hear more authors say it's a good idea and won't hurt people searching for their books.
If you see any other relevant links, send 'em my way.
EDIT: If you want to see what de-ranking means in the real world, go to amazon.com and search for "homosexuality". You get a) a list of recommended searches topped by "homosexuality and the Bible", "homosexuality and the politics of truth" (I'm not even sure what that means), "homosexuality and Christianity", and "homosexuality and the Catholic Church", and b) a list of books starting with A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality, You Don't Have to Be Gay, and Can Homosexuality Be Healed?
. I am speechless.