Richard Morgan‘s recently-posted essay about the bitchiness and infighting of the sf/f fiction scene caused a flurry of reactions, some sympathetic, others less so.
Gary Gibson‘s response chimes best with my own feelings on the matter, though:
“To me, I’d say all the bitchiness is a sign that things aren’t nearly so moribund within the genre as some have claimed. I’m not saying the arguments and fighting are always healthy, or necessarily mature; but I am saying it feels more alive than some genteel, mannered alternative. At least the way things are, it feels like people give a damn.”
Indeed. I mean, sure, sf people can get pretty entrenched in things, and rather more emotionally attached or opposed to certain words and definitions than really makes much sense (cough *mundane-sf* cough).
But if I’d stumbled into fandom as I did and found it to be an echo chamber … well, I’d probably be more focused on writing about music, I guess. The ability to debate the merits of a piece of art without resorting to fists, name-calling and hissy-fits is rare enough in my daily life that I’d rather not lose it.
That said – live and let live, eh? Maybe it’s just my nature as supreme wishy-washy diplomat of compromise, but I’ve always found the best way to get anyone to respect my opinion (even if they don’t agree with it) is to respect theirs. As my mother used to remind me at the end of every school sports day – it’s not the winning, it’s the taking-part.
[Disclosure- Richard Morgan is one of my clients.]