Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice. Fuck around and find out.

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April 21, 2014

supergreat shark

You know one of the reasons why my weekly links posts have so much depth? Why I read so widely?

It’s because I used to be afraid to speak. Instead, I read. That is how I participated in the community. I still read.

But I am no longer afraid to speak.

I feel that’s important for me to put out there after the last few days.

Complaining about the Hugo nominations happens year after year. And yet: this year, the year that saw organized bloc voting because a couple of assholes wanted to troll fandom, we’re not supposed to speak about it.

I am–I repeat–completely thrilled for the broad majority of the slate. I am over the moon that a bunch of the people and works I nominated made the final ballot. Even more so that there are works on the ballot that I haven’t yet read, and that I’m really looking forward to reading.

I have also reacted with dismay to the parts of the slate that are there because of those assholes. Others writing about this issue have implied that folks who are upset at this obvious and open gaming of the nomination process are blowing it out of proportion. For me, personally, a line was crossed that should not have been crossed and it was crossed deliberately. That will affect how I vote.

So. My troll infestation. That was fun, amirite?

The main thing I found incredibly interesting about it was how certain commenters felt they had the right to my space. The right to demand very specific answers from me. My refusal to engage except superficially led to goalpost shifting and increasingly vitriolic abuse and deliberate misreadings as well as outright lies about me.

After that, there was an insistence from both the trolls and other parties that I should judge the nominated works on their merits alone. These works do not exist in a vacuum and the context in which they are produced is, for me, relevant. The personal is political. I am not going to waste my time reading books written by people who hold me, my friends, and my family in contempt–and Larry Correia and Vox Day do. They have made this abundantly clear through their own discourse as well as through the discourse they allow and encourage to flourish in their comments.

My refusal to allow that sort of discourse to take root here is not a sign of weakness. It is a refusal to allow myself to be diminished and to be made smaller. I’ve spent too much of my life trying to be small, measuring out my life in coffee spoons.

It’s time to disturb the universe. Who’s coming with me?

(Thanks to Abi Sutherland, Alex Dally McFarlane, Jenny Thurman, and Rachael Acks for all helping in their own way to crystallize my thoughts.)

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