Lying Liars Who Lie

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice. And I give absolutely no fucks.

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May 7, 2014

So John C. Wright wrote a column for some website called the Intercollegiate Review. A quick perusal shows that its primary audience is conservative students.  I’m sure that’s not political at all, amirite?

Fine, whatever floats his boat. Except it’s full of–let me be generous here–statements that are not quite true.  In other words: John C. Wright is a lying liar who lies.

Luckily for me, I don’t have to fact check that piece because Rachael Acks and Foz Meadows have already taken care of it for all of us.

ETA 05/08/14: And here’s Elizabeth R. McClellan taking apart Wright’s specious description of the differences between law and custom.

It’s just.

Okay, one of my favorite SF authors when I was a teenager was Heinlein. Loved him. Read everything I could get my hands on, reread the few books I owned, and then, once I got a drivers license, took myself to a used bookstore in Pontiac called Honeycomb Books where a libertarian dudebro named Tracy sold me piles of vintage paperbacks.  Read them all.

Read other SF (and F), too–I also discovered Joan D. Vinge around this time–Catspaw was the first time I ever read SF and realized that it actually wasn’t talking about some other planet and some other people but about things that were going on in this world–it is a deeply political book. And Anne McCaffrey and Piers Anthony.  Weirdly, I didn’t discover Mercedes Lackey and her telepathic sparkleponies until much later. Also read a lot of Weis & Hickman and Alan Dean Foster and R.A. Salvatore (oh, Drizz’t!).

But back to Heinlein. I really imprinted hard on Heinlein. Dude had voice–which is one of those things that’s ineffable and so, so, so hard to learn. His voice was authoritative in a way that really worked for me–even after I figured out that he didn’t quite see women as human beings, I still kept on reading. The way he strung sentences together is really quite masterful–even as you’re grossed out, you’re almost compelled to keep reading.

One thing that always gets brought up when I mention the women in Heinlein’s books is that they were intelligent and had careers.  Sure. But they were also hot and the male protagonists wanted to fuck them. And knock them up. It was a kind of determinism that didn’t sit well with me then and doesn’t sit well with me now.

And can I just say that neither Stranger in a Strange Land or Time Enough for Love are polyamory handbooks? Stop using them as a way to get into women’s pants, dudebros. Just stop.

So when someone like John C. Wright holds up Heinlein as the best SF writer ever, I have to wonder what world they’re living in. An important writer in the genre, absolutely. The best ever? Really? Way to declare the race over before everyone’s even gotten to the starting line, buddy.

Because that’s what he’s doing, right? He’s trying to draw a line around SF. In Wright’s world, there’s no room in SF for people who aren’t like him and, furthermore, no one’s work can ever come close to that of a man who died in 1988.  That’s just. No. I don’t want to read that kind of SF anymore. I did my time there and it’s well past time to move on.

Here. Have some kitten GIFs. It’s the least I can do, really.



kitten box


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