Monday, March 21, 2016

What Vox Day and George R R Martin Have In Common

There are MANY things, actually, that VD & GRRM have in common, not the least of which is the fact that they both publish blogs that get more attention than I do. 
Most of the science fiction world would be inclined to categorize them based on their differences, rather than their commonalities, though. The controversy surrounding the Hugo Award process has certainly brought their differences into the forefront of conversations, rather than their similarities.

However, a late night conversation with a friend caused me to do some reflection on the matter, and I have the following conclusion: in my opinion, both Vox Day and George R R Martin deserve my personal thanks, which this insignificant blog post is designed to express. If any reader happens to have the ear of either of these gentlemen, please forward my thanks to them.

In the case of Vox Day, that may not be necessary, for I have already thanked him for his consideration. Regardless of your opinion of him, I think that we can all agree that he is a busy man, and as publisher of Castalia House, he has demands on his time that extend far beyond his somewhat extra-curricular activities as a columnist, not to speak of his own work as an author. And yet, TWICE in the past year, he has responded to requests for assistance, which I made in association with my role as a reviewer. 

I'll admit that my reviews are probably read by more people than my blog, but that's not saying very much. I haven't checked lately, but NO post on this blog has ever gotten more than 500+ hits, and few have reached as many as 300. So, to say that my reviews probably are viewed by more people than my blog is tantamount to saying that Ball Ground, Georgia has a smaller population than than Gross Saschenheim, Germany. Neither of those places is a hotbed of bright lights and cutting edge music, although I have experienced delightful moments in both places.

My reviews (and I speak of those on Amazon, not those on my blog) are more popular, and I know that because my current ranking is 5977. When I started looking at my ranking, it was 14,360,604, and that was after I had been reviewing for a couple of months. So, I'm PROUD of the progress I've made, but I'm also quite aware that my impact on the field is: tiny. And therefore, I was hesitant about approaching the publisher of Castalia House and asking for review copies of books. I was doing a series of reviews as a run-up to the announcement of the Hugo Awards, and there were several Castalia House titles I could not obtain from other sources.
(NOTE: They were, in fact, available for purchase, but as I am on a fixed income, my book budget is restricted to what I spend on  my Kindle Unlimited subscription. They were also available to registered voters at WorldCon, but at the time of my request, that option wasn't available.)
In reply to my request, I received a prompt and courteous email, with attachments. The works I had requested were supplied, and there was no hint of a quid pro quo arrangement (other than a fair review). I was pleasantly surprised.
Later, in the course of reviewing "Welcome to the Doomsphere," a book describing the Hugo Award events from the perspective of author and con organizer Matthew M. Foster, I had occasion to quote a reference to Vox Day in my review. Upon the publication of my review, I was immediately told that my statement was inaccurate, and I went directly to the source to ask for his version. Again, he replied immediately and courteously, and gave a complete and succinct statement of his version of the events, which I appended to my review and to the places I had posted it. 
THUS: my personal thanks to Vox Day for the courtesy he has shown me over the past year. I make no further statement regarding him, his actions or his beliefs.

Secondly, my thanks to George R R Martin.  These are prompted by a much more recent event, which is a return to the research I did for my blog post on the Mixon Report ; the return was in response to  a conversation I had with a friend last night. As I was re-reading the material (which I highly recommend to all) I discovered that she had been encourage by none other than George R R Martin in her research and subsequent publication. 
Now, I must confess that I am not a fan of Mr. Martin, for what may seem to be an utterly trivial and perhaps foolish reason. I was given all of the copies of his "Fire and Ice" series by my much-loved first-born son, and after a couple of false starts, I began to devour them. I was appalled to discover at the end of the final published book that the story was not resolved, that NO part of the story had been resolved, and that there were new elements being introduced instead. I felt almost as if I had been deliberately lead astray.
Now, THAT part was childish, on my behalf. Had I done the LEAST bit of research, I would have discovered that the series was unfinished, and that plot points were hanging. It just never occurred to me to ask. 
So, I chose to have a certain snippiness in my attitude to Mr. Martin, and I decided I wasn't going to read any more of the series, even if it were completed. That was a bad attitude I chose for myself.
But last night, as I was re-reading Laura Mixon discuss what she had been through in researching and publishing her report, I found myself being very grateful for his support for her. She is, by her own admission, a very small fish in a very great ocean, and he is a person of great influence and reputation. Therefore, his support was enormously valuable to her, and I think it's likely that without that support, the Mixon Report might not have come to be.
And therefore: thank you, George R R Martin; I am most grateful for your contribution.

Parenthetically: as far as I can determine, Laura Mixon and I are not seated close to each other in the big tent of science fiction. She self-identifies as a member of the progressive element, and I am just a reader (and reviewer). However, her statements have consistently supported the idea that there is room under the tent for everybody, and that's what I believe as well. So, I will wave at her from wherever it is that I sit, and if she sees me, I have no doubt that she will wave back.

1 comment:

  1. Mixon's report varies between feminist gibberish and unprincipled propaganda. It is worthless. What she left out is more significant than what she put in, and she left out a lot. You can learn more about Requires Hate from reading her Twitter feed this very moment than you can from that report. I followed the whole thing from the time RH was still running her now deleted site. Some of the very commenters on Mixon's piece were in fact leaving friendly comments when RH was only going after whites and men. 3 TorCom bloggers were also leaving friendly comments when RH was comparing the intelligence of white men to buffalos. That didn't quite get into Mixon's report, nor will it ever, since she herself has written about the "unconscious bias on the part of men/whites." George hasn't necessarily been dishonest about this affair; he just doesn't know what he's talking about. He hasn't done the legwork, I have.