So I’ve been contemplating "retirement" lately…

June 18, 2013 § 7 Comments

And no, before you begin to think it’d be akin to this pathetic search for attention that I parodied nearly three years ago, it’s not a “retirement” from blogging/reviewing all together.  Rather, I have been thinking for the past several weeks (I first heard the news on Twitter) on Nick Mamatas‘ decision to “retire” from writing SF/F/H.  In particular, this passage from his recent FAQ post regarding the retirement has resonated with me:

The Readercon sexual harassment debacle was one, as was overhearing disgusting pig commentary about the event at Worldcon later that same year. Naturally, last week’s SFWA sexism controversy is proof to me that I should just stay away. In addition to sexist culture and patriarchy and all the politicized rhetoric used to explain such phenomena, it all rather hints to me that SF is basically full of people in a state of emotional arrest. You know, social simpletons. I don’t want to write for these people.

 If I add the time that I was a moderator/Admin of wotmania’s Other Fantasy section (October 2001 to the site’s shutdown in 2009) to the nearly nine years since I started this blog, I have been inundated with “genre” matters for nearly a dozen of my adult years (or almost a third of my lifetime).  While I’ve seen some interesting movements arise (New Weird and Steampunk as “hot” topics; the growing profile of non-Anglophone writers), more and more I just see the seedy underbelly of the so-called “genre community” bared like a mangy dog rolling in its filth and expecting passing humans to rub its belly and pat it on the head.   Rarely does a month (week?) go by without some “controversy” raring its putrid head:  sexist old farts, racist twits, and so forth.  But what annoys me most is how jejune the arguments are on most sides.  Even those “progressivists” with whom I should share more sympathy too often come across as offering little more than a rebuke of dimwits who long ago should have been shunted aside in favor of new paradigms of storytelling.  I get the message that so many members/fans of X, Y, and Z are full of offensive crap.  I just want better reasons to read your writings.

And that’s what I am not really seeing here.  Doubtless some of it is due to some “blind spots” of my own choosing and some of it due to a relative lack of visibility for alt-SF/F (I’m actually surprised that such terminology, to my meager knowledge, has not been applied to those recent stories that buck older “mainstream” SF/F/H).  All I know is that I can barely stomach the thought of reading any SF or fantasy right now (I’ve been hot/cold with horror for two decades now) and perhaps instead of enduring yet another iteration of old fart says dumb stuff and various “FAIL” .gifs are made in response, I should just delete the few remaining “genre” links in my blogroll, stop following 2/3 or more of the 500+ people I follow on Twitter, and just instead read something, anything other than SF/F for a year or more until this “burnout” I feel is gone.  I’m hesitant to do this and likely won’t in full, but the past year or more has certainly sapped most of my enjoyment of speculative fictions.

Feel free to guess the number of hours/days/weeks/months before I change my mind 😛


§ 7 Responses to So I’ve been contemplating "retirement" lately…

  • srs says:

    But… but… where else will we get our squirrelpunk fix?

  • Larry Nolen says:

    Here. Squirrelpunk I exclude from SF/F/H, as it transcends "genre" in so many ways 😉

  • James says:

    I am disappointed at the lack of comments calling you a pretentious asshole. Or a big meanie. I'm not picky and will take either.

  • Larry Nolen says:

    I'd have to become "relevant" again for such accusations to be made toward me. After all, I've worked hard these past few years to distance myself from a whole host of things, including some Canadians 😛

  • Roland says:

    I'll keep visting your page and reading your posts as long as you keep reviewing books, any books. Your voice stands out in this community and is a welcome counterweight to all the other generic SFF blogs I follow.I have discovered several writers here on this blog that I never would have heard of otherwise!

  • Larry Nolen says:

    I do plan on reviewing some books in the near future, but I may return to writing more non-review essays as well.Hopefully, there'll be some more "new" voices to promote. And oddly enough, right after posting this, I finished reading Neil Gaiman's latest and received the Tor edition of the reprint of Steven Erikson/Lundin's This River Awakens. Might review the Gaiman and am leaning toward reviewing the Erikson…or maybe I'll reference one or both in an essay that'll touch upon something else I've been thinking about for some time.

  • Anonymous says:

    It's nice to plan the future ahead so that we will be secured that we get to have a good one. Have you thought about living at 55 and over communities on long island later in your life? I plan to live in one and I am starting to weigh my options now than making others decide for me.

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