Sunday, July 29, 2012

Readercon. Boy Am I Mad.

I love Readercon. It was my first and is still my favorite gathering-of-the-tribes event. The words below were written in anger (as the title suggests) but not swiftly or thoughtlessly. I stand by them. However, I'd like to emphasize my belief that the community will come through this stronger, in the end. 
Right: a lot of other people, starting with the eloquent and restrained target of the harassment, Genevieve Valentine, have described the incident at Readercon a few weeks ago. In brief, Genevieve was stalked, touched, and followed by a repeat offender, and the Board of Directors decided to flaunt its own policy because, in so many words, they think the offender was sorry.

Sorry, eh? That’s ducky. That’s cute. Now apply your explicit goddamned policy and ban him. Not because of the snowballing debacle you've created for a con I dearly love, but because it's the right thing to do.

I have a little more steam to blow off, here. Maybe it's a hot flash.

I’m a white guy, which means I’m rarely followed, groped, patronized, leered at, talked over or assumed to be intellectually or emotionally bereft. I’m also finding myself FUCKING WELL SICK of that old bloody beast sexism that keeps shambling through con after fucking con. I'm sick of women getting pasted onto the ends of panels and then ignored or lectured by their male colleagues. I'm sick of women getting followed around by creeps. I'm sick of hearing a few days after a con that someone "of stature" ended an evening making drunken comments about a woman's appearance or sexual appetites or hormones or breasts. I'm sick of learning that friends have been slighted, insulted, pursued or just treated like dirt.

This is grotesquely wrong, dudes. We’re practitioners and lovers of science fiction and fantasy. We have readers. We have fans. We’re trusted as a judge of things. We’re supposed to know something about what makes a world good, what drives it downward into ruin and hate and blindness and despair. Why do so many cons get dragged down into the sewer by this kind of behavior? Why are so many cons safe havens for chauvinists?

I don’t care if you’re a mighty editor, a curly-bearded Marxist genius with thirty-six unreadable dystopias to your name, a hipster Casanova, a hot-off-the-skillet golden boy, or a member of the old guard so old you pinned diapers on Asimov. This is not your private playground. Stop making me ashamed to share genitalia with you. Grow up and respect women, damn it. Among other things it’s a way of respecting yourself. 

Thanks to Genevieve Valentine, Ekaterina Sedia and Matthew Cheney for writing about this incident, to Matthew and Rose Fox for speaking out from within the Readercon adminstration, and to Veronica Schanoes for organizing a petition to the Board of Directors, which you can read and sign here


Veronica Schanoes said...

Thank you very much for this post. It's always really good to find men who really understand what's wrong and why.

Mat said...

Publication date for book 4? Hi. I was searching for book 4 and found out that the british version will be out in October, and the american in January. Can you confirm this? Another thing is that the british kindle version of Night of the Swarm is wrongly linked to the River of Chaos on Thank you

Erich said...

Come stop by dragon con that's good people

Robert V.S. Redick said...

Veronica: thank you for saying that, and for your petition, which I've linked to above. Mat: I'm afraid those dates are correct. I'll be posting more details in a day or two (just had it confirmed myself). I'm dismayed, too. I delivered the first draft of the book in September last year.

Erich: one fine day!

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