How to make an author’s day in one simple step…

Posted on December 16, 2016 by

A fan named GJones says, in the comments thread of my essay “Grownups are the Enemy.”

…I’ll mention that I shared one of your short stories, “The Cage”, with my friends as a specific example of doing things right; namely, having characters deal with a violent male antagonist through legal means and the strength of their community, *without* needing a male authority figure to confront him, and with female characters playing an active role. I may be looking at the wrong kind of SF, but stories like that are quite rare in my experience.

This beautiful bit of praise came in a few days ago, but I’m behind on things. (So many things! They’re all little things, but they piled into drifts because I caught a death flu, decided on an ambitious deadline for the new book, accepted an exciting surprise teaching gig whose syllabus is due any minute now, had a fabulous book launch for The Nature of a Pirate at Bakka Phoenix Books, and–to top it all off–clicked on a Very Bad Thing in an e-mail last Thursday, thus effectively hospitalizing my computer for a few days.) Anyway, I’m shoveling my way back to the concrete, scrape by tiny scrape.

One of the things in the drifts was an automated note from Tor saying that someone had added a comment to the essay. No surprise, really–I reposted a link to the article about a week ago. It’s about Stephen King’s doorstopper of a problematic horror novel,  It. When I went to see who’d said what, I found the above comment, and more besides. The review of “The Cage” was heartwarming, and gratifying, and so good to hear.

(I should mention this story’s still available for reading, for free, at Tor.com. “The Cage.”)

Telling authors what they’re doing right, and why, takes time and energy. It’s a thoughtful act, and–on an internet where feminism can draw contention and acrimony–it’s even a brave one. GJones, I appreciate your generous and articulate comments, so much. Thank you. I promise to keep working to make these kinds of stories less rare.

Response to How to make an author’s day in one simple step…

  1. OMG. Wow. I never thought I’d get any response on that, let alone this from one of my favorite SF/F writers ever. I will not gush… I will not gush…

    *takes deep breaths, holds back obnoxious fan squeeing*

    Okay. Seriously though. Thank you! This made my day too. Politics here in the US has been horrible, and it’s awesome to see an author both writing awesome stuff and showing political courage. Believe me, I will remember this, and try to continue providing feedback when possible. And thank you so so much for understanding where I was coming from, re “The Cage”. A bunch of my friends asked me about that story today on hearing about this, and I recommended it to them too…

    Anyway, yeah. Write what you want/need. (It will probably be awesome anyway, judging from all your other work.) But I am so, so glad to see someone taking seriously the… pattern, I guess, that I was talking about. It’s just really fantastic to see a published author actually acknowledge and oppose a horrible trope like that.

    I’ve had a weird life. Growing up male, nobody understands why you can’t deal with Disney princesses needing to be rescued by men. Nobody understands why you like female superheroes. Nobody understands why you would hate “manhood”, or not want to be huge and tall and strong, or not want to be a father.

    Tell people that TV and movies and books and comics all feel horribly wrong to you, and people will act like you’re not right in the head. Even men who are progressive. Even women who are feminist. Nobody notices how twisted everything is.

    I’ve only very recently, within the last few years, discovered my real circle of friends; and realized that other people who think like me even exist at all. So, THANK YOU. Really. I will probably never be published by Tor or anything, for far too many reasons; but if I could be and wanted to, then I would aspire to be a writer like you, and to do what you’re doing. Thank you.

    (I really hope I’m not being too forward here. Never gotten a reaction like this from an author I liked. Sorry, everyone.)

    • Options for guys seem, from my point of view, to be widening. The thing we call toxic masculinity isn’t going away anytime soon, necessarily (and you can speak to this far more eloquently than me, I’m sure) but I see some men finding other ways.

      I hope if you do find yourself one day writing, and selling–to Tor or whomever!–you’ll let me know. In the meantime, thank you again both for the kind words and for telling people about my fiction!

      • Thanks, again. Small correction, I identify as nonbinary now among my closer friends.

        Just FYI, I write (and have written) a fair amount on an amateur basis. Nothing really complete or publishable so far; but I figure at some point I’ll put up my better stuff online, under a copyleft license. I currently don’t wish to publish commercially. Hope I’m not being pretentious saying so; but if you ever wanted to see some of my material, I’d be glad to share.