[LMB] Amazing (ly ignorant) Stories

Lois McMaster Bujold lbujold at myinfmail.com
Thu Sep 5 03:50:46 BST 2013

(Copying my post over from Baen's Bar, where the link also came up.)

[LMB] Amazing (ly ignorant) Stories
T Neill t_neill at hotmail.com
Thu Sep 5 01:10:32 BST 2013

T Neill:  Oh, Paul Cook, No.


Yet another gatekeeper deciding what is and isn't SF.

On Topic because of the soooo tired and asinine  'Bujold isn't really 
writing SF' trope in that op ed.

 >Bangs head against wall<

Also, he can't tell the difference between a novel and an omnibus, and 
seems to think "Shards of Honor" is an example of how "over time" Bujold 
shows she's a closet romance writer.  Like she cunningly hid it all that 
time until her very first novel?  Or ... I'm not sure what he really meant.

Followed by spirited rebuttal in the comments from people who have 
actually *read* Bujold, Wolfe, Miller and Priest.  Comments are already 

LMB:  I see.

This reader has what I have dubbed "the peanut allergy" problem.  If one 
is deathly allergic to peanuts, even a tiny amount in a dish ruins the 
whole thing, regardless of how many other ingredients it contains or how 
well it is prepared.  The mere presence of the peanuts eclipses every 
other consideration.

Why some readers have this allergic response to romance tropes gets into 
attempts to psychoanalyze people over the internet, never a good use of 
one's time.  It's actually fairly common, however, and not at all 
limited to male readers (though quite common among SF readers of several 
genders.)  So no, it's _not_ misogyny, though it does get into the odd 
idea that marriage or relationships are something only women do, and 
therefore only women need pay any attention, but never men, so they need 
not.  (Though this now could be actually true depending on the laws in 
one's US state of residence: welcome to the future.)  I dissect this 
reader-response phenomenon at some length in a couple of the essays 
collected in _Sidelines: Talks and Essays_.)

Since my books are a veritable chicken pad thai in this regard, they are 
naturally not for him.  Right-oh, more for us, and he is welcome to my 
share of _Stand on Zanzibar_ and Disch.  (Except, perhaps, for "The 
Brave Little Toaster", although I did think it one of the few literary 
works improved for being Disneyfied.)  (I am also keeping _The Whole 
Man_.  Not sharing.)

Lend him an epi-pen and pass on, I would say.

Ta, L.

Further comment:  This is not, as usual, an actual argument about books 
or reading, but rather, an argument about perceived status. (And 
personal taste, so-frequently conflated with some Platonic Ideal of 
Science Fiction.)  There's a lot of that going around.

I'm tempted to link the classic xkcd strip, "I can't come to bed! 
Someone is _wrong_ on the Internet!" but I actually find this link more 
helpful for these sorts of kerfuffles:


More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list