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Since it is the 21st century
james_nicoll
Isn't it time Gaiman and his fans replaced Heinlein and his fans at center of F&SF? I call for debate between their fans.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

They already have, except maybe the Hugo awards subculture?

A tangent: In the Worldcon subculture, back in 2007, some questioned whether the 2009 Worldcon's newly-announced Pro Guest of Honour was "too young" to deserve the position. In response, I made charts examining the ages and career lengths of Worldcon Pro GoHs.

1940's GoH, Robert Heinlein, had been publishing SF for two years. He was 33 years old.

2009's GoH, Neil Gaiman, had been publishing for 24 years. He was 49 years old.

Let nature take its course and give it five more years.

I was going to say ten. YMMV.

Does Gaiman make explicit political/how to live your life statements in his work? If there were "The Notebooks of Death" discussing the importance of a well-chosen eyeliner, I'd take the parallel more seriously.

There's practically nothing didactic about Gaiman, unlike RAH.

Technically he wouldn't have to in his fiction, since everybody's non-fiction is so much more accessible via the Internet. But his opinions don't seem terribly prescriptive.

Yes, he does, actually. Live as though the magic of storytelling were reeeeaal!

Which has had influence on people in my age cohort and younger.

Indeed, it took me years to get over that (and to stop writing like it, too).

Yes; I think to some extent he does (Pratchett certainly does, and a very fine moral code it is to live by)

Truth be told, I really don't see how Gaiman and his fans are ever going to be like RAH's in their overweening relationship to the SF&F genre. Sure, Gaiman was a bit put out over the Hugos at Loncon, but it's not like he actually plunged all fandom into war.

Sometimes, it's good to remind ourselves that we also like a good snark and seek it out with glee.

Gaiman's fans don't have the same relationship to SF/F as Heinlein's did/do, true, and I think he wants it that way.

But he has been gradually heading down the path that does not rock for a few years now, since the "a few dead Indians" incident and his fans going after Debbie Reese and an LJer for criticizing what Gaiman said. The kicker is that it seemed like he knew exactly what he was doing, because a later tweet explained that Reese was fine, it was the "LJ twit" that was the problem, as though he was directing fans to attack the "right" person; he later apologized.

Still, things like this happen with Gaiman and his fans pretty regularly nowadays. To my perception, which doesn't necessarily reflect reality, it seems like these incidents are escalating, and the scolding of his fans with the sniffly Hugo pin comment seemed directed toward the same sort of goal.

I'm not saying it's inevitable that he'll end up causing something even bigger than the most recent fiasco (which wasn't entirely his fault, of course) but I think there's a likelihood there.

(Edited, hit post too soon)

Edited at 2014-03-13 02:26 am (UTC)

Why Gaiman and his fans, and not, say, Scalzi, and his?

Gaiman's top five books, according to Bookscan sales, versus Scalzi's:

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.19.14 AMScreen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.20.37 AM

I'd say that's why. Of course, one doesn't need to be a megaseller to get fans to orbit you, but it sure does help.

Edited at 2014-03-12 04:23 pm (UTC)

Was RAH that big a seller? I ask in real ignorance since simple google searches do not turn up sales numbers for The Moon is Harsh Mistress which I hoped to compare with Dune.

I think that the unspoken but widely held opinion that the only place Fantasy should come first in F&SF is in the abbreviation stops that changeover from ever taking place.

Neal Stephenson, maybe?

I wonder if that's an opinion that's also disappearing along with the old guard.

You call for drama and confrontation and blood spilled . . .

For his entertainment and ours...


Heinlein has been a favorite author of mine since I discovered science fiction.

As my worldview has matured, I come to appreciate the merits of death as applies to authors of pieces that the future regrets. The future can conveniently claim that the problematic aspects are "a product of the times" and the author, being factually as well as conceptually dead, is not around to provide embarrassing and regrettable counterpoint.

Edited at 2014-03-12 06:17 pm (UTC)

I don't think this can be accomplished by decree before BO's third term. Otherwise you have to wait until every person alive on the planet has been influenced by the work of Neil Gaiman.

I always wondered what a tasteful invocation to Eris would be like, and now I know.

Madbadger

If Gaiman takes over, can we have a backlash of people pointing out that his books aren't nearly as great as his cultists claim, and a couple are outright shit?


Since it is the 21st century, isn't it time David Letterman replaced Ed Sullivan at center of the variety show genre?