Back From the RT Booklovers’ Convention

And here is the very nice award they gave me there. It is interesting, and perhaps instructional, that the comment I got the most as I was showing it off was “wow, that would be an excellent award for murdering someone with.” Yes, I suppose it would be. Not that I have any plans to do that. Unless, of course, you piss me off.

I’ll tell you a story about getting the award. RT Book Reviews is a magazine that primarily but not exclusively reviews works in the romance genre, and so their Reviewer’s Choice awards are primarily (but, obviously, not exclusively) in the romance genre, which has a largely (but again not exclusively) female authorship. Correspondingly most of the Reviewer’s Choice Award recipients are women; of the thirty or so Reviewer’s Choice awards they gave out at the ceremony, I was one of two men accepting awards (the other being the male half of the “Ilona Andrews” writing team).

With that as preamble, one of the things they do at the RT Reviewer’s Choice Award ceremony is have male romance book cover models escort the award recipients to the stage; they walk them up the ramp in part to help pace the ceremony and keep it moving at a brisk clip — when one recipient was up giving the speech, the next would queue up, and so on (the winners were announced in advance so this was easy to do). On the side of ceremony room I was on there were two of the fellows, who would alternate walking up the award recipient.

When it was my turn to queue up, the two men looked over at me, wondering what they should do; my response was to signal to them that, hells yeah, one of them was going to walk me up. Because damn it, I was an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award recipient, and I wanted the full award winner experience. Which included being walked up to the stage by a hunky male romance cover model.

They both walked me up, each taking an arm. I felt very special.

Beyond that particular moment, I had a very good time at the RT Booklovers’ Convention as a whole. On a practical sense, it seemed a well-run convention — they had a book signing area, with well over a hundred authors of all sorts, that was extremely well run, enough so that I think other con runners should come to this thing to see how they do it. Likewise, I was impressed at how smoothly the awards ceremony went — there were a few dozen award recipients in total yet they got through the entire ceremony in just a couple of hours. As someone at the head of an organization that has its own award ceremony, I was taking notes.

I also have to say that I liked the vibe of the convention, which was (for the authors, at least) relaxed and fun. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and were happy to be sitting around, chatting and sharing notes. I’ll note that as RT is heavily focused on the romance genre — a field which, by the way, has significant crossover into the speculative fiction and YA genres (and often both at the same time) — the author and fan attendance skewed largely female; while men weren’t entirely absent (there were male authors and fans, and spouses of female authors and fans) they were relatively rare. In the evenings, I would be hanging out at the bar with other writers and friends and I would look around and every other person around the table would be a woman. And I would go, huh, and then go back into the conversation.

This is something that I think might be worth noting out loud: At a largely female-oriented convention, as a man, I was never excluded, resented or made to feel unwelcome. There were folks who were surprised I was there, but that surprise was always “Oh! Cool! You’re here!” rather than “Why are you here?” And that, of course, is a salient difference. No one questioned my reasoning for being there, or suggested, say, that I was a Fake Romance Boy, or quizzed me about who my favorite romance author was or if I could recite that author’s bibliography to their satisfaction. I certainly wasn’t skeezed on. On the contrary, people went out of their way to ask me if I was enjoying myself and to let me know they were glad I was there. When I admitted ignorance about certain writers or genre details they were happy to expand my knowledge, and they wanted to know more about what I did and my own experiences as a writer.  I met lots of new people and made new friends and in many ways it was one of the best convention experiences I’ve had in a long time.

This leaves wide open and hanging the question of why was it so easy for the folks at the RT Booklovers’ Convention, fans and creators both, to welcome a stranger of the opposite gender into their midst, while other enthusiast communities that skew male still have creators and fans who blow a gasket about women doing their thing in that genre. It’s not difficult to be welcoming and friendly. I wish the genres I am actively a part of could do as good a job of it as romance and the RT Booklovers’ convention did for me (and, I will note, the other men I saw at the convention).

So, in all: An excellent time with excellent people, and, hey, I got an award, too. Not a bad weekend at all.

173 Comments on “Back From the RT Booklovers’ Convention”

  1. I’d be careful, Mr. Scalzi. If you pay attention to those murder mysteries where someone is killed with an award, the award recipient is invariably the victim, not the perpetrator. Maybe that one needs to go in a *locked* display case.

    But congrats on the award!

  2. Not sure I can answer your question in a ladylike manner, so I’ll leave it to the “gentlemen” to explain their behavior. My (limited) experience with female romance (or spec fiction) writers is that they tend to be generous, funny and caring people in real life. The sort of people I want to meet for drinks or coffee and a good chat.

  3. Indeed. RT is a hugely fun and welcoming convention–I’ve had a blast at the ones I’ve attended in the past. I have found, in general, that the romance community is much more welcoming to new voices than the speculative fiction one is. I have a pretty good idea about some of the reasons why that is but it’s not fully cooked so won’t inflict it on anyone. Yet.

  4. It was good to meet you, and I’m glad we were a friendly bunch! I’ve found the same thing to be true; I love hanging out with romance writers! Congrats on your award, and thanks for being a part of RT this year! I look forward to reading Redshirts (electronically, because my marriage works better now that I stopped filling the house with paperbacks), and my friend is soooooo excited about all the books you signed for him!

  5. Where there any complaints that the hunks didn’t really know the genre and were only there due to their looks?

  6. As an author who has been to many RT conventions over the years, I have to say that John captured the experience perfectly. It is a friendly, welcoming group, and an example of why I enjoying living my professional life in the romance community. (Though I’ve also written fantasy for Del Rey and YA historical fantasy for SMP, and even did a Big Idea post here, thank you, Mr. Scalzi.)

    I was sitting right by the ramp when John was escorted up to collect his award by two laughing hunks, and a fine moment it was. I might add that another reason for the escorts is that a lot of women wear high heels to collect awards, and since we’re absent minded writers, we run the risk of tripping and breaking our necks, which is why I don’t wear high heels.

  7. Fake Romance Boy sounds like an excellent band name…

    And good for you for taking the full beefcake option – I saw you in your fabulous shoes, but would also love to see the testosterone sandwich from when they walked you up…I’m willing to bet you were the comfiest of the three :)

  8. So glad that you had a good time! It’s a really great convention, but also just a really terrific community.

  9. I attend many book related conferences and I find that RT Booklovers is really the most inclusive, relaxing, and just flat out fun conference out there . I always have a great time! I would encourage readers and writers of any and all genre fiction to check it out. It was great to meet you and get a chance to get some books signed. Hope to see you next year in NOLA and congrats on the award. PS. you really rocked those red pumps

  10. It is great to see that your works are appreciated by those other than us hard core SF readers. I find that a little romance in a good SF novel makes the characters to be more human and humane. I personally don’t care to mix sexually explicit scenes with Science Fiction, but I am sure there are a number who do. So I guess you could say that I prefer my HARD CORE to be Sci-Fi and not porn.

    John, thank you for being a great spinner of tales I enjoy reading and always leaveing me wanting more!

  11. Firstly, I applaud you going the whole nine yards and being escorted by both males. Life is too short and sometimes you just have to go for it. Reminds me of the time I was twelve and put on my 9 year old sister’s one piece bathing suit on a lark. It was black and tight, but nothing tore (on me or with the bathing suit). I still remember with satisfaction the look on my sisters, brother and, especially, Mom. Golden.

    Regarding your good vibes at the largely womens event, I’m not at all surprised. I used to work at Tower Books on night shift (a long time ago) and aside from myself the rest of the staff were women. It was a revelation and in more ways than one. First, I recall them initially remarking that it must be dreary not having any men to talk too, and sometimes this would be said in a self-disparaging tone. I’d respond to the contrary and tell them why: hell, it was just plain more pleasant to hang out with women. They’re so much more inclusive and really have a knack for staying away from self-absorption when socializing and stuff.

    And that’s just it. Women work much harder at drawing each other out. It’s so unlike how men talk amongst themselves. I don’t even know if it should be called work. I’d call it a gift. I wish I had the ability, to be perfectly honest. And, no I’m not putting women on a pedestal. We are all flawed in our own ways, but there’s so much men miss out when they do stupid stuff like exclude women as people. Not only is it wrong, it’s essentially a loss–for men.

  12. @Tim H: may I suggest you try some Lois McMaster Bujold? Specifically her Sharing Knife tetrotology. It’s not purely Romance, since she’s doing some genre-melding, and very well, too. She’s better known for her hard sci-fi Vorkosigan series, but her interests have been moving toward fantasy/romance in the last few years.

    If a four-book series seems a bit much to start with, you might try her stand-alone novel The Spirit Ring. Again, not pure romance, but plenty of it and beautifully written.

  13. I really appreciate you pointing out the difference between RT and some other cons out there, in that the predominant gender in attendance doesn’t try to make the opposite gender feel unwelcome. I’ve always felt that romance cons are more like family reunions, where everyone is welcome no matter how everyone is related, and I’m glad someone from outside the genre had the same experience.

  14. Tim H: There’s a world of romance out there, so it’s hard to recommend blind! But for some romance within sf&f, you could do a lot worse than to start with Bujold’s Sharing Knife series (four books, second world fantasy, lots of magic and action but the focus is on relationships) or Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey and sequels (Jane Austen, with glamor-based magic).

  15. Sounds like a really nice experience.

    @ Tim H. Perhaps borderline, and maybe a good entrance: I have enjoyed the random selection of “In Death” books by J.D. Robb I’ve read, a mixture of near future SF, police procedural, and some romance/sex.

  16. I love this post with all my forces.

    Tim H: for extremely funny historicals that are also aware of the gender and race issues within the genre, Tessa Dare (race is addressed in The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy). Julia Quinn is also hilarious (the Smith-Smythe and the Bevelstoke books are my favorites.) Courtney Milan for very smart, complex and feminist books (the ones I’ve read so far were Victorian.) Lauren Dane and Victoria Dahl for contemporary, and Lauren Dane has sci-fi and paranormal books too, though I haven’t read the sci-fi series.

  17. Mr. Scalzi, I’m delighted you had such a good time!

    As to the whys and wherefores, one might speculate that the groups being compared may have had overall quite different formative experiences with the opposite sex. On the other hand, that might be both incorrect and condescending. Not to mention just making excuses for bad behavior.

  18. Your experience at RT nicely highlights a BIG difference between Romance and SF. One is warm, inviting, loving. The other is cold stellar multi-tentacled mind-blowing conflict. The fans reflect that to some extent — and this makes me wonder how accepting SF fans will be when aforementioned tentacled visitors really do drop by for a visit. I applaud your ongoing efforts to help our fan-base get in touch with their warmer, welcoming side.

  19. An excellent question. Having just attended C2E2 for the 3rd time (it’s now 4 years old) and being pretty happy with the results, I would hazard a guess that the level of “welcome” extended to attendees is due, in part, to the desire the organizers have to create such an environment for the attendees and their willingness to enforce it. If they really want to make it a priority for their convention/event to be a safe, friendly space for everyone, they’ll put the effort into making it that way. It tends to have a ripple effect – if people know that a convention is going to be welcoming, they’re going to be more likely to attend (and if they’re the kind of people who aren’t going to enjoy that kind of welcoming atmosphere, they’re more likely to skip it).

    Congrats on the award!

  20. @ Tim H

    I hope you get lots of recommendations–here are some of mine:

    On the speculative side–Lois McMaster Bujold is a recommendation I second. You can read either her Fantasy series (The Sharing Knife) or read Cordelia’s Honor, which starts her Miles Vorkosigan series. Neither series is fully romance, though they are romantic and some of her books are straight romances (A Civil Campaign is dedicated to classic romance authors). You might also read Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke (steampunk) or Linnea Sinclair (Games of Command–science fiction romance).

    Courtney Milan is wonderful and she does neat things with some of the conventions in romance in her Victorian set romances. Another common first romance recommendation is Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels (though I prefer The Last Hellion) or Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Met (Chase is Regency-set, Crusie, contemporary). Julie James writes smart heroines set in Chicago. Suzanne Brockmann’s novels are full of action and her world-building is excellent (they are contemporary set, but she has still built a detailed world around her characters). For more historical recommendations, I also love Lisa Kleypas’s older historicals (Regency-set). They are lacking dukes, earls, and the like, and instead are full of Bow Street Runners, actors, novelists, and gambling hell owners (the last is from Dreaming of You).

  21. Well, forromance writers, my sister-in-law, Camy Tang, who writers more suspense oriented romancers.

    Sorry. For the good of the family, I’m being nepotistic….Heh.

  22. Well said, John. Congratulations on your win.

    I’m planning to build on this post on my own blog, so thank you for this creative kick in the pants. It would be great if more folks in our genre would grow up and chill out.

  23. Um, it may or may not be disturbing that I had the same thought when I was looking at my award when I got home… man…this would make an excellent weapon if I need to hurt somebody…

    You made me laugh like crazy when I saw you with the models, I have to say.

    MJPutney, I also gotta admit, I’m glad the models are there because I was so shaky coming down, I thought I’d collapse flat on my face. I don’t think I did. I don’t think. O.O

    The RT Convention really is a great one…very warm and welcoming, and one that authors & readers of romance, UF and YA can enjoy, IMO.

  24. Congrats on the award, it was well deserved. It was nice to meet you. Good conversation is always welcome and I’m glad the con was a good experience for you. I still have a “people hangover” but I love it.

  25. I’m one of those other male RT writer/attendees. This was my second time there, and I agree with everything you said. RT has been welcoming and inclusive and friendly, and smoothly run. No one ever eyerolled me as a poseur if I didn’t know Laura Kinsale; they just told me who she was and why she is important to the genre. And John, your awards entrance was grand. We were up for a Reviewers Choice, but alas. I was upset because I wanted a hunk escort too. Maybe next year.

  26. @Tim H
    I enjoyed “Jemima J” by Jane Green and “It’s My F—g Birthday” by Marrill Markoe. Both are funny books. I can read romance as long as there is humor involved. Without humor, I morph right into a genre snob.

  27. And that’s just it. Women work much harder at drawing each other out. It’s so unlike how men talk amongst themselves. I don’t even know if it should be called work. I’d call it a gift. I wish I had the ability, to be perfectly honest.

    I do wonder if the presence of a few men affects interaction. My workplace must be 80% male, but I suspect that things might be different if it were actually 100% male. The stories I’ve heard from a couple of all-female workplaces have tended to be full of angst & drama, but the plural of anecdote isn’t data.

  28. So, the Review’s Choice award is the new “Mallet” (though I still think it qualifies as a Maul)?

  29. @Jennifer Lohmann – I think you mean Jennifer Crusie’s “Bet Me”, which is indeed hilarious, like pretty much everything she writes.

  30. Having been to an RWA Nationals conference, this reception is not all that surprising to me.

    If you think about it, Romance writers and readers are a group of people where in the 90-98% believe in a Happily Ever After type of story and in general are going to be an optimistic and inclusive group.

    I have been to other female dominated events (non-reading/writing) and not felt the same level of acceptance as at an RWA type event. I think it is more the type of people that love Romance than their gender.

    Those optimistic SF fans who love the Save The World get the (insert gender of choice) Happily Ever After escapism SF stories are probably as open and welcoming.

  31. Another crossover recommendation would be the ‘Edge’ series by Ilona Andrews (mentioned as including the other male award-winner). The first of the series is ‘Bayou Moon’.

  32. They both walked me up, each taking an arm. I felt very special.


    At a largely female-oriented convention, as a man, I was never excluded, resented or made to feel unwelcome.

    Well, you’re situation may have skewed your experience. Out of curiosity, how many female authors have been invited to recieve an award at an SF convention, and were made to feel unwelcome?

    why was it so easy for the folks at the RT Booklovers’ Convention, fans and creators both, to welcome a stranger of the opposite gender into their midst, while other enthusiast communities that skew male still have creators and fans who blow a gasket about women

    Why are the vast majority of serial killers male?

  33. So, the Review’s Choice award is the new “Mallet” (though I still think it qualifies as a Maul)?

    I thought the idea was loving correction, not death.

    Awards are a fairly common murder weapon in fiction, though so far as I know, not in real life. In the world of Last Action Hero, medical examiners should probably have a closet full of awards for comparison.

    Yes, it’s maul that is a giant scale model of a mallet (a gavel) which is the diminutive of maul. So both are correct and I don’t care is playing short-stop.

  34. As to why female only spaces tend to be more welcoming of men than the other way around, it proably has something to do with the fact that women are often socalized to accept men into their groups more. Also I’d be willing to bet that for a lot of women having a man a) show interest in a typically female hoby and b) be willing to defer to them for knowledge is not something that happens terribly often, and is pleasantly suprising when it does.

  35. @Tim H:

    I see lots of people recommending Bujold, but not a one of them mentioning her newest, Lord Vorpatril’s Alliance. Some romance readers seem to think that is not a romance novel, but they are 100% wrong. :-P (It’s a non-sex-scene romance novel. Point by point, it follows the map laid out by Georgette Heyer, albeit framed in an SFnal setting.)

    Susan Elizabeth Phillips does good contemporary romances, typically with a lot of sports in, so if you’re a guy who likes sports (I know not all men are), those might appeal, too.

    Bear in mind that romance novels have a very wide range of sexual content, from “not even implied” to “Wait, is this erotica?” So be aware of that. If there’s a couple in a clinch on the cover (sometimes inside the cover, sometimes on the back cover), it’s a definite sign there will be on-page sex scenes. Note that lack of a clinching couple does NOT mean there won’t be sex scenes.

    Also note that older romance novels (pre-1995ish) will generally have tropes that are now understood as problematic, e.g., “forced seduction,” which in the light of critical analysis is clearly rape. It had a purpose for women back in the day, but the purpose is over now that it’s acceptable for women to actually enjoy sex. Newer novels will tend more toward the heroine participating affirmatively (though not always. I’ve seen a few head-smacking books in the last five years).

  36. @Greg “Well, you’re situation may have skewed your experience. ”

    No. I’ve been to a Romance conference as a nobody. They are inclusive. They even talk to the guys they admit tend a little bit toward the skeevey side. They may have been why they talked to me.

  37. It’d be bad for me to want to objectify the male models right now? Yes?


  38. Greg: “Well, you’re situation may have skewed your experience. ”

    Patrick: “No.”

    Uhm… so… you don’t believe in the concept of anecdotal evidence?

  39. The RT book signing expo was run by Becky Anderson of Anderson’s Bookstore in Naperville, IL. Anderson’s ran the RT book expo at RT12 in Chicago, as well. They are book people who know their stuff.

    As one of the other male RT authors, I agree that males are included, and I think it’s because we’re treated first and foremost as people first.

  40. “Uhm… so… you don’t believe in the concept of anecdotal evidence?”

    I’ve found that generalizing from one example is pretty good at prediction. Doesn’t everyone? ;)

  41. First off, bravo on the male escorts (which just sounds wrong now that I read it…). There is something to the notion of self-reporting, those that rail about fake this and fake that are saying far more about their own insecurities than they probably realize. Likewise for those that rail about women not knowing their ‘place’ or becoming terribly verklempt at any hint of a slur on their sexuality (or masculinity). Congratulations on your award, and thanks to everyone here for the book recommendations. I am scribbling titles at a furious pace…

  42. PS. Some RT attendees called the trophy “The Wedgie.” Take that as you will.

  43. @ Greg “Uhm… so… you don’t believe in the concept of anecdotal evidence?”

    I’m not following. You were asking if his experience is different because he was there as an invited nominee. He said himself “for me (and, I will note, the other men I saw at the convention).”

    Is this something that requires empirical data or was it just my use of ‘No.’ without ‘IMO’ that was a problem? Do we need to hold formal interviews of both male and female attendees of a Romance conference to come to a fairly obvious conclusion?

  44. My instant reaction: cool.
    My later reaction: but of course women are programmed to be welcome to men and to cater to them.
    My even later reaction: but the thing with the two cover models was still fun. :-)

  45. I’m kinda curious why being “quizzed who your favorite author is” might be seen as unfriendly per se…certainly the inquisitor can be unfriendly, but not always (or even often?)

  46. Pete:

    Being asked who your favorite author is, is not inherently unfriendly.

    Being asked to show that you have a knowledge of that particular author’s bibliography to the satisfaction of that other person, before that other person will acknowledge you belong in the same space, most definitely would be.

  47. Yeah. “Asked who your favorite author is” shows an interest in a person. “Quizzed on who your favorite author is” implies there’s a Wrong Answer, and one is being tested by someone who considers you to be inferior until passing the test.

  48. Patrick: I’m not following

    Because you took a minor objection of one point and turned it into an adamant rejection of the entire post.

  49. It looks like to me we’re about to have Another Pointless Fight™ just to have Another Pointless Fight™ and I would really rather not, Greg, Patrick.

  50. Being asked who your favorite author is, is not inherently unfriendly.

    I’d say it also is colored by the followup. If someone asks “So who’s your fave author” and you reply “Gee, I’m just getting into the genre and don’t really know a lot of people. I’ve read Scalzi and liked OMW though.” following that with “Oh well you’re not a real fan then…” would be a dick move. Following it with “Oh, if you like Scalzi’s work, try….” would be the mark of, well, a real fan.

  51. @Tim H If you like urban fantasy I highly recommend Marjorie Liu’s Maxine Kiss (Hunter) series and Ilona Andrews’ Magic series.

  52. @Greg – It’s kinda a silly objection and was basically asking for an anecdotal response.

    Well, actually, no. You did want actual data. “Out of curiosity, how many female authors have been invited to recieve an award at an SF convention, and were made to feel unwelcome? ”

    Is your question how many have been made to feel unwelcome by the con hosts or the attendees or is ok to combine? How many would be an acceptable number to you?


  53. OOPS! Sorry, was having Another Pointless Fight type of Monday. Moving on…

  54. I was making a subtle argumentative paradox that my frequent co-author Prof. Philip V. Fellman loves to slip into questions that he asks scientists ate conference presentations, who seem to be overgeneralizing.

    Biography – Philip V Fellman
    Associate Professor
    Security and Global Studies

    Philip Vos Fellman is a graduate of the Yale School of Management and Cornell University. He was a long-time associate of former Director of Central Intelligence, William E. Colby and is the author of over 150 publications in approximately eight fields, including intelligence, international business and finance, applied mathematics and quantum physics.

    Dr. Fellman is a well-known speaker on the subject of modeling terrorist networks and has addressed NATO, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, The Military Applications Society of INFORMS, The International Association of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Academy of International Business, The North American Association for Computation in the Social and Organizational Sciences and several International Conferences on Complex Systems. He is a sometime member of AFIO, and the Academy of International Business and an active member of the New England Complex Systems Institute where he is currently preparing a volume in conjunction with Dr. Yaneer Bar-Yam (NECSI president) on using the tools of complex adaptive systems research to counter terrorism, insurgency, ethnic and regional violence.

  55. On the original post and the issue of welcomingness, some possibilities:

    1. Status. A (high-status person) taking an interest in (low-status activity) is flattering. The reverse is pushy and annoying. Male is seen as higher-status than female. Science fiction is seen as higher-status than romance fiction.

    2. Projection. Poorly socialized men assume women are faking interest in order to get male attention because that’s how they would operate if they wanted to get female attention. Sad.

    3. Different scales for dicksizing and different styles of social competition/gatekeeping between men and women. Not getting into nature vs. nurture on this, but there are observable differences between the genders in American society.

    4. John is kind of adorable in person.

    Recommendation pushback: I found the one Courtney Milan novel I read to be cringeworthy. She doesn’t really grasp 19th-century society (“class doesn’t count”) and she makes ludicrous mistakes on historical detail. And I don’t mean in my specialty area of dance history, which pretty much every romance author screws up, but basic stuff that you could research with a bit of google: costumes, titles, etc. I was particularly entertained by her notion that women were not able to perform certain bodily functions while dressed. And some of her dialogue…”Look me in the eyes and say, ‘I have no desire to be your sordid love-slave.’ ” does not really deliver what I’m looking for in a romance novel.

    Reading that novel made me wonder whether there might be a market for historical research services or accuracy-vetting for romance novelists.

    MJPutney above: if you’re who I assume you are, I love your Fallen Angels series and your Regency novels!

  56. Scalzi: Another Pointless Fight™ and I would really rather not

    I thought extremely short answers (short for me at least) would avoid that, but apparently not.

  57. At RT a few years ago, an octogenarian award winner told the audience that she’d planned to skip the convention because she feared she wouldn’t be able to climb the stairs to the stage. Then, she said, the organizers “Promised that the romance cover models would carry me to the podium. So I came. And they went and built that damn ramp.”

    It was a great speech at a great convention.

    Congrats on the award!

  58. Reading that novel made me wonder whether there might be a market for historical research services or accuracy-vetting for romance novelists.

    There is both a market and a need for it (and not just in romance novels; many SF novels get some pretty basic history wrong). Unfortunately, things being what they are, those who most need the service wouldn’t use it and those who most wanted to use it couldn’t afford it.

  59. Tim H. — The SF works of Catherine Asaro contain significant elements of romance, usually mixed together to great success.

  60. @Greg – how does Harlan Ellison grabbing Connie Willis’s breasts at The Nebulas, and the Ho-Ho-Boys-Will-Be-Boys reaction by too many of the male members of SFWA, strike you…?

  61. @Susan – regarding Status, I would say that the SF/Romance split could easily go the other way, especially if you look at sales figures. Of course, status is in the eye of the beholder. I read a lot of both genres, but I am more likely to try to hide the romance titles, if only because the covers can be sort of embarrassing.

    My recommendation for romance (pure romance, no SF) is Georgette Heyer. Start with her and you can never go wrong.

  62. Susan @2:06 pm:

    I think of heavily researched romance novels and lightly (or un-) researched romance novels as analogous to “hard” SF and space opera. Sometimes the reader really wants accuracy. And sometimes she just wants a fun story with beautiful costumes and funny repartee and doesn’t care if the costumes or dialogue are period-accurate.

    The past is a different country, they say. Since none of us are going to be visiting it unless someone invents a time machine, I understand why some readers wouldn’t care about accuracy as long as the story is good.

  63. Georgette Heyer is excellent, @saruby – my wife, Tamora Pierce, got me into reading her when we were first going out. If you want a SF take on Heyer, Lois McMaster Bujold’s A CIVIL CAMPAIGN is her open homage to Heyer’s Regencies filtered though the Miles Vorkosigan series.

    I’d also recommend J.D. Robb’s IN DEATH series as Mystery/Romances with a SF(ish) setting – “Robb” is Romance Goddess Nora Roberts, writing under a somewhat male pseudonym. It’s the adventures of New York Police and Security Department Lieutenant Eve Dallas, who meets and falls in love with her prime suspect in the first book, NAKED IN DEATH, clears him (with his considerable help) and catchs the real culprits – and they get married two books later. The series is a bit of an experiment in seeing if Roberts can write a romance series where the main couple is still head-over-heels for each other after two years of marriage (and counting), while solving crimes together….

  64. I really want pics of your walk up the stage. :) I hope you had a chance to bond with Gordon {of Ilona Andrews} Seems like you guys would get on well.

  65. No award beats the Emmy for lethality. Heavy with two four-inch long spikes on it. Seriously, it weighs a ton.

  66. I wanted to add that Mr. Scalzi was also open and friendly to all those who approached him, answering questions and being happy to do so. It is a fun convention, more reader-oriented than RWA National but with a similar open vibe. And I very much enjoyed the SF workshop he was part of on Friday afternoon.

    On the male models: they’re very knowledgable about the romance genre already, as many have been doing covers for years. But, even if not, they’re just welcomed. Most of them are really cool guys who enjoy also having a conversation. (Aside: if you dress as Wonder Woman, they ask to hug you….)

    SF/F authors with romance in them: I adore Linnea Sinclair for doing SF and romance so well in her books, which are incredibly fast-paced and fun. I love Bujold’s Vorkosigan series which I see someone up above said was hard SF/F but she has a book in that series, A Civil Campaign, that’s a homage to Georgette Heyer & other Regency romance pioneers. (See the dedication.) And Cordelia’s Honor remains my favorite romance book ever. Even if it’s in the SF section. :)

  67. No award beats the Emmy for lethality. Heavy with two four-inch long spikes on it. Seriously, it weighs a ton.

    Is SF falling behind? The Hugo rocket could add a needle-like spike to the nose of the rocket. Alas, I suspect that judges for Hugo base competition have been neglecting lethality as a judging criterion.

  68. As a fellow award winner from RT, I am outraged that the man got two male escorts while all the womenfolk merely got one! Outraged, I tell you!

    I’ve been trying to get my male urban fantasy writing friends to attend RT for a while. It’s always great fun. They’re surprised to learn that the attendees are omnivorous readers after spending years in more insular fandoms. I think next year’s conference in New Orleans is going to be a blast. Especially now that we may get some more fun dudes to attend.

    P.S. John, those heels really made your calves pop.

  69. I only got one escort as well. pfffffftttttt

    BUT, I did get to meet and take a pic with John and that was fabulous. I’m a long-time fan. :)

  70. Susan–you make many good points, and yes, I am the Mary Jo Putney of Fallen Angels, et al. Thanks for the good words. (I also came home with one of the lethal awards, and I’m placing it where my cats can’t get to it. *G*)

    I ADORED Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, which is totally a marriage of convenience story, done in Bujold’s matchless style. Other authors I’d recommend that have been mentioned here: Catherine Asaro, Linnea Sinclair, Sharon Shinn on the fantasy side. There are others. I’m with Cory on Cordelia’s Honor, not to mention the whole Vorkosiverse.

  71. I cracked up with the rest when the guys took your arms (I got two as well…but only one for each ramp-walk, not both at once. Jealous!). But what really stuck with me was your speech, which I found incredibly gracious. The fact you gave all those mad props to Julie Garwood couldn’t have hurt your overall reception, but I suspect you would’ve been welcomed anyway :-)

    As others have said, RT is just a fun, friendly kinda convention. The part where we all sit around talking about craft and whatnot is why a lot of us attend, I think; I always come away having learned things from those informal interactions that make the whole con worth the price of admission. As a romance writer but also a sf/f writer and fan, I think most of that stuff is universal for genre novelists. Anyone who writes would benefit.

    The romance writing community is fun, friendly, and doesn’t take itself as seriously as people seem to expect. And next year RT is in New Orleans, so obviously you should come. And bring friends. Because…fun, friendly, and IN NEW ORLEANS.

  72. @Tim H – I second Courtney Milan, who has been my official romance recommendation to non-romance readers lately.

  73. I didn’t think I read romance until I realized a bunch of the urban fantasy series’ I’d read technically had a romance subplot. I mistakenly thought of romance as regency historicals with women in loose corsets on the cover. It’s so much more, and this post really confirms it. Wish I’d been at RT!

  74. Greg:

    Well, you’re situation may have skewed your experience. Out of curiosity, how many female authors have been invited to recieve an award at an SF convention, and were made to feel unwelcome?

    I doubt Connie Willis, for example, has ever been made to feel particularly unwelcome at an SF convention. She’s a popular and well-liked program participant. Alas, her stature as one of the most award-winning SF authors, past Guest of Honor and current Toastmaster of WorldCon did not stop Harlan Ellison from groping her on stage during the Hugo award ceremony. Granted she was giving an award, not receiving one but I can’t see how that difference matters as she was in her capacity of Toastmaster which is an even greater honor, some would say, than winning a Hugo.

    (Aside to timeliebe—I need to post the stuff I type faster–It wasn’t the Nebulas, it was the Hugos and many members of WSFS objected as soon as their jaws got picked up off the ground.
    But yes, several people did have the whole Harlan will be Harlan attitude. Sigh.)

    But Greg’s point, I think, rather misses the mark. People at the RT convention were welcoming to all the men, not just Scalzi as other male attendees on this thread have pointed out. I saw nothing in Scalzi’s post to indicate he felt he was getting special treatment from the other authors and attendees because he had won one of the awards.

    Contrast to the many, many, many incidents of female authors who were harassed, groped, not asked to be on panels, dismissed when they were on panels and dared to speak, asked to justify their “geekiness”, and more. Heck, just look at some of the objections to the current list of Hugo Nominees! Scalzi wrote about the Readercon incident between a female author and male fan here on this blog. Somehow I don’t see the RT convention needing a Backup Project, even with the male cover models.


    Places to start with Romance: I join the chorus re Lois McMaster Bujold’s Shards of Honor, A Civil Campaign and Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance if an SF reader wants to ease into romance. You might start with Memory or Komarr both also excellent books–not romances but they are the two books that precede A Civil Campaign. Not that you have to read Bujold in order. Most books are structured so one can enter her Vorkosigan series at any point.

    Connie Willis has Bellewhether and To Say Nothing of the Dog.

    And then there’s Georgette Heyer’s The Talisman Ring. It’s a Georgian Romance set in the late 18th century. I just laughed my way through a re-read the other day. It’s a great read.

  75. On escorts: the Hugo Award Ceremony uses them too, first to escort the trophy and then to escort the winner. That’s useful if there are high heels or other mobility issues involved (there are also assistants at every ramp and flight of stairs to help if needed), and the escort also supplies the navigational skills that may be lost when the winner gets their shiny rocket, despite careful rehearsal to show the nominees which opening in the curtains leads to the off-ramp and which leads to a dangerous fall.

    So when planning last year’s Hugo ceremony, I had to think about the gender issues involved with escorts. In 2011, only female escorts were used, which I found a little disturbing. I used both men and women, and then thought about the interesting issue of whether to attempt to assign escorts according to either standard heteronormative visual contrast (one suit and one evening gown per pairing of winner and escort) or the romantic preference of the winners. The issue was sufficiently fraught and the ceremony sufficiently complex to stage without adding Extra Fraught that I ended up assigning some escorts by height (due to the height of the Hugo display) and ceremony logistics and letting the rest call dibs on their favorite categories.

    Female escorts were warned not to wear high heels, so as not to become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

  76. 1. Squee! Mary Jo Putney responded to me. (Sorry, had to get that out. :)
    2. It was a romance writer who forced Bujold’s Cordelia’s Honor into my hand and insisted I’d love it, even though I hadn’t read SF in a long time. After that, I started reading SF again.

  77. ““Oh! Cool! You’re here!” rather than “Why are you here?” And that, of course, is a salient difference. No one questioned my reasoning for being there, or suggested, say, that I was a Fake Romance Boy, or quizzed me about who my favorite romance author was or if I could recite that author’s bibliography to their satisfaction. I certainly wasn’t skeezed on. On the contrary, people went out of their way to ask me if I was enjoying myself and to let me know they were glad I was there. ”

    I believe that is all part and parcel of the easy setting and, as you have rightly pointed out, what all conventions goes of good will deserve.

  78. Gosh, in my experience, when two hunky male guys are escorting a third male, the hunky guys are usually bouncers.

    [edit: “in my experience as an observer” *ahem*]

    As for the welcoming attitude at RT, could it be as simple as “Show respect, get respect”?

    I will second the recommendation for Jennifer Crusie’s books. The second-most popular post, ever, on my own blog was about attending a 2006 talk/book-signing by Crusie and her collaborator Bob Mayer*.

    Not only are Crusie’s books funny, in person she’d even funnier. If Jennifer Crusie, Connie Willis, and Esther Freisner ever ended up in the same room together, the resulting jocular explosion would level an entire city.

    *Crusie and Mayer’s collaborations are one of the oddest odd-couples I’ve seen in writing, though their books together worked well. Crusie writes funny romances, whereas Bob Mayer is an ex-Special Forces guy who could kill you using only one finger and whose solo books are high-action, high-testosterone thrillers. For an equivalent in the SF field, try to imagine Connie Willis and John Ringo doing a novel together.

  79. Romance recs:
    Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld books are somewhere on the urban fantasy/paranormal romance line. Some are better than others, but I particularly liked Bitten, Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic, and Personal Demon.

    Classic (not sexed up) Regency: I second the recs for Georgette Heyer, with a warning that the anti-Semitic bits she sometimes throws in are ugly and shocking to a modern reader. My favorite (despite one such bit of ugliness) is The Grand Sophy. The depth and breadth of Heyer’s historical worldbuilding is unmatched and is satisfying in the same way good F&SF worldbuilding is.

    More explicitly erotic historical romances with interestingly complex plots: Mary Jo Putney and Mary Balogh are my favorites. Balogh has some very standard elements to her sex scenes that become rather noticeable if you read a lot of her books in rapid succession.

    Despite reading both genres, I have trouble getting into a lot of F&SF/romance crossovers. I love Bujold’s Vorkosigan ones (A Civil Campaign in particular), and thought Kim Stanley Robinson did an amusingly good job sneaking his mashup past SF fans last year, but I really cannot stand Catherine Asaro and had to give up on Bujold’s Sharing Knife books after the first two. On the fantasy side, Barbara Hambly’s Stranger at the Wedding is a good one.

  80. @saruby:
    My experience is that there are many more romance than F&SF novels published that are extremely formulaic, poorly written, and just plain dreadful. That doesn’t mean the best of them aren’t very good or that there isn’t a good supply of just-fine romance novels. But it can be harder to find them in the sea of dreck. This might account for some of the perception that romance is the lowest of the low as far as literature goes. Or it might just be sexism. :) But I’ve heard enough variations on the comment “You read SF? Well, at least that’s not as bad as reading that romance crap” to feel that there’s definitely a difference in perceived status. This may have diminished lately, or it may have increased with F&SF achieving more mainstream popularity of late.

    I hope I’ve made it clear that I’m just speculating about all of this.

    (Note: my opinion on romance novels is informed by having reviewed romances professionally, which meant I didn’t get to choose my own reading and spent enough time plowing through dreck to really appreciate the good stuff.)

  81. Years ago when I first decided to make a serious go at writing novels, I wrote romances. Not because I liked them, but because I thought (stupidly) that it was an easy way to get published. I joined RWA and read tons of romance novels.

    I never arrived at a point where I enjoyed reading romances. Not because they were poorly written–some certainly suck, but many are actually very well-written–but because I simply don’t like the genre. Kind of like the way I don’t like green peppers, even though many people I know adore them. There’s nothing wrong with the green peppers–they’re just not my taste.

    But I’ll tell you something–I have never in my life encountered a more welcoming and helpful group of people. Romance writers were my first mentors, and many of them were outstanding teachers. They didn’t mind when I finally gave up romances and switched to other genres, including screenwriting. They were just as supportive. I also saw men welcomed into the fold every time one was brave enough to join. Our chapter even had a male president for a while.

    I no longer belong to RWA because there is no chapter where I live now, but if one started or I moved back to a city that had one, I would join again in a heartbeat.

    Thanks for sharing, John, and congratulations on the award!

  82. Our favorite Georgette Heyer is, hands down, Frederica. But most of her books with the woman’s name in the title are amazingly awesome.

  83. ultragotha: But Greg’s point, I think, rather misses the mark.

    Gallagher… watermelon… Score!

    Susan: I used both men and women, and then thought about the interesting issue of whether to attempt to assign escorts according to either standard heteronormative visual contrast

    heh. Sometimes I wonder how many layers of cultural and biological assumptions humans have packed in them. People are like onions, or orgres, or something….

  84. I’m glad to see Connie Willis finally mentioned in the context of her work, as opposed to being the subject of Ellison’s harassment. As far as I’m concerned, her To Say Nothing of the Dog is one of the funniest and most touching books I’ve ever read, closely followed by Bellwether. But every time I’ve tried to recommend them to friends, they come back a week or two later and give me one of those sheepish “Do you REALLY like this ?” looks. It was starting to give me a complex. But I love them all the same.
    As to Heyer, she’s a little too much of her time, and way too class-blind. It’s kind of like P.G. Wodehouse: I loved his work for so long, but after a while, there was just a little too much casual racism in the mix for me to really enjoy it any moire. I’d be chuckling along and suddenly be hit in the face with a passing mention of a “Negroid porter chap”. And since I started to try Heyer only in the last couple of years, I just couldn’t get past what bugged me. I think I have less tolerance the older I get.
    I’m a basically a SF/fantasy fan, but I absolutely loved the I. Andrews Edge books, and I’m heartbroken that they aren’t doing any more. When the last one came out, I haunted the local bookstore until it appeared on the shelves. Speaking of SF/fan stuff, I’d argue that Elizabeth Moon’s long Familas Regnant series has a lot of romance-related subtexts, although it has more explosions than romance.
    And finally, I’d argue strenuously in favor of Ellen Kushner’s work. Swordspoint, Privilege of the Sword and Fall of the Kings are all of them romances. Kind of bleak romances at times, but full of love and hearts breaking and lust and all of that other good stuff. Her work has never gotten the respect it deserves, as far as I’m concerned. And while I’m ranting, I’ll also point out that the Bordertown series, to which she’s contributed, is pretty damned Romantic as well. You might argue that they’re more YA than not, but I think you’d be wrong. All of the story collections, as well as the stand-alone novels, are really all about love, finding the one who really loves you (whatever gender they may be), or not finding them, and dealing with the consequences of same, good and bad.

  85. Thanks for the J.D. Robb recommendations – the local library system has the whole series as downloadable e-books, so I’m starting the first this evening. :)

  86. Suggested romance writer: Come on people, think! He was wearing Rachel Caine’s red shoes. Prototypical sf-romance author Rachel Caine? Weather Warden books? Hot djinn meets weather sorceress, purpose, lightning striking. (Rolls eyes!)

  87. I thought the idea was loving correction, not death.

    One and the same as far as the Politburo is concerned.

  88. i love bujold, but i couldn’t get into the sharing knife books at all. the fault, i think, is entirely with the audiobooks and the reader of same rubbing me completely the wrong way. she has kind of a scratchy, squeaky voice, and gets way too breathless/chokey in the sex sections.

    fyi to anyone, like me, who “reads” most of their new fiction through their ears.

  89. I write epic fantasy romance. My books are true hybrids (they’ve sold both to a romance imprint in the U.S. and to a fantasy imprint internationally) so it’s in my best interest to attend both romance and SFF cons and connect with readers of both genres. I’ve been to both types, and I prefer the romance conventions. Part of it is that I feel completely safe and don’t have to stress about the possibility of sexual harassment.

    I have never actually been harassed at an SFF con. But I hear the stories about it happening, and that makes me hesitant to attend. I am under enough stress when attending a con already, because I’m a shy introvert interacting with strangers, and sometimes I’m on a panel or two as well. Anything that adds additional stress is a negative.

    Another thing I love about romance cons is that they often go out of their way to make attendees feel welcome. My favorite convention–and I attend it every year because it’s so enjoyable–actually organizes dinners out for attendees who don’t know anybody at the convention, or who just want to meet new people. You sign up for the restaurant you want to go to, and then you go out with a group of other con attendees who chose the same restaurant. Totally awesome for shy introverts like me! I’ve made new friends at these dinners.

  90. I’m going to recommend my favorite romance novelist, from when romance were meant books meant for women. Dorothy Emily Stevenson was a relative of Robert Louis Stevenson, and published 45 books between 1923 and 1970. No steamy stuff, just friends you get to know, and worry if they will be ok. Most of her books are out of print, but she still has loyal fans.

  91. Isnt it obvious and at the risk of stereotyping, women are simply more gracious hosts, and have higher EQ. I became a decent host only after my marriage, otherwise it was, the beer is in the fridge, and there are some chips and dips so go help yourself. :)

  92. brucearthurs: As for the welcoming attitude at RT, could it be as simple as “Show respect, get respect”?

    Are you implying that the women who didn’t get respect at SF conventions brought all that groping, skeezing, and stalking on themselves by not having shown enough respect?

    I really hope that’s not what you’re intending to imply, but that’s really how you’re coming across here. At the very least, you are being appallingly dismissive of many women’s experiences with your “could it be just as simple as…” posturing here.

    Take two steps back, apply empathy, try again.

  93. The other great thing about the JD Robb books is the supporting characters. I mean, it’s a romance, obviously Eve and Roarke end up together. But, man, did it ever take a while to get Peabody and McNab together, and at this point I think I’m way more invested in them. And I love Mr. Mira and his sweaters, and Charles and his kindness.

    I won a very pointy award once, and managed to slightly injure both myself and another at the banquet. I keep it up high now. But really, the Emmy is the most dangerous. Two pointy wings, one blunt globe, a big base, and it’s metal and weighs quite a bit. When I first hefted one, my immediate thought was “This would be a great murder weapon.” I’m surprised it hasn’t featured in more factual and fictional assaults.

  94. I was wondering when someone would mention Rachel Caine. And the shoes she lent John were great! Her books are so much fun to read. I have Cordelia’s Honor just sitting there. I guess with so many recommendations, I better start it now. I must buy more Bujold.

    Jennifer Crusie is one of my favorites along with Rachel Gibson. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is so good too. J.D. Robb is actually Nora Roberts. She writes under both names. Nora Roberts is more straight romance while Robb is more cop/SF-oriented.

    Congrats on that pointy award.

  95. ::Aside to timeliebe—I need to post the stuff I type faster–It wasn’t the Nebulas, it was the Hugos ::

    Ah, thank you! And thank you for clarifying that many people at the time were aghast at Ellison’s behavior.

    All Tammy and I had to go off of was what got published on SFWA’s website after the fact – the anti-female reaction of many of the male writers was so hostile Tammy decided she no longer wanted to be a part of an organization that condoned that kind of behavior. Obviously it’s not all male SFWA members by any means (Scalzi being a shining example of Not That Type!) – but there is a certain form of Male SF Writer (and Fan) who apparently were in cryosleep when modern feminism arrived….

    If you know Tammy’s work, you’ll understand why she’d feel that way. Having been an unofficial “uncle”/guardian to a number of her fans/young women writers at SF cons, I share her disgust at male writers/fans who see the women there as nothing more than playthings, and not caring when the women in question aren’t interested. If they are that’s different – but in a lot of cases, “consent” is assumed when a woman doesn’t feel she can say “No”.

  96. @Lurkertype – yes, I love the IN DEATH books. They’re my comfort reads, along with Heyer’s Regencies, Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries, Heinlein “juveniles”, Eric Flint’s 1632 Universe and Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series.

    Eve Dallas has become one of my favorite characters in fiction – haunted, sarcastic, tough as nails, with a deeply wounded streak and vast reserves of caring she doesn’t want to admit she has.

    I desperately want to see Stana Katic from CASTLE play Eve – every time I watch the show, I think “Cut your hair, get out of those heels, and you’re her!”

  97. Bujold’s _Ethan of Athos_ is a subtler thing, an actual SFnal romance: it’s working out how a romantic HEA can be fundamentally different with a technological change. Arguably, so is Wen Spencer’s _A Brother’s Price_ (though the change is a plague, not a technology).

    Can’t think of others, but there ought to be.

  98. SPOILERS for the In Death series.

    @Lurkertype: I actually stopped reading the In Death series after the first 15 or 20 books because I just couldn’t warm up to Eve and it’s kinda annoying and exhausting reading a book where you don’t like the main character, but I truly loved all the side characters, especially Peabody and McNab (the part where Peabody got beaten up once shortly before moving in with McNab made me cry through the better part of the book, oh my). I wouldn’t want to take the series up again but I’d love to know how their relationship evolved – if there were a possibility to read solely their storyline, I’d immediately do that.

  99. ( responding to Nicole at 12:11 AM:)

    I am taken aback — way, way aback — by your response to my offhand comment.

    My Number One Rule is: “Try to NOT be an asshole.” I am not always successful. I’ll leave it at that.

  100. It didn’t read like an offhand comment to me, BruceA. Kudos to Nicole for calling you on it. And while you could leave it like that, you might apologize. A woman would, if she hadn’t been clear about what she meant to say.

  101. brucearthurs: As for the welcoming attitude at RT, could it be as simple as “Show respect, get respect”?

    Nicole: Are you implying that the women who didn’t get respect at SF conventions brought all that groping, skeezing, and stalking on themselves by not having shown enough respect?

    It seemed fairly obvious to me that the order of Bruce’s words were no accident. “Show respect, get respect” would unpack to something like “If I show respect to others, respect will come back to me”. It fits exactly in the mold of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

    If he had said “Get respect, Show respect”, then yes, that would unpack as “If I get respect from others, then I’ll show respect to them back”, which is more in the vein of “an eye for an eye”.

    Magda: apologize. A woman would,

    That’s actually not a little sexist, not unlike “be reasonable. A man would,”

    I think it would be odd indeed for someone to make an oblique reference to the Golden Rule and you turn it into some negative statement about women, demand an apology, while making a sexist statement about men.

  102. Greg, that’s a lot of tentative language you’re using in that comment. I’ll go by my reading of the original statement, and stick with my response which had something of a tongue-in-cheek quality that eluded you.

  103. I was there and you do a great job of capturing the vibe of this year’s conference. Professional but with a definite party feel. The male models were polite and stayed dressed (unlike years in the past!) I LOVE that both guys walked you to the stage. :) Honestly, romance authors are a welcoming, friendly bunch and I’m glad you found that to be true

  104. Magda: a tongue-in-cheek quality that eluded you

    you were only joking and I have no sense of humor?

    OK, I give up.

    Scalzi: people who are arguing to argue

    Serioius question: what question should I ask myself before posting to figure out if I’m “arguing to argue” or if I disagree with something that seems inaccurate and unfair?

    Unless I’m completely missing something, there was nothing in my post that is combative or insulting or resorting to a personal attack or anything like that. I don’t think my comment expressed upset or anger or outrage.

    Generally, if people say something I think is inaccurate, I’ll offer a clarification. If they say something that seems unfair, I point it out. If there is some self-administered question I can test myself with before commenting, whcih will separate me responding to inaccurate and unfair statements from me merely arguing to argue, I’ll gladly apply the test before hitting “post”.

  105. Greg:

    Consider it a premptive wandering by, rather than one yet earned. Also one that is non-specific, i.e., not directed to any one person.

  106. John, it was a pleasure meeting you at RT, and thank you for being on my SF panel on Friday! I love RT–been attending for over 10 years–but SF gets far less attention than the other genres and sub-genres with fangs and wings and such. ;-) I know your presence gave us spaceship-and-blow-up-the-planet types a much needed boost. Plus you’re a danged fun panelist. I was especially glad to bring in the YA SF connection in the panel with Beth Revis, Stacey Kade, and Sarah Zettel. As you noted there, this YA connection can well be the–pardon the pun–future of SF.

    As an author of SF and romance, I’ve been nicely received at cons of both flavors–was even GOH at an SF con last fall. But RT is, well, RT. It’s not called the BOOK lover’s convention without good reason. Attendees are fanatic readers. That shows in the con’s overall welcoming and fun attitude to all genres.

    Cory and Mary Jo, thanks so much for recommending my books. I’m honored.

    And yes, awards can make nifty murder weapons. As to why it’s often mentioned…it’s that writerly “what if” that haunts our brains. What IF John Scalzi… ;-)

  107. In the hopes of bridging the gap between those who read brucearthurs’s comment the way I did, and those who were “astounded” at that reading:

    Context is everything.

    In this case, the context is John Scalzi’s contrasting the welcome and acceptance he received at the predominately-female-attended RT Con with the very negative reception women often receive at predominately-male-attended cons.

    In the context of that contrast, the suggestion that Scalzi’s positive reception was “simply a matter of” his having been respectful to others (and thus receiving respect in kind), the implication is that in the contrasting situation women who do not receive respect must have failed to show respect.

    If it were “as simple as” a rule of Show Respect, Get Respect – as simple as that! Mathematically simple! If P, Then Q! – then it would also be as simple as “Didn’t get respect? Must not have shown respect.” (If not Q, then not P.)

    The reason it’s so important to me to spell this out is, this is exactly the reception many women get when they point out that they were mistreated, disrespected, and even sexually assaulted in predominately male gatherings. Didn’t get respect there? You mustn’t have shown sufficient respect. You weren’t attractive enough, so of course you were called names. You were too attractive; of course you were treated like a booth babe. You didn’t do enough homework on the minutia of the fandom you claim to be part of; of course your right to be there was questioned. You weren’t kind enough to the man who paid you such a favor as to be attracted to you; of course you were blamed when he cornered you in the elevator to cop a feel. You were disrespectful enough to venture past the No Gurlz Allowd sign; of course you were treated as less than human.

    Brucearthurs, you say you did not intend what you said to be read the way I read it. I’m glad to hear that! I did say you hope you didn’t mean it that way. But there are solid reasons why you came across that way, and I hope I’ve managed to lay them out in a useful way for you.

  108. I wonder how much of nerd-hate comes from resentment left over from high school? Not an excuse, but if I were to put on a stereotypical set of eyeglasses and rewind the members of your average romance convention back to high school and the members of your average spec fic con back to high school, there would be the popular crowd and the not-so-popular crowd.

    The popular crowd develops interpersonal skills at a higher level and earlier than the not-so-popular, and also has generally positive experiences when interacting with whomever they want to interact with. The not-so-popular crowd has generally negative experiences when interacting outside their niche and deficient interpersonal skills.

    Does some of the accusation of “you’re not a real so-and-so” actually mean, “you were well-adjusted and able to maintain both popularity and your ‘nerd’-interests”?

    Is it jealousy? “They’ve conquered everything they’ve ever wanted in life and now they are coming in to what I’ve dedicated my life to and succeeding too easily!”

    I wish people could grow up and be adults. Or rather, “adults”, the fictional creature children are told they become upon gaining age of majority.

  109. Nicole,

    I wasn’t “astounded” by the way you read Bruce’s comment. I just thought it was inaccurate.

    If it were “as simple as” a rule of Show Respect, Get Respect – as simple as that! Mathematically simple! If P, Then Q! – then it would also be as simple as “Didn’t get respect? Must not have shown respect.” (If not Q, then not P.)

    Well, see, that’s where I see the issue. “Show Repsect, Get Respect”, like the Golden Rule, or Rule of Three, and other tenets, are not closed equations.

    Even the Rule of Three is only a partial equation. If Bob is nice to Charlie as a follower of Wiccan, the rule of three says that positive energy will return to Bob times three. But it does NOT say no negative energy will come to Bob.

    Just because Bob follows the Golden Rule with Charlie, just because Bob does to Charlie what Bob wants Charlie to do to him, does NOT mean that Charlie will be nice to Bob.

    Just because Bob follows Ghandhi’s tenet and tries to be the change he wants to see in the world doesn’t mean that’s the change that happens in the world.

    It isn’t a closed equation. And that’s probably one of the most fundamental misconceptions about morality there is. Morality is much more fluid.

    We do the right thing because we believe it is right, not because it means nothing bad will happen to us.

  110. timeliebe: Tammy calls what you’re doing “‘Mansplaining”

    I am not telling Nicole how to feel or how she should react or some such thing. That would be mansplaining. I’m not dismissing her opinion because she’s a woman. That would be mansplaining. “Mansplaining” does not mean “any man who disagrees with a woman and explains his reasons why”.

    I’m disagreeing with her interpretation and explanation of Bruce’s comment and I’m disagreeing with her use of closed equation math as a way to define morality. I’m disagreeing with this: If P, Then Q! – then it would also be as simple as “Didn’t get respect? Must not have shown respect.” (If not Q, then not P.)

    And if you don’t know the fundamental difference between THAT kind of disagreement and “mansplaining”, then I don’t konw what to tell you.

  111. As a woman who has been involved in attending and running SF/F and tabletop gaming conventions for over a decade, and who has seen the sort of welcome vibe that comes from attending OTHER hobby conventions, I can definitively say it is not a matter of ‘show respect, get respect’, or any other crazy “What, there’s no male domination paradigm HERE” bullpucky going on. The fact that John was welcomed and embraced in a place where he was a minority has to do with the fact that the people welcoming and embracing him are a) In a genre that is already marginalized, so they have no fear that their welcome is going to further marginalize themselves, and b) were genuinely glad to have someone want to join and be interested in their fandom.

    To which I say, “Great!” It has always confounded me that for some reason, the male 2/3 of the SF/game nerd community wants to go the other way. (Not all of them, I know, please don’t jump and yell, “NOT ME!” I know many readers of whatever are more enlightened, we are talking generalities here. Romance writers have been in that same boat for decades, and instead of pulling in the ladders and huddling in the middle with gollum like ferocity, they are throwing their arms wide and dropping the paddles.

    That, Greg, Bruce, et al, is the difference.

  112. I am not telling Nicole how to feel or how she should react or some such thing.

    No, you’re just telling her that her understanding of morality is wrong and she should improve it:

    And that’s probably one of the most fundamental misconceptions about morality there is. Morality is much more fluid.

    Which comes across (whether you meant it or not!?) roughly as “Let me explain the Big World to you, little lady.”

  113. David: No, you’re just telling her that her understanding of morality is wrong and she should improve it:

    If Pat says evolution is impossible because it violates the second law of thermodynamics, then it is a wholly valid response to say Pat’s understanding of the seocnd law of thermodynamics is wrong.

    It doesn’t magically turn from a valid response into “mansplaining” simply because we find out that Pat is a woman.

    Which comes across (whether you meant it or not!?) roughly as “Let me explain the Big World to you, little lady.”

    That’s the biggest bunch of spectral evidence I’ve ever heard of. There is nothing in my response that I wouldn’t say to a man if they tried to make the same bad argument about morality by misusing math. NOTHING.

    The only way you can make it “mansplaining” is by completely ignoring what I actually said and instead fabricate the words you want behind the defense of “well, that’s how it LANDS for me.”.

  114. Zero, you’re close but no cigar.
    The popular crowd at my school wasn’t above intimidation to retain their status. You spend some time in a locker and then tell me that they have higher interpersonal skills. Look at cyber-bullying now days and show me how well adjusted they are.

    In middle and high school, how often do friendships get trashed by one person determining that the lower caste is no longer necessary? These hurts last much longer than high school.

    I realized by the end of the 8th grade that I wasn’t going to get laid by any of the average girls, much less the popular ones. Having grown up with the original Star Trek, I modeled my high school life on Spock. No emotions, logic only. If you look at the nerds now days, they still try to use logic for their arguments, and it is the ability to argue a point and defend it that determines your status as a nerd with me. You don’t get a pass because you are one of the protected classes.

    As for politeness, I got called a male chauvinist pig in the 70’sfor holding the door for a girl. It was another 10 years before I did that again. The strident feminists of the 70s and 80s were not about politeness, only power. Most people recognized this during the Clinton/Lewinski scandals. I have yet to meet a woman that would approve or allow their significant other to do what Bill Clinton did, yet somehow he got off with a single page of disapproval from the NOW crowd.

    For the last 20 years, feminists have been trying to recover from their mistake. The latest generation feminists are trying to get more strident and aggressive. Just look at Adria Richards.

    John thinks his rabbit is cute. I see the bunny in Monty Python. Ready to go for the throat. I think he should go back and re-watch Wayne’s World a couple of times. Who do you think buys your OMW books, John? I don’t think the RT crowd are much into military SciFi.

    “They’ve conquered everything they’ve ever wanted in life and now they are coming in to what I’ve dedicated my life to and succeeding too easily!” Succeeding too easily? No. They want to take it away. Just add geek girlfriend to this commercial.

  115. David: Yeah, I didn’t think you’d actually listen.

    When did you listen to anything I actually said rather than just hear what you wanted to hear? All you did was fabricate quotes and put words and intentions in my mouth.

    get off your high fricken horse.

  116. Clew @ 3:55 –
    Ethan of Athos by Bujold is a very subtle romance. So subtle it’s hidden inside a wonderful SF/action/caper novel. I love the glimpse we get of Athos’s society. Dr Ethan Urquhart is a marvelous character and his reactions to Ellie Quinn are priceless, poor fish out of water! Bujold can’t write a cardboard character to save her life.

    It’s fitting that Scalzi be invited to, and win an award at, a Romance Convention. He’s got Romance in most of his books, which is a great way to get both your SF fix and some Romance. Even Old Man’s War, a quintessentially SF Troopers book, has a lot of romance threaded through it.

    Meredith Ann Pierce wrote Woman who Loved Reindeer, Romantic Fantasy. Her Darkangel Trilogy is SF but it reads like Fantasy. I don’t know if you can call it romance, as it hasn’t got a Happily Ever After ending for the protagonists. (Ditto for the His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman–the ending can still make me grind my teeth.)

    And speaking of Pierces, several of Tamora Pierce’s YA series have romantic arcs.

  117. @jimbot let me get this straight, your saying that because life didn’t hand you a sexbot women deserve to be treated badly at scifi cons? Because one woman once was nasty to you in a doorway all feminists are hateful? By your logic, then, because I was once date raped by a nerd all male nerds are rapists. Except, that logic seems extremely flawed to me.

    More flawed logic? I read both Scalzi and Putney. Voraciously. And I didn’t even have a penis to help me with the big words in OMW. I have read anything everything I could get my hands on since I was in middle school, just slightly later than you were in middle school, and yet I don’t remember hoards of ravening feminists roaming the countryside with the insidious plan of ruining your life by demanding to be treated equally.

    But getting back to that flawed logic, as an additional data point, my eleven year old daughter is currently reading Redshirts in between raids on her parent’s comic collection. I may not be an industry insider, but I’m not nervous about Mr Scalzi’s future sales figures. Especially since a thorough read of this comment thread indicates to me that a whole new area of fan has opened up for him. I was pointed to this blog entry by not one but several romance review blogs yesterday. Not that I don’t read Whatever on a daily basis, anyway. I do.

    And Zero @ 12:47 exactly where did you get your data that all romance fans were popular in high school because I really want to know why I was given short shrift on the popularity front. Was I absent the day they were handing it out? I want to know who I need to complain to to get this error corrected.

    And Greg? You keep typing, but really all I’m seeing is:

  118. It seems to me that jimbot’s attitude alone is sufficient to explain his difficulty in getting laid. Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.

  119. Nicole’s follow-up comment at 12:36 PM makes her initial reaction a lot more understandable.

    I was not even thinking of contrasting RT with other conventions when I said “Show respect, get respect.” I was trying to suggest that mutual respect is an optimum condition that should be strived for. John Scalzi respects women, and women respect him in return. From the reports here, most of the men who attended RT act similarly. I think that’s a great thing.

    I also think it’s a great thing that more and more of the other kind of men, both at other conventions and in the real world — the gropers, the skeezy, the stalkers, the u>assholes — are being called out for their behavior.

    I thought my meaning was clear from my perception of the context. Apparently not. For that, I do apologize. (I need to learn to write gooder.)

    And Greg: Please shut up. You’re not helping.

  120. BruceA: I apologize for mis-reading your original comment. You can have some bacon too.

  121. Peyton:: And Greg? You keep typing, but really all I’m seeing is:

    Meh. As long as someone like David wants to run my comment through the spectral evidence generator and turn it into nonsensical sexist tripe like “Let me explain the Big World to you, little lady.”, then yeah, I’ll probably post something that points out that it is, hey guess what, fabricated nonsensical sexist tripe.

  122. @David – yeah, it’s interesting how now Greg is “mansplainin” to us guys, too, isn’t it…?

  123. @Peyton: Don’t you hate it when Somebody Is Wrong On The Internet? ;)

    Usually, it’s political threads where I find that – well, and people who hate CASTLE because they don’t realize how awesome Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic are together…and that showrunner Andrew Marlowe sucks as a writer….

  124. yeah, it’s interesting how now Greg is “mansplainin” to us guys, too, isn’t it…?

    It is, yes. I’m also impressed that he managed to get the guy he was supporting to tell him to shut up.

  125. Bruce: And Greg: Please shut up. You’re not helping.

    It happens. It was supposed to be one comment about your comment. But once folks started manufacturing quotes that I didn’t say, and accusing me of doing things I wasn’t doing, it wasn’t about your comment anymore.

    timeliebe: yeah, it’s interesting how now Greg is “mansplainin” to us guys, too, isn’t it…?

    Another demonstration that you have no idea what “mansplaining” means.

    Magda: Greg, that’s a lot of tentative language you’re using in that comment.

    But apparently more accurate.

    Magda: BruceA: I apologize for mis-reading your original comment

    That’s all I was saying way, way, way back when…

    At least there’s one thing we both agree on.

  126. I’m not the one who is trying to force myself on anyone. Come off it. If I tried to enter Wellesley, and after getting accepted demanded urinals be placed in every dorm room, how would you react?

    In 8th grade, I recognized that it wasn’t worth the hassle to interact with women. I left them alone, and they didn’t even notice me. I don’t go to those zoos they call conventions, but do participate in D&D and board game groups where women attend. I am no ruder to them than I am to the male participants who I am slapping upside the head with my +3 battleaxe.

    Did your daughter buy Redshirts or any other of John’s books? Who bought home the 1st Scalzi book in your library? John may be getting new fans from one group, but will he hold on to the original fan base? Ask the Dixie Chicks about what happens when you dis your base.

    As for hordes of feminist making my life miserable, I was in the Navy between 1978-84, and have listened to countless sexual harassment lectures over the last 30 years. This makes what Clinton did, and the feminists response to it, so despicable (for him) and so hypocritical by the NOW crowd. When they make the physical standards the same for both men and women, the ERA will get my support.

    It took a while, but I did end up getting laid and married, and have been together for over 20 years now. You may have had the misfortune to find the one date rapist nerd around, but I found the one woman who will put up with me. Most women I interact with have much the same attitude as Lila, which is fine with me as long as she leaves me alone. I might talk to her if she brings me a can of relative bearing grease.

  127. They both walked me up, each taking an arm. I felt very special.

    John, you are my hero!

    Oh, and what Jamie C. said. Pic, or it didn’t happen.

  128. I’m going to recommend Dune and Bujold’s Vor series, for SF/Romance. Argue w/ me if you like, but I reread Dune for Chani and Paul, and the Vor novels are Heyer In Space.

  129. Magda at 6:27: “You can have some bacon too.”

    I have bacon! Yay! (Where’s the cat?)

  130. Coming in late to the conversation, but this is my second time going to said convention. I was the true oddity. I was the attendee and my wife had the “companion” badge. She went to the military museum to take photos while I went to the book fair. And I have always felt welcome there.

    Granted a totally different vibe than a scifi con. Even than WisCon. But very accepting. The solid amount of crossover into spec fiction as well as the accepting nature of all the writers and professionals involved keeps me coming back.

  131. @ULTRAGOTHA: ::And speaking of Pierces, several of Tamora Pierce’s YA series have romantic arcs.::

    When I mentioned this to Tammy last night, she said she was honored to be in such great company as Lois McMaster Bujold, Catherine Asaro and Meredith Ann Pierce (who she kept getting mistaken for early in her career!).

    To the ‘Mansplainers she also pointed out her preferred Weapon of Correction is neither “Gentle” nor a Mallet – she has a preference for swords, daggers and naginatas, thank you all the same.

  132. brucearthurs, Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little:

    The resolution to this exchange has surprised me and made me (and probably others) very happy. Mutual understanding and respect! How delightfully novel.

    brucearthurs, I had also read your original comment the same way Nicole did, with the same logic and background context. The subsequent escalation of misunderstandings hearkened back to far too many ultimately pointless circular conversations I have been part of or witness to.

    I wanted to show my appreciation to both of you for sticking it out and listening to each other. This may have seemed trivial, but I think it’s only out of moments like this that anything ever changes.

  133. He looks like he’s being frog marched up there to accept the award! ;-)

  134. @timelibe: Yep, Castle and Beckett are the closest we get to Roarke and Eve. Castle’s only moderately rich, and can’t hack computers, but gosh, Beckett is definitely a less-screwed up Dallas.

    (And I attended those Hugo Awards: there was a collective gasp, a very scary silence, and the temperature dropped about 20 degrees. It was like you always read about in books but don’t think it ever happens IRL. But it did. And the con was thoroughly grumpified about it the day after.)

  135. If anyone’s still reading this…

    @Tim and @MadLogician Actually, the first Edge book by Ilona Andrews is On the Edge. Bayou Moon is the second one.

    Also @Tim, I’m kind of surprised with so very MANY people recommending Lois McMaster Bujold, I haven’t seen anyone mention The Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls, and The Hallowed Hunt. I don’t remember what they’re called as a trilogy — I think I normally just refer to them as The Curse of Chalion trilogy — but those are the individual names and the order. As I’ve heard is the case with most of her books (I haven’t read many of the Miles Vorkosigan books myself yet, unfortunately), they each work on their own, just occur in the same world with some of the same characters. The Hallowed Hunt is the most separate of the three and my least favorite, but it was good, too. Paladin of Souls was my favorite, but that’s maybe because I had an easier time relating with its main character than the one in The Curse of Chalion. They’re both excellent. Anyway… those are actually mostly fantasy, but with romance involved (a little less than in The Sharing Knife, I think). The most romance is probably in Paladin of Souls, but again, it’s a book that would be firmly shelved in fantasy.

    Speaking of romance that’s shelved in fantasy, I quite enjoy Patricia Briggs’s books. Yes, her most popular series has the unfortunate alpha wolf trope thing going on, but she makes it a lot more complex than “alpha = good and sexy.” In fact, her main character is delightfully passive aggressive. She explains that as a coyote raised by wolves, she knows better than to confront wolves head on.

    I get tired of the “kickass heroines” of urban fantasy — sometimes it just feels like the author is trying too hard, plus it’s so far from my own personality — so I like that Briggs’s female characters are strong while still being very human and vulnerable in certain ways, too. (In both her urban fantasy and her more standard fantasy.) There’s more than one kind of strength.

  136. gleonguerrero,

    “And, no I’m not putting women on a pedestal.”

    Yes, you most definitely are. And on behalf of the great many women for whom minimal social skills are a shitload of work, please knock it the hell off. (And I suspect the women who are not particularly lacking in natural skills at this, but are still expected to work at least twice as hard at is as men are, would appreciate it if you’d give them credit for the damn hard work they do as well.)

    I mean, yeah, it looks like it’s nothing more than just good fun when things are going smoothly and everyone is working equally hard at it. But that’s not how it always goes, and it takes a decent amount of effort to get to the point where it goes smoothly even some of the time.

    This why the whole “show respect/get respect” idea doesn’t work, and I suspect why women are more likely to react badly to it. Not just because of our experiences with getting blamed for people harming us, but also because that’s just a fundamentally flawed approach to complex social situations involving people you don’t know. When anxiety is high and there are a lot of unknowns, simple respect is not nearly enough to keep everyone happy rather than feeling hurt. Which, you know, is what Scalzi was pointing out (on purpose or not) when he talked about how welcoming and interested in him the congoers were. That’s being gracious and kind and even sometimes humble, not simply showing respect to equals.

  137. There are plenty of women who have the same experience you had, except in male spaces. They just are not the complainers that get so much air time.

    Also, imagine what would happen if a scifi award convention had pretty female models escort the recipients up to the stage.. that would be good for at least two weeks of Womyn_in_X hysteria.

  138. On the SFnal-romance front, I really enjoy the Liaden books (by Miller & Lee) — they’re not all romances, particularly the Fledgling etc. chunk and the pre-history in _Balance of Trade_, but I have not yet read a Liaden book I haven’t enjoyed. (I have more-preferred and less-preferred, but that’s different.) I like Conflict of Honors as a place to start, myself.

    For what it’s worth, I first had them recommended to me on the Bujold mailing list. :)

  139. As I have not seen it mentioned yet: th e Parasol Protectorate series by Gail. Carriger. Steampunk romance comedy of manners with werewolves and vampires. (please excuse the typos; my phone is having issues)

  140. I think part of the reason you had a good time was that you didn’t show up with an agenda.

    I actually found this article because I’ve several posts by women about how my own industry – video games – is chauvanistic. Having worked in that industry 10 years, I just didn’t ‘see’ it. Yes, I know about booth babes, and I know many games definitely cater to a male power-fantasy demographic. At the same time, male developers I work with are generally regular nice folks. Even the ones with stereotypically poor social skills don’t discriminate – they get on poorly with everyone.

    However, I’ve seen so many posts over the years about what a terrible environment games are, and similar male-oriented entertainment genres. Most recently this one.

    Her primary compaints are:
    – She stood next to some guys who were making offensive comments (not directed at her).
    – There wasn’t enough female representation in the industry.

    Now, the first complaint, ok, I get it. Men taking to each other, well, can sound pretty hateful. Even if they are being friendly with each other, joking around, society has decided that “typical young male behavior” is offensive and morally acceptable. I get it, hate speech can hurt feelings… on the other hand, if you watch a show like “2 Broke Girls” you’d see that Max, the potty-mouthed street smart girl can say similarly disgusting things, and it’s just funny. Essentially, girls get a pass on being crude to men and women because they’re judged non-threatening. The double standard is irksome.

    However, her second issue is one that is truly bothersome to me, and the one I want to address. If you’d shown up at that convention with an agenda, rather than being accepting and non-critical, what would your experience be like? Like her, you could certainly point out how despite male romance novel readers being a growing audience, almost all the authors are female. You could point out how many male authors have, over the years, used female or neutral pseudonyms to not hurt their sales. You could have taken offense to the male models. You could have criticized the different appearence standards for the guests – the website seems to highlight normal-looking female authors and ridiculously oiled up washboard-ab’d male models.

    And if you had show up with that chip on your shoulder, don’t you think that you would have had a different experience?

  141. oh, and another thing… if you talked to those male models, don’t you think there would be examples of them being ‘skeeved on’. Except, it would be ‘flirted with’ because females don’t ‘skeeve’.

    Another thing that society has conditioned into us is the idea that men approaching women, unless they use the most subtle of approaches and flattering of language, is skeeving.

    However, a female going up to a male model, wanting a hug or a chat, well, that’s just flattering, right? Even if she makes somewhat lewd comments, makes a playful grab at his butt… The male can’t take offense or he’s considered less masculine for refusing any female attention, and the female can laugh it all off as joking around.

    Again, it’s a prejudgement coloring perception, taking similar situation and making it seem threatening in one case, and fun and flirtatious in the other.

  142. Final point: And this is the most salient.

    You know what, I even agree that the RT convention sounds nicer. I’m sure it smells better.

    But the biggest point is that it’s still a female space, by your own acknowledgement – one you found pleasant to be in. However, let’s say you did find the ‘hunks’ offensive, as feminists find similar objectification of women. Would you complain? Would any man complain? Further, would we assume we are entitled to complain – that we are entitled to demand that the space be changed to suit us, even if we are small fraction of the attendees.

    That’s the big difference to me. Even though I probably would find myself a bit envious of the model’s physiques, and I might wish I could go to a romance convention and listen to an all-male panel speak about beer and video games in romance novels, I’d never feel the entitled right to demand/diatribe about how that change should be made. Because, if this convention is 95% female, then it just doesn’t make sense to have 50% of the panels be men taking about male issues, especially since the genre itself is geared toward certain feminine fantasies.

    And if I was a romance novel fan… why would I want that changed to suit me? That’s the core issue with the “fake geek girl”. It’s what’s underlying those stupid quizzes. The underlying truth to that (which men are terrible at voicing since we’re not in touch with our emotions) is that we have a problem with women showing up and attempting to change our hobby to suit themselves, while at the same time claiming they are avid supporters of that hobby.

    I think we have very little problem with female convention goers who are as enthusiastic and accepting of our hobby as we ourselves are. Even if they’re uneducated about the hobby, but what to know… just like you… great. However, a girl who shows up at a convention about comics, and then proceeds to say most comics suck because they’re not written by female authors/from a female perspective/including sci-fi apes and not more females… well, that doesn’t sound like someone who’s a fan of comics. That sounds like someone with an agenda.

  143. Paul:

    Wow, you had so many straw men to set up that it took you three whole posts to do it. Not to mention poor logic, incorrect assumptions, and also, actual flat-out ignorance. I’m not going to bother with any of these, however, because I want to focus on your actual problem here.

    Which is: Your apparently unchallenged assumption that ComicCon or other such events and spaces are meant to be male-dominated. That it’s your hobby women are trying to change. That they are ruining your fun. And that if women don’t accept things as they are, and aren’t accepting and uncritical, they have an agenda. You have so many unexamined, entitled assumptions here that sexism is pouring out of you like dudebro meat sweats.

    “I actually found this article because I’ve several posts by women about how my own industry – video games – is chauvanistic. Having worked in that industry 10 years, I just didn’t ‘see’ it.”

    What? A dude being entirely oblivious to the fact that other people who work in his field have to deal every single day of their careers with shit he doesn’t have to deal with? That’s unpossible! And then, this dude, when confronted by the suggestion that when women who have earned their place in an industry daily face sexism, rationalizes that they are coming in from the outside with an agenda? Also unpossible! Entirely, utterly unpossible!

    Here’s the thing, Paul. The reason I had a good time at the RT Booklover’s Convention is that I was made to feel like a member of its community, even though I was not. The reason that so many women feel uncomfortable at ComicCon or at video game industry events is that they are made to feel like they are not a member of that community even though they are.

    By whom? Well, by you, Paul, for a start, you who is so blissfully unaware of your contemptible sexism that you clearly don’t know just how foolish it’s made you over look over the course of three appallingly poorly argued comments. You are the problem, Paul. Congratulations.

    Don’t worry, I’m sure you will find a way to make it so that you aren’t the problem, it’s the women, with their outside agendas and their fun spoiling and their inability just to not criticize. After all, you are a nice, reasonable guy. You couldn’t possibly be the problem. But, yeah, you are.

    Work on that.

    (Also, in the future, don’t do multiple sequential posts. They annoy me. Think about what you want to say first, then write.)

  144. @Paul, If “wanting to be treated with respect as a peer” is an agenda, then I’m signing my name to that.

    Also, “Dudebro Meat Sweats” is now the name of P-funk/Metal band…

  145. Paul: I think we have very little problem with female convention goers who are as enthusiastic and accepting of our hobby as we ourselves are.

    “Our” hobby. You know, the hobby that belongs to the guys, that gurlz can join as long as they don’t get cooties all over “us”, the Real People. Or, you know, not.

    Paul, you probably didn’t know it, but media conventions were invented by women, who ran the first ones with very little male help indeed. I’ve been going to and helping run conventions for decades; how dare you tell me that you have “very little problem” with me enjoying my own hobby. How KIND of you, to condescend to poor little old me, who has probably been involved in convention fandom since before you were born, and oh-so-deeply needs your validation on whether my presence should be allowed. Not.

    Meanwhile, we gurlz will graciously allow you to continue to attend the media conventions that we invented and inspired, and you know what? We won’t even ask you whether you’re a true geek who’s worthy to be there. Just watch out for the cooties; they’re all over EVERYTHING.

  146. Ugh. Nothing less flattering than a buncha guys twisting themselves into pretzels to prove how very very right, dammit, they are, when they’re really just throwing tantrums.

%d bloggers like this: