I Ruin Everything But Mostly Science Fiction

From Twitter earlier today: 

Seriously, words can’t express how delighted I am to vex and annoy bigoted turds like this one, simply by existing and publishing. Because I do exist. And I will publish! The contracts are signed! Barring death itself, there is no way to stop the decade-long flood of my ruination of the science fiction! Best of all, I don’t have to do anything other than publish to irritate this sad sack of crap. And I was going to do that anyway. It’s the perfect storm of least effort on my part.

Here’s the thing: If I ruin the genre of science fiction for you, or if the presence in the genre of people whose politics and positions you don’t like ruins the genre for you — the whole genre, in which hundreds of traditionally published works and thousands of self-and-micro-pubbed works are produced annually — then, one, oh well, and two, you pretty much deserve to have the genre ruined for you. It doesn’t have to be ruined, mind you, because chances are pretty good that within those thousands of works published annually, you’ll find something that rings your bell. And if you do, why should you care about the rest of it? It’s literally not your problem. Find the work you’ll love and then love it, and support the authors who make it, hopefully with money.

But if you’re determined that I or any author, or feminists or socialists or whomever are ruining the genre, then you’ve given those people the power to ruin the genre for you, whether they care what you think or not, or whether or not they even know you exist. And, speaking personally, if a sexist, bigoted cloacal squirt of a human wants to give me that power, then sure, I’ll be happy to ruin the genre for them through no additional effort of my own. Why, yes, I am destroying science fiction! With glee! And I’m going to be destroying it a lot over the next ten years at least.

So, you might want to pack a lunch, chuckles. I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be here in science fiction a nice, long, productive time. I’m going to write what I want to write, how I want to write it, and I’m going to have a hell of a lot of fun while I’m at it. And if you think that ruins the genre, then that’s your problem, not mine.

100 Comments on “I Ruin Everything But Mostly Science Fiction”

  1. If you’ve ruined Scifi then as a reader I’m an accessory to the crime. Keep it up.

  2. So, wait, I thought no one reads your books? I mean, I understand a writer’s writer and all that, but ruining a genre without anyone reading how? What is this sorcery?

  3. Do they know you’re doing a work that’s fantasy? Because that means you’ll be ruining fantasy TOO. You bad bad man.

  4. shaunaroberts – I'm a retired medical and scientific writer and editor who writes historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and romance. I live in Southern California. I enjoy gardening, reading, and visiting historic houses.

    Straight white male ruins science fiction! It’s not just women, nonwhites, and gays anymore!


  5. Teehee. You’re living rent-free in the tormented heads of the utter cockwombles. Love it. Keep on just being and causing them aneurisms.

  6. Longer Twitter comment: I was wondering why large chunks of my bookshelves were pulsating with an eldritch light…

    … and could you keep it up? I’d save so much on my electric bill if you could keep ruining the SF books on my shelves in this exact way.

  7. Hillary Rettig – Author of The 7 Secrets of the Prolific and The Lifelong Activist. Vegan, kidney donor, foster mom, and lover of people and animals. Visit www.hillaryrettig.com to learn more about me and my work.
    Hillary Rettig

    “cloacal squirt” takes it to 11!

  8. One of the joys of reading your blog is the discovery that a, there are whole huge areas of twitterdom and redditdom and the blogiverse that I had no clue existed b. there are lot of whiners in these areas who are whining about stuff that sounds strangely weird and off-center to me and c. I am safe from them! You can foray with your vorpal blade and go snicker-snack while I stand in the sidelines in uffish thought

  9. No disrespect, Mister Scalzi, but if you (or any other) could single-handed destroy science fiction, science fiction is PATHETIC and DESERVES TO DIE.

  10. John, it’s not just your evil plan to release a new SF-ruining novella this year that’s the problem – your entire backlist is getting gamma-rabbit feminist cooties all over science fiction!
    (Ok, maybe not your entire backlist; you probably had some early non-fiction writing that only has the idea that women are real people cleverly hidden in the background assumptions but not stated directly, or only gets cooties all over whatever other subject you were writing about but doesn’t happen to bother science fiction. But even then, you were plotting…)

  11. I love this, but especially the use of “cloacal squirt”. I feel the cloaca doesn’t get enough love when it comes to insults. Everyone always focuses on the peen and the vajayjay, so it’s great to see this under represented orifice getting some much needed exposure. Keep up the good work!

  12. Bob Mayer – TN – Bob Mayer is a NY Times Bestselling author, graduate of West Point, former Green Beret (including commanding an A-Team) and the feeder of two Yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus. He's had over 60 books published including the #1 series Area 51, Atlantis and The Green Berets. Born in the Bronx, having traveled the world (usually not tourist spots), he now lives peacefully with his wife, and said labs, at Write on the River, TN.
    Bob Mayer

    Hmm. To wonder how someone could ruin science fiction. It’s interesting how a lot of the genre is so interested at navel gazing. Really. Who cares? Let’s write books and give entertainment to the 95% of readers who could care less, but just want to read good books. And name-calling one way or the other makes me feel like I’m back at Holy Rosary playing stick ball. Remember spaldeens?

  13. Bob Mayer:

    Writers? Interested in navel-gazing? Unpossible!

    It’s not just SFF people who do this. We maybe slightly more unsocialized about it than other people, however.

    And of course, if you don’t care about it, just skip over navel-gazing articles. Simple.

  14. And, of course, there’s the distinct possibility that The Mighty Warrior-Goddess Athena, Offspring of Scalzi,* will follow her father’s horrible, horrible example and even more directly spread girl-cooties and girl-empowerment-cooties and other alien lifeforms all over teh SciFi. And she’ll do it without the handicap of a Y chromosome, making it that much more awfulicious. Or she might get even bigger ideas and spread the various cooties in a different field, thereby imposing ruination on unsuspecting others! Bwahahahaha!

    * Making Scalzi Zeus. And therefore a cat with a sore forehead.

  15. Actually, as far as I can tell, Zeus is performs his duty as ‘Cat In Charge’ in an
    wonderful manner. I hope you’ve got extra treats for him…

  16. Just wait until this cloacal squirt finds out you’re also being published by Baen, which is supposed to be One of the Last Bastions of Real SciFi.

  17. Improbable Joe, that eldritch light is probably coming from a Lovecraft or Bloch book. I’d expect a Scalzi tome to give off more of a sparkly light, as from a pair of glittery combat boots.

    John, if you got paid $3 mil to ruin science fiction, do you think I can get $4 mil if I fix it? (I rarely read science fiction so if you did poop all over it, I missed it. I found you from “Being Poor” and being poor. You captured it, although you missed the part about having to wait till the first of the month to mail a letter because you can’t afford a stamp until then.)

    My father was a kid during the Depression; interestingly enough, out in the sticks, where he was, no one realized how poor they were because everyone in the world was in the same situation. Not until he was drafted at 18 was he aware that there was actually plenty of food in some places. So I think our Gilded Age The Sequel poor folks have it particularly hard because they have their faces rubbed in it.

  18. “Barring death itself…”
    Heinlein (and a few others) demonstrated that death only slows down your publishing; it doesn’t have to stop it. He posthumously published a couple of memoirs and a couple of novels, as I recall.

  19. Love your books and look forward to the next decade, because I know there will be good things to read over the next 10 years.

    “bigoted turds”
    “sack of crap”
    “cloacal squirt”

    You’ve been spending a lot of time cleaning the kittens’ litter box lately, haven’t you?

  21. I can’t help but think if those who feel you are “ruining” SF were to pour as much effort into writing SF of the style that they like as they pour into complaining about you, they might actually create something that someone other than their immediate circle of family would find readable.

  22. Mr. Scalzi you may wish to reread that reddit post. I believe I located it and you are not personally accused of ruining sci fi. I suppose this could be a case of literary embellishment.

    [This part deleted because off topic and also stupid — JS]

  23. Riccola:

    As I am referenced by name in the piece I am commenting on, I am not 100% behind your police work.

    Bruce Arthurs:


  24. Also, as a note to all, I’ll definitely be turning the comments off on this thread when I go to sleep tonight. Probably in the next half hour or so.

  25. timeliebe – Central NY – Dreaded Spouse-Creature to bestselling fantasy author Tamora Pierce (SONG OF THE LIONESS, THE CIRCLE OPENS, BEKA COOPER: A TORTALL LEGEND series), a co-author of TORTALL: A SPY'S GUIDE, Co-author with Tamora Pierce of Marvel's WHITE TIGER: A HERO'S OBSESSION for Marvel Comics. Contributing Editor for VIDEO Magazine during the 1990s, Columnist for C/Net 1999 - 2002.

    @stevendes – Are you won-ton more?

    I’m so sorry…..

  26. Meh! “Ruin” is a bit much, IMO. You hung some attractive pink fuzzy dice on the rvm, put on a questionable front license surround, and there are some new dents in the bumper, fenders and doors that I blame on you. “Ruination?” Squirty’s a bit of a drama queen.

  27. Sounds to me like you still have fucks to give. Your rockin’ Christmas Gift is going to have to go back to the engravers for an asterisk and the words, “about any sexist, bigoted cloacal squirt thinks of me.”

  28. Um, as soon as I saw ‘ruination’ and the context for its use, it came to me in that way it always happens in my twisted brain: urination. See, switch the first and second letters and VOILA! To be honest I think one works just as well as the other in this case.

  29. There’s an old, simplistic, and misleading cliche that suggests you can judge the quality of a man by the nature of his enemies. It does, however, have the virtue of suggesting that if you plot the enemy’s position and then go 180 degrees in the opposite direction you’ll find the protagonist. Sometimes that’s particularly apt.

    Also, in terms of “ruination”, I have two words for you: “creative destruction”.

  30. You have ruined science fiction SO MUCH that HARDLY ANY science fiction books are being published anymore, EVEN FEWER science fiction books are being bought, and NO science fiction movies are being made, except that Martian movie that NOBODY went to see. And I hear there’s some new one out with space fights and such, but I don’t think anyone is interested in that kind of thing. Why they even bothered to make it is beyond me.

    Um, wait, that all happened in that other universe–the one in the Superman comics where Bizarro logic prevails.

  31. Stringmonkey:

    “Sounds to me like you still have fucks to give.”

    (checks watch; sees this particular gambit is right on schedule)

    That’s apparently because you can’t tell the difference between “giving a fuck” and “pointing and laughing.” This is a common problem among the troll set, in which any attention is deemed as positive, but I’m not obliged to hold to that particular low standard (not implying you are a troll, merely that you appear to share the same standard). In any event, it’s possible to simultaneously be glad you’re annoying a bigot and not give a fuck what they think. Give it some thought and you’ll figure out how.

    And if you don’t, that’s fine too, from my point of view. Guess why that is.

  32. Strange. I just read an article about the Steph Curry ruining basketball.

    “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means” Ingo Montoya

  33. John, I’m really sick of you sneaking into my house at night, and replacing all of my sci-fi books with your diversity choices. You’re as bad as those fucking shoe repairing elves.

  34. Not that you need the hassle of this kind of crap, but I’m grateful for your mirthful reaction to it. Reading your tweets gave me a much needed laugh on an otherwise crappy day. Thank you.

  35. Kate George – Vermont – Award winning author, Kate George is the creator of the popular Bree MacGowan mystery series, which started when she took up a dare to write a book; the result was Moonlighting in Vermont. She was born in Sacramento, California, was raised on a ranch until the age of eight, and graduated from UC Davis with a degree in anthropology. She is currently working on her MFA. She has been, in no particular order, a paste-up tech, a motorcycle safety instructor, an actor, and the assistant to the dean of a medical school, all of which provide plenty of fodder for her novels. Currently, she lives in an old farmhouse in the backwoods of Vermont with her husband, four kids, and two rescue dogs, where by day she teaches and by night, she dreams up wild adventures for her characters. Visit her at kategeorge.com, or contact her at kate@kategeorge.com. She always loves to hear from readers!
    Kate George

    So there!

  36. John, I’m not sure I expressed my intent correctly. I didn’t mean to imply that you had fucks to give about racist, bigoted, cloacal squirts. But you do apparently still have fucks for other, far more sensible things.

  37. Stringmonkey:

    Ahhhhhhhh, okay, sorry I misunderstood. This does raise the question of whether caring about sensible things falls under the rubric of things one gives a fuck about, or just, you know, things one is sensibly concerned over. All this nomenclature is getting confusing!

  38. The Scalzi response to the cloacal racist sexist squirt made me laugh with glee. Guess that means to the squirt I’m also supporting the ruination of science fiction.

  39. Looks like that big jar of fucks is no longer empty. That didnt take long. An empty jar of fucks means someone who ignores stuff like this. Though you are far more entertaining when you respond.

  40. unfortunately for me, Scalzi ruins science fiction by writing in high-level English, so i must wait for the translations.
    i hope for more Hebrew OMW translations. can that be arranged?

  41. You ruin everything in the nicest way, as JoCo says.

  42. Can you ruin it a bit faster? Too much great stuff in SFF came out in 2015, I’m already behind and there’s a new year full of awesome ahead. If you could even hurt it enough to stem the tide a little I’d be grateful.

  43. If this is what ruining it reads like keep on ruining it Mr Scalzi, and advising on/giving blog-space to/mentioning other authors who are writing new things that are ruining the genre as beautifully well as you are. I just packed up almost all my books for a house move. Still available to me are Old Man’s War, The Dispossessed, Ancillary Sword, Fellowship of the Ring, complete novels of Jane Austen, Ballad of the Sad Cafe, and… I screwed up and packed Three Body Problem. Bugger! Looking forward to bugging the independent bookshop in my new home village about Big Ideas, New Scalzi Novels, and the Fall of Speculative Fiction :)

  44. Well you do have the cats for holding and stroking while laughing maniacally. And you do have sort of a lair; at least it has a big front yard. But I think you will have to step up your game this year to properly be a SJW master-villain totally ruining science fiction. I mean, where are the lasers? I can’t see how you’re going to ruin science fiction without giant death lasers.

  45. I’m not going to read the Reddit rant, because ew, but if you define science fiction as ‘a place where I feel safe and my worldview stays mostly intact’, as they’re almost certainly doing, then there’s a twisted kind of logic to the rant. Like, I’d say probably Ann Leckie or Tobias Bucknell or N. K. Jemisin would be better choices, but that kind of worldview has to ascribe things to the white dude who’s cheering it on.

    Not to get all ‘sympathy for the white bigot’ here, but here’s where I’m going with this. Dealing with groups, sometimes large groups, who are collectively making the choice to elevate false narratives so they don’t have to become someone else is a) a universal human reaction, and b) something we’re really not good at handling, as a society. I think it’s something we’re going to have to get better at in a hurry. (Not least because several of the groups who’d rather pedal blatant lies than admit their worldview is broken are blocking any attempts to tackle climate change.)

  46. Short SF story:-
    1 Scalzi kitten finally becomes first cat to ever actually trap and hold laser spot with paw.
    2 Universe ends as direct result.
    3 The End.
    Oh wait, that would be giving a female character agency!

  47. Shawn – Ohio, USA – Early to bed, early or whirlybird or something. Bored now, bye. Don't step on any Lego's 'cause it _Hurts_!
    Shawn T

    Yah, oki. so ruined.
    So Niven books have suddenly become boring. I guess that a kzinti wouldn’t respect Honor Harrington and wouldn’t lose a fight against her.
    Really. Honor could so beat up a kzin.

  48. Just to point out you have two hands, so unless you chop off a hand, you, by definition, *cannot* ruin SF “singlehandedly”.

    Now, if you choose to chop off a hand, you *can* use the term. And my consulting fees will be half-off. A 5-finger discount. A steal, as it were.

    On the other hand (oops – I cannot use that term), such a radical act would make you re-learn how to type, which means your productivity would have a dip. That would make us all sad.

  49. Wait, the title of this piece included the phrase “I ruin everything.” So what else do you ruin? Do you burn pies in the oven? Do you shrink clothes in the dryer? Or what???

  50. But, you write so that people of colour, women and people with disability aren’t reminded that they exist only as prizes, cleaners, sammich bringers and objects for the almighty white men to use or as exceptions that prove the rest of people like them suck. They might get all uppity if they think they are actually people and all. That’s how you ruin everything.

    /sarcasm from a woman with a disability who loves your novels because I am not always thrown out of the narrative by seeing characters like me treated as objects.

  51. Dear John,

    There was a one-star review of Saturn Run posted on Amazon that I found noteworthy because the reviewer complained that “The future is some type of leftist utopia.”

    So, I’m thinking to myself about the future John (Sanford) and I wrote: global warming is worse, the US and China have an uncomfortable and only sometimes peaceful relationship, both governments are in the hands of hawks, the two superpowers continue to tell the rest of the world’s nations to go fuck themselves (when they’re not simply ignoring them).

    Absolutely, sounds like a left-wing utopia to me!

    Which, really, only leaves one thing: Da Wimmen. We totally ruined an otherwise great story by having a (slim) majority of the characters with real agency be women.

    How could we have ever been so, so STUPID!

    Ruination R Us!

    pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery http://ctein.com
    — Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

  52. Well if you really want to irritate this person, donate a complete set of your works to every branch of their local library system. Include the high schools libraries. Surround them with Scalzi readers. Make sure when the press covers it, you mention you were inspired by Mr. Sad Sack of Crap. Promise to do a reading if they select one of your works as the citywide read.

    Sure it would take time, but how often do you get to torture someone AND claim a tax deduction?

  53. “If you think I’m ruining science fiction you’re just gonna have to suck on that shitsicle for another decade at least… So, you might want to pack a lunch, chuckles.”

    brb dying XD

  54. Ctein – funny, the preponderance of strong female characters with agency is exactly what I’m most enjoying about Saturn Run. It’s a good story, yes, but the believably diverse characters are the real hook for me.

    So I assume that you and John Sandford are joining our host in “ruining SF” then, too? Nice going, all of you, and please keep up the excellent work.

  55. “if the presence in the genre of people whose politics and positions you don’t like ruins the genre for you — the whole genre, in which hundreds of traditionally published works and thousands of self-and-micro-pubbed works are produced annually — then, one, oh well, and two, you pretty much deserve to have the genre ruined for you. ”

    Given that this – that their ought not be a political litmus test in science fiction – is pretty much exactly what the Sad Puppies have been saying from the get-go, I presume you’ll be issuing formal apologies to Correia, Torgersen, Hoyt, et al post haste.

    Good to see you’ve grown in this area.


  56. Michael Kingswood:

    The Puppies were and are delightfully and ironically contradictory in many ways, is probably the most polite way to put it.

  57. Dear Colonel S.,

    Thank you! I’ll take the bow on that one. As the first drafter, casting fell mostly to me. Not that John was unhappy with my preferences at all. He’s on board with ruination and all that.

    Understand that I am hypothesizing that it’s Da Wimmens.. Only other thing I can think of is the married/divorced lesbian with kids, and, ohmigawd, if it only takes one of those to bring on a leftist utopia, then we have soooo won the game.

    If only.

    pax / Ctein

  58. On a related note, could someone please give John C. Wright a tranquilizer or something? He’s upsetting Scott Lynch.

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