It’s now been some time since Laura Mixon’s initial report on Requires Hate. I didn’t comment independently a great deal on the first report, as anything of relevance that I had to say was contained within it, so these are my own follow-up comments; my colleagues are also posting their thoughts.
I have, as stated, reported Requires Hate and her UK cohort to the police here in the UK: not under harassment charges in regard to myself, but with relationship to her threats against UK/US military personnel and to Western tourists in Thailand. After the murder of soldier Lee Rigby, and the post-IS climate in the UK, threats of beheading and mutilation are taken seriously, and the relevant authorities here now have full information: a paper trail and history.
I won’t be asking for an apology from Requires Hate: not even her most ardent supporters gave the last one any credence, although I fully support those who would like one, plus an assertion that they will not be persecuted further. With regard to her work, I continue to hold to the view that writing should be considered separately from the personality of the writer: however, it would exceedingly naïve to deny that actions do count and editors, agents and other writers are also at liberty not to deal with people who are guilty of gross professional misconduct. Attempting to destroy other people’s careers, blackmail, and intimidation fall well within that description: for example, RH’s long career of spite, and Alex MacFarlane’s well-documented online bullying of women of colour and attempted blacklisting of rivals.
Moreover, editors tend not to be impeccable automata programmed with unshatterable rules – most of them in genre are overworked, underpaid, deluged with material and looking for any excuse, however minor, to reject work. If presented with a piece that comes with an unpleasant personal track record and no history of bestselling, they may want to court controversy, in which case, this kind of strategy works in the author’s favour. Or, and this is more usually the case, they may simply think ‘Oh, that
asshole,’ and toss it in the bin.
It perhaps needs to be pointed out that neither I, nor any other writer, are under an obligation to read other people’s work, unless paid for it, or are on an awards jury. In this instance, I quite like RH’s prose and worldbuilding, but that’s at the expense of other crucial elements and the work as a whole is too derivative (as even her main editorial proponent has admitted) for me to bother seeking it out – if I’m going to spend my very limited time on other writers’ material, it’s likely to be spent looking at the work of many excellent writers whom RH targeted. As a member of the Clarke and WFC juries, I have obviously had to read work by the thankfully few people whom I personally dislike: a primarily subjective endeavour which needs to be approached as objectively as possible, which includes not over compensating (“A story from the foul X! I must find something to like in it at once!”). And I’ve supported fiction by people whom I do not like.
Going forward, I would prefer to support Laura and her team’s endeavours in making SFF a more genuinely diverse genre – Rachel has a great list here (http://rachelmanija.livejournal.com/1176322.html?nc=2
) of good writers to read - and the eradication of a climate in which professional misconduct is regarded as something to which to aspire, and something which will be rewarded: in general, it won’t.
Comments are closed. I’ll be joining in the book discussion over at Rachel’s, and Athena's here: http://www.starshipreckless.com/blog/