Friday, May 10, 2013

Alpha Mail: Truth is worth the price

AC is a little surprised at my willingness to be forthright about the physical realities of combat:
I came across your blog via Vivalamanosphere and was stunned to discover that you're an author. The fact that you have this on your blog for all of your fans to see is mind-blowing to me:

"Of course, if we're going to start bringing reality into swords and sorcery, we should probably also take into consideration the fact that even a large, well-trained woman couldn't last thirty seconds against the average warrior.  The correct and realistic portrayal of an armor-era woman is either one who is dead and buried after her brief foray into warrior womanhood or at home, caring for the children that she started bearing in her teens.

"Awkward and combat-inefficient breast plates are the least of the problem. What it is time to retire is the absurd and ahistorical "warrior woman".

"The amusing thing is that throughout the comments, no one even stops to realize that the entire premise of women attempting to fight with swords is physically ridiculous.  If you doubt me, just hand a sword to the closest woman the next time you're in a medieval museum."

This kind of talk sounds like Red Pill wisdom (reality). I would never expect this from someone who writes successfully enough to have multiple books out (and fantasy books!), especially when their pen name and blogging name appear to be one in the same.

You have my utmost respect; how do you do it? Don't you have potential publishers you alienate when you call something out for what it is like this (assuming they even matter anymore).

I'm slaving away at writing terrible trash so that I can one day refine my craft to a point where people might actually want to buy my work, but even if I am able to work hard enough to reach such a point, I can't imagine being bold enough to blog in a way which might alienate potential readers. And yet, here you're doing just that with not just a radical opinion (truth), but one that might get you thrown in jail in some parts of Europe.

It's inspiring; again, how do you get away with it? I feel like a coward now for believing I must not allow a pen name to be married with opinion, and yet I can't bring myself to stray from that when I'm still working out not writing mountains of trash.

I'm definitely going to start reading your work; in fact, I just bought A Throne of Bones. Is there a better book to start for a new reader like myself?
I don't get away with anything. Of course I alienate potential publishers.  I've been told by numerous people, including Tor authors, that Tor Books will never publish me because Theresa Nielson-Hayden has openly declared that I am a very bad, evil, dangerous, and mentally deranged individual.  I've had signed book contracts cancelled because a woman in the marketing department took offense to something I wrote on my blog.  I have lost jobs and job opportunities alike as a result of failing to toe the equalitarian line.  I just lost the SFWA election by what must be near-historic margins, with more than 90 percent of the voters supporting my opponent.

So what?  I have nothing about which to cry or even to complain.  There are always ways around the gatekeepers, and truth combined with talent and perseverance will eventually triumph in the end.  I have it easy in comparison with a great mind like Ludvig von Mises, who was blackballed from nearly every university in Europe and the United States while writing the books that upended both Marxian and Keynesian dogma.

I just keep writing and my audience keeps growing.  Today, it is one million monthly readers.  Soon it will be ten million. Every attempt to marginalize the writer who sticks to writing truthfully about reality is bound to fail in time, because truth is always more compelling than lies.  Write what you believe, write what you want, not what you think others might want to hear.  And never write out of fear.

In answer to the question, unless you are already a fan of epic fantasy, I would recommend starting with either The Wardog's Coin or A Magic Broken before diving into A Throne of Bones.  At 850 pages, it is perhaps a bit of a beast for the casual fantasy reader.


Koanic said...

Amen and huzzah

Fuck the (thought) police.

Tom said...


I appreciate your posts about going around the gatekeepers quite a bit. I'm going forward with a writing project and a homeschool curriculum project because I know that I can basically self-publish with not that much financial risk now days. I don't have to change my content to meet the gatekeepers' demands and instead can just make what I know other homeschoolers want to have.


Jay said...

"The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice."

DJ said...

If you want to be truely successful at something that is a passion you must take your lumps and be true the truth that is yourself.

Anything else will yield mediocrity.

Jim Clay said...

Great post, VD.

mjb said...

Soon it will be ten million.

That's an impressive number.

Good response, VD.

Jill said...

History doesn't remember the timid. You remind me a little of Samuel Johnson.

And now I find myself standing at a crossroads.....

D.J. Schreffler said...

Since you link Game and Christianity, I would like to point out that C. S. Lewis actually addresses this explicitly in Mere Christianity (originally given as a series of radio broadcasts back during, then just after WWII). Ending the chapter on Christian Marriage:

If there must be a head, why the man? Well, firstly, is there any very serious wish that it should be the woman? As I have said, I am not
married myself, but as far as I can see, even a woman who wants to be the head of her own house does not usually admire the same state of things when she finds it going on next door. She is much more likely to say "Poor Mr. X! Why he allows that appalling woman to boss him about the way she does is more than I can imagine." I do not think she is even very nattered if anyone
mentions the fact of her own "headship." There must be something unnatural about the rule of wives over husbands, because the wives themselves are half ashamed of it and despise the husbands whom they rule. But there is also
another reason; and here I speak quite frankly as a bachelor, because it is a reason you can see from outside even better than from inside. The relations of the family to the outer world-what might be called its foreign policy-must depend, in the last resort, upon the man, because he always ought to be, and usually is, much more just to the outsiders. A woman is
primarily fighting for her own children and husband against the rest of the world. Naturally, almost, in a sense, rightly, their claims override, for her, all other claims. She is the special trustee of their interests. The
function of the husband is to see that this natural preference of hers is not given its head. He has the last word in order to protect other people from the intense family patriotism of the wife.

There's more, mentioning the beautiful girl that has a huge number of beta orbiters and delights in it, but would never give them the time of day. This has been around since WW2! And yet Feminization marched on...and now we're digging back to where we should be.

Retrenched said...

Im really enjoying the Wardogs Coin so far.

Jehu said...

CS Lewis never claimed divine inspiration, or to be a prophet. But were he subjected to the Old Testament quality control standards for a prophet, I'm not aware of anything he said as a strong prediction that'd get him stoned. His track record is extremely good, especially in 'The Hideous Strength'.

Jack Amok said...

We live in a time when the cities the gatekeepers keep the gates for are crumbling and not much longer worth entering anyway.

Sensei said...

At 850 pages, it is perhaps a bit of a beast for the casual fantasy reader.

*casual reader. I don't read much fantasy but I tore through it in a few hours. It's rare to find that many pages of consistently interesting reading in any genre; the length is a feature, not a discouragement.

tron3dfx said...

Vox, I've always thought "Master of Cats" to be the real start of Selenoth (and my personal fave), but that's just me... B-)

tron3dfx said...

Wow DJ, really long-winded there.

I can sum your three paragraphs pretty simply (in only three sentences!):

1) Women are the nurturers
2) Men embrace responsibility, for everything else
3) Period

tron3dfx said...

Hi Jehu!

'The Hideous Strength' is one of my favorites! Just re-read it recently. Frankly I found Perelandra to be a little hard to finish towards the end.

I wonder how many people realize that CS was referring to the tower of Babel in Ana Dialog, circa 1550?

How so many men keep on making the same mistakes, oh my B-(

earl said...

The people in charge crucified Christ because he dared to speak the truth.

Now His church continues to this very day.

Sensei said...

I wonder how many people realize that CS was referring to the tower of Babel in Ana Dialog, circa 1550? -tron3dfx

My version supplies the quote in the prologue material.

Perelandra was only incidentally sci-fi due to the setting, it was true myth being made. It is the least accessible, I'd say, but the deepest and most beautiful of the trilogy.

I'm with Jehu, That Hideous Strength is more like.. revealed prophecy.

Tom Bridgeland said...

Re women in combat, sports gives us a fair idea of what would happen. Top female athletes can compete against good amateur men.
I was a decent runner, just good enough not to get cut from a good college team. My freshman time in the mile was faster than every woman in the world except one, the world record holder.

Jehu said...

Your experience is strongly consistent with the observation of a 3 sigma difference. You're probably a 3 sigma runner among men. That corresponds to hardcore Olympic quality (probably 6 sigma) among women.

the league of baldheaded men said...

Now all we need to do is get young "red-pill" geeks reading John Norman.

Aeoli Pera said...

Your spam is rather impressive.

dustydog said...

The original post is 100% wrong, because the concept of warriors is off-base. Historically, professional soldiers were mercenaries or fanatic cults (eg. samurai). Standing armies didn't get much experience in war, and wars chew through bodies fast. Most fighting is piracy, robbery, murder, and girls are no slouches in the robbery and murder department. A girl with a knife is more likely to find a reason to stab somebody than a boy with a knife. Nobody went on adventures and discovered anything cool. The closest people would be explorers and sailor-traders.

Beau said...

Jill wrote, And now I find myself standing at a crossroads.....

Take courage, Jill, go for it.

paul a'barge said...

Theresa Nielson-Hayden you say? Well, lookie here. Dude. A picture is worth a 1,000 words.

Steve said...

"Historically, professional soldiers were mercenaries or fanatic cults (eg. samurai). Standing armies didn't get much experience in war, and wars chew through bodies fast."

This is news to me. It seems to me that a lot of the fighting that took place in our OWN civilization took place between barbarians and imperialistic footsoldiers of the Roman and German empires/royal families, or the bona fide soldiers of the warring city-states of Greece killing one another.

That seems to make up the largest portion of our people's experience with war. And much of it did involve full-scale invasions and hand-to-hand combat/armed conflict.

And it's not just swords women have no natural aptitude for. Slings,arrows,and early rifles were equally worthless in their hands.

And despite your faith in a woman's talent with a knife, even THAT is unfounded,in my opinion. Women manage to stab a lot of people these days, mostly men, because they aren't fighting back. If a known enemy woman, say a japanese woman in America during WW2, came at someone with a knife,she'd never even get the tip wet.

Women use cowardly surprise attacks against unsuspecting or unresisting targets,with those conditions, a BABY could kill a grown man with a knife.

Greg Swann said...

That was wonderful. Thank you.

RobertT said...

" I can't imagine being bold enough to blog in a way which might alienate potential readers."

Stick a fork in this guy.

Post a Comment