Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Sad Puppies and Pulp Revolution

John C. Wright had this to say on the SuperversiveSF Livestream:

Jeffro Johnson is to this generation what Lin Carter was to mine: the guy who went back and found the old forgotten wonders… and introduced them to the modern audience. That’s why I know books from the 40’s and the 60’s and from the 1890’s is because of Lin Carter. The reason why anyone knows these books that were absolutely the staple reading of the 1970’s is because of Jeffro Johnson.

Now granted, I give rave review the guy’s books. I consider him to be the best living fantasy and science fiction author and have said so. We both work for the same publisher and are on the same side in the culture wars. So the guy is completely and utterly biased.

But he’s also right.

And it is the strangest thing, really. Just last year it seemed like I had just one reader. This year, that one reader went off and put together a short fiction magazine… with the express purpose of bringing back the sort of fiction I’d been writing about. And it didn’t stop there, either. It was absolutely uncanny watching it unfold before my eyes, but there are other authors that were in conversation with my book reviews.  Because of them we went from “nobody writes like this anymore” to “these people are picking up where the old masters left off” in a year’s time.

The most interesting thing about surveying science fiction and fantasy history going back to Lord Dunsany and Edgar Rice Burroughs…? It made people want to read. It made people want to write. It made people want to create. And culture being downstream of criticism, it had a noticeable influence on how they went about it. This was unimaginable last year… but undeniable today.

There’s another aspect of this that is less obvious. As Sarah Hoyt wrote over on Mad Genius Club:

We’re still in the middle of a culture war.  And one of the things the — for lack of a better term — other side has is bully pulpits.  Now most of them are in the old paper media, and they’re not really read by fans of the field.  BUT still, they have magazines that publish recommended lists, and interviews with authors, and turn the spotlight on work they think should be read.

We have nothing like that.

That isn’t the case. You can be forgiven for not noticing, of course– this only really started to kick into high gear in the past several months, after all.


There’s your spotlight right there. (See Sensor Sweep for highlights.)

And while I don’t speak for these gentlemen, I’d like to point out that the thing that ties them all together is their capacity to judge science fiction and fantasy on the basis of its canon and to discuss that canon without falling into the tired cadence of sneering accusations of sexism, racism, colonialism and whatever other ism the fake literary critics can come up with.

That is the way forward. And none of this would be happening if not for the conversations that sprang up surrounding the Puppy Wars of the past couple years.

11 responses to “Sad Puppies and Pulp Revolution

  1. pcbushi November 30, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Conservative (if that’s the proper word) SFF fans, unite!

    I was looking at a other blog the other day, run by this woman who does a fair amount of short book reviews. She posted one about having jumped back and read a Princess of Mars, and she gave it a 4/5 and some nice remarks. In the comment section to that post, some smarmy SJW commented that despite the racism it was a decent story.. Now I haven’t noticed the author taking liberal side of things; she seems pretty apolitical on her blog. Yet she didn’t challenge him. She merely replied with a “Yes, very much so” (agreeing with both premises or just that it was a decent story, I’m not sure).

    That’s where we are – Leftists and young snowflakes looking for opportunities to rend garments and signal how much they’re progressed since the days of antiquity. It’s off-putting, corrosive, and I’ve no doubt it’s one of the major contributing factors to what’s going on now with us.

    • AshleyRPollard November 30, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Or she was just avoiding confrontation, as women are won’t to do. Me, I’d say something confrontational, but that’s me.

    • Alexandru Constantin November 30, 2016 at 8:02 pm

      I can’t stand that shit. You can’t have a conversation about anything without some SJW tool opining with a “but racism, but sexism.” It’s like the assholes that have to go on a know it all rant at Thanksgiving about European Native American relations. STFU.

  2. Daddy Warpig November 30, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Love without sneering or GTFO.

  3. Alexandru Constantin November 30, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    It’s a damn exciting time. For awhile I pretty much got over Fantasy due to all the negative crap going on. But now I’m excited to read old and new stuff. I just picked up my first J.C. Wright last night.

  4. JonM December 1, 2016 at 4:48 am

    John C. Wright is a hard author to read. He has a tendency to ruin everything else that I read by showing me how good it can get. I’ve found that I’m better off reading one of his books, and then reading something else that isn’t quite as good (which is almost everything else) to come down from the high.

    The only qualm I have at this point is that the general outline of the two fiction novels of his I’ve read follow the same general plot line. But that’s a story for the Book Club…

  5. rawlenyanzi December 6, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    At the Earth’s Core stuck out to me. It showed a real glimpse into the pre-World War II mindset regarding Western Civilization, and that time’s more frank mentions of race. It was also a time before it was known what killed the dinosaurs. It showed how writing changed from the 1910s to the 1950s, and it was quite a bit change.

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