It’s time to get back to our roots.

I’ll admit it at the start. I’m 7, almost 8 months pregnant. It’s over 100 degrees outside. My feet resemble sausages due to swelling, and I’ve been in and out of the hospital and the doctor numerous times due to various complications (my stress level is in the red zone). Things have not been easy for me recently. I’m absolutely miserable, and being miserable pisses me off.

You have been warned.

I got into this genre, and reviewing in general, because I love reading science fiction and fantasy books and I want to spread that love if I can. That fundamental premise has fueled my website for five years now. Now, however, reading in our genre isn’t just reading anymore. It’s become some sort of a twisted internet-esque contact sport. Suddenly the books we read, and the publishers whose books we read, means something.

Our community is divided, throwing words, and at war. The chaos keeps spreading as a few people stir up the “cess” at the bottom of the pool, and a lot of other people can be counted on to constantly react. I’m finding myself a lot less interested in actually engaging the community that means so much to me. That’s probably what has me the most upset. I love this community, and I love the books and publishers and authors in it. Suddenly, I have almost no desire to interact with any of them.

I feel like I’ve been robbed, and all because a few people decided to have an agenda and be loud about it. Fine. Have a cause, and gird your loins for battle, but for hell’s sake, don’t forget you’re a bunch of adults. We aren’t on a playground at recess. Friendships have been severed because of this debate. Friendships. Are you kidding me? Suddenly someone on one side of the line isn’t good enough to be friends with someone on the other side of the line? You guys, this is getting out of control. Everyone needs to sit down, shut up, and let the teacher evenly divide the pretzels.

Everyone is offended, and everyone is finding more things to be offended about, and I’m over here wondering where the hell the conversation about books went.

Really. Where did it go?

I am so incredibly sick of almost every conversation in the genre having a context and a subtext, and lines and insinuations. If the puppies are so damn determined to get readers to enjoy that pulpy, fun goodness again, then please, by all means, TALK ABOUT THE BOOKS. Get me excited! Stop picking at scabs and looking for things to be offended about. I’m done with the pontificating. Right now I see almost no actual book conversation and a whole lot of, “he said, she said.” (That is pretty true for both sides of this debacle).

SJW’s, for the love of god, stop reacting and making it so damn easy. That’s the first thing I learned from my five older siblings – if you react, it gets worse. So stop.

Honestly, both paragraphs can be equally said to both sides of this debate.

I miss the days when I could agree or disagree with whoever I wanted, and we could still manage to talk about the books that make this genre so incredible. I miss the passion in those discussions and conversations. I miss the coming together of a bunch of people in the community from diverse backgrounds and the wonderful, enlightening conversations that often resulted (these conversations would make my librarians, who manage my hold list, scoff).

I realize that this post isn’t going to make a damn bit of difference. Not one iota. I’m not a powerhouse voice. I’m not even a loud voice, and I’m okay with that. I’m just sick of it. I’m sick of the bickering, and I miss the passion. I don’t care if you’re an SJW or a Puppy, or a little bit of both. We need to get back to what started this vibrant community – the books.

So let’s talk books. Have you (or are you) reading anything noteworthy? What is it?

I’m about halfway through Uprooted by Naomi Novik, which is absolutely blowing me away with its grandness. Yesterday I got an ARC of Dark Ascension by ML Brennan in the mail. I’m a huge fan of that series, so it instantly moved to the top of my list. I started reading it, and I’m already in love. I’m planning on starting the new Kevin J. Anderson book, Blood of the Cosmos, in the next few days. I’m pretty excited. Not only do I have a blurb on the back of that book (squee!), but I always tend to enjoy Anderson’s work.

In other news, I went part time at work because full time was killing me with my various health complications. This has given me a lot more one-on-one time with my daughter (3 years old) before daughter number 2 arrives in August (if this heat doesn’t kill me first). I’ve enjoyed that special bonding time. We joined the summer reading program at the library (She has to read 25 books over the summer and she’s already done with 15 – in two weeks). She’s starting to puzzle out words, and every Monday we go to story time at said library (which often includes a fun art activity). Last week story time included a puppet show telling a Polish fairytale. As a mother who loves reading, there really isn’t much that’s more exciting than seeing my kid start to feel that passion for the written word that I feel.

And her imagination is boundless. It’s delightful and invigorating. Nothing is impossible to her.

Isn’t that really what this community is based on – that childlike passion for literature that hasn’t ever really diminished – that awe and wonder we feel as we discover a new universe for the first time? All this other stuff is just surface. I think it’s time to get back to our roots.


It’s all about the books.

15 Responses

  • Paul (@princejvstin)

    I just started Brad Beaulieu’s TWELVE KINGS IN SHARAKHAI, myself 🙂

  • I just got started on the newest Stephen King, Finders Keepers.
    I know you’re not fond of King, Sarah. But for me every new King book is a great journey.

  • Angela

    Vermilion by Molly Tanzer was a really awesome steampunkish western. The subtitle kinda says it all. That these are the adventures of Lou Merriwether, (A Taoist) pyschopomp. And it turns out to be a pretty awesome adventure!

  • A lot of what you’re saying here fueled my desire to start the Shaun’s Rambles stuff. I wanted to do more talking about books, movies, etc. than dealing with all the controversies all the time. Still dealing with them, but not as much.

    That said, I get exactly where you’re coming from. This is all fairly exhausting, and I know a lot of folks who aren’t in American sf/f who are inches from just walking away for good because of the toxicity. And it isn’t going to go away, either. There are people who have a lot invested in keeping the chaos going. The best we can do is stop reacting…which only works if the chaos doesn’t directly affect us 🙁

  • Jeff Patterson

    You are more eloquent that me. In my eyes a crazy person smeared peanut butter on his privates every day and fandom was the dog that enthusiastically licked it off.

  • I’ve just started reading The Goblin Emperor and am loving it. Just finished Deborah Harkness’ discovery of witches series, although I thought the first book was the strongest.

    Thanks for this post, and here’s to hoping the internet find somewhere else to dump its crazy soon.

  • Beautifully, beautifully put.

  • Julia Reynolds

    I really really like your blog and your reviews. Thanks for being a bookworm, girl.

  • Reading Half The World by Abercrombie. Very much enjoying this series over his previous work.

  • I’m working my way through The Dark Tower series; just started book 2 today. Also, I recently read Forsworn by Brian McClellan, and now I’ve got the urge to get back into that series.

  • Currently working my way through Joshua Winning’s Ruins and I’ll be starting David Hair’s The Pyre after the weekend 🙂

  • I’m stuck in re-read mode at the moment. Currently The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Loving it all over again, just like the first in the series.

  • Smack dab in the middle of Jo Walton’s “The Philosopher Kings,” which I want to make a push on and finish tonight. (If not tonight, then probably early tomorrow.) After that, it’s on to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s “A Murder of Mages.”

    The hardest part of maintaining this reading pace right now is the fact that I’ve been gifted with a couple of new video games, and they’re gigantic time sinks even when I’m not feeling easily distractable!

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