Genre Grapevine for 8/9/2020

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Conservative Polish genre authors decry imaginary censorship 

As I reported last month the Polish SF/F magazine Nowa Fantastyka apologized after publishing a story by Jacek Komuda about a gay man kidnapping children for pedophiles. Many of Nowa Fantastyka’s readers and authors slammed the story, which as the magazine’s editors admitted in their apology was rightly seen as “an attack on queer people and as propagating harmful stereotypes about them.

The magazine later published a statement “saying they will publish a special queer issue of the magazine, and the editorial board is explicitly encouraging marginalized writers to submit.”

The story by Komuda was titled “Dalian, Bedziesz Cwiartowany!” (essentially, “Dalian, You Will Be Dismembered!”) and ran in the magazine’s July 2020 issue. The fantasy story featured a gay man whose partner was caught transporting kidnapped children out of the country as a sacrifice to pedophile priests.

Now 21 conservative Polish authors including Jacek Dukaj and Konrad T. Lewandowski have signed an open letter in support of the story, saying they’re offended by it being censored. The letter said the story was censored due to “political correctness” even though, it should be pointed out, the story was never actually removed or unpublished. Instead, the magazine simply apologized and said they’d publish a special queer issue in the future. (Update: Miss Aberra has now translated the letter to English.)

The letter from these 21 authors also said they understood literature was subject to critical discourse and debates even as they ignored how, in a major irony alert, that’s exactly what happened after the story was published.

It’s also worth noting that all but one of the 21 Polish authors who signed the letter are men. As Lewandowski wrote in a Facebook comment about the letter, “If anyone is paying attention to feminist quotas and asks why so few women are on this list, the answer is: Because they were not brave enough! When you have to stick your neck out, you can immediately see what feminism is worth...”

Despite the cries of censorship, this letter is being seen as “a smokescreen for spewing anti-LGBT+ bs.“ In addition, Andrzej Sapkowski, author of the Witcher series and possibly the most famous living Polish genre writer, did not sign the letter.

All of this is taking place against a continuing crackdown on LGBT activists in Poland, as described in this article by Human Rights Watch.

Hugo Awards update

The fallout from the recent Hugo Awards ceremony continued, with the genre debating and discussing a number of issues related to the fiasco. Here are some of the highlights:

Other News and Info

Opportunities

  • The Dream Foundry contests for beginning genre writers and artists will accept submissions from August 10 to October 11, 2020. Prizes for contestants are $1000 for first place, $500 for second, and $200 for third. There are no submission fees. Details>>
  • The Aurealis Awards are “seeking expressions of interest from Australian residents who would like to judge for the 2020 Aurealis Awards” Details>>
  • The Huntington Library announced a new Octavia E. Butler Fellowship worth $50,000. Details>>
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