The Sad Puppies are, once again, frolicking in my twitter feed after WIRED magazine’s take on the 2015 Hugo awards was republished in an extended form. It’s a good read, followed by the usual tail of comments with members of the Mad Harpies “movement” publicly humiliating themselves by repeating the same old tired excuses for their bigotry.
Among the comments was this gem from a “Gus”, who chose to publish on a public forum a rather revealing insight into the ignorance of the Bad Guppies. I’ll just drop it here for you to read in full. The bold is a quote from the article , the italics are Gus “rebuttal”.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, arguably the first sci-fi novel, was a monster story that explored the ethics of technological advance and the responsibilities of parenthood.
Only a brain-washed product of a US humanities department could ever come up with such nonsense. The sole purpose of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” was macabre entertainment, as entertainment is the sole purpose of Sci-Fi: when I want to be preached to, I go to church. The puppies, of course, are right. A good story that sells well is what counts every time. Thank God, we no longer have to rely on Hugo and its gang of prim PC hypocrites for suggestions. There’s plenty more where to find a good read. And neither is “Frankenstein” (1818) the first sci-fi novel. There have been many before, for example, “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift (1726), “Adventures of Baron Munchhausen” by Rudolf Erich Raspe (1785), or “The Blazing World” by Margaret Cavendish (1666), and plenty more going all the way back to “Arabian Nights” and the Japanese tale of “Urashima Taro” (720) that talks about time travel.
I wish I had an effective emoticon for side eye, and I’m not going to lower myself to inserting a gif here, so I will simply ask you to imagine me giving Gus all the side eye. Where to even begin?
Firstly, is Gus actually asking us to believe that Frankenstein : A Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the famed early feminist icon, daughter of philosopher and political activist Mary Wollstonecraft, wife of romantic poet and political radical Percy Byshe Shelley, close friend of paramilitary revolutionary Lord Byron, and author of seven novels (many science fictional) and innumerable other stories, essays and letters, all of them revealing a life of deep engagement with political and social issues of gender, class, sexuality and more, that this same Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote Frankenstein : A Modern Prometheus (a subtitle explicitly invoking the mythical act of stealing fire from the gods as an opening rhetorical reference to the risks of scientific endeavour) as, and I quote, “the sole purpose of…macabre entertainment”? Because I would suggest, on the basis of all available evidence, including every single thing ever written about Frankenstein, that Gus is in a minority on this one. In fact, I will go so far as to say that he is utterly, absurdly and idiotically wrong.
Secondly. Does Gus then go on to place, alongside Frakenstein : A Modern Prometheus by early feminist icon Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the novel Gulliver’s Travels by famed polemicist, essayist and, yes, political activist Jonathan Swift, as examples of entertaining scifi stories written for the sole purpose of entertainment? Because I hate to break it Gus, but while Gulliver’s Travels may well be a “good read”, it absolutely does have a message. Google is your friend Gus, look it up.
Wherever Had Herpes gather the whining about “message fiction” is endless. Stories should only entertain, and not contain any kind of message, apparently. Reading old Gus’ words, it becomes clear how these clowns arrive at such idiocy.
They are ignorant.
These are the kind of people who can read Frankenstein : A Modern Prometheus by early feminist icon Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and not notice all those messages flying past their ears. Or, likely, they just haven’t read it at all, and are the very particular kind of stupid that can believe that they, and they alone, know the “sole purpose” of something they haven’t even read.
There is a name for this kind of stupid. It’s ignorance. The people who don’t know, and don’t want to know, and ignore anything that challenges them, even when it’s explained in the simplest way, those are the ignorant people. And they’re ignorant, above all else, about science fiction itself, a genre so full of messages that even its most ardent fans can’t agree on a proper definition to hold them all. Gus is a good case study in Sad Puppy ignorance, look out for its signs in everything they do.