Peter Watts vs Acrackedmoon

Science fiction author Peter Watts just wrote a post titled "In Vicarious Defense of R. Scott Bakker." Here's a teaser:

For a while, a few years back, I thought I might have an evil twin.

I kept running into people at cons who’d met him: Man, he coulda been your clone, they’d say. He’s tall and gangly and kinda sardonic — smaller in the nose, maybe — he’s writing this book about the neurological impossibility of free will, and he’s worried that it might get used to justify serial sex killers or something…

Turns out his name was Scott Bakker (R. Scott Bakker, actually — I never bothered to find out what the R stood for), and while I remain mystified that anyone would mistake him for me, he turned out to be quite an interesting guy. We hung out a few times at cons, debated the finer points of pop neuro over beers, got along way better than you might expect from our orthogonal backgrounds (his formal training is in philosophy, for chrissake). He was popular at such events; always shooting the shit with someone, always going point-counterpoint around a table of writers and readers, always engaging, always attentive. Throughout the course of these events, I never saw him treat anyone with anything other than respect; and the belated discovery that Caitlin and Scott had been good friends for years before I’d known either of them came as no surprise whatsoever.

Remember that: it’s central.

When I had the chance to blurb Scott’s novel Neuropath — a book that dealt with many of the same issues as Blindsight, but within the confines of a thriller format that was far more accessible than my own vampires-in-space niche effort had been — I jumped at the chance (although I don’t think Tor ever used the blurb). Scott wrote Neuropath as an experiment in formula: he ploughed through a bunch of conventional thrillers to get a feel for the form, said Shit, I can do that, and did.

Where he really made his name, though, was in fantasy: firstly with an epic trilogy called The Prince of Nothing. The first volume is called The Darkness That Comes Before, and despite fair amount of critical acclaim (apparently it subverts pretty much every overused trope in the standard fantasy toolbox), there are inevitably people who do not like it. C’Est la vie.

Also, there is at least one rabid animal who hates it, someone who goes by the monicker “acrackedmoon”.

Notice what I did there: I reduced a fellow human being to the status of a mentally-diseased animal. I thought long and hard about doing that. It surprises me a little that I’m willing to sink so low, so early in the discussion (maybe I won’t; maybe I’ll have second thoughts and edit it out before I post.) (Guess not.) I’d generally show more restraint, but for the fact that acm has beaten me to that particular punch by referring to Scott Bakker as “a self-important little roach”. She calls him a number of other things, too, but I figure that particular shot justifies my own epithet (which at least accords acm the dignity of remaining a mammal).

It's a great read, no question. Especially if you are a fan of R. Scott Bakker, of course. Even better, our favorite rageaholic and psychotic Thai lesbian SFF reviewer somehow finds a way to make an even bigger fool of herself (no shit) in the comment section. Wonder if Larry will link this one. . .

Follow this link for the full piece.

22 commentaires:

Morrigan said...

I wish people would stop giving attention to that irrelevant, irrational whelp. This sort of thing only serves to feed her ego.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, that blog... Perhaps she was recommended to do it as part of a therapy. It's a sickening read.

Anonymous said...

I am still curious where exactly any kind of evidence that the subject is indeed Thai (or for that matter, indeed female) had surfaced.

Eric M. Edwards said...

I find it interesting, that while you "moderated" my comment on your post "I know, I know" (i.e. did not allow it at all), which contained no invectives of any sort, was thoughtful and on topic but which raised some rather serious questions about what you're allowing on your blog and what that says about wider issues of fandom, genre publishing, and Pat's Fantasy List - you continue to allow both some really questionable comments from your supporters and obviously still are interested in spreading a campaign of one sided and I believe, misleading information about your "opponent" in this debate, acrackedmoon.

Your site, your choice, but it doesn't suggest a strong position on your side.

Unknown said...

There´s an old saying in Germany, which translates roughly to: "Even black lesbian handicapped persons can be stupid bitches" She´s a living example of that.

Anonymous said...

@Eric M. Edwards: In the interest of fairness, I'm pretty sure I read your comment on "I know, I know". Likely it was volume, not deception, that led to it's delayed approval.

@Unknown: Moon isn't black, and I'd be curious why people think she's a lesbian. It disturbs me how many people assume she is, and what this says about their perception of black people and lesbians in RL.

Does being either, or a combination, invalidate a person just because?

Part of me does question, as this drags on, the efficacy of performance rage but I wonder if anything she points out about privilege would be taken seriously regardless. Outside of SFF, people live, are assaulted, even die with the assumptions made by people with regards to rape culture, Islamophobia, etc.

"Nations live as men act." as Bakker would say.

It's disturbing to see that some commenters seem to like marginalized groups so long as they behave, given they attack a person's identity via race/sexuality rather than just the person.

-Sciborg aka Saajan

Julien said...

First of all, I'd like to say that insults, ad hominem attacks, etc. never help winning any verbal joust. And this is not a "tone" argument, obviously.

Second, I like Moon's style. She's challenging sexism/racism in today's mainstream SF-Fantasy. More the power to her. She doesn't have to be polite about it either.

But... who cares if she's Thai, lesbian, etc. She could very well be white and North American, it doesn't change her arguments. It doesn't even show in her "voice".

What I dislike about her, however, is that she like to use the "white privileged nerdy-boy" insult in such a matronizing way that she seems completely oblivious to her own reeking class and language privileges. (And that is coming from a fellow French canadian, Pat)

But please. Moon has given us the opportunity - maybe as an unintended consequence - to have a profitable dialogue on gender in fantasy. Let's move beyond the schoolyard bully mentality.

Anonymous said...

I don't just doubt the efficacy of her methods but also her substance and justification. The sensitive subject matter alone doesn't render her immune to criticism in any position she adopts (which extends to more ideological and personal aspects than purely issues of sexual violence and all kinds of prejudice). It is strange that one can accept her obscene, personally attacking style with all its false accusations and distorted overstatements as a moral or intellectual high ground.

Anonymous said...

It cracks me up that Watts calls her on personal attacks, nothing else, yet she just cannot keep every other injustice out of the discussion. Her responses on his blog are like she is tilting at windmills.

Patrick said...

Eric M. Edwards: Contrary to what you believe and what you stated on Peter's blog, I haven't moderated or deleted a single comment, many of which dragging me through shit, from that post. If yours didn't appear, it's due to a glitch in the system. Feel free to re-post it and you'll see it appear up there.

Actually, I never delete any comment unless it's blatant spam.

I'm not Acrackedmoon, after all...

locusmortiis said...

acrackedmoons theatical performance rage is pretty boring, after all once you've read one of her articles you've read them all.

Maria Caliban said...

"@Unknown: Moon isn't black, and I'd be curious why people think she's a lesbian. It disturbs me how many people assume she is, and what this says about their perception of black people and lesbians in RL."

People think she's a lesbian because she is a lesbian. It's not as though she's secretive about it.

Anonymous said...

You may be sure that 90% of anyone who writes about women, sexuality, other countries or "fantasy races" per se will get the "lowest human scum" treatment. Also any trivial criticism will be overblown to a supernova status. Arguments and reason are forbidden and scorned in the viles manner. I wonder why something like this even has to be explained as "suspect" and how this is to raise in any way an awareness of issues or contribute to fair treatment.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that someone who writes in hate every day for years would be still intellectually capable to understand every work properly, let alone serve as a cultural and moral compass to transcend all other intellectual discourse... I guess insanity is the right word.

Anonymous said...


"People think she's a lesbian because she is a lesbian. It's not as though she's secretive about it."

I know she identifies as one, but it seems, sans reading anything of hers, they bring it up. This isn't the first time someone has referred to the apparently big problem of "black lesbians".

This is what I find disturbing. I think Moon is an adult who won't flinch at being called names that are specific to perceptions of her character.

What is troublesome is that it seems like people suddenly want to trot her out as proof that the efforts of queer-persons/minorities have somehow damages society by making it too "PC".


I agree with your post.

I feel it should be easy to say "I don't like her style" and move forward to the larger issues.

-Sciborg aka Saajan

A said...

As a long time reader, I find it interesting that you noted that she was a thai lesbian. I mean, it is not like you sign off saying you are a male french canadian on every post.

It brings attention to something that unduely influences the tone of the following argument in an Ad Hoc way.

Which is, in a round about way, her perspective of things: North American cultural neocolonialism that has white-washed (Some exceptions, with Le Guin and Mieville being strong countervoice) SFF. I do agree with her that the majority of the "Asian theme" stuff written by non-Asians is offensive to me (Chinese Male. In a way I guess I am playing the racial identity game here) - not because they are utilizing it, but that they are throwing some "Asian" scenery into it but, ultimately, bring it back to a Western axis of philosophy/moralism. Essentially, to me, it is like slapping dragons into it and calling it fantasy (Yearding as I like to think of it) but instead it is fox spirits or ninjias or some other unimaginative crap. It is just a thinnly veiled reimagining of another culture's history (Sans the understanding) that craps out a terribly generic secondary world that favours the "Westernized" hybrid over the tyrannical "Orient" other. It is sad to see that Edward Said's work is still applicable in this day and age.

Socially constructed notions on the racial other is still quite evident: I cannot help but think of the recent drama over ESPN's comments regarding J. Lin, in terms of perspective and public perception of said perspectives. I cannot tell you of the looks I got during my BA when I would walk into an English lecture and everyone would look at me as if I came off the moon - better yet, when a new professor in the department told me that the business class was next door. What the feeling I got was not "You do not belong" but "What can you hope to bring to the table." In a way, that was worse then the former, since it implies to a certain extent that my voice will still be heard. In a way, I think this is what Cracked feels, but whether she should have identified herself solely as working on a negative hetero-Anglo relationship was a choice on her own. I cannot speak for her, or her sexuality, or her gender, or her ethnic background.

I do not think you, nor anyone else for that matter, should be doing that too. That goes for Cracked too.

Which is why, in a way, I am torn when this "event" happened between you, Cracked, and Larry: I respect you all to the point that I will disagree with each one of you on certain topics, but I dislike the fact that the tone of this argument has to be played on racial/sexual preference/gendered tones. I know you did not start it, Pat, but there is no reason why you should continue on to that vein. It might be in sarcasm or whatever, and frankly I doubt you will change your tone when it comes to this (I think of the Stanek discussions) but, as a prominent voice in the SFF blog world, please try to keep this sort of underwraps.

It might be presumptious of me, but, as an ethnically non-Westerner Canadian who has a MA in English Lit, I DO see how this sort of biased view affects perceptions of anything we non-Anglos have to bring to the table and, regardless of who fired the first shot, it does make you look insensitive. Worst still, I would hate to think that it signals your approval of more "radical" views on this, as the "Black Lesbian bitches" comment shows. I know you did not approve of it, but I cannot help but feel there is a connection in your identification which creates an environment (unintentionally I hope) that would allow this sort of commentary to occur.

I won't threaten the whole "I won't come back" spiel, but as a fellow Canadian just be mindful that language can cause unintentional collatoral damage. Don't be brought down to the rhetorical level that Cracked seems to opperate on (whether it is a justified privilaging or not).


Julien said...

@A and Sciborg

I like both your posts. It really feels great to hear thoughtful fantasy fans. Sciborg, I've been lurking on a few blogs (Bakker and RoH, for instance) and congrats... you're a great voice for both reason and compassion.

*Would that every blogger have the same reflexive openness.*

While I really enjoy Pat's blog for what it is (and I'll find my politics elsehwere), it seems to me that a healthy dose of humility and self-criticism is what the doctor ordered for most of this drama's players.

Anonymous said...

@A and Sciborg

I like both your posts. It really feels great to hear thoughtful fantasy fans. Sciborg, I've been lurking on a few blogs (Bakker and RoH, for instance) and congrats... you're a great voice for both reason and compassion.

Wow. See, everything I've ever read of Sciborg I've read as the exact opposite. To me he tries to toe the line but the more posts I've read be it Westeros. ROH. The original ROH slam (ha, ha, more like laugher) of Pat. The Bakker blog. This one. Watts. All the same, I believe, nothing but a wannabe crackedmoon lackey. You can almost smell him sidle up to her on her blog. And although, like I said, he does try to act the voice of reason, I'd hope people would hear a dissenting voice to his dialogue, which to me is nothing more than crackedmoon v.1.5. Just another side to this coin.

Tree Frog said...

It was shown fairly conclusively in the comments below Watt's piece that "acrackedmoon" is the wholly made up alter ego of an Internet Troll - who is probably white, male and in the Western world. Check the IPs of the people who "agree" with that fool's positions. How many of them are the same?

The best way to deal with trolls is to ignore their "raging for attention" manipulations.

Watts and his wife are thoughtful and decent people and they, and the community they've built, do not deserve such corrosive nonsense.

It is entirely possible to retain great emotion - even hate - and remain grammatically correct, polite and thoughtful of others. These trolls can't grasp that and thus resort to Fox News style misstatements and attacks.

Please, Pat, ignore them in the future. Focus on your own projects and what's notable in the fantasy world. I don't agree with you much of the time, but you're a valuable source of insight.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes. Pyrofennic/Acrackedmoon. I've read the blog. The author of the blog is Thai and a self-professed lesbian. Two facts that are completely immaterial. I don't object to her subject matter (most of what she rages about, I've never even heard of. Which is why it surprised me when she went after J. Butcher) I object to her utter and violent aversion to entertaining even the smallest possibility that she could be wrong in any way. She will site sources (such as that, by her own admission, are not credible. Her gender, culture, and sexual orientation are immaterial. They don't validate her or invalidate her. But her writing stands on it's own as a major failing. She isn't being edgy, she's being unreasonable... And a little insane.

Anonymous said...

Actually IMHO most of what Moon says about gender & LGBT & race issues in sf/f have been said before by lots of others at least as early as the days of Joanna Russ, though she tend to use a more funny & sarcastic approach. However I don't think I've seen many other English-language sf/f blogs writing from a non-western perspective, and as a Chinese I think she does point out many issues we non-western fans feel but often do not talk about in order to be polite.

Anonymous said...

so what does everyone think now.