Twitter bullshit ruined the life of a talented new science fiction author

Originally published at: Twitter bullshit ruined the life of a talented new science fiction author | Boing Boing


I watched all of this go down from the margins of the SFF community. The only point I have to add is that folks should have known Neal Clark well enough to know he wasn’t going to put out something meant to attack the trans community. Unfortunately he was out of touch for a few days due to medical issues, and unable to head off the fireworks.


So a trans woman is being accused of being transphobic due to a story she wrote? Do I have that detail right?

This is the most frustrating thing with the various movements to right every perceived wrong. They cast their net wide and quick to pounce on any perceived slight. But their zealousness gets it wrong sometimes. “Who watches the watchmen?” sort of conundrum.

People should continue to stand up for what is right, but make sure of your target and what is behind it. Better yet, attack the ideas presented if you don’t agree with them, not the author. I am not sure what part of the story they disagreed with, but writing a critique about why XYZ was bad should be the path taken. Counter bad ideas with better ones. Allow for a rebuttal that perhaps clarifies some concerns. Not try to out and “expose her ‘real’ identity”.


The idea rose (I’m not going to guess where) that it was a non-trans person pretending to be trans to attack the community from within. Which, again, to me seemed unlikely given Neal Clark’s involvement with the story. The editor of Clarkesworld isn’t likely to buy and print something intended to attack the community. But many trans folks were upset at the thought they were being mocked, and a lot of non-trans allies weighed in with them.

You’re right, people should wait until all the facts are gathered. I’m afraid that such reserve and commitment to getting the truth is something humanity (in general) will never quite be able to manage.


Was the reason for this purely from the title of the story - or the content of the story?

If it was the title of the story - I mean - that is such an anti-trans trope that it was just a matter of time before someone used it to turn it around on the bigots. This has been done several times in the past where people re-claim derogatory terms.

If there was something within the content of the story, then I guess could see the confusion.

There is so much shit out there people are raw to others trying to push the envelope/express themselves.

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It was absolutely from the title.

The story was good, #ownvoices, and a well done piece of work.


Yes. At least one highly-regarded, much-awarded, A-list ally author weighed in on the side of the idiots and then later admitted (he/she/they) had not read the story.

And to your second point, it’s my understanding the meme had long before already been re-claimed.

Being an active-fandom nerd seems so thoroughly exhausting to me.


Disheartening people are that quick to leap to conclusions. It is something the right-wing nuts usually love to do. “You said such and such, you hate America!”


Like I said, I chalk it up to people being raw.

Join me in the new Slave I controversy post. Sigh. At least most people here aren’t making bad arguments for it.

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I don’t know whether or not it had been reclaimed prior to this. Neal’s later statements in support of the author seems to suggest it hadn’t, and taking back the meme was one factor in deciding to publish it. I only know it rubbed many trans people the wrong way, and given the pain they expressed, it clearly hasn’t been successfully reclaimed as other terms have. I tried to tow a line of being supportive without weighing in on the topic, both because I didn’t think Neal would have published something attacking the trans people he’s worked with in the past, and because I hadn’t had the opportunity to read the story at that point.

Still haven’t, actually, since Neal took it down at the author’s request before I could. But I hope the author heals and finds their way back to writing again. It’s in my Hugo packet, though, so I’ll be reading it soon.


And Twitter being where nuance and thoughtful discussion go to die while fascists have to foment and insurrection to get kicked off.


Seems like Twitter facilitates knee-jerk mobs more than other platforms.

Is there that much more of an advantage to being on there instead of other social media sites?

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FWIW, that’s obviously not an attack helicopter. :wink:

What matters is that it identifies as an attack helicopter.

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These are attack helicopters.

In TFA it’s also mentioned that some people found is suspicious that there was no biography of the author, and she didn’t seem to have written anything else under that name, or indeed have any internet presence at all. She obviously had good reasons for doing that, but it seems they backfired.
(Also, the one thing the bio did say was that she was born in 1988, which some people took to be a nazi connection {they have some thing about the number 88 that I can’t even be bothered to remember}. It wasn’t a reference though. Obviously.)

I did read the story when it came out, and tbh, didn’t notice any trans associations in it (I’m not very perceptive I guess). I thought the author had taken a jokey internet phrase and written a story around it.
It was good from what I remember, I hope the author keeps writing, whatever name they use.


88 = HH - you can figure out the rest.

Yes that is the problem with coded language - it is used innocently often enough that it can blend in. Most people don’t even know the association and in truth MOST things using “88” are innocent uses.

I had a coworker with Username88 as a gamer tag - but he’s a gay latino, and was born in 1988. Not a Nazi. Tony Gonzales Chiefs jersey is an 88. Not a Nazi. It gets even more complicated where “8” is a lucky number in some Asian cultures. So there was a Korean pop band that put out a jersey looking shirt that had 88 on the back and “Wolf” as the name. Nothing to do with Nazis - just looks bad in America or Europe.

Don’t even get me started on the OK gesture. :confused:

Like I said - people are raw, but some times they are stabbing at shadows.


When I can’t get my usual username on a service I’ll go for adding 00 and in the rare cases that doesn’t work I go with 88. It’s unfortunate that it has certain Neo-Nazi related implications.

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