Bro, you’re reading wrong

Something that’s been irking me recently – a bit of indignant pretension I’ve seen from some parts of the Pulp Rev crowd. This may be tied to the “your waifu is shit” fanboyism common to most nerds, and heaven knows I’ve engaged in some of this myself. But I’m going to beat an old drum here; maybe at a slightly different rhythm.

Now I hardly think that Gitabushi needs defending. He’s a big boy, and he’s not exactly a persecuted soul. But you know, I think some of the reactions to his opinions and observations on SFF are a little kneejerk and sometimes a little unfair.

Let me expound a bit, if I may.

Gita and I are both big Scifi/Fantasy fans, but our preferences beyond that differ more than they intersect, I’d wager. And we don’t always agree on genre. Still, these differences make for some interesting conversations about what we like in a story and about various authors’ writing styles.

If you read this blog regularly or my posts over as Castalia House, you’ll know I’m a big fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E Howard. They’re two of my favorites. Gita…well, not so much. And we’ve gone back and forth quite a bit. One of the things I really respect him for, though, is that he wants to see what fans see in these authors and their stories. He would love to harness the spirit of the old pulps, if he could find some pulps he really enjoyed. Not a lot of pulp non-fans out there actively reading and rereading them to glean their attractiveness, I’d wager.

Now it may just be that he doesn’t really enjoy pulp SFF. Not everyone is going to, and that’s not a sin. After all, he’s not loitering in the comments or tweeting about Howard being racist or how the pulps demeaned women. He’s not a SJW, despite the accusation having been leveled at him. We can mock Gita for his inferior taste in SFF, but treating him like some kind of fool who just doesn’t get it isn’t quite right. Hell, I actually find it interesting to have a Pulp Rev ally in our midst who isn’t a raving pulp fanboy! Makes for some memorable dialogue.

But if you’re going to skim his comments, roll your eyes, and dismiss him as not reading Conan correctly or being too modernist, or perhaps being one of them pink slime loving commies, well…you’re going to miss out on getting someone else’s (perhaps valuable) perspective, and you’re going to lose out on a potential conversion.

After all, do we really want to spread the fever? Or are we just blowing the horns to rally those who already like the same things as us? Some people just take longer, and if they’re not hostiles, why paint them as such?

It may be that some of our brethren are more disposed to casting the wide net – catch who you can, and don’t waste much breath or thought on the non-believers. I can get that. We’re all busy and have to allocate our time and energy as best we can! But some of us are willing to put in the legwork, man. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t make our jobs harder by engendering this misplaced hostility. (I know – “smoke what you appreciate, Bushi!”)

I haven’t called out anyone specifically, and I don’t mean to. But if you feel like going a round or two here or on Twitter, let’s hash it out, dudez.

That’s right, Gita – I still hold out hope that we will convert you from a filthy Hard SF lover to a bonafide pulp man.




8 thoughts on “Bro, you’re reading wrong

  1. Luckily, I haven’t been offended or upset by any of it…with one exception early on that I was mildly irked by until I applied some Kentucky windage to.
    I’m stubborn enough to hold to my view, hopefully articulate enough to make my case at least partly effectively, and busy enough that if I feel like we aren’t having an actual conversation, I’ll just move on to more productive pursuits.

    Like continuing to read Conan in order of writing.

    The old stories aren’t dragging me in like, say, Poul Anderson’s “The High Crusade” which I picked up 2 days ago and finished within 24 hours…but they also aren’t a slog like The Demon Princes were.

    Speaking of which, that good discussion I had with Castalia House (or, at least, enjoyable/productive from my perspective) is probably worth a post, eh?

    In any case, in my stubbornness, I probably haven’t made it clear that I appreciate the book and writer recommendations, and if I say I don’t like it, it doesn’t mean it’s *bad* (with the exception of everything Asimov wrote or even thought about writing. Those are all objectively bad.). I’ve been reading so much for so long, my standards of “good” are probably ridiculously high, and even more so because I’m simultaneously trying to write a “good” story, so it pushes me to analyze what’s good and bad about every story I read so that I can incorporate it into the novel I’m writing, and this sentence has run on long enough that I should probably abandon any hope of becoming a professional writer.

    So I’m glad to hear that my curmudgeonly evaluations haven’t negatively impacted your enjoyment of the books you like. That’s the way it should be. We all have our own tastes, and we should all like what we like without feeling bad for it.

    Unless you like Asimov.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Time to write another defense of Asimov!

      Yeah, feel free to write about your interaction with Jeffro. That was about Conan, right? I’m glad it was constructive.

      And man I loved the High Crusade – more than Three Hearts and Three Lions, and so far more than the Broken Sword.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ragging on your own co-blogger. Are there NO depths to which you won’t sink? I feel like I have somehow slipped into an alternate dimension where anything, no matter how impossible, is suddenly possible. Next thing I know you’ll be attacking me for my stunning intellect and intimidating macho charisma!
    Ok, maybe there’s something to this alternate dimension thing :-)


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