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Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

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A single note of defiance
This is just a short note to the world at large: be it known that I have purchased, despite the extreme poverty that my recent voyage across the world imposed on my budget, THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF MIND-BLOWING SF (Mike Ashley, editor).

Since I am a Null-A trained Houyhnhnm from planet Vulcan, I am (of course!) a being of pure logic unmoved by any passions or emotions, but from time to time one simply must make a gesture, no matter how small, to oppose the Dark Lord, even if that gesture is only symbolic.

In this case, the book is one that holds for me only mild interest, despite the fact that some of the contributors include giants in the SF field, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter, Gregory Benford, Robert Silverberg and Michael Swanwick.

No, my interest in the book was piqued only because of a pseudocontroversy that was ginned up over the race and sex of the authors in the table of contents. Because the editor did not include a token female, he was excoriated by the unwitting servants of the Dark Lord.

Not only was the editor threatened with boycotts and reduced to the status of an unperson, any authors or editors who spoke in his defense, no matter how mildly, were also boycotted. Much of the ire seemed to be over the cover blurb and title, which (as best I can tell) is boilerplate boosterism, no more meaningful than Stan Lee of Marvel Comics assuring potential buyers in blazing all-capital letters that this issue is the best battle issue ever!

What was the cause of so much vexation, we might wonder?

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