Larry Correia is a big-booted barbarian who likes to fight in a cage. And a lot of us love to watch big-booted barbarians go at it.
We like demanding matches. We like a little blood and good sportsmanship (of course, sportsmanship in the cage is different than in other venues). And we respect both sides for showing up and giving it their best.
This last week Larry Correia battled with Alex Dally MacFarlane (and Tor, the silent partner, who thought her new column would be a great idea and has given her their big platform to talk) and Jim Hines. If you didn’t watch the match, here are the links.
- MacFarland and Tor: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/01/post-binary-gender-in-sf-introduction
- Correia: http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/ending-binary-gender-in-fiction-or-how-to-murder-your-writing-career/
- Hines: http://www.jimchines.com/2014/01/fiskception/
- Correia: http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/5687/
I’ve enjoyed reading the give and take in this fight. For me, the barbarians seem to have landed more blows (and done so with many more funny and memorable one-liners.) But that doesn’t mean Alex Dally MacFarlane shouldn’t crusade.
And I mean crusade, as in battle.
Underneath it all MacFarlane wants to change something. She wants to change hearts and minds. A lot of us want to change hearts and minds about various things. A lot of us will show up and risk getting bloody for such things in a variety of settings. Heck, Correia the Barbarian was even willing to spend two years of his barbarian life trying to change hearts and minds in a setting where big boots are not allowed (poor Correia, more sad puppies).
But here’s the deal.
If you want to win someone like me, you’re going to do it not by scolding or brow beating me or by mandating something and then trying to back it up with sticks.
You’re going to do it by writing something so delightul that I cannot but help listen to you.
You’re not going to tell me what I can’t write.
You’re not going to tell me what I must write.
You’re going to model writing that makes me want to write that thing.
You’re going to be like Tolkien and spawn five decades of writers who want to do nothing more than imagine worlds filled with strange races and wonderous settings and weird talking tree men who have lost their wives.
You’re going to invite like-minded folks to join you in creating wonders. Or in just having a good old time. And not worry about other writers inviting folks to their creations, which might be totally different from yours.
And those wonders and good times are the things that will work the magic.
Miguel Sabido is a master of entertainment with message. Here’s a great piece in The New Yorker introducing him, his work, and methods. Notice what made his stuff so effective. The new ways of thinking he wanted to offer were never found in the A story. They were never found in the B story.
Because the number one thing the story had to do was suck people in (entertain).
And so the new thing to consider was in the C story.
MacFarlane, put it in the C story. And build a Middle-earth. Or a ring world. Or at least some vampires that sparkle.
In the meantime, I’ve got a barbarian book on the shelf that looks like a mighty good time. I think I’m going to give it a read.