Six years after accusations of sexism against the editorial team of Bulletin, the magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), prompted apologies and changes from the magazine’s staff, author Jaym Gates has claimed responsibility for organizing the vocal campaign which led to the initial controversy following the recent passing of author and target of the outrage Mike Resnick.

In 2013, numerous sci-fi authors spoke out against the alleged sexism of Bulletin, such as a cover depicting a bikini-chainmail clad female warrior and columns written by Resnick and fellow Bulletin author Barry Malzberg which described how various “lady editors” and “lady writers” dressed in swimsuits looked “beauty pageant beautiful” and “knock out” attractive. The outrage eventually led to the resignation of Bulletin’s then-editor, Jean Rabe, and an apology from the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, John Scalzi.

On January 9th, Resnick passed away at the age of 77 after a “lengthy battle with cancer,” and in the wake of his passing, discussions surrounding his position at the center of the aforementioned controversy resurfaced. As these discussions became louder, Gates took to her Facebook page to provide insight and detail into the events surrounding 2013:

Well, since this seems to be going around again. Bluntly, this was a f****** miserable year. The women of SFWA – most of us volunteer or barely paid – spent over a year trying desperately to right the ship that had been turned over by male tantrums, and the entire time, we were getting slammed by people from both sides who dismissed and erased us, repeatedly raising the men’s voices and their opinions and centering the discussion on the men.

Gates goes on to reveal that after growing incised after reading “the article in question,” she “contacted several men who [she] knew would help [her]” out and “asked them to raise hell” to prompt the backlash against Resnick and Malzberg:

“The part of the story I didn’t share at the time is that I read the article in question and saw red for several days, and then I contacted several men who I knew would help me out. See, I learned from the WFC debacle: men wouldn’t listen to me, but they’d listen to my words from a man’s mouth. And I was young enough and female enough to know that it would end my career before it started if I went up against Resnick and company.

I pointed the article out to them and asked them to raise hell. They did. And we spent a year fixing that problem, and then a whole lot of other problems, too.

Resnick fought us every step of the way. So did Pournelle, and Beale, and a whole bunch of others. Those of us dealing with the situation were getting hammered from all sides, and we burned out pretty hard. And the whole time, I questioned why the actual f*** I’d set that fire.

In the end, I’m glad I did. It changed a lot. There was some much-needed growth. But christ, it left a bad taste in my mouth. I stopped writing during that time. I turtled up because I was told, literally, that I didn’t get to have a voice, I was only there to jump to the wishes of the grand masters of science fiction.”

Further criticizing Resnick, Gates proceeds to state that she is “not sorry when another old white abuser leaves the field,” grouping Resnick in with general “white men” who caused diverse voices to be “driven out” of the industry and celebrating how the “old ways are dying”:

“I am always sorry for people who have lost their loved ones. I am not sorry when another old white abuser leaves the field. I am not sorry when people talk about what they did because it is safe now.

Because what isn’t happening in this discourse is mention of the writers who were driven out by these men. The African writers who saw their stories stolen by white men. The women who walked away because Asimov groped them or Pournelle shouted them down. The queer folks who were silenced and driven out.

The losses this industry has suffered from our own lack of understanding and our inability to really open the doors wide to the voices we desperately need are incalculable. Our old masters are dying, and I am sorry for their families and friends, but I am glad. Glad that new stories are being told, that new voices are being raised, that old ways are dying.”

Finally, she concludes her post with a final taunt to the late Resnick:

“And hey, Jerry? I’m editing Conan and Red Sonja works, honey, and I just wish you’d lived long enough for me to shove it back in your face.”

After publishing her thoughts on Resnick’s passing, Gates summarized her feelings and provided a link to the post on her personal Twitter account:

  • About The Author

    Spencer Baculi

    Spencer is the Editor for Bounding Into Comics. A life-long anime fan, comic book reader, and video game player, Spencer believes in supporting every claim with evidence and that Ben Reilly is the best version of Spider-Man. He can be found on Twitter @kabutoridermav.