13 June 2005

Threats and Cabals

Doug Lain recently reported that Night Shade Books publisher Jeremy Lassen got a visit from the Secret Service because of some photos he'd put on the web. Now Jeremy has told the story himself, and it's terrifying.

There's been discussion at Doug's site (e.g. this post) and elsewhere of whether it's justified for the Secret Service to investigate anything perceived as a threat to the President, no matter how remote or ridiculous that "threat" may seem. After all, isn't it their job description? Reading Jeremy's post put any temptation to buy into that argument to rest for me.

In less threatening news, there's now a real Dark Cabal, one devoted to discussing science fiction and fantasy. It's a group blog by anonymous writers, writers who appear to be professionals within the SF field. I expect some people will be upset by the anonymity, but I think, at least for a little while, it will be a good thing, because the writers here seem judicious and aren't using the pseudonyms as veils for cheap shots and character assassination. One of the influences they cite is the Cheap Truth newsletters of the 1980s, which helped proselytize for the various causes of the cyberpunks. I'm not sure if the Dark Cabal have goals quite as clear as those of the cyberpunks, but there's a hint of which way they might go at the end of a post about some of the newer writers in the field:
I'm tickled to death that people who can't find a commercial publisher are publishing themselves. I think this is the place where many of the brightest and the best of the next generation are polishing their craft. I find it interesting to note that Chris Rowe's fiction became more interesting, more powerful, more strange and new, when he added science fiction into the mix. I want to push a lot of these young writers--not towards sf per say [sic], but to something more. Do something with your fiction--narrator, science fiction, strangeness, unsettling truths, humor. Push a little harder.
This is a sentiment I sympathize with, and it certainly doesn't just apply to the writers discussed there, but to just about every writer alive, and could as easily be said about most of the stories nominated by the Hugo and Nebula awards this year as for the stories mentioned in that post.