Anti-vaxxers are MORE educated

The news that anti-vaxxers are whiter, wealthier, and better-educated than those who place blind faith in vaccines won’t surprise anyone who has actually engaged a vaccine enthusiast on the subject. None of them know anything about history, few of them know anything about science, and all of them are prone to simply repeating the usual vaccine scare rhetoric:

The people most likely to refuse to have their children vaccinated tend to be white, well-educated and affluent, researchers report.

A study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health used California state government data on “personal belief exemptions,” or opting out of vaccinations for nonmedical reasons. From 2007 to 2013, the rate of vaccine refusal for personal belief doubled, to 3.06 percent.

The researchers reviewed data among all kindergarten children in the state during that time. More than 17,000 children, attending 6,911 schools, were exempted.

Exemption percentages were generally higher in regions with higher income, higher levels of education, and predominantly white populations. In private schools, 5.43 percent of children were exempt, compared with 2.88 percent in public schools.

In some suburban areas, rates of exemption were near 50 percent, and more than a quarter of California’s schools have measles immunization rates below the 92 to 94 percent required for herd immunity, the level of vaccination necessary to protect people who are not immune.

The very simple fact of the matter is that vaccines are far, far less important in halting the spread of infectious disease than controlling entry and immigration from non-first world countries. This is obvious, since vaccine rates are still very high in the USA and Western Europe, and yet there is a massive rise in various diseases that is the direct result of global travel and large-scale immigration.

The idea that the current vaccine schedule is responsible for the huge decline in deaths from infectious diseases in the 19th century is not merely ahistorical, it requires a combination of ignorance and stupidity. This will become readily apparent before long as most children will continue to be vaccinated but disease rates will continue to rise thanks to the behavior and lifestyles of the New Americans.

You can be reliably certain that a position is wrong if it is inordinately held by magical thinkers or cargo cult scientists. Vaccines aren’t magic, they are merely a medical tool that is useful in some circumstances and useless in others. The simple and science-based fact is that most children don’t need most vaccines.


John Scalzi, Baen author

It’s probably a good thing John Scalzi is looking to find some new publishing outlets, because Tor Books obviously isn’t of the opinion that they got their money’s worth with his most recent submission:

So, here’s the Very Important News about my 2016 novel release:

Currently, there isn’t one. Not a new one, anyway.

Which isn’t to say I’m not writing a novel in 2016. In fact, I’m writing two(!). Merely that Tor has decided to wait until 2017 to release the next new one.

Why the wait? Among other things, because Tor just dropped a ton of money on me so we want to make sure we debut this next novel, the first in the new contract, just right. I’m on board with this plan — note the “we” in that last sentence — since (again, among other things) I actually want to try to earn out the silly large chunks of money Tor has dropped on me. I also don’t mind the extra time it gives me to write/tweak the novels I’m currently working on.

I’ll admit it. I laughed. I fully expected Scalzi to crack under the pressure, but not this quickly. It’s one thing to talk about writing a really good book that will sell 100k+ copies, but it’s another thing to deliver on it the big talk.

Now, those who don’t know much about the business of publishing may not understand how serious this little delay is. You see, each quarter, a mainstream publisher has certain books upon which it is relying in order to make its numbers. This is particularly important now, in a market that is characterized by declining sales; all the Big Five have seen their sales shrink as a result of bookstores closing and competition from independent publishers and self-published authors on Amazon.

Now, Tor had never previously depended on Scalzi; as recently as 2012 its bestsellers were Orson Scott Card and Karen Traviss’s HALO novels. But they lost HALO and Robert Jordan isn’t writing any more books, which is why they badly need Scalzi to step up to the next level. Hence the big contract and the aggressive book tours, which are essentially PNH throwing a Hail Mary in an attempt to save his job.

The recent announcement means that Scalzi hasn’t been able to do it and his new novel didn’t meet requirements. He turned it in, and after reading it, the editors at Tor know that it won’t sell enough to meet their needs. So, they’ve pushed it back one year in the hopes that Scalzi can tweak it enough to turn it into something that will justify their investment in him.

But it’s not going to work any better than signing a WR3 to be a WR1 does. More time won’t change the core problem, which is that Scalzi is a stunt writer. He relies heavily on flash to disguise the fact that he’s not a good storyteller, he has no original ideas, and he’s merely a competent wordsmith. There is nothing wrong with that, and he could have had a perfectly satisfying career as the midlist writer that he is – as an editor, I concluded some time ago that writing snarky dialogue for short TV episodes was probably his ideal medium – but he is not the sort of bestselling writer on whom you would ever want to bet the company.

(For what it’s worth, I’m not either. Very, very few writers are. There is no shame in not being a King, a Heinlein, or a Rowling, and even those writers can seldom deliver on that scale for more than a decade.)

But, as we know, SJWs always double down. Tom Doherty or the Macmillan executives should have fired PNH when he gave them the chance last year, because he is going to cost them heavily due to his decision to ride or die with his pyrite boy. It’s far too soon to say this is definitely the case, but the smart money would bet on PNH’s Hail Mary pass falling incomplete. Sooner or later, one has to stop spinning and massaging the Narrative and actually deliver real-world results.

In the meantime, boycott Tor Books!


December Brainstorm

Tomorrow night, December 30th, at 7 PM EST will be the closed December Brainstorm. Invites for members will arrive soon. We’ll be discussing a number of things I’m not going to disclose here; if you’re an Annual Brainstorm member and you want to be a panelist, let me know. I’m particularly interested in anyone with a law degree or IT development being on the panel.

If you’re interested in joining Brainstorm, you can do so here. It is essentially the strategic braintrust of this blog where I can bounce ideas off those who know the community well. I should probably mention that we have enough members that we’re not doing the monthly memberships anymore.


Clarke and the criminal connections

Leo is rather dubious about the evidence concerning certain of Arthur C. Clarke’s supposed idiosyncracies:

Still, a lack of accusations gives us nothing but rumors to work with. Did he associate with anyone later credibly so accused? That would be evidence for me.

Fair enough. It’s not like I know anything about it, although the false claims of his being cleared by the Sri Lankan authorities do tend to make me a little suspicious. Let’s see what is out there. Here is what there is from the 1998 Mirror piece based on the reporter who was sent from the UK to Sri Lanka to interview Clarke.

Sitting in a room he calls his Ego Chamber, Arthur C. Clarke  finally admitted his lifelong secret – not only is he gay but he prefers sex with beach boys. Clarke gives the name Ego Chamber to the study in his Colombo home because the walls are lined with his books and framed photos of himself with celebrities from the Pope to Princess Diana. The room has state-of-the-art computers, satellite TV, video recorders and other hi-tech gadgets which Clarke boasts he uses to communicate with pals at the Pentagon.

When we asked Clarke about suggestions that he may have been one of the original pioneers of sex tourism in Sri Lanka he gave a wry smile and said: “I am more amused than disgusted that anyone should think that. I am all in favour of efforts to stop it. But how do we stop it without interfering with the rights of responsible adults.”

Then he repeated a phrase often used by paedophiles: “I think most of the damage comes from the fuss made by hysterical parents afterwards. If the kids don’t mind, fair enough.”

In recent years Clarke’s name has been linked with two notorious paedophiles, one of whom – a Swiss millionaire – was kicked out of Sri Lanka on the orders of the president for abusing impoverished beach boys. He is now awaiting trial in Zurich accused of sexually abusing up to 1,500 young boys and like Clarke was friends with a lot of Sri Lanka’s top politicians, senior policemen and influential government figures.

Clarke is said to have attended parties at the tycoon’s home. When asked if he had, Clarke replied:

“I may well have done. I mean the very first man I met here in 1954 was a paedophile and made no bones about it. He was in intelligence in the army, a fantastic guy.”

Clarke said of his sexual preferences:

“Here it would embarrass everyone right up to the president. I mean, I am chancellor of the university, a public figure, that is the problem so I would be swallowed alive. I would probably be outed, you see.”

These days the frail, white-haired old man gets around with the aid of a wheelchair and crutches following a polio attack 15 years ago.

But Clarke’s fading health does not stop him enjoying his favourite pastime – playing table tennis with schoolboys at a notorious pick-up haunt for perverts called the Otters Aquatic Club. Crumbling and in need of a coat of paint, the Otters is a meeting point for Westerners who lust after young boys. Those who hang around its games room, pool and tennis courts are perfect prey and are easily persuaded to sell themselves for 1,000 rupees (pounds 10) – a small fortune to them.

Clarke goes there regularly in the afternoon, hobbling on a walking stick, to challenge boys – some as young as 12 – to a game of ping pong.

Asked what his definition for paedophilia was Clarke said:

“There are two different definitions, anyone who interferes with young boys who are not old enough to know their own minds and that’s my definition. It varies for me.”

Asked how he knew whether the boys really did know their own minds as he had not known them for long, he said:

“Because pure and simply they looked reasonably mature. Mature enough for me.”

Told one of them was just 13, he said: “If he really was 13 he will be a very mature 13.”

Asked if he thought that was morally wrong he replied: “No.”

Told that some of the boys had told us they would not have had sex if he had not given them money he said: “I’m sure. But I didn’t make anyone do anything they didn’t enjoy doing.”

Of course, one has to ask why a reporter would fly from the UK to Sri Lanka to interview an old man about his predilections unless he already knew what he would find. There is also more highly specific information from what appears to be a British conspiracy site:

US detectives, who arrested leaders of NAMBLA 10 years ago, say Clarke was named by other paedophiles they quizzed during an FBI investigation. The perverts had set up children’s homes in Thailand as fronts for their sick activities.

One of its leaders was Jonathan Tampico, 48, a top nuclear scientist who worked for the American Government. He served two-and-a- half years in jail for molesting a boy of 12 and is now on the run with a million-dollar warrant on his head for further porn offences. He told detectives he had stayed at Clarke’s home in Colombo and had swapped letters with the author.

Another known paedophile, former church minister John Wakefield Cummings, 56, is serving a 24-years-to-life sentence after admitting molesting 17 boys in his care.

He told police in Sacramento, California, that Clarke had been contacted at his Sri Lankan home by a paedophile who was on the run from the American authorities.

In a sworn statement made to an investigator for Sacremento’s district attorney, Wakefield Cummings told how the pervert fled to Sri Lanka where he was able to contact the paedophile community through Clarke. He then fled from Sri Lanka to Indonesia.

Detectives contacted a child welfare group to warn them about Clarke’s activities.

A senior Sacramento detective said: “We never had any reason to take action against Arthur C. Clarke because he was outside our jurisdiction.

“But Clarke’s name did keep coming up. We were looking into members of The Boy Lovers Association who all seemed to know or be aware of him. He ended up connecting to a lot of people we were investigating. Tampico was one of those who said he went to Sri Lanka. I have seen letters between him and Arthur C. Clarke. There was nothing overtly sexual in them but they were clearly corresponding.”

He added: “Cummings told us in the course of interviews that Arthur C. Clarke is a paedophile. He said Sri Lanka used to be a popular destination for the paedophiles. But then the government changed and they were all thrown out. He said Clarke was one of the few they didn’t expel because of his status.”

Ron O’Grady, of ECPAT confirmed he had been warned about Clarke by police in Sacramento.

Now, I know nothing about any of this so I can’t vouch for any of it, but it’s easy enough to confirm that at least the names are real. Here are public court documents relating to the arrest of the aforementioned Jonathan Tampico. Notice that he and his three fellow defendants are members of NAMBLA, the organization that published the newsletter to which Samuel Delaney admits subscribing. And John Wakefield Cummings is on the registered sex offender list in Clovis, California. Ron O’Grady, who died last year, was a New Zealand minister who founded EPCAT.

Perhaps Mr. Cummings was lying about Mr. Clarke. Perhaps Mr. Tampico was lying about Mr. Clarke. Perhaps Rev. O’Grady was lying about Mr. Clarke. Perhaps all these people from around the world were lying about Mr. Clarke in their discussions with the Sacramento police. But why? Why would his name even come up in the first place?

The Otter Aquatic Club also exists and you can even visit its website. Otter Aquatic Club is one of leading sport promoting club has been in
existence for the past 78 years and it is one of the largest and most
patronized clubs in Sri Lanka.


And then consider how many obvious signs there were about Clarke compared to how much evidence there was about Marion Zimmer Bradley prior to the revelations of last year. A lot of these people are still alive; some of the detectives involved may even still be on the Sacramento police force.

I have absolutely nothing against Arthur C. Clarke. I enjoyed several of his novels. I was delighted to republish the excellent story he wrote for There Will Be War Volume II, “Superiority”. But the truth is what it is. History is what it is. This world is fallen and Clarke would hardly be the first brilliant man of talent to hide a terrible secret.

The question is, will the science fiction world investigate the matter and face the truth, whatever it might be, or will it continue to avert its eyes and permit the monsters in its midst to operate with impunity? Remember, this is a community that awarded Samuel Delaney its highest honor just last year.


The ignorant atheist

It’s not so much the ignorance that I find amusing, as the incessant posturing:

Richard Dawkins @Richard Dawkins
Tweet accuses The God Delusion of “displaying all sorts of logical fallacies”. Anyone care to name a single one?

Vox Day @voxday
Argumentum ad verecundiam. Detailed here: The Irrational Atheist.

Of course, most of Dawkins’s errors don’t rise to the level of logical fallacy, as no one has hitherto bothered to name such “arguments” as “appeal to irrelevant anecdote involving Alfred Hitchcock”.


Mailvox: Arthur C. Clarke: Predator or victim?

TS objects to the inclusion of Arthur C. Clarke among the pedophiles of science fiction:

I just finished reading “Safe Space as Rape Room” and I’m disappointed that you continue to include Sir Arthur Clarke in your list of child predators.  Following up on our earlier email correspondence I spent time over several days looking at everything I could on the Internet about this.  And no, I did not go to Sri Lanka.  What I found during my research satisfied me that he’s innocent of the charge.

Clarke denied (on multiple occasions) that he ever said what was alleged in the Daily Mirror.  He is also on record saying that pedophilia is wrong.  None of his writings give any hint whatsoever that he favors pedophilia.  When Sri Lankan police and Interpol asked the Daily Mirror for tapes of the interview, they were not produced.  The Sri Lankan authorities are on record as saying that Clarke “has been cleared” of the pedophilia charges against him.  Why do you believe the Daily Mirror’s accusations but not Clarke’s denials and the Sri Lankan authorities?  And, and I think this is very telling, why did no one come forward after he died and accuse him of sex abuse (ala Jimmy Savile)?

I think you are seriously wronging Sir Arthur.  Please don’t put him into the same category with Kramer, Delaney, Zimmer et al.  He doesn’t deserve it.

Why don’t I believe Clarke’s denials? Because most criminals are not prone to openly confessing to criminal activity. Why don’t I believe the Sri Lankan authorities? I do believe them. But they did not clear him of the pedophilia charges made against him, they simply stated the fact that no actual charges had been made.

National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) chief Jagath Wellawatte said there was no case against the writer, who captured the world’s imagination with 2001: A Space Odyssey and visions of extra-terrestrial civilisations.

“We had no case against Clarke and no one had come forward to say they were abused by him,” Mr Wellawatte said.

The agency was established under new child protection laws enacted after the allegations against Clarke surfaced.

“We have not had any formal complaint or testimony from anyone saying they were abused by Sir Arthur,” said NCPA investigator WTD Wijesena. “We cannot go on the basis of rumours.”

That is not an investigation and exoneration. That is simply an absence of a victim willing to testify against a powerful and influential man. Furthermore, there is documentary evidence that the media went to some lengths to look the other way.

The News of the World spiked an exclusive story exposing the science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke as a paedophile, according to a new book about life inside the newspaper whose closure was announced a year ago today.

Can we say for certain that Clarke was a pedophile? No, not at this point. But what we can say is that the claims, by Clarke and others, that he was “celibate” and “unable to engage in sexual relations” for decades sound eerily like the same claims about Walter Breen’s impotence that were made falsely by Marion Zimmer Bradley before he was convicted of molesting children.


Mailvox: Safe Space as Rape Room

Reactions to the fourth installment of Daniel Enness’s Safe Space as Rape Room: Science Fiction Culture and Childhood’s End at Castalia House.

I just wanted to thank you guys for talking about this. I myself am a
survivor and have no Earthly idea why this stuff isn’t talked about by
the other “side” in this. It makes me a bit sick to talk about it or
read about it, but given the kind of fiction I enjoy reading it always
sort of worms its way back into my attention. I also get a sort of
garbage feeling if I say nothing or at least don’t voice my support for
people speaking out.


Granted, I disagree with a lot of what you guys have to say a lot of
the time, but bless you for saying this and I happily defend and support
your right to say the rest. I’m very sad of late to see that ideas are
now held as either dangerous or above reproach. As if we are all not
made poorer by the silence of a refusal to debate. I hold your
willingness to talk about this as proof absolute of the necessity of
maintaining diversity of ideas so that there are always people around to
call out other people for doing horrible things. The other “side”
deserves to be called out on this and I thank you for continuing to do
so.

– Andrew

This article in general – and Dozois’ comments in specific – helps me
understand why I no longer purchase modern SF: perverts and enablers
have gained publishing power, and have turned the genre into their
personal playground. When I tried to get back into SF in the mid-2000s,
I started off with Dozois’ yearly collection … and was promptly annoyed
at how the pacing of stories would be ruined by the seemingly
obligatory insertion of “non prudish” (to paraphrase Dozois) elements
that were irrelevant to plot or character development. These
distractions make the collection as a whole read as amateurish with a
light creepy undertone. I shifted over to Hartwell’s yearly collection
and found the selection a bit less annoying, but the overall quality of
both of those collections remained poor. Hartwell’s collection is
apparently no more, and I couldn’t care less if Dozois goes away.

If
there is going to be a renaissance of quality SF, it will have to come
from publishers with a mindset that the sort of writing represented by
Delany’s doesn’t have any sort of merit other than that of studying a
deranged mind. It is beyond me how anybody can read his work and not
get creeped out and repulsed; to praise such an author’s works makes me
seriously question the mental health of the persons quoted above. The
overall trend of SF sales now makes sense: most readers don’t want our
SF with a serving of creepy pervert.

– Hohokam

WARNING: The linked post deals seriously with child sexual abuse  in
science fiction and extensively quotes from the work of a science
fiction author who endorses, and is believed to have engaged in,
criminally abusive sexual behavior. Not for the faint of heart; contains
vulgarities, obscenities, and descriptions of extraordinarily deviant and
disgusting behavior. It is a grim, but factual description of the
depravity that is not only tolerated, but actively celebrated in the science fiction world.

Readers under the age of 18 should not, under any circumstances, read the linked post as it juxtaposes various comments about the SFWA Grand master and suspected homosexual child molester Samuel Delany with quotes from Delany’s own work, which is considerably more depraved than the average individual is likely able to imagine. This warning is not a joke. You won’t enjoy it. You won’t find it titillating. It will simply sicken you and hurt your soul. This is something you need to leave to the adults.

And yet, the adults must deal with it. The rock must be overturned. The evil must be exposed and the rot must be excised. The science fiction world has continued to avert its eyes from Delany’s behavior for decades, just as it previously averted its eyes from the behavior of known child molesters in their midst, such as SFWA members Marion Zimmer Bradley and Ed Kramer, until well after they were safely dead or imprisoned.

As for the SJWs and fandom, while you may not like the source, the fact of the matter is that because we are the outsiders, we are the only ones with the courage to confront the evil that lurks among you. Even if you hate us, even if you hate what we stand for, you should hate what the monsters in your midst are doing to your children and to your community even more. If you can’t find common ground with us in actively opposing the molestation of children, how on Earth can you expect us to be interested in finding any common ground with you at all?

George Martin loftily announced the following in reference to the Sad Puppies: “When people behave badly (in fandom or out of it), or do things that I
find immoral or unethical, I reserve the right to speak out about it, as
I did about Sad Puppies 3 last year.”

So, what are we to make of the obvious fact that he has been in fandom for literal decades, but has never found any of the behavior of the various child molesters of his acquaintance to be worth speaking out about?


Epistemic closure at Tor

Tor.com is now closed to the unelect:

Since its inception, Tor.com has prided itself on the strength of its original short fiction. For a long time our unsolicited submissions formed the backbone of our catalog. We’ve found some of our favorite, most innovative, and most surprising stories through slush. However, in recent years we’ve found that more and more of our stories have been coming to us from different sources. As more of our stories are being brought in by consulting editors, fewer slots on our schedule can be filled by submitted stories. As such it’s time for a change.

On January 7th Tor.com will close its short fiction submissions system. Our dedicated editors and readers will read through and respond to everything that is submitted up to that point, but we do not plan to reopen in the foreseeable future. We are thankful to the authors who submitted stories to us, and to the readers who read those stories, always looking for the next great undiscovered work.

Translation: the short fiction market is rapidly approaching the terminal point. It costs less to simply let the “consulting editors”, who are mostly Tor writers using Tor.com as a marketing platform, to bring in short stories from their friends and publish them there. Where else are they going to publish them, after all?

(And before anyone declares this is a great opportunity for Castalia, I reiterate: the short fiction market is dying. No one wants to pay for the required vehicles; even a phenomenal collection like There Will Be War Volume X, with rave reviews, superlative non-fiction pieces, and some of the biggest names of the last fifty years of science fiction on the cover, won’t sell one-twentieth as well as a Larry Correia novel. While both mil-SF anthologies do well enough to justify their existence, I don’t see any convincing rationale for developing a short fiction site at this time.)

This closure to the unsolicited means that Tor is, to a certain extent, doubling down on its commitment to Pink SF and the SJW vision of its inner circle, as without a sufficiently close relationship with a “consulting editor”, you’re not breaking in via that particular short fiction market anymore.

However, based on my experience with both RTRH and TWBW, this is unlikely to harm them much. The slush readers for the latter went over hundreds of submissions and found us precisely two new writers, Shao, and Newquist, while Cheah was the only new writer discovered in the process of producing RTRH. Now, the effort was worthwhile in the end, considering that two of the most popular stories in Volume X turned out to be the Cheah and the Shao – “Flashpoint: Titan” is easily my favorite in the anthology – but it was an awful lot of work for everyone involved.

(And Vol X slush readers, I have been remiss in not sending you your copies yet. If you already bought one, email me and I’ll send you your choice of an earlier volume or the forthcoming Volume IX.)

This change isn’t going to affect Tor much, nor does it indicate anything terribly important about Tor having to cut costs due to its declining sales. It’s not as if they actually paid their slush readers. Its significance is in the hardening of the battle lines that it represents, and the way in which the SJWs at Tor continue to gradually cut themselves off from the traditional science fiction that they’ve always hated anyhow.

So, in the end, this is just another example of social justice convergence in action. Boycott Tor Books!



Science fiction’s smiling sociopath

One of the things that has always bothered me about John Scalzi’s bizarre public confession concerning his sexual predilections is the same thing that has caused many people to ask the question: why on Earth would John Scalzi openly confess to being a rapist who enjoys sexually assaulting women?

On the one hand, if he was a genuine rapist, why would he ever publicly admit to it? On the other, if he was not, how could he seriously think women would find it funny to hear him declare, in his self-styled “satire”: “I’m a rapist. I’m one of those men who likes to force myself on women without
their consent or desire and then batter them sexually.”

Who could possibly think that is either clever or funny? What sort of person writes that in the first place? Well, now we know, thanks to Cory Doctorow, who after 12 years of acquaintance with Scalzi has warned the public that the Tor Books author is very far from neurologically typical. Scalzi simply doesn’t care about anything; in Doctorow’s terms, he has absolutely “zero fucks to give”. John Scalzi just doesn’t care that you know that he’s a self-admitted rapist.

John is limbically atypical. Having watching him mix it up online and face-to-face, I think he’s just wired up different. I think that he really, actually, no-foolin’ gives no fucks at all. All our human traits are arrayed on a bell-curve, I think, from the length of your fingers to your autonomic nervous system’s response to jerks. John is a four- or five-sigma outlier.

This explains a lot that is confusing about the man’s behavior. I’ve heard from numerous people who have encountered Scalzi about his tendency to engage in socially inappropriate behavior towards others in public, whether it is leaping into the arms of someone who barely knows him to playing “hail-fellow-well-met” with authors he has repeatedly and virulently attacked. I’ve also heard from reliable sources that he goes from overly warm to dead-eyed cold in an instant, depending on whether he believes the person to whom he is talking is of immediate use to him or not.

At various conferences, attendees have reported that Scalzi was “weird”, prone to laughing at his own jokes, and totally unable to talk about anything but himself, even when he was supposed to be discussing the work of others. This is five-sigma narcissism, not necessarily malignant narcissism, but certainly a pathological form. And there is a word to describe a narcissistic outlier who lacks empathy: sociopath.

A reporter from the New York Times appears to have subconsciously picked up some signs of this in his interview with Scalzi, as he delicately described the Tor Books author as being prone to smiling and giggling and “someone who is comfortable with the business of promotion”, even as Scalzi blatantly lied about his site traffic in the interview.

Psychology Today lists the signs of a sociopath, and it’s quite clear that even in the eyes of his friends, Scalzi fits them like a glove, like a glove custom-made in Ohio from the tanned flesh of missing teenagers:

  • Superficial charm and good intelligence
  • Unreliability
  • Untruthfulness and insincerity
  • Lack of remorse and shame
  • Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior
  • Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience
  • Pathologic egocentricity
  • General poverty in major affective reactions
  • Unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations

We already knew about the first seven traits. We knew that Scalzi is a habitual liar, that his egocentricity reaches pathological levels, and that he is unable to learn from experience. But we did not know about the two latter traits. And yet, what are “wired up different” and “five-sigma outlier” other than the layman’s way of describing “general poverty in major affective reactions” and “unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations”?

It was clear that the time Scalzi spent in a wheelchair in his youth had a significant effect on his socio-sexual development, but now it is apparent that the wheelchair, plus the absent father, also affected the way in which he developed psychologically. The question now may not be whether science fiction’s smiling sociopath is another abusive sex criminal in the mode of Walter Breen, Ed Kramer, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Gian Gomeshi, and Samuel Delany, just to name five of whom we are already aware, but rather, how many bodies are buried somewhere underneath that broad expanse of Ohio lawn?

And the gift of an empty mason jar is particularly troubling, as it can only make the astute observer wonder what sort of ghastly little trophies are intended to go inside it.