The B from WorldCon

My wife is always right. And now she’ll have a link on the internet to point to next time I argue otherwise.

There was once an offensive post here. When my wife read it, she laughed, and then she told me people were going to be offended by it. I should have listened to her and modified the post. I didn’t. It upset a lot of people.

I apologized for the post and decided to leave it up. I didn’t want to run or hide from the mistake I made. Then I called my wife, who is currently on the other side of the globe from me, had a good cry, and listened to her advice.

She said I should take the post down. That it would be like leaving a hateful symbol up after you know people are offended by it. I’m sure there is a version out there for those who want to seek it out.

Again, I’m sorry. This is not who I am. I’m just glad I have a strong woman behind me to remind me of that and help me make good decisions.

185 responses to “The B from WorldCon”

  1. I should point out that my wife is in the other room terrified that people are going to read this and think I’m serious.

    I can only hope.

  2. This might be the greatest story you’ve ever told (just joking).

    Huge fan of yours…am reading Molly Fyde for the first time and loving it (especially after reading all the Wool and Shift series).

    You rock…glad you didn’t let that jerk get to you.

    Can’t wait for what you have in store for us in the future.

    All the best!!


  3. I love when you get mad. You get mad in a great way. Remember your four favorite Grafton novels? I still crack up once in a while over that one.

  4. This post made me all sorts of happy…unbelievable, unabashed happiness. :) Way to be true to yourself.

  5. MeiLin Miranda Avatar
    MeiLin Miranda

    Someday the Bitch will eat her words, Hugh, if she hasn’t already. <3

  6. After watching your dancing act smack in the middle of your German interview, it’s awfully hard to take your stuff seriously. And of course I mean a good number of your posts of this nature.

    Keep the fun anecdotes coming, Hugh. :-)

  7. You seriously crack me up. I think there’s some degree of seriousness here, and that’s fine!

  8. Loved this post! So sad that lately it is an us vs them attitude in the writing world. Don’t we all love writing and telling stories? Shouldn’t that put us all in the same boat no matter what publishing road we take?
    Great post!

    – Kim K

  9. I’m really proud that you did not slap her. Someone else likely will, at some point.

    Reader’s Choice Award. That kind of says it all, doesn’t it?

    You did good. Plenty of time for a future Hugo, too.

  10. This was both sad and hilarious.

    I think it is safe to say that people who have the attitude of this woman need to think about why they read – do they read because they love a good story? Or do they read because of the name of the publishing company on the spine?

    I have been to numerous publisher road shows, having worked in book retail for years – and I have heard publishers talk up their authors and books – hand out free copies – which turn out to be the biggest load of poorly-written crap. I remember getting given a promo-copy of Twilight at one of these things… someone chose to publish that.

    If you are smart enough, committed to the art of writing (on your own dime and not on a commission) and driven and business-minded enough to get online and plug your book – and you become successful – then well, I would suggest you are pretty much winning at being an author!

    I am an aspiring writer, who has dreamed of getting something out there into the world – but I would actually CHOSE to self-publish. Despite having close relatives in the trade (actually successfully I might ad) I have never contemplated trying to get a leg-up… not that there is anything wrong with asking for a hand to get out there… but I just like the idea of DYI – wether its books, comics, films, web series – the world is changing and you either get on board or you spend a long time waiting for someone to take an interest in you!

    Anyways – rant over. Love your work Mr H. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading.

    1. Ignore my bad spelling and grammer please – I am employing the ol’ “sent from my iPhone” excuse.

  11. Shoulda turned your name tag around at the end. That might’ve caused a jaw or two to drop. Especially if it read “Marilyn Chambers.”

  12. OMFSM, Hugh. I’m going to be laughing for months at this. :D

    1. And I’m going to be polishing my lovely award for months. The win really means a lot to me, Al. I love awards that come from the readers. I hope the joy comes through the snark. :)

      1. Absolutely the joy comes through, Hugh. You continually show that you “get it.” Loved your article in Salon today, another example of the same thing..

  13. Still laughing…oh, dear.

    1. (Oh, and by the way, I was a nominee in another B&P category and won. Most humbled. If I run into a woman like yours, I will share this story.)

  14. Great story, Hugh. There are certainly some strange people out there.

  15. The best lies always have a ring of truth to them. Humor works the same way. It can’t be funny if it isn’t connected to reality.

    Awards collect dust, reader’s admiration collects paychecks.

  16. This was very sad and hilarious, especially the “it gets hazy here”. I wish I was as casual and charming as you seem to be in public. I’m going to try out your technique of asking people about themselves, it seems like a good one. I made my best friend go to your signing in Chicago for me, because you aren’t coming to Omaha (yet?), and she raved about how great your talk was. I love how you are so passionate about sharing your knowledge and experience, and how angry it makes you when people try to take advantage of writers. It definitely makes it easy to be a big fan of yours, even if you didn’t write so well.

    Unfortunately I think this scenario will happen over and over again. Whenever I try to talk about my business plan for self-publishing, I get a lot of dubious looks despite the very professional, even tone I adopt, and the use of hand gestures, the smattering of numbers, and the dropping of your name and EL James as examples of successes. Of course, I’m just starting out so there’s a lot of talk but not a lot of show. If I found myself in this girl’s company I would try very hard to make it look like we were not in the same group, although not at the expense of my place in line of course. Neil Gaiman is on my top 10 list of favorite authors.

    1. Boys, you need to get you some charts, graphs and power point presentations. It impresses the hell outa people. Oh, and a leather briefcase, gotta have a leather briefcase.

  17. Congrats on the Reader’s Choice award, Hugh. Not only did you win, but you beat me! (As if anyone knows who I am, lol.)

    Seriously, I read and enjoyed “Wool” very much. Congratulations on a well-deserved win. And there’s always next year for the Hugos.

    1. Thanks, Lynne. As far as I’m concerned, everyone who publishes a book is a winner. It’s such a huge accomplishment. And then to be nominated for an award like this one? A lot of people ought to be proud. Congrats to you on both accounts.

  18. The “right way,” ha! Even before self-publishing became a viable business model, every career author I spoke with said that there’s no one way to break in–that there never was a “right way.”

    The best career advice I ever received was from a comment on one of Dean Wesley Smith’s Sacred Cows of Publishing blog posts. The commenter basically said that all us writers who are trying to make a living at our writing basically pass through four stages:

    Bushwacking — At this stage, we’re just starting out and have little clue what we’re doing. We make all kinds of mistakes, and feel like we’re floundering around helplessly.

    Following the trail — At this stage, we’ve learned enough about the publishing business to have a clear path to follow, and we stick to it with all the tenacity of a religious zealot. After all, we don’t want to be lost again, right? (this is probably where that girl at Worldcon was)

    Exploring new paths — At this stage, we know the trail pretty well, but we’ve got enough confidence in ourselves to try out new things and explore the boundaries of our knowledge. It might be unsettling to take a turn without knowing where it goes, but we know the terrain and we can probably find our way back if we get too lost.

    Trailblazing — At this stage, we know the business well enough to try out new things that no one has ever done before. We may fail spectacularly from time to time, but we know how to pull ourselves back up and learn from our mistakes. We’re taking full responsibility for our careers and are confident enough to find the path that leads to success, even if it breaks all the rules in the process.

    I didn’t do the guy’s comment justice–he explained it much better than I could. But yeah, that was the best career advice I ever heard. A month or two after that, I took the self-publishing plunge, and I haven’t regretted it ever since.

    Keep trailblazing Hugh! :)

  19. What a story Hugh! I felt my jaw slowly hit the floor, what balls she had! Wow!

  20. I must admit I haven’t read any of your work yet, but after reading this I must. Most of my favorite books this past year have been self published. And you shoulda slapped that bitch. Haha

  21. Yay for you, and yay for your Canadians! When I was first starting out on the SF/F convention circuit, it was strongly suggested to me (by my Canadian publishing house employer) that I go to Canadian conventions. She explained that their view of publishing is less competitive and more celebratory than that of their southern neighbors. “American writers will ask ‘Where are you published,’” I was told, “but Canadian writers will ask ‘What do you write?’”

    It’s continually awesome, and eye-opening, to discover just how true this is, as a general rule. Even when I’m home in the States, I try to remember to be a Canadian about publishing.

  22. You’re a star! Not the kind that gets up on stage for the adulation, but the kind that shines bright for all in the night sky. It seems the more famous you get, the more genuine you remain–for all of us–writers and readers, alike.

    Thank you.

  23. Immense. Congratulations on the award!

  24. This story makes me want to hit a “like” button. I love it.

  25. Who needs a Hugo when there’s a B&P Readers’ Choice Award? Awards given by READERS are where it’s at, babe! Congratulations!

    I’m off to polish my brand new B&P Readers Choice Award for Best Romance.

    *narrows eyes at big-toothed blond* You heard what he said! Suck it!

    1. So true, Donna. :)

      Congrats, Hugh! That was a fun read.

    2. Thomas M. Wagner Avatar
      Thomas M. Wagner

      Well, you are aware that the Hugos are awarded by readers too, right? If you have a Worldcon membership, you can nominate and vote.

  26. I love that you didn’t fold and just start laying out your many (MANY!) accomplishments. You don’t owe people like that any explanations.

    So happy to hear the Canadian got a hold of you, though. I wonder if it was AFTER the “agent deal” fell through.

    Can’t help but agree with Kim K. It’s sad that there’s a sense of “us vs. them.”

    But, what can you say? The publishing world is changing. Until traditional publishing can figure out (and be willing to execute) a new business model, they’re going to feel threatened by all the new people successfully doing it themselves.

    Great story, Hugh! Thanks for sharing it with us. :)

  27. New here to you, but have to say I love your voice, your humor, and definitely your crotch-grabbing! Props to you for holding your composure and on all the awards and success you have had. :)

  28. This blog post deserves a Hugo.

    And I totally would have had your wife’s back if she slapped her and a fight broke out.

  29. William Jacques Avatar
    William Jacques

    ” everyone who publishes a book is a winner. It’s such a huge accomplishment.”

    Excellently stated. +++

    Human beings can sometimes be incredibly cruel in order to elevate their fragile egos.

    Emotionally caring people are subject to hurt when they see these callous events. Any consolation? Well I think we all agree with you.. this person was a selfish bitch. I say: put her in a Cretan maze and feed her to the minotaur.

  30. Poor Amy Farrah Fowler – she just wants to feel needed :(

  31. Little does she know he made more money that month than she had made all year.

  32. I came across this post as I was looking to find how far you are on the “Dust” series. I finished I-Zombie, Wool, and just started Shift, and I’m happy to admit you are probably my favorite writer. I recommend your stories to anyone willing to listen.

    This post, however, I think, is in bad taste. Clearly I am the only one who feels this way, and that’s fine. I feel it is somewhat passive aggressive, vulgar, and unprofessional. Frankly, you lost me at the word “broad” which I didn’t think people still used. Based off your stories, I am sure you could think of far more entertaining descriptions than the ones you used in this post.

    1. I’m sure you’re right. I meant the entire piece to be tongue-in-cheek, but it is offensive on many levels. My wife laughed when she read it, and then worried about me posting it. I hope most people who read it understand that — while the story is true — my attitude is meant to be entertaining and is in jest.

      1. “my attitude is meant to be entertaining and is in jest.”

        So calling women “bitches” because they express an annoying opinion and wishing violence on them because they said something annoying is “entertaining” and “in jest?!”


        Y’know, since you keep telling us how successful you are, perhaps you might want to take some of those proceeds and donate them to an abused women’s shelter. After all, those women are also called bitches for daring to disagree with the men in their lives, and actually do get slapped for it.

        1. Not women. Just this one. And she really was a bitch.

          I don’t go around using words like this often. Only when necessary.

          And I refrained from even insulting the woman. It was my wife who said she would’ve slapped her. And my wife has worked with abused women, so it’s not something she would say lightly.

          One of the best things about Amazon is their return policy. I wish you well.

          1. Wow, if people find this post offensive, they’re gonna hate some of the stuff I’VE written. And I’m a woman. One from an abusive relationship, no less.

            How is putting down a complete stranger in front of a crowd of people in order to falsely build the hopes of another stranger in order to take money off them *takes a breath* NOT bitchy???

    2. Trish I agree with all you wrote-thanks for being true to yourself

    3. I’m a big fan of Hugh, and a big fan of his getting awards… I’m not fond of the word “bitch,” which often just means women doing something that might not get the same response if a man did it. That doesn’t seem to be the case here–she sounds like a rather clueless, unpleasant person.

      I wish there were another term. Because there’s not really a male equivalent, is there? And before you say that bastard, or jerk, or son-of-a-bitch mean the same thing… none of those words criticize the person explicitly for being that gender.

      I liked the story. I just didn’t like the word.

      1. Cocksucker.

        It’s offensive.

        1. Certainly offensive. But does it imply that part of the problem with the person is his gender?

          Bitch seems to me to be saying: “nasty person who is particularly unpleasant by virtue of being a female.” But maybe that’s just me. I don’t use the word.

          Then again, I don’t use cocksucker much either.

          1. Yeah, I rarely use either word myself. Almost never, really. But when I do use the word “bitch,” it’s far more likely that I’m talking to a male friend.

        2. Cocksucker – when aimed at a man – is only offensive if one believes male-male sexual practices are offensive.

          Word fail. Again.

  33. I posted about my self publishing journey on my blog and got pounced on by a proponent of traditional publishing.

    This lady is my writing group, which formed after NaNoWriMo…we were critting chapters from one another and lo and behold, I get my chapter back from her and on the back page is a big critique of me.

    I think this woman you met is alive and well, Hugh…and I know right where to find her.

  34. I can get you a rep.

  35. I’m slightly disappointed, would have been nice if you’d called to her when George R.R. Martin went on stage and explained your book was right behind his in the book charts.

  36. John in Hollywood Avatar
    John in Hollywood

    As I’m sure everyone here would agree Hugh, you deserve a Hugo. One of this years nominations is 2312 by KSR, I’ve read it and didn’t think it was very good at all.

    Do you know how this award works? Why would 2312 be nominated and not Wool? Is it because KSR is with a publisher and the Hugo awards doesn’t recognize self publishers because they don’t make money for large publishing houses? Or do they only choose books that are supposed to be making deep social commentaries?

    As I’m sure many others here have, I’ve read most of the Hugo award winning books over the last 20 years and I have to tell you, the last 10 years worth of winners have not been very good in my opinion. I couldn’t even make it half way through Windup Girl. . .

    1. The Hugos are very insular from what I’ve been able to gather. The nominations mostly come from WorldCon attendees, who tend to nominate the people they know, which are the big names and those who go to WorldCon every year. In my opinion, they generally get it right. I haven’t read all of this year’s nominees, but I would bet most of them are better than WOOL.

  37. “I should point out that my wife is in the other room terrified that people are going to read this and think I’m serious.”

    Serious about what? That you’ll be accused of sexism? I think it’s a legitimate concern.

    1. What sexism?

      Oh, you mean calling a woman a bitch simply because she expressed an opinion with which one disagrees; threatening her with violence; and refusing to identify a popular female TV characters by name and instead referring to her as if she is merely an appendage (and a far less useful one than a penis) to a male character?

      I thought writers understood that words have heft, meaning and significance. Oh, well, I guess being mistaken makes me a bitch in Howey’s world.

      Thank Bezos for Amazon’s liberal return policy.

      1. “calling a woman a bitch simply because she expressed an opinion with which one disagrees”

        I thought it was because of her rude and obnoxious behavior, not her opinion.

        “threatening her with violence”

        I didn’t see that part.

        I felt the point of the blog post was to tell a story about a particular woman who behaved very badly, not to make a statement about women in general.

      2. Both of you above brought to mind a timeless review of “Gone With the Wind” by the late, great Roger Ebert:

        “[Rhett Butler] tells Scarlett in a key early scene, ‘You need kissing badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how.’ For ‘kissed,’ substitute the word you’re thinking of.” [June 1998]

        In conclusion, grow up and get a sense a humor, otherwise stop bothering the rest of us with your nonsense.

  38. That kind of nastiness is only going to affect her and the unfortunate folks who can’t think for themselves and make their own decisions. Thank you for being such a stand-up and nice guy and giving us all just one more reason to LOVE indie authors :) But I do have to say, I agree with your wife. I would’ve slapped that Bitch..hard…across the face…with my copy of WOOL. But I don’t claim to be nice, MLOL! ;)

  39. I’m living vicariously through you, Great job!

  40. That made me smile. :)

    Congratulations sir. I loved the Wool series.

  41. Of all the amazing Hugh Howey posts, this is the. Best. One. EVER.

  42. Peter Wintehr Avatar

    LOVE this story.
    And I would LOVE it even more if th b**** read it to :-D

  43. Yeah Yeah Yeah – I get this all the time from the “experts” I was presenting just his week all about “Social Media” and this “expert” told me that I was doing it all wrong, dinvr I just dont know these people I connect with – you know all 750,000 – and no matter what I said – I was the villain – that “she” knows all 56 of her contacts and wouldnt consider connecting with someone that she doesnt know.

    So as someone told me – tuff it up kid (was a while back – like 40 years ago) and just take it – and its good advice

    I was on a Google Hangout with Guy Kawasaki (yeah name dropper) last week and he said that when you connect with a few million folks – someone is bound to hassle you about something.


  44. Matthew Halpin Avatar
    Matthew Halpin

    You know what I took away from this story? Your love of anonymity (that word looks funny to me, did I use it correctly?). There is a certain power that comes from successful people having nothing to “prove”. Every so often we all encounter an actor or athlete in real life with no crazy fanfare and it just seems kind of natural; a new respect is gained. Oh, and I am now convinced that you are the most restrained person on the planet. Your wife is right, I think the rest of us would have verbally assaulted this assbag. Love your Work – Matt

    1. Well said. Hugh’s restraint was what struck me most about this story. And as far as gener specific derogatory terms go, I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone call a female a mother f**ker. Go ahead and call me a bitch. Then I know you’re truly angry at me. OR you’re joking around. My friends and I call each other that all the time. (Ruh-roh, I hope they’re not serious…)

  45. Really enjoyed your observations. I’d give you a good review. Congrats on the award. I’ve been a stand-up comic for 33 years. I think I know this lady. She said she thought I was funny and she could get me an agent.

  46. This is the the best post! Very funny!

    I love your books! Finished reading the Wool series. Looking forward to Dust.

    Just downloaded I, Zombie as an FU to that WorldCon beyotch

  47. I’m really enjoying Wool #1. Great imagination and great writing. I liked this post on the idiotic girl. Because you kept your cool, you win. Applause.

  48. First thought: “Great story!”

    Second thought: ” Geez, I bet the SJ-Warrior psychotics slither out of the woodwork over the word ‘bitch.’”

    Lo and behold…

    1. I had to Google “SJ Warrior.” First hit was a South Jersey baseball team. :D

  49. Love wool. Love this post. Love the comments. I just imagined all the snark and parrying happening in a silo stairwell after the end of the world. :) PS over here buying wool fan fic like crazy…can’t freakin wait for dust!

  50. As another one who shares the Hugo dream – minus the ah crotch grabbing, doesn’t look great on old ladies – I wish you had won that Hugo because sci-fi needs some new blood, and yours is top-notch. Plus I would have loved to see that creature’s face.

    Congratulations on the B & P. You deserved it. I hope that Hugo will be next!

  51. Great post Hugh. It certainly generated some discussion! It’s sad that the self-published, indie authors among us still suffer from this stigma, But I’m proud to be one regardless of the reaction, mostly because those of us who are have taken it upon ourselves to realise a dream instead of waiting for someone else to decide our destinies, grant us permission or provide us with validation to do so. You’re a great example of what is possible. Thanks for that!

  52. Dude, I’m with your wife. I would’ve slapped that bitch all the way to Sunday.

    That, or quietly slipped her a wad of news articles featuring your name and deals.

    But you, sir, are more tactful than I.

  53. I lean my Wool onto the Martin/Gaiman books on the shelf. Ok, I lean my Kindle, but it’s getting all the attention anyway. My girlfriend reads Wool every evening on her phone. Your book made me realize how much I missed the shorter format. There is definitely a rebirth of publishing going on and the internet will speak as it has spoken in the past, quieting the bitch more effectively than even your crotch-grabbing would.

  54. I commented on the Goodreads publish of this blog post as well, but I wanted to lend my support in favor of the word ‘bitch’. I don’t know where we, as a (society? giant group of massively stupid humans? butthurt monkeys?) got off track and lost the ability to read the intent of a person’s writing and rather picked up the obnoxious tendency to find offense in every-goddamn-thing that might ever possibly be interpreted MAYBE in a negative way.

    I love your irreverence, and I hope you never change (1989 yearbook signature throwback).

    1. Thanks, Nicole!

      Some people are just bitchy.

      1. Wow, Hugh. I’m so very disappointed by this post, and now you’ve gone and made it worse. I would have hoped that once you’ve read some of the negative comments you might have thought about your words a bit more and offered something akin to an apology. Would you want your children to talk about their mother the way you did in the post, as in “Mom, you fat, ugly scag, you’re such a mean broad because you won’t let me stay out late.” Attacking someone based on their sex and their looks is cheap and immature.

        1. I’m attacking someone for being a mean-spirited, rude, obnoxious, horrible, bad person.

          Not even attacking, really. Just making fun of them.

          The entire post was written with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. I’m not going to apologize for it. I feel the PR police are being more rude to me than I was to this girl, whom I showed respect to by biting my tongue while being insulted by her. I’m not a sexist. I’m just a guy with moments of poor humor, I suppose.

          1. Most people take the easy way out and just apologize when confronted by the PC police. (I do.) Hugh’s earned my respect and admiration by not apologizing, and instead (politely!) pointing out the novel concept that he’s done nothing to apologize for.

            That woman at WorldCon behaved in a shockingly rude manner. It’s simply bizarre to conclude that Hugh is attacking her “based on her sex” (rather than based on her horrible behavior). It’s truly mind-boggling.

          2. Calling someone a bitch, batshit crazy broad, and attacking her personal appearance does not read as tongue-in-cheek. It reads as lazy, mean and rude – things you supposedly can’t stand. I hope you can move past your self-deprecating mansplaining and realize it’s not about the PC police – it’s about language and attacks like this being mean-spirited and alienating (especially to women). It’s a bit of a “wtf” moment for me, because I’ve been telling everyone (including all my female friends!) how awesome your books are.

          3. “I’m attacking someone for being a mean-spirited, rude, obnoxious, horrible, bad person.”

            Okay, that’s fine. But that’s not what you sad in the first place… though you should have. Been there and know the just of what you mean. But people only know the meaning by the words they read… no your unspoken intention.

    2. hi Nicole,

      I take it you are referring to my post where I found some of the language to be sex-specific to women, when the issue itself is not about women. I know, and I made crystal clear, that having read Hugh’s fiction – where I found some of the most role-positive female characters ever to be found in science fiction – I know that he is not a misogynist. And I know, and I thought I made clear, that the use of sex-specific slurs is a traditional part of our shared linguistic culture. That doesn’t mean that making them doesn’t reinforce the profound inequity in the treatment of women in the arts – and ESPECIALLY science fiction; and it was a polite request to consider how such slurs are, taken as a whole, destructive and to possibly do an edit. Maybe it didn’t come across that way, but making an indirect insinuation that anyone who DARES to question stereotype language (and if it were not only the word ‘bitch’ i would not have written anything because ‘bitch’ has become a universal moniker – but it was the other ones added to it – the first one ‘broad’ cannot be misinterpreted as other than offensive slang meaning a woman with loose sexual habits. And I really believe that is not what Hugh meant to convey. But I could be wrong. If someone were to use one of those words or writes about me using such language they are going to get a strong reply.

    3. As a former kennel owner, I’m here to tell you that female dogs all over the planet take umbridge to the use of the word “bitch” when applied to an obnoxious human female. ;-)

  55. Hugh: You ongoing and future successes will be the ultimate slap to that bitch. Call us when you’re near Waxhaw so we can catch up. Paul and Cathy

  56. You have a lot of money and love what you do.You win.

  57. Chelsea M. Cameron Avatar
    Chelsea M. Cameron

    As one of those self-published author’s who has done “pretty well” I give you a standing ovation for this. *stands* I hope, beyond hope, that this woman somehow finds this article and is like, “OH. Well, crap.”
    You win all The Things. *hands over The Things* They’re better than Hugo’s anyway, right?

  58. Hugh…. Dude! Criticizing a person with such awesome intern cred… All I can say is, “Mmm-hmm.”

  59. Love it!!!! Too bad she’ll probably never know who she was dissing.

    I work for a publisher and even before this award I knew who you were (and lament constantly the fact that I’ll never be able to land you as one of our authors, since you’ve figured out how to make money on your own and are willing to do all the work). But as a publisher, I can tell you that with or without an agent, those Canadians will only stand a chance at publication if their manuscript is up to snuff. The socially inept girl will never be able to make good on her hype without that.

    Actually, I suspect that if she really can get them this agent, the agent is probably not good enough to have. The good ones are up to their necks in authors who want to be represented by them. And again, the ms is what will get them through the door or thrown out (unless they already have a best seller, like WOOL that they’re hawking).

    Enjoy your next foray into the awards pool and look forward to this summer’s cons.

  60. Sounds like a bit of arrogance from both sides, and vile sexism from one. Stay classy.

  61. I hope you realize that this post is being circulated on twitter–and the posts are not particularly endearing to you. As someone who cares about your “readers” then I’m sure this reaction will mean something to you, even if you seem to be waving away criticisms you’ve received on this blog. But hey, maybe you use the word “gay” as a synonym for “stupid,” too. A Hugo nominated author got me to this page so don’t worry, you’ve been finally recognized by the establishment, but I doubt in the way you wanted.

    If you’re still trying to figure out how using the word “bitch” is misogynistic, then I suggest you consult Google. And no, “my wife says it’s okay” isn’t a valid argument. Educate yourself.

  62. Kristene Perron Avatar
    Kristene Perron

    This story made me cringe! That…woman. (Picture me making a very rude hand gesture here). Being mean to Canadians is like clubbing helpless baby seals.

    Oh wait, we still do that. Sorry.

    As a Canuck, and a self-published author, I thank you for your outrage and your imaginary acceptance speech. If you’re ever in Nelson, BC, I will buy you a Tim Horton’s coffee and a donut.

  63. “What I hate is rude people.” Really? Because this entire post is rude and misogynistic. I’ve encountered plenty of rude people in lines at events, but I don’t feel the need to call them gender-specific names. The only person who looks bad in this story is you. (And no, I’m definitely not the “bitch from WorldCon.”

    1. Gender specific names? I know many men that are bitches lol.

  64. Colleen Lindsay Avatar
    Colleen Lindsay

    Hugh –

    I’m really disappointed in this post. You could have chosen to use this opportunity as a teaching moment for a lot of writers. You could have chosen to attack her based on her rude behavior or her lack of credibility, both of which would have been legitimate. But the moment you used the word “bitch” you made it about her gender, and that’s simply not acceptable.



  65. I don’t care about the use of the word ‘bitch’. What I want to know is what high functioning autism has to do with this. Did you need a keyword to draw in more views? I mean, it is Autism Awareness month.

    Personally, I love self published authors. Not a problem with them at all. I just have a problem with people using autism as a way to describe someone being a bitch or to generate more views for their little rant.

    If you’re making sales, wonderful. If people love your work, even better. But drop the whole thing where you insult people over their looks. What did her looks have to do with her rudeness?

    I would have been likely to purchase your works based on this post until I saw how insulting you were. Couldn’t you have been the classy writer, using decorum to show how much better you are? Using insults over looks or disabilities speaks volumes about the type of person you are. No matter how good of an author you are…being a dick is just as bad as being a bitch.

  66. Mr. Howey.

    If you consider using the word bitch to describe anyone, and to use it as the title of your post, you should really reconsider your use of the word.

    I don’t know you. I can’t see in your heart and mind. But you come off in this post, in this recollection of the events and your mental fantasy as a misogynist. I am disappointed.

  67. Wow, Hugh, you’re an asshole and not nearly as good or as important as you think you are. You got lucky with a sub-par series of novellas, and managed to ride a trend and confusion in the industry into a lot of money, but if you think that makes you a giant in the genre, you’re out of your mind. This ridiculous post with the false humility and dismissive attitude is pathetic. You’re a lottery winner, not the leader of a revolution, or a writer anyone will remember in 10 years. Act like it.

    1. Wow Clara, you sound like a total bitch.

  68. So what I’m getting out of this is that:

    1.) You enjoy using misogynist language and defend your use of it.

    2.) Your wife believes that physical violence is an appropriate action to take against someone who has said something she disagrees with.

    3.) You also believe that violence is an appropriate action to take against someone who has said something you disagree with.

    In other words, do not support your writing, do not support you, and make sure to warn others how you feel about women. Great! Done.

    1. Who said she believes physical violence is an appropriate action? Did he actually commit a violent act? It was someone venting and using humor to tell us a story which seemed to upset Hugh quite a bit. Let us be honest everyone needs a good bitch slap every once in awhile! Oh and by the way I am female, I teach autistic children, I have a special needs daughter, I have been called a notch, and was soooo not offended with his post.

  69. […] this blog post from Howey’s blog – titled “The Bitch from WorldCon” – has me extremely disappointed. I maybe don’t NEED to like the people who […]

  70. Just because you encountered someone in traditional publishing who was nasty and arrogant doesn’t make it any more attractive when you do it.

    Were you this mean before you were published? I hope so, because then I don’t have to feel like I contributed to this disgusting behavior by buying Wool.

  71. Bitch is not even the most offensive part of this, to be honest, because as another commenter pointed out, it’s so prevalent that it’s almost lost its meaning. And that just makes me a little sick. But I’m just a “bitch” from the “PC Police,” so I’m sure you’ve already written off my opinions as meaningless, as is shown by your use of the word…

    Broad, while showing that, yes indeed, you have a command of your sexist terminology, is also gross, but has probably lost its sexual connotations in this generation. It hasn’t, however, lost its dismissive, sexist message. Because Bitches! Am I right? Always with the opinions.

    But then you decide to define your “people” as Socially Awkward with High Functioning Autism — because Autism… definitely something to joke about (said no one ever). And those people are just socially out of it, they don’t have actual real-life disabilities. Hilarious.

    “Sheldon’s Girlfriend,” which I assume is supposed to be a slam on her appearance (mature!), is just a fail. Because if you are referring to Mayim Bialik, she’s gorgeous and brilliant and amazing. If you are referring to Amy, aka Mayim in glasses and baggy clothes, you are talking about a highly accomplished scientist who is a loyal and loving friend and girlfriend, despite her “big teeth.” If you really wanted us to hate her, you should have called her “fat,” because there’s nothing more villainized by this culture than a Fat Bitch.

    The thing is that if you had just told the story without all the “grab your crotch” sexism and other offensive language, this might have been yet another example of the antagonism of the self-pub/trad-pub debate (which really shouldn’t even be a debate, but we American’s do so love to take sides and decide what is best for others). People would have sided with you, in fact, because the woman was being beyond rude. She was being gross and ridiculous.

    But being gross and ridiculous back just makes me question whether you aren’t totally mischaracterizing what happened. Compounding this, by not just being unwilling to consider the possibility that in your irritation with her you used language that diminishes women (and others) in your tirade, but also by encouraging anyone who reinforces your use of that language with an LOL, pat on the back, and/or “thank you”…? Awesome.

    So, hey! Just another person being gross on the internet. I should probably move along promptly. But I have a daughter and have to hope this bullshit will someday be shamed out of our culture.

    Seriously, though. “PC Police”? Really? Are we somehow on Fox News and I didn’t notice?

  72. That woman had no class, and judging by your response, neither do you.

  73. Your argument lost all credibility the moment you chose to publicly address this person with profanity. Seriously. You had a great opportunity to present an argument about how self-publishing is viewed and how erroneous that view can be, but you stooped into name-calling of the worst sort. I’d been interested in reading your books, but now I wouldn’t give you one penny.

    1. I’ll buy two of everything from now on, so that it won’t matter.

      1. Me too. I am going to make sure I spread the word even more. Matter of fact I will buy three from now on.

  74. Mr. Howey,
    When I am justifiably angry at someone is when I have to most carefully watch myself to make sure I do not resort to sexist and racist stereotypes and language. You might need to do the same.

  75. Just thought you might want to know that this little blog post made you seem really like the far more rude and douche-y of the two people in the story. Not everyone thinks you’re as great as you seem to. Was that woman a pleasant person? Probably not, based on the story. Was she a bitch? Did she deserve a slap? No. A crotch grab is the best way to express your superiority over a woman? Ok. You seem like a misogynist. I’ve never heard of you, but I’m going to go ahead and make sure I never read your work.

    1. Why do you think he might want to know what you think about his blog?
      I think he’s great.
      Seeing a snippet of someone’s life and waiting to pile-on, along with the other bullies from whatever site you found this link on doesn’t make you someone I would want to follow for advice.

      1. >>Why do you think he might want to know what you think about his blog?<>I think he’s great.<>Seeing a snippet of someone’s life and waiting to pile-on, along with the other bullies from whatever site you found this link on doesn’t make you someone I would want to follow for advice.<<

        I'm just guessing here, but I'm pretty sure Courtney was addressing her comment to Hugh and not you.

  76. Well… knock me down and call me a floorboard, you really are ignorant aren’t you?

    Let’s pull this apart a bit. You found this person’s attitude repugnant and insulting. Well, I agree, they completely went about things in a poor manner. However, this post shows you’re hardly the immaculate harbinger of goodness.

    You compare her to those with special needs – Grade A dickery there!
    You consistently use misogynist terms, or at least gendered ones – bitch, she-devil, etc. And you claim you’re not misogynist? Really? You didn’t think “Wait a minute, what other insults towards women can I… ah, may need to edit those”? At all?
    And then you block comments confronting you about your behaviour? Brilliant.

    Do you not get the issue with this post?

  77. Well, I guess this wins the Tucker Max Award for Charmers.

    And now I will use the term Angry Geek for “dipshit little misogynist creep who thinks that Fat Bitch is acceptable discourse.” I figure that it’s time to leave the Frat Boys alone.

  78. fiendish writer Avatar
    fiendish writer

    Gendered insults are not cool. Nor is it cool when you fling around terms like “bat-shit crazy.”

  79. Really disappointed to see a woman referred to as a bitch by a writer I admire. Really, Hugh Howey? You’re better than this.

  80. Holy shit what a goon you are. This reads like a drunk tweet with proper grammar, except it’s something you actually thought about, isn’t it? I can’t believe that you willingly posted this on your website.

  81. Wow, I am now so NOT CURIOUS about you as a writer that I’m going to rush out and not look for any of your work.

  82. Ginjer Buchanan Avatar
    Ginjer Buchanan

    Setting aside your mode of discourse (which is rank) it strikes me that harboring such anger toward an anonymous woman in a line at an sf con who was vocally opinionated (this by the by, is the definition of an sf/f fan) and whose opinion ran counter to yours, for NINE MONTHS says a lot more about you than you might have wanted to reveal. I’ve been curious to meet you, for professional ressons. No more.

  83. You crazy bitches (male and female) have taken Hugh’s very funny post and done an Adria Richards* and taken all of this out of context.

    Grow up. Realize that there is life happening all around your soap boxes and if you took the time to see it, you might find humor once in a while.

    Hugh, very funny post.

    *research this for yourselves

    1. Oh, I know what humour is.

      I also know what an offensive tirade of misogynistic language and attitudes is, especially when – as others have pointed out – this event would have happened like over half a year ago. It’s completely non-topical now.

      There’s nothing in this post that denotes any sort of humour. At all. This is further compounded by the fact it’s:
      a) About as funny as being hit by a car
      b) Feeding into the misogynistic attitudes in genre fandom.

      And I’m sure Hugh can speak for himself. He doesn’t need you to defend him.

      1. and why would Hugh need to defend himself from you?

      2. If you can attack a stranger, so can I.

        I’m sure Hugh doesn’t need to hear your nonsense today.

        1. Oh, but on the contrary, he does.

          And I’m not “attacking him”. I’m calling him out on his bullshit.

          1. considering you recently tweeted “All praise Hugh Howey, the small-cocked dickweed who thinks it’s okay to use gendered insults! What a knob.” i find that statement pretty comical.

          2. Hello “NotLoerwyn”.

            Well done, you found my tweet! Yes, I did author that. I don’t apologise for it. It was more a, shall we say, reversal of the situation? Referring to someone with gendered insults to see how much they might like it.

            Call it an attack if you wish. I prefer to think of it as drawing attention to the use of gendered insults.

        2. Ever looked up the words “toady” or “lickspittle”?

      3. My bet is you don’t have any idea what humor is, for the most part America has become a humorless society with the PC Police at the forefront.

    2. AMEN!

  84. Anthony David Jacques Avatar
    Anthony David Jacques

    Haters gonna hate…
    I say, Suck it, overly-sensitive people of the Internet!

    1. You’re right, Anthony. The majority of the rude comments come from people who don’t stand behind their posts. They are anonymous with common first names.

      I’m jali cook on facebook and I stand behind my words.

    2. Mazarkis Williams Avatar
      Mazarkis Williams

      I’d say it’s overly sensitive to recall a mild insult from at least seven months prior.

      Welcome to SF fandom where at least half the people expect non-sexist language.

      1. For an interesting blog, material from 10 years ago might be used.

        It’s a funny story…I tell old stories and still get laughs.

  85. Are you people kidding me? The man had the common decency not to rip this woman to pieces verbally, in public, after the condescending diatribe he received in public among other colleagues. If you ask me, based off of the story Hugh described, the woman did indeed sound like a typical bitch apparently trying to draw undue attention to herself. If the offender was a man, he would have been (rightfully so) called an asshole. Would you all have stammered onto Hugh’s website, berating him to pieces about using such sexist words like “asshole”? Probably not. Hugh is obviously not trying to single out women as inferior, but expose the bitch for who she really is.

  86. Lighten up, Francis. Nothing worse than seeing someone’s lighthearted and humorous post on their own website immediately deconstructed because they used a word that you found offensive. “Broad” has no negative connotation any more. I have personally heard phrases like “That broad is wicked smart,” or “That’s one tough broad”. The remark about Autism was a FREAKING COMPLIMENT, if you don’t read everything with the mindset of finding something to be offended by. Yes he called her a bitch. You tend to get called that, by men and women alike nowadays, when you ACT LIKE ONE. They’re just words, and the only way words can hurt you is if you let them. It’s all about context, and the context here is a funny story in which the “bitch” is the punchline. I think the description of her appearance was just to help with the mental picture a bit… let you know what the crazy lady looked like. If you professed to be some hotshot Hollywood agent and then stood there next to Wes Anderson for an hour at the Oscars bashing independent films and talking about how sad and hopeless they were. Making yourself the focus of attention while in complete ignorance putting your entire foot in your mouth will get you made fun of. sorry. But don’t bag on Hugh for having a sense of humor that you are apparently lacking. If you’re not going to read his books because of a blog post, that’s your loss. seriously. And if you’re not going to read a book because of a word that someone said, start writing your own books if you’ve never used the word, because you’re probably the only one. lol

    1. I am confused how the autism remark was a compliment. I truly am because it was condescending. Perpetuating stereotypes is serious and hurtful and never to be taken as complimnetary.

  87. Ellen Chambers Avatar

    If the calendar says it’s 2013 but your post reads like something Don Draper could have written, your communication problem may not be your refreshingly un-PC sense of humor.

    This is why I should never to read writers’ blogs. I liked Mr. Howey better as a self-published, apparently humble author of decent prose.

  88. I hadn’t heard of you before the last Worldcon, when I was one of the many who went to your reading to get a seat for Pat Rothfuss’ reading. I was charmed when you acknowledged why you had a full house. I enjoyed the part of the story you read, and bought it from Amazon. I was delighted to see you be one of the enthusiastic fans in Pat’s reading. I added Wool to my long to-read list.
    This post isn’t charming. If it simply described and bemoaned bad behavior, I’d be fine with it. “Bitch” isn’t a word that can be used to criticize someone without bringing a whole lot of misogynistic baggage with it. You’re skilled with words — you should be able to see that.

  89. Hugh,
    I’ve looked up to your success for a while, and I know that you have always been supportive to other authors and kind to your readers. But I must agree with those who believe this post to be offensive and misogynistic. It’s over the line.

  90. I get it. I see nothing wrong with your retelling of this story. I’ve met these people and feel the same as you.
    -Dan Kolbet

  91. From this side of the fence, it looks like you accurately called it as you saw it Hugh, and lamented about it with that keen eye and sharp whit you arm yourself with every day. I found this read quite entertaining and enjoyable. And it definitely sounds like she was quite … “wound up” about things.

    I love the secretive mode you travel in. It’s the best way. Enjoy it! There will be a time where you will be needing body guards to keep “fans” like this person mentioned, at bay!

    Yes, I approve this message, and no, I have not won any awards… well, trophies for some tournaments, but no awards.

  92. Well, I’ve certainly been dissuaded from checking out the rest of your work. Wool wasn’t more than unmemorably adequate, and I’ve never known an author who was blatantly sexist online who managed to keep it from leaking into their work.

    Responding to an asshole by being a bigoted asshole when they’re no longer around to respond is not the sign of moral superiority you seem to be thinking it is.

  93. I am left wondering whether you would have had the similar reaction to this post if the offending character was male and you had called him a Bastard?

  94. Hugh, it took a lot of courage to come out with your apology. Quite frankly, I don’t think an apology was warranted. You have an opinion, and it is yours to express – however you see fit. I am quite certain that many of the folk who are now taking the moral high-ground have never ever used ‘bitch’ as a slur. No sir. I’m sure a gender-heavy curse word has never passed their lips….. It does make one wonder though…. perhaps the only difference is that you used it on the internet, whereas they use it behind closed doors. That’s the beauty of the internet. We’re all model citizens in public, don’t you know? As for the other commenters leveling those horrendous insults your way – well, an eye for an eye makes everything right, I suppose ;) That’s good ol’ Old Testament logic, that is. That, and poking through sheep guts. Tried and tested formula for righting (internet) wrongs. Anyway, keep up the good work and I wish you all the success. You’re a brilliant author and no internet commentary is going to stop that.

  95. I’m sorely disappointed after reading about the original post. I’m a self published author who has watched your success and cheered for it. I’ve also been so intrigued with the popularity of your work and its great reviews that, even though I’m usually more of a horror and paranormal reader, i was going to buy it soon.

    However, I am just beyond saddened by what you wrote here.

    My brother and father both are on the ASD scale (autism), one of my best friends as well has been an outspoken activist for others with ASD like herself, and I have worked in the field for over a decade including focusing my doctoral work in that area. What you wrote here was hurtful, ableist, immature and did nothing but forward hurtful stereotypes. I understand that woman was hurtful to you. I understand that she said something beyond terrible. If I were in the same situation and got the standard “self pubbed writers aren’t real writers,” I’d have just been furious.

    I respect you didn’t lose your cool there and then.

    However, your initial tirade and this half-hearted repost/edited edition indicates to me that, while you may have a lot of success from indie publishing, maybe you still need help from your handlers or from common sense to be a more seasoned professional with regards to dealing with the public and fans and others who come off as rude or upsetting at conventions.

    This was not the way to go. It was insulting to women (and if you were really sorry you wouldn’t even use “B” in this title, you still want to use bitch clearly), it was insulting to people who don’t clearly meet the conventional standards of beauty, and it was insulting to both the mentally ill and those with developmental disabilities. I am not even sure from what I’ve read HOW forwarding hurtful stereotypes of individuals with autism was relevant to this disagreement with a rude woman.

    Newsflash —- not everyone with autism is a non-feeling, stereotypical ubernerd in mom’s basement. In fact, it might be very surprising to you, but individuals with autism are a disparate group who have a different way of viewing the world and cannot be homogenized and shouldn’t be persecuted because they don’t perceive things or process information the same way as others do. Hell, in some ways, individuals with autism can perceive things better than the so-called neurotypical (a term I loathe anyway but this is not an argument over semantics labels in psychological parlance).

    What is important here is you insulted so many people today, especially groups like the mentally ill and those with developmental disabilities who cannot always defend themselves and who suffer severely from the prejudices of society. After New Town, some in the media were quick to try and even pin that tragedy on the possibility the shooter had Asperger Syndrome.

    THIS is the world we live in, where people with autism are that marginalized, misunderstood and treated as subhuman. When an author of growing prominence and the big hero of indie publishing (and I say that with due respect because before today you were someone I wished I could be) takes time to make a rant that paints individuals with autism as insensitive, unstable, and weird it just sets the example to his fans that this is okay behavior.

    It’s not.

    Mr. Howey, you’ve lost the respect of someone who was honestly rooting for you today and the potential money from a customer (probably more than one because I think others are as hurt).

    I do hope you’ll think more carefully next time about the fact you have an example to set for your fanbase now that you’re in the public eye and will do better when you can.

    P.S. – from a feminist perspective, just because your wife laughed at the original post, doesn’t mean it was ever going to be okay for all women who read it. Like with the recent debacle with Brad Paisley’s song, one person out of an entire group does not speak for the whole group. To assume that just because your wife thought it was funny meant that all women everywhere would like it, is limiting and assumes all women are equivalent.

  96. Mazarkis Williams Avatar
    Mazarkis Williams

    Hey, it takes a lot of guts to say you’re wrong and apologize. I admire you for it. Humor is difficult. Hard to measure when you’re typing it in. For my part I apologize for calling you oversensitive :)

  97. Hillary Monahan Avatar
    Hillary Monahan

    As one of the women who was offended by the original post, if you are coming in after he’s issued the apology and ATTA BOYing him not for being big enough to admit he was wrong but for having the juevos to make the original post, you are /undermining what he’s done here/. If you like your author and want his work to succeed, you might wanna cut that out. And if you don’t get why it was upsetting from the onset, you are probably one of those people who doesn’t care or understand that Sci-Fi carries a stigma of being very woman unfriendly. No one should “help” perpetuate that.

    1. You’re a goddamn idiot Hillary. What a bitch.

    2. Hugh hardly perpetuates the stigma of being very woman unfriendly. Did you even read the wool series? The main character was a young woman! She kicks butt! All of the women in his books are strong! I am sure this chick at WorldCon was a major pain in the @! If it was a man who Hugh was talking about he would probably call him a crazy a hole.

  98. Hugh,

    I *know* that you’re a good guy. I admire you and I’m glad that you are my friend. Actually, I’m very proud to call you my friend and I’m behind you and I will follow your lead in this and leave it all alone now.

  99. Hillary, as a senior woman that has lived through the civil rights movement, women’s lib movement, equal work for equal pay movement, and has been at senior management level in male-dominated industries such as electrical manufacturing and super alloys manufacturing; I feel particularly qualified as a paradigm pioneer in the arena of women’s rights to say that you need to lighten up. Quit nitpicking things that are said/written, and if you don’t like HH, don’t read his work…..blogs, fb, or published works. Easy peasy. Frankly, if you (tthat were so indignant) would take the time to read the Molly Fide series (with the strong female lead), Halfway Home (with equal time for all) and Wool (again, a strong female lead); you will find that your quick opinion was so wrong!

    1. You get it. I like you.

      If the post was about a man, and you replaced the word “bitch” with “asshole” Hilary and many others would not be offended. But as soon as you call a bitch a bitch, everyone gets out their pitchforks and talks about the “sci-fi stigma of unfriendliness toward women.” Seriously?

      Look, there’s bitches and assholes in this work, and it’s a mixed bag. Some women are bitch or assholes, some men are assholes or bitches, and there’s nothing wrong with calling one out.

      The real shame here is that you can’t call a spade a spade without being labeled sexist.

      if you believe in equality, then you have to be OK with calling a bitch a bitch:P

      1. I came here from a link on a blog of a male author discussing the idea of “punching down”. The issue wasn’t about gender, that was just how Hugh C. Howey punched down, it was about someone with a great deal of power using it to lash out at someone with less power. Hugh should have criticized the critics words and actions and not attempt to denigrate her by saying “Suck it” and “bitch”.

        Thankfully Hugh C. Howey has his wife around to advise him. Also, thankfully, there are people try to temper outrage with understanding. People get upset and do things they regret. Owning up to offending people even if you believe the truth of your message is still valid will usually win the objective people over. There will always be people who support or try to tear you down no matter what you say, but the objective people will support and forgive based on how well you own up to your transgressions.

  100. I just read your original post about the B. I have to ask…people really got offended by that? I mean seriously? You have nothing to be sorry for, I would of done way worse than calling her a b! People need to calm the hell down, smoke a bowl, drink a six pack or something else to chill out. Your post was hilarious and truthful. Please don’t stop being open and honest with us. Your true fans won’t be offended. You really don’t want those stick up their a$$, easily offended, tightly wound fans any way, they are a bunch of bitches! Ha ha ha.

  101. I understand why people were offended, but if the person in question was a guy and the blog post was titled “The Dick at Worldcon” would anyone have been offended? I don’t think so.

    Bitch is a word that is used to describe many types of people. I feel that, at least for my generation (I’m 26), that the word is gender neutral and doesn’t target a specific demographic. If Hugh’s work reflected a biased opinion I would agree with any criticism he got from this post, but his characters are strong women (people actually, men or women the story works) so I guess I don’t see where any critiscm is valid. They’re just words and they only mean what you want them to. Don’t let them bring you down.

    1. Really? You really don’t understand the problem with the word “bitch?” Let me break it down for you.
      When you call a woman a bitch, it means she is being aggressive and rude.
      When you call a man a bitch, it means he’s acting like a woman.
      I would have no problem with him calling a rude woman an “asshole” or something. Instead, he called her a bitch, and talked about how ugly she was. That would not happen if a man had confronted him rudely. And no, it’s not a generational issue. I’m about your age, it’s just that I’ve taken the time to educate myself on what sexism is.

  102. The PC is strong in these ones and yes they are fun at parties, you betcha. Women are the greatest thing in this world and some of them are bitches. Some men are dicks. “Bitch” is an insult only to bitches. Surprise, there is such a thing as women and men who are stupid and mean spirited without caveat. As such, they invite insult and don’t get to pick and choose which ones and this is not in fact a sign of someone else’s misogyny or hate. The whole point of an insult is to insult. Darth Vader is a pig. There, I said it. So what? He’s a man too. Is he a pig cuz he’s a man? Maybe. Who knows? Most men are pigs, so Mr. Spock would have some calculation or percentages to suit – so would that skinny bastard C3PO. Don’t get me started on R2D2 – frumpy little prig of a knock-kneed pillock.

  103. Ashley Mackler-Paternostro Avatar
    Ashley Mackler-Paternostro

    Hugh, as someone has had the pleasure of getting to know you through our mutual social forum, I can assure you — as a woman — I wasn’t the least bit offended by your choice of words. You may credit this, mostly, to the fact that I’ve watched your career rise, all while admiring the way you’ve remained humble and helpful and entirely grounded in reality. Anyone who has shared a somewhat similar experience could certainly attest to the same and speak to your character.

    I can understand, on some level, the PC backlash … but the truth is this: some women are bitches, some men are asshats … it’s just, for the most part, we just don’t discuss this openly. Maybe we should. Maybe doing so helps us yank back a bit of truth. You did. People are going to bristle, some are going to loudly object, and some will shrug and move on (count me in as one of the latter).

  104. Sure people were offended by the first post, but this is far worse. If you don’t have the spine to stand by what you say you have no business being a writer.

    1. This is also what pissed me off the most about all of this, but not for the same reason. I’m very disturbed by the fact that a group of self-righteous bitches on Twitter feel like they accomplished something. The bitch monster has been fed and I pity it’s next victim.

      I have lost absolutely no respect for Hugh, in fact I respect him now more than ever. You have to know which battles are worth fighting, and this one is not.

  105. Mr. Howey, I was going to add you to my list of authors to avoid until I saw your apology. Lately the response to this sort of thing has been predictable: Complaints are made, the original poster doubles down or escalates, the trolls come out, everyone loses. Thank you for changing the script.

    You were given feedback and listened, not to the ones who say it’s okay to be hurtful, but the ones who asked you not to hurt them. I understand how the first post happened. That sort of thing doesn’t feel mean-spirited when we say it or think it because it has become our default, practically the starting point. It is the fluid we swim through in this life, and we frequently forget how polluted it is with cruelty. Thank you for understanding that it is, in fact, mean, and more than that it’s unnecessary and lazy. Thank you for refusing to add to the nastiness further.

    You are likely getting a taste of what many other bloggers are dealing with, the inexplicable rage against anyone trying to be a more inclusive, kinder person. Far better, say some of the commenters, to keep using problematic language because that’s just how it is, y’know? And it is possible these little dust-ups would go away if we all just did as we have always done, ignore the thousand tiny cuts we can give each other every day. Thanks for learning, Mr. Howey, and someday we’ll be able to spot the *actual* mean people by the words they use because they’ll have to go looking for them. (Can we make kindness the default? I hope so.)

    And I bought the Wool Omnibus after all. I like to read the work of people who choose to grow.

  106. I think the strong woman may not be behind you, but in front of you in this one buddy.

  107. Yeah, let’s rally around this sexist bastard. After all it’s his site isn’t it?

  108. Saw the original post. I’m not sure what was offensive other than quoting someone else using the “b” word. If I’d posted my better half saying something potentially offensive that had been meant as an off-hand remark to show sympathy and solidarity with me, he’d probably tell me to take it down as well. Frankly, I would have just taken down the one line with the word, but that’s me.

    What amazed me about the story was your humility. You could have easily just introduced yourself and that alone would have ended things. It was like Clark Kent keeping on his glasses.

    Truly sir, you are an inspiration to us all.

    1. >>Truly sir, you are an inspiration to us all.<<

      I'm guessing by "all" you mean "not everyone."

  109. Hey Hugh, guess what I learned from your post and the overall reaction from readers:
    In America, Freedom of Expression and Artistic Licence are mere words and platitudes (albeit the genuine ideals of a few)
    Political Correctness still rules supreme and the Morality Police (in this case masked as readers) will do what it takes to silence the “offenders” – like threatening not to buy your books.
    Kudos to those readers whose comments show that they are sufficiently broadminded and objective to perceive your motives and the true intent of your piece.

    1. >>Hey Hugh, guess what I learned from your post and the overall reaction from readers:
      In America, Freedom of Expression and Artistic Licence are mere words and platitudes (albeit the genuine ideals of a few)<>Political Correctness still rules supreme and the Morality Police (in this case masked as readers) will do what it takes to silence the “offenders” – like threatening not to buy your books.<>Kudos to those readers whose comments show that they are sufficiently broadminded and objective to perceive your motives and the true intent of your piece.<<

      Would those be the readers who agree with you?

  110. […] with social media, you can’t even make a poor attempt at satire without having to offer an apology. (Cached version of the original post […]

  111. The Librarian Avatar

    I tracked down the original post, and I honestly don’t understand what all the fuss and muss is about. From some of the comments above, I was expecting a really nasty diatribe from Mr. Howey; however, I found his post to be rather contained. He certainly handled her rudeness with more grace than I would have in that situation.

  112. I saw absolutely nothing wrong with Howey’s original post. Sad to see the PC police caught up to him.

  113. I found the original post and expected…I don’t know, something really mean-spirited and misogynistic and so much worse. I was surprised by how brilliantly funny it was, the kind of rant my siblings and I share on the phone sometimes when a salesclerk is rude or a date goes wrong. You set the scene beautifully. I was right there with you, and I’ve seen my fair share of such people at many a writers’ conference, so I could feel exactly what you were feeling. (People are offended at the use of the b-word?! Seriously? Have they ever been to the UK? I’ve heard old ladies bandy about the C-WORD without spilling a drop of their tea.) Come ON. I am a feminist, of a certain age, and my husband will tell you that I can be a tad overly sensitive when it comes to perceived misogyny and this simply wasn’t, from my perspective. You were venting about some truly obnoxious, smarmy behaviour and you did what all good mums advise and used your words instead of smacking her upside the head. Maybe it’s because I’m Canadian. We’re all over the map, figuratively and literally. We swear like pirates, attend fights to see if a hockey game will break out, but apologize to inanimate objects when we bump into them. So, you offended some people. Sometimes reading comments is like sifting through hot coals to find a gold coin. Even if you find one, you’re still going to get burned. I for one respect your honesty, respect that you apologized and that it was so sincere. You’re clearly a nice guy. And you have fans who will always be fans. Cheers, from one of them in Montreal

    1. Thanks, Pamela. I’m a former sailor, and I was raised by a mother who knew how to swear with the best of them (she still does).

      I know the post offended a few of my fans, but most saw it for the tongue-in-cheek humor with which it was intended. The real vehement attacks came from people who don’t know me at all. It was all organized over at Goodreads, where they have a thing for “Authors who behave badly.” I was getting threatening emails from members of this group at the time as well. It was a trying experience, but I learned a lot from it. And I do feel bad for upsetting any of my readers.

  114. […] If we were to take the opinions of everyone that reads this post, then I am sure that both of us could come up with many other examples of celebrities with too much time on their hands, shooting their mouths off and inadvertently hitting themselves in the foot. […]

  115. Heather Lovatt Avatar

    oh my dog. I can’t believe some of these replies. I found your original Salon post a while back and made a comment there; today, I was looking for something else and came back that way to here.

    Hugh, there are some elements of you, so far, I don’t get, but I read the original post on the woman looking down on your self-publishing approach and I seemed to stay IN that lane of thought.

    I cannot believe how out of hand some of the comments here are, to you, on this.

    I know one thing. You have a right to be passionate about what you believe in: self-publishing as an option. And I feel that’s what I read in that original post, whether your wife advised you against it, etc.

    Having passion about what you do is good.

    Thank you.


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