In some ways, I’m not surprised as there have been efforts to attack Baen and/or some of its authors before from the slime mold at the bottom of the science fiction sewer. This effort, however, has a very different and new twist that may well become the hallmark of all such efforts.
In what seems like a coordinated effort, complaints were filed with the ISPs behind Baen Books, in an effort to deplatform the publisher. Note, from the information I have right now, they not only wanted to take down the Bar, a forum that has been around for roughly 20 years now; but, to take down Baen Books so that it could not promote, sell, or give away (you have no idea how many free books and stories you can get there, but should).
I won’t link to the sleazy “author” (cough, choke, gasp, wheeze, yeah right) who is either behind this attack or fronting for it. I won’t link to the intellectually dishonest paetron story which is the public pretext for the attack on Baen. I especially won’t linke to Vile 770 which seems to be championing the effort (no surprise that slime mold central is so doing).
Now, in the interest of transparency (something more in modern journalism should try) I do need to note a number of items.
While I am not published by Baen (yet), I have known Toni for more years than a gentleman (or cranky old wolf) should disclose. Indeed, Toni has edited my three photo books from Iraq as a friend. Toni has encouraged me for years (along with the late Jim Baen) to move from science writing to writing science fiction. She’s provided feedback on my efforts to do just that.
Second, I was (am?) a member of the Bar (Baen’s Bar). I haven’t been on in years, but in my time there the only thing of which it was a hotbed was geekery. The forums and posts were wide rangning, engaging, and quite often enlightening as you had posts from scientists in various fields on topics of interest (especially to writers), a forum on theology, and even a place to share recipes. The original “no hitting” rule was in place and rarely did anyone cross that line. Not to say that some discussions did not become intense, or even fractious, but people toed the line and showed respect for differing opinions and the people behind them. It was and is the mature way to handle things, and to learn in the process. I would also note that those who “ran” the Bar were all volunteers.
Sadly, the people behind cancel culture have an emotional maturity to shame a spoiled 4-year-old. I also have to wonder if this effort wasn’t just a way to try to shut down Baen because some of it’s authors are conservative, but to gain fame and fortune (maybe someone will buy/pay for his work) in the process.
Third, I know a number of the Baen authors and consider some of them good personal friends. For the record, Baen publishes books by authors who range from card-carrying socialists to those who go far right. Honestly, Toni doesn’t care about the politics, religion, etc. of the authors, artists, editors, etc. What matters is that they write good and engaging stories that sell. Nor does she care if the stories lean right, left, or any other way. Again, good stories that sell. It’s what real publishing is all about: good writing that sells rather than messaging crap that doesn’t.
Fourth, I will admit that Baen not only helped with arrangements but assisted in covering the costs for me to do a series of video interviews with some of their authors a while back. You can find those somewhere on the Baen site (at least I think you still can) or at the Blackfive YouTube Channel.
I suppose I should be furious about this dispicable effort to de-platform Baen by a group of philisophically and morally bankrupt people who’s intellect makes a cherrystone clam shake its head. The fact is, they are not worth that level of attention by me. In fact, I will simply say that I hope their actions bring them what they deserve.
So, what can you or I do? Save the outrage, they deserve only mocking laughter. What we can do is cheerfully go and buy from Baen books. Look at what they have available, and buy as many as you can.
Oh, and if you want to claim that Baen and its authors deserve this; or that Baen has caved by taking the Bar offline temporarily; or any other silly virtue signalling that actually only calls out your, ah, shortcomings to the world, take it elsewhere. If you do try to come here, I will savagely mock you and your physical and intellectual shortcomings. You are warned.
Laugh at the first group, and buy from the second. So easy anyone can do it.