9 thoughts on “A Storm of a Different Kind

  1. Very interesting, especially if we consider that Banker refused adamantly to give me an interview to PWT less than two months ago, after an incredible shitstorm he raised in Fantasy Book Critic regarding one of our contributors. He accused all of us of racism and being biased – that KKK, Western crap he wrote about – which is really weird, since FBC is composed now of a guy from Romania, one from Brazil (me, currently inactive), one from India, and one man and one woman from US. So FBC is really a multicultural site, no KKK shit, thank you very much.

    And, mind you, I still don´t know what all the fuss he raised was about. Unfortunately, much as I would still like to read and review his Ramayana series, he strictly forbade FBC to ever publish his name again. Maybe I could do it in PWT, but I don´t think I will. I don´t want to incur in his wrath, perish the thought.

  2. Pingback: Racism In SFF?
  3. Fabio’s comments are once more proof of the inherent racism, bigotry and cultural bias I spoke of in the interview. It starts with his assuming that my comments were directed only at ‘white’ people in the publishing field – which would be very strange since my own grandmother was very much a ‘white’ woman by any definition (Dutch-Scots-Irish). In fact, I was speaking of racism in the SFF publishing field in the US and UK and by the professionals working there – and let’s say this clearly – even those who are not ‘white’. That’s why I refer to the problem as endemic and pervasive, because it’s a system wherein even those affected directly by it feel pressured to toe the party line in order to stay within the fold.

    Fabio also conveniently forgets to mention that I specifically refused the interview with him and that he was quite obviously cut up about it and made his displeasure clear to me even then. Still spiteful about it, Fabio? In fact, my objection was to the racist article written by your Indian contributor – who is a known author-stalker and abuser on online forums and has ‘attacked’ other ‘white’ authors as well, not just me. It’s easy to assume that because you’re ‘multicultural’ that you’re therefore spun from virgin silk, but I’m sorry, that doesn’t follow at all. If you choose to support a racist regime, that puts you at fault as well. In this case, obviously FBC wants to keep in the good books of so many powerful US and UK SFF publishers, agents, editors, writers – and who gives a shit about one outspoken unknown Indian author in Mumbai, India, right?

    And you’ve just proved my point yet again! Thank you, Fabio. And thank you, Cheryl – who, by the way, I must say, remains one of the MANY exceptions rather than the rule in a racist, bigotted and yes, sexist, SFF publishing world.

  4. Ashok:

    Firstly, thanks for your confidence in me. I do try to treat people equally. However, like Stephen Fry, I am sure I am not perfect. I have undoubtedly said something awful in the past, and will do so again. Rough ethnically-based banter between the different nations of the UK is endemic, and we tend to forget that it only seems OK because the days when people were routinely denied jobs, housing, etc. because they were not English are mostly gone.

    You are right about the nature of racism, however. Some people in the USA tend to assume that “racism” is all about white people v non-white people, but racism can take on many different forms in different parts of the world. Sadly the tendency of the far-right to scream “racism” whenever non-white people try to stand up for themselves makes this point very controversial. I’m sure you saw all of this play out in RaceFAIL.

    As for Fabio, I’m sure he can take care of himself. All I can say is that in all my dealings with him he has shown himself to be a good person. I’d also note that while anger is entirely understandable, in the end I think it becomes self-destructive. We only put an end to conflict (and discrimination is a form of conflict) by reaching out and making friends.

  5. Hi Cheryl

    Nice of you to add you addendum post but you see there’s a problem here Mr. Banker is quite possibly unwilling to be friendly with people and especially with who he considers racist.

    My name is Mihir & I’m the Indian contributor to FBC. As highlighted by Ashok I’m allegedly a Celeb-stalker & an author-basher on online forums(nice line btw, but theres no proof) Here’s the article which I had written for FBC on Indian SFF http://fantasybookcritic.blogspot.com/2009/05/overview-of-indian-speculative-fiction.html

    I wonder what racist content could Mr. Banker find in it? His name was mentioned in it but was removed after the shitstorm he raised over a meaningless anonymous comment and for the fact that he demanded it nearly 2 months later than it was published. After his disgusting slurs on me & FBC, we decided it wasn’t worth the hassle of knocking heads with some1 who’s being a reverse racist of sort himself & in the end I think after seeing his behaviour I have learnt the best meaning of the idiom “Empty vessels make the most noise”


    PS: I’m sure there will be a prompt derogatory response left here soon by our “Indian” Author so looking forward to about further allegations about how pathetic we all are 🙂

  6. OK, so now I think everyone has had their say. Can we please stop yelling at each other now. I don’t like stiffling debate, but I know from bitter experience what happens in these situations. What starts out as “X says blah about Y on my blog” very quickly morphs into “Cheryl Morgan said blah about Y” when appearing elsewhere in the blogosphere. Not to mention the fact that you’ll all start accusing me of taking the other side if I don’t take your side. So please be polite from now on. And everyone else please refrain from piling in trying to make things worse.

  7. Hi Cheryl,

    Thanks for keeping things civil and sane. This is one of the reasons why I do consider you an exception rather than the rule! (And who knows, I may well be wrong in my assumptions based on limited experience, and perhaps you are the rule, and racism the exception – I’m willing to believe that’s possible even now.)

    I won’t bother to respond to the other comments since as you rightly said, everyone has a right to their say. I think it’s pointless linking to a sanitized article which has been substantially revised for the reasons already stated, but that’s the person’s privilege. I do stand by what I said above and am actually quite amused rather than upset by the statement about “empty vessels” because the same person apparently felt I was the one of the greatest Indian authors (or somesuch nonsense) and now feels this way.

    What this and other discussions following in the wake of my interview do demonstrate is a very obvious tendency to simply dismiss me (and other contrary views that dare to suggest that things might be less than perfect in the world of SFF publishing) by (a) name-calling; (b) dismissing us out of hand; (c) reluctantly admitting the point then undercutting it by name-calling – e.g. “sure, he has a point but he’s a so-and-so therefore who gives a damn what he says” and (d) generally ignoring the specific complaints and issues I raise to begin a completely different discussion altogether, one that cleverly steers the whole talk away from the core issues of racism, bigotry, sexism in SFF publishing.

    Well, this isn’t new. And what I can say about it is this: When someone says something you know to be true and you also know yourself to be a part of, some people respond by simply throwing stuff and hurling abuse. Because they can’t actually counter the arguments being raised. This is what’s generally happening on the issue of Racism in SF. Dismiss me out of hand. Call me an “empty vessel”. Ignore my views.

    But if you pretend that the problem itself doesn’t exist, you’re not only fooling yourself, you’re perpetuating the problem itself.

    And that’s all I ask: Forget me. Look at the problem. Solve it one day at a time, one person at a time, one comment/blogpost/argument/book, etc at a time.

    Cheryl is doing it admirably right here in this short space by urging us to be civil about our comments and not taking sides. I applaud that approach. If SFF publishing in general could just take that balanced approach and permit even PoC the right to speak their minds and voice their personal opinions without fear of censure or attack or further racist abuse, that itself would soothe and smooth a great many wrinkles away.

    The more you ignore and abuse and yell me down, the more determined I will be to speak out.

    Thank you for reading. Despite our differences, I wish you all the best.


  8. Nice to see you respond in a civil manner Ashok, that’s been quite an exception to your past posts & etiquette. Also very honorable of you to not to respond to any of the “earlier comments” when you have been the one leveling accusations left & right & now walking away with no backup for it. As for the sanitisation to the article, let me help you in that regards, here is the part which Ashok wanted us to delete nearly 2 months after the article was 1st published & only after the problems he had with us posting a date & cover for his new book which was provided on the publishers website.

    Although all of the above works were notable and in their own right, the first science fiction fantasy book in this vein to achieve worldwide commercial success and critical acclaim was a six volume adaptation of the Ramayana written by Indian author Ashok Banker. Although at the time of its release, this series was heralded as the next big hit in the world of fantasy fiction, printing was prematurely canceled as Banker felt that the changes suggested by the publication altered the soul of the books. However his writing did leave a mark upon many a readers and he was picked up by Penguin books that successfully published his books and now are publishing a new series of his called “Gods of War”. Another of his project(in the works)is the 17 book adaptation of the Mahabharata divided into two series, the 8 book Krishna Coriolis series and the 9 book MBA (Mahabharata) series ..

    This was the so-called racist content which Ashok objected to after nearly 2 months of its publication, when he got upset over another trivial matter. As a reader of your books I had respect for you for bringing the Ramayana to the readers in such a fresh way. However after the level of juvenility shown by you, has left me with nothing but repugnance as to how someone whom you admire can act in a such a manner?

    Your opinion about me is heartening to say the least & as relevant as probably a grain of sand on a beach, what is irksome is the position of a martyr which you look forward to uptake and point & call racism to any1 differing with your opinion. I take umbrage to the fact that you called FBC racists & included all under that tag for not responding in the manner you wanted and allowing anonymous comments which disagreed with you. Yes I agree you were treated a bit shoddily by your publishers & editors & I respect your stand in saying “No” to them. Your problem is with them & such. Accuse them of whatever you want as I’m sure you can back it up with your previous experience. Do not label us racist if we found you lacking in your manners & tried to alert readers to your books (which I as a reader found to be good books and deserving of a wider audience). Your comments such as to ask “all readers of FBC never to buy or read your books” is another example of your incoherent attitude.

    I’m sure racism is a problem & it’s up to all of us readers to rectify it. If you wish to be a solution try working in the right direction. Not by trying to proclaim yourself to be a martyr at every occasion & a lone trailblazer at that. Focus in the right direction & I believe you might be more helpful than the usual attention seeker. Thank you for your wishes I wish you the same with the aforesaid sincerity as reciprocated by you. I believe everyone has different sides to themselves & maybe in the future you will show a better side to all of us, till then I would like to request you to act honourably & sensibly and detest from slander towards people with whom you have differences of opinion.

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