BasedCon – A based sci-fi con, organized by author Robert Kroese to appeal to the “sci-fi writer or fan who is sick of woke politics,” is planned for September 17-19 near Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The list of confirmed guests includes two-time Prometheus Award-winner Travis J.I. Corcoran, Robert Kroese, J.A. Sutherland, Hans Schantz, Jason Anspach*, Milo James Fowler, J. Daniel Sawyer, Dan Gainor, and Nick Cole* (asterisk indicates attending virtually).
On the BasedCon website, Kroese explains what “based” means to him and why his con has that name.
In internet parlance, “based” means something like “in touch with reality.” Based behavior is the opposite of social justice activism, which is about meaningless virtue signaling and beating up strawmen. Some based beliefs include:
- Men cannot give birth
- Guns don’t kill people; people kill people
- A fetus is a human being
- Socialism has failed everywhere it’s been tried
- Discriminating against white people is racism
BasedCon isn’t about pushing any particular ideology, but honest conversations have to start with a shared understanding of reality. If you think people with a certain skin color can’t be racist or you expect people to use made-up pronouns when talking about you, you may want to do a reality check before coming to BasedCon.
The BasedCon “About” page also devotes several paragraphs to the now-familiar “lost cause” genre narrative, for example —
Sci-fi cons used to be a lot of fun. They were places where people of all colors and creeds could get together to talk and learn about science fiction and fantasy books, games, movies, and TV shows. Then, starting a few years ago, things changed. Cons became increasingly dominated by a small clique of authoritarian jerks who made them into venues for pushing social justice dogma and, in the name of “inclusiveness,” shut down any opinions that didn’t align with progressive orthodoxy. You may remember the Sad Puppies saga, which culminated in WorldCon voters selecting “No Award” in several categories of the Hugo Awards rather than reward people outside their tribe…
Venue: BasedCon 2021 will be held at a privately owned property in Norton Shores, Michigan. How many people are they expecting to attract?
We have nine bedrooms onsite with 2-3 beds per room. If you prefer a private room, you can stay at one of the hotels nearby.
Here are some tweets from earlier in the year when Kroese was still searching for a place to hold the event:
Here is some of the social media reaction, both favorable and unfavorable.
[Thanks to Anne Marble for the story.]
Dann665 says Publishing is centered in big cities and involves individuals that have been credentialed by universities and colleges that present a somewhat left-of-center perspective on the world. They also have a finite capacity for publishing new books. When presented with two mid-level books and only having room in their publishing schedule for one, which one do you think a publishing company will select? The one that affirms their culture or the one that challenges it?
You’ve obviously never actually looked at the catalog of any of the major publishers as they idea that they have only finite room on their schedules is laughable. Any of the Great Houses as I’ll call them here as the ability to publish whatever they want in a given year and does, sometimes that means hundreds if not thousands of titles across a bewildering complexity of imprints.
Tor alone has a number of imprints (Forge, Starscape, Tor Teen, Orb, Tor.com) and in turn is part of Macmillan Publishers Ltd which is owned by Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. Limited resources, my ass. They, like the other genre publishers, can acquire and publish anything it wants. What it publishes in a given a year is decided not by accountants, but the decisions of the editors who decide a given work is worth publishing.
That their readers like a certain type of fiction is certain. And you know what, that’s fine. Like Baen Books, let’s not judge them harshly for doing exactly what their readers expect them to do.
An interview with a HarperCollins editor:
So bill, you offer quote from Eric Nelson, the vice president and executive editor of Broadside Books, an imprint of HarperCollins which publishes theconservative titles that he wants to without censorship from his corporate bosses. I’d accuse both him and you of engaging in hypocrisy but that would be too obvious, wouldn’t it?
Given that the GOP is busy using the scare word “Critical Race Theory” (which is an academic topic normally not taught in K-12) to eliminate the remnants of secondary anti-racism and history of slavery discussions in their states, your comment is deeply, deeply ironic.
I have friends in the news publishing industry with similar observations/complaints. I agree that the commodification of art is a significant factor. The commodification of news is also a problem.
Like everything else in the world, I don’t think there is an easy, single explanation for the trends in genre publishing. The cultural perspective among publishers/editors is (IMO) one factor out of many. It probably isn’t the most important factor from a consumer perspective.
I look at someone like Mark Lawrence, who does a mix of self-publishing and traditional publishing, as an example of someone that would be under a more supportive contract if he were publishing 30-40 years ago. He ends up doing a ton of work to retain control of his IP in the current publishing environment. FWIW, I know nothing about his politics. Only that most of his books have scratched my genre itch over the years.
Which is why I never offered that comparison in the first place.
Nice find on that article.
I put less emphasis on re-tweets. Also, most of those were pretty tame. The Bee is published as satire. I’ve seen the same (and worse) type of images/language aimed at conservatives by folks on the left.
Popular opinions, on subjects not palpable to sense, are often true, but seldom or never the whole truth. – John Stuart Mill
OK, I’m going to make this general comment: I’ve been to four Bouchercons, although not recently (the last one I went to was Baltimore in 2008) but Bouchercons are much more about midlist writers selling books than are sf conventions.
Saying that a publisher such as Tor chooses only books based on the ‘narrowly defined set of profitable sales’ or that they’re ‘stultifying the growth of the field’ is beyond ludicrous.
@Dann: You wrote
I exagurated with Steven King to make the point that your point is not very realistic.
rochrist notes that Saying that a publisher such as Tor chooses only books based on the ‘narrowly defined set of profitable sales’ or that they’re ‘stultifying the growth of the field’ is beyond ludicrous.
I just checked the offerings from Tor for next year. Some are no doubt are going to be profitable as they’re from writers who sell well but two thirds are from first time authors who don’t have track records at all. I suspect the other Great Houses look similar.
I did decide to go to one con on the strength of a guest – Roger Zelazny. I don’t think any of the guests for this con are quite in that league.
Yup, I just checked out his Twitter feed and he seems to have moved further to the right.
Crime fiction cons in general seem more focussed on aspiring writers and divide between pros and fans is a lot stricter than with SFF cons. It’s a different con culture.
Does “owning the libs” now mean “say anything in public that anyone left of me might disagree with? Or is the key ritual to say “And now to own the libs” on twitter?
What next, a prop gun that displays a flag with the word Bang!?
That’s not going to organize them a convention, large or small, woke or pro-sleep or fanatically devoted to the teachings of Lyndon Larouche.
After sleeping on it I’ve decided that those who are mocking Basedcon for its housing arrangements are being a little precious. I’ve been at Gencons where we had so many people sharing a room we had one person sleeping in the tub and other in the closet. Good times! 🙂
Where it really falls down is a complete and utter lack of a Code of Conduct, which tells me that this is going to be a highly unsafe environment for me. Not that just having a code of conduct is a magical defense (as Wiscon, Readercon, etc) have demonstrated), but if you put cons on a rating scale of Safety for Nancys And People Like Her then Basecon is going to be on the end with the flashing red DANGER sign.
Nancy Sauer says Where it really falls down is a complete and utter lack of a Code of Conduct, which tells me that this is going to be a highly unsafe environment for me. Not that just having a code of conduct is a magical defense (as Wiscon, Readercon, etc) have demonstrated), but if you put cons on a rating scale of Safety for Nancys And People Like Her then Basecon is going to be on the end with the flashing red DANGER sign.
Nancy, I think it’s fair to say that that these folk don’t have the slightest clue what it takes to organise and run a Con, no matter how small it is. So I wouldn’t expect them to know that they need a Code of Conduct. Indeed I’m not sure they know what one is. They may well think that’s something that those SJW types invented and that Real Men don’t need them as they know how to behave.
Given their whole ~thing~ I’m sort of assuming they consider codes of conduct to be part of What Makes (Other) Conventions Not Fun Anymore, and possibly also virtue signalling.
It’s entirely possible that the BasedConCom does know what a Code of Conduct is… and they think they don’t need one. Which may actually be true, in a weird way; the sort of people who are protected by a Code of Conduct aren’t exactly gonna be lining up to buy BasedCon memberships, you know?
cubist wisely says It’s entirely possible that the BasedConCom does know what a Code of Conduct is… and they think they don’t need one. Which may actually be true, in a weird way; the sort of people who are protected by a Code of Conduct aren’t exactly gonna be lining up to buy BasedCon memberships, you know?
You might well be correct. They’re likely to only attract, as Eric Hoffer called them, True Believers. So no one will likely be in the risk of be seriously offended by anything anyone there says or does. The only ones would be offended aren’t going to be there to hear what be likely offensive language given their stated attitudes.
I was feeling hmmmmmm ungood about the name and couldn’t get my brain to cough up why, so I finally gave up and looked it up and… Sigh.
Meredith went searchingI was feeling hmmmmmm ungood about the name and couldn’t get my brain to cough up why, so I finally gave up and looked it up and… Sigh.
Oh thank you! I was wondering why they’d named their get together such. (I refuse to dignify it as a Con.) If they’re unwoke, does that mean that they’re sleep walking through this reality?
And here I innocently thought, no, Lis, that’s a weird, rude connection to make; you’re letting the hospital drugs get to you…
Nope. Oh, well.
Out of ICU. Now in a real room, private, and a better chance to really sleep. A door and walls, not a large glass wall with the nurse’s station watching.
Dora may get Tuckerised, though in a mystery, not sff. Was emailing with the writer, and sent her some pictures, and, well. We’ll see if it works out!
In fairness re: the focus on “professional” rather than fannish, this is one paragraph of the about page:
So, the “fan convention” aspect iz pastede on yay and wasn’t even part of the original concept. Given that, unsurprising that it isn’t the focus.
(In unfairness… well. Look at it. All the sour grapes. All of them.)
Glad you’re feeling a bit better.
Considering the guy who started it was talking about being reality-Based as his reason for using the term, and considering reality-based was a W era term used to mock anyone left of the Bushes, I was a bit astounded to have them embracing it. Instead, you say. they’re basing it on comparing themselves to drug addicts.
Well, that makes so much more sense.
These are people I couldn’t talk about my family in front of safely without being extremely circumspect. I don’t wish them any ill. I hope their con works out for them. I’m just glad it isn’t happening too close to my stomping grounds.
Here’s a more thorough rundown of the history of “based”. Basically, after Lil B decided to reclaim “based” as a positive self-helpy idea, creeps on 4chan (whose opinions of Lil B are probably best left unimagined, but “ironic” appropriation of everything under the sun was always a 4chan thing) decided to reclaim it to mean something more like “proud of being a creep in the preferred style of my creepy crowd.” As far as I know, everything about its current usage by right-wingers is derived from 4chan, either directly or via the Gamergate nonsense; they’re definitely not referencing Lil B. So if someone wanted to convey a general message of uplifting conservative fandom, but did not want to be associated with the ideology and behavior of people like “Based Stickman”, they definitely would not name their event Based anything. It’s a shibboleth for the young aggro nihilist subset of the fringe right.
A very charitable interpretation would be that the organizers are simply idiots and don’t understand who they are giving a shout-out to. I think that’s unlikely, but what do I know. At any rate they’ve made their attitude pretty clear by defining their outlook so heavily in terms of opposing “SJWs” and not wanting to be in any part of town that supports Black Lives Matter.
I’m reminded of the adage that one never acknowledges one’s own biases as political; one’s own biases are just the way things should be. But their biases are totes political…
Also, what the hell is wrong with virtue-signalling when the virtues being signalled are virtues? I damn well want people to know that I believe that trans men are men, trans women are women, women deserve complete bodily autonomy including the right to terminate a pregnancy at any time for any reason, and that black lives matter. What, I’m going to hide those beliefs under a bushel when people like Kroese use a bull-horn to shout out his bigotry? Hell no.
The first thing I thought was “Putting the fun back in SF… except for those of us who want to be safe from sexual harassment and assault, right? Because anyone trumpeting TIRED OF WOKE POLITICS isn’t someone I can trust to give a damn if I’m groped at the autograph party or worse.”
Then I read on and my estimation of this project dropped even further.
I cannot wish this con or its participants well. I cannot in good conscience wish them to have fun, when their event is based on a shared ideology of bigotry. And no, the big tent of SF/F/H should not in fact have room for them. Any tent that has room for bigots is, de facto, unwelcoming and unsafe for the people the bigots hate.
But, to be fair to them on the housing front, I’ve been to several writing workshops that took advantage of their proximity to a college or university to rent a block of dorm rooms. The tweeted pics are comparable to those accommodations.
The link I gave did cover those bits, although not in quite so much detail. It only starts with the drug addict ref.
Then they’d still be better off at the 20Booksto50K conference, which is officially politically neutral and where puppies and puppy-adjacent authors (and conservative authors who are not puppies) have attended and even were on programming. Check out the line-up of this panel.
That is a strange link to post here. A panel featuring the lovely subject of my post “Perjury Not Piracy Is the Problem”.
I think they’d have a problem with the “officially politically neutral” bit, what with all the explicitly anti-left bits and bobs.
I posted the link to show that they have no problems inviting puppies and puppy adjacent authors onto panels. And personally, I would never put the self-pirater or the Sad Puppy 3 in Chief on programming at any con.
He’s a publishing executive, speaking on a topic being discussed in this thread. How is it hypocritical of me to post/link his statement? That makes no sense.
The American Federation of Teachers is pushing CRT into K-12. And so is the NEA. Here’s a teacher who teaches CRT regardless of laws or policies against doing so (he has 5000+ colleagues).
I should have not gone so far off topic (sorry) but now I am going to have it both ways on CRT. I agree with the AFL’s take on CRT and think it’s a good thing because systemic racism exists, but the GOP wants to bury the study of racism for its own nefarious purposes. And again, the GOP wants to use CRT as an excuse to bury any mentions of anti-racism and slavery in K-12, again for its own nefarious purposes.
So that’s all. Now, unless it’s related to BasedCon, I’m not talking about it.
And I wouldn’t have responded to your expansion of the discussion if you had not woefully misrepresented the mainstream GOP position on the issue.
FTR, there is a ton of American history about Americans who are black that I learned long after high school. Juneteenth…the exclusion of Americans who are black from federally guaranteed home mortgages in the 1930s…etc.
So to the extent that we are talking about making history instruction more complete, I’m all for it.
But, a non-trivial part of CRT education is teaching children that their self-worth is a direct function of their skin color. I’ve watched many parents, of all flavors, address local school boards and this is almost uniformly the issue with which they take exception. Me, too.
I’ve loved reading all my life. – John Wayne
Nicole: I wish them well precisely for two reasons, one of which is that running off to have their own conventions DOES get them out of SFF fandom. The other is that they’re likely to find out how minuscule they really are and how little outside support they get. I really hope so, anyhow, bit since we saw the Puppies manage to write a decisive repudiation into a claim of success, I’m a bit less hopeful on the latter.
I also find that I can’t wish a Fyre Festival level disaster on anyone.
Critical Race Theory is a University level topic, but since it’s been used as a bludgeon term that means teaching anything other than the War of Northern Aggression or pretending that everything was hunky dory after that except a few things Martin Luther King Jr fixed, I am actually ALL FOR TEACHING THE TRUTH OF HISTORY TO CHILDREN, even if it means we see some ways white people behaved badly to their fellow humans on the way. I’m for teaching real history and not being hobbled by someone’s fear it makes racists look like the bad guys.
And I have yet to find an example of sonething taught that is defined by conservatives as part of CRT that isn’t factually accurate.
I hope it will be.a con where nobody gets hurt.
I hope it will be a con where no law enforcement need to attend.
I hope it will be a con where the bulk of people will enjoy themselves.
I guess time will tell.
Many attendees will probably find themselves bored at least some of the time. From the Twitter posts I’ve seen, there are fans who are eager to go to see some of their favorite writers. What fun will readers get from panels on self-publishing, crowdfunding, ROIs, and Amazon ads? Sure, they can go join a gaming session, but if they’re not into gaming, what then? Is there at least a small dealer room?
Also, even fans who agree with the politics of the authors they like often get annoyed when the whole book becomes a rant. (This goes for fans of ranty liberal authors as well as ranty conservative authors.) There will be exceptions — some people love being in that bubble where they hear everything they believe repeated because it’s self-affirming. (I prefer “bubble” to “echo chamber” because I picture people wearing giant transparent space helmets over their heads.)
And a whole convention about “taking back” science fiction from non-traditional beliefs and so forth? Uhm, have fun, I guess? But even fans (and writers) with the same politics as the organizers might well get sick of a whole convention that’s just about keeping a huge bubble in place. (That doesn’t mean they will admit it.)
Anne Marble asks Many attendees will probably find themselves bored at least some of the time. From the Twitter posts I’ve seen, there are fans who are eager to go to see some of their favorite writers. What fun will readers get from panels on self-publishing, crowdfunding, ROIs, and Amazon ads? Sure, they can go join a gaming session, but if they’re not into gaming, what then? Is there at least a small dealer room?
I see no indication looking over the site that a dealer’s room is planned but somehow I think that each author will be stocked with enough books for sale to stock many a Little Library that would than be safe from SJW genre books. (Yes I’m being catty.) After all, being a SF author is just about selling books, isn’t it? (Being catty again.)
I’m still trying to figure out why it would be weird for wedding venues to show pics of “bi-racial couples”…
Meredith says I’m still trying to figure out why it would be weird for wedding venues to show pics of “bi-racial couples”
Oh that easy. White folk ain’t supposed to marry outside of their own kind. That’s what he’s saying. Yes I’ve no doubt that many of these folks are racists. So his comment makes perfect sense if you assume that as a given.
No. It doesn’t. That is, and I’m going to be blunt and undiplomatic, a rightwing lie.
What the right doesn’t like about fact-based history, for which CRT is being used as a scare term, is the idea of American children of all races and ethnicities being taught that their value is not a function of skin color; that Europeans did not bring The Gift of Civilization to the New World.
The arrival of Europeans was a clash of civilizations–and of biomes. Eurasians arrived with much deadlier parasites, to which they were already adapted, and Native Americans weren’t. But civilization was thriving here; there are whole civilizations in the Americas when the Europeans arrived that Europeans never saw, or that only small numbers of Europeans saw who were later assumed to be fabulists because later expeditions couldn’t find them. But now 21st century archaeology is finding them.
As people, they were no better and no worse than Europeans or Asians. Europeans did genuinely genocidal things here as well as accidentally bringing diseases. If discovery had gone the other way, well, we know from our steadily growing knowledge of the history of the Americas, they would have done similarly, or at least tried. (The disease thing might have prevented that.)
But “conservatives” don’t want that history taught. They don’t want anything negative taught about European colonization and the founding of the USA. They want it to be all hagiography.
Yeah, we’ve all heard them.
And they’re reacting to the rightwing cartoon version of CRT, not any actual or proposed curriculum anywhere. Or, some of them, they’ve decided that just mentioning the Civil War or massacres of Indians is that scary CRT they’ve heard of.
You mentioned you learned about Juneteenth, and various important African-Americans, and the GI Bill mortgage discrimination against African-Americans. That’s great!
But you should know, many American students weren’t and aren’t. Juneteenth was a surprise new revelation to a lot of people this year–as was the Tulsa Race Massacre and its hundredth anniversary. And they don’t know black WWII veterans didn’t get the mortgage help white veterans got.
We need to fix that–and the fake crisis over CRT is a frankly racist attempt to prevent that.
“And I wouldn’t have responded to your expansion of the discussion if you had not woefully misrepresented the mainstream GOP position on the issue.”
Is the former Secretary of State Pompeo considered extreme right wing and totally out of the mainstream GOP on this issue?
“If we teach that the founding of the United States of America was somehow flawed. It was corrupt. It was racist. That’s really dangerous. It strikes at the very foundations of our country.”
The man is saying that teaching that there was ANY flaw in the founding of the US – much less a racist one – is ‘dangerous’ and a threat to the country. I’d say he represents well the current GOP position, the one that is howling for cameras in classroom to police teaching lest anyone teach about racist flaws in the founding.
Anne Marble: Boredom is a result I can most definitely be fine with; I might even prefer hearing that the anti-woke convention bored people to tears instead of giving them ideas. People going to an anti-leftist convention only to find it’s 90% a book-selling grift? I can dig it if it turns out they dug their own pit.
I just refuse to wish worse on them — up until either they endanger people, or try and demand mainstream platform time instead of making their own.
And not just any old pit either, they dug their own ball pit.
@Cora, please accept this lovely internet. You deserve it.
I agree with expanding/completing the accurate teaching of American history. I’ve got some quibbles with the rest but things have run far enough afield. I’ll just leave it as people of all flavors are reacting to what they see going on in their local schools. Those reactions are motivated by reality and should be respected.
You are rubbing up against something that does not get discussed very often. There are progressive politicians/leaders…
[I’m purposefully specifying politicians and leaders because I know too many individuals that do not fully embrace this perspective. Actually, I’ve encountered very few normal people that embrace this perspective even if they identify as “progressive”. Also, I’m specifying “progressive” because there are many Democrat politicians that don’t embrace this perspective; Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Joe Manchin being good examples.]
… that have a problem with the US Constitution and our framing of individual rights that supersede government authority/interests. They’d rather not deal with people speaking against their initiatives. They’d rather be able to punish people without the accused being able to face their accusers. They certainly don’t approve of people having the right to make (and keep) money without the imprimatur of some governmental toady.
Their support for CRT is rooted in part in a desire to rewrite American history in an effort to undermine the US Constitutional guarantees of individual liberty. IMO, Mr. Pompeo is pre-emptively responding to that trend.
Racism existed at the American founding. America was not founded upon racism. Racism absolutely exists today; although it is greatly reduced since 1776. America in 2021 is not a racist country.
Our tradition of individual liberty has delivered far more progress than any of the current “progressive” remedies that are being proposed. Marginalized people have made the greatest gains in a nation that aspires (imperfectly) to treat everyone equally precisely because of that commitment to individual liberty.
TANSTAAFL/TINSTAAFL/TNSTAAFL – Truth no matter how you slice it.
Dann665: people of all flavors are reacting to what they see going on in their local schools. Those reactions are motivated by reality and should be respected.
No, they’re not. They are reacting to what they are being told – by people with a very strong agenda against kids being taught the truth about the racist, genocidal past of the U.S. – CRT is about, not what CRT is actually about.
Just as the people screaming that the 2020 Presidential Election was a fraud are reacting to what they have been told by people who have a very strong agenda of undermining the results of that election, not to the clean, fraud-free, reality of that election.
Neither set of those reactions is based on reality, and neither set of those reactions should be respected.
Critical legal theory is just one subset of critical theory. Critical literary theory is another: Teaching Critical Theory Today.
It’s a different board, but the positions these chess pieces take sure look familiar:
I’m sorry to see Inside Higher Ed go to a paywall model, but this is worth using up one of your five monthly freebies on.
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