Superversive Press is closing

In an announcement on January 20, Superversive Press announced it was closing http://www.superversivesf.com/?p=841 This follows on from the announcement that a series of planet-themed anthologies were shifting publisher (see Declan Finn here http://www.declanfinn.com/2019/10/release-update-moon-anthology-is-sort.html and File 770 here http://file770.com/pixel-scroll-10-21-19-oh-this-is-the-scroll-its-a-beautiful-scroll-and-we-call-it-pixela-scrollte/ )

Specialising in conservative orientated speculative fiction with an intent to ‘inspire from above’, the publisher was a part of a wave of attempts to revitalise right-leaning science-fiction in the mid 2010’s. From my perspective, given the world we do live in, experiments like Superversive Press were a far more positive outlet for some of the angst and frustrations among conservative SF/F fans than others. If we had to be in the midst of a culture war within science fiction, it was much, much better to be conducted with people exercising their creative energies creatively.

I don’t want to sound to hypocritical and laud their output with praise. The books they published very much weren’t for me and some pushed quite toxic ideas (eg https://www.amazon.com/MAGA-2020-Beyond-Milo-Yiannopoulos/dp/1925645487 which is no longer for sale). However, the many authors and editors who tried to make a go of Superversive genuinely attempted to do what many critics of the Sad Puppies said conservative writers should do if they felt shut out: set up their own outlets and demonstrate the works that they claimed were being overlooked.

More generally, the capacity for like-minded authors to collaborate on boutique e-book publishing houses is something that is of interest beyond the specific politics of Supervesive Press. I’d rather niche publishers were more viable and were less vulnerable to the vagaries of life.

35 thoughts on “Superversive Press is closing

  1. ” If we had to be in the midst of a culture war within science fiction, it was much, much better to be conducted with people exercising their creative energies creatively.”
    This. The blogger Roy Edroso has noted repeatedly over the years how many culture warriors are the equivalent of chickenhawks — they talk about how conservatives must reclaim the culture and put out books/movies/comics to compete with the evil leftists but they have no interest in actually doing the work themselves. National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, for example, declared he really wants to write SF but dang it, how can he without a rich patron so he can quit his day job writing right-wing bilge? Poor baby.
    I blogged on the topic myself: https://frasersherman.com/2017/09/21/we-need-a-term-for-art-equivalent-to-chickenhawk/

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I guess that Adam Smith’s invisible hand of the marketplace just showed up and gave them the middle finger. If narrativium works as previously observed, the Puppies will start whining that it’s so unfair that not enough people wanted to buy the bilge they’ve been trying to push.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. “If narrativium works as previously observed, the Puppies will start whining that it’s so unfair that not enough people wanted to buy the bilge they’ve been trying to push.”

      Dingdingding! The wonderful free market is wonderful until it tells them their product really isn’t in demand after all — then all of a sudden it’s all about evil conspiracies conspiring to conspire against them. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I wonder if they’ve simply hit the half life of a small press, or if the outrage marketing boost had dried up a bit? (Not that superversive were as bad in that line as others were, but they certainly played on it a bit)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think life and personal circumstances are the direct causes but as you say that is part of the half life of small press. They are time consuming hobbies with little personal or financial reward. After a time key people need to do other things and that’s that.

      On outrage marketing, both Brian N and JDA have (or claim to have) sworn off it. The scrappy-doo era may have passed.

      Like

      1. Another issue is that small presses, especially newish small presses like Superversive without a track record or with a negative track record, cannot do much for an author that the authors cannot do for themselves. And considering that a lot of puppy-affiliated authors are self-publishing anyway, why precisely should they go with Superversive instead? Editing? Marketing? Cover design? There really isn’t much of a reason, unlike e.g. signing with a Big Five publisher or Baen.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Scrappy-doo Paolinelli is still doing his best to fill the internet with toxic waste. His post about Jaym Gates is so foul I won’t even link to an archival copy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mike Glyer: Paolinelli[‘s] post about Jaym Gates is so foul I won’t even link to an archival copy.

      He not only openly admits that he can’t be bothered to go find out what actually happened, he then proceeds to invent something which bears absolutely no resemblance to what actually happened, and comments on it as if it was real… seriously mentally whacked. 😐

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Paolinelli complaining about Jaym Gates blocking him on Twitter, even though they have never interacted is also rich, considering that he does the very same thing – only that he occasionally unmutes you to spew bile.

        The rest is entirely imaginary. And considering that the SFWA Bulletin incident has been fairly well documented, it’s obvious that he cannot even be bothered to google what happened.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. “On outrage marketing, both Brian N and JDA have (or claim to have) sworn off it. ”

    So in other words the next time either of them piss in the pool of public discourse it’ll be completely for fun with no profit motive then?

    Liked by 3 people

  6. On the one hand, that’s too bad. They were putting their money where their mouth was, and I have to applaud them for it.

    On the other hand, I still can’t get over the “superversive” name. I still roll my eyes every time I see it in print.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. @michaeleochaidh Same here. I was giving the guy the benefit of the doubt, and was thrown by this paragraph:

        “Wilde did not live long after his imprisonment, and one of his last public remarks, lapped up eagerly by the press, was this: ‘If the Queen can’t treat her prisoners any better than this, she doesn’t deserve to have any!’ People nowadays, I think, are likely to miss the joke. It was a paraphrase of the standard scolding that every Victorian mother gave her children when they abused their toys or their pets; but how many mothers talk like that nowadays? The wit misses its target, because the target is no longer there.”

        ??? Who has never heard of the sentiment: ‘if you can’t be trusted to be responsible with your things, we’ll have to take them away from you”? I know I’ve occasionally run into trouble assuming my experiences are universal, but this is a well-known sentiment, right? Even if only experienced third-hand?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. khittyhawk: ??? Who has never heard of the sentiment: ‘if you can’t be trusted to be responsible with your things, we’ll have to take them away from you”? I know I’ve occasionally run into trouble assuming my experiences are universal, but this is a well-known sentiment, right? Even if only experienced third-hand?

        That’s really bizarre, that he would claim that no one said that any more. Apparently he had shitty parents who permitted him to behave irresponsibly, and just assumed that everyone else had shitty parents, too.

        Yes, I would have to seriously question the credibility of anything written by someone who would make that sort of claim.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yeah…I mean I’m very easy going about such things but that’s a *writing* blog with advice for authors from a *lawyer*. There’s not even an intro! Not the best behaviour to model for writers.

        On the plus-side it is a blog that Puppies and Mad Genii read and so my sudden appearance caused some consternation.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Not to worry, Paolinelli has picked up the baton and will be bringing the same passion to this publishing project as he brought to

    [checks notes]

    … The SFFC Guild? Oh dear

    (I’m sure this exact joke was made at the time it was originally announced but I’ve either forgotten that it happened or never knew to begin with)

    Liked by 6 people

  8. It’s a shame, the passive voice used to be a really good site back in the day but now it’s just the same commenters over and over on every post saying the same thing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Whenever I chance to visit the Passive Voice, I’m quickly reminded why I no longer read that blog. A pity because it used to be a good publishing and writing blog in the early days of the self-publishing revolution.

      Liked by 1 person

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