Castalia House

Castalia House is a small, incredibly minor publishing house based in Finland. In actuality, it is a vanity press by certified crazy person Theodore Beale. Theodore Beale prefers to be known as Vox Day (modified spelling of Vox Dei, meaning Voice of God) and is accurately described by John Scalzi as a “racist sexist homophobic dipshit.”

If you are a fan of F/SF at all, you are almost certainly aware of the brouhaha surrounding the Hugo awards this year. If not, you can find the whole story over on File770. In short, Mr. Beale got his friends and fellow travelers, calling themselves Rabid Puppies, together and stacked the voting to get himself and a bunch of his friends nominated for Hugo awards this year. They had to do it this way because the stuff they write is not of sufficient quality to get nominated on its own merits.

His argument is that the works winning Hugo awards are SJW (social justice warrior) message fiction that are nominated merely for checking off PC boxes and not for quality. He claims there is a vast left-wing cabal that secretly decides who will get nominated and that “ripping good yarns” don’t stand a chance. If you read Beale’s blog and the writings of his apologists, you will find that they claim the only thing that should matter is the quality of the story – it should be a fun F/SF adventure  and the politics of the author should be irrelevant. Of course, any writer to the left of the great Khan cannot possibly write such a good tale.

And then we go look at the Castalia House website. He has a very short page were he details what is required for submissions: A story synopsis, an author bio, and the actual story. Okay, that’s not really unusual. Until you see this:

“A one page author bio describing who the author is and what the author stands for rather than the author’s credentials.”

It appears that the most important thing to Mr. Beale and his vanity publishing venture is the political correctness of the authors. That’s why he has people like John C. Wright (far right extreme homophobe) and Tom Kratman (who once co-wrote a novel that was basically a PR piece for the Waffen SS) on his list. Having read some stuff by these people and by other fellow travelers such as Michael Z. Williamson, it is also incredibly clear to me that they are writing anvilicious message fiction. (also, don’t follow that link unless you have lots of free time).

This is not necessarily bad – many very good writers do it: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Stephen King, Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur Clarke to name just a few. The issue I have with the nonsense spewed out by Beale and his posse is that they claim they don’t do it and that it is inherently bad.

In any case, Beale’s vanity press is a publishing imprint that you can safely avoid without missing any first or even second rate F/SF.


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