Rant about ‘Shut-in’ comment

by Nalini Haynes

Dark Matter has a policy of respect – reviewers don’t have to like the books they read, but DM asks them to respect DM’s readers. That means, if they don’t like a book or movie, reviewers say why, they don’t say something like ‘if you like this you’re a dickhead’. So imagine my fury when I read this comment from Scott Collura:

Straczynski, best known to shut-ins as the creator of Babylon 5, has been doing the feature film thing these days.

So. It seems I’m a shut in. What exactly does that mean? Presumably it is a derogatory term for a science fiction fan. Well, Scott, I’ve got news for you. I know ‘shut-ins’ who earn 6 figure incomes, precisely because they’re into science and technology (and as an extension of that have an interest in SF), which is presumably more than you, Scott. I also know a 17 year old who is earning $10 to $20 an hour teaching Starcraft 2 skills. The subject of his teaching alone presumably makes him a shut-in by this standard, let alone the fact that this teenager started watching Bablyon 5 when he was in primary school, and grew up loving it.

Scott’s bigoted attitude is exactly why Geek Pride day last year was so important, and hopefully the tradition will continue.


This article was previously published in Dark Matter issue 3, April 2011, and predated on this website to reflect the original publication date.