“SFWA members: this year it’s IMPORTANT to vote in the upcoming officer elections. Theodore Beale, a.k.a. Vox Day, is running for SFWA President. If you know the name, you’ll know why that’s scary. If you don’t, read the post below… My cat would be the better choice. And my cat is dead.” [Emphasis added]
Victoria Strauss on Facebook 2/1/13
Normally, the members of the SWFA and Writer Beware™ cast their aspersions on publishers, literary agents or their critics. In the wake of SFWA President, John “No Balls” Scalzi’s announcement that his current term, which ends on June 30, will be his last, they are attacking their own members this time . . . and it’s getting very ugly.
In the mist of the controversy is SFWA member, and author, Theodore Beale. Beale recently announced his candidacy for the post being vacated by John “No Balls” Scalzi. One thing that has become very clear, especially from those that have the most to lose (e.g. Victoria Strauss etc.) he’s (Beale) a serious threat to the “cultish” status quo of the SFWA.
“ . . . . [H]aving been a member on and off (currently on) for well over a decade, I’ve gradually come to the conclusion that the downside of it far outweighs the positives. SFWA has become a cult, dedicated first and foremost to the preservation of the cult. It has increasingly little to do with creativity, commerce, or the actual business of science fiction.”
Husband of Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Scalzi, in his departure discourses, has stated the following: 1) that he’s “delighted and honored to [have served his] fellow science fiction and fantasy writers; 2) that he “had a hell of a lot of fun” and 3) that he “published three novels during [his] tenure” as President of the SFWA. These are pretty lame statements to be making while exiting an organization. Exactly how did Scalzi serve the members? Sure, on an author’s salary, getting free meal tickets (at the expense of dues-paying members) can in fact be “a hell of a lot of fun.” In addition, the audacity of Scalzi to even mention the publication of three new books when, in fact, there were overdue compliance issues and tax filings that required more attention for the SFWA. So, either it takes very little effort to actually write a Scalzi book or Scalzi’s presidency was more akin to the half-hypnotized, “do-nothing” Peter Gibbons in the movie Office Space. Scalzi’s blog, entitled Whatever, clearly seems to support the notion of his lackluster performance as President and how he approached the day-to-day business of the SFWA. Moreover, it appears that Scalzi is more likely a man of words . . . not a man of action. Author Jim Hines hinted that this post has its challenges . . . it may be that Scalzi is simply burned-out. (Note: He recently took a cruise [i.e. "I need a vacation."] with his wife and committed not to be on the Internet for 10+ days . . . sound like a burn-out?) Beale also has been critical of Scalzi’s authorship and of the SFWA:
“I do not wish to have what passes for John Scalzi’s stature in the science fiction field. If I had any desire to write unoriginal and derivative takes on Heinlein, Dick, Piper, and Star Trek, I would do so.”
- Theodore Beale
Most outgoing officers of organizations will tout their personal accomplishments and successes. “No Balls” Scalzi’s discourse appears to be devoid of delineating any accomplishments. Moreover, it appears that his term in office was nothing more than a self-serving, self-indulgent and self-promotion opportunity. Seriously, what did “No Balls” Scalzi accomplish? His dialog almost seems analogous to SFWA member Robin Wayne Bailey, who stated: “I do it for power and popularity. It’s all about the power. And the popularity.[sic] Really. It used to be about fame, fortune and free sex.” Yes, this is the face of your current SFWA.
If “No Balls” Scalzi accomplished anything at all it was bringing the SFWA into compliance by finally assuring that the Annual Reports and Federal tax returns were completed. The organization, which does have one full-time employee (paid), was non-compliant in this regard for years.
2012 appears to have been a busy year for compliance filings for the SFWA. The Secretary of the Commonwealth, Corporations Division of Massachusetts received six years (Yes, six years.) of Annual Reports from the SFWA’s Treasurer’s (there’s been several elected and none of them appear to have been capable to fulfill the duties that they were elected to execute; e.g. filing a posted-dated “Annual Report” for 2001 in 2012? 11 years late?) Really, what does “annual” mean? If Scalzi and the one full-time employee can’t get the job done . . . who can?
Filed on November 1, 2012 were the “Annual Reports” for 2001, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 on behalf of the SFWA . In addition, our research has also confirmed that the SFWA had not filed federal tax returns (Form 990) for 2009, 2010 or 2011. We recently posted the updated Tax Returns which were “filed” during 2012. Note the date stamps of the IRS; not the date in the signature line. See Science Fiction Writers of America – Tax Returns.
Who should be held accountable for the lack of timely reporting? Its President, John Scalzi. Scalzi, in our opinion, appears to be more interested in self-promotion, selling his books (which he’s doing a great job of) and pompously celebrating his status as president of the SFWA; while doing absolutely nothing . . . NOTHING . . . to enforce the fiduciary responsibilities of the SFWA’s officers as well as his own duties. Scalzi, who has historically been elected on marginal votes, completely ignored his fiduciary responsibilities to the SFWA and its membership.
Let’s revisit some of the voting results which led to putting Scalzi in the position of President of the SFWA. The SFWA claims to have a membership of 1800. During the 2010 elections, only 305 ballots were received (16%). 44 ballots were discarded due to SFWA procedural requirements; leaving 261 qualified ballots (14%). President, John Scalzi received merely 208 votes. Therefore, approximately 11% of the entire membership voted Scalzi into office. Treasurer Amy Casil Sterling was elected with 151 votes (8% of the entire membership). Comparatively, national voter turnout in federal elections has been as high as 56.8% in recent years. What was the cause of this dismal voting behavior? Was it due to disenchantment or indifference?
This is the perfect time for a shake up within the SFWA and Writer Beware™.
Victoria Strauss’s Reactions to Theodore Beale’s Candidacy
“If he did win, he’d be like the dog that caught the car–Holy shit. This wasn’t supposed to happen. What do I do now?
- Victoria Strauss
Pointing her Facebook friends to a blog posting by the always over-reactive Jim Hines, Victoria Strauss has now has launched her own hate and a “Get Out the Vote” Campaign against Theodore Beale. Strauss stated: “My cat would be the better choice. And my cat is dead.” Speaking of “dead cats,” let’s not forget that it was Strauss and Ann “A.C.” Crispin, the “watchdogs” of the SFWA sponsored Writer Beware™, that failed to report the Charles E. Petit scandal visited on the John Steinbeck Estate. Petit was one of their own, as is Beale, and was at one time the attorney for the SFWA . . . prior to being disbarred. The mere fact that Strauss has come out swinging against Beale (and not Petit) appears to indicate that Beale’s candidacy is something more than an idle concern to her . . . it’s more likely a threat to her position with Writer Beware™. It’s interesting to watch Strauss & Company treat their own members as vermin and with the same disrespect for the “trolls” on the Absolute Water Cooler forum. (Also See: American Book Publishing “Investigation” Research Released: No Proof of Victoria Strauss’ Claims.)
Strauss, who rarely makes public appearances, unless they are online, has never indicated what her day job or true occupation actually is. Judging by the copious daily Internet postings it’s likely that she doesn’t have one. Her income has to come from other sources or a sugar daddy; it’s certainly not from book sales (based on her sales rankings). (Note: Interestingly Strauss’ Amazon Rankings are pale compared to Beale’s.) There has to be a hidden agenda to Strauss’ heightened concerns. Would a Beale Presidency threaten the continued existence of Writer Beware™? We could only hope so.
Both Strauss and Ann “A.C.” Crispin have served more than their fair share of time as the administrators of Writer Beware™. Moreover, Crispin is in the middle of a very aggressive battle with cancer and her continued contribution to the site is highly questionable. Therefore, one can reasonably assume that a possible vacancy at Writer Beware™ may be on the horizon.
Regardless of whoever eventually wins the election as President, it is readily apparent that change within the SFWA and Writer Beware™ is both timely and necessary. Considering Strauss’ strong emphasis on how “IMPORTANT” this election is, it’s a very clear indication that her post may be in jeopardy. However, change would bring about more responsible reporting of literary scams and move Writer Beware™ back into a credible and worthwhile resource for the publishing industry; something that it has lacked for a long time.
Considering that both Strauss and Crispin have utilized Writer Beware™ for self-promotion purposes. It’s time for new blood and it’s time for Strauss and Crispin to have the ovaries to step down. John “No-Balls “Scalzi’s words are most appropriate and should be heeded:
“I also believe that SFWA as an organization is not well-served by its leadership role remaining static for too long. It’s time to let someone else take the wheel.” [Emphasis added]
- John Scalzi
Public criticism of the internal processes and workings of the SFWA (and Writer Beware™) are vital to this election process. It is rare for those within the SFWA to be so openly critical. Nevertheless, it should prove to be quite entertaining to monitor. Considering that Scalzi was voted in on only 11% of the members votes, hopefully this will result in a higher voter turnout. Moreover, we pray that the process puts dedicated and responsible officers in place for the organization.
We expect this heated debate to continue and anticipate that others will join the race for President of the SFWA. Whether he wins or not, Theodore Beale may be the right candidate to bring about the necessary change. We fail to find this opportunity “scary.” Whatever.
REFERENCES & ADDITIONAL READING
“Absolute Write (MacAllister Stone) . . . is it ran out of a rental storage unit? Are Authors Paying the Rent via Google Ads? « The Write Agenda™.” The Write Agenda™. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.
“DEFAMATION: Cretella v. Kuzminski: The Case Against Preditors & Editors David L. Kuzminski: The Write Agenda: 9781482354607: Amazon.com: Books.” Amazon.com: Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.
“Letter to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America « The Write Agenda™.” The Write Agenda™. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.
“Office Space.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.
“Passion Blew!: Scamming the John Steinbeck Estate: The Case Against Attorney Charles E. Petit The Former Attorney for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America: The Friends of Nancy Steinbeck: 9781482095159: Amazon.com: Books.” Amazon.com: Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.
“Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers (SFWA) « The Write Agenda™.” The Write Agenda™. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.
“Science Fiction Writers of America – Tax Returns – 2010, 2011 & 2012 « The Write Agenda™.” The Write Agenda™. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.
“Search Results sfwa – Whatever.” Whatever. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.
“Theodore Beale.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.
“Vox Popoli.” Web. 6 Feb. 2013.
“Vox Popoli: Rabbits gonna rabbit.” Vox Popoli. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.
PUBLICATIONS OF THE WRITE AGENDA™
DEFAMATION: Cretella v. Kuzminski: The Case Against Preditors & Editors David L. Kuzminski
Passion Blew!: Scamming the John Steinbeck Estate: The Case Against Attorney Charles E. Petit The Former Attorney for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America