SFWA’s Scalzi Leaving a Pile of Shit for New SFWA President, Steven Gould

In 2013 SFWA Elections, 2013 SFWA Presidential Election, John Scalzi, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers, SFWA, SFWA 2013 Elections, Steve Gould, Steven Gould on June 5, 2013 at 11:09 pm

“If you look closely, you’ll see she did not have editorial control; hence the content was passed on to the Publisher i.e. the President of SFWA, i.e John Scalzi who did not read the articles. I note however that the Bylaws don’t really indicate much about the Bulletin other than it’s a membership benefit and it should list new members.  Which is why I’ve said that they need to stop treating the Bulletin like a fanzine that no one reads. It needs to be taken seriously. The Editor needs to have the ability to accept or reject, and there needs to be some sort of approval mechanism so that the Board can support the editor and be aware of issues before they become public. A modicum of oversight would have prevented the idiocies of the last three bulletins from ever appearing in print.”

“Since his presidency ends at midnight tonight, I’m underwhelmed.  He could have hired a competent editor, he could have invited other members besides Resnick and Malzberg to contribute to the column, he could have done all manner of things to end a problem that is more than a year old. The SF Bulletin is not a fanzine, though it’s been edited like it is. Instead, Resnick and Malzberg have a platform to sneer at their fellow members, especially the women. Never mind the weirdness of a print only glossy magazine that’s mailed to members of an SF professional organization.”

“I started to write Scalzi a letter, but it pretty much boiled down to “God damn it, SFWA! Stop it!” They do a lot of good. A lot of good. But then this kind of crap comes up. They need to stop giving an official platform to sexist bullshit. Those folks can blog about it in their journals if they want. It has no place in an official publication.”

“My membership expired a few months ago and I’ve been planning to renew. Now, I’m not so sure. I’m going to be attending WorldCon in San Antonio in August. I’ll be interested to see how this issue plays out there, in a wider forum. I have met a number of male SF writers who don’t use “lady” as a negative term. It’s more a term of respect than “female” or “woman.” Why not just “author?” I’d imagine it came from a time when there weren’t many women writers in the SF/F field. That’s changed. Especially if you count Urban Fantasy, Steampunk, Dystopian and other sub-genres (and keep in mind that there are any number of purists who don’t think those genres should even qualify for SFWA membership!) Will I renew my membership? I’m frankly torn. I was SOOOO proud (!!) to get the qualifications to become a member. (And yes, it wasn’t a slam dunk to qualify a decade ago with a paranormal romance. Thankfully, it was pubbed by Tor—a longstanding member.) Am I still proud to be a member? Yes, some days, when Victoria is saving another aspiring author with the Writer Beware site. Yes, on days when volunteer task forces are working hard to help authors find money due them, by auditing royalty statements for free. And on days when I realize what amazing people are members. But today isn’t one of those days. Today I’m sad…”

“Whoops. I stopped reading most of the contents of the Bulletins a while ago, which in retrospect was an error. I remember the notorious issue #200 of a few months back. When it arrived I looked at its cover of a busty barely clad heavily made-up chick with every muscle clenched standing over a dead frost giant in snow covered mountains, rolled my eyes, and tossed it in the magazine basket. It struck me at the time as a throwback cover to celebrate a 200th issue, definitely catering to the boys’ club aspects of fsf. I didn’t read the contents and was unaware until recently of Resnick and Malzberg’s jaw-dropping comments on “lady” authors and editors. I pulled that issue out again when issue #202 arrived this week with a big plea for reason from Jim C. Hines in it. Hines is one of my heroes, so I read his column which seemed a clear, reasonable laying out of the necessity for sensible open discussion of sexism and gender. As for the rest of it, I am dismayed.”

“This makes me very sad, as I (naively it seemed) thought that spec fic writers were forward thinking and that the field had become increasingly welcoming to and accepting of female authors in recent years. I am also ineligible for membership, but always assumed that if I ever made the requisite pro sales, I’d join in a heartbeat, both for the benefits of membership and for the chance to associate with some of my favorite writers. The argument that expecting a certain level of maturity and respect in a professional publication’s discourse amounts to censorship is specious at best. First of all, a professional organization has the right to establish guidelines and standards for its own publications and forums and editorials. Second of all, when you use your right to free speech, you donot waive your right to be criticized for what you say. Free speech cuts both ways, and if you say something that makes you sound like you’re the worst kind of drunken 18 year old college freshman, someone else is entitled to use their right to free speech to say so. Criticism is not censorship, nor is someone commenting that people who say things that are bigoted should perhaps consider the effects their words have on others and that the owner of said publication should consider whether or not providing a platform for such views is making the right impression and creating the environment they want to within their organization.”