Further Thoughts on SFWA (with links)

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice. And I give absolutely no fucks.
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June 3, 2013

So.  Things have been pretty exciting around here. I had no idea that the SFWA Bulletin issue was going to become so big so quickly and there’s still a fantastic discussion happening in my post about reader shame and problematic books, too. My server held up and I’m very glad that my webhosting package allows unlimited bandwidth because I’ve used 100+ GB over the last few days (this is not a challenge).There’s been a lot of great discussion on the SFWA Bulletin issue and I thought I should link to a few of the posts I’ve found most illuminating and helpful:

This is by no means intended to be a definitive list–Jim C. Hines has collected a fantastic list of posts in his round-up of “anonymous” protesters.

I’d also like to say that even though I am not a SFWA member, I do have a dog in this fight: it’s an organization I’ve thought about joining as an affiliate member and SFWA should keep in mind that their official publications talk not only to current members but to future members as well.

And frankly, what I’m seeing from my outsider position isn’t encouraging. I see a “task force” has been formed–the SFWA needs a task force in order to ensure its publications abide by its own sexual harassment policy (although a former SFWA president doesn’t think it actually is harassment: fuck you, Russell Davis)?

If I were a SFWA member, I would be extraordinarily angry that my dues was spent, in part, to pay Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg 8 cents a word to insult me.

I appreciate that SFWA is working to address this issue but putting a cone of silence over it all is disheartening, especially when the only other official statement is an apology couched in corporate-speak from its outgoing president. I don’t know how it was possible to miss the problems in the Resnick/Malzberg column even with a cursory glance. The problems start in the second paragraph and one would think that because of the previous complaints that the publisher would be a tiny bit more conscientious in his duties–or hand those duties off to a trusted subordinate.

And as for it being the tail end of Scalzi’s term–it seems to me that both he and Steven Gould could coordinate a concrete response on this as part of the transition.  A good first step would be  the scrapping of the Resnick/Malzberg column: they’ve clearly shown that they don’t deserve to have such a platform.

SFWA does good work–it’s a damned shame that their official publication doesn’t reflect that and instead is being used as a platform to offend and alienate a large number of their current, past, and future members.

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On another subject: I am putting together a series of guest posts about the romance genre written by people from marginalized groups or communities. If you are interested, please send me an email–you can find my email address here.

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