And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?

SFWA (the Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America) seems hell bent on leather to self destruct. Which is a pity because I had really determined that one of my first major goals would be qualifying to join. If you care, I'm sure you've read about it (Making Light, Whatever, Charlie's Diary, Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Andrew Burt's response) and if not, you can skip to the next post.

Right now, if I would qualify, I would put my chances of joining at 20% or lower. Dave Kletcha pretty much nails it here. That 20% can be explained because one, I've wanted to join for so long and still consider it a goal marker (an early one, BTW), and two, Griefcom is still good. As others have pointed out there are now other resources to replace much of what SFWA was good for. Once there is another resource for Griefcom, SFWA will no longer be relevant.

For the SFWA leadership (and particularly Mr. A. Burt) you continue to tell us how intelligent you all are (particularly Mr. Burt). As the great axiom for writing goes, it's time to show, not tell. If Mr. Burt, as rumors say, does run for President and wins, my probability of joining SFWA will go somewhere south of Zero.


Matt Mitchell said...

I agree completely. The sooner ABurt realizes he's damaging the name of the whole organization with his ridiculous pursuits the better.

Ken McConnell said...


Help educate me a tad - what is griefcom?


Matt Mitchell said...

Ken, it's the Grievance Committee of the SFWA.

Ken McConnell said...

Ok, I thought it was a web site.

Steve Buchheit said...

Thanks, Matt.

Sorry, Ken. I always hear it refered to as Griefcom. It's an excellent way that a combined or union of writers can function. The weight of the membership can be leveraged to convince a publisher that they ought to do right (and follow their contract).

The other way that such a group can work well is to change the business landscape with sample contracts for short stories (that agents typically won't touch - not enough money) and novels (somewhat handled by the agenting process).

EMF (emergency medical fund) is also a great collective issue, but now with The Haven Foundation, there's other avenues. Same with Writer Beware, although I still love those people.

But instead of looking to how a collection of authors (even a loose collection) can help change the marketplace, SFWA is involved in such intensive navel gazing, it's about to dissapear into it.