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Monday, March 23, 2015

Another SFWA resignation

Holly Lisle resigns from Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America:
Ms. Kate Baker
Operations Manager
SFWA

Dear Ms. Baker,

I’m canceling my SFWA membership.

While it was encouraging to see SFWA edging toward acceptance of the indie publishing model, it’s too little and too late, and offset by an appalling reason behind the change of SFWAs incorporating state.

SFWA moved from Massachusetts to California for the purpose of allowing SFWA to claim tax dollars to offer grants. I’m aware that there were other—good—reasons for the organization’s move, but this particular poison pill in the changes made to SFWA requires me to walk away and never look back.
This is interesting, as her letter indicates how the SJWs in the SFWA intend to survive the opening up of the SF/F market and the inability of the publishing gatekeepers to protect their income: as government-funded parasites.

It helps make their continued move towards unpopular academic-style fiction somewhat more comprehensible, as you may recall Neal Stephenson's explanation of the difference between popular fiction that is funded by fans and academic fiction that is funded by bureaucrats.

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33 Comments:

Blogger JartStar March 23, 2015 12:42 PM  

The move left will accelerate as more moderates and what's left of the conservatives bail out. If you ever marvel at how an organization can become liberal "overnight" it's simply because you are witnessing the move at the tail end of a long struggle, and after the tipping point. When an organization moves left there is a line the conservatives will not cross and leave, then it's just the liberals and moderates left, and eventually most of the moderates lose interest as well. Without the opposition the left enacts it's plans as quickly as possible. Whether it's a church denomination or a writer's guild the process is similar.

Anonymous cheddarman March 23, 2015 12:56 PM  

Vox,

You level of Schadenfreude in regards to the SFWA could go off the charts.

They will be fighting each other over an increasingly small pool of money.

The smaller the pool of money becomes, the more vicious the fighting.

Scalzi probably has the whole girl fighting mode of interpersonal combat down pat.

It might help him survive some of the initial culling, but the XX chromosomed members of the sfwa will no doubt devour him.

Perhaps the Toad of Torr will swallow him whole?

Anonymous Salt March 23, 2015 12:59 PM  

The SFWA, a joke that keeps on giving.

Anonymous zen0 March 23, 2015 1:00 PM  

academic fiction that is funded by bureaucrats.

Soviet (socialist) realism

Anonymous Heh March 23, 2015 1:02 PM  

Damien Walters bitterly resents the claim that government funding for fiction results in shitty (or no) fiction.

Anonymous Salt March 23, 2015 1:03 PM  

There's some gammatude, " then you seem to be taking the position that", in the comments as well. Holly nails one. Lovely.

Blogger Joshua Dyal March 23, 2015 1:19 PM  

BOOM! Love her takedown in the comments.

Arguably, Scalzi may have seen the writing on the wall and jumped ship at the right time. Sure, he's (presumably) still IN the organization, but at this point, why should he care about culling of members? His name's not on the letterhead anymore.

Anonymous Nathan March 23, 2015 2:03 PM  

I had dismissed talk of the Right People trying to reduce SFF to only subsisting on government scraps, er, largesse as nothing more than a rhetorical device. I did not realize it was a business plan.

The SWFA is dead. For the sake of the once dangerous genre, may Baen, Castalia House, and Indie prosper.

Anonymous jack March 23, 2015 2:32 PM  

Stephenson will have another out sometime in the next few months. Looking forward to that. At least there are some bright lights within the SF/F world left.

Anonymous Porky March 23, 2015 2:36 PM  

So Baboon Fart Story may make it into hardcover after all.

Anonymous Scintan March 23, 2015 2:37 PM  

Stephenson will have another out sometime in the next few months. Looking forward to that. At least there are some bright lights within the SF/F world left.

The problem is that it's like having to wade through the Augean stables in order to find something worth reading.

Anonymous Stewie March 23, 2015 3:07 PM  

SJWs want to be government-funded parasites??? What the deuce?

Anonymous Daniel March 23, 2015 3:19 PM  

From the Puppetmistress (on an entirely different thread) and SFWA leader, and why she doesn't indie publish three finished books her editor doesn't want:

"Honestly, because I’m lazy. I want to be a writer, not a publisher. I was an art director, so I have the necessary skills and also know exactly how much work it is. I’d rather write something new.

Besides, I trust my editor. If she doesn’t want it, then it’s probably not ready for prime time."

Now, she doesn't speak for the SJWA in this capacity, but my suspicion is that her claim applies to a lot more people left in the org than writers who have no need for it.

Anonymous jack March 23, 2015 3:44 PM  

@ Scintan March 23, 2015 2:37 PM

Know what you mean. At least, there is Castalia, Baen, and, maybe Smashwords?, thoough I have not purchased anything from them. I suppose you have to include Amazon since that is one way to self-publish. I hate their drm which, I'm sure will one day screw me over for ebooks I've paid good money for.

Blogger James Sullivan March 23, 2015 3:53 PM  

The troll she took down used a variant of Vox's Gamma indicator, too. Heh.

Anonymous bw March 23, 2015 4:43 PM  

The State as non-compete clause.

Who can compete with the Government? - John Gotti, in reference to criminality

Anonymous Ostar March 23, 2015 4:55 PM  

Say what you want about Ayn Rand's literary value, but her books often succinctly portray the leftist goals. Atlas Shrugged has the "intelligent" literati pushing for and succeeding in making publishing state-sponsored and controlled.

Blogger JohnR219 March 23, 2015 4:58 PM  

Vox: What do you think of her writing?

OpenID cailcorishev March 23, 2015 5:09 PM  

Ostar, yeah, I've been waiting for an SJW to call for a freeze on publishing numbers to keep popular authors from dominating the market and ensure sales of "important" works. I don't think anyone has put it that blatantly yet, but it's surely only a matter of time.

Anonymous HalibetLector March 23, 2015 5:11 PM  

I wonder what the already established "literary fiction" community will think of the SFWA encroaching on its territory. Especially in California, where they're deeply entrenched at most of the public colleges in SF and LA.

Blogger David-2 March 23, 2015 5:19 PM  

"you may recall Neal Stephenson's explanation of the difference between popular fiction that is funded by fans and academic fiction that is funded by bureaucrats."

I don't recall this and would like to see it but a few Google searches using (what I thought were) likely search terms didn't turn it up. Can anyone help me with a link? Thanks!

Blogger Cee March 23, 2015 5:20 PM  

Excellent to see.

Also I'd highly recommend her Talyn as an introduction to her work, just because the Feegash are terrifyingly familiar.

Anonymous HalibetLector March 23, 2015 5:34 PM  

@David-2: Here: http://slashdot.org/story/04/10/20/1518217/neal-stephenson-responds-with-wit-and-humor. Search for "You can't make a living out of being a writer, so how do you make money?" she tried.

I wish I had read that interview before I went to grad school. Then again, had I not gone and realized something was seriously amiss, I probably wouldn't have wound up here.

Anonymous Nah March 23, 2015 7:06 PM  

"The problem is that it's like having to wade through the Augean stables in order to find something worth reading."

You don't actually have to read all the horrible shit to know it's horrible and you don't want to read it.

Takes me at most a page to know whether or not it is worth reading the rest of the book.

Anonymous Nathan March 23, 2015 7:40 PM  

I am curious to see where the tax money will go to. Oh, sure, I know it'll go to SJW crap, but will it go to the midlister or the boutique writers that did the bare minimum needed for membership?

Blogger LP 999/Eliza March 23, 2015 8:44 PM  

Yep, yep, probably national endow'ers of the arts, grants, free current administration money. Whats not to love and respect about that?

Those of character will continue to leave.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza March 23, 2015 8:48 PM  

By all means, the book$ must be pulled, examined and voila follow da cashola.

Anonymous Scintan March 23, 2015 8:58 PM  

Takes me at most a page to know whether or not it is worth reading the rest of the book.

Even the best writers have slow starts and bad sequences. Quitting after one page doesn't mean you're well able to discern good writing. It just means that you don't give the books much of a chance.

That's fine, if you want that as your approach. I, personnally prefer not to be that quick to quit.

Anonymous Nah March 23, 2015 11:11 PM  

I can't think of a single truly worthwhile book that failed to capture my interest on the first page.

Since there are more good books out there than one could read in a lifetime, nothing is really lost by not investing any time in the slow starters.

Blogger Desiderius March 23, 2015 11:48 PM  

jack,

"Stephenson will have another out sometime in the next few months. Looking forward to that. At least there are some bright lights within the SF/F world left."

Well according to Vox, he's just another pink. Or maybe a blue gamma?

That one surprised me.

Anonymous Jeigh Di March 24, 2015 3:04 AM  

"Takes me at most a page to know whether or not it is worth reading the rest of the book."

"Even the best writers have slow starts and bad sequences. Quitting after one page doesn't mean you're well able to discern good writing. It just means that you don't give the books much of a chance."

Also, you might just give it another try at a later time. I had to start The Virgin in the Ice a couple of times, but now the Brother Cadfael mysteries are among my favorites.

Anonymous rho March 24, 2015 3:32 AM  

Here: http://slashdot.org/story/04/10/20/1518217/neal-stephenson-responds-with-wit-and-humor.

I had forgotten about that interview. VD's remark made me look it up again. It holds up pretty well.

Well according to Vox, he's just another pink. Or maybe a blue gamma?

He's a successful guy living in Seattle with odd hobbies and a keen eye for technology. You could classify his work as pink, and his life as gamma, I suppose. Both are better than their summaries, however.

I remember his Kickstarter to make a sword fighting simulator, and I recall at the time thinking this was a ridiculous idea--just as ridiculous as Hiro found the guy who challenged him in SNOW CRASH while only knowing kendo techniques. This was a very smart guy who thought that he could deliver something he knew to be absurd because other people thought it should exist. It would have been a noble effort, except for the jokey videos made to promote it.

It would behoove gammas to recognize propaganda when they see it.

Blogger TheCitadel March 24, 2015 4:06 PM  

Government funded parasites indeed. I must say Vox, even though this represents a negligible part of the Modern elite's system, its a very useful study as a microcosm. Thanks!

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