Goodbye to All That

After twenty-four years of membership, I’ve resigned from SFWA.

Various people are upset with me about this, though in some cases I wonder why. Some people are also surprised by it, which is just ridiculous, as they’re clearly demonstrating that they can’t read plain English.

As the result of an incident several weeks ago, I said that I would not remain a member of SFWA if another person was a member.

I never said a damned thing about wanting anyone else to do anything about this. I never asked the president or the Board of Directors to do anything. I didn’t make any threats. I tried to make clear that this was an absolutely non-negotiable situation, plain and simple — I would not be a member of SFWA if he was.

At the time, he wasn’t, as he hadn’t paid his 2006 dues.

He paid them. SFWA accepted them. I resigned. Utterly straightforward and clear.

Since then, people have accused me of trying to blackmail the Board, or making unreasonable demands. I made no demands; I stated a fact. Several people seem convinced I had demanded his expulsion; I did no such thing. I’ve been told I demanded immediate action; I did not. I just said that if he was a member, I wasn’t.

At the request of friends I held back my resignation until the Board had considered the matter and his dues check was deposited, but there was no way I could in good conscience remain once that money was in the bank. I like to think I’m a man of my word.

Other people tried to talk me out of resigning by pointing out that the Board had created this ferocious new penalty of formal censure and applied it to him. Wasn’t that enough?

Well, no. I never said he should be punished. I don’t care whether he’s punished. I don’t care whether he’s painted green and forced to dance atop the Superdome. I said I could not be a member if he is. Censured or not, he’s a member again, so I’m not.

I don’t appreciate being offered ways to weasel out of my given word; it implies I can be weaseled out of a promise. I don’t want to be appeased. I don’t want compromise. I don’t want anything from SFWA — except out. If SFWA will allow him to be a member, then it is not an organization I am willing to belong to.

If SFWA is run by people who think they can talk me into breaking my word, then SFWA is not an organization I am willing to belong to.

If it seems as if I’m pounding this into the ground, well, yes. I’m tired of being misunderstood, of having my position misstated, of having people offer excuses and compromises, of having people doubt my word.

I’m tired of SFWA.

I’ve put up with a lot from SFWA over the years; all in all, the organization does a great deal of good. The Grievance Committee is invaluable, the Emergency Medical Fund has been a godsend for many people, and the social value is undeniable — writers lead strange lives, and it’s good to have a way to meet other people who understand that lifestyle. So I’ve tolerated sloppiness and foolishness and cowardice, always telling myself that it’s just a few individuals, just the current officers, whatever.

But I’ve had enough. Other writers’ organizations kick out people when necessary, but SFWA, in forty-two years of existence, has never had the gumption to police itself. Members have lied and swindled and cheated, and yet SFWA has never expelled anyone, has never refused membership to anyone who had the necessary credentials. When someone ignores copyright to quote members out of context without permission, taking material from an area that specifically says “permission to quote is expressly denied,” editing it to maximize its controversial nature, and posting it on his blog for the sole purpose of making SFWA look bad, with comments implying that the most extreme bits (made by someone who most of SFWA considers an outcast and troublemaker) represent the mainstream of SFWAn opinion, and is still permitted to rejoin — not remain a member, but rejoin — that’s the final straw.

So goodbye, SFWA. It was fun.

Helix Returns

I am pleased to report that the second issue of Helix is now posted. This issue has stories by Doranna Durgin, Terry Bisson, Melanie Fletcher, Jay Lake, Peg Robinson, Vera Nazarian, and Jennifer Pelland, as well as poetry and features.

Check it out! Send us money!

Forward into the Future!

I am once again attempting to bring order out of chaos, this time by merging as many of my blogs and discussion areas as possible into one. SFF Net has been kind enough to add WordPress capabilities, so I’ve transferred the contents of Strange Days and the old Blogger version of The Mind Control Lasers Lied to Me into my nice new WordPress files as categories.

Theoretically it should be possible to import my LiveJournal files as well, but I haven’t yet made that work, so there’s a link to Luncheon ex Machina, instead. And there’s a link to the Guestbook, and to the Discussion area on my webpage that works as a front end for a newsgroup.

So it’s all right here, and the theory is that when I have something to say, I’ll post it here. The Blogger and LiveJournal blogs are now officially abandoned.

There’s an RSS feed and everything.


More Guestblook

[Originally posted June 20, 2006]

Hi! This is where you can stop in, say hello, comment on my work, whatever. Don’t feel you need to have anything important to say.

[Original comment page is here.]

More About the Guestblook

[Originally posted June 13, 2006]

Huh. SFF Net just fixed the configurator on the old Guestbook, so it’s green again, but I’m still planning to abandon it and settle here unless some amazing anti-spam measures are installed.

In the process of fiddling with the poor old thing I happened to check on the four pages of Archives, and discovered that they’ve gotten far more hits than I’d have expected, ranging from more than 13,000 for the first one down to 3,300 for the fourth one, which has been up for fifteen months. (I haven’t posted a fifth yet.) That’s far more than I’d have expected. In fact, I didn’t expect anyone to ever bother looking at those things. You people continue to surprise me — unless it was all spambots hunting targets…

Anyway, we’re here now. I’m figuring any time a particular “comments” page gets unwieldy, rather than trimming it the way I did on the old Guestbook I’ll just start a new one and shift the links on the Misenchanted Page.

So — even though any posts here are officially “comments,” don’t feel you need to have anything to say beyond “hello.” Just drop by, check in, say whatever you like.


Announcing Helix

[Originally posted June 15, 2006]

I am pleased to report the advent of a new online SF magazine, Helix. I’m managing editor; William Sanders is senior editor. Our first issue has just gone live, and contains first-rate stories by Janis Ian, William Sanders, Richard Bowes, Adam-Troy Castro, Beth Bernobich, Robert M. Brown, and Bud Webster.