SF Wars

There’s a Great War going on currently in the SFWA (the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; don’t ask where the second “F” went; it’s a secret). Although I’ve been a member for years, I wasn’t aware of the controversy until Vox Day started discussing it (in pretty strong terms) over at Vox Popoli, because I don’t follow the SFWA Forum. I just read the members’ Bulletin, which is what sparked the fist fight.

One of the magazine features I’ve enjoyed for the last few years has been “The Resnick-Malzberg Dialogues.” In this series, old pros Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg talk back and forth about the history – and sometimes the future – of the Science Fiction genre from the perspective of two guys who’ve been through the wars and met the people most of us never had the chance to. I’ve never been a fan of either guy, but I’ve learned a lot from picking their minds at one remove. Even when they disagreed with each other, which was fairly often.

Anyway, in a recent issue they dealt with the almost mandatory subject of women in science fiction. In the course of the discussion (which I personally judged a bit obsequious and politically correct), they mentioned that a couple of the women under discussion were quite attractive, and one of them spoke admiringly of how one looked in a bikini. Also they used the word “lady.”

And the heavens parted, and the Furies were unleashed.

Sarah Hoyt, in an excellent blog post today, speaks with more authority than I can:

So how [expletive deleted] did these columns – innocuous and reminiscent – become the latest fire storm in the long-drawn civil war in science fiction. And who is fighting this war, anyway?

Ah, sit around my children, and make long ears. Aunt Sarah will tell all. Well, actually not, but I always wanted to say that. I have guesses and ideas at what is causing this series of conflagrations starting with Orson Scott Card’s non-calling-for-the-death-of-all-gays but opposing their belonging to his church (this my atheist, Budhist and various other flavors of Christian gay friends find a non event, btw.) and continuing to what can only be called the wilding hunt for Malzberg and Resnick.

This hunt has gotten out of control….

I expect I won’t renew my SFWA membership when it next comes up. The organization is growing increasingly irrelevant, especially for self-publishers like me. I’ve kept with it mostly to have credentials of some kind, because credentials are pathetically important to those of us with low self-esteem.

In any case, it looks like SFWA is going ideological, and if I want to belong to an ideological writer’s organization I ought to join a Christian one.

9 thoughts on “SF Wars”

  1. Which reminds me of an old joke (not surprisingly, since almost everything reminds me of an old joke):

    How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?


  2. HAHAHA! I still like that joke. I saw a long list of lightbulb jokes related to production team roles, e.g. How many art directors does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but it needs more pizzazz. Can we make it neon?

    Q: How many senior editors does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A: You were supposed to have changed that lightbulb last week!

    Q. How many copy editors does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A. The last time this question was asked, it involved senior editors. Is the difference intentional? Should one or the other instance be changed? It seems inconsistent.

  3. Here are more:

    Q. How many proofreaders does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A. Proofreaders aren’t supposed to change lightbulbs. They should just query them.

    Q. How many sales directors does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    A. (pause) I get it! This is one of those lightbulb jokes, right?

    Q. How many agents does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A. Only one, but he keeps 15% of the light put out by the bulb over its lifetime.

    Q. How many writers does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A. But why do we have to CHANGE it?

    Q. How many publishers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    A. Three. One to screw it in, two to hold down the author.

    Q: How many Production people does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: One.

    Q: How many Production people does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: Damn it! I can’t believe they’re changing the freakin’ lightbulb AGAIN!!!

    This last pair cracks me up.

  4. Nit – Hoyt, not Holt – picked. Just from the quote itself, I could tell who you meant.

    Nearly every week, I’m reminded of Robert Conquest’s three Laws.

  5. The light bulb jokes reminds me of This Video Article that showed up in my inbox yesterday. Same battle, different setting.

    I’m also reminded of the Church Bookstore that had to price everything in whole dollar amounts because the Church Members couldn’t handle change.

  6. SFWA is going ideological? The whole speculative fiction field seems to have become radically PC for at least a decade. It’s pushing me more and more toward crime fiction.

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