- Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
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.