Dear SFWA, its officers and members,
I was surprised the other day when an e-mail from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America appeared in my inbox. It was an invitation from you to be a part of the discussion for the upcoming Nebula Conference.
I’ve never been a member of SFWA. I applied once, in 2007, after checking with one of its officers to see if I qualified for membership. After being assured that I did, I sent the application and the fee and was promptly told I did NOT qualify but thanks for your application fee, sucker.
Given this bait and switch (I am disinclined to allow someone to steal from me twice), as well as some troubling actions by officers and members of the SFWA since then, I’ve not bothered to apply again. I doubt this decision will change in the near future. And this is a sad realization.
For the SFWA does do good things for its writers, most notably the role the SFWA played in assisting Alan Dean Foster and others in getting the royalties they were due from Disney for their movie novelizations. Writers Beware is an incredible aid to new writers against some of the more disreputable actors in the publishing world.
But the feather of good that SFWA is capable of fails to tip the balance of the scales when weighed against the mountain of evil it and many of its members have done over the years. Either through vile intent or blatant incompetence they’ve allowed the SFWA to fall into the grips of a subversive horde.
The tent of Science Fiction and Fantasy should be as wide as this very Universe we inhabit itself. There should be room for all to gather within – from the biggest-named creators in every aspect of SF/F down to the newest creators beginning their own journey into this marvelous world.
Yet, this subversive darkness seeks to – in the “Holy Name of Inclusion” – forcefully exclude those whose only crime is the color of their skin, their gender, their creed, their religious and their political views. Amazingly, they do not see the hypocrisy of engaging in discrimination to achieve “equality.” Perhaps this is so because “equality” is not what they truly seek. Their true aim is payback for crimes – real and imagined – committed long ago, by and to, people long dead and far beyond caring.
The subversive infestation has forgotten the wisdom of Mimbari Ambassador Delenn, who noted that that two sides were locked into an endless cycle of hatred and revenge and that nothing good would come from such a cycle. This subversive group will never stop attacking some new target the instant the previous one has been destroyed, because there is nothing left to them but hatred.
This has infected the SFWA and many of its members. You lot have attacked those that pioneered the field of science fiction and fantasy. You seek to erase John W. Campbell, vilify H.P. Lovecraft and pervert the works of J.R.R. Tolkien simply for the sin of being white men. The justification? That they somehow held back women writers of their time.
History chuckles in Mary Shelley, laughs in Francis Stevens (a woman author who inspired Lovecraft), and guffaws in Thea von Harbou, C.L. Moore, Judith Merril, Leigh Brackett, Miriam Allen deFord, Katherine MacLean, Andre Norton, and Zenna Henderson.
Not content with erasing the early history of SF/F, the subversive horde attacks “unacceptable” writers of today, for the crime of being white males and for other equally nonsensical reasons. I myself saw this firsthand when the horde came for me. My crime?
I gave away free copies of my book to attendees of a Con in Wisconsin after the entire literary track cancelled at the last minute. A handful of other authors also joined in on the effort to help those in attendance for the literary track to not feel like they’d wasted their time and money. For this, we have been relentlessly hounded by the horde ever since.
The primary mission of the SFWA should be the protection, and the promotion, of every creator who sits down and puts word to paper, who gets behind a camera or does anything related to science fiction and fantasy for that matter.
Yet, not only has the SFWA been silent during this long night of the subversive horde many of its officers have encouraged the assaults. They have cheered on the attempts to cancel and drive out the “unworthy.” Perhaps the penultimate moment came when Moira Greyland Peat released her non-fiction book, The Last Closet.
It tells the story of life in the house of Walter Breen and novelist Marion Zimmer Bradley, two people who not only groomed and sexually abused children – as proven in court – they also sexually abused their own children. It was a hard book to read. But it was a story that needed to be told for many reasons. When the book was published, many in the SFWA attacked Moira, despite the abundance of evidence that supported every accusation in the book. Instead of supporting a woman who’d suffered terrible abuse, they made her a victim all over again.
The SFWA President at the time was asked, by myself and others, to step in and stop the attacks. She declined. She even refused to denounce her personal hero for the terrible crimes Bradley had committed. The reasoning given was that it was “pointless to rehash the past.” The irony of that statement, given how John W. Campbell was treated, never ceases to amaze.
The SFWA should have led the charge to defend Moira. It was the organization’s duty. It failed both its duty and Moira miserably. It is a black mark of shame that the SFWA will forever bear.
In the film, Judgment at Nuremberg the presiding Judge Dan Haywood, in his opinion finding the four German judges guilty, stated that the four men had forgotten “…the value of a single human being.” Like those four men had forgotten that value and shipped millions off to their deaths, the SFWA and many of its members have forgotten the value of a single human being, a single human writer/creator, and they have aided in banishing many writers from the field and have attempted to destroy others’ lives in many other ways.
Sadder still, by embracing the subversive the SFWA has helped turn a generation away from the joys of reading. Or has the SFWA failed to notice the decline in reading among the younger people today? Another unforgivable crime to add to the docket.
Who wants to read stories that tell them everything is bad, that they are evil because of the color of their skin or their gender? Readers want to be inspired by stories about heroes of all shapes and sizes. Sadly, they are not finding them.
How will we inspire the scientists of tomorrow – as Verne, Heinlein, Burroughs, Wells and so many others inspired the scientists of the past and today with their stories – if we fail to give them the type of stories they need to inspire them strive, to seek and to find?
What the SFWA as an organization has done these last 12 years is worthy of scorn and much more. But I have heard Delenn’s words and I will not take part in continuing the cycle.
Because the SFWA are a lost people, you are a lost organization, marching blindly at breakneck speed toward your own self-immolation!
Your membership is dwindling. Your award is mocked as a “What not to read list” by many readers. However, despite all you have countenanced, you are not to be hated.
You are to be pitied.
The SFWA stands today at a crossroads.
It can continue along the path to destruction, it hasn’t that much further to go before it reaches that end. While the horde was focused on the gates they were trying to keep the rest of us from passing through, we breached the walls all around those gates and left them far behind. The horde cannot harm us, or stop us from creating the kind of Superversive science fiction and fantasy readers are craving. We need do nothing to the horde or the SFWA but step aside and let both of you charge onward to your inevitable oblivion.
Or, the SFWA can turn away from that path, reject the subversive horde and save itself. Open wide the entrance to the SF/F tent and let in every science fiction writer/creator who has any kind of paid publishing credit to their name – regardless of the amount of money they have made, or if they are traditionally published or Indie. If they have but even one single sale of their work, they are a professional sci-fi/fantasy creator and have a place among the SFWA. Stand up for each and every one of them, regardless of race, gender, color, religion, political affiliation or creed. Value every single one of them. Reject the identity politics, the “wokeness” and all the evil the subversive horde embraces.
Do this and I, and many others, will join you and help make the SFWA all that Damon Knight had hoped it would become when he founded it some six decades ago.
As an organization, and as its members, the choice is yours.
As to the invitation I must reply thusly: I decline.