23 June 2013

In Which Your Humble Blogger Apologizes For Abandoning you


*long stretch of silence on Ye Olde Blogge*


There. Now it's a long, uncomfortable silence!

That's better, right?

Right?

. . . where did you guys go?

***

Okay, seriously I have plans to be back here, I just keep getting interrupted by mundane shit like work, and family and writing projects, and my son graduating Pre-K, etc. etc. etc. I have a post in the works and ideas behind those,  just have to get around to them. Something is in the pipe for this week though. Pinkie swears.

See you soon.

12 June 2013

If you haven't read N. K. Jemisin's incredible speech as GoH at Continuum in Australia, don't hesitate. Follow the link and read it now. Not only is it an amazing, wonderful, inspiring speech, it is a pivotal one for the genre, and for those of us who love it and have been exhorting it to step forward for years now.

For those of you too lazy to follow the link--well, fuck you. Do it anyway. This deserves our attention, if only for this:

We tread upon the mythic ground of religions and civilizations that far predate “Western” nations and Christianity; we dream of traveling amid stars that were named by Arab astronomers, using the numbers they devised to help us find our way; we retell the colonization stories that were life and death for the Irish and the English and the Inka and the Inuit; we find drama in the struggles of the marginalized and not-quite-assimilated of every society. Speculative fiction is at its core syncretic; this stuff doesn’t come out of nowhere. And it certainly didn’t spring solely from the imaginations of a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys in the 1950s. - See more at: http://nkjemisin.com/2013/06/continuum-goh-speech/#sthash.RyAJdaOc.dpuf

We tread upon the mythic ground of religions and civilizations that far predate “Western” nations and Christianity; we dream of traveling amid stars that were named by Arab astronomers, using the numbers they devised to help us find our way; we retell the colonization stories that were life and death for the Irish and the English and the Inka and the Inuit; we find drama in the struggles of the marginalized and not-quite-assimilated of every society. Speculative fiction is at its core syncretic; this stuff doesn’t come out of nowhere. And it certainly didn’t spring solely from the imaginations of a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys in the 1950s. - See more at: http://nkjemisin.com/2013/06/continuum-goh-speech/#sthash.RyAJdaOc.dpuf

We tread upon the mythic ground of religions and civilizations that far predate “Western” nations and Christianity; we dream of traveling amid stars that were named by Arab astronomers, using the numbers they devised to help us find our way; we retell the colonization stories that were life and death for the Irish and the English and the Inka and the Inuit; we find drama in the struggles of the marginalized and not-quite-assimilated of every society. Speculative fiction is at its core syncretic; this stuff doesn’t come out of nowhere. And it certainly didn’t spring solely from the imaginations of a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys in the 1950s.

Speaking as a beardy middle-aged middle-class American guy in the 2010s, I am humbled by Nora Jemisin and her insight. Speaking as a writer, I know from reading this that I have a lot to learn about a lot of things, and that if I am true my education will never stop. Speaking as a human person . . . well. All I can say is that Jemisin nails it. Right on the goddamn head. And I am thankful that she has done so, because she has done so at a time when it is very much needed.

Share this. If you care about the genre, share it, boost it, send it, speak it, preach it, live it. And never, ever stop.
We tread upon the mythic ground of religions and civilizations that far predate “Western” nations and Christianity; we dream of traveling amid stars that were named by Arab astronomers, using the numbers they devised to help us find our way; we retell the colonization stories that were life and death for the Irish and the English and the Inka and the Inuit; we find drama in the struggles of the marginalized and not-quite-assimilated of every society. Speculative fiction is at its core syncretic; this stuff doesn’t come out of nowhere. And it certainly didn’t spring solely from the imaginations of a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys in the 1950s. - See more at: http://nkjemisin.com/2013/06/continuum-goh-speech/#sthash.RyAJdaOc.dpufv
We tread upon the mythic ground of religions and civilizations that far predate “Western” nations and Christianity; we dream of traveling amid stars that were named by Arab astronomers, using the numbers they devised to help us find our way; we retell the colonization stories that were life and death for the Irish and the English and the Inka and the Inuit; we find drama in the struggles of the marginalized and not-quite-assimilated of every society. Speculative fiction is at its core syncretic; this stuff doesn’t come out of nowhere. And it certainly didn’t spring solely from the imaginations of a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys in the 1950s. - See more at: http://nkjemisin.com/2013/06/continuum-goh-speech/#sthash.RyAJdaOc.dpuf

01 June 2013

This Is More Like It

Some follow-up to yesterday's SFWA doings, and a response to some valid (and less valid) criticism.

First, the follow-up:

John Scalzi has announced that the SFWA is creating a task force to look into the situation with the Bulletin and to decide how they should go forward. Hopefully this will result in some genuine changes moving foward, and not just the wagging of fingers and an arms-akimbo "Oh, you!" directed at the parties responsible. As an interested outside observer I do not think Malzberg and Resnick should be removed from the Bulletin, as they are experienced industry professionals and deserve to have their voices heard--but they clearly need to be reminded that, when they write in the Bulletin, they are representing SFWA as professionals, and should maybe conduct themselves accordingly (and this is vaguely important, so I'd like to call your attention to it as I plan to address it again in a minute).

This is a positive step, and more in line with what I expected from Scalzi, Gould, et al..

Next, the criticism. Laura Anne Gilman offered this up on her website. A few things caught my eye, notably this:

IMGO, leaving SFWA because we (alas) have asshats in the organization makes me wonder if those people are also going to leave the human race. I think that’s a fair question?


To be perfectly honest? No, it's not. Because it avoids the issue. It's not about the asshats, Laura. It's about professionalism (see. I told you I'd come back to this). Professional people expect professional representation, and they do not feel comfortable continuing to associate with an organization that seems determined to let its quarterly newsletter walk around with its pants around its ankles while wearing a pair of "HOME OF THE WHOPPER" boxer shorts. 

Asshats are asshats, and you are quite right to point out that they are everywhere. We do and should put up with them when we have to. But there is a time that comes when they are doing more harm than good. Malzberg, Resnick, and C. J. Henderson have just landed a very significant series of rhetorical torpedoes in the side of the SFWA in the form of their Bulletin content. And it's not that they're asshats that is causing people to head for the lifeboats. It's that this has been going on for six goddamn months now, people at every level of the industry are looking askance (or starting to) at the SFWA, and the SFWA leadership only recently seems to have noticed that the ship is taking on a little water. That they're responding is commendable. That it took six months for them to do so? Not so much. 

It's not that Resnick, Malzberg and Henderson were asshats. It's that the SFWA didn't seem to give a shit how said asshattery was affecting the organization. 

Finally, Laura finishes with a statement that I couldn't agree with more:

This is particularly grating on a week when some of us have spent our time volunteering to make sure that the SFWA booth at Book Expo America (BEA) runs smoothly, and our members are well-represented to the publishing industry (including librarians, bloggers, and audiobook people, etc). This kerfuffle has totally overshadowed any mention of what we’re doing, and I may be a bit cranky about that.


Holy hell, yes. This. Emphatically, unequivocally THIS. I believe in the SFWA's mission and its goals, and I made sure I went out of my way yesterday to point those things out. I want to do so again now, because the SFWA provides vital advocacy and services and resources for writers, publishers, editors and librarians (and more) at every level of the industry. They by and large do a fantastic job. And that's what makes what happened with the last few issues of the Bulletin even more of a shame. It makes the SFWA look like it doesn't know what it's doing. And on a "street level," at least, that couldn't be further from the truth. Laura has every right to be cranky. I would be too. 

In closing, I wish the SFWA leadership luck in righting the ship. It's clear they need to, and it's clear they are finally taking that seriously. A lot of industry eyes are sure to be watching you now, folks. Don't muck this up.