My Last Post On SFWA — Pinky Swear

I’ve belonged to blogs in the past which got in fights and arguments with other blogs/organizations, and even when I agreed 100% it got boring really quick.  So, I’d fully intended to have that blog on Sunday be the very last one I did on the SFWA mess.

But then I got selected for worst person in the world (though I have to share the trophy with Kate) and I thought, what the heck, I’ll do a final post on my dealings with SFWA from beginning to end, and because I’m tired of being misunderstood, I’ll do it in a way they’ll understand: with video clips.

So, in the mid eighties, I started writing sf/f, and I was so green that I sent submissions to the subscriptions address.  I still managed to get a personal rejection asking for more, but I thought “I need help.”  And then I heard about SFWA and how it was supposed to help SF/F writers and as a newby, just arrived in the country, with no contacts or connections, I was like:

Yay, they’ll help me. That’s their whole purpose. Yay.

So I sent them a letter and they were like: You need to have three pro short story sales or one pro novel sale.

Not so fast, bitch

So, I was like “But how do I get that if I don’t know how and no one has invented google, yet?”  So, I was all like:

But I don’t give up easily, so I was like:

So I was like:

And I finally started selling.  And I sold two shorts, and then, before the third I sold the novel, and I was like “Now I qualify for SFWA!”

And then I had some problems with my agent, and some problems with my publisher, and SFWA was like “oh, no. If we get involved in all that type of thing, the publishers will stop publishing us.  There’s nothing we can do.  And besides your agent and your publisher are members.”  And I was like:

But then they said “You know we have helped these people” — mostly against small publishers — “and we run Editors and Preditors and we have a medical emergency fund” and I was like:

At least I was now a member of SFWA, so I could prove I was a real pro, and anyway, I got this nifty directory of all pro writers, so… I was like:

Yeah, I’m a member of SFWA, baby!

And then I heard from some friends that SFWA, in the past had caused issues for them in their work for hire, by going to the publisher and saying they were representing these people, who had no problems whatsoever with the contracts but who now were told they’d never work for the publisher again and I was like:

But I thought maybe they’d misunderstood something, and SFWA hadn’t done anything bad to me, so I continued paying my dues and I was like:

And then, you know, things happened, and I decided to go at least partly indie, and then SFWA got into this big fight with Amazon over some small-press distributor who was all butthurt.  And they were like removing the amazon buttons from member pages and being all like “All of SFWA hates Amazon.”  And I was looking at my check from Amazon and looking at SFWA and going like:

So money was a bit tight and when the renewal came around I didn’t renew.  If they weren’t going to help me, at least they shouldn’t mess up what was making money for me, right?

And then I heard they were kicking out a life member because they didn’t like stuff he’d said on a kind of might be sort of SFWA twitter feed (oh, there were other excuses, but if that were true, they’d have to get rid of half their membership, including the person he got in a fight with.)  And I was like:

But hey, I wasn’t a member and it was nothing to do with me, right?  I mean, they said they were a private organization, which is fine, but then shouldn’t they add an S to their name?  SSFFWA  Some Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America?  Just for truth in advertising.  But still I was like:

And then in my writing daze, I hear they’re going after Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg for being sexist, and I’m like:

So I ask what the EFFE is going on, and I’m told that they were making lewd comments about women in bikini, and I know Resnick and know of Malzberg and I’m like:

Not unless both men suffered massive strokes?

So I asked around and got the article sent to me and I was like:

because the column was completely unexciting.  They were talking about female editors and writers they’d known, you know, back when they were still rare in the field.  Part of what seemed to have kicked this off was that they called them “Lady editors” and “Lady writers” which was apparently sexist and I was like:

I mean, it’s an article about female editors and writers.  Perhaps they’d prefer they’d used Bitch and Hoes Editors and Writers?  Or People of Vaginitude Writers and Editors.

Oh, yeah, and the bikini thing?  They said one of the editors was exceptionally beautiful and that all the male writers’ wives were jealous when they saw her.  And that was totally sexist because women never talk/have thoughts like that, no way.

And they were also all upset about like women in chain mail on the cover, and the bulletin needed to be carefully censured, so that no bit of sexism got through.

And I was like:

And they were like:

And I was like:

And then my friend Kate blogged about the latest insanity, where established writers of every political stripe signed a petition to have SFWA give up this charming notion of censoring speech on their bulletin and a coalition of young no name or very little name writers (and a few decent writers who are my friends and who must be smoking something) were like:

So, Kate made fun of them, because she does, and an idiot troll came out under the impression it was all about the blogger named Vox Day and I was like:

But then he said that people like Vox needed to be cut off from society and I was like:

Because it was like:

So I was like:

And then some idiots saw it and they were like:

and also:

Because apparently telling them they can’t kill/kick out of human society everyone who hurts their feelings is like:

And also, I dissed Marxism which is totally a saintly ideology, because I’m a dumb American and all this makes me the world’s worst person (though I have to share the trophy with Kate Paulk, which is too bad, because I had a place all ready for it on my shelf.)

But life is full of these little disappointments, so then I thought…  Hey… I’m the world’s worst person.  By pointing out that Stalinist purges are Stalinist and never end, because someone is always going to be offended, I’ve made myself the worst person ever.  Worse than Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, Lenin, and the blood soaked mass murderers and tyrants who have oppressed humanity.  I’m worse than Caligula!

I’m worse than Caligula! And I didn’t even get to put on shows at the Circus.

And I realized this is incredibly freeing, right?  I mean, if you’re already worse than Caligula, how much worse can you get?

I even caused a commenter on that blog to want to change her gender!

So now I’m like:


And I have SFWA to thank for it.

This, my friends, is a full account of my interaction with Mr. Whickam the organization formerly known as SFWA.  And now I’ll stay out of it, no matter what the temptation:

Because they’re like this:

And I need to be like this:


UPDATE: WELCOME Instapundit Readers and thank you to Glenn Reynolds for the link. (I should have done this two days ago, but I was in a fever daze.  Anyway, ya’ll know me. Pull up a chair.  Stay a while.

407 thoughts on “My Last Post On SFWA — Pinky Swear

      1. Gollies I hope you didn’t get what I managed to get New Year’s Eve at Niven’s party. Whatever my flu shots inoculated me for when I got them last fall, it wasn’t this! Today out at Kaiser as I was getting the stitches removed from my face (yeah, another problem on top of the flu) I was told there’s a new flu shot I ought to get. I suspect it’s for what I have, and they could make a vaccine out of my serum, but what the hell.

        In any event I enjoyed your unique account. You can’t possibly be the worst person in the world because you aren’t a Rabid Weasel, and we have it on good SFWA officer authority that we Weasels are the worst people in the world and we should STFU and resign. So there. You can’t be the worst person in the world.
        Thanks for being around and I’m glad you weren’t too sick to do that.

        Jerry Pournelle

        1. Dear Jerry,

          I’m running over 100 fever, not coughing, but my chest seems compromised — to tomorrow morning it’s fun and games at the doctor.
          I too had the flu shot — so… who knows. But half of the SF community is down with this or something like it, so it’s probably the same.
          As for Rabid Weasels, I would count it as an honor to be allowed to serve coffee at such gatherings.
          Hugs. Miss you.

          1. I hate to tell you this, but I got the stuff New Year Eve and am just getting over it. Roberta got it two weeks later than me — probably from me — but got over it perhaps a week before I did. The symptoms are not very severe, but debilitating, energy draining, and persistent. And I don’t know of any treatments other than the usual.

            I will say that this stuff should NOT be used as an excuse not to get exercise. Fortunately a long time correspondent heart specialist talked me into getting the heck out on the hill, not lying around all day, and that helped a great deal. Only when you’re in the recovery phase, of course, and if your doctor says different I’m not about to argue, but my experience was that after 3 weeks of the stuff, a long hard hike is a good way to help crawly out of it. Worked for me, anyway. Niven and Barnes and Evie King came over and we went to the top of the hill, and it helped a lot. But I was over the flu, just had a long lingering malaise from it.

            Rambling. Time to get to work. Take care of yourself, I’m looking forward to your next book.


            1. Ah, So that’s the recovery time. *makes note on calendar, counts weeks, sighs*

              Given the company, Rabid Weasel must be one of the highest honors to be earned in SFWA! With enough agitation, do you think we could get the same honors for Our Hostess?

              Thanks for all the books, sir, and I look forward to many more.

        2. Dr. Pournelle *genuflects* you likely do not remember me, although you were kind enough to do an interview for a story I did for PJMedia about three years ago or so, which led directly to my friendship with our estimable host.

          I’d just like to take this opportunity to tell you that, far from being the worst person in the world, you and your partner Mr. Niven, have been to me, what Heinlein was to Sarah.

          So if anyone should STFU it’s the idiot slime molds that make up the hierarchy of SFWA, not one of the titans of SF.

        3. Dear Jerry Pournelle,

          Please excuse the excitement but … SQUEEEEEE!!!! Oh, mercy! SQUEEEEEE!!!!

          All right. Sorry ::straightens clothing:: I’m very sorry you’ve got the crud (and stitches! ? !) But you are NOT a Rabid Weasel. Keep on doing exactly what you’ve been doing (minus cough and stitches!). Please!

          1. He had his hands full and bent down to pick up the box that formerly held chocolates, at dusk, lost his balance and crashed.

            (I’ve been haunting Chaos Manor since I found out it existed– if not for him, I probably would’ve given up hope that there were folks “like me” to find.)

        4. Jerry Pournelle: You’re my favorite writer. It’s so cool that I get to be in the same comment stream as Kim du Toit and Eric Scheie.

        5. Jerry, I would have said “Rabid Honey-Badgers”…..
          “Ewwwww! What is thaaaat,,,,” in the voice from that video.

    1. I WAS drinking something… until most ended up on my screen. Sarah, quit that stuff.

      As for this SFWA bunch: they sound like a bunch of self-absorbed tools, and you’re well rid of them.

      Good thing I don’t write SF, or else I’d be forced to laugh at them too. More than I am already, thanks to this post.

        1. You’re not the first person to make that request. Unfortunately he’s always said “no”, and I’ve come to the sad conclusion that he really means it. Fortunately he still comments here (and possibly elsewhere, though I haven’t seen his name on other blogs I follow), so I take what I can get.

          I figure the more people ask him to go back to blogging, the more he’ll avoid the venues where he gets harassed about it, and that’s an outcome I’d rather not see:-/.


    Take that SFWA. And shove it up your…


  2. Someone on Twitter just tweeted to Larry Correia: “love the SFWA panty bunchers. they are in a snit again and naming names of evil people. Yours and Sarah Hoyts for 2”

    Keep up the good work! 🙂

  3. (Insert animated gif of Orson Wells clapping)

    Well done. Also, it shows the SFWA is a great illustration of O’Sullivan’s Law: any institution not explicitly conservative will become liberal with the passage of time.

    1. Aren’t you glad that you got to know more about it, though?

      I’ve now read so many posts about it, I’m mentally pronoucing it “Suff-wah.”

              1. “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi? Ce soir?”

                Uh, that’s the actual French line in the lyric, not a proposition, you can put the gun down.

                  1. Just stand between me and the lovely young lady with the big ears and the shotgun, Bob. Uh, a little more to the left …

    2. What is this SFWA you speak of?

      …. No, no, I’m not really that clueless. But since I don’t write science fiction, I can take the stance that they’re not just beneath contempt, they’re beneath notice.

      On further reflection, I can drop the “Because I don’t write science fiction,” can’t I?

        1. To be fair, some members of SFWA don’t write science-fiction much either.

          Some don’t? Most don’t! Seriously, I have a hard drive full of their Forum and you would not believe the drivel the shoggoths who got in on the basis of three short stories and have published nothing since constantly spray all over the place. They volunteer for absolutely everything, agitate for the cause du jour, and post incessantly about how mean the world is to fat, unattractive women.

    1. I don’t know. I think it might be Cora Buhlert’s post on the subject the person was referring to, the one that’s trackbacked to your post. I know what you mean, though. A list like that would be a rare honor.

      1. I haven’t checked out Cora Behlert’s post yet simply because there are other things that need to be higher priority. Maybe I’ll get to it this evening.

          1. “Thinks” appears to be a correct judgment.” I followed the links to her post, and comments, then went to her website, and scanned a couple of reviews of her “books” on Amazon. Lots and lots of short 99. stories gussied up to look like novels, apparently a lot of violence, sexual and otherwise. Looks like self-pubbed, basically – self-pubbed with a lot of pretentions. If she is the up and coming SWFA new generation, the org is toast. She’s trying to write pulp but with literary affectations. Kind of like being a virgin w*ore, I guess.

          2. They take seem to take Chlamydia seriously over there.

            I don’t think I need to explain further.

            I was somewhat tempted to link Housemate giving Chlamydia his much desired for critique via Youtube, and it’s quite funny but somewhat off-topic. He actually did try to give it a serious critique, but eventually COMMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. There, there… you need to order a few well sharpened poles and get them installed on your yard, I’m sure finding suitable decorations for them will cheer you right up.

    2. *snort* I’ve been referred to as “genocidal maniac” by illiterate idiots. I do think that kinda trumps “worst person in the world” 😛

      Yes I take great pride in the fact I laugh in the face of whoever calls me that.

  4. Madam, I feel like I ought to have to pay for the pleasure of reading this. I’ve read many an excellent animated gif recap, but yours is the best.

  5. (just a moment, I have to go to Audible and Amazon, buy a couple of your books, and hit a couple of PayPal buttons… OK, I’m back)

    Great post!

    I wouldn’t worry too much about retribution from the sfwa’s – their ’74 Pinto Wagon’s probably have dead batteries:

    BTW, only 4 books on Audible?!?!?

    But seriously, I really do think that lefties and rationals have entirely different thought processes and in a lot of cases there is just no communication possible.

  6. I wish I had a complete rundown of this soap opera. My husband’s out to sea and thus out of the loop, and this would help him understand why I say the things about SFWA I say.

    1. Me too. I need a Short Version for Clueless People who only know some of it. With quotations of the material people got all offended by, since evidently no one can describe them with any accuracy. Anyone got a link like that?

  7. This post is so full of win; it cannot contain its awesomeness.

    I wonder if your next book instead of Darkship: will be titled DarkSWFA Smack-down

    Very nicely done.

  8. Bad bad Portagee.
    If I wasn’t afraid of Dan and terrified of the boys I would make you an offer of matrimony.
    Now sit down, shut up, and pound that keyboard. Your audience awaits with baited breath. And yes I am fully aware that the conventional spelling is bated, but this seemed more appropriate.

  9. Yaknow, all the negative karma surrounding the SFWA makes me wonder if they’re trying to chase writers and readers away from the science fiction genre. Your typical disaffected onlooker will not wonder who hit john and just say, a pox on both your houses.

  10. By the way, all you need to know is that uber-fantasist and Girlyman Supreme John Scalzi was recently the president of the SFWA. Res ipso loquitur.

    1. oh, and apparently they’re accusing me and Larry of being White Supremacists on Twitter. Those of you who know my ancestry… can I get a snort?
      And seriously — has ANYTHING I’ve ever written been “white supremacist”?

      1. Bwahahah, and a loud nasal guffaw as well.
        Though, you are whiter than that white hispanic everyone fixated on a while back. As for supremacist, I’d have to say you’re better than most, assuredly much better than the vast horde of unpublished wankers casting those aspersions at you.
        As for Larry C. spent a good bit of time with him at the last Huntsville con. He is a certified gun nut ™. He and I got told in no uncertain terms to quit discussing AR builds and get back to science fiction writing during a round robin chat session. As for white, yes he is, supremacist, well he’s bigger and meaner looking than me, and he’s LDS, can’t forget that. Must be some sort of subversive, him and his six wives and thirteen kids.
        As for that last bit, I grew up in Mormon country, have several cousins of that faith, so I get to poke fun. Anonymous wankers on the interweb do so at their own peril. Larry would simply ignore them, but some like me might not.

      2. Do none of them realize that accusations like that just turn them into parodies? I think I would like to throw copies of “Unlearning Liberty” at them; it’s very on-topic.

        1. Oh, and I meant to answer — we DO have at least some posts on SFWA follies, like the thing with Amazon — the problem is I never remember to tag the d*mn things so it’s impossible to find. I might have to get #2 son to do it this summer.

      3. Well, you did write novels that didn’t criticize white privilege, so I guess that’s the same thing in their minds.

      4. If I can be a white supremacist with my Hispanic and Asian background, you can too, my dear. Who knew that white supremacy was so inclusive?

          1. Although Portugal has a Mediterranean climate, it is not technically on the Mediterranean. Really, you are more likely to be a Biscayan supremacist. Not that I’m trying to be judgmental on geography, but it is a shorter sail to Ireland than, say, Barcelona.

              1. Eh. The things I don’t know are legion. I do know there is a branch of my family from Ireland with the last name of Carlos. Migrated with the wild geese, probably.

        1. My compliments on eschewing Wankers — although, in fairness, that would require any of them had anything wankable.

  11. Masterful job. I see now that SFWA is not worth joining.
    As far as the cover, there’s a problem with that?

  12. Snort!!! Well, you obviously had fun putting this together. Still, it’s interesting that the Marxists are so adamant about enforcing doctrinaire purity in SF. It makes me wonder if there are other writer associations (e.g, mystery) and if they’re now under the thumb of the commissars as well.

    It’s also weirdly relevant in another sense because I just finished a read of Orson Scott Card’s “Empire”, which is a readable yarn about the next potential civil war in America. As fiction it was readable — as all Card’s stuff is — as a military thriller it was passable (stick with the far future Orson), as prophecy it was, in places, eerily prescient in some areas, but a bit off in others. I attribute this to Card’s determination to be “fair” to both sides of the ideological divide.

    That book was published in 2006 — before Obama, before Obamacare and Occupy Wall Street, before Trayvon Martin, before the IRS scandals, common core, the illegal recess appointments, and — of course — before “I have a phone and a pen”.

    I mention all those because as this contretemps with SFWA makes clear, Leftist infiltration and subjection of even the most minor organizations and associations appears to be proceeding apace, with actually very little pushback from the rank and file.

    Back then, Card worried about the crazies on both sides, envisioned a new “Fort Sumter”. Well, we haven’t had one yet. But it does seem like pressure is building to the point where something, somewhere, is going to have to give.

    1. Mystery is not going up in flames. They do have an association, but ALL mystery writers as a class are older and more leftist than the SF ones. One reason I now only read indie mystery (and I love mystery) is that I swear every villain is the left’s idea of a conservative. All you have to remember is they never had a Jim Baen.
      I have no idea what’s up with RWA. It was heading left, when indie hit, but it was still the most conservative field. Nora Roberts went on a lefty rant at a banquet, and half the room left. The thing is that romance writers are also going indie in record numbers. And RWA was also anti-Amazon, so I stopped renewing.
      When my life calms down a little, I’ll look into them.

      1. I stopped paying attention to a lot of Mystery years ago…outside of some of your stuff. I ignore it even harder now after my last and final application of a 2×4 by email to your editor and the CEO of the publishing house whose name I won’t profane this page with. I go out of my way to ignore stuff released by that house out of sheer spite.

    2. Card’s Empire and its sequels are kinda odd. IIRC, there’s a game tie-in involved, and Card was hired to come up with a plausible Civil War II scenario. With mecha.

  13. Wow, great post, and as said by others, a lot of work. It has always been my dream to join the above mentioned Fascist organization. Now I’m wondering why. Not that I can get in, despite having sold more books on Amazon as an indie than many of their membership have sold in total, and having made a lot more money than three short stories would pay. But all of my writing heroes belonged to that organization, one of my past mentors was a past president. Now, reading your post, threads of Michael Z’s on Facebook, and talking to other traditional published authors, all of whom refer to SFWA as a mess, it seems that I’m missing out on nothing.

      1. Have they? I hadn’t noticed. I brought up three years ago OUTIES, a novel by my daughter Dr. Jennifer Pournelle, which is (with permission of course) a sequel to Mote in God’s Eye and The Gripping Hand. She was offered a decent advance by a major publisher but they wanted essentially all the electronic rights; and since she has been the publications manager of a large California University she had a good idea of what that was worth; so she did an eBook edition and published it herself, and needless to say, she’s made considerably more money on that than she was offered by the publisher. Now I understand that this isn’t a typical case because a Mote sequel by a Dr. Pournelle is likely to have a few sales, but it was illustrative —
        I pointed out that if SFWA could induce her to join the organization she knew one hell of a lot about electronic publishing, and she had written a no crap SF novel that outsold the entire circulation of some of the SF magazines and made more money off it than some members have made cumulatively since they started, and SFWA discussed it a while, and the discussion died away, and nothing happened. But they do have a policy about handicapped and sexual harassment at conventions, only last time I looked those conventions were put on by fans and not SFWA. Not that I’m against sane handicap and harassment policies, but surely the publishing revolution is a matter of some importance and recruiting members who sell a lot of science fiction and have a lot of other skills was sort of what SFWA was founded for. But when I said that it turns out I’m callous about the disabled and a sexist.

        But I will have to say that all this crap comes from a group of members who seem to have time to get into high dudgeon and enjoy doing that, doubtless thinking they are sacrificing their writing careers but they are involved in good causes and they are Doing Good if not all that Well. And of course at bottom their cause is good, even if the tactics aren’t optimum.

        Poor old SFWA has its share of fuggheads, but it still does a few things right. Most of them don’t get much publicity like the Emergency Medical Fund, and it’s getting a bit harder to be a mentor without being accused of sexual harassment or something, and it ain’t the outfit Damon started, but it’s not entirely composed of dopey kids or of grey haired old has beens. And we have had our triumphs, and we’re still around to talk about copyright law revisions. Just harder to do now.

        Enough. The latest flap is hilarious (note that I signed the petition, on the grounds that anything that can get the agreement of Harlan Ellison, Bob Silvergerg, Greg Benford, Carolyn Cherryh, Dave Brin, and others of that ilk must have something of importance about it) but this too shall pass away, and we’ll still be around. Or so I hope. But I do seem to be lonesome among the past presidents who still pay much attention…

        And it’s dinner time. Best regards to all.

        Jerry Pournelle

        1. Oh good, I’ve been wondering who the hell Jennifer Pournelle is since I bought the book.

          Anyway, Jerry, I think you’re basically right. The old joke about academic politics is that the fights are so bitter because they’re so essentially meaningless, and I think this is one of those. If SFWA makes itself annoying enough, it’ll cease to exist. Otherwise, this will probably blow over once enough people have established life long feuds — which are, after all, part of fannish tradition.

  14. Holy cow.

    I do write science fiction and fantasy, and hope to do more and for more money in the future. Now, whether I would ever join SFWA given their demonstrated hostility for unrepentant people of my gender / skin color / religion / political viewpoint (I think of myself as pretty conservative, but the questionnaires put me almost dead center – maybe a little right, and a little libertarian, but…) is a bit of an open question.

    Is the organization worth preserving? Can O’Sullivan’s law be reversed?

    1. For all the effort it would take to turn SFWA around, it might be easier to build a whole new organization and let the original crash and burn.

  15. I so needed this giant laugh today. Much anxiety, a loved one had a liver transplant, it rejected, new liver almost in now, and I come upon this to turn my mind to pleasant things. Now laughing out loud, giggling and wishing I knew you in person, but this will do. You made my day. Thanks, I needed that.

    1. You’re welcome. I’m glad it was there when you needed it. I am under the crud, feeling like heck, and I don’t like being called a nazi or white supremacist by crazy people.
      Since when is being anti-stalinist being white supremacist?

      1. Wellllll, it’s hard to get much of a tan in Siberia, so I suppose most of the people Stalin murdered were white…

        Hey, it makes as much sense as the “logic” they’re using!

      2. The mindset of most leftists.
        The only viable forms of governance are totalitarianism of one sort or the other. Therefore, if you aren’t a fully certified and politically reliable neo-marxist, demonstrably schooled up and complaint in Politically Correctism, you must be a fascist/nazi.

        Nothing else exists.

  16. After the last Swiffer post I was wondering what was higher than an orbital cluestrike. This is it. Congratulations, this is the first recorded relativistic cluestrike.

    Make the rubble bounce.

                  1. Both? The pork because I’ve heard BBQ pork ribs are lovely. Also, I don’t believe I’ve ever had pulled pork before, and am curious to sample it, given the descriptions I’ve read about it.

                    There’s nothing like a thick meltingly juicy medium rare steak to illustrate indulgence in my mind.

                    1. Hmmmm. Goat may be more of a stretch (used to know a good place for very fine cabrito, but ya hadta get there early or Know Someone), but quail, venison, and rather scrumptious smoked sausage all came to mind when I saw the mention yestiddy. Chain-restaurants or local?

                      Or we could go sideways and introduce them to Babe’s Chicken Restaurant. The Garland store had the Giant-Chicken hunting truck back out front last time I checked.

                      (Not to beg a question: Murphy. I live in Murphy, Texas, just over a hundred yards east of the Richardson city limits. The philistines have turned part of the pasture at the end of the next street south into a tot-lot park…)

                1. It’s true that the food is one big reason (of many) that I enjoy living in Texas so much. Used to be whenever someone asked me why I was here, I would say “Two words. ‘Breakfast Tacos.'”

  17. Well done. I am particularly amused when I read the blogs attacking you as being a typical American. Well, you are. A person who came to the USA from another country for a better life and the opportunity to excel! Which you have done.

  18. I’m not a member now and I’ve never contemplated being a member. I wouldn’t know how to work and play well with the others in the sandbox.

  19. So. Awesome.

    Btw, my kids are rabid SuJu fans so I have to hide your post from them unless you want them demanding you write SuJu in Space books.

    Anyway, to recap, so SFWA is basically a union. Onward to Detroit!

  20. Sarah, nice piece of work. I busted a gut reading/watching. I think there’s only one clip you might have missed: the Monty Python crew screaming “MORE WITCHES!” There’s a rather select group of folks in “the biz” who seem to be taking great delight in waving pitchforks and torches whilst building pyres.

  21. “I agreed 100% it got boring really quick. So, I’d fully intended to have that blog on Sunday be the very last one I did on the SFWA mess.”

    Y’know those fans who, in the Q&A after a panel, no matter who the speaker or topic is, always ask “tell us a Harlan Ellison story”? I have this evil temptation to post a comment here each month asking “tell us a SFWA story! tell us a SFWA story! tell us a SFWA story!”

  22. A writer friend linked me this post. I know little about the conflict or what’s going on, since I don’t follow anything about SFWA, but this clearly took a lot of work, was very engaging storytelling if nothing else. Ms. Hoyt, I will be purchasing one of your books in short order.

  23. What a great blog! Came here via Larry C.’s, and I must say I’m sorry I have not read anything by you **yet** — just bought Darkship Thieves ten seconds ago and can’t wait to read it. Even though the woman on the cover isn’t wearing chain mail.

    1. I just picked up DT on Kindle myself. Looking forward to it. Have to finish the Final Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, first. Just started the last book.

  24. “…Stalinist purges are Stalinist and never end, because someone is always going to be offended…”

    At this point in things, is anyone else reminded of that “Seinfeld” episode where Kramer joined the AIDS walk didn’t want to wear the ribbon?

  25. You win eleventy for the Miami Vice image. Sonny watching his Daytona get blown to smithereens was an amazing scene.

  26. Sarah,

    Far be it for me to tell you how to lead your life but … maybe you should form an anti-SFWA organization, explicitly dedicated to a) sticking your thumb in the SFWA’s eye and b) expounding on those Classical Liberal virtues which are so critical to free expression.

    It seems like there are enough like-minded individuals hanging in the rafters here to be able to get something minimalist going in short order. And who knows–maybe there are enough people sick and tired of the SFWA’s antics that you can steal some filthy lucre from them and get a right proper organization going.

    Just musing out loud … on your blog … at your expense…. 😉

    Awesome post, by the way. You are now added to my pantheon of Righteous Writers Who Write Righteously.

    I have no idea what that means. I literally just made it up.

  27. Appropriate response to a childish group of people, but, as Count Rugen so wisely counseled, “Get some rest. If you haven’t got your health, then you haven’t got anything.” (And we all need you in top form so we can buy your NEXT book. . . :-))

  28. So, I signed the petition. So far no one has come thundering after me to resign, probably because I don’t Facebook, I don’t Tweet (I have work to do) and they can’t figure out how to send an actual email. But I did have a discussion with a cowriter about this via email, and I’ll just cut and paste the relevant bits. Complete with (OMG! Mercedes Lackey drops F-bombs!) swearing.

    This is one of those cases of idiocy masquerading as feminism. The short form here seems to be that this particular clique of nouveau feministas has their panties in a wad because they “aren’t being taken seriously enough by the old boy’s club.” My response frankly is “why in god’s name do you WANT to be?” All right girly, you want to be taken seriously, pull on your big girl pants and go act like one of the boys at cons. Join the poker games. Pull up a stool at the bar. That’s all it takes.

    But why the FUCK are you agitating about THIS when there are a hundred million other things you SHOULD be agitating about? Like the fact that football stars can still rape girls and leave them freezing to death in the snow in their backyards and get away with it, the fact that several states are about to OUTLAW CONTRACEPTION along with abortion, and like the fact that the Tea Party is taking Handmaid’s Tale as a manual of government operation. Why are you wasting your time? Why are you wasting MY time?

    I read Mike Resnick’s article. It was an old fart reminiscing about the days he had hair. Seriously. You know me, I am a LONG TIME feminist, and frankly, if anyone found anything in it to be repressed by, then they have way too fucking much time on their hands. I also saw the cover, obviously, which like about 50% of the Bulletin covers is an homage to the old pulp covers. And if anyone found anything in it to be repressed by, then they have way WAY too fucking much time on their hands. (As for the stupid rant about how the chick was in a bikini in the snow for no apparant reason, YOU’RE A FUCKING SF/F WRITER! THINK OF SOMETHING! Hell you might get a fucking SALE out of it if you think of something clever enough!)

    As for the proposal, oh please.

    First, what the FUCK do they think they are getting at, pulling the job of the editor out of the editor’s hands and turning the editor into a glorified proofreader? Nobody is getting paid to edit the Bulletin, but at least it’s something you can put on your CV. Who they HELL do they think they can get to be the editor when the editor isn’t even allowed to do the job?

    Evidently these fucking morons have no idea that with this idiot committee idea of theirs (really? And just who do they think they can get to serve on THAT? Most of us have work to do, thanks, we don’t have time to nitpick articles looking for everything special snowflake might possibly be OFFENDED by) they are proposing to forge a weapon that can all too easily be turned against them. I took one look at that, and saw it immediately. Because all it takes is a moment of inattention, and BAM, the committee is full of Teabagger Taliban, and if they think they had it bad before….

    Not to mention that it’s hard enough to get the Bulletin out on time NOW. What’s it going to be like when the Oh! So Special! Committee starts taking articles apart?

    For Godssake, I am one of the people who groused about how I would never, ever, win a Neb or a Hugo because I’m a Female Fantasy Writer, and FFWs will never win any award, ever.

    Then in a moment of whiskey flavored honesty, Mike Resnick once told me exactly what you need to do to get the WFAs, Nebs and Hugos.


    Want a Neb? Go to all the right conventions and buy the people who vote drinks and go to their poker parties. Want a Hugo? Go to all the right conventions and take the BNFs out for drinks. It’s that simple. Pull on your big girl pants, go to the bar and the BNF poker parties, buy people drinks, laugh at their jokes. In five years you’ll have an award. It’s just that simple.

    Then Russ told me the cold facts. Nebs and Hugos don’t sell books. They are the reward that the Literary give each other, but not one more book was ever sold because it had “Nebula Award Winner” on the cover.

    For fuck’s sake. NONE OF THIS MATTERS. This is fundamentally the crusade of some people with WAY too much fucking time on their hands and NO sense of priorities. (like the one gal who is agitating in the blogosphere about this…were you aware her ENTIRE claim to fame is that she writes blogs and fanfic?)

    Oh yeah. And the special snowflake who’s Tweeting all over the place about this?

    Girly, you would be the first in line for a Slut Walk. You’d be all over anyone who suggested that what you wear might possibly incite bad behavior. And you’re the one screaming about a Bulletin cover with a half-naked chick on it? Why don’t you claim that “empowering” instead?

    You have your fucking Neb, ok? The big boys taek you oh! so serious! Here, I’ll put it to you in kewl kid language. Nebula! Can haz! Is your problem that you aren’t making big bucks? Guess what, snookums, it has absolutely zero to do with female repression. Jo Rowling has more money than God. Stephanie Meyers, god help us, is better known than the President. Suzanne Collins could probably buy herself a Congressman. Your problem is that you spend way too much time on shit and not enough time on trying to figure out what people want to buy. Turn off Twitter. Stop updating your fucking Facebook and blog hourly. Study the market. Act like a fucking pro, and maybe people will treat you like one.

    Aha. And Daily Kos supplies me with EXACTLY the right quote for what is going on here.

    One of the first signs that a movement is in trouble is when everything starts to turn into a purity contest.

    Want to view with alarm? Try the real world. This? Quit wasting my fucking time. Want to prove how much “better” you are than the Old Boyz? OUTSELL THEM. And put your “life lessons for young girls” IN THERE. Quit getting offended over old farts who have no idea WHY you are offended.

    1. They don’t want to join the big boy’s club when it’s easier for them to whine and drag the big boys down to their level. Why take the hard route? The pie might be smaller, but they’ll have an “equal” share, and a bigger voice because of the guilt trips they’ve built into the system.

    2. Like the fact that football stars can still rape girls and leave them freezing to death in the snow in their backyards and get away with it, the fact that several states are about to OUTLAW CONTRACEPTION along with abortion, and like the fact that the Tea Party is taking Handmaid’s Tale as a manual of government operation.

      Does Mrs. Lackey know that someone is using her name and address to spread psychotic ravings?

      1. I can totally agree with the paying attention to what “famous” people get away with thing, but unless she’s insane enough to think that abortion is contraception, and incredibly wedded to Worse Than Murder Inc’s propaganda, nobody is even considering outlawing contraception in any form.

          1. NEITHER of those has anything to do with banning the Pill– just keeping people from being forced to provide it against their will.

            Amazing how the two keep being conflated.

          2. I’m sorry, but I actually went and read your first link. Here’s what they said:
            OKLAHOMA CITY – Employers in Oklahoma could opt not to include contraceptives and abortions in employee insurance plans under a measure that secured passage by a Senate committee Thursday.

            Note for people who do not want to destroy their personal credibility: “keep the government from forcing someone to buy you something” does NOT equal “banning”.

            You want The Pill? Go buy it yourself, at WalMart, for about $9 / month.

            You said a lot of really intelligent things in your post. It’s sad that you had to damage it by posting such silly things, too.

      2. I’ll cut her a little slack for being totally wrong about things like the Tea Party if only because she’s holding equal opprobrium for the excesses of the left (which presumably she belongs to, based on the former).

        1. As best I can tell, Ms Lackey is very left, but not dumb enough to go yelling insane things on blogs.

          I could be wrong, it has happened before, but coupled with her having both twitter and facebook accounts…. (post is in moderation)

          1. When the replies get out of moderation there are links to these things called “news stories.” in them My home state of Oklahoma has TWICE this year had legislation up to ban hormonal contraception. TWICE.

            1. You mean the abortion pill? Your ignorance of basic biology, or wish to believe labels over science, has no bearing on if a chemical abortion is “birth control.”

              The Pill is hormonal contraception. Inducing abortion via hormones is not.

              1. No, I do not mean the abortion pill. I know what the abortion pill is. I have a BSci in Biology from Purdue University. There has been in the last year legislation up in Oklahoma up in Oklahoma TWICE to ban hormonal contraception, The Pill, and shots, and vaginal rings and the patch. I have links in the comments awaiting moderation to two news stories about this. There were several stories in the Tulsa World also, but they are no longer available.

                1. I have a BSci in Biology from Purdue University.

                  Would be more reassuring if I didn’t regularly have arguments with BS in reproductive medical fields about if unborn humans were of the same species as adult humans.

                  Practicing doctors, I’ll add.

                  Seems that Sir Pratchett’s sally about a doctor being able to bury his mistakes, but a vet (mother is a BS in animal husbandry) having to deal with the loss of a valuable animal had a root in truth.

            2. uh, the “ban” was not for contraceptives, but for the morning after pill. This hormone, if taken immediately (e.g. in the ER to rape victims) is contraceptive, but if taken two or three days later, causes the lining of the uterus to thin and abort the implanted embryo. Catholics and those of us who became doctors before 1980 call that abortion, not contraception.
              As for contraception: The real sci fi story here in Asia is forced abortion to stop excess births. Heinlein (“Time for the Stars”) and OSCard (“Ender”) have that as background to some of their stories, but feminists seem to think it’s a non issue…

            3. Given our hostess is probably sleeping the sleep of the Very Sick right now, I don’t think we’re going to see ’em coming out of moderation for a while. I did go looking, and I found HB 2226, which restrict minors from getting access to Plan B without a prescription, and HB 1970, which prevented doctors from using the two most common drugs for chemically-induced abortions. (Both of which have been struck down by the courts.)

              I couldn’t find anything banning hormonal contraceptives or other contraceptives for purposes of preventing contraception in the first place instead of ending it (although there are plenty of sites that make the logic leap of “Restrict Plan B to minors = Plan B is contraception = OMG The Evil Right Wing want to ban all contraception for women everywhere!”

              1.) not finding is not the same as saying it’s not there, and 2.) There is plenty of crazy to go around on all sides of the political spectrum. Fortunately, outside of SFWA, there are usually adults in the room and our political system is designed to make it harder for any splinter group, left or right, statist or anarchist, to ram their ideas home over everyone else.

          2. Here, I’ll prove who I am.

            Book not even out yet. Secret World Chronicles Four, “Collision”

            ” “… and it turns out it wasn’t her doing the licking. It was the badger.”

            John roared with laughter. “You ain’t right, Red, I’m gonna say that right ‘ere an’ now.”

            “No argument here,” Red shrugged.

            The shouts came from around the bar.

            “Or here!”

            “You got that right, Murdoch!”

            “Djinni’s about as right as a football bat.”

            “Alright, alright!” Red barked. “Yeah, I see you, Doggy Man! At least my friends don’t drink out of the toilet bowl!”

            There was a pause.

            “Except for Bear,” everyone said in unison.”

            1. Oh man, I love Red Djinni. One of my favorite characters, ever. And his piece in Secret Chronicles Book 1 was beyond epic. (If anyone else gets the chance to find them, I HIGHLY recommend the audio version read by Veronica Giguere. Who back when I was regularly podcasting, was invoked regularly as her voice had the ability to melt butter and the kneecaps of mortal men.)

              And while we don’t agree on much politically, seems like, I have really enjoyed Secret World Chronicles. Thank you for your writing.

          3. “not dumb enough to go yelling insane things on blogs.”

            Oh, I don’t know…. “Teabagger Taliban”? Seriously?!?!?

            And the lovely line about football stars that can still rape girls? When she gets behind the idea that the Krystal Magnums and Mike Nifongs who wreck people’s lives with false accusations and false prosecutions get sentenced to the crime they faked, I’ll take her seriously there too. Until then, Double Seriously?!?!?

    3. If you are who you claim you are, I’d like to point out that your incredible ignorance about your social media outlets– to the point of denying their existence– is met by the crazy world view notions common in your books that only the POV characters are real people.
      Yet I will keep reading because the stores are enjoyable, and I sense the same desire for truth that Terry Pratchett displays, even though it’s occasionally malformed by malformed misconceptions.

      Not like it’s hard, I’m a conservative; I deal with people whose world view is diametrically opposed to observable reality every day.

      1. *Shrug* I have someone I trust handling social media. I don’t like it, and I don’t personally use it. Now if you will excuse me, I have work to do and this is interfering with it.

        1. …right. You can’t be bothered to even recognize you have social media, you can’t be bothered to offer evidence in anything but “there are links pending,” but you’re so busy– at nearly midnight Cali time– that you must trot off to do your work rather than rationally defend whatever it is you were trying to defend.

          1. IIRC, she’s in Oklahoma. (Larry used to be in a ‘zine I ran). But that proves nothing, as creative types have the luxury of living on whatever clock they choose.

            1. I vaguely remembered that– but Cali is the most permissive time possible.

              Also, sometimes. 🙂 That someone my dad’s age would be up, yelling about how they had no twitter or facebook, then yelling that they DID have twitter and facebook but someone else did it, at nearly midnight, without a bunch of heifer cows to go check on, with an account that doesn’t even have a specified icon….yeah, not so credible.

              1. Well, specifying an Icon on wordpress can be tricky, I didn’t have one for ages, then I signed up for Gravitar, and was kinda forced to go through wordpress, and the logons can still be a little funky because of slightly different usernames.

        2. Sigh. I don’t see why you should be expected to use ‘social media’ and to spend lots of time online proving that you are who you are.
          But here’s one tiny thought, for what it’s worth: One technique might be to send a private email to Sarah, a fellow professional who can be trusted to keep that email address private but announce to her readers that the email exchange satisfied her.
          I’m not saying you *should* do that, just wondering if that might be a simple method that avoids the annoyance of setting up social media accounts.

      1. Regarding “Teabagger Taliban”:

        Well, when it comes down to it, is there really any difference between the TEA Partiers being concerned about excessive government spending likely requiring tax hikes down the road, and throwing acid in girls’ faces because they want to go to school?

      2. As someone said, the Tea Party is scary because they want to take over the government and leave everybody alone.
        Drastically shrinking the scope of the federal government, and the power of government to micro-manage our lives, seems like a very good idea. And it is the opposite of the Taliban, Mussolini’s fascists, and communists everywhere.

    4. The Human Race has a long-standing solution to the problem of being confronted by an opponent fearsome enough to turn knees to water: we pick somebody nonthreatening to attack. Also known as KtDS (Kick the Dog Syndrome) this response often compels those facing insurmountable challenges to direct their anger, frustration and rage at surmountable (or even nonexistent) foes (aka: people who didn’t know the little chickens were even alive.)

      Selling stories to editors is hard. Selling to readers (especially readers smart enough to know what they like and who have long ago conceded the battle to impress people sitting around the neighborhood swimming pool by reading “cool” books) is even harder.

      Organizing outrage parties and driving off toothless, tired, tame bears* instead of facing the real bears … that is easy.

      *Adjectives used in description of bears are metaphorical only and are not in any way meant to disparage any actual SF Writers, toothy or otherwise, most of whom are too well-mannered to give the little tw[insertvowell]ts the response they deserve, especially as SFWA is for any established SF writer as meaningful and important as one of those little stickers the Red Cross gives you when you donate blood.

  29. Hello Sarah!

    You & I have worked together a bunch of times, and it’s been a blast every time.

    Misty (Mercedes) and I had a big laugh over this. WTG GRRRL.

    I think I am a Lifetime SFWA member. I would honestly have to go look it up. I’m not sure. That’s how relevant SFWA has been to my career. Misty & I produce around 5 finished novels a year, plus short stories and essays. We’ve got 20 million books in print. I think our only professional interaction with SFWA ever was when someone drew a Griefcom stab at us once maybe ten years ago.

    Mercedes Lackey and I will never get a Nebula or a Hugo or a whatever (we do our best, but despite a few shining moments, we aren’t all that good), yet we have a shelf of fantasy/SF stuff in every bookstore in the USA. We’re not involved in SFWA except for hearing “they did what? Huh.” because we’re too busy working. We don’t have the time (or health—hey we’re old) to try and court any awards either. We just concentrate on making people happy.

    I think indignity usually means someone has a lot of spare time. We’re old and tired and work every day. We’re probably evil, and we probably suck, too.


    There’s a sort of SFWA analog called ASFA, the Association of Science Fiction Artists.

    Never joined ASFA. Wasn’t sure how it’d be relevant to me. I’ve never been in any of those shiny “Best Of Fantasy Art” books or Spectrum or gotten awards. I’ve been working fulltime pro (meaning paying mortgages & buying sports cars kind of pro) as a fantasy/SF artist for 30+ years, and been Guest/GoH at 258 conventions around the world. I’ve worked on the LotR/Hobbit films, painted countless covers, done art for video & tabletop games, and so on. I’ve never had an art agent or promoter.

    I’m still working.

    I’m still mentoring, still teaching master classes, and I have a rep as a “Superpro” whom everyone adores. I have a GREAT time. I just don’t have a lot of spare time for hate, jealousy or scandal because I’m busy bringing joy, beauty and laughter instead.

    1. “Mercedes Lackey and I will never get a Nebula or a Hugo or a whatever (we do our best, but despite a few shining moments, we aren’t all that good), yet we have a shelf of fantasy/SF stuff in every bookstore in the USA.”

      Don’t be silly, Larry. Those awards are more silly popularity contests among a clique than recognition of being “that good”. Filling the shelf is the measure.

      1. I dig awards, and sometimes, giving an award makes someone really happy. It’s a way that fans & others can show appreciation for things that matter to them. Also, there are a ton of people who are impressed by awards, and an award gives a publisher something neet-o to blurb on a cover.

        Also, awards are shiny! I really like shiny things.

        Misty & I write adventure fiction, and we do the best we can, with the skills we have, in the time we’ve got. I’m with you, books-on-the-shelf is the measure. That’s really well put. An award is something people can hear about, but a paperback is something they can buy and hold.

        What I mean by observing that we aren’t all that good is that there are so many writers who are awe-inspiringly GREAT. Holy balls, when I get the chance to read friends’ and colleagues’ work, I am just blown away by how good it is. Ideas are not just being mined, they’re mined and turned into filigree of breathtaking beauty.

        Misty & I make satisfying meals. We’re more like, “Hey, this is good mac and cheese… oh wow, is that BACON in it too?” in our best moments, but this field’s got some goddamn GOURMET CHEFS at work. 🙂

        Does this mean that we’re stopping at some level of “Meh, that’s good enough” and shrugging? Not any more than the 4-year-old working with crayons to make your birthday card “gives up” when it isn’t a Renoir. We’re trying our best, and we’re NOT giving up.

        I said in an interview once, “I like a Valdemar book to feel like “coming home,”” A comfort. There’s always a need for mac & cheese.

        Sometimes, there’s bacon too.

        1. For what it’s worth, from what I’ve read of Mercedes Lackey’s work, she gives the impression she has fun writing them. As a reader, it’s nice to feel that an author is enjoying his or her work and that it’s conveyed through the words to the reader. Besides that, I enjoy the stories, and my first intro to Lackey’s work (as well as urban fantasy) was the Diane Tregarde books. When I ran across them again years later, it was like running into old friends.

          1. Cute Lil’ Drow! Awww! Ky00test Evuuul!

            Thanks. 🙂 And you’re right, we really DO love what we do. What a wonder it is, to be able to create and give. We try and share that joy with the readers, and maybe inspire if we’re lucky. We’ve mentored dozens of fans who have become fellow pros, and in a couple of cases, they SERIOUSLY exceeded us in every way!

            I just completed four new cover paintings for the Di Tregarde ebook reissues. Wait, four? Yep, there is a new Di Tregarde book, Magic 101.

            BTW just to clarify, when I use “we” talking about our stuff it isn’t a “Royal We.” “Mercedes Lackey” is as much a brand name as anything, and an ML project may be worked on by as many as four people. I’ve co-written around 40 books without taking a cover credit. It would dilute the branding. Often, I’m Revising Editor, to make sure the “voice” is consistent and the readers never know there were multiple cowriters.

            Or maybe I’m not.

            An element of it all is playing with the perception of identity. It makes for unending laughs, at no one’s expense. Only a handful of people “actually know” Mercedes Lackey. 🙂 A couple of the cowriters are complete inventions, with fabricated backstories, websites and so on. Misty herself is very shy, and autistic. Every public appearance and signing or panel is a triumph for her. She is really happiest when she’s writing, with adorable fluffy cockatoos on her shoulders.

            1. *comes back from bookshelf, holding Trio of Sorcery hardback* Is it the same as Arcanum 101? Because I pounced on it in pre-order when I saw it had a Tregarde story in it.

              Also I loved, loved LOVED Ghost in The Machine, especially as a former Lineage II player. Also, for all the times I muttered ‘my computer is freaking possessed.’

              (Aside to anyone who’d know: The book I have has unevenly cut pages. It gives the book a nice tactile charm as far as I’m concerned and I like it but I am curious why it’s only something I see on some books and not all of them.)

              …with adorable fluffy cockatoos on her shoulders.
              Sadly, my camera phone is crap, but I took a photo some days ago of a group of sulfur-cresteds, a type of black cockatoos, and some type of White Galahs (in order) feeding en route to taking the kiddilet to school. I thought I would share it.

              Cute Lil’ Drow! Awww! Ky00test Evuuul!

              You just made my day.

              1. Always glad to please! Man, I remember when the Drow got whipped out on us in the early days of RPGs. Of course, EVERYthing was scary back then. Sighting a 3-hit-point orc could make a whole adventuring party crouch for fear of being seen. Hearing a wolf nearby would give shivers. These days, no one notices encounters like that: “Oh, orc, OK, kill it, gimme my 12 xp.” But back then, the Drow, hoboy.

                It was a different time.

                Misty puts in around 10 hours of writing a day. She also holds a competition motorsports license, she’s a CERT rescue worker, raptor rehabber and aviculturist, expert beadweaver, a crack shot with most pistols, a “shotgun surgeon,” and ain’t so bad at computer games either. Not bad for a near-disabled 63-year-old. Her pagecount’s triple or more than most writers per day, so when I say that there’s “more to Mercedes Lackey” than Misty, it sure isn’t saying other people do work IN PLACE of her. Hell, we’re usually trying to keep up. We sometimes work with 3 other writers in a Secret World Chronicle document SIMULTANEOUSLY and can’t keep up with her.

                We have 7 peacocks, 4 African Greys, many cockatoos, eclectus, and so on. ‘Tis a happy house, but not a quiet one.

                We LOVE the picture, thank you!

                Life always seems better with cockatoos.

                1. The mental image I’ve been holding in my head now, and probably will end up doodling, is my online avatar (who is well, a brown-skinned Drow, because Record of Lodoss War!) in chibi size dual wielding peppermint sticks. I might make a Lineage II version of it for fun.

                  One of the first campaigns I played was Castle of Greyhawk, which is probably something I should hunt down one day so when my kids are old enough, I’ll introduce them to pen and paper RPG. I’m not sure what happened but the dice were evil, and we were constantly rolling ones. Against a … gelatinous disk. I don’t think it was a cube.

                  Glad you loved the picture! Happy writing and pleasant days!

                    1. I ended up enjoying reading sourcebooks more than I could play; I have a set of The Encyclopedia Magica on my shelves, which I bought myself for my sixteenth birthday. The game I played the most was Legend of the Five Rings – The pre- Seven Thunders campaigns and the ones where they bring down Fu Leng., though mostly with in-house stories being woven. Because there were only three people (our Game Master and two players) we played two characters each, or three. Yay schizophrenia! But it was great fun.

                      I knew someone who had the first ed books, and his daughter said they had a campaign that’d been going on since before she was born, but everyone I’ve met since say he was a jerk of a DM because he successfully drove me away from playing the game for most of ever. Spending a whole half of a day creating a character that he killed off in less than fifteen minutes of gaming time? Not my idea of a good time.

                    2. My hubby has been a gamer for over 30 years. So in addition to BBQ we show you gaming. We might even have stuff to give away. Gaming doesn’t have to be in person. Hubby has a group he games with over Skype.

                    3. Thanks for the offer! ❤ Sadly, I have the bad luck to live on the side of the world of 'it's day here during the American evening' and that usually means being at work/doing household stuff/RL time. One of my friends in the Eastern Seaboard's (US) been wanting to do the Skype game thing with us, but schedules and timezones just don't work out.

                      Someday! (We can dream, yes?)

                    4. Actually, it’s a combination of Skype and a program called Fantasy Grounds that creates a “virtual tabletop” that allows sharing rules, rolling dice with modifiers, displaying maps with tokens for each character, etc. It works really well, and people have created mods for various editions of AD&D, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, etc.

                    5. Haven’t had a good group in a long time; unfortunately when we all started working, being able to schedule the time just didn’t work when we worked throughout different time shifts and days. Then I moved away, and it’s mostly online gaming over here. Nothing wrong with MMOs, but there’s something different about having a bunch of friends over.

                    6. I am catapulted back to the days when we players wove similar tales of adventure, honor, heroism and plain old pugnaciousness that after only a few sentences, I promised myself the sections of story as a treat, a reward, to be nibbled at and savored when I take breaks from work. So far? I’ve read the first, accompanied by pizza and washed down by a mug of tea.

                      It is a fun read, written in the sort of prose that captured my delighted imagination when I was a college student, scribings which inspired me to dream of writing my own stories later on. For a few moments, I felt like that again. Thank you so much for sharing it!

                    7. I have one of those kicking around.

                      I’m most annoyed that somewhere along the line, my original AD&D Monster Manual with all the things they didn’t have the rights to in it disappeared.

    2. Hey Larry, remember me? I’m the guy who used to publish Gallery (Which I finally closed down after 51 issues about ten years ago). It’s been a long time.

      1. I wondered if that was you! Hey, cool. We should do more stuff sometime. Say hey to everyone for me. 🙂

            1. Heh, the web has pretty much wiped out print ‘zines. It’s hard to compete with the sheer volume, full color, and free. Plus I quit that particular fandom in 2001 (Although I kept Gallery going for a few years after that). It’s been a long strange road since then, Including a very long stretch of unemployment and a radical career change.

              But if you go check my deviantArt page (one of the many links in the link next to my avatar) you can see what I’ve been up to: A lot of writing. (Actually, since a lot of it is marked mature, you would probably need a free DeviantArt account to read it), and I’m slowly working on getting more into eBooks.

  30. Sarah, I came here from Instapundit, and while your name is familiar, this is the first time I ever visited your blog. But after reading your excellent post and seeing both Jerry Pournelle and Kim du Toit as commentators, I’ll be a steady reader from now on.

      1. Problem? that’s the intention. The Prophet Marx declared that once things are really terrible, we will magically produce Utopia.

        Just like the worst times in history for Christians come before the Second Coming. Except that the Christians can explain why things get better after.

  31. Sarah, I know about you via Glenn Reynolds. You? You don’t know me from Adam.

    Which is why it will probably not make one whit of difference in your world if I say: That was glorious, you are spectacular AND fighting against tiny, easily offended tyrants is always, always the right thing to do.

    But I’ll say it anyway. Because I’m still giggling and damned impressed at the same time.

  32. The vaguely amusing thought occurs that if an inoffensively libertarian blogger like Sarah A. Hoyt is supposedly worse than Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot rolled together into a stinking wad of totalitarianism, then *I* must be the Lord of Light himself. I roar with demonic laughter from my lava-overrun demesnes! ^___^

  33. Now work like this needs to be gathered up and turned into a parody novel! Change the names, keep the attitude and what you have here is pure gold. A bit of refining is all it needs… marvelous.

  34. SO, Sarah, the good news is this is HUGE win for you.

    The world class HILARIOUS news is, SSFFWA will never figure that out.

  35. Just bought “Ill Met by Moonlight”. Thank Instapundit for sending me over here. (It isn’t on iBooks. Just an FYI.)

    Also, does that make me an Enemy of The People now? Just checking.

    (If it helps the prosecution, I just discovered MHI as well, and bought and read Grimnoir and MHI in the last couple of months. You know, if there needed to be any more evidence submitted. And “Throne of Bones”. Eh. Been a bad month for crimes against humanity.)

    1. You might like Darkship Thieves better. Ill Met is just my first effort 😉
      I know it’s not on ibooks. That’s part of my indie efforts (having reverted) and well… I don’t have a mac. Yet. And you can’t submit it from anything but the approved mac.

      1. My apologies. Since I bought it from the Baen site, I assumed it was an oversight on their part.

        I’ll be sure to check out Darkship (and sequels) when a spot opens up in my reading schedule. (A problem not unique to myself, I’m given to understand.) Thanks for the tip.

  36. Wait a minute. It’s ok to tell writers what they can say so long as it’s writers telling them. Right?

    1. Censorship, like bigotry, is a trait of the Evil Bad Right-Wing Guys. Therefore, they can’t, by definition, censor.

  37. Sigh. I see this powerplay stuff way too much these days. Organizations have to be very careful not to allow the professional whiners(PW) not take over. I see it so much it ought to be a proverb. Humans want to so much tell others what to do and how to do it. The PW’s work their way into leadership.
    Gender war is always a loser. Being attacked because you (choose the daily ‘I’m offended” meme always selected by the PW for power and control).
    My profession has been taken over by these, so my participation at the state and national level is almost nil.
    I read and respect both you and Kate. Regardless of what you look like in chain mail. As I tell the PWs, “Please be quiet. Do your job well and professionally, and no one gives a rat’s a** about your grievance – and most likely no one will cause you grief”.
    Ban me from your little club? Good. and have a great day. (followed by the appropriate verbal noun related to appropriate body parts).
    Share the trophy? nah – I see a cage match as a fund raiser!

  38. Some people sometimes wonder why I choose to not join organizations. The answer is related to Sarah’s post: the personal politics. You can’t get any group of more than two people organized until the politics start to become a time and effort consuming factor. The more people, the greater the issues which develop.

  39. Ms. (or Mrs., I never know anymore how to do this trying to be polite but ending up unwittingly offending someone..) Hoyt,

    After reading your delightfully tongue-in-cheek description of the SFWA PC insanity, I am going to have to buy one or more of your novels. Which would you recommend as a starting point for me and my 6 children (all over the age of 14 and avid readers)?

    Have a great day

    1. Darkship Thieves. And Draw One in The Dark, first edition, is free for kindle.

      And Ms. or Mrs. is okay. I’m married and I took my husband’s name because kids should have an idea they belong to the “clan” and all this name dividing is for the birds.

  40. Ms. Hoyt, I’m confused. Upon information and belief, you are, despite your surname, Portugese. That means you are sort of Hispanic, which automatically puts you in the Official Victim ™ category. Shouldn’t that expiate or forgive all your sins?

    1. My surname is my married name. My maiden name is da Silva Marques de Almeida. It should, shouldn’t it? BUT you see, they didn’t google, and spent their time going on about how I hate Marxism because I’m “a dumb suburban American.” 😛 Now they’re too stupid to walk it back.

      1. And, if you’ve been watching the post in the Diner, they are apparently now acknowledging your origins in Portugal, and saying that you should know better than to call Obama a Communist, because you saw it in person.

        1. Also, for the record — I’m not going there — I’ve never said that Obama is a communist. I think a lot of his beliefs are. He’s almost what I would call a “religious Marxist.” This is because he was born to two communists
          and raised by two (other) communists
          when people break with that sort of background, they are very obviously converts to a different system
          they are vocal about it.
          He isn’t.
          BUT how he governs is like the new communism of China… in other words, state capitalism, aka fascism
          only he still has the reflex-beliefs of his communist upbringing, so he tries to dress it up for himself and us, and tries to mesh the two systems. That’s where the danger is.
          He’ll go totalitarian rather than admit — EVER — that mommy and dad were wrong.
          Mind you, in PRACTICAL APPLICATION communism and fascism end up being the same, whether the government nationalizes everything or just CONTROLS everything, either way people on the street are pucked.

      2. It isn’t that they’re too stupid to walk it back; it is true, true, true — in the uber-reality they inhabit. It is your reality which is false.

        Theirs is the true reality, in which Obama saved the economy, unemployment has dropped, young invincibles are eager to enlistroll in Obamacare exchanges and every summer is “recovery summer.”

        Oh yes, in their reality our smart diplomacy has brought global unity, the Arab Spring, Middle East peace and reset relations with Russia.

        They are still working on solving the problem of bovine flatulence.

        1. what color is the sky in their reality? You can only live in an alternate reality for so long before this reality bites you on the butt.

  41. What a wonderful tour de farce, though I must say I enjoyed your (100+ degree) fevered exchange of symptoms with that young upstart writer, Jerry something, whom Larry Niven carried for so many years, fully as much as your great rant! 😉

  42. Read Bulgakov’s “The Master And Margarita” – besides being a wonderful novel, a chunk of the novel is devoted to satirizing the Soviet “Writers’ Union”, which sounds like the direction the SFWA is heading.

    Sadly, the SFWA doesn’t control the housing, vacations, and retail business of authors, the way the “Writers’ Union” did in the USSR.

  43. When I keep, like, hearing people saying, like, “like” all the time, I am like, “Don’t they like know words like, like “said” and “thought” like?”
    In fact, it LITERALLY makes my blood boil.

  44. I thought that was a great read. I might read more blogs if they are this entertaining to watch/read. Multimedia blog reading is fun!

  45. Seriously– I’ll be happier when your fever breaks and the animated gifs are a thing of the past (even though extremely funny)… After the first reading, they do give me headaches.

  46. I remember, in what now seems by comparison the good old days, Vivian Kellems wrote to Buckley objecting to his reference to “lady theologians” on Firing Line. She politely suggested that the theologians’ gender was irrelevant, and made her point by sending greetings to “the two gentleman economists who were on your program.”

    No “off with his head, burn the infidel, ecrasez l’infame!”

  47. My dear Sarah…. I’m almost glad, in a felix culpa sort of way (you remember Felix, he was the middle Culpa brother; he’s a pharmacist in Hoboken nowadays), that this happened, because if it hadn’t, there wouldn’t have been this post. Which I have been snickering about for a full day now.

    And there’s another bright side, too. I mean, you think this bunch is nuts, come and try hanging out with historians for a while. (I never get to play in the good reindeer games….) At least you fictioneers can Tuckerize your foes and kill ’em off, messily.

    1. Markham, make you a deal. I write historical fiction, after all. You want someone killed, you send me the name, description and whether it should be sf/f/mystery or historical.
      My pleasure to do your fictional killing…

            1. There is beauty in – wait a minute, you’re supposed to be a little maid from school, Sarah, fresh from a ladies’ seminary. What are you doing with a Little List?

              So… don’t know many school girls, eh?

              Or was it an allusion to the ludicrous notion of a school girl having a LITTLE list?

              1. As to not knowing many schoolgirls … well, not in some decades. And if memory serves, the young ladies of Hollins, Randolph-Macon, Sweet Briar, and Mary Baldwin had very different sorts of lists….

                Still, it amuses me, in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, to pretend to believe that Our Sarah is a demure and delicate flower.

                1. A real pansy, she is.

                  (Notable for being a flower that survives me and two cats that will eat anything, plus my daughter’s “help.”)

                1. I know. But every time I threaten the Author with going into politics if writing stops paying off, my income doubles.
                  Which reminds me we’re going to be devilish tight in two months (I MUST finish books) so, hey, You up there with the typing fingers — remember, I can go into politics ANYTIME.

  48. On SFWA, Fairness, and Awful Things:

    I sigh when anyone complains at length about “fairness,” for two reasons:

    One: unless you’ve put in the years to be a pro comedy writer, complaining is not actually skilled, productive work.

    Two: Fuck Fairness, Get Results.

    No one is entitled to a level playing field, anywhere, anytime; fairness is a human mental construct. In game design, play balance is an issue. Fairness is required for the game design, because a game is a mental exercise. Whether it’s moving checkers or letting the Seahawks stomp you, every good game is balanced by design, to be playable AS a game.

    So the sigh comes when I hear “fair” applied in anything BUT a game, since it makes me wonder, “Are these adults who think this world IS a game?” 7 billion people use the same planet. Every one acts in their self-interest. That’s as balanced and fair as “the game” gets. All else is up to you. “Fair” doesn’t enter into it. The rich don’t say “Damn, I’m selling the yacht because it isn’t fair that I am so wealthy!” and the starving don’t say “Damn, it’s unfair I’m hungry so I’ll suddenly have two college degrees. And my STR will be 18, too!”

    We can CHOOSE to be kind and helpful and fair, but it’s never, ever something that’s owed to us, and it sure won’t spontaneously appear.

    Complaining serves two main functions: it airs a concern to others who might have been unaware of it. Secondly, the act of complaining distills nebulous ideas into the form of a sentence or two. Much like “having someone to talk to” doesn’t actually fix anything, it instead works to make feelings coalesce into communicable form. That’s where its applied usefulness ends, though.

    If you have a situation in your life that has hurt you, and feels unfair, then Ass Must Be Kicked. Misogyny? Racism? Oppression? Use Your Power. Do legendary things by facing terrible odds. Are you tiny or tall, mentally impaired, this or that color, birth-defected, diseased? That’s your circumstance. Be smart. Gain grit. Armor up. Outwit and overpower. Is it easy? Fuck no. Should it be easy? Wrong question; it is what it is. Investigate, quantify, verify, strategize. Overcome. How you do it is up to you, but it never has been, and never will be, a fair game.

    1. I’ve told my students from time to time that fair is where you go to show pigs and eat too much funnel cake and thing-on-a-stick. It usually cuts off the whining, or at least pushes them to state exactly what they think was done unjustly.

      And I really like your and Misty’s work. The Valdemar books got me through some rough patches as a teen.

        1. *evil grin* September is only five months away. (Unless you buy one of those at-home kits, but I don’t recommend that. Save you rmoney for the frozen chocolate-dipped-strawberries-on-a-stick, unless you wear braces.)

          1. Wha-huh? That’s supposed to be seven, not five. I knew I shouldn’t have washed my hands so many times today – now I can’t type straight.

            1. I don’t spend much time in shopping mall food courts (except when waiting on car repairs in distant cities) but last time it happened I seem to recall a shop calling itself “Funnel Cake” (or something similar.) That would imply the comestible is offered on consistent basis, although until they find a way to make it low-carb my awareness will remain academic.

      1. Fair also covers weather, skies, complexions and hair colour.

        I have carefully examined my birth certificate’s fine print and found no promise of fairness, nor justice nor peace.

        1. Also covers certain of the less boring outcomes in baseball.

          My birth certificate certifies that I had two parents who were married to each other. That was already a pretty unfair lucky break for me, right from the start.

  49. Hey Ms. Hoyt, long time lurker first time poster. I had a two-minute long belly laugh over the cat+model train gif.

    My own little gesture of protest….I just bought the first two Darkship novels on Kindle. I hope you get more lovely moneys from them than the wood-pulp versions.

    And for any future gif posts, I’ll have to see if I can dig up one for you of BRIAN BLESSED yelling “Don’t let the b*st*rds grind you down!” Should come in handy.

  50. I read this with ever increasing joy. I love you. Can I stalk your blog and paper my walls with pictures of your site header?

  51. Always amazing how an organization can so easily be taken over and turned into a clique for the easily offended, and the politically correct.

    Good for you! 😀

  52. While you were busy writing all of this I was busy reading Darkship Thieves…okay, so mostly I’m readying on the train home and sometimes in the morning but I’ve been reading it.

    Based on what I’ve read you’d be better served (okay, I’d be better served) by you working on the fourth Darkship novel (I’ve already bought the second despite not having finished the first) than worrying about the FSFWA.

    Still, they did help you indirectly. When Vox wrote about the Resnick and Malzberg I decided to immediately buy a book by each of them. I also bought from the list of people he talked about defending them which is how I discovered Darkship Thieves and Monster Hunters, Inc as well as a couple of other authors who haven’t gotten read yet (it’s a big queue).

    1. “We’re shaved apes”
      Well that explains a lot: If you shave an ape he’s likely to become rather bad-tempered. (ducks)

  53. I’ll toss this on out…

    I have been a member of model railroad clubs, Ferarri clubs, Lotus (car) owners groups, falconry organizations, games clubs, and so on…

    … and the farting-in-a-hurricane scandals within SFFSSWAWAS pretty much parallels what happens in all of those.

    We’re shaved apes, predisposed towards schisms and tribal bands. With our fantastic technology, we use light and lightning to do it, but essentially we’re still banging bones and screaming.

    However, some of us look FABULOUS doing so. *gleam*

  54. So I’ve been staring at those GIFs, mostly because they’re right next to the “Latest Comments” panel, and a couple of questions come to mind that I fear will only display my ignorance.

    Is that, in fact, Molly Ringwald trying desperately to scurry away on a parquet floor in highly impractical fashion boots?

    Who is the rather pretty actress illustrating the hilarious wrongness of the idea that our gracious hostess might be a white supremacist?

    Is that really our gracious hostess admiring her tan in the blue bikini? I dunno, I somehow pictured her being a bit shorter … 😉

  55. Someone needs to start a new association for SF & F writers that does the things that writers need: Provides good rates on insurance, healthcare, retirement plans, and (when needed) legal help. You know, the kinds of things most -real- associations provide for their members. SFWA really seems to be nothing more than a garden society.

    1. SFWA has, from time to time, tried to do the health insurance thingee. What with their wide distribution and the large number of people who had insurance elsewhere, it didn’t work well.

  56. Thanks for the post Sarah. It was informative and entertaining.

    SFWA, why do I have this image from Star Trek. People being told they are “not of the Body.” Which brings up the history of the Salem Witch Trials.

    Think will crib Harlan Ellison in regards to SFWA, No More Dangerous Visions Comrade!

  57. After following a link from Ace of Spades HQ and discovering this blog, you have now vaulted to (nearly) the top of my bookmarks.

    I have seen your name, but know not your work. I will remedy that.

  58. That blog post was amazing. I’m sorry you’ve left SFWA — we NEED you, if only for perspective!

  59. Re Mercedes Lackey’s foolish, ignorant and bigoted talk of “Teabagger Taliban”:
    Russian chess master Garry Kasparov has tweeted “I’ve said it before, but if Barack Obama had been president instead of Ronald Reagan, I’d still be a Soviet Citizen.”
    So I guess Kasparov is another one of those scary, scary Teabaggers.

  60. Wow, as an old time SF fan, I know this blog post is worthy of award for reminding me of the values from SF I learned in the 60s and 70s.

    A thing of beauty — thank you so much!

  61. I ran across this little todo when I did a search for SFWA. A lot of invective from both sides, so it’s refreshing to see a more common sense approach, not to mention funnier than the original cast of SNL. I’m not a fan of the thought police, though I tend to describe them as being culturally correct (versus being politically correct which is a different kind of nonsense.)

    Since I self-publish at Amazon and Smashwords, I can’t say that it affects me much. I suppose I should be grateful. I am happy to see that Pournelle is still alive and apparently so is Niven. It’s hard to keep up these days. I still have the copy of Footfall those guys signed, though I still think Oath of Fealty is a better concept and will certainly, someday, be made into a movie.

    Is there a new and improved version of SFWA around, willing to accept someone as a member who believes that no human civilization ever existed that did not have elements of both socialism and capitalism, and that those economic systems are coded into homosapien DNA? If so, please make a note of it here. I’m bookmarking this page. (Fair warning)

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