Back in the 90s, the problems with the club were starting to show, with it being less about promoting science fiction work as it was due — in the context of lifetime achievement awards here — and more about amateur arguing and popularity contests within its member base. Note how even then he mentions flippantly his act of just going against what the crowd says, even in the small act of saying “hey guys let’s recognize this author who’s not popular with the in-crowd to get his due because he did the work” was enough for him to say they would accuse him of blackmail and coercion.
Replace that in modern times with “harassment” and you’ve got the same thing going on. Harlan warned where the direction of the club was going, and now they’ve gotten to the point where they’ve made their club about who they like or not being allowed in, arguing about amateur pointless politics rather than advocating for careers of professionals. The club never took a look at itself and decided to change.
But don’t take my word for it, take Harlan Ellison’s.
It’s no wonder with attitudes like this that they’ve pushed themselves to irrelevancy. How irrelevant, you ask? Their last youtube roundtable with some of their biggest authors in the club garnered only 72 views when I checked yesterday. One of my fans who just read from a chapter of my book on periscope–a platform less browsed than youtube, got three times that in a couple of hours after he broadcasted.
They have officer elections this year. So question to your members: what is SFWA doing for you? Has it sold you more books? Has it made you more of a name? Even the prestige is gone with what the officers and board did with memberships. It’s a joke in most writing circles. If you guys are concerned about your club, you’d vote for change this year… we’ll see what happens.
Yesterday I saw what happened with The Stars Entwined. The book had a great launch, and readers area already saying it’s a wonderful book. Check out the very well thought out reviews of the book. If you like thing Harlan worked on, like Babylon 5… you” probably enjoy The Stars Entwined. Available here.