SFWA Stupidity

This is another example of why I won’t join SFWA. I’m not as radical as Cory about copyright, and disagree with him on some things related to it, but this was clearly a bone-headed move by SFWA.

I have a lot of respect for, and am friends with many of, the individual writers who comprise SFWA. But the actions of SFWA as an organization sometimes stun me. And don’t get me started on the Nebula Awards…



  1. Rick Klaw says


    I agree wholeheartedly with you. What an assine thing for the SFWA to engage in. When will they realize that having those works on line for free actually increases bookstore sales? Last time I checked Cory was doing alright. Sterling’s Hacker Crackdown has been available online for well over a decade and still remains in print some 15 years after its first publication, a lot longer than most books.

    It would be really nice if SFWA actually joined at least the 1990s. There’s this thing… it’s called the internet. It will profoundly change the delivery systems for all sorta of media, books included. You might want to check it out.

    But why listen to me? I’ve only worked in bookstores for 20 years.

  2. says

    Here’s a question for you, Jeff, something I’ve been curious about for some time.

    For successful authors like yourself who are not members of SFWA or HWA, is there any pressure for you to join?

    I’m not speaking about personal pressure, but rather strong urgings from those types of groups that once you become a known quantity, as you are now, they feel you belong among their ranks. I’m think of up and coming authors like you and, say, Kelly Link, Joe Hill, and others who are close to breaking out into the big time or are already doing it.

    I can’t help but notice that many of the big names in sf and horror are not members of those groups — presumably because a) they don’t need to be, and b) they’re probably too busy writing books to be join writer clubs.

    I guess I’ve always wondered, if I were to become successful, would these groups expect me to join up, or do they pretty much leave you alone.

    Any thoughts?

  3. says

    Yeah, I’ve never had the interest either. Going to conventions is a lot of fun, but for me that’s as far into the social aspect of writing as I go.

    I’ve always been suspicious of those who say being a member of one of those groups will further your writing career in some way. Or those who see becoming members as some sort of distinguished milestone in their career. “Only one more pro sale and I qualify for membership!”

    Different goals, I guess.

  4. Jeff VanderMeer says

    Those groups would leave you alone.

    I’ve always thought HWA as a group was a mess. I love and respect the individual writers in HWA, however. Same with SFWA.

    To me, SFWA is possibly valuable for networking and may increase your possibility of being nominated for a Nebula. And that’s about it. For me, that is. But I’m not much of a group joiner to begin with.

    I have to admit I was put off a bit by a couple of people hitting me up to vote for them, very unsubtle-like, and also with a quid pro quo implied, re the Nebulas–because they thought I was a member.

    I just want to write, get my work out to people, and not put up with a lot of bureaucratic bullshit.



  5. says

    I feel the same way. I like the individuals, but I don’t care for the groups. I’ve always been a lone wolf, although I function perfectly fine in social settings. Like you, I didn’t get into writing for the group activities. The occasional con is fine, but I prefer to write with the limited free time that I have, and build a reading audience.