Minimum Rage About Minimum Wage

On the same day that Harlan Ellison has released a video promoting Honorable Whoredom at a Penny a Word, a collection of his stories from the 1950s, the Science Fiction Writers of America has announced it will raise to six cents a word the standard payment by short fiction markets that SFWA recognizes as qualifying new members.

“SFWA considers it important to urge markets to pay writers more, and we hope this increase will encourage publishers to adjust their rates accordingly,” says the announcement.

In Harlan’s video he tells about the days when he lived in New York — such a new writer he didn’t have an agent and would walk his manuscripts around to the editors. When the stories sold he got one cent a word.

The thing is, even if it wasn’t a plush lifestyle, he could make a living as a writer if he stayed chained to his typewriter.

Who dares quit his day job now? As recently as 2004, SFWA’s minimum standard for short fiction was only three cents a word. Then it was hiked to five cents, and now is going up to six.

Organizing writers is like herding cats, so SFWA will never be as successful as OPEC. But if short story rates increased at the same pace as the price of gasoline, by now SFWA’s minimum would be 25 cents a word.

Older Wins SLF Travel Grant

Daniel Jose Older has been awarded the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Gulliver Travel Grant for 2013.

Older’s novel, The Book of Lost Saints, weaves post-revolutionary Cuba with present-day New Jersey, tied together by unsettled ghosts. Older will use the $800 grant to travel to Cuba to research prisons where political prisoners were held.

SLF says other writers shortlisted for the grant were Akwaeke Emezi, Russell Nichols, Eden Robins, Oksana Marifioti, and Alina Rios.

The full press release follows the jump.

Update 11/28/2013: Corrected misspelling of winner’s name in first line.

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Joel Lane (1963-2013)

Joel LaneJoel Lane died suddenly at the age of 50 on November 25, possibly as a result of diabetes.

He was both an accomplished author and a leading editor in the fantasy field.

He won a British Fantasy Award for his short story “My Stone Desire” (2008). His novella The Witnesses Are Gone was a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award (2008). He also authored two mainstream novels From Blue To Black and The Blue Mask. And in 1993 he won the Eric Gregory Award for poetry.

His editorial work was also highly regarded. He won a British Fantasy Award, best anthology/collection The Earth Wire and Other Stories (1994) and a World Fantasy Award, collection, for Where Furnaces Burn. Other collections shortlisted for awards included British Fantasy and International Horror Guild Award nominee The Lost District and Other Stories (2006), British Fantasy Award finalist The Terrible Changes (2009), British Fantasy Award finalist for anthology Never Again (2011, with Allyson Bird),

Lane lived in south Birmingham, UK where he worked in health publishing.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Kramer and DragonCon Settle

With Ed Kramer’s trial on child molestation charges due to begin next week, the corporate owners of Dragon*Con didn’t wait a minute to announce their out-of-court settlement severing all ties with the convention’s founder.

Last July, having succumbed to social media pressure and a threatened boycott over Kramer’s continuing financial interest in Dragon*Con, the directors did what they’d previously claimed was not possible – execute a transaction terminating his 34-percent share. A cash-out merger bought out all shares of stock in DragonCon/ACE and established a new conrunning entity, Dragon Con Inc., in which Kramer had no part.

However, Kramer had not agreed to any of this and his attorney told the press the merger was a “discriminatory squeeze-out” and the cash offered for Kramer’s shares was “grossly inadequate.”

The company struck first, suing Kramer in Fulton County Superior Court in August. When the parties reached settlement on November 25, Dragon*Con spokesman Greg Euston publicly announced “DragonCon’s relationship with Mr. Kramer is officially over.”

Euston said terms of the settlement were confidential but that it was “a small amount” more than they offered in the summer. The magnitude of the payment that might be involved is suggested by Kramer’s earlier suit to collect a 2011 dividend in the amount of $154,000, and Euston’s past statement that the company had offered three times to buy Kramer’s shares for $500,000, in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

[Thanks to Nancy A. Collins for the story.]

NYRSF Readings for 12/2

The New York Review of SF Readings continues its annual tradition of Family Night with Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner on December 2, made all the more irresistible by live performances of selections from all three audiobooks in the Riverside series. [Name removed by request of author] will guest host.

The evening will include some of the original score to the series by Nathanael Tronerud, plus SFX from SueMedia. Kushner and Sherman will narrate their own work, accompanied by some of the original cast of the “illuminated” audiobooks.

Delia Sherman

Delia Sherman

Delia Sherman’s most recent short stories appeared in the young adult anthology Steampunk! and in Ellen Datlow’s Naked City. Her novels for younger readers, Changeling and The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen are set in the magical world of New York Between. And her time-travel historical novel The Freedom Maze about antebellum Louisiana won the 2012 Prometheus Award and Andre Norton Award.  When she’s not writing, Sherman is teaching, editing, knitting, and cooking. When not on the road (one of her favorite places to be), she lives in a rambling apartment in New York City with partner Ellen Kushner and far too many pieces of paper.

Ellen Kushner

Ellen Kushner

Ellen Kushner is a novelist, performer and public radio personality.  Her award-winning novels include the “mannerpunk” cult classic Swordspoint and Thomas the Rhymer. Kushner’s The Golden Dreydl: a Klezmer ‘Nutcracker’ has been produced as a CD (with the Shirim Klezmer Orchestra), a picture book, and onstage by New York’s Vital Theatre. She is the longtime host of the public radio show “Sound & Spirit.”

[Name removed by request of author] served as the third curator of the New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series from 1994 to 1996. Besides spending time in the science fiction publishing world, she has worked in a few different law-related fields, currently specializing in international reinsurance contracts at a large insurance company. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.

Sue Zizza

Sue Zizza

Sue Zizza is the owner of SueMedia. In 2012, Sue created the ‘illuminated style’ of audiobooks for the novel Swordspoint, which won the 2013 Audie Award for Audio Drama and is featured as part of Neil Gaiman Presents at She also teaches audio arts and sound production at New York University’s Kanbar Institute for Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts and is a Radio Producer for CUNY-TV and Radio in New York City where she is developing new plays for the radio.

David Shinn

David Shinn

David Shinn is a sound designer/engineer and foley (SFX) artist for stage and studio productions. His most recent projects have all received Audie Nominations and numerous other awards. From 1998 until 2006 he co-produced the nationally syndicated Radio Works series that was heard on more than 70 stations coast-to-coast.

Barbara Rosenblat

Barbara Rosenblat

Barbara Rosenblat has been described as “the Meryl Streep of audiobooks” by the NY Times. She is a multi-Audie Award winning and Golden Voice narrator whose extraordinary range of accents and characterizations in a distinguished body of work (more than 400 titles to date) makes her one of the most sought after and beloved narrators of audiobooks in the country. In the gaming world her voice can be heard in Grand Theft Auto. Currently she is a featured cast member on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black.

Katherine Kellgren

Katherine Kellgren

Katherine Kellgren is a multi-Audie Award winning Golden Voice Narrator who is an audiobook fan favorite because of her no-holds-barred portrayals of characters like the irrepressible Jacky Faber (and motley company) in adventures like The Wake of the Lorelei Lee and The Mark of the Golden Dragon.

The New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series on December 2 opens its doors at 6:30 p.m. Suggested donation $7. Location and other details in the full press release which follows the jump.

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Cyborg Monday Sale

Sunshine Patriots coverThe Fifteenth Anniversary of Bill Campbell’s anti-war military science fiction novel Sunshine Patriots drops on “Cyborg Monday,” December 2, 2013.

Rebellion erupts on the “paradise” planet of Elysia, plunging the colony into chaos. In response, the all-powerful United Earth dispatches its elite corps of cyborg soldiers, led by Aaron “The Berber” Barber. For a hero celebrated galaxy-wide for his acts of bravery against alien hordes, a ragtag group of colonized miners with antiquated weapons should be no challenge. But Barber and his soldiers are unprepaed to meet the most dangerous enemy yet–humans just like them. And on Elysia, the soldiers discover dangers that neither United Earth nor the Elysians themselves could have foreseen. The secrets Barber and his soldiers uncover lead them to question the true meaning of freedom in a world where nothing is what it seems.

The new edition from Rosarium Publishing includes an eye-popping cover by Vincent Sammy and an introduction by Prof. Jonathan R. Harvey, who wrote part of his Ph.D. dissertation on the book.