Michael A. Burstein of Brookline, MA took office as the first permanent president of the Society for the Advancement of Speculative Storytelling, Inc. (SASS) on January 1.
Burstein is a multiple Hugo and Nebula nominee, a former Secretary of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), and a former Vice-President of the New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA). He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1997.
SASS is a fairly new organization, incorporated in 2012. Its membership “is open to anyone who has a serious interest in speculative fiction and wants to learn and grow as a writer in a congenial atmosphere,” whether published or unpublished.
SASS had 19 members as of October.
According to its website —
SASS expressly disavows any socio-political goals while asserting the right of its members to discuss and explore any and all subjects in speculative fiction writing. Overt ideological or political proselytizing of any sort is discouraged, for the sake of organizational amity. SASS prohibits any discussion of politics, religion or any similar personal beliefs under its auspices, and membership is revocable for any such “breach of the peace” inside or outside the organization.
Judging by a comment on Lou Antonelli’s blog, SASS seems to have coalesced in reaction against the hostile exchanges then happening in the SFWA Forum per se, and not in support of any particular outcome. “[The] group is for people sick of PC bullshit …” he said initially, then amplified, “This group is a safe haven for people to meet together over their common love of speculative fiction. If someone WHO BELONGS TO SASS attacks anyone in the group for something that [has] NOTHING to do with speculative fiction, they don’t need to belong SASS. They can join other outfits.”
Burstein becomes the leader of a nine-member Board of Directors, including Vice-President Brad Torgersen, Secretary Lou Antonelli, Treasurer Shedrick Pittman-Hassett, and at-large members Bruce Bethke, Dario Ciriello, Park Cooper, Liz Burton and Rie Sheridan Rose.