SFWA Denies A Membership Application

The SFWA Blog today posted a “Statement from the SFWA Membership Credentials Committee” about an unidentifed writer:

Recently, a science fiction writer made a very public announcement of his application to join SFWA. SFWA Bylaws section VI.1.c.i gives discretion to the membership credentials committee “regardless of qualifications.” Based on the behavior of and online statements by this writer over the preceding year or so, which the credentials committee believes is inconsistent with the obligations that SFWA members have to one another, the committee has determined that it has good and sufficient cause to deny this membership.

We did not take this step lightly, and we are sensitive to suggestions that this action is due to the writer’s political opinions: it is not. SFWA does not, and will not, impose a political test or political standard for membership. We strive to be welcoming to all SFF writers of good will, whatever their personal beliefs or opinions. However, the membership credentials committee, comprised by the sitting Board of Directors, believes that admitting this writer would not be in keeping with our obligations to our membership.

Interestingly, when SFWA revoked Theodore Beale’s membership, he also went unnamed in the announcement.

However, the “very public announcement of his application” (see “SFWA: Pending Membership” at the Internet Archive)  and the attention given it in social media (such as the widely-read Twitter thread by A.Merc Rustad) in recent weeks means one name immediately popped to mind.

And in any case, Jon Del Arroz promptly self-identified:

Support for SFWA’s decision has already been voiced by several writers, as in this dialogue with critic Gareth M. Skarka by Scott Lynch and Chuck Wendig.

Ann Leckie tweeted:

Critics of the decision itself (not merely as tactics) already on record are Richard Paolinelli, Mad Genius Club columnist and writer Jason Cordova, and Superversive SF editor Jason Rennie, with doubtless more to come.

[Thanks to all who pointed me to this story.]

214 thoughts on “SFWA Denies A Membership Application

  1. For fun reading, I’m currently rereading my way through Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series: The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, the Well of Lost Plots, and so forth. (The reread was kicked off by wishing there were a sequel to his Brave New World-esque Shades of Grey. Maybe there will be one day. Until then, there is the rest of the Fforde on my shelf.)

    They are not without their problems, but for me those are outweighed by the literary humor, the over-the-top absurdity, the strong female protagonist, the characters who jump in and out of books, and also the presence of a dodo named Pickwick who says “plock, plock” and begs for marshmallows. Bonus: Two plausible answers to the riddle “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

    Bruce Baugh’s description of And Her Smile Will Untether The Universe by Gwendolyn Kiste makes it sound like exactly the sort of thing I love most. Mount TBR grows.

  2. Splash effect is definitely not original to me. And I think the correct phrasing is indeed splash damage, but only the splash part stuck in my own mind.

    Never mind autocorrect: I have a heck of a time typing Lenore when I mean jonesnori (or am talking about Poe, or the like). It corrects itself between brain, thinking “use an e not an a” and the fingers, which know what they’re supposed to type.

    I always notice when someone calls me Lenore or Leonora (That was really hard to type, right there!), though I have some patience with people for whom it isn’t a chronic mistake. But apparently I was called Eleanore by one person at a former workplace for 3 years and never noticed until someone else pointed it out. It was the right number of syllables, and comfortable — it’s my mother’s name, from which mine was adapted.

  3. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little
    If you have the means to watch BBC quiz shows (a VPN and iPlayer perhaps?) last Friday’s episode of Mastermind had a lady with Thursday Next as her specialist subject.

  4. @Lis —

    “A newer addition is Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell Victorian adventure series.”

    I share my Audible account with my parents, and I frequently buy mysteries for my mom to try out (she doesn’t “do” computers). I bought her this one, and she liked it.

    Incidentally, I mostly got this one because the MC was named Veronica Speedwell. Because Veronica is a genus of plants that I’m very fond of, and Speedwell is the common name for Veronica. LOL.

    (See, Wombat isn’t the only one who can talk plant trivia! ;-D )

    As for current reads/listens: I’m having fun listening to Sea of Rust. I keep thinking things like “man, what a clichéd line” and “boy, could that trope be any more overdone?”, but it’s entertaining anyway, in part because a lot of those choices are obviously intentional.

  5. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: “The reread was kicked off by wishing there were a sequel to his Brave New World-esque Shades of Grey. Maybe there will be one day.”

    There’s been a prequel and/or sequel on the schedule for a few years now, but apparently it got sidelined by the Chronicles of Kazam and a general “creative hiatus.” It’s currently fourth on his just-updated “upcoming” list, behind two standalones and the fourth/final Kazam book, but ahead of the next Thursday book.

    As for my own reading, I got a few more things loaded onto the Kobo last night. Most of the material was a six-book omnibus (YA fantasy) that I split up into its components for easier digestion and more obvious progress. I’ve also made more of a dent in the superhero novel I’ve theoretically been reading since about October; I’m about halfway done with that, and then I can move on to works which hopefully contain fewer errors. I like the setting, characters, and plot – it’s “only” the glut of mechanical issues getting in my way there.

    I had hoped to submit a story to Uncanny‘s “Disabled People Destroy” issue, but it’s not gelling for me. There’s some key worldbuilding skull-sweat that needs to happen, and I may be getting a grip on it, but the issue right now is that it’s a Generation 3 story with a Generation 1 protagonist. I might have a way to bridge that gap, but I’m not sure I can pull all the threads together in time. (For the curious, the concept involves an SFnal form of physical therapy and the addictive properties of finding oneself pain-free without the side effects of medication.)

    BTW, has anyone heard anything about whether Tor.com will be releasing a “some of the best of” volume for 2017? This is about the time of year that the 2016 collection came out…

  6. @Rev. Bob —

    “BTW, has anyone heard anything about whether Tor.com will be releasing a “some of the best of” volume for 2017? This is about the time of year that the 2016 collection came out…”

    I have no info for you, but I’ll pile on here by saying I’m irked at Tor because they haven’t put out a “Season 3” novella collection at Audible. I very much enjoyed the first two collections, and they were a very convenient and cost-effective way to listen to a lot of Hugo contenders. I even sent a tweet to the official Tor account to ask about #3, and they ignored me. Grumble mumble. >:-(

  7. I’ve been requesting Kindle samples of all these detective-couple books as they go by and will be checking them soon.

    My most recent book was a re-read of The Collapsing Empire by Scalzi. Loved it! Check that opening scene, you, “sci-fi isn’t about action anymore” people!

    About to start the Clocktaur Wars

  8. When I read about this action, it made me wonder whether Sriduangkaew was a member of SFWA, as I consider her behavior similar to JdA’s. I presume SFWA doesn’t normally discuss membership decisions, but made an exception in this case because the applicant was already making a big deal about his rejection.

  9. @Bruce I haven’t been researching RH, but I haven’t heard anything about her harassing anyone for… a couple years or more? Maybe the Mixon report was the last of it. If JdA can act like an adult for a couple years I bet SFWA would reconsider him.

  10. There is a public SFWA membership list, so it would be easy to research RH’s membership if anyone knows her actual real name.

  11. Maximillian: Sadly, while I haven’t heard of anything on the level and frequency she used to do when she felt supported by the community (instead of by a handful of lingering apologists), I have at least heard that she has committed some of the same kind of behaviour. Just enough for people to go “nope” about dealing with her.

  12. Good heavens. That escalated quickly.

    I have approximately seven months of school-based education, half of which I spent out sick, when I was 16. I don’t think it had much influence on the quality of my thinking either way (which some of you may consider to explain everything!).

    My current comfort reading is Astolat’s Witcher fanfiction, but in case anyone goes looking for it I strongly recommend you read the tags and ratings first. (You don’t need to be familiar with the books or the games, though – I’ve never read or played them and you can pick up the important bits pretty quickly.)

    Murderbot would probably make for some excellent comfort reading, come to think of it, for times when you need something a bit shorter.

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