Delany Named SFWA Grand Master

Samuel Delany is SFWA’s pick for the 2013 Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award. This is a long-deserved honor for someone who has been one of sf’s most dynamic and gifted writers since the 1960s. 

Samuel Delany

Samuel Delany

The winner of four Nebulas and two Hugos, Delany’s body of work includes Nova, Dhalgren, Stars in My Pockets Like Grains of Sand, and Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders. He has also written influential sf criticism, published in The Jewel-Hinged Jaw, Starboard Wine and The American Shore. He was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2002.

Since 2001 he has been a professor of English and Creative Writing at Temple University in Philadelphia, where for three years he was Director of the Graduate Creative Writing Program.

Heavenly BreakfastIn 2010 he won the third J. Lloyd Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award in Science Fiction from the academic Eaton Science Fiction Conference at UCR Libraries. He is also a recipient of the William Whitehead Memorial Award for a lifetime’s contribution to lesbian and gay literature.

The selection is made by the President of SFWA. Steven Gould had this to say about his choice:

Samuel R. Delany is one of science fiction’s most influential authors, critics, and teachers and it is my great honor to announce his selection. When discussing him as this year’s choice with the board, past-presidents, and members, the most frequent response I received was, “He’s not already?” Well he is now.

Delany acknowledged the honor —

This award astonishes me, humbles me, and I am honored by it. It recalls to me–with the awareness of mortality age ushers up–the extraordinary writers who did not live to receive it: Roger Zelazny, Joanna Russ, Thomas M. Disch, Octavia E. Butler–as well, from the generation before me, Katherine MacLean, very much alive. I accept the award for them, too: they are the stellar practitioners without whom my own work, dim enough, would have been still dimmer.

The award will be presented at the Nebula Awards Weekend in San Jose, CA, May 16-18, 2014.

Day Out of SFWA

Vox Day (Theodore Beale) reports he has been expelled from SFWA. He posted to his blog the text of the notification sent by SFWA President Steven Gould:

After careful consideration of the evidence gathered by the Board-appointed investigator and your response, and in compliance with the existing Massachusetts By-Laws, the approved operations and procedures, and legal counsel, the SFWA Board has unanimously voted for your expulsion from the organization, effective immediately. This has been a difficult decision, but thorough examination of the evidence and the situation makes it clear that this action is necessary to best serve the interests of the organization and its members.

According to our records, you paid for your Lifetime Membership in October of 2002. As this period of time exceeds 10 years, you are not eligible for any pro-rata refund of your dues.

Beale’s initial comment was, “I shall attempt to find the wherewithal to soldier on, somehow.”

The “SFWA Board communication on member expulsion”, while coyly (or is that bizarrely) failing to name the member expelled, adds:

This has not been an easy decision. It was very important from the outset that the Board should follow a careful process of examining the evidence, reviewing our internal rules and guidance, and weighing the damage done to the organization regardless of how we chose to proceed. We hope that all members of SFWA understand that this decision has not been made without careful and thorough examination of the situation.

Our bylaws and procedures make expelling a member a prolonged and arduous process, but we believe this is entirely appropriate for so drastic a remedy, and oppose any changes to our bylaws and procedures that would make it any easier.

Amal El-Mohtar, who made public her official motion to expel Beale, has not yet commented at this writing. There may have been several dozen similar motions registered privately through SFWA Board members, judging by excerpts of SFWA’s investigative report published weeks ago on Vox Populi.

Update 08/14/2013: Edited post to include SFWA subsequent statement. Later, updated to add Steven H Silver’s observation that the SFWA statement doesn’t name the member.