SFWA announced in February it would honor Special Guest Frank M. Robinson at the 49th Nebula Awards Weekend.
Because Robinson’s health did not permit him to attend in person, Robin Wayne Bailey had been enlisted to accept the honor during last night’s Nebula Awards program and read a message from Robinson.
Except it didn’t happen.
Coup d’etat? Missing page in script? The only thing the public knows for sure is how angry the oversight made Robin Wayne Bailey and his friends. He wrote on Facebook:
The amazing fuckitude of the 2013 Nebulas blind-sided and shocked me as my presentation speech, including Frank Robinson’s acceptance remarks, were totally fucking skipped. I’ve promised to be silent for a few days while the ombudsman figures how how it happened, but I won’t be totally silent, and I won’t let SFWA off the hook for this affront to Frank Robinson and also to myself. I’m furious. Never in the history of SFWA has something like this happened, and a few after-the-fact LOCUS photos do not ameliorate the insult.
SFWA leadership immediately responded to the echoing complaints with an apology and effort to make amends:
We had a stunningly run Nebula Award Weekend with only the most minor technical hangups and wonderful participation by members and industry luminaries. Contrasted against this wonderful weekend was an error at the award ceremony that is particularly painful. Due to a combination of unintentional missteps, the presentation of the Special Honoree award to Frank M. Robinson was left off the ceremony list given to our Toastmaster.
While Frank, for health reasons, was not able to attend, the organization never failed to present an award in absentia. Frank had prepared a statement to be read by the presenter, past SFWA president Robin Wayne Bailey who flew in specifically to honor Frank. I want to deeply apologize to Frank who has been a long-time friend and mentor, and to my friend Robin who traveled to the event at great personal inconvenience.
The board of directors of the organization deeply regret that this happened and have voted to pay expenses for Frank and Robin to travel to our 50th Anniversary Nebula Weekend, should this be possible, where we will do the presentation we should’ve done last night.
Steven Gould President, SFWA