Naturally, he has made public his response to the shit-sheet… ahem…
report. I recommend reading it. My knowledge of the SFWA by-laws from
actually reading the wretched things when the last revision of them came
up for a vote is that Mr Beale’s facts are 100% accurate. That’s
something I’ve noticed with him: you can disagree with him on how to
interpret the data, but the data he offers is usually pretty damned
Among the many things Mr Beale is totally correct about is
the culture of abuse within TOFKASFWA. Name-calling that could make a
dock worker blush is one of the charming features of the regular
shit-storms, right alongside a truly remarkable lack of originality and
wit in the insults being flung right and left… mostly from left to
right, but but that’s another story. You’d think a collection of
speculative fiction writers could manage better insults than endless
conjugations of the standard four letter words (and no, I don’t mean
‘work’ and ‘food’).
Having read Mr Beale’s “vigorous” responses to some of
these childish inanities, I can say with a degree of authority that he’s
definitely more imaginative, and often more witty. He even manages to
be self-deprecating once or twice.
As for the substance of the alleged offenses he allegedly
committed: it’s pretty clear that every sin Mr Beale committed against
TOFKASFWA was committed in greater quantity by what seems like half the
flipping membership. Possibly half the non-flipping membership, too.
Since they apparently don’t keep accurate membership records (in
violation of their by-laws and the relevant laws for non-profit
organization in the two states they’re incorporated in – because their
MA incorporation is not over and they’ve taken out CA incorporation.
Possibly in violation of Federal laws for their tax status as a
non-profit as well) it’s a little difficult to tell what proportion of
the membership does anything.
Actually, it’s not too hard to tell what the barely published affiliate members who are pushing the pinkshirt agenda do. They clearly spend considerably more time reading obscure feminist sociology papers than they do publishing anything. I suspect that what will ultimately be seen to have killed SFWA in the end is the removal of the requalifying requirement for Active membership; the techno-democratization of publishing may have eliminated SFWA’s original raison d’etre, but it was the makeup of the membership that prevented it from finding a new one still related to the creation of science fiction.
I have to confess that I am just a little disappointed no one has yet managed to identify the stylized way in which I began my response. I mean, I’m not at all surprised that it went right over the head of the relatively poorly read members of the SFWA Board, but I would have thought that more people here would have caught the reference. I thought it was rather funny myself, but then, as Spacebunny assures me, I am the only one who truly appreciates my own sense of humor.
Kate Another Mad Genius, Dave Freer, also has some interesting thoughts on publishing and probability that the writers here will probably find worth checking out.