For those of you who aren’t really interested in the great hubub in the writing world, you can just skip this post. For the rest of you, I’m sure it’s been highly entertaining and also somewhat like watching an avalanche or train wreck. We’ve had the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good comes in the form of various established authors who are standing up against what amounts to censoring. Authors (from a variety of political perspectives) saying that the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) are being unreasonable. The organization designed to protect and support authors is, well, doing the opposite. Attacking members, limiting their free speech and the topics they can discuss, and generally being very juvenile. If you’ve been following it, I’m certain you have a good idea of what’s been going on. If not, well, read Sarah Hoyt’s article, or Larry Correia, Kate Paulk, or Mike Williamson. They delve into the depths plenty and they’ve far more patience for it than I do. They also say it better than I could and often in ways to poke fun at the stupidity manifest in the organization of SFWA.
I’ll preface this next bit by saying that I’m not a member of SFWA. I don’t qualify, as a self-published and independent author. Even if I do become published… well, I don’t really see much point in joining the organization. At it’s root, SFWA has become that most dreaded of institutions… it’s a clique. It’s rather like the juvenile groups I saw in High School, groups which hung together from popularity and commited terrible actions against their own members and individuals in the interest of establishing a social heirarchy. This is most ironic to me because, well, isn’t SF/F supposed to be made up of the free-thinkers and the outcasts, people who don’t go for the social heirarchies? Oh, officially it is a professional organization… which spends far too much time worrying about hurting feelings and making sure that all the ‘qualified’ members feel good about themselves. It feels more like a union or guild to me… complete with popularity contests and a party line. Anyone who steps over that line is a ‘scab’ or worse. Anyone who doesn’t stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the collective is double-ungood. What is SFWA, anyway? How is one supposed to say such an acronym? Try to say it with me “SFFFWUH?” It sounds oddly like when I tried to catch a football with my stomach or that time I sneezed after the dentist had used local anesthesia.
But that’s just my perspective from the outside. And like I said… I don’t even qualify as a member. What gives me any ground to say such mean and derisive things? Well, I’m someone who has something of a deep interest in the future of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’m a writer. In my perspective, every piece of drivel that some yah00 writes right now, with some thinly veiled message resembling a steel bar mace coated with a thin layer of flowery paper, is a book that some poor unsuspecting sap will be forced to read in college or high school and told that it is “Great Literature!!!” I don’t know about you, but when I go to relax at the end of the day, I don’t want to be beaten over the head repeatedly by a heavy chunk of metal. I just want to relax and read a book.
So, I propose a new writer’s organization. If nothing else, it needs to be something that has a name you can actually pronounce. I’ve already brought it up in other forums: WAFFLES. Writers, Authors, Fans of Fantasy literature and Excellent Science fiction. Yes, it flows somewhat like the acryonym for the PATRIOT Act… but there’s a reason it passed the House and Senate, after all. Who can oppose being Patriotic? Who doesn’t like WAFFLES? See where I’m going here? WAFFLES is an organization for everyone… no rules or restrictions, no clique, no saying you aren’t good enough to participate. I think part of where SFWA went wrong is that it didn’t allow readers a voice… so it’s become detached from the one group they really need to hear from: people buying their books. WAFFLES is going to be part help-group and part discussion forum. The biggest part is that you come to discuss, in a logical and non-emotional manner. Leave your thin skin and easily bruised emotions at the door. Lets talk about possibilities and This is something of a trial run, in part to see who is interested, in part to stick a thumb in the eye of SFWUH?, and mostly because I don’t like guilds, unions, popularity clubs, or cliques. Why WAFFLES? Well, it’s kind of hard to call someone a jack-booted thug for liking Waffles… kind of hard to get worked up in a frenzy in that fashion, eh?
So, if you like SF/F books and are an author, artist, or fan, join WAFFLES.