Vox for SFWA President

Apparently I sent in my declaration of candidacy too late, as I’m not on the ballot. That’s all right, next year I’ll run against Scalzi, that should get him elected by a margin bigger than Capobianco running against no one.

This is my 8-point presidential platform, which will be presented to a vote of the active membership during the first 90 days of my imperial mandate:

1. Increase the prestige of the Nebula novel award by awarding the winner a cash prize in addition to the customary trophy. I have already spoken to publishers who have indicated an interest in contributing financial sponsorship for the award. It’s worth noting that the most prestigious prizes in the world, from the Nobel to the Booker, are inevitably accompanied by an amount of cash.

2. Replace the Nebula Scripts category with “Best SF-related non-fiction book”. There are many more of these works being published than eligible scripts these days and there are seldom more than two or three scripts on the ballot anyhow. Furthermore, Hollywood script writers couldn’t care less about the Nebula, whereas the publishers publishing SF-related non-fiction are demonstrably committed to the genre.

3. Foster closer relations with the electronic games industry by revisiting Question 3 of the 1998 Sawyer referendum by opening SFWA membership to writers with three or more writing credits on published electronic games, working with the organization that sponsors the various GDC events around the world to create opportunities for SFWA members in the games industry and creating a new Nebula category to award to honor the best writing in an SF&F-related electronic game.

4. Rename the Bulletin to SFWA Magazine and turn it into a bona-fide magazine of interest to the greater science fiction and fantasy community by publishing a novella and three short stories in every issue. The objective would be to turn it into a must-read for everyone with any interest in the genre.

5. Increase the power of the Nebula juries by having the short fiction jury submit regular recommendations for the fiction to be published in the SFWA Monthly to the editor and by allowing the various juries to REMOVE works that have qualified for the Nebula ballot. This should bring an end to the award-by-popularity-contest phenomenon that is so grossly embarrassing to the organization.

6. Turn the SFWA web site into the premier online science fiction and fantasy e-library by providing freely downloadable works available in all formats from every SFWA member interested in contributing. All of the available evidence suggests that freely distributable ebooks help authors who are not among the 50 best-selling in the world, they don’t hurt them. The primary problem facing most authors is a surfeit of awareness, not an excess of supply. Blindly following the RIAA’s lead in attempting to protect dubious “rights” is stupid, shortsighted and doomed to failure.

7. Pursue a treaty of non-aggression with the Romance Writers of America prior to launching a joint assault on the Mystery Writers of America. Of course, the SFWA will only honor the treaty until we are in a position of subsequent strength to take on the RWA directly, which I hope to achieve by the spring of 2010.

8. And finally, due to the Regrettable and Very Serious incidents brought to light in the December Forum, I should like to establish an official Do Not Hug Registry to which concerned members of the organization may add their names. Violators will be punished with the removal of the offending limb(s) by a scimitar wielded by the Head of the Grievance Committee.

Thank you for your enlightened support. I look forward to serving as your Maximum Leader.