SFWA petition

Well, they really can’t say I didn’t warn them…. I added my name to the petition as “Vox Day – Former life member of SFWA” but I assume they won’t want to add it. I find this more than a little amusing, considering that none of them other than Brad Torgersen were willing to speak out when the SFWA President, ex-President, and Board targeted me for purging. As I said at the time, there was never any chance that the shambling shoggoths of Pink SF were ever going to stop with me.

In light of the preceding correspondence we, the undersigned, object to the new SFWA requirements for editor of the SFWA Bulletin, as set forth on the SFWA website. Specifically, we have the following objections:

A “review board” implies a group of persons, as yet unnamed, who can veto content submitted by members if the board deems it “offensive” to a sub-group of SFWA. This opens the door to censorship of opinions that do not jibe with the personal beliefs of those on the review board, whereas SFWA should be open to the airing of many varieties of opinions, especially on such sensitive subjects as sexism, racism, religion, and politics.

The proposed requirements are so vague that they leave many critical questions unaddressed. Several among them: Given that it is our strong belief that there should be no “advisory” or “review” board, who would hypothetically sit on this board and how would they be chosen? Would advertising copy (book or magazine covers) be subject to review as well, especially in the high dollar advertising rates the Bulletin charges for its special Nebula issue?

The editor of the Bulletin should have discretion over its contents; that is why he or she is chosen as editor. There should be no advisory or review board. In view of these considerations, we ask that SFWA (1) withdraw this slate of requirements for the Bulletin and (2) open a discussion where all viewpoints can be considered on this matter before drafting any further sets of guidelines for SFWA publications.

It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the issue here is most decidedly not one of Left vs. Right. The only issue here is a First Amendment issue that both those on the political Left and Right should without hesitation embrace as one. What may happen to the Bulletin and SFWA as a viable organization if the current SFWA President has his way is unthinkable, especially as an organization of writers.

One thing the Bulletin should do is provide an outlet (its Letters column) for anyone to express his like or dislike with anything printed within its pages. This is the true essence of free speech. “Political correctness is tyranny with manners.― Charlton Heston, (actor, early civil rights activist who marched with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King.)

It is our hope hope others will add their names to this call for SFWA President Steven Gould to kill any proposed advisory board or any other method designed to censor or infringe on any SFWA member their First Amendment right to freedom of speech in the pages of the SFWA Bulletin. Active or Associate SFWA members wishing to support this effort may send email directly to SFWA President Steven Gould at: president@sfwa.org.

Active or Associate SFWA members wishing to add their names to this petition may do so by sending an email to Dave Truesdale at: tangent.dt1@gmail.com. Signatories will be added to the list below.

Signed by
Cyd Athens
Gregory Benford– Nebula winner
David Brin– Nebula winner, Past SFWA Secretary
Amy Sterling Casil
C. J. Cherryh
Lillian Csernica
Jack Dann– Nebula winner, former Bulletin Managing & Asst. Editor, past memberof the Publicity Bureau, Nebula Rules Committee, and Grievance Committee; current member of the Anthology Committee
Harlan Ellison– Nebula winner, SFWA Grand Master, past SFWA V.P.
Sheila Finch– Nebula winner, past SFWA V.P, and Western Regional Director
David Gerrold– Nebula winner
Nancy Kress– Nebula winner
Mercedes Lackey
Dr. Paul Levinson– Past SFWA President
Barry N. Malzberg– Five time Nebula finalist, appearances in six of the annual Nebula volumes, editor of the Bulletin in 1969, Eastern Regional Director for two years in the late 70s and Grievance Committee 1980-1984.
Jack McDevitt– Nebula winner
Larry Niven– Nebula winner
Dr. Jerry Pournelle– Past SFWA President
Mike Resnick– Nebula winner, past SFWA ConAlert (8 yrs.) and Anthology Chairman (6 yrs.)
Chuck Rothman– Past SFWA Treasurer
Susan Shwartz– Five-time Nebula nominee, member of Nebula Jury (2 years); on
committee exploring reinstatement of film Nebula
Robert Silverberg– Nebula winner, SFWA Grand Master, Past SFWA President
Norman Spinrad– Past SFWA President (twice)
Allen Steele– Three time Nebula nominee, Past Eastern Regional Director
Brad R. Torgersen– Nebula nominee
Harry Turtledove– Double Nebula nominee, Past SFWA Treasurer
Gene Wolfe– Nebula winner, SFWA Grand Master

Of course, the idea that the SFWA has any commitment whatsoever to free speech after purging a Life Member of Color for a Twitter link to a perfectly reasonable blog post that gave its SWPL-heavy membership the fainting fits is risible, to say the least.