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SFWA Petitiongate Epilogue

The word is going around tonight that Sean Fodera has apologized for his commentary to Mary Robinette Kowal. In two separate posts to, he’s addressed both his commentary about Mary and his stance on women in science fiction in general. is down as of this writing (word has it over at userinfojames_nicoll‘s LJ that it got slashdotted), but screencaps were taken by Natalie at, and are available here.

Having just read both of the screencaps, I can say that at least to this observer, they sound sincere and are well-written. More importantly, Mary Robinette Kowal has said on Twitter that she accepts his apology without reservation, and that’s good enough for me.

It’s surprising and pleasing to see this, after the flames that have been shooting around the Internet this week. I’ll mark this as a plus on the side of “Anna will continue to keep an eye on SFWA”. And let’s hope that this time, this really is done!

ETA: Dara points out quite correctly that this is really only a resolution (if that) for Mr. Fodera’s part in this entire fracas. It does nothing to address the petition itself, nor its signers. I will be keeping an eye out for further developments on that, if any, as well.


SFWA Petitiongate link roundup, 2/19/2014

And now, a link roundup on further posts on SFWA: Petitiongate. Because quite a few writers are speaking up about this, and while the furor appears to be dying down a bit, conversation is still happening. This is a good thing. Because this is a conversation that needs to keep happening.

I spotted all of these last night via Twitter. I follow Diana Pharaoh Francis there, and saw her post. From her, I found the other two.

Why It’s a Good Thing the SFWA Meltdown Is as Ugly at The Alternative Typewriter

Why the SFWA Shoutback Matters by Juliet E. McKenna

Gender, Writing, SFWA, by Diana Pharaoh Francis

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–I may not actually be a member of SFWA and not likely to be eligible at least in the immediate future (Carina doesn’t qualify me for membership). But I care about what’s going on with them for a variety of reasons.

One, I read a lot of these people. They’re writing my native genre when it comes to what I want on my bookshelves.

Two, they’re my fellow spec fic writers, part of the extended community of people who write what I want to write. And what happens with SFWA, while indeed focused on the American branch of speculative fiction, does echo across the worldwide community of SF/F writers. See the post by Juliet McKenna, above. Writers across the world are watching.

ETA: Catherine Schaff-Stump speaks out on SFWA: Privilege and Institutionalized Everythingism


Join Kowal and Scalzi’s Insect Army!

Because this, right up with Dara’s I’m going to sue the Internet for LIBEL!, is pretty much THE BEST ANSWER to the entire explosion going around the SF genre for the last several days.

I have called dibs on the “light brown apple moth”, Epiphyas postvittana, described by Wikipedia as “a highly polyphagous pest”. Because hey, I like all kinds of food! And if I get to be a pest, all the better!

Meanwhile whoa, SF Signal linked to me by way of linking to the excerpt from the Daily Dot that included my earlier link. So if you’re coming over from SF Signal, hi there. All of my posts on the current matter can be found under the tag “petitiongate”.

I’ll update this post today with further items of note as I see them!

ETA: And speaking of those items of note…

Popehat, regarding the threat to sue the Internet for libel, basically says “AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no”.

Mark Tiedemann has very good commentary over here. That post was actually written last year, during last year’s SFWA explosion, but it’s still timely and pertinent since this one’s related to last year’s too. Tiedemann writes about how he didn’t get it at first–where “it” is what all of the people upset during last year’s explosion were upset about–and then he did.

Ann Aguirre is right up front about why she doesn’t miss SFWA in the slightest, for pretty much all of the reasons that have been voiced already.

Other People's Books, Publishing

How much popcorn can we pop with this fire?

The fire from yesterday’s Daily Dot explosion continues to rage across the Internet this morning, folks.

Scalzi, not content to have issued yesterday’s A Note to Sean Fodera, has followed that up with a scathing critique of the attacks on Mary Robinette Kowal.

Money quote:

How many more award nominations and wins does she have to have before she is somebody, I wonder? How many more books does she have to publish? How many more television shows does she have to work on? How many more years of unpaid, volunteer service to the trade organizations in her field does she have to offer? How many more years of abject, unambiguous and wholly undeserved contempt does she have to endure before she is allowed to be someone “you should have heard of”?

Kowal herself, more soft-spoken but no less pointed, has offered herself up as a representative example of the sexism women face in the genre.

Silvia Morena-Garcia shows some of the pics of Kowal that have gotten lambasted–which, I point out, are exactly the sorts of dresses that you’d see in the A&E production of Pride & Prejudice, a fashion sensibility which is hardly daring, at least if you live in a mindset later than 1805–and describes how she’s had to evaluate her own clothing choices for fear of the same kind of attack, the fear that she’d get labeled a “cheap tart” if she wears the wrong thing.

James Nicoll is breaking out the popcorn over here. I think he’s going to need more popcorn.

There’s not much I can add to a lot of this, except to say that I have read Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey, as well as her shorter works “First Flight” and “Lady Astronaut of Mars”. I quite enjoyed all three, and I will very much enjoy going through the rest of the novels in her series, including Book Four, Valour and Vanity, due to be released in the US in April. Her speaking out in support of the good that SFWA can do and has done is in fact a contributing factor to why I keep paying attention to what goes on with the organization–because if she can speak in favor of it even given the shit that’s been hurled at her head, I respect that a lot.

And I for one feel that her words accomplish the very best of what any writer hopes for: to make her, indeed, someone you should have heard of.

P.S. Yoiks, I got linked to by Ansible! If you’re coming over from there, greetings to you!


No wait, not done yet after all

Dara pointed me at this tumblr that has a brand spanking new helping of excerpts off the forums, with snark directed at “the Young” in general and at Mary Robinette Kowal in particular. I particularly note the parts dismissing “the Young” as “incapable of independent thought” and asserting how we’re probably all pirating C.J. Cherryh’s books anyway. And the parts accusing Ms. Kowal of being a hypocrite due to her wardrobe choices in pictures on her site and when she attends science fiction conventions–because, of course, a woman couldn’t possibly be really interested in feminism if she dresses in any manner whatsoever that might approach making her conventionally attractive, right?

Now, I could point out that if you are of the mind that people who aren’t in your organization shouldn’t be commenting on the Internet about your organization’s activities, you might want to avoid posting things on publicly-readable forums. Or on Facebook. Which, last I checked, is part of the Internet.

And I could point out that criticizing a feminist for her wardrobe choices is yet another belittling, demeaning tactic, similar to attacking her for inflammatory language, meant to distract from her actual points.

I could even point out that dismissing an entire segment of people who disagree with you as “the Young” is perhaps not the wisest of strategies, because it’ll inevitably lead to our deploying this and this and this.

But mostly I’m just looking at the bit on that tumblr that snarks on Jim Hines’ cover parodies as making SFWA look “silly”, and all I can think is, um, actually, no folks, you’re doing that all by yourselves.

But what do I know? I’m just “the Young”.

P.S. Yikes, the Daily Dot linked to me in their post about this SFWA flap. Hi, people coming over from the Daily Dot! For those of you who may have missed it, their earlier writeup about all this is over here.

ETA: BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! I saw John Scalzi put this post up tonight, and really, there’s nothing I can add to that, because it pretty much speaks for itself.

I’ll also point out Cora Buhlert’s commentary here, noting other commentary I hadn’t found yet, and expressing her general bemusement over the whole thing.

Also, this post over here called “Sci-Fi and Sexism”, by blogger and reviewer Mandaray, addresses exactly why this kind of thing needs to keep getting discussed–because the sexism in SF/F as she was growing up kept putting her off the genre.

ETA #2: Dara has her own next post up now, addressing how, hilarity aside, there’s more being lost here.


Last round of SFWA commentary–this time

Stick a fork in it, looks like this one’s pretty much done.

Following the SFWA presidential bulletin that the petition that caused a tempest in the SFnal teapot was over a thing that isn’t even going to actually happen, I saw three links of interest on the matter that basically appear to be wrapping it up.

Jim Hines has a nice thoughtful post up trying to understand what motivated a lot of people to sign the thing in the first place. It’s worth looking at, just on that basis alone.

John Scalzi has cogent commentary on things to keep in mind regarding petitions and free speech. He also points out that he personally knows a LOT of the signers on the petition and wasn’t going to cotton to picking on them. Fair enough.

And Victoria Strauss points out that SFWA is a force for good in a lot of ways–pointing out quite correctly that Writer Beware itself is a critical resource for all writers, not just the ones writing SF/F. She’s optimistic that these upheavals the organization is going through are a sign of it improving.

I’d like to hope she’s right, if nothing else because it just saddens me to think of an organization dedicated to the betterment of the careers of writers of SF/F–the genre that should be looking forward, not back–can get embroiled in crap like this over and over. I mean, I still don’t qualify to join so it’s not like I have any real horse in this race, but still. I’d like to see them move on from this to the betterment of everyone in the organization, and everyone who might like to join it in the future.

We’ll see what happens next and how the rest of the year proceeds for all involved.

ETA: Dara’s wrap-up post on the matter is over here.


SFWA Facepalm, the 2014 Edition: Further updates

I stuck this on the tail end of my last post, but just to call it out again here, the president of SFWA has announced that the petitions going around are a lot of sound and fury, signifying ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I.e., all the brouhaha that crowd has tried to start is over something that SFWA isn’t even going to do.

Meanwhile, here, have another roundup of commentary! I particularly like these links because they’re saying something I’ve said before myself, which is to say, SF/F as a genre really needs to stop snarking on romance.

H/t to Cheryl on Google+ for alerting me to Mr. Hines’ post.