Those of you who follow me on Twitter probably noticed some shenanigans happening last week with the SFWA Bulletin. If you missed what was going on, Ad Week has a nice summary of the situation.
As Daniel Abraham points out, the very fact that Ad Week picked up on the story illustrates why SFWA’s teacup tempest is a big deal: the Bulletin is one of the primary ways the organization presents itself to the public. You don’t have to be a member to subscribe. My library has it. I subscribed for several years. (For those who know me only through WordPress: I write fiction in my spare time, and have been part of the SF writing community since 1998 or thereabouts.) Why did I stop? The Resnick/Malzberg Dialogues, which I’ve charitably described as an old fart circle jerk, were a factor; I couldn’t see why a column of little substance and no bearing on a modern publishing career was given so large a portion of each issue. And that was before it devolved into blatant sexism and nonsense.
Emma Bull has some trenchant remarks on professional appearance and the quality of the Bulletin‘s cover art, even when it’s not actively offensive.
Mary Robinette Kowal explains that SFWA has been dealing with a lot of other stuff lately (DOJ, Night Shade, anyone?) and the Bulletin, which was running more or less smoothly, was not high on anyone’s list of things to worry about. Until now, of course. From that perspective, it’s easy to see how the train wreck happened.
A task force was announced on Monday. Today, the editor resigned. The people on the task force are sensible, and I think now that the publication’s problems have been quite thoroughly dissected, things will get better.
Of the many and varied responses to the whole mess, Foz Meadows’s Bulletin drinking game, Kameron Hurley’s takedown of the privilege inherent in the Dialogues, and Rachel Swirsky’s artful skewering of the “lady editor” designation are my favorites.