Space Ramblings

Andrew Burt, Cory Doctorow and Does Anyone Actually Need the SFWA?

Cory Doctorow who has built half his non-career on the kind of tech forward futurism that got old around the time we all stopped reading Wired Magazine is ranting against Andrew Burt, former Vice President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America or the SFWA (shouldn’t it be SFFWA then? No, don’t ask silly questions) because Andrew Burt had made fighting copyright theft and book piracy the core of his agenda.

But the irony of the whole shoutfest between Andrew Burt, John Scalzi and Cory Doctorow over control of the SFWA is that two of the people involved have contributed virtually nothing as far as SF writing goes. Burt is technically an SFWA member through a handful of stories. John Scalzi has written a long list of books no one has particularly read, but this still puts him well above either Cory Doctorow or Andrew Burt. But more to the point it highlights the general irrelevance of the SFWA, after all if you can’t even get known and successful SF writers to bother running the thing, why bother with it at all?

The answer is that the SFWA is basically a clubhouse. It’s not of any actual use, it just gives professionals in the field and a whole raft of semi-professionals and assorted hangers on a chance to bask in the limelight, create rules and then fight over implementing them. The SFWA is useless as an organization but great as a Vonnegutian Granfaloon and the only people who care who is the next President of the SFWA are already in the organization, which is a sure symptom of an irrelevant clubhouse organization.

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