I, JEFF VANDERMEER, AM RUNNING FOR SFWA PRESIDENT
For an update on other candidates who announced today, click here.
John Scalzi has ably put forth a platform for SFWA that makes a lot of sense. I agree with most of the planks, but I don't think it goes far enough. For that reason, I've decided to run for SFWA President as a write-in candidate. I know some people have already sent in their votes, but I'm counting on the procrastination factor. You have until 4/28 to get in your votes, so I think I still have a chance.
What would I do if I were SFWA president? First of all, I'd make it an automatic disqualification for any writer to lobby their friends to vote for them in any category for the Nebula Awards. In fact, I'd appoint a volunteer whose only job would be to ferret out voting corruption. If that didn't work, we'd take a good, hard, long look at scrapping the Nebula Awards altogether or making it a purely juried award. Further, to make the playing field level, if the awards were to be continued and be voted on, works from online venues would be placed under a five- or six-vote handicapping system to make sure that hardcopy-only fiction would not be placed at such a disadvantage.
As for the various SFWA publications, a special ombudsman would be appointed to monitor them. Any publication deemed after a year to be dispensing useless or criminally misleading information, or passing along too many nastalgiastic articles (otherwise known as "Back in the day, when what I knew about publishing was still up-to-date"), would be either discontinued or severely dealt with.
Florida's Sunshine laws with regard to transparency of government actions and meetings would be applied to SFWA. The SFWA online forums would become public forums. Only SFWA members would be able to post, but anyone could read the posts. Anyone who objected to this arrangement would be reassigned to a new closed Yahoo Group at PissingInCircles@yahoogroups.com (or whatever designation they want) and could gossip and e-blurt politically incorrect views to their heart's content.
In addition, I would engage in special fundraisers designed to raise the overall visibility of SFWA. For example, perhaps a San Diego fundraiser featuring handmade pinatas of famous SFWA members heads--Robert Silverberg, for example. I would also stage traveling sideshows featuring "SF Writers in Captivity" and "Writing Exhibitions for the Imagination Impaired".
SFWA would abandon efforts to get healthcare for members and instead focus on preventative exercise and diet, providing discounts on vegetables and fruit, as well as on gym memberships. Any SFWA member who lost 20 pounds in one year would be eligible for a free two-year membership in any functional organization of their choice. An "active member" would take on a totally different meaning.
As for professional credentials, we would change the requirements from being publication-based to being competency-based. A battery of experts already certified to conduct such an investigation--maybe Gene Wolfe and some of his frisbee golf buddies--would then review submitted writing samples and make the final decisions.
SFWA also needs a good logo--like an eagle with talons out, devouring a pig, which is itself devouring a lion.
Finally, SFWA would change its name to SFWW, or SF/F Writers of the World, and allow members from every country on God's green Earth. Every May Day, we would go to a different volcanic island and construct a garlanded May Pole that a select group of chosen writers would dance around, skipping merrily. After which, another selected group of writers would be bundled into a huge wicker representation of a nude Clark Ashton Smith. This Wickersmith would then be doused in gasoline, set on fire, and, after an appropriate delay, heaved over the edge of a very high cliff.
If all of these platform planks were carried out, I am fairly sure that SFWA (or SFWW) would become a unique and high-profile organization within a matter of months.
But do you have the guts, SFWA membership? Do you have the guts for this? I think you do. And that's why I, with help from Evil Monkey, will soon rule SFWA/SFWW and use it as my own personal piggy bank and ammo depot for my vendettas against anyone who dares oppose me in my nicotine/caffeine-fueled haze of paranoia and deepest, darkest neurosis. Because, ultimately, you know you want to see Rome burn just because it looks pretty on fire at night.