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March 19, 2003

As noted earlier today on Making Light: Michael Swanwick’s science fiction professionals against the war petition. For the record. [03:09 PM]
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Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on As noted:

Kerrie ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2003, 05:06 PM:

Not sure if I count (being a mere fairy tale poet), but I sent him my name to add.

Thank you for posting this here (and to Teresa). I posted the info with links on the SurLaLune Fairy Tale & Folklore Discussion Board and the Froudian Bulletin Board.

Sugarplum dreams and valley blossoms,


Jane Yolen ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2003, 06:21 AM:

I am NOT giving Swanwick my name, though I already signed dozens of petitions, written to congress critters, stood up and read anti war poetry at Poets Against the War, etc.

The history of Swanwick's petition reads like a hijacking rather than a good deed. He first wanted to post it as a rejoinder to SFWA which would not make a public anti-war statement. (And could not, legally, without losing its tax status, and certainly not morally without polling its members.) When he was told he could not use SFWA's name, he dragged his heels and complained for about a week to ten days, gradually changing the text of his message. But reluctantly.

So I will NOT sign that petition.


Chris Puzak ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2003, 09:00 AM:

Just out of curiosity, is it SFWA policy to issues statements on non-SF related issues? I know there were paid advertisements taken out in the 60s by science fiction professionals both for and against the war in Vietnam, but were those sponsored by the SFWA?

Derek James ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2003, 11:27 AM:

As I wrote about this on my blog last week:

I think it's cool if Swanwick wants to post his opposition to the war on his website and gather as many signatories as he wants from among the SF community. I don't agree with him or those who share his position, but it's an honest disagreement.

I *don't* think it's cool that he thinks the SFWA should have officially come out against the war. Now I'm not a member, but I know many people who are, and they are generally an eclectic, intellectually-diverse group, with many different opinions on many different matters. This is as it should be. Thus, I'm glad that SFWA has made the choice not to take an official stance one way or the other against prospective military action against Iraq.

I wholeheartedly support individual members expressing their opinions as loudly and often as they please, but I would not support an organization that ostensibly represents my field presuming to speak for all writers of speculative fiction on what is obviously a controversial, divisive issue within the community.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2003, 01:03 PM:

I'm not a member of SFWA, but it is my understanding that Jane Yolen is correct; it is not SFWA policy to take positions on political questions unconnected to their core concerns.

Moreover, SFWA is--supposedly at least--primarily an organization devoted to furthering the well-being of professional SF and fantasy writers.

At any rate, my feeling is that by removing the connection to SFWA, Swanwick did what was necessary. And, moreover, that if this weblog becomes a forum for arguing about SFWA, I will claw my eyes out with a spoon.