Monday, March 11, 2013

SFWA and the upcoming elections

by Stephanie Osborn

I'm going to take a brief intermission from space disasters to talk about something important to writers, especially science fiction and fantasy writers. This is something I don't usually do, go semi-political on ya, but I've thought about this a lot, and I think I need to say my piece, just this once.

At Anachrocon in Atlanta about 2 weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending some time over drinks and dinner, chatting with the inimitable Lee Martindale. Now for those that might not know, Lee is the South/Central Regional Director for SFWA, the Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America. She is an amazing lady, all the more so for being wheelchair-bound after a very active youth. (I fuss because I got bad knees, and we do commiserate from time to time, she and I; but I am at least still mobile on my own two feet. This lady got guts.) And with elections coming up, Jim Hines, of book cover/comic pose parody fame, has decided to run against her for the position.

Now, don't get me wrong. I like Mr. Hines, though I've not met him personally. And I think that he is a very intelligent man. And I'm sure he'd make a good regional director.

But here's the thing. I've talked with Lee, and I know the plans she has, the things she is trying to do for authors in my area of the country. And they are long-range plans. She knows the ins and outs, the politics, who does what and who gets things done. They are plans that will help me in the long run; that will help many authors in the long run, especially the mid-listers and the "I'm just getting started good." The things she has planned, well they're too numerous for me to even list here. And probably too complicated, since I'm not in the heirarchy of SFWA and don't necessarily understand all the politics and policies involved.

But Jim Hines isn't, either. He isn't in the current heirarchy, and he isn't aware of the things that Lee already has in work. And all of that stuff will either be lost or set back by years if Lee doesn't return to the position. I sort of view it like Travis and I wrote in A New American Space Plan: if every incoming administration has its own agenda, and the current budget/plan/whatever is insufficient to accomplish the task during the current administration, it will never be done because it will be redirected when the NEXT administration comes into power.

Now again, this doesn't mean that Hines wouldn't be a good director or anything else. Nothing on Mr. Hines at all. It just means that the plans that Lee has, that would help me and others out, get thrown out with the bath water.

And so I'm coming down on behalf of Lee Martindale for SFWA South/Central Regional Director. If you are interested in knowing more, please ping me from the contact link at my website, or ping Lee from her website.

But above all, participate in the process. Go talk to both candidates and FIND OUT what they plan to do for you as a writer. Then decide. And VOTE.

I've made my decision.

-Stephanie Osborn