… I will probably never be a member of the Science Fiction / Fantasy Writers of America.
Becoming a member of SFWA is kind of like getting your PHD in the speculative writing field; it’s the measure among your peers that you have "arrived," as it were. It was always one of my long-term goals. If nothing else, it is an objective measure of how well I am doing, as one has to sell a certain amount of writing in order to be eligible for membership.
I’m guessing now that I will never make that cutoff. And not sure I want to.
The timing could not have been better. A few posts ago, I mentioned a story in which an alien and a human are locked in an endless embrace of fornication. It wasn’t the sex that put me off; it was the fact that a) I didn’t think there was any meat to the story, and b) the sex was unnecessary for the anemic plot line. Trolling around on the internet (yeah, I know, I know) reinforced my impressions by a score of about 3 to 2 that folks generally didn’t care for it. Someone made the salient point that the speculative elements were not integral to the story’s execution – which to me means that it’s not a true SF/F/H story.
Well, I just read that that same story won the 2010 Nebula Award for best spec-fiction short story of the year. And the Nebula Awards are chosen by – you guessed it – the full members of the SFWA.
I don’t know if I am more incredulous, disappointed, or just wracked with fatigue (my body is exhausted but my 100-mph brain is keeping me awake at 2AM, with work tomorrow). If this is the kind of story they pick, is it the right organization for me? That was their choice and more power to ’em. But it would not have been mine – not even close.
I have to think on this some more. My writing was always aimed more towards Joe Reader’s enjoyment than the literati’s critical acclaim. Maybe my goal wasn’t correct in the first place. Headaches, headaches….