22/08/2003. Contributed by Jessica Martin
The Science Fiction Writers of America tightens up its membership requirements.
Oscar Wilde once said he didn't want to belong to any club that would have him. Luckily this isn't a problem for the SFWA, who have just tightened the ratchet on their membership requirements.
The SFWA are in reality the trade union for professional genre SFF writers, and do a lot of good work representing member's interests in battles with dodgy publishers, agents etc. They also present the annual Nebula Awards.
Full details of the new membership rules can be found over here.
In a burst of irony, under the new rules (if we understand them correctly), SFcrowsnest.com - which is a current institutional member of the SFWA - would have to scrape together 3 existing members to 'whiteball' our application if we were joining today.
To put that in perspective, the 'Nest's corporate membership of the exclusive 'London Library' club on St James Square only took one 'whiteball' to join.
One of the crits of the SFWA membership policy which was made by fantasy bestseller Piers Anthony in his autobiography 'How Precious Was That While' is that the entry criteria for authors isn't re-applied every year ... so authors who published in 1968 and joined the SFWA then, can still be members 30 years later, even if they haven't put pen to paper since.
Of course, by the sound of it Piers had fallen out with the SFWA (and Locus and ... ), and if that criteria was applied, the SFWA might lose so many members they'd become less effective as a counterbalance to the increasingly soulless and accountant-dominated SFF publishing biz.
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