I’d like to take a moment to note that my high school classmate Josh Marshall got prime “Column One” placement in the Los Angeles Times yesterday for himself and for his mighty political blog Talking Points Memo, which is currently in the process of totally pwning Alberto Gonzalez. This is why TPM is the 22nd highest-ranked blog out there, while I have to settle for being lowly number 33. But I don’t mind being the second-most notable blogger in the class of ’87; Josh is doing good work. He deserves the notoriety.
It’s here. It’s not actually a blog, it’s a newsgroup, because it was built fast and for this purpose. Anyone can read it — SFWAns, non-SFWAn spec fic writers who are interested in the process, SF/F fans and anyone else. However, to post questions and comments, you have to be a SFWA member. This makes sense to me because, after all, it is a SFWA election. But do feel free to comment about it here (in this thread) or on your own sites. Also, spread the word.
I’ll note this is something of a controversial experiment for SFWA; most of the time the election discussions and debates are internal. But I think now is a good time to let people see what SFWA’s concerns are and see where the membership wants to have the organization go. I do hope you’ll bookmark the newsgroup and check in on the questions and answers. And if you are a SFWA member — hey, asking some questions of the candidates wouldn’t be bad, eh?
My thanks to Jeffrey Dwight for building out this newsgroup on short notice, and to fellow candidate Michael Capobianco for agreeing to do this.
Update, 3:12pm: My SFWA candidacy post was the #9 blog post on the Internet yesterday, according to BlogPluse. Yay! People are interested!
I’ve just read what has got to be the nicest negative review I’ve ever gotten. While book ultimately isn’t the reviewer’s cup of tea, he also writes things like “John Scalzi is a writer of crystalline clarity and wit,” and “there is no ambiguity in Scalzi’s talent ” and so on and so forth. It’s like a paramour telling you they just want be friends and then buying you a new car to ease the breakup.
Bwa ha ha ha ha ha hah! Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Life is funny sometimes.
Here’s a graphic from Technorati of how often SFWA was discussed in blogs over the last week:
I’ve received a lot of support and enthusiasm from folks since announcing my SFWA bid (often couched in “Dude, what’s wrong with your head?” phrasing, but even so), and I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who who have cheered me on. I appreciate it, and yes, I’m wondering what’s wrong with my head, too. So are others; someone recently suggested I’m doing this as a bit of a publicity stunt, which gave me a giggle. Doing this as a publicity stunt would be a little bit like attempting in vitro fertilization just for the kicky fun of it; the problem is that in both cases if it works, there’s fairly significant obligation at the end of the stunt. There are better ways to publicize myself, I’d say.
I am serious about running (a fact which causes my editor no end of grief), but I think I would be remiss not to manage expectations. There are lots of reasons I might not win, including:
1. I’m a write-in candidate;
2. I may have waited too long and too many people may have already turned in ballots;
3. Michael Capobianco may simply be the preferred candidate of the majority of SFWA voters, based on platform/experience/personality/rugged good looks;
4. I may just irritate the crap out of enough SWFA members that they actively vote against me;
5. People who intend to vote for me may get distracted by a marathon Veronica Mars DVD-watching session and simply forget to vote in time.
Realistically, I’m the underdog in this particular election. I think I can win, otherwise I wouldn’t be running; more to the point, I’m campaigning to win (sorry, PNH). But whether I will win is another matter entirely — and whether I will breathe a sigh of relief if this particular cup gets passed from me is another matter, too.
Part of the reason I mention this is that if I don’t win, I intend to chalk it up to a combination of the five points above and not, say, a massive conspiracy that goes to the very top of SFWA to crush all who oppose the status quo. Honestly, SFWA’s not that organized. And although Mr. Capobianco is (clearly) not my choice to lead the organization, I don’t suspect he’ll lead it to ruin. SFWA will live to see another election.
In short, this is the expectation management entry. I’m not the “project boundless optimism” type; I prefer reality. If you’re supporting me in this election, I hope you keep reality in mind as well. Hope for the win, plan for the future if not.
No matter what, two good things are coming out of this election: one, SFWA voters will have a choice, with candidates with distinct philosophical differences; two, a lot of issues regarding the organization are going to get dragged out into the light for everyone to look at. Hopefully this will make a difference the next time elections come around. Both of these matter; I’m glad to be able to help bring them about.