Possible Presidencies

We’ve been having fun with a certain candidate for the president of SFWA here, but in the comment threads at least a couple of people have asked a good question: What if Andrew Burt does become SFWA president? Is it truly the end of SFWA? Partly to keep those folks who are now well and truly sick of hearing me blather here about SFWA over the last few days from having to drag their eyeballs through yet another entry, my answer to this lies behind the cut.

The answer: No, it’s not the end of SFWA, at the very least not in the short term. For one thing — and this is indeed a very important thing — the president of SFWA is not the entire executive branch. There’s also the rest of the Board of Directors, four seats of which are open for the general membership to vote on: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. Of the latter three positions, there are some really excellent candidates this year: Elizabeth Moon is standing for VP, Mary Robinette Kowal and Lee Martindale are doing the same for Secretary, and Amy Sterling Casil is up for Treasurer. I don’t see any of these candidates letting Burt run SFWA into a wall without putting up a hell of a fight. I don’t envy them, because I expect they’ll spend a fair amount of their time counteracting his foolishness, but as I mentioned in a comment elsewhere on the site, a Burt attempt to put a fast one over any of these candidates is likely to have the same result as him walking into a buzzsaw: Lots of blood and little chunks of his ego splattered all over the wall. If Burt’s smart, he wouldn’t try; I lack confidence he’s that smart.

But the point is, I suspect Burt will have a board who sees it as their duty not to let SFWA go kerplooey, and because of that, there’s a very good chance it won’t. Of course, SFWA’s board shouldn’t have to be on high alert to babysit its president; it should be working on things to improve the organization. This is one reason among many why I believe Russell Davis to be the better candidate for president; no babysitting will have to be applied or even considered.

That said, a Burt administration does present SFWA with credibility issues that will dog it in the long run, most of which I already detailed in my previous essay on the matter; simply put it doesn’t look good to install someone with so little practical publishing experience or with such high negatives across the board, inside and outside the organization. It’ll make it more difficult for SFWA to do its work for SF/F writers; it’ll make recruiting efforts for the organization substantially more difficult. And it will drive some members out of the organization. What SFWA needs now is to be seen as (and to be) effective for its members in their careers. A Burt administration, in my opinion, won’t help that.

That has long-term effects on the organization. It doesn’t mean it’s a kill shot on SFWA. It just makes everything harder going forward, at a point in time when SFWA doesn’t need things to be harder.

54 thoughts on “Possible Presidencies

  1. One step forward. Five steps backwards. That is progress for you!

    So what happened in Michael’s (dunno last name) Presidency?

    The only thing that seems to stand out is the Scribd issue. Did anything else get accomplished this year? I as a non writer am not aware of anything besides this. Of course lots could of happened….

    Curious to compare since this year could be considered a good board for Burt. But probably next year would not be. So seeing what happened during a good Burt year. (besides Scribd of course.)

  2. Tom:

    It does seem that SFWA did spend most of its time dealing with Scribd and the aftermath.

    I do think that Michael Capobianco did an overall good job with a very difficult situation; bear in mind I ran against him for SFWA president last year and did so because I had substantial doubt out his fitness for the job, so when I say I think he overall did well, you can know I’m not just blowing smoke. It wouldn’t have been an easy year for any president.

    Also bear in mind that ultimately some good came out of the Scribd incident; to wit, SFWA taking a good look at its policies and practice dealing with assisting members and their copyrights. There were early flubs in implementation there, but in the end there’s been benefit to it. This would have been a positive to any president, and it accrues to a significant extent to Capobianco’s account.

  3. I’d like to know who Burt’s supporters are. I mean, somebody voted for him, right? So presumably a pro-Burt camp exists (we’re in the sci-fi business, so we’re not strangers to outrageous speculation). Where do they stand on all the issues? How did they motivate voting for Burt?
    :-S

  4. It won’t make the slightest difference to me John, but the consequences to you will be devastating. In your mind SFWA will be dead, and with no one to guide you out, you’ll be stuck in permanent psychosis. The walls of reality will come crashing down. One minute, you’re the savior of the SFWA cause, next thing you know you’ll be Burt’s bosom buddy. You’ll even have fantasies about alien civilizations as you requested, but in the end, back on Earth you’ll be lobotomized! So get a grip on yourself John, and put down that ballot!

  5. I want to be up front about one thing that John said.

    “I don’t see any of these candidates letting Burt run SFWA into a wall without putting up a hell of a fight.”

    I’ve said that if Burt is elected that I will not serve with him. While that statement has it’s fair share of taking my toys and going home, that’s not the primary reason. I’m a freelancer, in theater predominately so I’ve worked with some, um, difficult personalities before. It’s taken me the better part of seventeen years to learn to walk away from a project that is going to make me crazy. I’m perfectly willing to work with someone aggravating or with whom I have different ideas as long as it is the effort of getting good work done.

    I believe, both because of the public relations baggage and and because of Burt’s managerial style, that my primary effort on the board would be to keep it from running into a wall. I don’t think we would accomplish much of anything except that. This is the sort of job that I’ve learned to walk away from for my own sanity.

  6. There’s no way he’s going to win, John. I mean, I’m actually motivated to pay attention when the ballot shows up and vote against him. Usually I don’t much care since I have tended to regard past candidates as being equally incompetent with regards to running the organization. But Burt threatens to transform the usual gentle and benign incompetence into a dangerous and destructive one.

  7. Vox:

    To be sure, I don’t expect him to win; he’s run before and lost, and that was before SFWA had to suffer through this last term with him as VP. The enthusiasm for a Burt administration, as far as I can see, is muted at best. On the other hand SFWA is coming off a bad PR run because of him (or, as a hat tip for those who want to believe it’s all Cory’s fault for outing his flub, by enabling others to use pointy sticks to poke SFWA with), and it’s worth making sure we all appreciate the consequences in the unlikely event Burt manages to win.

    Stacey:

    Nah. No funny commercials.

  8. The Superbowl comparison is a good one. Before the Superbowl, I told my wife that I wouldn’t be surprised if New England won big and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants won a close game either. I won’t be surprised if Russell wins big, but I won’t be surprised either if Burt wins a close election.

    Burt has proved in the past that he’s excellent at manipulating situations behind the scenes in SFWA to get what he wants: the official endorsement situation the first time he ran for SFWA VP years ago, the Shades of Gray investment deal, and his reappointment to the copyright committee after the Scribd muck-up. All of these situations amount to lining up enough votes. He’s also shown that he will use his personal connections to drum up votes for himself, and not just to generate interest in the SFWA election. Compare that to other candidates who say: Vote for me, here are some other candidates to consider, but just go out and vote. Burt’s emails to the Critters workshop contain “vote for me if you’re in SFWA” messages combined with back-handed criticisms of the other candidates against him and silence on the rest.

    Burt’s been absent from SFWA election debates online for a couple days now — he hasn’t posted in the private SFWA sff.net election newsgroups, he hasn’t shown up here to answer questions, and he hasn’t returned to the SFWA livejournal to answer more questions from members and other candidates. When he does return, he’ll be sure to tell how he busy he was with some plausible excuse. But we shouldn’t assume that he’s not working hard on his election behind the scenes. Instead, his record in the past suggests that when he drops from public view in a SFWA controversy it’s to go to work behind the scenes to find people who are sympathetic to his pleading and willing to do what he asks. With many writers dropping out of SFWA over the past couple years, it’s entirely possible for Burt to shake enough hands and kiss enough babies to win this election.

    I expect that he’s in damage control mode right now, actively working behind the scenes where he works best, finding SFWA voters who think the internet criticisms of him go too far, or who don’t pay attention to the web at all, and helping them fill out and send in their ballots. It’s a more effective strategy than engaging Scalzi or Russell or others in reasoned debate about his record. If Burt has one sound poliical instinct, it’s counting up votes and doing whatever he needs to do to get enough votes to get his agenda passed. I think the other candidates are too busy focusing on more substantive issues to do the same. And that’s why, at this point, Burt still has a chance to win.

  9. pio: the politician who counts — and lines up — the votes beforehand doesn’t have to worry about who counts them after. (You only have to worry if you’ve counted and you don’t have enough lined up.)

  10. Charlie Finlay:

    To be sure, this election is a test of SFWA as well. As I noted in “Gut Check” entry, you can’t really blame Burt for running; his ego demands it, and he fundamentally doesn’t understand why people think he’s harmful. But you can hold SFWA to account if he gets elected. It speaks to what the organization sees itself as.

  11. No, seriously, Charlie. The ballots, you know, the little bits of paper that get mailed in – who tabulates them?

  12. John: I agree. I’m just hoping SFWA voters don’t become complacent before the votes are counted.

    pio: I believe the vote counting is done by an outside organization, like the League of Women Voters. Maybe one of the SFWA candidates will clarify.

  13. In addition to the Critters contingent, I think Burt’s voters are the SFWA members who don’t spend much time online. I’m not sure how many there are. If you’re going by the Bulletin alone for your SFWA news, Burt looks like an upstanding member with a long history of committee service. If you throw in Locus’s reporting, he’s merely the instigator (and loser) of an online slapfight with Cory Doctorow.

    You don’t get the full picture unless you follow this blog, the SFWA LJ, and the sff.net groups. That’s a lot of virtual ground to cover for someone who doesn’t enjoy screwing around on the intarwebs all day.

  14. I think Cory was overly shrill about scribd. I think that Burt very likely made an honest mistake. I also think that the harm being done to authors who didn’t want their stuff up there was far greater than the harm done to the few who did and had to wait for a day or two for it to get reposted.

    Not to say that Burt doesn’t sound fairly useless and that he shouldn’t have known better than to make said mistake or that he handled the aftermath well. But I don’t think he was -really- malicious and I don’t think Cory is the saint he makes himself out to be.

  15. Your position is not unknown in SFWA, sng, nor an unreasonable one. Some in SFWA take it a little bit further and put it all on Cory, which I think is a little much. And also, to be clear, I think Burt often means well; he certainly wasn’t malicious in his intent with the Scribd takedown. He just did it very very badly.

    However, it’s not just the incident itself, but how Burt acted in the aftermath. Whether the initial incident was overblown or not, how Burt responded (up to an including lobbying to have himself made head of the newly formed Copyright Committee) makes the case against him as president.

    That and lots of other things, mind you.

  16. Oh, yeah. I have to agree completely about the aftermath. The man who wants to be president should have handled that -much- better. And I’m more than willing to take your word on other things that a simple netadmin wouldn’t know anything about. And, to be honest, Burt sounds like a suit run amok. Never a pretty sight. :)

    Kind of a shame about Cory, though. A few years ago he was a highly rational reasonable individual and now he just seems like he’s moving every closer to internet nutcase. I’d still take him over Burt any day. But I hope he snaps out of the current cycle soon.

  17. sng:

    I disagree, re: Cory. I know Cory personally; he’s perfectly rational. There’s a lot of subtext between Cory and Burt involving SFWA and other things. Cory was definitely poking Burt in the eye, but there was history there.

  18. Yeah, I’m not even mostly talking about the scribd thing there. And I have no doubt that he’s rational. I’m actually a big fan of his fiction. It does kind of seem that he’s gone, in recent years, from having a really balanced view of copyright in a world that wants to go way too far in one direction to being, in my opinion, a bit too far the other way. And as somebody who tends to overstate things (the above post being a perfect example) I can understand the urge to poke somebody in the eye. In particular somebody like Burt. Wasn’t aware of any of the subtext in this case but that makes it make a lot more sense. Thanks for the info now I’m a somewhat better informed person with a somewhat better outlook .

  19. sng:

    Well, he definitely is a sigma or two out from most folks on copyright, and even more so than the general population of SFWA, so that’s perfectly understandable.

  20. John,

    Thanks for answering that looming question.

    Your election coverage is really top-notch; you have a reasoned point of view, and you don’t pull your punches (well, I suspect you are, a little bit, which makes me amused at the thought of you in full attack mode). This is why I have a wisdom-of-scalzi tag on my blog.

    (Small btw: I just finished The Sagan Diary, and I have to say, wow. Just wow. You blew my mind for day.)

  21. John @ 19:

    And also, to be clear, I think Burt often means well; he certainly wasn’t malicious in his intent with the Scribd takedown. He just did it very very badly.

    Maybe it’s time for a new law. Any sufficiently clueless incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

  22. I didn’t think Bush would win either time, yet we’ve survived over seven years of him so far.

    *sigh*

    Y’never know. SFWA probably would survive a Burt presidency, but…it’s would be taking several giant steps backward rather than making any forward progress.

  23. Pio, according to SFWA’s bylaws:

    Article VII Section 2. Nominations. The duties of the Election Committee shall be to use their best efforts to persuade qualified members to run for each Elective Office; to produce, send out, receive, and count the ballots, and to announce the results to the President. In February of each year, the Election Committee shall furnish to the President a list of members who have agreed to propose themselves for office, together with brief statements by the candidates of their qualifications and their intentions should they be elected. On or before March 1, the Election Committee shall prepare ballots and cause a copy thereof to be mailed to the last recorded address of each member eligible to vote. Ballots will be received and counted in the month of April and the results will be announced in the next issue of Forum.

  24. I’m terribly glad you reminded people that, as poor a choice as Dr. Burt may be for SFWA President, it won’t necessarily kill the organization as a whole. I think people are forgetting that.

    Again, to throw my own virtually worthless opinion in on this, as a non-member, Dr. Burt’s danger to the organization is not that he doesn’t mean well or that he’s out of touch with the publishing world, but that he apparently doesn’t really understand what the majority of the members really want. Someone so divorced from the will of the people shouldn’t serve in that office.
    (You may also apply this to most political candidates running in the upcoming elections in the larger political arena.)

  25. As an outsider, I personally find his qualifications most offensive. To make him the ‘face’ of SFWA is hysterical. If there weren’t publication requirements for membership, I’d probably not have a problem with him. Although I clearly disagree with the membership requirements, I do respect them – it’s an organizational decision.

    It seems Burt is the patsy/gopher for probably an older section of SFWA who are copyright nazis(I don’t mean that derogatory. It’s their view of copyright and they are welcome to it.) and I don’t think you have to be older to be a copyright nazi. I’m just speculating, because I find it interesting.

    So, really, Burt probably is serving a faction of SFWA – in a manner that they are comfortable with.

    Personally, if I were a member and Burt was elected, I’d probably resign so my name was not associated with that philosophy. I’d probably go so far as to start my own Writer’s Org that fit my philosophy, if one did not already exist. Maybe in keeping with tradition, I’d call it SFWA:TNG.

  26. Patrick,

    I’d love to know what part of any possible position on copyright you feel is comparable to anything the Nazis did.

  27. Also, of course, calling someone a Nazi of any sort and then saying that it’s not meant to be derogatory does lead to a bracing moment of cognitive dissonance. The last time the word “Nazi” was not generally meant to be derogatory by just about everyone who lived was in May of ’45.

  28. Sorry. It was an expression I have heard in – not sure where. I’m likening it to the ‘Soup Nazi’ usage. My point was, it was an expression, I don’t know that I am 100% opposed to their position. So, I am not saying it in a derogatory way. At least that’s how it played out in my mind.(Realizing that I appear much smarter in my mind than I do on this blog) I also called ‘them’ older. Sorry, that should have been ‘more experienced’.

    Not having anything published, I don’t have a dog in that discussion, though intending to be published at some point, I find the discussion interesting. I believe I tend to fall on the more relaxed view, not being a big fan of DRM. I certainly wouldn’t have an issue with my work being in Baen’s Free Library, for example.

  29. The scribd thing very much wasn’t about DRM at all. I don’t know Burt’s thoughts on DRM and I’ve paid enough attention to the scribd thing to feel pretty safe in saying that said views haven’t been made publicly available.

    Baen and O’Reilly are two very strong examples proving that you can make money selling DRM free ebooks in standard formats and even giving away content. A lesson I suspect Tor has learned. None of them would be pleased to see the stuff they sell on a site like scribd, for obvious reasons.

    But for them to make money at it they have to police it somehow. O’Reilly watermarks their stuff, I don’t know how or if Baen polices it. I suspect they don’t have to much, simply because while I might “lend” a friend a copy of a purchased Baen ebook I’d -never- put it up on the ‘net in general. Simply out of respect for them.

    From what I’ve read Burt messed up big time cause he’s a jackass in general and fairly clueless about avoiding false positives. Sounds like he was also -really- lazy. And, of course, the way he handled the aftermath makes me ashamed to share a planet with him. To be fair, the scribd folks could have handled the initial request better and started taking down the stuff that was clearly infringing. Going back to your example of putting stuff up on the Baen free library. Yes, if you make that choice that’s great. I can’t think of anybody who disputes that. But if I make the choice to put your work up on a site and give it away to the world at large then I’m clearly in the wrong and you should have a recourse to correct that. If a site operator forces you to jump through DMCA hoops to remove something that commonsense says they have no right to distribute then they are wrong. By the same token if you use the DMCA to try to get material removed for other reasons then you are wrong. The frustrating thing about the DMCA is that this is all commonsense application of everyday copyright law and it just opens a snakepit that’s not good for anybody.

    I also don’t know of anybody who really thinks that he wanted to remove Cory’s work or that the majority of titles on the list in question weren’t cases of copyright infringement by scribd. That doesn’t by any means make what Burt did right or the way he handled it anything other than disgusting or comical, depending on your viewpoint.

    Clearly all of that makes him a very bad choice for president. At the same time adopting the stance that the scribd guys were fully in the right is a dangerous thing as it could serve to change Baen’s and Tor’s minds as the ebook market expands. And that would be a tragedy. There’s a lot of middle ground there. But we, the community, have to hold infringers feet to the fire to help keep people like Baen, O’Reilly, and Tor happy. And, to be clear, by infringers I mean the people who are trying to mass distribute their stuff for profit.

    There’s always going to be some leakage, but I think the fact that Baen makes more money off of ebooks than everybody else put together makes a strong case for which side to err on. But it’s only by clueful and careful enforcement that this can all be prevented from devolving into them becoming like the music or, god forbid, video guys.

  30. I would suspect Burt’s defenders see less harm in false positives than Cory does. I’m assuming since he IS making a bid for the presidency, he has a side. I can’t imagine he’s THAT completely unaware. (I’m usually pretty imaginative, but I do like to give people the benefit of the doubt)

    I agree with the analogy of the SuperBowl. No one is really contesting the blog offense capabilities of Burt’s opponents, but I suspect there’s a defensive line on Burt’s side that no one is really talking about.(WHY WHY WHY Did the Pats have to lose?)

    The frustrating thing about the DMCA is that this is all commonsense application of everyday copyright law —

    Amazingly stated.

  31. From what I’ve read Burt messed up big time cause he’s a jackass in general and fairly clueless about avoiding false positives.

    Speaking as a software person, I gasped in disbelief when I saw the raw list. That was the most primitive use of pattern matching I ever hope to see — we’re talking 1970s. I could do better with a Python script in a week; any of my developer colleagues could do better with a Python script in a day.

    False positives are important because they dominate the perception of the debate. Instead of talking about “Gosh, people are stealing Silverberg’s royalties” (true, and bad), the conversation was about “Gosh, innocent people were affected” (also true, and bad.) “When you aim at the King, you must kill him.”

  32. Jonquil,

    True, very true.

    Patrick,

    I think it’s impossible to overstate the harm of false positives more than Cory does. Not in the framing the debate way Jonquil is talking about. But in harm done to to the copyright holder.

    The solution, of course, is having somebody good right the app that looks for violations and have somebody not lazy and honest on both sides. The party submitting a list of possible violations and the site hosting possibly questionable material all look at it in an honest fashion.

  33. Not a SFWA member, but here’s my two cents.

    Right before the 2004 election I was having a conversation with a local reporter for the big newspaper in NE Ohio. He had interviewed all the candidates (including most of the no-names that only had their names on ballots in Ohio counties), and had done a lot of ground work shaking out likely voters and how they felt about the election. It was his belief that Bush couldn’t possibly win Ohio, and that the percentage of Kerry’s win would be in the teens.

    My response was that he was missing some of the voters who had never been bother to vote before and that whomever won it would be a matter of 5% or less.

    The lesson of that election?

    Never count out those who haven’t bothered to be active before. They don’t look at the same places you and I do, and they don’t hold the same beliefs that you and I do.

  34. @ A.R.Yngve: Apparently, Ms. Ursula Le Guin and Dr. Jerry Pournelle are the most prominent supporters for Mr.Andrew Burt (PhD). Obviously…these two command a fairly large group of followers, friends and supporters.
    Although they do not publicly endorse* Andrew Burt (PhD), there are plenty of instances where those two have come in support of Andrew Burt (PhD) past actions.
    * …to the best of my knowledge.

  35. @ Blegoo: Well, I’m not a SFWA member, and not eligible anyway. But I’m thinking that, logically, it is people like Le Guin and Pournelle who most need to be sent John Scalzi’s fabulous rant, be it by email or snail mail or even carrier pigeon! Not to taunt them (or, let’s be honest, not only) but to make them realize what Andrew Burt’s candidacy means to many young, active authors and publishers today…

  36. Jerry Pournelle was formerly a friend of mine (and I hope maybe still will be), and I have always respected him, his family, and his vast wealth of knowledge and experience. I love the fact that he is an old-fashioned Southern gentleman – and I like his writing too. Previously, I thought he was almost insanely in favor of Andrew Burt’s bungling, and I simply couldn’t understand it. No comprendo.

    Jerry pretty much came out in favor of Russell, stating clearly that he thought SFWA President should be someone with a strong presence in the business. He did it in a way that made it clear what he thinks is best for the organization, without putting Andrew down.

    As far as mystery voters, that has always been my concern, since the first day I became aware Andrew was actually going to do it. Others were pre-convinced that Andrew running was a foregone conclusion and of a variety of minds as to why that would be so. I favor the “insanity” defense. Using faulty logic (i.e. – somebody who’d stirred up that much trouble wouldn’t go back for more, would he?), I thought he wouldn’t do it, but would want to try to be involved on a lesser level all the same.

    The guy is fighting for his “life.” Patrick Weekes’ “future history” is hilarious because it’s so close to the mark. “After Russell Davis’ death is declared an accident . . .”

    I think we all have different things that torque us off about the deal. Andrew most recently asserted in his private response to John’s public writings about the situation that he “never took any money from SFWA.” Why, this is technically correct. After the board voted to provide funds to the “e-piracy committee to fight piracy,” he then directed the Treasurer to pay $10,000 to the attorney who was preparing the patent application for Burt’s sole-proprietor-developed “anti-piracy” software. It’s also “technically correct” that the Commonwealth of Mass., the state in which SFWA is currently incorporated, allows organizations like SFWA to loan money to board members — however, this isn’t because they purposely allow it so much as, they just don’t address it at all. Andrew did INCORRECTLY state that the board followed the “written conflict of interest policy of the IRS” to the letter. A NEW policy has been written (in 2007). There was no coherent, applicable written IRS policy other than “no” at the time Burt received the loan, and mathematically, he had to have voted for his own loan (there were two abstentions – neither of which was Andrew Burt).

    http://www.idealist.org/if/idealist/en/FAQ/QuestionViewer/default?section=16&item=59

    There are people as I think Pat described, who are disturbed by the level of criticism against Andrew Burt, and who feel it is “demonizing,” etc. There are people who have asked me why I would be against him – is it personal. I have explained, “it’s the lying thing.” I can’t tolerate it. I suppose if someone tells me an untruth a time or two, and it’s under understandable circumstances, I’m no more or less rigid than anybody else. But over time? Good Lord, the man does virtually everything one would categorize as underhanded, devious, slimy, the whole nine yards. He gives a bad name to the word “tool.” And if the membership votes for somebody who slid in under the back door as a member in the first place, a “Ph.D.” with no vita, or whose supposed “vita” looks like a smart high school kid’s sloppy list of activities, who so CANNOT WRITE a lick, and who is for sure a professional wheelspinner – then that is absolutely what they deserve.

    A lot of us have bit our lips and stuck with it for years, with the people grinding on each other, accomplishing little. But this? No way. It’s ridiculous.

  37. It is possible to be very anti-piracy but still think that Burt is a blowhard with no legit publications and as such should not be Prez.

  38. It’s also relevant that a number of people Burt identifies as “pro-pirate” — including me — are nothing of the sort.

  39. @ Irene Delse: I’m not a SFWA member either. Just someone with a passion for reading good SF. Having said that, I would think that sending Mr. Scanzi’s rant to Ms. LeGuin and Mr. Pournelle is not appropriate. I really think it wouldn’t help at all. Other than that, I agree with your assessment of AB possible presidency effects.
    @ Amy Sterling Casil: I would not be so sure about Mr. Pournelle favoring Mr. Russell Davis candidacy. That is…taking into account his recent writings on the SFWA/AB subject.
    Personally, I could not think of any explanation for his position except that he (JP) was in fact talking about something else.
    However…once someone is set in a certain mindframe… it is difficult to switch.
    Patrick Weekes’ “future history” made me smile, but I don’t think it helps. For me, it’s kind of sad to see SWFA descending to such a level.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like SNL shows and stand-up comedy…
    Somehow, the subject of SWFA election seem too critical for such input.
    What I would like to see, though, is more active participation from some of the quote-TOP-unquote SF writers. People such as B. Sterling, W. Gibson, S.M. Stirling, G. Bear, L. Niven, G. Wolfe …to mention just a few. Where are they? What do they think?
    @ John Scalzi: Quote:
    “It’s also relevant that a number of people Burt identifies as “pro-pirate” – including me – are nothing of the sort.”
    With all due respect I’m asking for a link to a relevant page where Mr. Burt identifies you as being “pro-pirate”, or “pro-piracy”.
    The issue of book piracy on-line deserves a more careful examination. I’m currently working on a modest essay on the subject, so I would appreciate any input.
    Obviously, I got this [http://scalzi.com/whatever/?p=432], and kept it for reference.

  40. Blegoo:

    “With all due respect I’m asking for a link to a relevant page where Mr. Burt identifies you as being ‘pro-pirate’, or ‘pro-piracy’.”

    You can ask, but you won’t get one, since much of this sort of discussion goes on in SFWA’s private boards, which are password protected, and the specific contents of which are meant not to be widely disseminated. Sorry.

  41. Understood. Sorry about my naive request. Not the first time I read certain statements, only to find out the “proof” comes from “behind the iron curtain”… so to speak. Well, I guess it’s the rule of the game.
    I’ll take your word, though, in regard to the issue.
    I would like to sidestep the topic for a moment… hope you don’t mind.
    I came across this line a few minutes ago, on Mr. Pournelle’s site [http://www.jerrypournelle.com/view/view507.html#Friday]:
    “I am a bit tired, and I think mail may have to wait. Radiation treatment isn’t painful but it does eat energy.”
    If it mean what I think it mean…
    (Note to self and others: not the best moment to start pounding on Dr. Pournelle, regardless of his positions on politics, culture, SFWA, or whatever…)

  42. Blegoo:

    Yes, he’s getting treatment for, I think, some sort of tumor in his head. We’re all thinking good thoughts for him.

    TCO:

    I can share generalities; it’s the specifics that will get me in trouble.

  43. @ TCO: Look up for definitions for “loyalty”, honor”, and related. For someone your age, it should be required reading.

  44. @ John Scalzi: Thanks for the clarification. As I said, regardless of his positions on the SFWA election, or anti-piracy…we should be praying for for him.

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