Controversies and etc.

io9 has the latest on a disability and sexuality-related controversy regarding Stargate: Universe that’s blossomed online in the last couple of days, including a response from one of the SG:U producers to the issue. Note that there are spoilers in the link.

Since I’m the creative consultant for SG:U I’ve had a couple of people pinging me about this issue and wondering what my role in it has been. I’m not going to go into great detail since I feel that impinges on what my role is regarding the show, and also, I’m very sure, some confidentiality clauses in my contract. Suffice to say that I’ve been tracking the commentary online since I’ve gotten back from Worldcon and Montreal (where I was understandably out of the online loop for several days), and when I delivered my notes on the script in question, also let the producers know these concerns were out there, including links to specific LJ and blog posts on the issue. Can’t say much more than that, other than that I’m happy the producers engaged with the concerns quickly, up to and including an apology.

Do feel free to comment below, but be aware there are limits on what I can discuss in terms of scripts, characters and behind-the-scenes stuff.

Update: There are also spoilers in the comment thread.


Strange Horizons Friday: I’m Matching Donations

So, Strange Horizons is an online magazine of science fiction and fantasy that pays writers official pro rates (as defined by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), publishes a wide range of fiction and non-fiction about science fiction and fantasy, and goes out of its way to publish new and emerging writers. They’re also a non-profit organization (a real one, with tax-deductible status and everything), and do all that they do through donations from readers and others.

This August is its fund drive month, and its goal is to raise $7,000 by the end of the month. Here it is the 14th, and they’re at $1,565 as I write this, which is more than a little disconcerting to me. I know the people involved with Strange Horizons quite well, and I can assure you that these aren’t people who are taking that donation money and spending it on frivolities. That money goes right out the door to the contributors of the site and to make the site a great place to visit on a daily basis. I’m not even sure the editors pay themselves for all their work, which is kind of insane, but a testament to their dedication to expanding the market for science fiction and fantasy. The site runs lean. So when the folks running it say they need the $7k to keep going, they’re not plumping up their numbers; dude, they need that $7k.

I got my start in the science fiction field through Strange Horizons; it was the first outlet to publish my fiction, and one of the very first to seriously interview me after I published my novel. Between this and the fact that many people I know and respect keep the place going on a daily basis, it’s fair to say that I am a big supporter of the site for personal reasons. But even if they hadn’t published my fiction and even if I didn’t know those who are running it, I would still be a fan of the site, because of what it publishes and because for almost a decade now the site has been a door into fantasy and science fiction that’s unlike any other. It’s a site worth reading, and a cause worth donating to.

I donate a bit every year to Strange Horizons to help keep it going, but this year I want to do something more, both to show my appreciation for the site and the people who run it, and to encourage those of you who read the site to shell out a bit to keep it going — and to encourage those of you who have not been to the site to check it out and consider pitching in for the fund drive. So here’s the deal:

For the day of August 14, 2009, John and Kristine Scalzi will do a one-to-one match for every donation made to Strange Horizons, up to $500.

What does this mean? Well, if you donate $5, we’ll donate $5. Donate $10, we’ll donate $10. And so on. Yes, I’ve already cleared this with Krissy. She’s a fan of Strange Horizons too. And to give the day as many hours as possible, we’ll define it as starting midnight Eastern Time but ending at 11:59:59 Pacific Time, which means that it’s a 27-hour donation day. Which means I’m retroactively covering donations made today before I published this. Because, hey: Friday.

Naturally, a good outcome of this would be $1,000 in the Strange Horizons coffers for the day. What I would say would be an even better outcome, however, is an even larger pile of donations sent along to Strange Horizons, for which my and Krissy’s $500 is just the cherry on the top. Remember all donations to Strange Horizons are tax-deductible for Americans (if you’re not in the US, check with your local government), so hey: Write-off! Can’t beat that.

Here’s Strange Horizons’ 2009 fund drive page, with links to send money via Network for Good and PayPal (or via old fashioned mail, if you are so inclined). Tell everyone you know about this — we’re matching any contribution, not just ones from people who come here. And if you’re seeing this after August 14, well, you know. Donate anyway, please. Strange Horizons is well worth your support.

So to recap:

a) Strange Horizons is awesome;
b) Strange Horizons needs your donations;
c) We’ll match donations today up to $500;
e) And tell your friends to donate too.

Any questions, drop them in the comments. Thanks. And thanks in advance for donating to Strange Horizons today. I was just going to spend that $500 on Red Vines and Coke Zero. This is a much better use of it.

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