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Category Archives: F&SF history
We’re closing the doors on 2019 and with that, I’ve finally finished up this essay, which I’ve been working on for over a year and which keeps having to be updated as new scuffles are played out. I have many thoughts on the modern publishing scene, many of them related to class/race/gender/disability issues, but I will focus on a particular question because right now we’re seeing a lot of this getting played out in the Romance Writers Association debacle, where author Courtney Milan was officially censured, suspended from membership for a year, and banned for life from RWA leadership after two other members complained that she had repeatedly/intentionally engaged in conduct injurious to the RWA through comments on social media. As part of the resulting furor, which seems to me just a flaming trainwreck and shining example of how an organization shouldn’t handle something like this that has included moments like Chuck Tingle disavowing knowing RWA President Damon Suede, authors of color (and queer authors) are once again being called rude for speaking out. So let’s begin.
One of the things I’ve been trying to do in recent years is look more at the history of the field. In the thrift store, I love finding F&SF anthologies from the 60s and 70s, in part because it’s interesting to see which names kept on going, which faded away. Often the most riveting story in a collection is from a writer whose name I’ll only see that once. In reading anthologies, I find that often one of the most revelatory parts is the introduction, less for anything said about the stories than for clues to the publishing climate at the time.
Recently in the thrift shop, I picked up a couple of paperbacks: two volumes worth of early Hugo winners, edited by Isaac Asimov. Of course I bought them. How could I not, in light of recent controversies? They’ve been an interesting read – particularly when I’m reading the first Nebula volume at the same time — and sometimes illuminating.