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Transcriptase

Interesting update on the William Sanders/Helix mess from a while back. A number of authors (it looks like fifteen) have chosen to make their Helix-published work available at Transcriptase. Some have removed their work from Helix, while others have chosen to let it remain (for a variety of reasons, including obligation, Sanders' refusal to remove the stories -- which he is within his rights to do, or because they still love the magazine). The author statements are also worth reading.

Reaction to this mess has been interesting. The blogosphere has been pretty strong in its condemnation. In another area, I've watched discussion begin with "What's the big deal" and devolve into people making slut/ho jokes. And in Sanders' newsgroup, I've seen accusations that the only people getting worked up over this are wannabe losers trying to make themselves feel important. To that last accusation, I think it's worth noting some of the names involved in Transcriptase, including Eugie Foster, Jennifer Pelland, Beth Bernobich, and Janis Ian, among others. The author statements are worth reading as well, and I think it's important to note the range of reactions.

Would write more, but I've got a book deadline in 24 hours.

ETA: First paragraph edited to try to reduce my own biases. Thanks, shsilver.

Comments

michaeldthomas
Jul. 31st, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
And yet, how many people are going to stop publishing in OSC's Intergalactic Medicine Show? Nobody is attacking those writers.

According to Sanders, Helix already has a sizable backlog of stories. I just don't think it's fair to abuse those upcoming authors.






pendamuse
Jul. 31st, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC)
No one is abusing the upcoming authors.

Some are just choosing to no longer read Helix nor donate to keep the magazine going. People can choose where to send their stories and their money, and Helix is consequently off many people's lists.

Authors can still have their credit with Helix and hopefully will put up their stories someplace else where others can read them.
michaeldthomas
Jul. 31st, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC)
I think it's fair for people to choose not to read Helix. Sanders said uncool things, and then made it much worse by mishandling the situation.

I hope that you're right and people will refrain from abusing those upcoming authors.

nick_kaufmann
Jul. 31st, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
And yet, how many people are going to stop publishing in OSC's Intergalactic Medicine Show? Nobody is attacking those writers.

With all due respect, this is a bit of a straw man argument. We're not talking about OSC here, we're talking about Sanders and Helix. Dragging in another name, even if you think it's tangentially related, does little but muddy the waters of the discussion at hand and drag things off topic. It also makes it very easy to ignore or belittle what's being discussed, instead of addressing it.

According to Sanders, Helix already has a sizable backlog of stories. I just don't think it's fair to abuse those upcoming authors.

Are people abusing those authors?
pendamuse
Jul. 31st, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)
I may be the first to say this, so be it.
No one is abusing those authors, but I think it's safe to say that blindly standing by as this swirls and proclaiming that the two are separate (the editor's views and the magazine which seem to hinge on the editor's views) taints everyone involved.

I have no problem with an author who wants to leave thier works up but decries what Sanders did.

I cannot say with certainty that I will not look at an author published in Helix who claims that this issue is nothing more that whiny authors looking to get attention over a rejection letter with a favorable eye. I've come across three so far, and I while I may not have picked up their work before, I can't be certain that I won't avoid them in the future. I'm human and therefore fickle.

Much like it's hard to read Lewis Carroll's work without the tickling that he may have had an unhealthy thing for little girls. Much like it's very difficult for me to read anything by Orson Scott Card knowing how he feels about issues I in turn feel very strongly about. (Yes these names are "tangentially related", as you say, but still make the point)

Silence isn't an option. Not speaking up about what happened only says the problem doesn't exist or it doesn't matter or it's a non-issue. I can't see how that's acceptable.
michaeldthomas
Jul. 31st, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)
Re: I may be the first to say this, so be it.
I agree. This should be talked about.

No one is abusing those authors
According to Jennifer Pelland, she was told by people that they"have no respect for anyone who's been published in the magazine."

The authors got caught in this mess.
pendamuse
Jul. 31st, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
Re: I may be the first to say this, so be it.
There are a lot of us that got caught up in this and responded with less than civility.

Over the last few days as this has erupted over and over and people have either calmed down or gone off the deep end, opinions have been formed.

I've been reading, and I did read up on Jen and her reasons for her actions and I respect them. She's in a difficult position being in a nominated magazine that is currently the whipping boy for race relations in Sci-fi/Spec/Fantasy writing.

There will always be ill-informed people who make snap decisions based on little more that hearsay. Luckily there are more people who take time to think things through.

This will be true on both sides of this issue.
michaeldthomas
Jul. 31st, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
Fair enough. The OSC stuff is fresh in my mind, and I just find it interesting that I'm not hearing anything about authors pulling their stories or boycotts of the market. It makes me wonder if the reaction to Sanders's bigotry would have been different if he was more famous and Helix was a SFWA-eligible market.

As for making it easier to ignore or belittle the Sanders stuff, I'm pretty sure that it has been discussed in thorough detail. I believe he deserves all of the criticism. He said horrible things and acted like a jackass when he was caught.

Are people abusing those authors?
Nobody is abusing those authors yet, but I'm afraid that people will think these authors are "inviting abuse" once their stories are published. I just don't think that author should be chastised for the independent jackassery of their editor.

nick_kaufmann
Jul. 31st, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC)
Your concern over author abuse speak well of you, of course, but if it isn't happening, there's no point in wringing hands over it and inadvertently drawing attention away from the actual abusive entity -- Sanders -- and worrying that the authors who have, rightly in my opinion, chosen to withdraw from the market will somehow turn villainous.

As for the OSC thing, it's fresh in my mind too, since it's relatively new. And because it's so new, it may be a while yet before we see any definitive actions from authors regarding it.
michaeldthomas
Jul. 31st, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC)
I fully support the authors who pulled their work. In my mind, it was a brave decision.

Abuses in power should be exposed. I'm pleased that this is happening more and more.
shsilver
Jul. 31st, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
How is the OSC thing relatively new. His most recent article is just the latest in a long line of articles of a similar nature which go back for several years (since before IGMS).
nick_kaufmann
Jul. 31st, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
Excellent point, but this most recent one seems to be making the rounds enough that even I heard about it, and I'm often out of touch with the sf scene!
rachel_swirsky
Jul. 31st, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
You misunderstand me.

Sanders has abused the writers he's worked with, some of us tacitly, others explicitly. I would never work with him again because he is abusive toward his writers.

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