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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.


Jul. 31st, 2008 11:12 pm (UTC)
This sounds borderline snarky, and I'm trying for it not to sound that way, but even if people did want to get punitive, boycotting Helix is practically redundant. This blowup marked the first time I'd ever heard of the place.

I don't intend to boycott Sanders, much as I don't boycott the guy with the Confederate flag on his bumper sticker, because that guy is completely and utterly insignificant and in no way relevant to anything I care about, at all.

Boycotting the authors is another matter, and I don't think it's a good idea. As I said elsewhere in this thread, I see a distinction between remaining awkwardly silent and speaking up in defense of bigotry. I'm not prepared to condemn over the former, though I'm very impressed with the people who DID speak up. The latter, though, is quite sufficient to get someone onto my crap list. And, as above, the short-fiction market is small enough that a formal campaign to boycott those people who likely be giving them more publicity than they'd ever had before.


Jim C. Hines


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