Episode 42: Live with Gary K. Wolfe

With the Galactic Suburbanites celebrating their birthday just a couple of days ago, Gary and I once again jumped into the pod to record episode 42 (well, 45 if you include the non-series eps) where we discuss George R.R. Martin’s Dance, the Kindle, the iPad, thrillers vs. science fiction, self-publishing, ICFA, and throw in a bit of digital waffle.  This is the last podcast before Gary heads off for his 65th birthday (!), so we hope you enjoy it. We’ll see you next week!

4 thoughts on “Episode 42: Live with Gary K. Wolfe”

  1. Hi guys. Thanks for the interesting material about books that the community may be overlooking because it is published as mainstream fiction. I shall point Sam Jordison at that for consideration in future Salon Futura columns.

    As I understand it, Strange Horizons has always maintained that it is a professional magazine. They have, in the past, asked people not to nominate them for Best Semiprozine, which I am sure is the only reason why they haven’t won it. I am assuming here that Niall is following the same policy. I’m sure he’ll say if he isn’t.

    As to what qualifies as fan writing, this is very much up in the air. As you note, there is nothing in the WSFS Constitution that mentions payment, so it is permissible for someone to win Best Fan Writer with work that was paid for. Indeed, people used to argue that, because Dave recycled some of the material from Ansible for professional columns elsewhere, that what he did was not fan writing. That didn’t stop him from winning.

    Part of the problem is that Fan Writer is a “body of work” category, which means that someone can be nominated in the category for work they did as fans, while at the same time having a successful writing career. So you sometimes see people who appear to be professionals in the field winning the Fan Writer award. It is very difficult to do anything about this. For example, I won the category in 2009, for my writing in 2008. Most of that writing was unpaid, but I’m pretty sure I had some material in Locus that year (probably part of the Denver Worldcon report) that I got paid for. I’m sure there are people who would argue that even that small amount of paid work should have made me ineligible, but how are the Hugo Administrators to check such things?

    So basically this tends to come down to a vox populi, vox dei question. If enough people think you qualify as a Fan Writer then you are one.

    A major complication is that the rules very clearly say that writing in a professional publication should not be considered, but there is no clear definition of what “professional” means. There are those who might argue that Tor.com is a professional publication, because it is owned and maintained by a large, well known publishing company. It is entirely possible that those people who write for it do not get paid professional rates, but remember that it OK for semiprozines like Clarkesworld and Salon Futura to pay professional rates to contributors; what matters is whether the editorial staff get paid, or at least run it as part of a full time job that may include other things.

    It is all very complicated, and I wouldn’t dream of trying to say what people should or should not do. If you consider someone to be a very good Fan Writer, by all means nominate her.

  2. Another great episode that got me through and arduous 780 calorie burn walk. On the subject of large books and eReaders, I have recently received Patrick Rothfuss’ The Wise Man’s Fear for review (at just under 1000 pages). After a stint of reviewing eBooks the change to a half kilo tome is presenting transportation difficulties :)

  3. Your uneasiness with the term “gatekeeper” is understandable; it’s also widespread, and it stands in the way of clear thinking about the new economics of publishing. The future of bringing good writing (or indeed any other creative content or media) is all about curation.

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