Wednesday, December 23, 2015

An Apology to Vox Day

If you are one of the few non-science-fiction crowd who reads my blog, this one isn't going to make any sense to you because you don't have the context. I know that from time to time, non sci-fi people DO read Papa Pat Rambles; that may be only one of my family members from time to time. I KNOW my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA doesn't read the blog on any regular basis, but she has done so. Honey, this one isn't going to make sense to you. That was a fair warning!

My blog posts are maybe half book reviews, and half my observations on Life, the Universe, and Everything. And this one is half both. Or half each. Whatever.
It's different from my observations posts in that it was set in motion by a book I read/reviewed, and it's different from my book reviews in that I'm not linking to the book. If I can remember to do it, I might link to the review.

Oh, heck, this is easier: I'll just reproduce the review here.

Ummm, no. I'll just link to it. Here's the Amazon review.

Now, you must understand that I have much the same affection for my reviews as authors have to their books. It's just that whereas their literary offspring are elephants, mine are mayflies; but, we love our children regardless. If you really want to understand how I feel about my reviews, read this. It describes my moment of revelation last year when I understood how important my reviews can be to the authors I review, because they crave feedback. I think, in fact, that feedback may be a more powerful reinforcer than paychecks in terms of generating creativity. YMMV.

At any rate, I want my reviews to be honest and fair. And I don't want to review a book just to slam it; if I find problems I can't tolerate, I contact the author and discuss it.

Moving right along: in the review linked above, I assign one of the three stars to the book because the author provided a bit of data I did not have before:  Vox Day was expelled from SFWA because of his misuse of an official SFWA Twitter account. After publishing the review, several people contacted me and said that the reason for Vox's expulsion from SFWA was not, in fact, related to his use of the Twitter account. So, I decided to check it out with Vox, amend if needed, and offer an apology if that was called for. Here's what he told me:
Hey Pat,
First, you don't owe me an apology. Second, yes, you should amend your review. What I actually did was tweet a link to a blog post that replied to an attack on me by an SFWA member through a non-SFWA Twitter account called @sfwaauthors. That was all.
It was a violation of the stated policy, since I was not promoting my own books. The penalty for that was to have my privilege to use that non-official account suspended. Which penalty was imposed and which I accepted without complaint.
Later, they falsely categorized the Twitter account as "an SFWA space", which was not true, as the official account is @sfwa. They also falsely claimed that the tweet contained an attack on an SFWA member, which was not true. I have many, many documented examples of SFWA members attacking me in an SFWA space; if they had expelled me for that, they'd have had to expel dozens of other members, including four Board members.
The real reason the SFWA Board voted to kick me out was because John Scalzi and Patrick Nielsen Hayden both stopped paying their dues and said they would not renew their memberships until I was kicked out. So, the Board voted to expel me and pretended that was sufficient to expel me from SFWA. It was a charade; they needed to hold a vote of the entire membership to expel me and that vote was never held.
I am still a Life Member of SFWA in good standing. SFWA has never publicly stated that I am not. The announcement that the Board voted to expel an unidentified member was true. But that is all.
Best regards,
So, I suppose the title of this blog post is a bit inaccurate, since Vox doesn't feel that I owe him an apology. However, I DO have to think about how many reads I'm going to get, and 'A Non-Apology to Nobody' doesn't really resonate, does it?
Now, my amendment to the review is going to take the form of a reference to the comments section, and the comments section is going to reference this blog post. BUT, I'm not changing the three-star rating I gave the book, BECAUSE the the reason for STAR ONE is essentially unchanged: the book did provide me with a bit of data I didn't already have. It also provided me with the incentive to get more information. Information is good.

I fear I must close this blog post with that sub-brilliant observation. I strive for brilliant witticisms and sparkling commentary, but there really isn't any way to make that happen with this topic. The best I can do, and I hope I've done that, is to be reasonably fair and somewhat honest, within the limitations imposed by my warped personality and attempting to write with a fat black Manx cat named SugarBelly determined to sit on my left hand as I type.

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