The Other Side of Kudos. When I revisit those early days of Internet and digital publishing, certain shining memories stand out. On the dark side, there are some memories that aren't so pleasant, but won't go away. So my memory lane turned from a pleasant quickie into "oh yeah, then there's that
" So I decided to leave the Kudos (praise) on one page, and move the soduK (not so praise, or its reverse: esiarp) to a page of its own. Here is the soduK page.
[*]Too Early to Tell. We applied numerous times for recognition by SFWA under their own published rules, but were totally ignored. Our main motivation was to have recognition for our wonderful authors, many of whom had won or were about to win every top prize in the SFFH fields (Nebulas, Hugos, Sturgeons, top British and Canadian and Aussie awards
). SFWA's main otivation was to kill digital publishing dead because those who had clawed their way to the top of their print heap, shutting everyone else out, felt threatened by anything innovative, fresh, and different. No surprisethat was the attitude of the foreign-owned publishing cartel (Big 5) in New York, including the Australian muck raker (YKW). Deep Outside SFFH had backdoor communications with several top execs (some of whose work we published, so clearly they had no qualms about us), who informed us there was a war going on between what JTC calls SFWA's Backwardians (those who clung to their obsolete 1930s publishing model) and their Futurians (those actually trying to honor the original standards of futurism in SF). The Backwardians were winning, so not even our registered letters with the application form and enclosed checks were ever acknowledged. They didn't steal the money, but the total lack of response means they tore the applications up and threw them away; or maybe in a fit of Luddite rage, burned them in the village lane near their parked horse & buggy rigs.
A year or two later (2000) money and the SciFi Channel arrived, and SFWA promptly began handing out Nebula Awards for digitally published SF. JTC says: "Even more amazingly, as SFWA had no idea what they were doing, they fumblingly handed out one instance of recognition to a horror magazine, which swore they hated science fiction and would reject any story with SF elements in it; so in a fit of fury one Sunday afternoon, I wrote a story titled City of Mirrors (Strange Doors: Weird Tales), which is dark enough for a horror story; for proof of concept, I purposely had the hero arrive on the planet in question on a spaceship, which was the only SF element in the story; and of course immediately received a rejection slip stating they would never publish a story with SF elements in it. That was SFWA's only foray before 2000 into recognizing an online magazine, and of course they chose their worst enemy. Finally, in 2000, the SFWA Futurian horde finally sort of won when money arrived (money always talks, and vaunted "ethics" evaporate). They have never yet (2017) offered an apology or recognition for those authors. I mean reallyLinda Dunn and Dr. Andrew Bird were top execs of SFWA, and they saw the value in our work because we published stories by them. We made no further try to join or recognize them either, figuring they could stay stuck in the torchlight millennium, while we were cruising among the stars.
And this is really a part of history that needs to be told, especially in a growing darkness of fake news and fake politicians, and unfortunately what is starting to look like fake democracy actually owned by zillionaires in the USA, where they throw out the popular vote and substitute dregs like Bush and Trump under guise of the Spectral College. Read my novels Time Train, and Valley of Seven Castles, a Luxembourg Thriller (world's first Progressive Thriller), and other books in which for years I have picked up a beat from Jack London; George Orwell; and Ray Bradbury (author of Fahrenheit 451) who by the way in Jan 2008 wrote me a personal fan mail to tell me he loved my dark holiday fantasy The Christmas Clock.
So, Deep Outside SFFH and its later incarnation Far Sector SFFH never did gain a shred of acknowledgement from SFWA. That's too bad for many reasons, most of all that our authors really deserved recognition for professional publication; authors including the late Pat York and Melanie Tem, who had the courage and foresight to get on board the Internet when SFWA remained stuck in the pulp world; and many others who won top awards in the field (Ted Kosmatka, Tim Pratt, even Andrew Vachss at one point
As a corollary, consider that I published my novel The Generals of October in print and e-book formats in 1999 or so. I was told at the Library of Congress that "we don't know yet if these are real books, so we can't issue a copyright registration; but you're welcome to apply for copyright (for your published editions) as an unpublished manuscript. Such was the twilight preceding the light in the early days of Internet and digital publishing. I have some other stories like that, but I'll keep them under my hat for now. I have kept a lot of this under my chapeau, not desiring to unduly make waves; but that's probably why I'm not famous (which suits me fine; who g.a.s.? I don't).
We were simply the first adapters in many cases, and on board so early that the train lights weren't lit yet, and nobody had any idea we were making history. Oh yes, and I do recall being laughed at by someone on the editorial desk at
oh, never mind.
We're too busy still pioneering with new concepts to care. I didn't even mention that, after I got out of the Army and returned to CONUS in 1980, a few years later (1984) I sat on my sunny back porch in San Diego and typed a proposal (sent to both Bob Guccione and Ted Turner) for something I called "The Science Fiction Channel." I got form letters back from some flunkies in both firms, saying "nobody would ever be interested in an idea like this." I put out some other proposals (a digital pen that would convert handwriting to recorded ASCII files) but I never knew how to promote, so I never did connect with the people who later put those same ideas (independently) into effect.
These were all revolutionary ideas that were in the air, so to speak. I wasn't the only one to think of them, and I congratulate those who got from the idea to the application, as I wasn't able to do. I accept all that. I'm having a great time following my passions, and ultimately it's all just (from my favorite movie of all time) "tears in rain." Nothing more.
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