April 23rd is International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day. This was brought about due to a recent debate within SFWA community about the role of the “webscab”, as the current VP describes those who post their own work for free on the Internet, in the perceived decline of the organization.
I am not a member of SFWA (yet) although I have posted work for free on the Internet before. I don’t know enough about the internal politics of SWFA to make any insightful comments but I will say this: the field of Science Fiction and Fantasy is evolving and any organization whose intent is to promote and support the authors of the field should be prepared to accept and roll with the natural evolution process.
The Internet brings with it an entirely new world to discover. We are creating new and interesting methods of publication, from Print on Demand (POD) to podcasting. Alternatives to traditional copyright facilities have drastically modified the barriers to entry into the market. We’ve only scratched the surface here, folks. I understand that chance can be difficult to accept but it is an inevitability if we wish to survive in this new world of instantaneous communication.
I would prefer to see the pixel-stained technopeasants gain strength within SFWA, not just because the label is one that fits my beliefs, but because it ultimately leads to a stronger organization ready to take on the challenges facing it.