Antonelli announces candidacy for SFWA Vice-President
Lou Antonelli, 55, of Mount Pleasant, Texas, is running for Vice-President of the SFWA. His short fiction has been published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jim Baen’s Universe, Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, Greatest Uncommon Denominator (GUD), and the World SF Blog, among many others. He has been cited eleven times in the honorable mentions list in six different editions of “The Year’s Best Science Fiction” – St. Martin’s Press, Gardner Dozois, ed.) His first professional publication was in 2005 and he joined the SFWA in 2006; he has been an Active Member since Oct. 2011.
Lou Antonelli is a first-generation American whose parents were born overseas. He grew up in a lower middle-class Catholic family in Massachusetts. He attended Columbia University in New York, and moved to Texas in 1985. He is a professional journalist and has won awards for news, features, editorial and column writing. He is presently the managing editor of the Daily Tribune in Mount Pleasant, Texas. His wife, Patricia, is a Dallas native. They are members of Trinity Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, where Patricia teaches Sunday School for third and fourth graders. Louis and Patricia have two adopted Canine-American children, Millie and Sugar Antonelli.
A life-long s-f reader, Lou first began to write for publication in the fall of 2002; his first short story was published in the e-zine Revolution SF in 2003. His story “A Rocket for the Republic” was published in Asimov’s Science Fiction in 2005. By the end of 2011 he had 60 stories published, and two collections – “Fantastic Texas” (2009) and “Texas & Other Planets” (2010). His short stories have also been reprinted “The First Bewildering Stories Anthology” (2006) and “Zombiefied! An Anthology of All Things Zombie” (2011). His non-fiction has been published in the SFWA Bulletin and “Zombie Writing!” (2012.
Statement of candidacy:
“The one-word reason I am running is ‘diversity’. I have a background that I think will complement the other members of the board. I am older and pretty much travel in the traditional paths of the genre. I also have devoted almost all my work to short fiction. I think I represent a particular type of science fiction aficionado. I have no problem with the way the SFWA is being run; I just think I may have something different to offer in terms of perspective and background.
“I do have three particular ideas which I would like to propagate through my candidacy, by way of brainstorming:
“1. As a gesture towards supporting new authors and fostering inclusiveness, I would like to see an amendment to the criteria for a professional short story publication, going back to the three cents a word standard (which I believe was the pay rate over a decade ago) but in this case also setting a $250 minimum for a qualifying story. I think this will be a boost to both struggling speculative fiction venues as well as new writers. In my case, if this standard was still in place, I would have been able to upgrade my membership to Active status two years earlier than I did.
“2. I would suggest that in addition to the Associate and Active membership levels, the SFWA add another tier, to be called something such as “Professional” or “Master” (with a nod to the Masons) to delimit people who make their living as writers and have the greatest stake in the well-being of the genre both as literature and a business. I would recommend the standards for Pro membership be double of what it is for Active members (six pro short fiction sales or two novels) and additionally include an income standard, i.e. the member must make at least $5,000 in income from writing in a qualifying year (once achieved, Pro status would be permanent).
“I think that such a three-tiered structure would better correspond with the facts on the ground in categorizing authors (Associates = Newbies, Actives = Semi-Pros, and Pros are Pros). I would propose that only Pros be eligible to serve as SFWA officers, but Pros and Actives members be eligible to vote. I would set aside at-large seats on the board for the Active and Associate members.
“If implemented, such a system might make Life memberships unnecessary.
“These two proposals are meant as food for thought. As is common in public electoral campaign, my candidacy is an opportunity to promulgate ideas and fresh thinking. There is nothing to be lost by discussing these suggestions, and something may be gained.
“Finally, my third point is that, with San Antonio hosting the WorldCon next year, it might be of practical benefit to have another SFWA board member (in addition to the regional rep) from Texas, especially one with strong media ties.”
“With the retirement of the incumbent vice president, I thought I’d take the opportunity to run for the open seat with a goal of engendering a little dialogue and diversity. As I stated before, I have no problem with what is currently being done – which is why, for example, I would not run for President.
I would like to offer my different ideas and perspectives and I feel if elected I will complement the other members of the board. I have something to offer and nothing to lose. I would be grateful for your vote.”