E.C. Myers: The Once and Future SFWA


FairCoin-225x348I first heard about SFWA in my senior year of college, through the Columbia University Science Fiction Society (CUSFS). We had invited Paul Levinson, then president of SFWA, to talk to our group about his work, and in turn he invited us to volunteer at the 2000 Nebula Awards Weekend in New York – a great opportunity to attend the event for free, right in our own backyard!

A few friends and I took him up on the offer. This was my first pro convention – previously I’d only attended some Lunacons, a Star Trek convention, and a Xena: Warrior Princess convention – and I was immediately hooked. What struck me most about the experience was how warm and welcoming the SFF community was to young fans like me. From the Con Suite to the banquet, many people took time to chat with us with genuine interest; in particular, I fondly recall talking to Jim Freund at length about the history of CUSFS and what became of the keys to the office in Ferris Booth Hall.

I also fondly recall all the free books I scored that weekend – but that never gets old.

The excitement about science fiction and fantasy literature was contagious, and it rekindled my childhood love of genre books by authors like William Sleator, E. Nesbit, Robert Heinlein, J.R.R. Tolkien, Madeline L’Engle, and C.S. Lewis. I had a lot of catching up to do on more recent work – so many great books were ahead of me. Connie Willis! Octavia E. Butler! I didn’t know how to get more involved in the SFF field and SFWA, but I desperately wanted in.

That weekend planted the seed that led me to try writing a short story roughly a year later – always with the goal of achieving SFWA membership. Some of the friends and acquaintances I made there have lasted to this day, people who have encouraged me as I pursued my own path to publication. I hoped that someday, as a professional writer, I could share my enthusiasm for SFF and the organization with other fans and perhaps even “pay it forward” to others as so many gracious, generous SFWA members did for me.

The year after that fateful Nebula Weekend, I went to my first Worldcon, the Millennium Philcon. I’ve attended many other conventions since as a fan, and eventually as a published author. I’m honored to have received an award from SFWA for my writing and to have served the organization as a volunteer and officer.

To me, SFWA is as much about looking back to remember and acknowledge SFF’s roots as it is about looking forward to what SFF will become – in the hands of new writers sharing fresh stories and perspectives. The future is our business, after all, and today’s fan well could be tomorrow’s paying SFWA member…

Happy 50th anniversary, SFWA, and here’s to another half century!

EC MyersE(ugene).C. Myers is the author of the Andre Norton Award–winning Fair Coin andQuantum Coin, and The Silence of Six, a young adult thriller forthcoming from Adaptive Books.

He graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts, and currently uses his powers for good—as a development writer for a children’s hospital.

His science fiction and fantasy short stories have been published in a number of magazines and anthologies such as Sybil’s Garage, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Sporty Spec: Games of the Fantastic, and Touched by Wonder: A Symphony of Fantastic Tales. His romantic short story featuring horny zombies, “In the Closet”, received an Honorable Mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2008; his nostalgic short story about horny cavemen, “My Father’s Eyes”, also got an Honorable Mention in The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 3; and he was a finalist in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest.

He currently lives with his wife and two doofy cats in Philadelphia.