AMAZING THINGS: Ellison Calls for Grand Master Status for Spinrad

For Shame:  This man is not yet a SFWA Grand Master!
For Shame: This man is not yet a SFWA Grand Master!

Yes, you heard it;  as reported by SF Signal (and NUMEROUS others!) earlier today, Mr. Harlan Ellison(R), L’enfant Terrible of the genre world, the man who explained what saying “Sci Fi” actually sounds like**, has begun a campaign to encourage SFWA to award Stormin Norman Spinrad the status of Grand Master.

Norman Spinrad is the author of great novels and a great Star Trek:TOS episode (which ought to have elevated him to GM on its strength alone – though I suspect that Norman himself probably thinks there are better representations of his work out there).

Let me go on record right here, right now:  I COMPLETELY AND THOROUGHLY ENDORSE THIS CAMPAIGN.

To the fine and wonderfully creative individuals at SFWA:  DO THIS.  DO IT NOW.  DO IT OFTEN.  (Well, as often as you can anyways.)  Afterwards, I promise, we’ll all like you a whole lot more.

What are my reasons?  Why do I SO ENTHUSIASTICALLY endorse Harlan’s suggestion?

On the personal front:  I know the guy.  He’s interesting, creative, playful, intense, thoughtful.

On the literary side?  Folks, I hate to have to tell you this, but the guy who wrote Bug Jack Barron, The Men in the Jungle, The Iron Dream (!), The Last Hurrah of the Golden Hoard, Carcinoma Angels… (a partial biography courtesy of SF Signal follows) does not yet have Grand Master Status.

Don’t shake your head in disbelief.  I know, I know.  You read one of his novels and said to yourself – “god, this author must be at the top of the SF pantheon;  hell, he ought to be getting Pullitzers for science fiction!”  (Then of course you immediately set out for the bookstore to buy absolutely everything else the man has ever written so you could drown yourself in awesome social commentary, brilliant satire and damned fine SF, all at the same time!).

But no, you’d be wrong.  Norman labors in relative undeserved obscurity.  Norman Spinrad, who has graced the industry since the mid-1960s, explained what SF was all about in the 70s (Modern Science Fiction – I taught an SF High School class using that anthology as the text!), has contributed reviews, commentary, essays, acerbic online wit (and his damn fine presence at numerous instances of hall fandom at conventions) is not yet a SFWA Grand Master.

This injustice CAN NOT STAND! Drop everything you are doing right now and send an email to the President of SFWA…or just follow Harlan’s suggestions:

Let Paul Di Filippo know. Let Norman (who has e.mail and Facebookpages or somesuch), who is in Paris now, with Dona, let HIM know this is fulminating. Tell Buzz Dixon to spread it. Alert Jerry Pournelle and David Gerrold and Robin Wayne Bailey and Robert Silverberg and anyone else you might think even tangentially useful. (original post here)


I’m so excited about this, I’m going to go read Osama the Gun, and then dig out my copies of everything Spinrad from the collection and engage in a bit of sympathetic magic by imagining that each of those covers has a big ol’ embossed gold starburst on it that proclaims – “SFWA Grand Master!”.  But where, oh where do I start?  A World Between (great political commentary)?  The Iron Dream? (I just LOVE the meta in that book!) The Solarians?  The Men in the Jungle? OOO!  OOO!  I know – I’ll watch a certain episode of Star Trek”TOS while I’m reading!

This is what I expect to see in just a few months time –

spinrad books

Do NOT disappoint me!

Bibliography – Novels
Bug Jack Barron
The Iron Dream
The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde
Passing Through The Flame
Little Heroes
Songs From The Stars
The Men In The Jungle
Pictures at 11
No Direction Home
Journals of the Plague Years
Vampire Junkies
The Solarians
Fragments of America
Agent of Chaos
Riding The Torch
The Star-Spangled Future
A World Between
The Mind Game
The Void Captain’s Tale
Other Americas
Deus X

A more complete bibliography can be found here

**”…the hideous neologism “sci-fi”–which sounds like crickets fucking…”

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  1. I would be happy to see Spinrad given this award. After reviewing my own list of (too many) worthy candidates who haven’t yet been named grand master, and giving preference to age, I’d like to see Larry Niven next. At 76 he’s two years older than Spinrad, and also very deserving. They both should have already been named grand masters.

  2. Harlan is right. Based on his body of work, Mr. Spinrad should have been granted Grand Master status long ago. Guess I’ll be written some emails to help move this along.

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