Forward the Foundation(s)
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Author:  JamesGifford [ Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:29 am ]
Post subject:  Forward the Foundation(s)

I thought that an appropriate subject, if you'll pardon the use of an Asimov title in this context. Maybe I'll work in a Clarke trope somewhere to complete the 'Big Threeism' of this announcement.

The truth is that the Heinlein community has lacked a center, and a leader, for a very long time. It's arguable that it never had one - that the Heinlein Society was already devolving and misdirecting the focus of community efforts even as it was in its initial growth period. (It certainly wasted and discolored the last five years or so.) The Centennial effort provided a short-term focus, but because of pointless divisiveness fostered by the THS leadership, as well as limited human resources, it only served a subset of the overall community, and then for a limited time.

Within the Centennial organizers and supporters, I pushed hard for the formation of Heinlein Nexus, which was meant to fill the gap and provide a broad-based platform for the Heinlein community to gather, focus and move forward. For many of the same reasons, it has been only a nominal success in that regard... and perhaps that's an overstatement.

The recent changes at THS have changed the entire map of the Heinlein Community's future. The organization that has the resources and official charter and unavoidably sits at the center of the Heinlein crossroads is, finally, in the hands of quality and qualified people. There are no more figureheads, stuffed shirts, or professional organizers on the board - also no hack appointees who know nothing much of Robert Heinlein but everything of divisiveness, secrecy, back room maneuvering and defensiveness.

I know every single person on the board now, and I can give each of them and the entire group my strongest personal vote of confidence... as well as whatever "professional" or community vote I might be considered as having. They're good folks, all of them, and for the first time in its ten-year history the Heinlein Society has a chance to accomplish what it should have been accomplishing from the beginning - to build, to foster, to collate and to bring together the extended community of readers, fans, scholars and merely interested parties.

The timing could not be better. There is now ten years of solid, professional research and evaluation of Heinlein's life and works to build upon - the fan and pro-fan writings of an earlier era having been subsumed and replaced - and the publication of the biography slams a stake in the ground. At no point from here on will study, evaluation and appreciation of Robert Heinlein be left solely to amateurs and "visiting" scholars, using lacunae in their careers to dabble carelessly in Heinlein and muddy things more than clarify them.

It is the right time for THS to take up the banner of Robert Anson Heinlein and carry it proudly to the world... and at last, THS is the right organization to do it.

It is with pleasure and relief that I announce that Heinlein Nexus will be phasing down from any active role in the community. It will not fold up shop, yet, as there may be a place for an adjunct organization in the field. The site, the name and the nominal structure will remain. However, we proudly hand our feeble torch to the new board of THS. May it help finally banish the shadows of poor leadership and the gloomy shroud of damaged relations with so many important entities in the community.

The most immediate and important aspect of this handover is that Nexus Forum is being passed to the Heinlein Society, to do with as they see fit. The Forum has become the strongest... well, nexus in the community, with a small but vibrant core of participants and the only open, continuing and universally accessible exchange of information in the field. From its earlier incarnation as the NitroForum and though a few brief breaks in operation, it has existed for nearly ten years. It is one of the community's most precious assets. Rather than leave it separated from the rejuvenated THS, or forcing users to choose between this locus and any new one created by the Society, it seemed best to transfer the content and user base intact to a THS location. I made the offer to the THS board - no strings attached, other than a request to keep the name if possible - and it was recently accepted.

Sometime soon, I will cooperate with the THS webmaster to relocate the forum to THS's site and hosting. There will be only the briefest interruption of service as we haul the existing database of user information and content to its new home... and then all will be as before, except that the THS community that has been isolated from us rogues will be able to participate without the barriers of misunderstanding and factionalism.

(Technically, there should be no problems. We will work to provide smooth forwarding from this current location so that all who seek the Forum out will find it. Existing users will need to update their bookmarks, with all due expedience, but will not be left floundering in the tangles of the web.)

Where THS will take the forum in the short and long run, I don't know. I will be stepping out of an active role in forum administration and moderating, but I will remain as the same erratic, pain-in-the-ass user as always - moreso, perhaps, as I will be freed from having to set any example. I pity the moderators, but of course, they'll have the whacking stick and I'll merely have my, um... head sticking out.

There are times that I feel that my ~20 years of effort in things Heinlein have not entirely paid off. Much - so much! - was lost in the divisiveness of the last ten years. But the many years of tending and fostering this forum have paid off, in that I can happily hand over a vibrant, growing and important community nexus to caretakers who have the potential to make it vastly greater and more significant.

See you there.

(Ah... so 2010 is the year we make contact!)

Author:  JackKelly [ Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Forward the Foundation(s)

Jim, you vastly underestimate your important (might I say essential) contributions to the "Heinlein Community" over the past almost two decades. Without you (and I'm trying hard not to be over-solicitous here) we would be nowhere. Thank you.

And so it comes full circle. I'm glad THS has a pulse. Long may it prosper and grow.

Author:  FredReynolds [ Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Forward the Foundation(s)

JamesGifford wrote:
The most immediate and important aspect of this handover is that Nexus Forum is being passed to the Heinlein Society, to do with as they see fit.
I made the offer to the THS board - no strings attached, other than a request to keep the name if possible - and it was recently accepted.

From my million-mile-away perspective, this is an elegant and very classy move. Some serious congratulations due to all parties involved.

Author:  JusTin [ Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Forward the Foundation(s)

Speaking as a an involved fan but not at the Scholar level, and a charter member/early worker in THS, I think this is great news. I endorse the idea of the Nexus becoming the "database and Forum" arm of THS efforts.

Author:  georule [ Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Forward the Foundation(s)

For all of me, Jim was welcome to stay moderating and admining the forum for as long as he liked. There was no condition along those lines from the THS board either.

It's kumbaya time, folks. Which doesn't mean that Jim will stop being a PITA from time to time, because he's Jim. :) That's just run-of-the-mill Heinlein fans, after all. Jim has understood that instinctively much better over the years than some others.

Personally, I tried to talk him out of retiring, but I respect his decision. I still hope that perhaps after a few years of decompressing and working on other projects that he'll reluctantly allow us to do another Michael Corleone on him and "pull him back in" to a leadership role. A Godfather never really retires, no matter how much he'd like to tell himself he has. 8-)

It's certainly been a long, interesting journey since I was enjoying "Mental Telegraphy" and "Mental Telegraphy Again" on Ubik, circa 1992 (or maybe '93 --one of those, I think*). Ahh, the simple days of wondering wtf RAH was talking about re Twain in "Lost Legacy".

And there is the not-so-little matter of the HCC videos, of course, that will continue to cause the continuous buzzing of Heinlein gnats around his ears until addressed. :mrgreen:

David Wright, Sr has agreed to take the lead on the forum after we manage the hand over. In the mean time, even before we get the hosting settled and transferred, you will see THS sidebar links to Forum change to this location --in fact it already has.

*On further thot, I'm pretty sure it was around mid-year '93, and met for the first time in person (rather than virtually) in the fall of that year, soon after ConFrancisco, where I picked up my copy of Monad #3 hot off the presses.

Author:  georule [ Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Forward the Foundation(s)

Btw, I've had correspondence with Spider on this subject. While I don't feel it appropriate to quote him here without his express permission, I do feel comfortable summarizing his remarks.

1). On his own behalf --"Yay!"
2). His speculation on RAH's reaction to settling "the family quarrel", however belatedly -- "Whew!"

Since both men are/were much more quotable than that, extend at your own imagination.

My own reaction --think Sir Isaac Newton (Venerian version) on the subject.

And, I think it appropriate to say, like all Spider fans, I was very pleased to see him engaging with the world this soon after his loss. I'd still be curled in a ball and snarling at passersby. He initiated contact, and we had a very pleasant back-and-forth for awhile.

Author:  PeterScott [ Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Forward the Foundation(s)

[Oh frak this behavior where it can think I'm logged in when it displays the post, lets me write a reply, and then says I'm not logged in and my content is unrecoverable.]

Jim doesn't do kumbaya. I think I'm on safe ground there :-) The basic existential questions remain, of course, central to which is: What is the *current* role of a Heinlein --- group (I struggled for an adjective; "advocacy"? "promotional"? "affiliative"? "fan"?) Now we have a cohesive and cooperative group of people for answering the question we have a better shot at getting an answer, but don't expect much until we have an answer that makes sense. I have not come up with an answer post-centennial that I was satisfied with for long.

Author:  georule [ Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Forward the Foundation(s)

Btw, to take this part of it out of this thread --the Official Jim Gifford Retirement* Party Thread: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=766&start=0

Author:  TinaBlack [ Sun Aug 22, 2010 8:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Forward the Foundation(s)

Well, if you decide to offload the Centennial videos, try to make a deal whereby Peter and I (and maybe other Centennial workers) get free copies. I would like to see it since that didn't happen during the Centennial itself!

I hope THS will keep the Forum open to non-members.

Author:  PeterScott [ Sun Aug 22, 2010 6:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Forward the Foundation(s)

You can safely assume that you will get a free copy of any video that is produced, Tina.

The amount of work it would take to produce anything decent from the vast amount of raw material is... daunting.

I respect Jim's prerogative as an artist to do it right or not at all.

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