Philip Jose Farmer
Re Malzberg's letter in OW #17.
He states "flatly" that Ultimate is meeting all its obligations as detailed under the SFWA-Ultimate agreement. And he asks Piers to recall that this calls for the author of reprinted material to write a letter to the publisher calling attenticn to this and asking for payment.
I'll state " flatly" that Malzberg flatly wrote an untruth about Ultimate paying all its financial obligations. If he doesn' t believe me, he can ask Bob Bloch and Jerry Pournelle. Moreover, Ultimate isn't paying for all its newly published material. Ultimate has owed Norman Spinrad for a book review for, over a year and apparently has no intention of paying for it. Moreover, the SFWA meeting at the Torcon, at which White was present, established that Ultimate has reneged and is reneging on the agreement. I was present, and I heard Jerry Pournelle tell White that he had a massive file of evidence of Ultimate's failure to pay. Then was the time for White to protest, to deny. But he did not. He knew that it would be useless. He did plead Cohen's poverty and bad heart and ignorance of science-fictional matters in general. And, at the end of the discussion, he agreed to ask Cohen if he would make a contract with the SFWA to pay for reprints. This would be done at the rate of one hundred dollars a month until all those who had not yet been paid were paid. I do not know whether or not Cohen has agreed to sign this contract.
So, this question of whether or not Ultimate has been living up to the agreement is settled once and for all.
But the question of why Malzberg made his flatly untrue statement is not settled. If he was ignorant of the facts, then he should have investigated and made sure of them before he defended Cohen. And if he wasn't ignornat of the facts, then why did he make the statement? Another point. It is not true, as Malzberg says, that the agreement called for a letter from the author of the reprinted story (or article) asking Cohen for payment. That stipulation was made by Cohen and had nothing to do with the agreement. In fact, the agreement calls for Ultimate to make a search for the author of every reprinted story so that he could be paid for it. But in no case has Ultimate done this, none that I know of anyway. And I do know of many cases, including my own, in which Ultimate has not said one mumbling word to the authors. I also know that it took me almost a year to get paid for a story and that if I had not stubbornly persisted in asking, I would not have been paid.
Here's your answer, Piers. Ultimate has consistently broken the agreement. Until Ultimate signs the contract with SFWA, it should be boycotted by SFWA members.
I was, as I said, present at the SFWA meeting. I wanted that meeting to be conducted impersonally and strictly business-like. Pournelle did so, but a number of the attendees made some disparaging and sarcastic remarks about Cohen which I thought out of line. I am not, however, referring to the Harrison-White hassle, since I thought White's outburst and name-calling at the beginning of the meeting was also uncalled for. But then he and Harrison have had a feud going for a long time, and their relations are hateshot. I did think White was ludicrous when he said Harrison had a dirty mouth, since this was the proverbial case of the pot and the kettle. But I thought White was conducting himself quite properly when he declined Harrison's invitation to step outside into the hall. Fisticuffs have no place in business meetings.
It was no surprise when White tacitly admitted that Ultimate had not paid for a number of reprints. It was a surprise, a shocking one, when I heard about Ultimate's policy in dealing with the slush pile. Its Mss. are shipped from one office to another, fourth class, uninsured. This has resulted in a number of Mss. being lost. When asked about this, White said, "Well, after all, it's only the slush pile."
Well, I can remember when my Mss. were in that pile. So could most of the others present. I can remember when I wrote my first s-f story, The Lovers, and the labor I put into it. If I'd had to wait for one or two years to get a reply from White on it (as many have waited) and then found that it had been lost, I might have given up writing. Or at least have been so discouraged that I would not have written another story for years.
Another revelation (to me, anyway ) was that Ultimate doesn't pay its readers. These are volunteers who read in their off-hours, when they feel they have time for it. This explainsthe delays in reporting on the slush pile and a number of writers who have sold elsewhere but are not "big name" writers.
All in all, the meeting proceeded in a business-like manner. White said he'd take the SFWA terms to Cohen, and then he was asked to leave, since he was not a member and was there only as a courtesy on the part of SFWA.
Some other points.
White speaks of my three-year Crusade. Yet (I made it clear in my letter that I had been relatively indifferent to the Ultimate affair after resigning from the SFWA. I only got embroiled again when the White-Anthony correspondence was presented to me in OW. Result: I became convinced that the matter should be pursued to the end. Also, I was convinced that Pournelle was not going to let the matter slide. So I rejoined SFWA.
White says that the blacklist is selective. Why don't I take a moral stand against Popular Library? It reprints material without paying. True. But Popular Library doesn't have any agreement with the SFWA. Ultimate does. And, as I've pointed out in articles in various fanzines, the SFWA has to show that it can handle Ultimate before it goes on to other business. If it's impotent in dealing with a pygmy like Cohen, what can it do against the giants?
White has accused the SFWA (in many fanzines) of taking a malignant attitude against Cohen. Yet at the Torcon meeting we voted one hundred percent to give Ultimate another chance, even though few of us believed that Ultimate would honor a contract if it were made. Contrary to what White claims, we don't want to put Ultimate out of business and see Amazing and Fantastic go down the drain. We'd like to see it thriving. We'd also like to see it honor its word, and it certainly has not done that.
White says: "...when an author sells reprint rights...he has no moral or legal justification for bitching about it late." True. I said so myself in a letter printed in a Geiszine. But the situation changes when the publisher agrees to pay for reprints. Cohen so agreed. And he has paid for some, some under duress and some to encourage new stories. But, he's made no search for the authors (as agreed), and he's not paid all (as agreed) and with many authors he's ignored requests for repayment (which requests, though made, were not obligatory according to the agreement).
You don't have to take my word for it. Ask Pournelle. He has the records.
There is still the case of Robert Moore Williams. He sold first serial rights only to Ziff-Davis and can prove it. But Cohen reprinted them without permission or without offering to pay Williams. White ignores this point, as he ignored several others I made in my letter in OW #17. The reason? He can't deny them.
 I've held this 'open'; pending any comments by Harlan or Damon Knight, whom I queried per Piers' request. Such hasn't been forthcoming, so let us proceed... In the meantime, after a request from Mike Glyer...and an order from Jodie Offutt's lower case half, I belatedly dispatched copies of the relevant material to Jerry Pournelle...the current SFWA President...