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Transcriptase – A Home Away From Helix

In response to the recent controversy over Helix SF, several authors have created a new website, Transcriptase, to offer their stories and poems.

From the website:

In July 2008, Helix editor William Sanders stirred up controversy in the community with remarks that many found offensive. The blogosphere exploded with discussion. You can find a summary of the events here.

As the controversy continued, several Helix writers asked to remove their work from the magazine and were met with unprofessional treatment. This upset all of us. We agreed that we would not stand by in silence.

Transcriptase hosts reprints of our stories and poems originally published at Helix. During the controversy, some of us removed our work from Helix; others left it up. There are valid reasons to make either choice, and we hope you’ll respect that we had difficult decisions to make. We offer our stories and poems at Transcriptase so that you can enjoy our work away from Helix, if you choose.

It’s difficult to summarize how we feel about the incident, since each of us feels differently. Our reactions range from disappointed to sad to angry.

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

3 Comments on Transcriptase – A Home Away From Helix

  1. It’s an interesting thing to watch. More, the reactions of the authors than anything. What the original editor said was a cheap, racist slur, and it was unbecoming of him, and I certainly have no desire to sell him any of my stories. But in and of itself, it’s not a unique event. The internet is full of racial slurs, I’m afraid. Look at a Youtube comment trail.

    But I expect better from an editor, especially one involved in literature of any form.

    What I’m watching, though, is how authors are reacting. Especially those who pulled their stories and protested. Good for them. Hats off to them.

  2. If the editor had said, “Well, I’m rejecting your story because it sucked”, nothing would have come of this.

    I wonder, though. We’re only seeing one end of things, their copies of his messages. Half the story…


  3. Actually, what I found most telling, was the editor’s behavior after the matter arose. The act of causing trouble for people who wanted to remove their stories, then charging for it, then refusing. Generally, his behavior has been markedly unimpressive throughout the incident. Even without the racist slur in the letter, he’s behaved in an astonishingly poor fashion.

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