Our goal is to keep all our events exciting and inclusive, and we love that we have such an active and engaged membership. Some how over the last few years, our little book club became a not-so-little safe haven for geekery of all kinds. In order to maintain that environment, and to make sure our events stay fun and manageable and as many people as possible can enjoy them, we do need to keep some policies in place so everything can run smoothly.
CONDUCT & BEHAVIOR:
“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.” - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Ultimately, we're a (very large) group of friends, and our discussions range across topics and occasionally touch on the controversial. Our book club is meant to be a safe space in which we can share our passion for books and explore the ideas and implications that speculative fiction offers. Please stay polite and relaxed and remember that we're all here to enjoy ourselves and that everyone has a right to their opinion. We will not tolerate any sort of name-calling, derogatory comments, ad hominem attacks or other pejorative comments directed at members of the group.
In other words, it's acceptable and worthwhile to dispute factual errors or contest an argument, provided you do so in a reasonable, civil and respectful manner. It is absolutely unacceptable to resort to "You're a !" accusations or to mock, ridicule, or attack someone just because you disagree with their opinion. Abuse of this manner may result in a temporary or permanent ban from future events.We have a zero tolerance policy for harassment
. Examples of harassment include but are not limited to unwanted physical contact, following a person without their expressed consent, intimidation, or verbally threatening someone. In addition, harassment via electronic methods such as email or private messages will be treated in the same manner as physical and verbal harassment.
Furthermore, while we have single members and we hold a great many social events, this group is not a singles group or dating mill or anything of the sort, and we will react poorly to any who try to treat it as such. We have no patience for creepers
. Be respectful of each other's time, personal space, and wishes and consider that even if your intent is good and flattering, your behavior may make someone uncomfortable. If you are uncertain whether your attentions are welcome, remember that it is always better to err on the side of caution and refrain.
Book Club should be a place we can all relax and enjoy, not a place where anyone has to keep their guard up or deal with aggravation. If you experience or witness harassment or a problem of any sort, please contact Vernieda or Vijay ASAP
. In order to address an incident, we must first know it took place. You will be heard and you will be taken seriously and your privacy will be respected. Coming forward helps us prevent future recurrence and protects your fellow members. We value your opinion and want all our members to thrive in our community.
ATTENDANCE & NO-SHOW POLICIES
We are perpetually amazed and delighted at how much interest we see in many of our events, and we want to serve as many members as possible and deliver fun and valuable experiences to each of you. In order to balance the size and quality of our events, it's important that every member takes their RSVPs seriously. It helps us better plan and manage events and it helps ensure that fewer people get shut out of events they wish to attend. Think about it this way, if you made plans to spend a day with friends, and you couldn't make it, you'd let them know, wouldn't you? All we're requesting is that same level of courtesy and attentiveness.
It's our hope that the penalties for no-shows won't be necessary for anyone, and we ask that all our members keep their RSVPs updated and current (both as to whether or not they're attending, and an accurate count of how many guests they're bringing, if any).
We also understand that life can get busy or messy and unexpected things might keep you from attending an event. In order to make sure these penalties don't impact you, we'd really appreciate it if you would reach out to us
as soon as possible after the fact and let us know what happened. In most cases we should be able to accommodate you (excepting situations in which we're financially liable, etc.).
Below are the general policies for the different types of events we hold. They may vary individually depending on the exact nature of an event, however, and the specific no-show policies that apply will always be posted at the bottom of an event description
. We want to maintain our casual, laid-back nature as a group, so we're aiming to apply the minimum required structure to make sure everyone can have a great time. And we'll remain as flexible as we can, so if you have questions or concerns or if you're worried about something, reaching out to us
will give us the best chance to help you resolve things.Book Discussions
For every book discussion we hold, there will be an afternoon (12:30 PM) and morning (10:00 AM) session. We ask that members please attend either
the morning or afternoon timeslot only. Please keep your RSVPs updated, and if you can't make it, please change your RSVP status no later than 10 PM two nights before the event
. Please note that members can join the waiting lists for both sessions to maximize their chances of getting into a discussion, but once a spot is secured for either the morning or afternoon session, they cannot remain on the waitlist for the alternate session. Also, if you drop out of one session to switch to the other after 10pm two nights before the event without a compelling reason, your cancellation of your original spot will count as a no-show.
The afternoon session will include (at minimum) 18 spots and will be announced up to several months in advance. A waiting list will be available.
The morning session will include (at minimum) 12 spots and will be announced ~2 weeks in advance. A waiting list will be available. This is meant to make sure that new members have a chance to attend events, and to provide a discussion for anyone who prefers a smaller group.
For book discussions, any member that incurs 3 no-shows in a 3-month period (rolling) will not be able to attend the next 4 book discussions following their 3rd no-show
Our writing group will meet once a month (usually on a Saturday). The date will depend on other book club events scheduled in that particular month. A waiting list will be available. Please keep your RSVPs updated, and if you can't make it, please change your RSVP status no later than 10pm two nights before the event
For writers meetups, any member that incurs a no-show will not be able to attend the next 2 writers meetups following the no-show
We will usually hold a group dinner after any movie meetup, as well as twice a year (usually June and December). Attendance caps will depend on the restaurant in question. A waiting list will be available. Since our group dinners almost always require a large party reservation and/or a commitment to a restaurant, we'd really appreciate your help in keeping our counts accurate and maintaining a good relationship with restaurants we're likely to frequent again. Please keep your RSVPs updated, and if you can't make it, please change your RSVP status no later than 10pm the night before the event, or in accordance with the specific policies listed on the event page, as they may vary
For our dinner meetups, any member that incurs a no-show will not be able to attend another dinner meetup for a 4-month period
Please also note that both you and any guests you signed up for will count as no-shows.
Please bear in mind that we usually make large group reservations, and that it takes a lot of work on the part of the restaurant service staff to accommodate our needs (as well as to prepare and process split checks). We ask that you please be polite and understanding with the restaurant, and that you treat our waitstaff with respect and consideration. Rude or disruptive behavior during a dinner meetup by your or your guests could result in a temporary ban from attending events or permanent removal from the group. Also remember that you are responsible to the venue for for your own food and drink. In cases where the venue is unable to provide split checks and we each pay our own share, please be sure to factor in tax and tip to your portion, and remember that in large groups tip is often a pre-set percentage. Please don't EVER leave without paying your bill (or arranging for a friend to do so). It screws over the rest of the group and will almost inevitably result in a permanent ban.In-home Events, Potlucks, DVD Meetups, and TV Show Meetups
We sometimes hold meetups in members' homes or residential event spaces to watch DVDs or TV shows (such as HBO's Game of Thrones). These meetups are often potlucks. Participating in a potluck meetup means that not only should you bring something to the potluck, you should also let us know what you'll be bringing in the comments section of the event several days prior to the event
. This is to make sure that everyone can enjoy their meal and to make sure we don't end up with nothing but desserts or potato chips, etc. If you do not participate in the potluck coordination online, you may be removed from the event. It's also very important that you let us know (in the comments) whether you have any allergies or dietary restrictions. RSVPs close and lock 2 days prior to these events, so please make sure to let us know if your status changes
Because these events tend to have very big waiting lists, any member that incurs a no-show will not be able to attend another such meetup for a 4-month period
.Happy Hours, Parties, and Picnics
A few times a year, we'll be holding special events without attendance caps to bring the entire group together to socialize and have some fun. These events will almost always be free (unless we need to rent equipment or a special venue), and will usually have no special RSVP requirements or no-show policies, except in special cases. Check the bottom of the event page for specifics.
Also remember that you are responsible to the venue for for your own food and drink. In cases where the venue is unable to provide split checks and we each pay our own share, please be sure to factor in tax and tip to your portion, and remember that in large groups tip is often a pre-set percentage. Please don't EVER leave without paying your bill (or arranging for a friend to do so). It screws over the rest of the group and will almost inevitably result in a permanent ban.
The safety of all our members is important to us, so please keep in mind that for our parties held at Houlihan's, the restaurant is attached to a Hilton, and there is also a Hampton Inn within walking distance of the hotel, so you have the option of booking a room rather than drive home.Movie (In-Theatre) Meetups
We hold several movie meetups throughout the year. Once showtimes are available, we will announce the specific time and send out a link to buy tickets. It is each member's responsibility to purchase their own ticket. We do appreciate accurate RSVps to help us hold seats for you, so please keep your RSVP updated. We usually hold dinners afterward (they will be listed as a separate event).
In the case of advanced screenings and special events, we will require more accurate RSVP counts and a no-show policy will be in place.
We do ask that if you attend a movie screening with us, that you please refrain from talking loudly during the movie or disrupting the experience for other guests. We want everyone in the group to be able to hear and enjoy their movie experience, and we also would like to maintain a positive relationship with the theatre, so your cooperation is appreciated. Disruptive behavior during a movie by your or your guests could result in a temporary ban from attending events or permanent removal from the group.Author Events
From time to time, we attend author events such as signings, launch parties, etc. An accurate RSVP is appreciated, since it helps us to save seats for you (and when possible, pick up tickets for signings earlier so everyone can get a decent spot in line).Conventions/Fairs/Festivals
We do try to attend special events occasionally, such as Balticon, Dragon!Con, CapClave, and the Maryland Renaissance Festival, and possible others. Some of these trips involve coordinating carpools (and for overnight trips, lodging). On a case-by-case basis, we will set attendance caps and RSVP policies as needed.
We reserve the right to revoke membership at any time. Membership in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Club is primarily intended for local area residents of Northern Virginia, Washington, DC, and southern Maryland. Any individual or business who uses their membership for purposes of commercial promotion or advertising will be removed
(e.g. authors, publishers, etc.). To keep our group safe and comfortable for everyone, we reserve the right to remove anyone if concerns of harassment or inappropriate behavior are raised
. Since we rely on positive long-term relationships with our venues, rudeness or mistreatment of the staff or facilities at our venues may also result in removal
. Any sort of trolling or abuse of the discussion board or comments will not be permitted, either. Excessive abuse of our attendance or no-show policies may also result in removal
Each of our members is expected to be aware of and in compliance with the above policies and with treating fellow attendees with decency and consideration and appropriately respecting boundaries. Ignorance of these policies will not excuse anyone from penalties
, and our zero tolerance policies mean that we are under no obligation to issue a warning and offer a second chance prior to removing and banning a member for conduct violations. Also, each of us is fully accountable for the behavior of guests at all events
.Age LimitsOur group is primarily intended for adult members only. If you are a teenager nearing adulthood and are interested in participating, please contact us, and we can discuss which events are appropriate with a parents permission
. Our age rules are both a matter of liability during events and the fact that our conversations and content will occasionally range into more mature topics or heavier themes, and it's important that our members feel comfortable to discuss without censoring or worrying about the age appropriateness of others participating.
Several of our events throughout the year are family-friendly (e.g. summer picnic, Ren Fair, some conventions, movie theatre meetups, etc.), and if you'd like to bring relatives or friends that are underage, please reach out to us to check if the event you have in mind is an appropriate one.
We reserve the right to revoke the membership of anyone underage or anyone who brings underage guests to events that are not appropriate.