Apr 25 2017

It’s Con or Bust again!

Rosemary

The Con or Bust fund-raising auction for 2017 is up and running.  As usual, I’m contributing items to be auctioned.

Here they are; and if you want to bid on any of them, it’s easy to do, over at the  the Con or Bust auction site.

First up:  a hand bound blank book.

Bookbinding is a hobby of mine, but I haven’t done much of it lately.  This was a good excuse, and a kick in the butt to get back to it.

This book has a cover of thick, wrinkle-textured art paper, and the spine is lovely soft buckskin (if you’re against leather on principle, this book is not for you).   I’ve had the leather for a long time, and haven’t found a project that cried out for it — but when I saw the green paper cover, the combination seemed just perfect.  The ribbon ties are old silk, and there’s a silk ribbon attached bookmark.  With, yes, that is a mouse.

The end-papers have leafy bits included in the paper itself.  I love them.

 

The inside paper is the sort of calligraphy paper that gets called “parchment” even though that’s not real parchment (she said snootily).    It’s very nice paper, and works well with fountain pen as well as pretty much every other pen or pencil type.

And there’s a mouse.

He’s a netsuke-like wood carving, and I bought him in the dealer’s room at Worldcon in 2015, which was in Spokane, along with a handful of others of various animal design.   I knew I could use them for book embellishments… But I honestly completely forgot I had them!  This happens fairly often: I’ll see something perfect for bookbinding, but won’t have a particular project in mind.  So, I tuck it away — and rediscover it later, to my great delight. When I make a book, I don’t have a design in mind at first; I look at the materials on hand, and let them inspire me.   When I decided to make a book for Con or Bust, I started sifting through what I had on hand, and re-found the mouse!  That was it, I had it: Mouse, forest, green, leaves, buckskin.

The mouse is reading a magazine, by the way, and not a book.  You can tell by how he has the cover folded back:

Yes, this book can be yours!  Just head on over to the Con or Bust Auction site.  Bidding is easy.

Other items:

It’s a copy of the British edition of the Steerswoman.   Physical copies of my books are hard to find — but I have a few copies of the British publication by Pan Books. It’s mass-market paperback size.   As a bonus, I’ve printed out a map of Rowan’s world on “parchment” paper.  Looks nice.  Warning: The map inside each book is different, as Rowan discovers more and more — but this map is as of Volume 4.  Which means that it contains potential spoilers.   (I used the Volume 4 map because the Volume 1 map is so sparse it just doesn’t look very appealing.)

Also:

The Lost Steersman (Volume 3 of the series)  also with a parchment map.  Also spoilery, in a sense:  The landscape on the map is discovered during the events of the book.  So, you can follow along, if you like…

And finally:

The Language of Power, (Volume 4 of the series) also with parchment map.

In years past, I’ve printed the map out on handmade paper that I’d made some years ago, experimentally.  But I’ve used it up (the plain paper, that is).  But the parchment works pretty well, I think.

So, there’s Volume 1, Volume 3, and Volume 4 —  why no copy of Volume 2, The Outskirter’s Secret?

I have no extra copies.  Alas.

I have a couple of copies which I use for reference and readings, but for some reason extra copies of The Outskirter’s Secret weren’t made available to me, back when they were published.   Actually, I’m almost out of copies of The Language of Power now, too.

So, those are my contributions to the  Con or Bust’s fund-raising auction.

What is Con or Bust?  It’s an organization that helps people of color attend science fiction and fantasy conventions.   Here’s the official blurb from their site:

Con or Bust, Inc., is a tax-exempt not-for-profit organization (EIN: 81-2141738) that helps people of color/non-white people attend SFF conventions (how to request assistance). Con or Bust isn’t a scholarship and isn’t limited to the United States, to particular types of con-goers, or to specific cons; its goal is simply to help fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome selves. It is funded through donations and an online auction held annually.

 

This is why I support Con or Bust:

a) Everyone should read science fiction and fantasy.  SF/F is actually good for you!   It increases your intellectual and imaginative skills, deepens your understanding of the world, and can be a great source of joy.

b) Everyone who likes SF/F should go to a convention at some point in their life, multiple times if possible.  At conventions, you meet other like-minded people, people who take delight in the same things you do — and you learn that you are not weird, are not a misfit, and are not alone.  There are lots of us.  And we want you.

c) People of color, and especially African-Americans, are very often actively discouraged by educators and American society in general from pursuing intellectual goals, or seeking intellectual values.  I view this as a crime, and a tragedy.  And it also means that many potential readers — and potential writers — of SF/F are directed away from our field, away from all its delights and benefits.   But by helping people of color get to conventions, Con or Bust is acting directly against those negative messages.  It says, explicitly: you do belong here.

There are all sorts of nifty things (and services) being offered over at the auction, and you should check them out.   You might find something you didn’t know existed, and now simply MUST have.

Like, oh… this:

Farscape script, with an actual piece of Moya.

… Bidding ends at May 7, 4PM Eastern time.


Apr 14 2017

Thanks, UK. Plus: WTF Netherlands? And random other news.

Rosemary

On April 11, inexplicably, my sales in the UK quadrupled!

Usually when this happens, I can do a Google search and find the triggering event, such as a good review.  I like to try to find those, when I can, so I can drop a note to the person who reviewed, or blogged, to thank them for the signal boost.  But this time, there seemed to be nothing identifiable.  Just, suddenly,  a bunch of people in the UK decided to buy my books.  They bought all four volumes, as well.   It makes me wonder if there’s a book-discussion group in Islington, nattering about Rowan over tea and biscuits at this very moment.

But the search also revealed a number of spurious sites purporting to allow you to read or download the books For! Free!    There are always a few of these around, but interestingly, this time they were mostly located in the Netherlands.  Why?  Beats me.  Usually it’s Russia that has the freebie pirate sites.  But for one day, it was the Netherlands.  Most of them have vanished now — or have stopped using my name as a come-on, which renders them invisible to me.

(If you’re ever tempted by these sites, be smart and don’t do it.  Seriously,  if they’re not even charging you, then they are almost certainly just trying to get you to click so they can infect you with evil malware.)

In other news: Hey, a friend of mine wrote a book!  Okay, plenty of my friends write books.  But this one is different because…it’s a diet book.  Not fiction.  It’s The Sustainable Weight Loss Lifestyle, by Brian Bambrough, who some of you may know, as he is a longtime pal of mine, and can often be found at conventions and SFnal gatherings.

Now, I can’t actually endorse the book, as I haven’t applied its principles in my own life, but I can tell you that it’s crammed with real information.   Brian is a nerd’s nerd, and he backs up everything, even including links to the relevant biomedical journal articles.   And formulas!  And charts.  (Although, you can also skip the formulas, if you are so inclined.)  Also, if you really hate the way most diet books try to cajole you, and manipulate you, and slather on pop-psychology slogans in an attempt to motivate you — well, you won’t find that in Brian’s book.   Just the facts.  So, it might be just what you’ve been looking for…

(Brian is also the author of Problem Solving in Life Contingencies, which, despite the title, is not a motivational book, but a textbook on actuarial mathematics.  Not currently available, according to Amazon.  Also, no reviews…)

Other stuff I’ve been up to (besides writing): reading up on wilderness medicine, because: hey, Steerswomen.  If we’re going to spend any time at the Steerswomen’s Academy, I’d better make sure I know what I’m talking about.

I now know (for example) three different ways to remove a fish-hook from human flesh, including a particularly neat method that I had never heard of before.  I’m using Wilderness Medicine, by William Fogery, but there seem to be plenty of books available on the subject.  And most of them have Kindle versions, which strikes me as odd, given that the time when you’d most need the book is when you are in the actual wilderness.  Where there are no ebook charging plugs available, generally.

Plus: I finally finished reading  Marina Abramović’s autobiography.  Whatever one might think of avant-garde performance art, this is a woman who has led an extremely unusual and  interesting life.  And she serves  as a very good example of being completely devoted to your craft, whatever that craft might be.   And a good example of someone who tries to view the world from a completely different angle.

Some of her performance pieces sound, frankly, appalling and needlessly brutal, and some sound self-consciously random and overly clever.  But others are startling and  profound; and still others are quiet and oddly moving.  Her most famous work, of course, was The Artist is Present.

Here are some exercises she gave to her students:

COMPLAINING TO A TREE: Hold a tree and complain to it, for a minimum of fifteen minutes.   (I admit to finding this rather attractive.)

OPENING THE DOOR: For three hours, very slowly open a door, neither entering nor exiting.  After three hours the door is not a door anymore.  (I’m not sure I can find three hours to spare for this.)

SLOW-MOTION EXERCISE: For the entire day, do everything very slowly: walking, drinking water, showering.  Peeing in slow motion is very difficult, but try.

I can’t help comparing her to Navarth, the mad poet from Jack Vance’s Demon Princes.  Except that he was something of a charlatan (though a true artist despite that), while she is most definitely in earnest.

Lastly: You know that Jo Walton has a Patreon supporting her poetry, right?  I’m a supporter, and I do love her poems, generally.  But her most recent one absolutely knocked my flat and made me shed real tears.    It’s a sestina — a rhymed sestina — called “The Grief of Apollo,” based on events from her novel The Philosopher Kings. I’d reproduce it here, but — nope.   It’s hers, and you really should consider signing up for her Patreon.  Then you’d be able to get all her poems.

A buck per poem.  Small price for real tears, say I.

 

 


Apr 5 2017

Quick post — Hugo finalists

Rosemary

The list of finalists for the Hugo Award is out.

Probably you already know this, since you’re an SF/F reader, you’re in the know, you’re connected, you’ve got your finger on the cultural pulse of America.  Right?  Sure.

But in case you missed it (or have wisely chosen to limit your screen-time in order to actually have time to accomplish real things in the real world, yet have chosen inexplicably to make  this blog of mine be sole contact with the SF/F world) — well, in that case, here you go:

 

Best Novel

  • All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Books / Titan Books)
  • A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager US)
  • Death’s End, by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books / Head of Zeus)
  • Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books)
  • The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)
  • Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer (Tor Books)

Best Novella

  • The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle (Tor.com publishing)
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, by Kij Johnson (Tor.com publishing)
  • Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com publishing)
  • Penric and the Shaman, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum Literary Agency)
  • A Taste of Honey, by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com publishing)
  • This Census-Taker, by China Mieville (Del Rey / Picador)

Best Novelette

  • Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T-Rex, by Stix Hiscock (self-published)
  • “The Art of Space Travel”, by Nina Allan (Tor.com , July 2016)
  • “The Jewel and Her Lapidary”, by Fran Wilde (Tor.com, May 2016)
  • “The Tomato Thief”, by Ursula Vernon (Apex Magazine, January 2016)
  • “Touring with the Alien”, by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2016)
  • “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay”, by Alyssa Wong (Uncanny Magazine, May 2016)

Best Short Story

  • “The City Born Great”, by N. K. Jemisin (Tor.com, September 2016)
  • “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, by Alyssa Wong (Tor.com, March 2016)
  • “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine, November 2016)
  • “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)
  • “That Game We Played During the War”, by Carrie Vaughn (Tor.com, March 2016)
  • “An Unimaginable Light”, by John C. Wright (God, Robot, Castalia House)

Best Related Work

  • The Geek Feminist Revolution, by Kameron Hurley (Tor Books)
  • The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher (Blue Rider Press)
  • Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg, by Robert Silverberg and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Fairwood)
  • The View From the Cheap Seats, by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow / Harper Collins)
  • The Women of Harry Potter posts, by Sarah Gailey (Tor.com)
  • Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)

Best Graphic Story

  • Black Panther, Volume 1: A Nation Under Our Feet, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Marvel)
  • Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening, written by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image)
  • Ms. Marvel, Volume 5: Super Famous, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa (Marvel)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 1, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher (Image)
  • Saga, Volume 6, illustrated by Fiona Staples, written by Brian K. Vaughan, lettered by Fonografiks (Image)
  • The Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than A Man, written by Tom King, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta (Marvel)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)

  • Arrival, screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short story by Ted Chiang, directed by Denis Villeneuve (21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films)
  • Deadpool, screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, directed by Tim Miller (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Marvel Entertainment/Kinberg Genre/The Donners’ Company/TSG Entertainment)
  • Ghostbusters, screenplay by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig, directed by Paul Feig (Columbia Pictures/LStar Capital/Village Roadshow Pictures/Pascal Pictures/Feigco Entertainment/Ghostcorps/The Montecito Picture Company)
  • Hidden Figures, screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, directed by Theodore Melfi (Fox 2000 Pictures/Chernin Entertainment/Levantine Films/TSG Entertainment)
  • Rogue One, screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, directed by Gareth Edwards (Lucasfilm/Allison Shearmur Productions/Black Hangar Studios/Stereo D/Walt Disney Pictures)
  • Stranger Things, Season One, created by the Duffer Brothers (21 Laps Entertainment/Monkey Massacre)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)

  • Black Mirror: “San Junipero”, written by Charlie Brooker, directed by Owen Harris (House of Tomorrow)
  • Doctor Who: “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Ed Bazalgette (BBC Cymru Wales)
  • The Expanse: “Leviathan Wakes”, written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, directed by Terry McDonough (SyFy)
  • Game of Thrones: “Battle of the Bastards”, written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, directed by Miguel Sapochnik (HBO)
  • Game of Thrones: “The Door”, written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, directed by Jack Bender (HBO)
  • Splendor & Misery, by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes)

Best Editor – Short Form

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
  • Sheila Williams

Best Editor – Long Form

  • Vox Day
  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Devi Pillai
  • Miriam Weinberg
  • Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist

  • Galen Dara
  • Julie Dillon
  • Chris McGrath
  • Victo Ngai
  • John Picacio
  • Sana Takeda

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  • Sarah Gailey (1st year of eligibility)
  • J. Mulrooney (1st year of eligibility)
  • Malka Older (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Ada Palmer (1st year of eligibility)
  • Laurie Penny (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Kelly Robson (2nd year of eligibility)

 

Those are the “big” categories.   For the full list, head over to the official webiste of the Hugos, the  official website for Worldcon 2017,  or to the ever-informative-and-practically-indispensible Tor.com’s post.

But I’d like to draw your attention to a couple of things:

Ada Palmer is in the list both for Too Like the Lightning and for the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer.  How often, I wonder, has it happened that a writer snagged finalist in both of those awards?  Well, probably plenty of times.   I don’t follow the details that closely every year.  But I’m amazed.  I’ve met Ada, and had the pleasure of hanging out with her (and other cool SF/F people) last year before Worldcon —  and yes, she is rather an astonishing person. I’m thrilled that she’s doing so well, right out of the gate.  You should go to her website to see all the things she’s done and is doing.  (The next book in the series, Seven Surrenders has just been released.)

Also: Remember all the fuss with the Sad/Rabid Puppies and the Hugo award in the last few years?  Well, note that the Puppies have only the slightest presence in the list.   (No, I won’t link to a history of that mess.  If you’re not familiar with it, you are blessed.  Google it if you must.)  Also, the list this year seems to be full of exactly the sort of writers the Pups disparage.  So, hey, bonus!

Plus: Pretty sure that Stix Hiscock is a pseudonym.  I’m thinking it’s a pen-name of Chuck Tingle.  Because that would be amusing.   Alternate explanation: a pseudonym of some Puppy trying to cash in on Tingle’s demographic.

Coming soon: the actual blog post I was in the middle of when the Hugo finalist list was released.