Feb 23 2020

Nebs.

Rosemary

No, not a new snack food — it’s the 2019 Nebula Award finalists, the list of which was recently released.

I’m sure you follow all sorts of SF/F websites or social media accounts, so you’ve certainly seen this list already, right?

Well.  Just in case you missed it, here it is:

Novel

Marque of Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix E. Harrow (Redhook; Orbit UK)
A Memory Called Empire, Arkady Martine (Tor)
Gods of Jade and Shadow, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey; Jo Fletcher)
Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com Publishing)
A Song for a New Day, Sarah Pinsker (Berkley)

Novella

“Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom”, Ted Chiang (Exhalation)
The Haunting of Tram Car 015, P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (Saga)
Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water, Vylar Kaftan (Tor.com Publishing)
The Deep, Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes (Saga)
Catfish Lullaby, A.C. Wise (Broken Eye)

Novelette

“A Strange Uncertain Light”, G.V. Anderson (F&SF 7-8/19)
“For He Can Creep”, Siobhan Carroll (Tor.com 7/10/19)
“His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light”, Mimi Mondal (Tor.com 1/23/19)
“The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye”, Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny 7-8/19)
Carpe Glitter, Cat Rambo (Meerkat)
“The Archronology of Love”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed 4/19)

Short Story

“Give the Family My Love”, A.T. Greenblatt (Clarkesworld 2/19)
“The Dead, In Their Uncontrollable Power”, Karen Osborne (Uncanny 3-4/19)
“And Now His Lordship Is Laughing”, Shiv Ramdas (Strange Horizons 9/9/19)
“Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island”, Nibedita Sen (Nightmare 5/19)
“A Catalog of Storms”, Fran Wilde (Uncanny 1-2/19)
“How the Trick Is Done”, A.C. Wise (Uncanny 7-8/19)

The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, Carlos Hernandez (Disney Hyperion)
Catfishing on CatNet, Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)
Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee (Disney Hyperion)
Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions, Henry Lien (Holt)
Cog, Greg van Eekhout (Harper)
Riverland, Fran Wilde (Amulet)

Game Writing

Outer Wilds, Kelsey Beachum (Mobius Digital)
The Outer Worlds, Leonard Boyarsky, Megan Starks, Kate Dollarhyde, Chris L’Etoile (Obsidian Entertainment)
The Magician’s Workshop, Kate Heartfield (Choice of Games)
Disco Elysium, Robert Kurvitz (ZA/UM)
Fate Accessibility Toolkit, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry (Evil Hat Productions)

The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

Avengers: Endgame, Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (Marvel Studios)
Captain Marvel, Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Marvel Studios)
Good Omens: “Hard Times”, Neil Gaiman (Amazon Studios/BBC Studios)
The Mandalorian: “The Child”, Jon Favreau (Disney+)
Russian Doll: “The Way Out”, Allison Silverman and Leslye Headland (Netflix)
Watchmen: “A God Walks into Abar”, Jeff Jensen & Damon Lindelof (HBO)

 

I have, alas, read very view of the fiction entries.   One reason: when I’m trying intensively to write something of my own, it’s very difficult for me to immerse myself in someone else’s imagined world… And I’ve been trying pretty damn hard for most of this year.

On and off, that is.  So I have managed to read at least a couple of the items on the list.  Specifically:

 

This Is How You Lose the Time War by [El-Mohtar, Amal, Gladstone, Max]

This is How You Lose the Time War, by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar, which I dearly loved (as I mentioned previously), and

 

Exhalation: Stories by [Chiang, Ted]

“Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom”,  from Ted Chiang’s collection, Exhalation. Chiang is a favorite of mine, and I generally root for him in any list.   But this time he’s right up against Gladstone and El-Mohtar in the novella category —  so I’m torn.

Of course, as a card-carrying SFWA member, I get to vote for the award, and there’s plenty of opportunity for me to catch up on (at least)  the shorter fiction before the deadline.  Quite possibly one of the other finalists for novella will impress me even more!

But, looking through this list, I do notice an interesting trend: an outsized proportion of the nominees were published in either Tor.com or Uncanny magazine.

Tor.com is a websiteYou can read their fiction for free.

Uncanny has no physical existence, and is an ebook magazine subscription — but you can also read it for free on their website (if partly delayed so that subscribers see it all first).

That is such a very interesting phenomenon.

I gotta say: the first thing I did on realizing this was to hop over and subscribe to Uncanny.  Obviously, it’s where the cool kids are hanging out these days.

Speaking of cool kids hanging out:

The winsome Geary Gravel.

I had a lovely evening in Northampton MA, sharing dinner with fellow author Geary Gravel, at our favorite Indian restaurant.  Geary is himself neck-deep in projects, both enjoyable and frustrating…  I’ll say no more about which ones are which!  Anyway, time spent with Geary is always delightful — in the way that talking with another writer who knows exactly what you’re going through and can offer a) insight, b) commiseration and/or c) righteous indignation can only be.   We writers spend an awful lot of time hunched over desks, gazing at glowing screens and punching keyboards.  Actual conversation with another human being, and eating food well-prepared by persons other than oneself can certainly put things in perspective.

Also — this, guy in particular?  Especially great to hang out with.  Just sayin’.

Final note: Have you been watching The Expanse?  You should be watching The Expanse.  Also reading the books.

 


Dec 31 2018

Plunged into darkness!

Rosemary

 

 

Real candle plus fake candle.

Gosh, thought I, I have a great idea.  I’ll clean my office!

It was starting to get sort of random, with books and papers in places that books and papers should not be hanging out, largely because those particular books and papers have not been assigned proper homes, so they are loitering in random corners, muttering to each other, and generally wasting their time.   I knew that if I didn’t take care of them, they’d soon be pitching pennies, sassing passers-by and smoking cigarettes.

No one wants to see books and papers go bad.  Get this in hand before it’s too late!

Fortunately  I had a couple of hours free before settling down to my night’s work.  And what better day to do it?  I would come back on New Year’s Day with my office already in order, and be ready to attack my work with vigor and alacrity, with nothing else hanging over my head, and only pleasing vistas and comfort all around.

Also, I could make some tea.  My fave Lapsang Souchong, which I haven’t had lately, as I’ve been trying to do more green tea instead.  Also, hey!  Susan Forbes Hansen’s show, Sunday Night Folk Festival,  on the radio — I can’t tune it in, because we’re in sort of a reception sinkhole, but live streaming on the computer works just fine!  Just the thing to keep me entertained while sorting and cleaning.

Excellent plan.

Step one: take all those recalcitrant books and papers, and put them out into stacks in the corridor. Done.

Step two: take every object off every surface and put them in corridor, too, so I can dust every surface. Done.

Step three: What’s that beeping noise?

And why is it so dark?

The beeping noise my computer’s emergency UPS, doing its job and keeping that computer running so I could save any files and shut it down properly.   Because we suddenly had no power.

It took some doing to find out that it was only this office/business/warehouse complex that had no power, and that the rest of the town was fine. I had to climb on the roof, to look around.

But this is very a big old collection of former mills and factories, and it wasn’t just my building. The whole vast thing was dark.  Nothing here had power.

I saw a police car cruising along, doing a full circle of the whole complex, which was reassuring.  Probably an emergency alarm went off because of the power being out.  Glad they were on the job.

But I had no electricity.

There were emergency floodlights in the stairwells, where they were doing me no good at all — all my stuff, as you may recall, being now out in the corridor.   In the dark.

So I contemplated my situation, found it inexpressibly amusing, threw up my hands, turned on the flashlight function on my phone, and hauled it all back into my office.  I couldn’t listen to Sunday Night Folk Festival while I worked, so I whistled some tunes instead.

I put my tea in a thermos, and then threw everything out of the mini-fridge that I thought might go bad in three days — because, hey, with New Year’s Eve tomorrow, and New Year’s Day the next day, who the heck would be working to fix this?  Could I even try to contact the building owners?  The management office was certainly closed, but would they even check their messages until after the holiday?

With that all settled, I gathered my laptop, some books, the tea, the trash, and hauled it all down to my car, and headed out.  Plans gang agly, as the poet says.

But… just in case, I thought I’d circumnavigate the whole complex.

And around the back, I came across these guys:

“Ah,”  I said to the dudes at work, “this explains it!”

“What, didn’t anyone tell you?” they asked.

“Tell me… what?”

This had been planned for months. They could not believe that no one had bothered to tell me about it!  They were making repairs, had to turn off the power to do it, all scheduled ahead of time!  How could I not have been told?

Well.  I believe they assumed I was an employee of some business there, and that my bosses would have been told, and they ought to have told me.  I didn’t correct them, and allowed them to be outraged on my behalf, which I feel was very kind of them.

But in fact, it’s pretty easy for the building owners to forget that I exist, and that I work on the weekends.  And that Sunday night 9PM, just before a major holiday would be a time and day that I would be in my office, at work, in need of electricity.

With a bit of trepidation, I asked the dudes how long the repairs would take — would they be done, say, by Wednesday?

The were amused.  “Five AM tomorrow.”

So, all is well after all.  I’ll pop back tomorrow and take care of everything.  I’ll probably see the turn of the year at my desk, in my office, watching the countdown and toasting with some Laphraoig.

Meanwhile, tonight I’ve set up here in my kitchen, and am about to have some popcorn and watch Bandersnatch on Netflix to see if it’s as fun as I’ve been hearing.

Tea, fleurs, laptop

I sure hope 2019 is an improvement on 2018, because damn.

However, I have to say 2018 is ending rather well because — remember that Tor.com mention by James Davis Nicoll?

Well, I got a nice bump in my sales as a result.  A very nice bump.   I won’t get the royalties until the end of February, but this is by far my best sales month in years.  I’ve sold, well, let me check… yep.  As of now, just over 500 books this month.

So, that’s a nice way to end the year!

Possibly your year is ending as positively as mine is!  And possibly, though we might not actually believe in omens, we can pretend to, and view it all as a good omen for the possibilities of 2019.

Yeah, let’s do that.

 


Dec 17 2013

Wait, what?

Rosemary

Joseph Gordon-Levitt? I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt! I’ve been following him ever since he was 13 on Third Rock from the Sun, all the way up to Inception and beyond.

Neil Gaiman? Love Neil Gaiman! Ever since I lived next door to a comic book store and stumbled upon the amazing Sandman series, and on to his stories and novels…

Joseph Gordon-Levitt starring in and directing the movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics?

Are you freakin’ serious?

ZOW!

Well. That just made my day.