So, awards season is coming up, which means Hugo Awards nominations are now open. As is customary among authors who have published work in science fiction and fantasy in any given year, I’m going to write a handy-dandy little precis of what works I have out there that are eligible and in what categories. To nominate me (or anybody else), just go to the Hugo Awards website to learn all about it. Hey, maybe I’ll even see you in Helsinki, Finland for this year’s WorldCon.
Anywho, here’s my eligibility (I believe):
No Good Deed, Published by Harper Voyager Impulse in June, 2016
“Tea With Silicate Gods” Published on Perihelion in March, 2016
“When It Comes Around” Published on Perihelion in September, 2016
“The Day It All Went Sideways” Published in Time Travel Tales from Chappy Fiction in November, 2016
Of all those, the ones I am perhaps most proud of are “Lord of the Cul-de-sac” and “The Day It All Went Sideways” and I’d ask you give those particular attention. Like, if you were to read one thing, read the Galaxy’s Edge piece. Then again, “When It Comes Around” is free and “The Day It All Went Sideways” is free for Kindle Unlimited members, so there’s that.
I obviously think the world of No Good Deed, but it’s the second book in an as-yet unfinished series (working on it, working on it), so I’m not going to ask people to nominate it, really. Second books don’t tend to win awards. Then again, it isn’t as though I’m likely to get nominated for much of anything, anyway (listens for crickets) see?
Anywho, this is me, humbly planting my flag and saying “I’m here, too!” Thanks so much for your time and attention.
I’ve returned from Kansas City! Though dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I fought my way back through the dread wastes of La Guardia International and American Airlines to deliver this report on what transpired in the distant cattle town.
So, let me explain.
No, it is too much. Let me sum up:
I attended a great many panels, spoke with a great many friends and colleagues, and watched the Hugo Awards get distributed to deserving people and watched thoroughly undeserving people get routed and driven back to Mordor. I will break this thing down, category by category.
The panels I attended were either panels about the craft of writing or panels about the subjects we are writing about. In the first category, perhaps the most interesting was the panel on how to pitch your work which was hosted by a goodly number of very spiffy agents (of which my agent, Joshua Bilmes, was member). That panel solidified in my mind what I have come to realize – that a good query is not smoke and mirrors and flowery language, but rather spare and efficient and evocative. Not “My novel is a thrilling death ride through canyons of moral ambiguity that asks the question “at what price justice?”” but, rather, “My completed fantasy novel is the story of a mercenary company that loses its way through a toxic wasteland and must rely on its captain, a recovering alcoholic, to see them to safety.”
I also saw a pretty cool presentation on Solar Sails by the guy who actually managed some of NASA’s solar sail projects. I listened to neat narrative tricks by Mary Robinette Kowal (who used her shoe as a puppet to illustrate concepts) and a panel of other luminaries. I watched a panel on immortality that became dreadfully boring so quickly I abruptly realized that the easiest way to live forever is to listen to an MD mumble jargon into a microphone for what seemed like eternity.
And there was so much more!
Let’s see, who did I run into? Well, first there was my Harper Voyager friends: Brooke Johnson, Beth Cato, Bishop O’Connell, Lexie Dunne, Becky Chambers, and editor David Pomerico. Then there were my Writers of the Future fellows, including Daniel Davis, Martin Shoemaker, Amy Hughes, Sharon Joss, Tina Gower, Steve Pantazis, (Quiet) Austin “the Dealer” DeMarco, and more besides. There was also my newest writing “family” in the JABerwocky Agency, including Joshua Bilmes, Ben Grange, Sam Morgan, Megan O’Keefe, and Heidi, Alison, Joe, Joey, and Chris (whom I spoke with during dinner but whose last names elude me).
I ran into Mike Resnick (editor of Galaxy’s Edge) and Shahid Mahmud (publisher of Galaxy’s Edge), I met CC “Charlie” Finlay, editor of F&SF, who actually remembered me right away and gave me a big smile and a handshake (which was awesome) and introduced me to his wife, Rae Carson.
And there were so many other people, besides! I couldn’t hope to name them all, and not least of all because I’m not 100% confident I would apply the right names to the right people!
Kansas City is a nice little town – very clean and evidently unpopulated (by my northeastern standards, anyway). Like, seriously – not a lick of traffic at any time, anywhere. Not even downtown. Hardly any pedestrians, either. I won’t lie – it was a trifle eerie.
It is a nice place for BBQ, though, and a big thanks to Brittany Constable (friend of Brooke Johnson and writer in her own right) for giving me a ride out to sample some great brisket and ribs. I also got to go to a fancy restaurant and have a Kansas City Strip Steak, which was pretty good (still not a huge strip steak fan, though). Stopped into the Dubliner pub, too, just to do a standard authenticity check on their “Irish” credentials. It was no Southie or Dorchester, mind you, but it was a really nice bar with some excellent chicken wings (though they don’t seem to understand the definition of “medium rare” for a burger). Got to stop into the Kansas City Public Library, which was a beautiful building that was everything a library should be, and got driven around by some of the nicest cab drivers I’ve met.
The awards show was a bit loosely organized, though they managed to get it into 2 hours on the dot, so kudos to them. The awards weren’t terribly surprising, for the most part – the Puppies were firmly routed yet again (and deservedly so), though I got the sense that their bitter negativity had driven a number of award winners from attending the awards, as quite a few people were accepting things on others’ behalf. Neil Gaiman’s acceptance speech (which was read on stage) was particularly scathing in that respect. Overall, though, I enjoyed the awards show more than I thought I would, as awards shows are usually overlong and deadly dull.
I was particularly happy for Lightspeed for winning Best Semiprozine and for Hao Jingfang and her story “Folding Beijing,” as they were all beside themselves with joy for their win. Jessica Jones also richly deserved the Best Dramatic (Short Form) Hugo, as well.
There was, of course, just a little bit of drama during the convention. I missed it, though whether I was fortunate or unfortunate in that regard is uncertain. A Puppy sympathizer by the name of Truesdale decided to hijack a panel on the state of short fiction and rant and rave about his own opinions about how “pearl-clutchers” are ruining scifi and was, apparently, completely unaware of the irony he embodied. You can look up plenty about this online and I’ll largely stay out of the discussion, but I will say this: Persons of color or women winning Hugo awards doesn’t ruin scifi for anybody. Being assholes, on the other hand…
We’re getting into SF/F awards season. Nebula and Hugo nominations loom on the horizon, and a bunch of writer friends I know are eligible. Also of note: I am eligible. That’s kind of mindblowing, but it is nevertheless true: I am eligible for nomination for a Hugo or Nebula award for several things I had published last year.
But how to proceed? My writerly friends are putting each other up on lists, trumpeting each other to one another, and so on. I feel as though I ought to do the same (even though, to my shame, I really haven’t read very much of my friends’ work – my perennial resolution is to read more each year and it doesn’t quite happen. I digress, though.). I also feel as though I should be plugging my own work somehow. Not because I feel, deep in my bones, that I deserve an award at the moment (I think my work is very good, mind you, but how does anyone honestly look at their work and say “hot damn! That shit should get a Hugo!”), but because, as a writer who garners relatively little attention from the world at large, I would just like to wave the flag and say “me too! I’m here too!”
So, okay, here’s what I have eligible for the Hugos and Nebulas this year:
Short Story: “Adaptation and Predation” on Escape Pod (December 11th, 2015)
Novelette: “A Revolutionary’s Guide to Practical Conjuration” in Writers of the Future Volume 31 (May, 2015)
Novel: Well, I’ve really got one novel, but it was split into two halves and then put back together. So let’s just call it one book and give you the title of that compilation: The Oldest Trick, Book 1 of The Saga of the Redeemed from Harper Voyager Impulse (August 2015)
Now, given that my novel was released in halves and is, therefore, damnably confusing to explain to people, there’s barely a snowball’s chance in hell it will get nominated for anything. Likewise for my Novelette, which already won an award and should count itself lucky on that score. And then there’s the short story – I’m very proud of it. I think it’s some of my best work. You can read/listen to it for free. Will anybody notice it? Eh, who knows?
The competitive side of me wants an award, I’ll admit it. I keep reminding myself, though, of the collected wisdom of the greats bestowed onto me during my trip to LA for the Writers of the Future Workshop. Eric Flint perhaps said it best (and here I paraphrase):
Winning awards doesn’t mean sales. Sales doesn’t mean winning awards. If I had to pick one, I’d take selling books over winning awards every time.
He’s right. I’ve had an enormously successful year and gotten more attention heaped on my writing than at any prior point, so I should be content. I hope that some of my very deserving friends receive recognition for their work, and hope that I can help them in some small way. As for the rest, I leave it in the hands of capricious fate.
Good luck everyone!