Kelly and I couldn’t be in Calgary last night for When Words Collide, so we were rewatching Forsyte Saga and keeping one eye tuned to Twitter when word came that Kelly had won the Prix Aurora Award for “Waters of Versailles.” Delightful news, and I am thrilled for her (and, I admit, just a bit smug about having used the words “awards-quality” to describe it before it had even gone out to market).
About ten nail-bitey minutes after that, we found out that A Daughter of No Nation had won the Aurora in the Novel category. Our brother Bill Robson accepted both awards for us, kindly giving up an evening to hobnob with Canada’s SF luminaries. He called to congratulate us, and sent a pic of himself holding both trophies, both certificates, and our nominee pins.
Here’s the speech I sent to Calgary:
Being nominated for an Aurora is one of those things that I believe all Canadian SF authors aspire to. I always did, so it was a thrill and an honor to be on this shortlist with so many great authors whose work I love. I am thankful to my wife, Kelly Robson, to my family, to the people at Tor Books and to all the many friends and colleagues who’ve helped me, over the years, with everything from research and proofreading to unstinting moral support.
Last year, when I had the opportunity to present one of these trophies myself, I was blown away by my good fortune. I feel lucky to be working among such a lively community of brilliant creators, people who celebrate writing, genre fiction, and, above all, each other. I am touched and gratified that you liked A Daughter of No Nation so much; thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Incidentally, the reason we weren’t in Calgary was that next week we’re going to be in Kansas City for MidAmericon II. Here’s my schedule:
The Re-emergence of Environmental Speculative Fiction
Thursday 18:00 – 19:00, 2503A (Kansas City Convention Center)
This used to be a booming field but has only recently re-emerged. Why is this and how do today’s tropes differ from the ecological dystopias of the 1970s?
Mr. Peadar O Guilin (M), Brenda Cooper, Alyx Dellamonica
Oceans: The Wettest Frontier
Friday 10:00 – 11:00, 3501F (Kansas City Convention Center)
James Cambias, Mrs. Laurel Anne Hill, Patricia MacEwen, Christopher Weuve (M), Alyx Dellamonica
We Deserve Better: Lesbians and Bi Women for Change
Friday 15:00 – 16:00, 2209 (Kansas City Convention Center)
TV SPOILERS! TW: Character Deaths.
Alyx Dellamonica (M), Jaylee James, Nina Niskanen, Jay Wolf
Reading: Alyx Dellamonica
Sunday 13:30 – 14:00, 2203 (Readings) (Kansas City Convention Center)
Over on her blog, Kelly has advocated an elegant solution to the current battle over rebranding the Hugo Award. It is this: abandon the rhetoric, step back from telling stories about who’s doing what and and why they’re wrong on the Internet, and pay a damned mediator. It seems to me that the World SF Society or Sasquan might have some seed money, since the latter’s garnered something like 2000 more voting memberships than usual.
The idea is for stakeholders to fundraise the necessary dosh, pick some leaders, hire the pro, and talk our collective way to a solution. Then (if a Hugo rule change to prevent system-gaming is part of the package) presumably we’d implement it over the next several conventions.
Now that Kelly’s original post has had some time to air and counter-arguments have come in, she’s examined those, too. Chief among the questions is the issue of whether people on one side or the other are capable of or willing to negotiate in good faith. To which: hey, you can’t know if you don’t ask.
The theme of both posts is simple. This whole thing sucks, right? It’s either seek a solution, or play “You said, I said, no you said,” whackamole in our blogs indefinitely, while the rest of the world–or the devoted fannish book-reading portion of it that cares–wonders when drug-addled clowns got bored with their usual pursuits, like running the Western democracies and poisoning the planet in a mad pursuit of all the dollars, and moved on to hobby pursuits like setting flamewars amid the literature of ideas.
Creating posts about how a bunch of writers are wrong, evil, passe, misguided, dumb, gulag-builders or covered in bees has its charms. Snark is fun. But not only does whackamole take time that should go first to creating fiction, the current strategy also saps energy from the important work of making the field more diverse. And we were getting traction with this, people. I don’t want to stop. I want to continue seeing our best love, energy, talent, words and Tweets going to singing the praises of “The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn,” by Usman T. Malik, to asking if you’ve seen Kai Ashante Wilson’s “The Devil in America,” and to noticing that Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles are getting asked some ludicrous questions about She Walks in Shadows. Maybe someone could even get the hell over there and say something smart.
So. If you are going to Sasquan, and if you know someone who has influence over any of the players in this particular power struggle, consider having a chat with them. About letting go of the namecalling, about trying to agree on a way forward.
I got up this morning to the news that Child of a Hidden Sea is on the longlist for the Sunburst Award, in the YA category. I’m in good company; in addition to a number of authors whose writing I know but whom I haven’t met personally, the ever-fantastic Caitlin Sweet and Charlene Challenger are on the list.
And here’s another: Kelly and I will be sharing a table of contents together, our first, within the new James Bond anthology coming out from ChiZine Publications later this year! The anthology is called License Expired and the editors are Madeline Ashby and David Nickle.
My story features Moneypenny and is entitled “Through your Eyes Only”. Kelly’s is called “The Gladiator Lie” and is an alternate ending to From Russia with Love. She has written on her own blog about why this story makes her obscenely happy. And she should be. It is a furry, sick, snow-covered, ultra-bizarre thrill ride of a coming of age tale for the lovely honey trap Tatiana Romanova.
And my Moneypenny? I am extremely pleased with it, too! First, because it’s incredibly fun. But also because I’ve done some terribly clever things where voice and point of view are concerned … what this story does is not only nifty for readers, but it was a chance for me to try something new and quite hard and to pull it off.
So, having had our way with the Bond canon, we will be together in smugness between these covers, metaphorically waiting for someone to bring us our dry martinis and all the praise they can heap into an ice bucket.
It’s easy to crack wise when these things happen, because it’s difficult to know what to say, beyond the obvious, about a nomination. The obvious being that I’m more than pleased… I’m thrilled, really, and also–hence the joke–surprised too. I am happy for my fellow Tor authors, Max Gladstone and Daryl Gregory, and for all the other nominees. I’m pleased to have personal connections to other people on the ballot, like Lloyd Meeker (we used to sing together in a choir called Out in Harmony) and one of my oldest friends in the world, the marvelous Keph Senett, who has a story in A Family by Any Other Name: Exploring Queer Relationships. These are the people in my neighborhood, the not-quite-imaginary place where queerness and feminism and activism and artistic expression all intersect to produce wonders.
It’s easier in person, of course. I got to brag up the nomination at the SpecFic Colloquium this past weekend, in between hearing Nnedi Okorafor, David Nickle, Simon McNeil, Alex Leitch and Derek Newman-Stile talking about everything from racism and ableism to gamergate and James Bond. I got to be all delighted and smug at my weekly writing date on Thursday, too.
The nomination injected a big dose of excitement into last week, in other words, and continues to offer up a warm glow of delight as the days pass.
Every now and then I will be at a wine event with Kelly and someone will look down to the region below my chin, and say, “I know you, don’t I?” Or, perhaps, in a sort of questioning voice, they’ll go: “I’ve seen those, um, spots… before?”
To which I reply, “Oh, yes, they’ve been the guest cleavage on the Full Bodied Wine Blog a few times.” Because by they, you understand, the other party doesn’t actually mean the spots.
Anyway. My Sunburst Award arrived in the mail on Friday, to much excitement. I promptly threw on a nice top and went out on the deck for a photo shoot. Here’s me, unpacking the beautiful medallion with my usual ladylike delicacy, and then posing with it and the spots, in a more SFnal and less wine-soaked context.