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.
A few announcements: First, I have tried to thank each and every person who wrote, commented, or DMed me to say congratulations on the Sunburst Award. If I missed you somehow, sorry, and thank you! Word is continuing to ripple out… I especially liked Megabest characterizing it as a “suburban thriller“. The Quill and Quire chose to note the presence of Robert Charles Wilson, Cory Doctorow and several other ‘name authors’ on the ballot. I get what they mean, but Hey, QQDudes! Not only do I have a name, it’s so long it doesn’t fit in the Revenue Canada computers. (Seriously. The full moniker is Alyxandra Margaret and it’s one character too long for their name fields. I have been filed as Dellamonic for years.)
Speaking of names, I also have been remiss in congratulating the brilliant Hiromi Goto, who got the Sunburst in the Young Adult category for Half World, as well as those other amazing folks on the short list: Cory, Robert, Charles de Lint, and Karl Schroeder, all, curiously enough, for books published by TOR. And, finally, the Sunburst jury itself: thank you, so much!
Moving on, I have one slot left in my next UCLA class, “Creating Universes, Building Worlds,” which focuses on short fiction in any of the fantastic genres. The syllabus is online, and previous students are, as always, welcome to join us again.
Work on The Rain Garden proceeds apace, pace being somewhere between 900-1200 words a day. I write longhand and transcribe as it’s convenient, and it hasn’t been for a couple days; when it is, I’ll catch you up. In the meantime, posting word counts in this fashion keeps me chugging along… so once again, I thank you.
And a warning: I posted a spider shot a couple days ago and there will be more. Kelly and I have taken up our autumn practice of noting all the orb weaver webs along our morning route–we don’t formally count them all that often, just admire. But we call it the Spidercount, we began really looking this morning, and they are huge, well fed and ambitious. By Halloween the 2010 spidery biomass bids fair to be immense. So, if you are in East Van and can deal with spiders at all, I recommend a stroll down the Central Valley Greenway. They are wonders of nature and the webs are amazing to behold.
But today I give you a pigeon who’s really got somewhere to be: