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sigh

September 8, 2019 at 7:22 pm
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A new season of NFL football has begun, and…

Life is meaningless and full of pain.

The Giants game went more or less as expected.   Saquon was incredible as ever, Eli played well, but OBJ was sorely missed and there was no defense.   Kid QB looked sharp when the game was over, but not sharp enough to be thrown to the wolves next week.   Eli should play.

The Jets collapse was inexcusable.   How the hell could management have let our Pro Bowl kicker walk?  If Sam Darnold is the new Namath, he sure didn’t look like it.

I think another long dark season looms ahead.

((Comments allowed, but ONLY on NFL football))

 

Current Mood: sad sad

Hugo Night 2019

September 8, 2019 at 10:00 am
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The annual presentation of the Hugo Awards is always one of the high points of worldcon.   I have been attending the Hugo ceremony since my very first worldcon in 1971.   The awards were presented at a dinner back then, and I could not afford a ticket (they were priced outrageously, at something like seven bucks), so I watched the proceedings from a balcony, standing.   Robert Silverberg presided, and it was all incredibly exciting.

Fast forward to this year’s Hugo Awards in Dublin.   They had their own excitements, perhaps more than any year since 2015 in Spokane, the Year of the Puppies (and, more happily, the Alfies).   Let’s just say they were… fraught, with some amazing high points and a few low ones.   Of course, your view of which points were high and which were low may vary from mine.

There were many worthy winners, to be sure… and as ever, many losers that were also rocket-worthy.   Since I feel more like Thumper than Alice Roosevelt Longworth today, let me focus on my favorite parts.

Like Charles Vess.   The artist category had some amazing talents nominated this year, and I was seated right next to one, the incredible John Picacio.  But John was applauding just as loudly as me when Vess won for Best Professional Artist.  A very well deserved win for an artist not previously honored.   And then, just moments later, Charles returned to the stage to collect the Hugo for Best Art Book as well, for his illustrated edition of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea stories.   A double win!!!   Lots of people win Hugos every year, but winning two in a single night is a rare accomplishment (I did it myself in 1980, the second person to do so, and it remains one of the high points of my career).  And with Charles Vess, it really could not have happened to a nicer guy.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with Vess in the past… he illustrated the limited edition of A STORM OF SWORDS… and he really is as sweet, genial, and pleasant as he appears, in addition to being enormously gifted.    Nice guys DON’T always finish last, kids.  I am hoping to be able to work with Charles Vess again, soon… I have just the project in mind.   But we shall see.

I will never be able to work with Gardner Dozois again, sadly… but Gardner’s victory as Best Professional Editor (Short Form) was the other highlight of the evening for me… and for many, many, many others who loved Gardner, had the privilege of being edited by him, or the simple joy of knowing him.   I have edited a lot of anthologies of my own over the decades, but I’ve never enjoyed doing any of them so much as I enjoyed the ones I did with Gargy: SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH, WARRIORS, DANGEROUS WOMEN, ROGUES, SONGS OF LOVE & DEATH, DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS, OLD MARS, OLD VENUS.   We wanted to do more, but alas, it was not to be.   Gardner left us all too soon, and a lot of laughter and love left the world when he did.

But on Hugo night, when his name was read out one last time, a bit of it returned, just for a moment.  His son Christopher Casper was on hand to accept the award for him… and just as Gargy would have, he said the award really belonged to the writers.   Gardner said pretty much the same thing every time he won a Hugo, and he won a lot of them… deservedly.

I am not a believer in any afterlife, and I don’t think that Gardner was either… so as nice as it would be to think that he was looking down on us from the Secret Pro Party in the Sky, I can’t.   But the award certainly meant the world to Christopher, to me, to all of Gardner’s other friends, and to the myriads of writers, the generations of writers, who filled the pages of ASIMOV’S during Gardner’s tenure there, who learned from him at Clarion and other workshops, who were fished out of one slush pile or another by the pre-eminent editor of his times (I was one of those).   No one knew our genre better, no one discovered more new talent, and no one had a better eye for a good story… or a better sense of how to make a flawed story work… than Gardner Dozois.  And no award that was handed out in Dublin last month was more well deserved than Gardner’s last Hugo.

I also want to say a word or two in praise of Michael Scott and Afua Richardson, the hosts and presenters on Hugo night, who kept the ceremony moving at a nice pace under sometimes trying circumstances.   Scott was eloquent and informative, and Richardson provided one of the most moving moments of the night when she spoke of the influence that Nichelle Nichols had upon her life and career.  Afua also sang beautifully and played the flute.

All of which was tremendously intimidating.   Next year worldcon is in New Zealand and I’m the Toastmaster, so it will be be my task to present the Hugos.   Afua is a helluva hard act to follow.   You really don’t want to hear me sing.  Maybe I should start taking flute lessons….

 

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

Coming to the Opera House

September 7, 2019 at 6:00 pm
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Coming to Santa Fe’s world famous opera house on September 30:

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Tickets are still available… but they don’t be for long.

See you there!

Current Mood: excited excited

A Rare Honor

September 5, 2019 at 9:55 am
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I received a number of awards and honors during last month’s trip to London, Dublin, and Belfast.   I want to say a few words about all of them… but not all at once and not all today.  I will address them all individually, and in no particular order.

Starting with the last, then… on the day before we left Ireland to return home to the Land of Enchantment, I was awarded the Burke Medal for “Outstanding Contribution to Discourse Through the Arts” by the College Historical Society at Trinity College, Dublin, the oldest surviving undergraduate society in the world.

The society’s auditor told me, “The College Historical Society, more commonly known as the Hist, is dedicated to the promotion of discussion and thought. Founded by Edmund Burke in 1770, the Society retains a deep interest and affinity to the field of social activism and continues its tradition of elevating civic discourse in the College. For 250 years the Society has recognised the efforts of great women and men who promote discussion and discourse. Pattie Smith, Sinéad O’Connor, W.B. Yeats, Natalie Dormer, Dame Hillary Mantel, Bob Geldof, and Ralph Fiennes have received the Burke Medal.”

That’s pretty heady company.   I am very pleased and proud to be numbered among them.   And for a noble reason — promoting discussion and discourse.   In times like ours, when the toxic mobs on the internet seem to set the tone for debate, that is needed more than ever.

The medal itself was struck from the same molds that the Hist has been using for centuries.   The president mentioned to me that he’d noted I had once won the Bram Stoker Award (as indeed I have), and that the medal they were giving me had once been awarded to Bram Stoker himself.   I think that is so cool.   Here’s a look:

In awarding the medal, the Hist said, “As a celebrated author, your exploration of difficult themes has inspired countless people worldwide to examine, more-closely, the fabric of our society. Through you, the reader has encountered new concepts, ideas, and emotions. From the magical children’s tale The Ice Dragon and the dark yet playful “A Night at the Tarn House” to the unprecedently popular A Song of Ice and Fire your work has made you a global phenomenon. And with your rise to greater prominence has come an increase in public dialogue around the major themes of your work. Your sublime writings have engendered intense debate on duty and honour, faith and cowardice, parricide and governance in readers world-wide. Our former member Oscar Wilde wrote that “It is through art, and through art only, that we can realise our perfection”. Through your art the general public have explored new themes, new ideas, and bettered themselves. This is precisely the contribution to public discourse that the Burke Medal aims to recognise.”

Since the Hist is devoted to discourse and discussion, those so honored are expected to say a few words.   I was glad to do so.  The good folks at Trinity recorded my speech and the Q&A that followed.   YouTube has it up for those who are interested and could not be in Dublin to attend… but be warned, I got into some pretty heavy current issues in this one, not just my own life and writing and the world and SF and fantasy (though of course I touched on those as well).

 

Current Mood: pleased pleased

The Return of Demise

September 3, 2019 at 9:11 am
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Demise… the Wild Cards baddie you all love to hate, or maybe hate to love… is back in a new short story on Tor.com from the pen (well, computer) of Walton “Bud” Simons.

https://www.tor.com/author/walton-simons/

No, Demise hasn’t returned from the dead (again).  We don’t do that in Wild Cards.   It’s a period piece.

Old fans will love it, and new fans have a treat in store.

It’s free.  Go and enjoy.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Shout Out for Milford

September 2, 2019 at 3:15 pm
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Damon Knight created the legendary Milford Writers Conference in the 1960s.  It was named after Milford, Pennsylvania, where Damon lived… though it later moved on to Colorado and other distant climes.   A decade or so later, the British writers decided they wanted a Milford too, and even found a town called Milford to hold it in.   (I attended it in 1981, during my first visit to the UK).   The original American Milford expired many many years ago… but as it happens, the British version is still going strong, though they are no longer in Milford.

Just this morning, I received an email from Jacey Bedford, their current secretary, who asked for me to help spread the word about the conference, and some scholarship opportunities.   She writes:

“This will be our third year of offering funding for two SF writers of colour wishing to attend Milford for the first time. We have our two writers this year, but we are always trying to reach a wider audience to solicit applications from all over the world. So far we’ve had writers from the UK, USA, Nigeria, and the Philippines via The Netherlands. Applications have just opened for the two available places in September 2020 and we want to get the word out to as many eligible writers as possible.

“Could we please ask you to give it a shout-out on your blog? As a previous attendee of Milford, it would be great coming from you. Our bursaries cover the full cost of attending Milford (approximately £650 per person), but not the cost of travel.

“Milford has now settled at a lovely venue in North Wales, close to Mount Snowdon and the Snowdonia National Park.

“We need to publicise the availability of funding as widely as possible. The quality of our applicants is high, but we don’t get many of them. I’m happy to write a piece for your blog, or just to supply you with as many details (and Images) as you can use if you prefer to mention it yourself.

“Applications for September 2020 bursaries open in September 2019 and close at the end of February 2020. (We usually have our recipients announced at Eastercon.) It would be ideal if you could throw something onto the interwebs in September / October.

“This is Milford now: http://www.milfordsf.co.uk/
And this is our bursary page: http://www.milfordsf.co.uk/bursaries.htm

“This will be our third year of funding two writers of colour to attend Milford. Our recipients so far have been Suyi Okungbowa (Nigeria) who has just had the novel published that he brought to Milford (Yay!), Dolly Garland (UK), Nisi Shawl (USA), Rochita Loenen Ruiz (Philippina via the Netherlands), and this year we have Russell Smith (Black British), and Mbozi Haimbe (Zambia, resident in the UK). We hope to be able to continue the bursaries annually. Currently, due to the generosity of private (writer) donors and two previous Eastercons, we are funded up to 2022.”

Milford UK was a wonderful experience for me in 1981, and I don’t doubt that the current version will be as well.

Spread the word.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Shout Out for Mike

September 2, 2019 at 2:54 pm
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Mike Resnick is one of the giants of our field.  A former worldcon Guest of Honor, a Hugo winner (many times) and Hugo loser (even more times), founder and editor of GALAXY’S EDGE magazine, novelist and editor and anthologist and unfailing champion of new writers (he calls them his Writer Babies, and they are legion).

Now he needs help, to deal with some staggering medical bills.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help him.

Go ye, and contribute.  Every dollar helps.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-mike-resnick-pay-off-a-neardeath-experience

 

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful

Back Home Again

September 1, 2019 at 5:40 pm
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August went by in  a blur, and most of it was spent on the road.   London, Dublin, Belfast.   Great cities, great times, but it is good to be home in Santa Fe.  By the end of any long trip, my green chile addiction kicks in and I need a fix.

I do not travel with a computer, so I returned to the usual one thousand unanswered emails.   Thankfully, a lot of them were spam or junk mail, so I was able to get through them quickly.

Dublin is a lovely city, and worldcon was fun as always.  James Bacon and his team did a smashing job, although the convention facilities were not equal to the size of the crowds, which caused some problems and a lot of lines.   I did a couple of signings there, but not a lot of programming.   But the two panels I did do, both with Parris, were very special, and I think the audience felt that as well.   I do miss some of the pleasures that I used to take for granted at worldcons, like being able to walk the dealer’s room and browse new books, or sit in the bar for hours with friends coming and going and everyone buying rounds… but sadly, none of that seems possible for me any longer.   Too many people wanting signatures or selfies.   All very nice, most very polite, but I hate refusing anyone, and after a while it just wears me out.

I was able to enjoy more of that at Eurocon/ Titancon the following weekend, in Belfast.   A much smaller con in a smaller city, maybe that’s the answer.   Peadar and Pat made a great toastmaster team.  I had not been to Belfast since we were shooting the GAME OF THRONES pilot, and it was fascinating the extent to which the show has permeated the city.   Castle Ward has its own Night’s Watch, the GOT Exhibit down by the Titanic Museum is just stunning… and everywhere I went, strangers came up to thank me for their jobs and tell me how the show has changed the city and their lives.   That was very gratifying.

I just hope Brexit does not screw it all up… but I fear it might.   Belfast deserves better.

Loved our time in London too.

Oh, and everywhere I went they gave me awards.   That was also very nice.

I will have more to say about that, and many other things, in subsequent posts.   Right now, I am still trying to bounce back from jetlag.   Later, friends.

Current Mood: tired tired

Knaves, Knaves Everywhere!

August 13, 2019 at 7:32 am
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The British are coming, the British are coming, the British are..

Oh, wait.  The British are HERE.

Today’s the official publication day for the release of the first American edition of KNAVES OVER QUEENS, in hardcovers from our friends at Tor Books.  ((The British edition came out a year ago, in June 2018)). Look for it at your favorite local bookshop, or order it from your favorite online bookseller.

KNAVES OVER QUEENS is the twenty-sixth volume in the Wild Cards series… and the first to be set (mostly) in the British Isles.  Like our very first volume, the action begins in 1946, when the wild card virus was first unleashed upon the world by Dr. Tod and those dastardly Takisians.   WILD CARDS spanned forty years, from 1946 to 1986, but the focus was on the U.S., and New York City in particular.   KNAVES OVER QUEENS covers an even longer time-span, right up to (almost) the present, but the view is from the other side of the Pond this time.

Our writers are a mix of English and Irish authors, many joining Wild Cards for the first time, and several American Anglophiles.   The lineup:

KEVIN ANDREW MURPHY: “A Flint Lies in the Mud” and “But a Flint Holds Fire,”
PEADAR O GUILIN: “The Coming of the Crow,” “Cracks in the City,” and “Feeding on the Entrails,”
CAROLINE SPECTOR: “Needles and Pins,”
PAUL CORNELL: “Night Orders,”
CHARLES STROSS: “Police On My Back,”
MARKO KLOOS: “Probationary,”
PETER NEWMAN: “Twisted Logic,”
MELINDA M. SNODGRASS: “Ceremony of Innocence,”
EMMA NEWMAN: “How to Turn a Girl to Stone,”
MARK LAWRENCE: “The Visitor.”

Long- time fan favorites Captain Flint and Double Helix return in KNAVES, but you’ll also be meeting some terrific new aces, jokers, and (yes) knaves, including the Seamstress, the blood-thirsty Badh, the Green Man, Stonemaiden, and the Visitor.

Come on in and make their acquaintance.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Forbidden Planet visits Dublin

August 3, 2019 at 8:12 am
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GRRM will be hosting a screening of FORBIDDEN PLANET in Dublin for the Irish Film Institute while visiting for World Con in August of this year.

Following the screening, George R.R. Martin will be in conversation with Maura McHugh of Dublin 2019: An Irish WorldCon about Forbidden Planet and the influence such works have had on his own writing and career.

Worldcon members are being given an exclusive opportunity to buy tickets for this event before they are released to the general public.

Tickets, costing €25, are available to buy now.

There will be a maximum of two tickets per transaction, and tickets are limited.

To prevent unauthorised re-selling, the IFI has stipulated that tickets will only be available for collection from 18.30 on Saturday, 17 August, and photo ID will be required to collect the tickets.

Updates about sales will reported via social media, and the screening’s Facebook Event Page.

Any queries about bookings should be directed to the IFI.

 

THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER

 

Current Mood: excited excited