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I’m Number 48!

October 25, 2018 at 4:12 pm
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The Great American Read is over, and the final standings were revealed on PBS in the season finale.

A GAME OF THRONES (well, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, more precisely) finished 48th.   Pretty cool.   I was in the top 50, anyway, and I edged out the FOUNDATION series and WAR AND PEACE.   Not half bad.   But really, just being on the list at all was amazing.  I mean, being included among in America’s top one hundred favorite novels out of… well, out of all the novels ever written, actually… that’s not too shabby.

Just to be in this company was enormously gratifying.  Though, like everyone else, I could have quibbled over some of the selections.  (I mean, Ayn Rand?  Really?  C’mon.  And while Mark Twain certainly deserved to be on the list, I am baffled as to why they would choose to represent him with TOM SAWYER rather than HUCKLEBERRY FINN.   Charles Dickens is a must, of course, and GREAT EXPECTATIONS is well regarded, but I would have gone with A TALE OF TWO CITIES myself.  And if they had nominated A CHRISTMAS CAROL, beloved as it is, Dickens might have finished in the top five.   I was thrilled to see so much SF and fantasy on the list, but troubled by the omission of some of our genre’s classics.   Where was H.G. Wells?  Surely THE TIME MACHINE or WAR OF THE WORLDS belonged on the ballot.   And Heinlein… if you are going to include SF at all, you have to include RAH, imnsho.  That being said, SF and fantasy came out better than some other genres.   There were a couple mystery novels contending, but no Chandler, no Hammett.   Well, I could go on and on… and you guys will no doubt have opinions as well.   All in all, I think it was a very good list, but by no means a definitive one).

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD won, and led from pillar to post, it was announced.   And my friend Diana Gabaldon finished second with her OUTLANDER series, a truly wonderful accomplishment.  Congratulations to Diana, and kudos to her fans.

LORD OF THE RINGS, which I endorsed in the season premiere, came in fifth.  Yay Tolkien!  Yay fantasy!

Millions of people voted… and more importantly, millions of people READ, and were exposed to books they might elsewise never have encountered.   This was a wonderful idea, and I hope PBS does it again in a few years… maybe with a different hundred books.   There are so so many great books out there, and anything that promotes reading and literature is to be commended.

A tip of the hat to everyone who voted.  Even if you didn’t vote for me.

Comments allowed… but ONLY on the Great American Read, literature, reading, and all that good stuff.

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

Hugo Nominations Announced

March 31, 2018 at 6:54 pm
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The San Jose Worldcon has announced this year’s list of nominations for the Hugo Awards and the John W. Campbell Award.

LOCUS has the full list of finalists at:

http://locusmag.com/2018/03/2018-hugo-and-campbell-awards-finalists/

The Hugo is the oldest and most prestigious award in SF and fantasy. If you want your voice to be heard, there’s still plenty of time to join the San Jose Worldcon and cast your vote. There’s Attending memberships, if you actually plan to attend, and Supporting memberships, if you can’t, but either way you get a Hugo ballot.

Congratulations to all the nominees. Some of you will carry home a silver rocket come August. More of you will be Hugo Losers, but that’s almost as good. (I’ve lost lots of them myself).

Sad to say, Wild Cards did not get any love this year (sob)… but I was very pleased to see that our Wild Cards editor, Diana Pho, is one of the finalists for Best Professional Editor. You go, Diana. Win it for Jetboy!

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

A New Award for Old Words

September 25, 2017 at 6:26 pm
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Saturday was fun. I drove down to the beautiful Tamaya Resort on the Santa Ana Pueblo, north of Albuquerque, to attend the annual gathering of the HWA… no, not that HWA (the Horror Writers Association, who had their own gathering in May on the Queen Mary), and no, not that other HWA (the Historical Writers Association) either… but the newest HWA, the Historical Writers of America. My faithful minions Lenore Gallegos and Marisa X. Jimenez came with me.

Tamaya is just stunning, and the food was amazing for a hotel banquet. The company was great as well. I love a good historical, and I was pleased to meet some of the people who write them. And my dear friend Melinda Snodgrass was the featured speaker after the feast.

And then they gave me an award: I’m the first (well, one of the first) recipient of the PastWords Award for Historical Fantasy. HWA had a rather handsome bronze trophy made up, with a writer and a reader flanking an hourglass. I’m told the award was designed by Gage Prentiss, the artist who designed the H.P. Lovecraft Statue that’s to go up in Providence (for more info about that project, see here: http://www.weirdprovidence.org/statue.html )

The other winners of this year’s PastWords Awards were a distinguished lot, whose number included Larry McMurtry and Congressman John Lewis, both of whom I would have loved to meet. Alas, neither one was able to attend.

Here’s a shot of Melinda and me at the awards banquet with HWA founder Theresa Guzman Stokes (who goes by ‘Soni’), and a close up of the award.

It was a fun evening.

If you’d like to know more about the Historical Writers of America, they have a website here: http://historicalwritersofamerica.org/

I do think they need to change their name, though. All these HWAs are confusing. Way back when, I was actually a founding member of the horror writers group under its original name: the Horror and Occult Writers League, or HOWL. A much more original and creative name, I thought, but they got stuffy and opted for ‘dignity.’ They should go back to HOWL, I say… and maybe one of the historical groups should call itself the Historical Authors instead of writers, which would make them HAA… but then they’d get confused with a comedy writers organization… oh, well, I don’t know.

In any case, I appreciate the award, and all the kind words about my work. It’s kind of cool to learn that even writers of honest to god real historical fiction and non-fiction enjoy my own fake histories.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Emmy Winners

September 20, 2017 at 10:17 am
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Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Emmy Awards. And especially to my friends at HBO, which once again led all other networks in number of nominations and number of victories.

It was a great show this year, I thought. Yes, even without GAME OF THRONES. Stephen Colbert made a terrific host. I especially enjoyed his opening number.

A strong lineup of nominees this year gave us some great winners… though, as always, that also means some equally deserving finalists wound up as losers. WESTWORLD especially was robbed, as was STRANGER THINGS. But it IS an honor just to be nominated, and the time will come for both of those shows, as it finally did for GAME OF THRONES. The big winners this year were Hulu’s HANDMAID’S TALE (adapted from the novel by Margaret Atwood) and HBO’s BIG LITTLE LIES (adapted from the novel by Liane Moriarity). ((Notice the common denominator there? BOOKS! Do a faithful adapatation of a great book, and you can’t go wrong)). I was also pleased to see BLACK MIRROR get some love, especially for its brilliant “San Junipero” episode.

GAME OF THRONES, of course, was not eligible this year, having shifted from April to August. Which meant that, for the first time in seven years, I was not actually at the awards in LA. Instead Parris and I watched from home. It felt kind of strange not to be there, truth be told. Not bad, just strange. It was actually sort of relaxing. The Emmy weekend can be very exciting, but it is also exhausting, even the parties… the heat, the crowds, the noise. The red carpet seems to get longer (and hotter) every year. Maybe that’s an ordeal that should be left for the younger and more photogenic members of our television community.

Will I be back next year, or the year after, or the year after that? Time will tell. Emmy is a fickle goddess who bestows her kisses where she will. But either way, I’m good.

((Comments on the Emmys welcome. Off topic comments will be deleted)).

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

Dragon Award Winners

September 3, 2017 at 4:15 pm
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Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Dragon Awards, presented at Dragoncon in Atlanta. You can find the list here: http://awards.dragoncon.org/2017_winners/

I understand that 8,000 votes were received this year, twice last year’s turnout. If that trend continues, the Dragons may have a long and successful future ahead of them as the People’s Choice Award of science fiction and fantasy, a broadbased popular anyone-can-vote award that will complement the Hugo Awards (the Oscars of science fiction and fantasy) and the Nebulas (the guild awards, like the DGA/ WGA/ SAG awards in film and TV).

I was especially pleased to see BABYLON’S ASHES take the Dragon for the Best SF Novel of the year. A terrific piece of work, as all the EXPANSE books have been. James S.A. Corey, that two-headed monster, is doing something remarkable there, and if they stick the landing with the final books I think they will have created a classic.

Congratulations also to STRANGER THINGS, which won the Dragon as the best SF/ fantasy TV show. I don’t know the people who do the show, but I’ve certainly enjoyed and admired their work.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Name That Dragon

August 26, 2017 at 4:14 pm
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Our genre is blessed (or cursed, some might say, but not me, nosir) with a wide range of awards and honors for outstanding achievement. We have the Nebula, the Tiptree, the Bram Stoker, the LOCUS Award, the Sidewise Award, the World Fantasy Award (previously the Howie, now the Creepy Tree), the Stabbie, the Saturn, the Seiun, the Prometheus, and many more whose names I am likely forgetting.

The Hugo Award, first given in 1953, is the oldest and most prestigious.

The Dragon Award, first given last year, is the newest. It’s way too new to know how prestigious it will be in the long run.

The Dragon is a fan award, and aspires to be the Peoples’ Choice Award for SF and fantasy. It is given at Dragoncon, the huge Labor Day convention down Atlanta way, but you don’t need to be a Dragoncon member to vote on it. All you need to do is register, here:

http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_signup.php

Dragoncon has provided a handsome trophy for the winners, which is a good start. GAME OF THRONES won one last year, so I can testify to that. But the true prestige of any award derives not from the hardware (mind you, nice hardware helps), but from the works it honors.

I remember talking to Eric Flint about the Dragon Awards at Kansas City last year. He had a hand in their creation, and it was his hope that in time the Dragon would become a major broad-based award voted on by a wide spectrum of fans from all over the country. It’s not there yet, by any means… but it could become that, if enough people decide to take part. So far that has not happened. But it could. That’s up to you.

There is no cost to vote for the Dragons. You don’t even need to join the con. So if you’d like to cast a ballot for the novels, games, TV shows, and movies you liked best last year, register at the link above and vote. But do it soon. Registration closes in a couple of days.

Current Mood: calm calm

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Tick, Tick, Tick

July 12, 2017 at 12:38 pm
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The clock is running.

Only three days left for worldcon members to cast those Hugo ballots.

And yes, of course I will be at Helsinki. See, it’s right there on my website, with a link.

(My website has an Appearances page that lists ALL the public events I have committed to, not only for this year, but for the next several years as well. Do check it regularly to see if I am going to be anywhere near you. There’s nothing that honks me off more than getting the inevitable email that says ‘How comes you never come to Trantor?” two weeks after I’ve just returned from Trantor).

I will be at worldcon all week. They are scheduling me for several signings, but those will be the ONLY times and places I will sign books. I’ll also be doing a couple of panels, but please don’t rush the stage afterward to get an autograph. I will not be signing after panels, or before panels, or when walking the halls, or on the trams, or while eating dinner (or lunch, or breakfast), or at the urinal, or at parties, or at the Hugo Awards… ONLY at my scheduled signings.

Thank you all for respecting that.

And hey, looks like GAME OF THRONES will be well represented in Helsinki. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are coming in from Belfast, and Sibel Kekilli is flying up from Hamburg.

Let’s party like it’s 1976.

Current Mood: working working

Hugo Deadline Approaches

July 10, 2017 at 7:29 pm
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For all of you who are members of the Helsinki worldcon… the deadline for casting your Hugo ballot is only five days away.

Voting will end on 15 July 2017 at 11:59pm Pacific Daylight Time (2:59am Eastern Daylight Time, 06:59 Greenwich Mean Time, 08:59 in Finland, all on 16 July)

You have to be a member of worldcon to vote. If you are, you should have already received a personalized link to your ballot.

There’s some really good stuff up this year, so do be sure to let your voice be heard. The Hugo is the oldest and most prestigious award in SF and fantasy, don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

VOTE!

Current Mood: working working

Wild Carders Rule

May 25, 2017 at 2:37 pm
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It’s awards season, and some of my Wild Cards writers have been covering themselves with glory.

David D. Levine, creator of the Cartoonist and the Recycler, just won SFWA’s ANdre Norton Award for best YA novel, for ARABELLA OF MARS.

https://twitter.com/daviddlevine/status/866139052793352192/photo/1

Carrie Vaughn, creator of Curveball and Earth Witch and Wild Fox, took the Colorado Book Award for AMARYLLIS.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10212187392741323&set=p.10212187392741323&type=3&theater

And one of our newest Wild Carders, Emma Newman (wait till you meet her character), made the shortlist for the UK’s prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award, for her novel AFTER ATLAS.

http://spacedock.geekplanetonline.com/site-news/news/13527-emma-newman%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cafter-atlas%E2%80%9D-shortlisted-in-2017-arthur-c-clarke-awards

Congratulations, all. Well deserved.

Oh, and speaking of Carrie, check out her post on the Wild Cards blog site, a tribute to her favorite WC character (that she did not create herself), Doctor Tachyon.

http://www.wildcardsworld.com/

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

California Dreamin’

April 26, 2017 at 12:32 pm
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I am off to California tomorrow.

First stop will be Long Beach, for Stokercon, the annual gathering of the Horror Writers Association and the presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards. (That’s the one that looks like a creepy house, as opposed to the new World Fantasy Award, which looks like a creepy tree). This year’s Stokercon will be on the Queen Mary, which I last visited for a Nebula Awards banquet in… ohmigod, could it really have been 1996? Where do the years go? (Thinking back, that must have been a few months before A GAME OF THRONES was published. Little did I dream how much my life was about to change).

I love old ocean liners (modern cruise ships not so much), so banqueting with my brothers and sisters in horror on the Queen should be a hoot and a half.

After that, it’s down to San Diego for a fundraising event for Clarion. I’ll be having a conversation with Kim Stanley Robinson.

Alas, I’m told the event is already sold out.

And, sorry, no, I will not be signing… just talking.