Not a Blog

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.

South of the Border

November 28, 2016 at 2:55 pm
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Strange to say, although I have lived in New Mexico since 1979, I have never really visited Old Mexico. Oh, I attended a Westercon in El Paso a few years back, and spent an afternoon in Juarez with some other fans and writers. And I spent a few hours in Tijuana back in the late 80s, I believe, while attending Comicon in San Diego. But that hardly counts. There’s a lot more to Mexico than the border towns.

My first real visit to Mexico starts tomorrow, when I jet down to Guadalajara for the Guadalajara International Book Fair: https://www.fil.com.mx/ingles/i_info/i_info_fil.asp

I’m one of the guests at the conference. I’ll be doing interviews, a press conference, a live streaming event, and a signing. I expect I will be doing some tequila tasting as well. I am informed that Guadalajara is the tequila capital of Mexico.

I am looking forward to meeting my Mexican publishers, editors, and fans.

This is my last scheduled event for 2016. My appearance schedule for 2017 is very limited, and will remain so until WINDS is completed. So if you want to meet me or get a book signed, this will be the last chance for a good few months…

See you south of the border.

September Morn

September 2, 2016 at 10:35 pm
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Can it really be September? What the hell happened to August?

Oh, I remember… a week of meetings in LA, a week at worldcon, Bubonicon, house guests and visitors, business meetings… damn…

I wanted to blog about worldcon and the Hugo Awards and the Alfies and an EPIC Hugo Losers Party and the presidential election and HIGH STAKES and a very special week we have planned at the Jean Cocteau and lots of other stuff, and maybe I still will in the days to come, but right at the moment I am too tired. Some of that stuff already seems like ages ago. And I have lots to catch up on.

But it’s been a while, so I thought I should at least say hi, and wave, and let everyone know that I’m still here, back at the old homestead and back at work.

Also, I wanted to give a shout out to Ogre Jenni, who, alas, has left the Jean Cocteau and Fevre River to accept a full-time teaching job. That’s great news for Jenni, and all the kids that she will be teaching in the years to come, but sad news for us. Jenni was terrific, a wonderful member of our crew here, and we miss her lots already. At least she is still in town, so we will get to see her socially from time to time. Fly high, Higginbotham!

Baltimore and NYC

June 12, 2016 at 5:37 pm
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Feeling much better now, though I am still sipping tea with lemsip a couple times a day to keep the chest congestion down. The coughing has largely subsided.

Anyway, as I was intending to say before I got the crud, we had a great time in Baltimore and NYC.

Balticon was celebrating its fiftieth birthday this year. Half a century of cons, pretty extraordinary. To mark the occasion, they brought back as many of their previous GOHs as they could (some were unavailable, and some had died), to join me, the current year Guest of Honor. It’s always great to see old friends like Connie Willis and Joe Haldeman, and especially friends like John Varley, who I hadn’t run into for a couple of decades. Of course, a lot of new friends were on hand as well. Balticon moved back downtown for this year’s con, so we were right at the Harborplace, across the street from the Constellation and the dragonboats, and within sight of the Hyatt Regency where the first Baltimore worldcon was held. Brought back a lot of memories.

I did a lot of signing, a kaffeeklatch, a special fund-raising dinner where I changed tables for every course, an interview, the opening ceremonies (crabs and paddleboats and pirates, ph my), and read the Damphair chapter from THE WINDS OF WINTER.

And we ate crabs, and pronounced them good.

(We also ate “the best pizza in Baltimore” and pronounced it less good).

And then it was time for the Acela, and New York City.

New York City was mostly business, as it usually is: meetings with my agents, publishers, editors, and of course HBO. But we found time to fit in a couple of pizza tastings, both in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Also managed to get into the Carnegie Deli, which I fear is falling on hard times. We always try to catch a show when we’re in the city. This time it was HAMILTON.

Guys, gals, go see HAMILTON. Everything you’ve heard is true. It is going to win a bunch of Tony Awards. The performances are incredible. And after the show, we got to sneak backstage and hang some with King George III, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton his own self.

Even that was not the highlight of the New York part of the trip, though. That came a day later, when Parris and I headed over to Bayonne to visit with my sisters and brothers-in-law, my niece and nephews and their partners… and meet, for the first time, my great nephew Brady, born a few weeks earlier. It would appear that I am now a gruncle.

A Few Quick Thoughts

May 24, 2016 at 12:59 pm
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I am off to Baltimore tomorrow for Balticon 50, which promises to be a real blast. In honor of half a century of great cons, the fans of Baltimore are bringing in lots and lots of their past GOHs, along with me, their current GOH, so we should have an amazing crowd on hand. Connie Willis, Joe Haldeman, John Varley… oh, the list goes on and on. Go to the Balticon website and see for your own self. And then come to the con. Panels, readings, parties… and there will be CRABS.

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On other fronts… we had an amazing time at the Jean Cocteau last night, when a sellout crowd assembled to hear Joe Hill. Joe gave a dynamite reading from his new novel THE FIREMAN, led the audience in a kazoo concert, told us about all his forthcoming television and film projects, and signed stacks and stacks of books. Most of which were promptly carried off by his eager fans. But we did lay in extra supplies, so if you’re looking for autographed copies of THE FIREMAN, or HEART-SHAPED BOX, or LOCKE & KEY, or any of Joe’s stuff, it’s available — while the supply lasts — from the Jean Cocteau Bookshop at http://www.jeancocteaubooks.com/ — along with signed books from Neil Gaiman, Stephen Graham Jones, Diana Gabaldon, Joe Lansdale, and many many more.

Heated discussions continue about this year’s Hugo ballot, and the various proposals being brought forth to reform the voting procedures to defend the integrity of the award against future attacks by Rabid Puppies and other varieties of fuggheads. Some of the proposals are worth considering. I have severe doubts about others. But I don’t have time to get into all of that now, so it will have to wait until I return.

Meanwhile, I am doing my Hugo reading, and I urge all of you who are members of Big MAC II to do the same. Read, consider, vote.

And if you’re not yet a member of Big MAC II… well, if there’s any chance at all that you can get to KC this August, you ought to join and attend. There’s nothing like a worldcon. And the original Big MAC in 1976 was, in my not-so-humble-opinion, the best worldcon that I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending, so I have high hopes for this year’s. The KC fans know how to party. And while they cannot match Baltimore for crabs, they do have BARBEQUE!

(I will keep comments open on this one only through tomorrow morning. I expect to be away from my computer while traveling, and don’t want hundreds of screened comments awaiting my return).

Something Old, Something New

May 15, 2016 at 12:39 am
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There’s some crazy people out on the edge of the galaxy. Their names are Mike Resnick and Shahid Mahmud. At a time when all of the storied old magazines of our genre are struggling to survive, in the face of rising costs and declining circulations, they went and started a new one, and called it GALAXY’S EDGE.

I love the magazines… it’s where I started, after all… so I’m thrilled to see a new addition to the field. Especially one like GALAXY’S EDGE, where editor Mike Resnick is making a point of featuring new writers. But every magazine needs a few established names on the cover, which is where I come in… the established name on their latest (May) issue is mine. The issue features a reprint of one of my old SF stories, “Fast-Friend,” plus a new interview with me.

GALAXY’S EDGE will have a table at Balticon at the end of the month, and I’ll be signing 200 copies of the issue for sale at the con.

For those who cannot make it to Baltimore, home of the ravens and the crabs, you can get a copy direct from the website at www.galaxysedge.com/ — but maybe not a signed one, alas.

Hugo Nominations Open

January 30, 2016 at 1:35 pm
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Nominations are now open for the 2016 Hugo Awards.

You can nominate online at http://midamericon2.org/the-hugo-awards/hugo-nominations/

Those still using paper can also download a ballot and mail it in.

On-line works better, though. A mailed ballot, once mailed, is done. On-line, you can fill in a few choices now, then add or change later. The nominations are opening now, but won’t close until March 31. So if you know a few things you want to nominate, and you have your PIN, put them down now. You can always change ’em later.

Of course, you do need to be a worldcon member to nominate. That is to say, a member of this year’s worldcon (MidAmericon II in Kansas City), or last year’s (Sasquan in Spokane), or next year’s (in Helsinki). If you hold a membership in any of those you’re good.

If not, though, you need to act NOW. To qualify, you need to buy a membership in either KC or Helsinki by JANUARY 31, and the last time I looked, that was tomorrow.

You can sign up at:
http://www.worldcon.fi/
http://midamericon2.org/registration/

Even if you can’t come to worldcon, you can still nominate and vote by buying a supporting membership. But attending is better, if you can make it. Finland has never hosted a worldcon before, but Helsinki is a great city, so ’17 should be a hoot and a half. With saunas. As for KC, MidAmericon I in 1976 was my favorite worldcon of all time, and if MAC II is even half as good, it will be terrific.

What you nominate is, of course, entirely up to you.

But please, NOMINATE. I have been beating that same drum for a decade, and this year it behooves me to beat it even louder. Nominate the stuff that you enjoyed best last year. Let your own individual voice be heard.

Yes, I have recommended some stuff I liked, in older posts below. And I will be doing more of same in the near future. But remember, that’s just me saying, “hey, I liked this, you might like it too, take a look.” No one should ever nominate anything just because someone else tells them to.

((This is has been a fannish service announcement)).

Last Year (Travel and Conventions)

January 1, 2016 at 6:19 pm
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I did a lot of travelling last year. Probably too much. You don’t have to chide me about that. I know, believe me, I know. I am trying to cut down on travel this year and in subsequent years, at least until Ice & Fire is done.

But it’s a struggle. I love travel — not the flying, but being there, seeing other parts of the world, meeting my readers. As a kid, I never went anywhere at all except in my imagination, so now, when I have the means, travel is hard to resist. It’s a big wonderful world.

Also, I am not getting any younger (some of you love to remind me of that). Travel is fun, but it can also be taxing. I am all too aware that if I don’t take some of these trips now, age and health may preclude my ever taking them. Who knows what awaits me (or you, or you, or you) five years or ten years down the road?

Some of the travel I did in 2015 was for business, or to attend conventions that I had committed to two, three, four, even five years ago. Other travel was more spontaneous. A nephew’s wedding. An invitation to the SuperBowl. The last Grateful Dead concerts. People keep making me offers I cannot refuse… and not just Don Corleone…

Anyway… I travelled, and mostly I am glad I did… I wrote a couple of pages about my various trips and conventions in the Lost Post, and included plenty of pictures. I am not going to bother redoing any of that. I fear that only a few of you are interested in my travels. Many would rather I never ever got up from my computer.

So no rehash of the rehash.

I will say that I had a great time in San Francisco at the GAME OF THRONES premiere parties, that ConQuest in KC was something special, and that my summer trip to Germany, Sweden, and Finland was one I will long remember and cherish. Stockholm is a gorgeous city that I want to see again, and I had a fantastic time in Hamburg hanging with the beautiful and talented Sibel Kekilli, her guy Andreas, and my old agent and friend Werner Fuchs. The con was fun too; Finnish fans are tops, and I look forward to Helsinki in two years.

As for worldcon… I have been going to worldcons since 1971, it is always one of the highlights of my year, and Sasquan was no different, despite the whole state seemingly being on fire, and the tensions created by the Recent Unpleasantness With Young Dogs. The Hugo Awards were… ah… a mixed bag, but I was pleased to reclaim my Hugo Losers Party. We kicked ass there, yes we did, and I’m only sorry Gardner Dozois was not with us in Spokane to be part of it.

Travel and cons. ‘Nuff said.

Back From Bubonicon

August 31, 2015 at 4:46 pm
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I’m back home from Bubonicon, our venerable local con, and the last one on my schedule for this year. No more cons on my schedule until the end of February, when I’ll be headed to Virginia.

Bubonicon — named after our state’s rep as “home of the flea, land of the plague” — is much bigger and livelier than it used to be, but still a very friendly, fun local con, with a strong literary flavor. This year’s incarnation featured a great lineup of guests including Cat Valente, Tamora Pierce, and Mary Robinette Kowal. I enjoyed hanging them with, and getting to know them better. Terrific guests, terrific writers, and wonderful people. Warm and witty.

A whole bunch of my Wild Cards writers and friends were also on hand, including the usual New Mexico gang, and out-of-towners like Caroline Spector and Carrie Vaughn.

The highlight of the weekend, as ever, was our evening with Pope Francis.

And so con season draws to a close… but football season is almost at hand!

Six Days Left

July 25, 2015 at 1:06 pm
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Less than a week remains to cast a vote for this year’s Hugo Awards. Voting closes on July 31, but it would be wise not to wait until the last day. Sasquan has already warned that its servers may overload if there is too large a rush of last-minute ballots. Remember, you can vote NOW, even if you haven’t finished reading, and return later to change your ballot once you’ve read more.

The ballot is here: http://sasquan.org/hugo-awards/voting/

And of course, you need to be a member of worldcon (Supporting or Attending, either will do) and secure a PIN to be able to vote.

You can join here: https://sasquan.swoc.us/sasquan/reg.php

Membership also allows you to vote for site selection for the 2017 worldcon. There are four contenders: Japan, Montreal, Washington DC, and Helsinki.

Parris and I are supporters of the Helsinki bid. I was GOH at Finncon a few years ago, and at Archipelacon more recently, and the Finnish fans are wonderful. Also, I favor making worldcon truly a global affair, which means going outside the US from time to time. Finland has never had a worldcon. Montreal and Japan are also outside the US, of course, but both have hosted worldcons in the recent past. I missed the Japanese worldcon, but I understand that it is still massively in debt, so going back there so soon seems unwise. I did attend the Montreal worldcon, and it was one of the worst-run in recent memory, with a truly horrendous hotel and party situation. On the other hand, Washington DC has not had a worldcon since 1974, and the Washington bid is a very strong one, with a great concom and great facilities. They are probably the favorite this year, and in any other year I’d be backing them too. This year, though… it’s still Helsinki for us.

How you choose to vote is, of course, entirely up to you.

As for the Hugo Awards proper… I do not have the time or the space or the energy to share my own views on every story and book and writer on the ballot. This is by no means a normal Hugo year, however; Puppygate has plunged all fandom into war as never before. So I will recap a few of my own views from previous blog posts downstream.

I oppose the “nuclear option” of voting No Award down the board, to protest the hijacking of the ballot by the Sad and Rabid Puppies.

I favor reading the work, and voting for the stories, books, and writers you feel are worthy of a Hugo. Those you do NOT feel are worthy of the Hugo can and should be ranked below No Award or left off your ballot entirely.

This does not mean I am entirely opposed to voting No Award in all cases. Far from it. Having now finished most (not quite all) of my Hugo reading, I can say that I will probably be voting No Award myself in… hmmm… at least three categories, maybe four, maybe even five. These are categories where in my judgement none of the nominated work is worthy of a rocket.

But in those categories where I do find one or more nominees to be of sufficient quality, I will be voting for him or her or them, regardless of whether or not they were on a slate. And yes, this is true even if only one nominee is worthy. To throw out that one worthy nominee because they “had no real competition” (as some have suggested) seems wrong-headed to me. If it is worthy of a Hugo, give it a Hugo, that’s what I say.

Let me be specific here. Short Form Editor, Long Form Editor are all slate, but there are nominees in both who deserve a Hugo, and I’ll be voting for them. The Puppies liked a lot (though not all) of the nominees in the two Dramatic Presentation categories as well… but you know, so did I, so I’ll be voting for those as well. Sorry, but IMNSHO, only an idiot would want to “no award” GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY or INTERSTELLAR because the Puppies slated them. I am not going to tell you which movie or TV show or editor or novel I am voting for. I’ve mentioned some that I liked in older blog posts. Your mileage may vary; read, watch, consider, vote.

I will, however, make one exception there, one “endorsement,” if you will. I am voting for LAURA MIXON for Best Fan Writer, and I urge everyone reading this to do the same. (Hardly a surprise, I know, since I suggested that she be nominated in the first place). Having looked at the Hugo packet, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that Laura is plainly the best writer of the five nominees… but there’s more to my choice than that. In this year of all years, with Puppygate turning so toxic and hatespeech spreading all over the internet, it behooves us more than ever to honor someone who spoke up AGAINST Hate and for healing, not by spewing vitriol in retaliation, but calmly, dispassionately, with clean hands and composure and… most of all… compassion. A victory for Mixon here would have huge symbolic value, I think; a vote for her is a vote for decency, and a vote against the trolls and haters of all stripes and persuasions, be they left-wing or right-wing or just loony.

Anyway…

FILE 770 reports that Sasquan membership has passed 10,000, and that more than 2900 Hugo ballots have already been cast. http://file770.com/?p=23985 The record was set last year at Loncon, when 3587 ballots were received. Given the Puppygate war, there’s a good chance that Sasquan will break that record, since it seems memberships are still pouring in.

Six days left.

Let your voice be heard.