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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.

Home Alone

July 10, 2015 at 6:53 pm
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Well, not really alone. Parris is here, and my minions, and the Cocteau staff, and the cats… but I am not in San Diego at Comicon, and I have to admit, that feels strange.

Staying home was the right decision. I just got back from Chicago and the Dead shows, and before that it was Europe, and it is hardly as if HBO needed me in San Diego to represent… not with so much of our cast on hand. I have so much work to do, I am way behind on everything, and I have a wedding to attend in Jersey in a few weeks, and worldcon after that… and if truth be told, San Diego has gotten overwhelming in recent years. There are always good times catching up with friends, and hanging with the cast, but it’s not as if I can walk the floor anymore and look for old comic books, the way I once did.

Even so… even so… it does make me a little sad, not being there.

Anyway, those of you who are there, be sure and catch THE EXPANSE premiere. I wish I could. Everything I’ve seen suggests that it will be a terrific show. The books were certainly great. Say hi to Daniel and Ty for me.

You might also visit the Random House booth to buy a calendar, and drop by the Tor/ Macmillan booth to buy a stack of books and show your support.

Back In The USA

July 2, 2015 at 1:09 pm
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So we’re back home in Santa Fe, after ten days on the road in Germany, Sweden, and Finland.

A wonderful trip, all in all. Yes, much of it was work… I did numerous interviews in Hamburg, more in Stockholm, still more on the Alands, yadda yadda yadda… but in between we had some fine old times.

Some highlights:
— touring MiniatureLand in Hamburg. Wow. Biggest toy train set in the world, but the landscapes and miniatures dwarf the trains. Very glad my hosts took me to see this.
— the big public event in Hamburg, 3000 fans, sold out months ago.
— hanging with Sibel Kekilli and her boyfriend, and my German publicist, Sebastian. Sibel fed me Turkish food and showed me some of Hamburg’s nightlife, to reciprocate for the tour of Santa Fe I gave her on INTO THE NIGHT. Hamburg stays up later than Santa Fe, you will be surprised to learn, but chile con queso is nowhere to be found. We drank White Russians while huddled under blankets in an outdoor cafe. Took a canal boat tour as well.
— Stockholm. What a gorgeous city. Comes of not having a major war since Napoleon. That way your gorgeous old buildings don’t get bombed into rubble.
— the Vasa Museum. Okay, the ship never made it our of the harbor, but it makes a great centerpiece for a museum,
— the Royal Armory, where you can actually see the bloodstained clothing that Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII were wearing when they died,
— Marieham, on the Aland islands. Just a lovely place.
— the Aland Vikings, who fed us pancakes and mead and hammered at each other with axe and sword and spear for our amusement. They are building a very cool Viking village, definitely worth a visit if you visit the islands.

And of course Archipelacon was great fun as well. The Finnish fans are second to none, and we had plenty of Swedes on hand as well, and a strong BWB contigent who taught them all how to party. It is events like this that remind me what fandom is all about — a celebration of science fiction and fantasy, of friendship and family.

Getting Hectic Here

June 16, 2015 at 11:01 am
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Things are getting hectic here. I am doing what I hope is the final round of editing on HIGH STAKES, the new Wild Cards mosaic novel, in hopes of delivering that one to the good folks (and they are) at Tor before I take off for Europe.

On Thursday, we’re off to Germany. I have a big event in Hamburg, and Sibel Kekilli has promised to show me her city… seeing as how I showed her Santa Fe a few months ago, it’s only fair. From there I’ll be flying to Sweden for a few days in Stockholm, then taking a ferry to the Aland Islands for my long-planned appearance as GOG at Archipelacon.

I will try to post a few more details about the trip before we fly off.

(Meanwhile, of course, I still have Puppies nipping at my ankles. Even the sad ones seem to have gone rabid of late. tsk)

Catching Up

June 4, 2015 at 3:41 pm
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Can it really be June already?

Guess so. Where do the days go? Where do the months go?

I’ve been so busy since getting back from Kansas City that I’ve hardly had time to breathe, let alone blog.

In broad strokes —
— the trip through Kansas was a lot of fun. The highlight was our visit to the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas. For those of you who have not heard of it (most of you, I assume), this is an air and space museum second only to the Smithsonian. Truly an amazing collection. They have a V-1 and a V-2. They have the backup Sputnik. They have a Bell X-1… not the original, no, but the one used in THE RIGHT STUFF, which is almost as cool. They have a Blackbird. And they have, yes, the original genuine Liberty Bell 7 and Apollo 13, as well as all sorts of other amazing stuff. I know that Hutchinson, Kansas is not on many “places you have to see” lists, but the Cosmosphere makes a visit there well worth the while. (The salt mine on the other side of town is pretty damn cool as well),
— Conquest was cool. The KC fen throw a great con. And I was heartened by all the people who came up to thank me for my posts about the Hugos. Even in the nation’s heartland, it seems, there is considerable fannish anger about the Sad and Rabid Puppies pooping on our awards,
— Yes, Puppygate has continued, though I’ve been too busy to post about it. The Sad Puppies continue to be clueless, moving their goalposts almost daily. The Rabid Puppies continue to be venomous. Lots of other people are reading the Hugo nominees and reviewing the finalists. That’s what I am doing myself, though I am way behind in my reading,
— MAD MAX:FURY ROAD did some great business for the Cocteau, despite showing on eight other screens around town. Third highest-grossing picture we’ve had since I reopened the theatre, behind only INTERSTELLAR and THE INTERVIEW. We’ve very pleased.


–Last Sunday, we hosted “Remembering Roger,” a moving and memorable day in remembrance of our friend Roger Zelazny, one of the great SF writers of all time, who left us twenty years ago. Parris McBride, Walter Jon Williams, Melinda Snodgrass, John Jos. Miller, Shannon Zelazny, Jane Lindskold, Stephen Gould, and Trent Zelazny spoke and gave readings from Roger’s work, Joe and Gay Haldeman and Steven Brust joined us via Skype, and Neil Gaiman read one of Roger’s stories on video from London. We also played an audio of Roger himself reading from SIGN OF THE UNICORN, paired with a slide show of Amber art and Roger’s own life and times.

And that evening, the Cocteau presented a marvelous staged reading of GODSON, the musical play that Roger wrote not long before his passing. It was an incredible performance, and got a terrific reaction.

We hope to stage a couple more performances in the weeks to come. Watch this space, and the Cocteau website, for further announcements.

Conquest Bound

May 18, 2015 at 7:19 pm
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I hear that everything is up to date in Kansas City, so I am heading that way to check it out for myself. Next weekend I will be Editor Guest of Honor at Conquest, KC’s long-running regional con, and one of my very favorites. I went to my first KC con in 1972 (where I finally met Howard Waldrop, with whom I’d been exchanging letters since 1963), and have been coming back when I can ever since. The 1976 worldcon in KC — MidAmericon — still ranks as the best worldcon of all time, in my not so humble opinion. Even if I did lose two Hugos there.

So if any of you are in Kansas or Missouri or within driving distance, do come join us. You can check out the basics on the con here: http://www.conquestkc.org/

I should underline the fact that I am the Editor GOH at Conquest (Brandon Sanderson is the Author Guest of Honor). I’ve been editing books just as long as I’ve been writing them (the first book I ever published was one I’d edited, not one I’d written), and to date I’ve been editor or co-editor on thirty-eight anthologies, with number thirty-nine on the way. Yet this will be be the first time that any con has ever honored me for my editorial work.

Yes, I will be reading a chapter from THE WINDS OF WINTER there, and yes, I’ll talk about ICE AND FIRE and my other writing… but the emphasis at Conquest will be on my editing, especially the WILD CARDS series, and one of my two scheduled autograph sessions will be limited to the anthologies I’ve edited. Just sayin’.

And of course, I expect to find some burnt ends as well… dragon-charred, no doubt…

Home Again

April 6, 2015 at 5:12 pm
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Got back last night from Seattle.

Norwescon was a lot of fun. I got to hang with some old friends and made some new ones, and drank far too many White Russians. (The Dude abides). My hosts treated me very well.

I read the new ‘Alayne’ chapter, the one I just uploaded, and got a great response. I’m very pleased that so many of you liked it. (I’ve gotten some nice emails about it too. Sorry that I cannot reply, but there are just too many).

The con also featured a Burlesque show with a GAME OF THRONES theme. That was fun too.

The Philip K. Dick awards were given out. I haven’t actually read any of the finalists, but a couple of the winners were present, and I was pleased to meet them.

This year’s Hugo ballot was also announced, simultaneously with similar announcements at Minicon and the British Eastercon. I am going to have more to say about that soon. A lot more. But not in this post. I don’t want to spoil the mood here.

Fandom Is (indeed) a Way of Life, and attending a con like Norwescon always feels like coming home.

Oh, and once more, for all the Seahawks fans I met this weekend… THEY SHOULD HAVE GIVEN THE BALL TO BEAST MODE. Worst. Call. Ever.

Off to Seattle

April 1, 2015 at 10:11 am
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Headed for the airport in a couple of hours.   I am off to Norwescon in scenic Seattle, home of the Superbowl champion Seahawks ( in the world where they gave the ball to Beast Mode, anyway).

See you at the con.

Conventions and Cancellations

March 27, 2015 at 6:27 pm
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A couple of posts down, I announced that I had decided to cancel a couple of my planned appearances for 2015, namely the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga and the San Diego Comicon.

As seems to happen with everything I post these days, this was immediately misinterperted and misreported.  The usual game of internet telephone took place, and suddenly it was being said that I had cancelled ALL my planned appearances for 2015.  This immediately triggered a flood of emails, and comments here on the blog, from fans who had bought memberships in Norwescon or Conquest or Sasquan in order to see me, and were now worried that I was not coming.

No.  Not so.  Listen, please.  I am skipping San Diego Comicon and World Fantasy Con… but as of this writing, I am still planning on making all of my other scheduled appearances.  Okay?  Clear?  That means, yes, I will be in Seattle for Norwescon next week, and yes, I will be going to Kansas City for Conquest over Memorial Day.  And so forth.  And so on.

Please note that at both of these cons, I am a guest of honor. They invited me years ago, and have been advertising my participation for many months.  Fans and readers have planned accordingly.  I would not feel right in pulling out of an obligation like this, except perhaps in cases of medical or family emergency, and that does not apply here.  At San Diego and Saratoga I was not a GOH, just a program participant, attending largely on my own hook.  Makes it much easier to withdraw.

It is possible that I may withdraw from some other announced appearances later in the year… most likely in the summer and fall… but if I do, it won't be from cons where I am the featured guest of honor.  I would prefer not to have to cancel anything, but that depends on how the work is going.

And by "work," I mean WINDS OF WINTER, of course… but not exclusively WINDS OF WINTER.   When I say, "my plate is full," I don't just mean with WINDS.  I am still editing the latest Wild Cards volume, HIGH STAKES.   I have an overall deal with HBO, and three new television concepts in various stages of development, with a variety of collaborators and partners.   I am consulting on a couple of videogames.   There's the Wild Cards movie at Universal, where I'm a producer.  And I've recently formed a new production company to make low budget short films based on a trio of classic short stories by… well, no, not yet, that would be telling.  Premature telling.

(Many of these other projects may come to nothing.  Such is the dance of development as they do it in Hollywood.  If anything ever actually comes to fruition, you will read about it here.  Till then, don't hold your breath).

Anyway, I'm busy.  But please note, most of these other projects involve me editing, producing, consulting, or financing.  The writing I'm doing is all on WINDS OF WINTER.

Speaking of which… after wrestling with it for a month or so, I've decided not to script an episode for season six of GAME OF THRONES.  Writing a script takes me three weeks, minimum, and longer when it is not a straight adaptation from the novels.  And really, it would cost me more time than that, since I have never been good at changing gears from one medium to another and back again. Writing a season six script would cost me a month's work on WINDS, and maybe as much as six weeks,  and I cannot afford that.   With David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, and Bryan Cogman on board, the scriptwriting chores for season six should be well covered.  My energies are best devoted to WINDS.

So… back to it.