Not a Blog

Long Time No See

August 23, 2017 at 11:48 am
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I am home again in the Land of Enchantment, after almost a month on the road.

I flew to New Jersey for my nephew Sean’s wedding, which was a lot of fun.

Then I went to New York City for a week, checking in with my editors, publishers, and agents, and some old dear friends as well. Did a pizza crawl, had myself a Cel-Ray and an egg cream and a pastrami sandwich (New York health food), and did a lot of business.

From there it was off across the ocean to Helsinki for worldcon. My third visit to Finland, which never disappoints. Helsinki is a beautiful city, and it was a terrific con. Sure, we lost the Hugo, but the Hugo Losers Party kicked ass.

After worldcon, we hopped a train for Russia. A few days in St. Petersberg — my god, what a stunning city — and then off to the woods for Assembly Con. Our Russian hosts were warm and wonderful.

All in all, a great trip, but an exhausting one. The trip home was grueling.

Let me catch my breath, and might be I’ll have some more to say.

Right now, I need some green chile.

Current Mood: tired tired

My Worldcon Schedule

July 26, 2017 at 10:40 am
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The World Science Fiction Convention is only a few weeks away. This is the oldest SF con, the one that started it all, and though it is no longer the largest, it’s still the one that matters, the heart and soul of SF fandom. And for me, it’s home away from home.

Here’s my schedule this year in Helsinki:

WEDNESDAY August 9
4:00 pm Tea & Jeopardy Podcast, w Emma & Peter Newman

THURSDAY August 10
12:00 NOON panel discussion: Invented Religions

2:00 pm autographing

FRIDAY August 11
8:00 pm HUGO AWARDS

SATURDAY August 12
2:00 pm panel discussion: Built Upon the Shoulders of Giants

4:00 pm autographing

SUNDAY August 13
1:00 pm panel discussion: Thirty Years of Wild Cards

Those are my official public appearances… but of course I will also be attending parties, checking out the art show, wandering the dealer’s room, lunching and dining with editors, agents, friends, and colleagues.

For those of you who want books signed, please, bring them to one of my two listed autograph sessions. I will NOT be signing before or after panels, at parties, during lunch or breakfast or dinner, at the urinal, in the elevator, on the street, in the hall. ONLY at the autograph table. If the lines are as long as they usually are, I’ll only be signing one book per person.

See you in Helsinki!

Current Mood: busy busy

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

Hugo Ballot Announced

April 4, 2017 at 7:36 pm
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That Finnish Worldcon has announced this year’s finalists for the Hugo Awards.

You can hear the nominees announced by Finns, here:

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Alternatively, you could just go to LOCUS and read the list for yourself:
http://www.locusmag.com/News/2017/04/12103/

Congratulations to everyone who made the ballot, and condolences to those who didn’t.

All in all, this is the best ballot we’ve had in several years, mostly because the impact of the slates has ebbed somewhat. Maybe it was EPH and the rules changes, or maybe they just got tired, but whatever the reason, not a single category this year was slated top to bottom. Yeah, there are some finalists that are plainly unworthy… but there’s real choice in every category, and I doubt that the halls of Helsinki will be resounding to the sound of “No Award.” I haven’t read everything that’s on the ballot — that’s one of the things the Hugo ballot has traditionally been good for, it makes a great reading list — and when I do, I probably won’t like everything. But I expect I will like something in every category, and that’s all I really ask for.

Personally, I’m thrilled to see that two episodes of GAME OF THRONES were nominated in Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: our two Emmy winners, as it happens, “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Door.” I know David Benioff and Dan Weiss will be also been thrilled, along with our cast and crew and all the good people at HBO. Helsinki is a lot closer to Belfast than the US, so there’s even a chance that David and Dan might fly in for the ceremony (shooting schedule permitting), as they did for Loncon. If they can’t, the lovely Sibel Kekilli will help me represent GOT on the night, as Ron Donachie and Rory McCann did in prior years.

Of course, we face some hellacious tough competition. “Leviathan Wakes” has also been nominated, the finale of season one of THE EXPANSE, along with “San Junipero” from BLACK MIRROR, my favorite episode from that terrific show. And of course there’s an episode of DR. WHO in there, as there always is, along with a sixth nominee that I’m unfamiliar with, as yet. As it happens, there were three episodes of GAME OF THRONES that got enough votes to make the final ballot, but this year a new rule went into effect, limiting each series to no more than two nominees. That’s the DR. WHO rule. It’s been needed for years, and I’m glad to see it in place, but it’s one of life’s little ironies that the first show it bites is not DR. WHO, but GAME OF THRONES. But one must not be greedy. It IS an honor just to be nominated, and a double honor to be nominated twice, so thanks to all the fans out there who gave us one of their votes.

Those who follow my Not A Blog regularly will know that I made recommendations in a number of different categories (though by no means all) during the nominating period. Some of them made the cut, and some did not. And that’s fine, that’s the way it goes, the way it always went before the advent of the slates. You make your picks, and sometimes your fellow fans agree and sometimes they don’t, and that’s why it’s a horse race. Anyone who works in this field for long, as writer, artist, editor, or fan, will have their share of both celebrations and disappointments. I certainly have. But you know, you can even celebrate your disappointments; that’s what the Hugo Losers Party is all about.

And yes, I will confess, I am very disappointed that WILD CARDS did not get a nod in the new Best Series category, it being our thirtieth anniversary and all. On the other hand, a number of my Wild Carders did very well. In that same Best Series category, Jimmy Corey and Max Gladstone are both finalists, Carrie Vaughn got a nomination in Short Story, and the Newmans are nominated in Best Fancast. No Alfie for them this year, they may have to make do with a Hugo. Oh, and speaking of that, I was also pleased to see how many Alfie winners made the ballot. Alyssa Wong has two nominations, Ursula Vernon is up in Short Story, Liz Gorinsky is nominated for Best Editor Long Form, John Joseph Adams for Best Editor Short Form, Julie Dillon for Best Pro Artist, and JOURNEY PLANET for Best Fanzine.

Which reminds me, now that the ballot is out, one of the things I’m doing to have to ponder is whether or not I need to give out Alfies this year. My first inclination is to say, hey, maybe not, doesn’t look as though they’re necessary. But they were fun, so let me mull that a while. I still have a lot of hood ornaments in the basement.

One thing I can say for sure about the Hugo Awards: this year, like every year, there will be more losers than winners. Which means we’ll need another Hugo Losers Party.

I do hope Robert Silverberg wins. I would so look forward to seeing him in a conehead.

Wild Cards Gets Wilder

March 20, 2017 at 6:25 pm
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A couple of cool new additions to our Wild Cards website went up today.

On the blog, John Jos. Miller talks about gaming in the Wild Cards universe… and his own life story. Check it out at: http://www.wildcardsworld.com/the-secret-origins-of-the-wild-card-universe/

And over in our video section, our own March Madness… in August. Which is to say, the highlights from the Wild Cards Cage Matches from MidAmericon II:

http://www.wildcardsworld.com/wild-cards-media/

((The Amazing Bubbles still insists that she was robbed)).

The Clock Is Ticking

March 15, 2017 at 3:39 pm
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Hugo nominations need to be in before March 18.

Only a few days left to let your voice be heard.

This is fandom’s own award, the oldest and most prestigious of my myriad awards for science fiction and fantasy… but it is only as important as we make it.

You don’t have to nominate in every category, or fill every slot… but if you’re read any books or stories that you liked last year, or watched any television and film, you should be part of this.

Go ye forth and NOMINATE.

Hugo Thoughts: Best Series

February 27, 2017 at 6:27 pm
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This year a new category has been added to the Hugo Awards: Best Series.

It’s not a permanent category yet. Though the idea behind the category has been discussed at various worldcon business meetings over the years, it has yet to be passed and ratified. But worldcon rules permit each concom to add one category of their own choosing each year, and the Finnish fans decided to add Best Series… rather as an experiment, I guess, to see how well the category might work.

Honestly, I have mixed thoughts about adding Best Series to the Hugos as a permanent new category. Being an old guy, I can remember a time when most science fiction novels were stand-alones. If they were popular enough, they might spawn sequels, but the series novel was the exception rather than the rule. Today the reverse is true. It has become increasingly hard to find a science fiction or fantasy novel that is NOT part of some series.

So do we need a Best Series Hugo? I don’t know. Being part of a series has not stopped the last three Best Novel winners from taking home the rocket, so it is not as if series books are being overlooked. And what is a “series,” actually? The difficulty of defining that term is one of the reasons so many worldcons have spent so long wrangling over it.

All that being said, for this year at least there will be a Hugo for Best Series. And I’d guess that almost all the leading contenders for the Best Novel rocket are ALSO contenders for Best Series (yes, there will be a few exceptions). So the only series that I am going to submit for your consideration is one that will NOT also be competing for The Big One: my own.

No, not that one. A SONG OF ICE & FIRE had no new installment published in 2016, so it’s not eligible. Besides, I don’t consider A SONG OF ICE & FIRE to be a series, not as I define the word (yes, I am aware, the rules define the term more broadly). I consider A SONG OF ICE & FIRE to be one single gigantic story published in multiple volumes. (Seven, I hope). LORD OF THE RINGS was not a series either, nor a trilogy; it was a single novel published in three volumes.

But I do have a series, a true series, one that I’ve been working on even longer than I have ICE & FIRE, one that I am very proud of: WILD CARDS.

You know. This series here:

WILD CARDS is no stranger to Hugo competition. In 1988, when the series was only three books old, the New Orleans worldcon added a new category called “Other Forms,” just as Helsinki has added Best Series, and we were one of the five nominees. We lost to Alan Moore’s landmark graphic novel WATCHMEN, which surprised no one, least of all us… but it WAS an honor just to be nominated, and we had a great time at the Hugo Losers Party afterward.

Alas, “Other Forms” did not survive as a Hugo category, and the Wild Cards books, though they continued to be popular, never fit comfortably into any of the other categories. We called them mosaic novels, and some were indeed six- or seven-way collaborative novels, but they were never going to contend for Best Novel. Other volumes were more akin to anthologies… but the Hugo Awards have never had a ‘Best Anthology’ category (though if truth be told, I’d sooner see them add that than Best Series). I would sometimes get some votes for my editing, but never enough to make the final ballot (one year I finished seventh out of five, as I recall, but that was the closest I came). Individual stories from the books were nominated for awards and one such, Walter Jon Williams “Witness,” was a Nebula finalist. That lost too. Oh, and one year S.P. Somtow presented Wild Cards with his Icarus Award.

I can hardly be objective about WILD CARDS, but I do think we’re worthy of consideration. This year we are celebrating our thirtieth anniversary, a considerable achievement all by itself. All the other shared world series of the 80s are gone, but Wild Cards continues… and I think that most of those who have stuck with us over the years will agree, we’re better than ever. We have entertained millions of readers over those three decades, the books have been published in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Russia, Germany, Brazil (with more countries coming up). WILD CARDS has given birth to two role-playing games, two comic book series (three more graphic novels in the works), and soon, I hope, a television series. We’ve had twenty-three books published to date, three more finished and delivered and in the pipeline for publication in 2017 and 2018, more to come.

But it’s not just longevity. Together with WATCHMEN, WILD CARDS helped redefine the treatment of superpowers and superheroes in popular culture, taking a grittier, more realistic, more adult approach to the subject, with an emphasis on characterization. And with the full mosaics we only dared attempt every third book, we went way beyond any other shared world to create a whole new (and very demanding, I may add) template. And there’s been some cool world-building too, as my team played the alternate world concept central to the series.

We have had ups and downs, of course — hey, with twenty-three books and a couple hundred stories, how not? — but overall, I don’t know many other series that have maintained a similar consistencey of quality over half as many book, and I like to think that when we’ve been good, we’ve been very very good. Especially in those full mosaics: JOKERS WILD, ACE IN THE HOLE/ DEAD MAN’S HAND, DEALER’S CHOICE, BLACK TRUMP, SUICIDE KINGS, HIGH STAKES.

I’ve only been a small part of that, of course. I may the conductor, but I’ve had a hell of a band. Over the decades, I’ve had the honor of working with some truly gifted and innovative writers. Howard Waldrop, Roger Zelazny, Daniel Abraham, Edward Bryant, Stephen Leigh, Victor Milan, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Carrie Vaughn, Laura J. Mixon, Sage Walker, William F. Wu, John Jos. Miller, Lewis Shiner, Cherie Priest, Walton Simons, Caroline Spector, Walter Jon Williams, Michael Cassutt, Paul Cornell, Ian Tregillis, David Anthony Durham, David D. Levine… the list goes on and on… and of course, Melinda M. Snodgrass, who has been my right hand since the start.

And wait till you see the new writers we have in store for you in the books to come, and the characters they’ve created for us. The best, truly, is yet to come.

WILD CARDS. Best Series? That’s up to fandom. If you’ve liked the books, nominate them. But once again let me say that whatever you choose to nominate, you should NOMINATE.

((If you haven’t read any Wild Cards and would like to try a small sample before shelling out for a book, check out the FREE stories on Tor.com)).

Clear skies and tail winds.

Ed Bryant Talks Wild Cards

February 20, 2017 at 3:33 pm
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Last August the hardcover of HIGH STAKES, the most recent Wild Cards mosaic novel, was released by Tor. We launched the book at MidAmericon II in Kansas City with a huge mass signing sponsored by Rainy Day Books. Most (though not all) of the contributors to HIGH STAKES were on hand, but so were a dozen other Wild Cards writers, even those not in that particular volume. WC fans had a field day, collecting signatures from all the writers present.

Tor also had a video crew on hand, to tape the signing and to interview the writers about their involvement in Wild Cards, and any other projects they might be working on. They got hours of tape, and have been busily splicing and dicing and interweaving snippets of those interviews into a series of short promotional videos. Three of those videos have been released to date, and can be found on our Wild Cards website http://www.wildcardsworld.com/wild-cards-media/ Many more will be coming.

One of the writers interviewed was Edward Bryant.

After we heard about Ed’s death, I contacted Tor to ask them if Ed had been one of the writers they had talked with in Kansas City. I am pleased to say he was, and we can now present his interview to you complete and uninterrupted.

All those who knew and loved him will, I hope, appreciate the opportunity to see and hear from Ed one last time… but I should warn you, there is a bittersweet quality to this tape, in light of what was coming. Sad to say, Ed never did finish that last Wild Cards story he was working on, nor any of the other tales that he hoped to write.

Sooner or later, all of us have to see The Jolson Story. Be that as it may, for one last time, I am honored to present my friend Edward Bryant:

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((My thanks to Patty Garcia, Sheila, and all the good folks at Tor for making this possible)).

Hugo Thoughts: Best Professional Artist

January 30, 2017 at 1:23 pm
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Hugo nominations are now open. You will have until mid March to make your nominations… however, if you were not a member of MidAmericon II, you have only today and tomorrow left to sign up for either That Finnish Convention (this year’s worldcon) and/or ConJose II (next year’s worldcon) to earn the right to nominate. Act now, or forever hold your peace.

A few days ago I posted a few recommendations for the two Dramatic Presentation categories. Today I’d like to offer a couple of artists for your consideration, staggering talents who did some outstanding work in 2016, and are more than worthy of nomination.

The first of them is MICHAEL KOMARCK, who has been painting our Wild Cards covers ever since Tor revived the series. He’s done a bunch of other things too… check out his website… and he is doing the artwork for a Wild Cards graphic novel that is just going to blow your mind, but it’s his recent Wild Cards covers that make me want to get up and dance. Here’s some of his recent work.

Komarck has been nominated for the Hugo once before, but has never won. Here’s some of his older Wild Cards covers. Amazing work.

I had the honor to work with another wonderfully talented artist this year as well: the French artist DIDER GRAFFET, who illustrated the 2017 Ice & Fire calendar from Random House.

There’s lots more art in the calendar just as good. Grab and copy and see for yourself.

Of course, SF and fantasy are blessed with all sorts of extraordinary artists, many of whom have been Hugo winners or nominees in years past. John Picacio, Julie Dillon, Donato Giancola, Stephan Martiniere, and many more are worthy of your consideration as well. But any list of recommendations that does not include Komarck and Graffet is woefully incomplete, imnsho.