Not a Blog

Home Again

August 12, 2022 at 6:30 pm
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Hey there.   It’s me again.   I am back in Santa Fe, and once more again seated at my computer(s).   My thanks to my mighty minions for holding down the fort in my absence, and especially to the Sensational Sid, who shared my quarantine in Los Angeles and taped those video segments for me… and unfortunately came down with covid herself.   Not fun, and sadly it meant she too had to miss the Hot D red carpet premiere and the world premiere of NIGHT OF THE COOTERS a day later at the LA Shorts Film Festival.   Her symptoms were as mild as my own, though, and both of us in the end recovered fully.

Which does not change the fact that Covid Sucks, and all of you should avoid it if you can.

I tried my best to do just that.   I attended San Diego Comicon, only the second time I’ve left home since the pandemic started in March 2020, but the only thing I did there was the big HOUSE OF THE DRAGON panel in Hall H.   I never walked the floor, turned down invites to half a dozen parties, and  cancelled all three of my planned autograph sessions, which would have involved me getting close up and personal with hundreds of readers.   I wore a mask every time I went out, except at meals… and then only when I was eating.   I even upgraded my masks before leaving home.   I do not know what else I could have done, except cancel the entire trip.   But covid got me anyway.

Oh, wait… I did visit the incredible Red Keep that HBO put up outside the convention center, though I stayed masked for most of that.   I claimed a dragon’s egg, and hatched my dragon.   He’s green, and growing nicely.   Maybe the dragon gave me covid, but I doubt it.   Targaryens never get sick, donchaknow?   Hey, you guys can hatch a dragon too…

Have fun with that.   Post pictures.

What else, what else?   Oh, well, I do not lug a laptop around on my travels, so I returned home to a thousand emails.   I am presently digging out from under.   Mostly done.

Oh, and while in quarantine, Sid and I watched Neil Gaiman’s new show, THE SANDMAN.   Neil had been kind enough to send up an advance copy.   Guys, gals, don’t miss this.   If you loved the comics, well, this is a VERY faithful adaptation, Neil saw to that.   And if you never read the comic, don’t worry, not required, the TV series stands on its own.   It’s a fabulous fantasy, and I rope it will run for many more seasons.   There are, after all, many more issues of the comic to adapt.

I hope to wrap up the story line for one of the viewpoint characters of WINDS OF WINTER this week.   Maybe even two.

Meanwhile, work continues on all the other GAME OF THRONES successor shows we’re developing for HBO and HBO Max.   Animated and live action both.   Development is a long and chancy process, of course, and there’s no telling how many series will be green lit in the end… I am really excited about the way some of them are coming along, though.   Oh, and there’s also ROADMARKS, another show I’ve been developing for HBO, based on a novel by the late great Roger Zelazny.   That’s coming along well too.

Thanks to covid, I could not attend the world premiere of NIGHT OF THE COOTERS at the LA Shorts International Film Festival, but Vincent d’Onofrio and Hopper Penn and several other cast members filled in for me ably, along with scriptwriter Joe Lansdale and the team from Trioscope.   I am delighted to report that COOTERS took home the prize for Best Science Fiction Short!!!   We’ve entered it in a number of other festivals and hope to have word on that soon.   Meanwhile, our second Waldrop film has wrapped and is post-production.

Let’s see, what else.   There was something, I’m sure, I….

Oh.  Of course.

 HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.   August 21, on HBO and HBO Max.

That’s… hmmm…. nine days away as I type it.

I’ve seen all ten episodes now (albeit in rough cuts), and I love what I’ve seen.   Ryan and Miguel and their amazing cast and crew have done some magnificent work.   Hot D is all I hoped it would be; dark, powerful, visceral, disturbing, stunning to look at, peopled with complex and very human characters brought to life by some truly amazing actors.

(Oh, and FIRE & BLOOD is back on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list, and rocketing up every week.   I wonder if there is any connection).

Anyway…. there’s lots more I could report, but that will need to wait.   Stuff to do.

Glad to be home.

 

 

Current Mood: busy busy

San Diego, Here I Come

July 14, 2022 at 9:29 am
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Yes, it’s true.   I will be heading to San Diego for Comicon at the end of the month, for the first time in… ah… a bunch of years.

That’s not news to most of you, I know.   There have already been a raft of stories out there about HBO’s plans for promoting HOUSE OF THE DRAGON at Comicon  (which plans are pretty mind-boggling, by the way), and my name has popped up in a good many of them.   So I’m not revealing any secrets here, but I can confirm.   I’ll be joining the HOUSE OF THE DRAGON panel  in Hall H, together with showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik and eleven of our cast members.   I will be as excited to meet them as you are.   I was not able to visit the Hot D sets, so this will be the first time I have met any of them… well, aside from Matt Smith, who I did meet for about two minutes in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel at a previous Comicon, but he was the Doctor at the time, not Daemon Targaryen, and that’s not at all the same.

I will also be doing a couple of signings at San Diego.   One for my publisher, Bantam Spectra/ Random House.   I will be signing copies of FIRE & BLOOD and my other novels.   And one for Marvel Comics, with Paul Cornell, to promote the new Wild Cards graphic novels that Paul has scripted.   Raya Golden, ace minion, art director, and illustrator, will be travelling with me, and she’ll be on hand to sign copies of STARPORT, the graphic novel she adapted and illustrated from an old unproduced television pilot of mine (which may come back to life as a feature film, but that’s a tale for another day).   This being Comicon, where the crowds are immense,  all these signings will be capped and strictly limited, so if you want me to scrawl on one of your books, join the queue early.

(Sorry, I will NOT sign while walking the floor, eating lunch, or taking a piss in the men’s room.   Don’t ask, okay?)

In June 2021, I went to Chicago for a week to accept an honorary doctorate from Northwestern.   Aside from that, this will be the first time I have left home since the pandemic struck in March 2020.   I am looking forward to it… but, truth be told, I am also a tad anxious.   I have managed to avoid getting covid so far, knock wood… but if this Comicon is like the last one I went to, I am going to be in one big room with 150,000 other people, some of whom may not have been as careful as we have.  That could be a challenge.   Yes, I am fully vaccinated and double boosted, but that’s true of a number of friends of mine, who have still contracted omnicron despite that.   (Mild cases, mostly, but still).

I do not want covid, not even a mild case, so please be advised, I will be doing all I can to prevent that.   I will be masked almost all the time.   I will not be shaking hands, sorry.   Or even bumping fists.    You can take my picture when I am signing your book, but stay on your side of the table, please.   No selfies.   No hugs.   In past years, I was always glad to do all that, to make myself available to my readers, but these are not normal times.    Once covid goes away for good — if it ever does — perhaps I will be able to do all that again.   But not now.   I cannot get sick.   I have too much work to do.

I ask for your understanding.

And I hope all of us have a great time in San Diego, regardless of these challenges.

Current Mood: anxious anxious

Good Stuff, Bad Stuff, Strange Stuff

June 1, 2022 at 8:25 pm
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So much going on everywhere, it is hard to keep up.   Some random thoughts —

A week ago, Parris and I went down to Bernalillo for  a memorial gathering for our friend John Miller.   It was good to see so many old friends, and to share our memories of John… but profoundly sad at the same time, to realize once again that we would never see John again, that there would be no more memories.   John was one of the mainstays of Wild Cards, part of the series since the very beginning, the creator of Chrysalis, Yeoman, Carnifax, the Midnight Angel, Father Squid, and so many more.   He probably wrote more Wild Cards stories than any other author, with the possible exception of Melinda Snodgrass… I have not counted, but the two were neck and neck.  He was also a Mets fan, a baseball buff, a RPG player and gamemaster, and a fan of bad movies.   I wish he had written more.   He had been working on a novel called BLACK TRAIN COMING even longer than I have been working on THE WINDS OF WINTER.  It would be great if one of his writer friends finishes it for him.   Beyond all of this, however, John was a really good guy, very bright, always fun to spend time with.  And he and his wife Gail really loved animals.   More than I can ever tell you.   All of us at the memorial are missing him.   We will miss him for years to come, I do not doubt, until the day comes when we all go to join him.

These past few years have been rough.  I miss them all.   Ed Bryant, Michael Engelberg, Ben Bova, Phyllis Eisenstein, Victor Milan, Steve Perrin, Kay McCauley, Gardner Dozois… ah, Gargy… I know I am forgetting people.   They made the world a richer place, and we are poorer for their absence.

And the larger world is so ugly that I can hardly bear to watch the news.   What can I say about Russia’s attack on Ukraine that others have not already said?   I was GOH at a con in St. Petersburg a few years ago.  The con was fun, the city was gorgeous, and the Russian fans and writers — even the border security guards — were so warm and welcoming.   Putin is a malign thug.   That seems to be the story of the world, though.   Good people with hideous leaders.   Listening to reports of the fighting makes me feel so angry, so helpless…

And things are pretty ugly over here as well.   The latest school shooting, for instance, and the usual response of the GOP, a refusal to do anything to fix it.   Is baseball still the great American pastime, or is that school shooting now?   No other country seems to have much of an issue with it, only us.  And what answer do the Republicans propose?   Arm the teachers?  Lock the doors?  Toughen the security?

We are becoming more and more a police state.   I am, I am aware, very old and getting older.   Young people may not believe this, but… I remember a time when security was not omnipresent.   When I could get on an airplane without being x-rayed and searched and probed and made to give up my pocket knife.   When I could visit any publisher in New York by walking into their building, looking at the directory to see what floor they were on, taking the elevator up, and announcing my name to the receptionist.   When kids could go to schools that were not fortresses… we did learn to duck and cover under our desks in case the Russians dropped an A-bomb on us, but we did not need to fear being shot by our classmates.

It makes me want to scream.   What the hell happened to this country?   To this world?

I am depressing myself, and probably all of you as well.   Let me talk about some happier things.

DARK WINDS debuts on AMC on June 12, and we’re getting a lot of nice press about it.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-features/amc-series-dark-winds-tony-hillerman-1235156491/

https://www.emmys.com/video/under-cover/dark-winds

https://www.emmys.com/news/features/cover-2022-06

First season will run six episodes, based largely on Tony Hillerman’s novel LISTENING WOMAN.   Watch the show, read the book.   Then read the other books, they are great.   I am very proud of my association  with this one, and glad that I could help make it happen… though, truth be told, I did little enough.   The real credit should go to Robert Redford, Chris Eyre, Zahn McClarnon, and all the other folks mentioned in the articles… and one who was not.   Let me give a shout out here to TINA ELMO, Bob Redford’s right hand and an inexhaustible champion of Tony Hillerman and his work, who was present every day on the shoot and did so much to make our series one to be proud of.

Other good stuff.   NIGHT OF THE COOTERS, the short film we made based on the classic story by Howard Waldrop (the one and only) is complete.   Directed by and starring Vincent d’Onofrio, and a cast of dozens.  H’ard himself has seen it and pronounced it Good.  The film was shot entirely on greenscreen; the actors and horses are live, everything else was supplied by the wizards at Trioscope.   It clocks in at about thirty minutes.   At the moment we are entering it into film festivals all around the nation and the world.  We’ll let you know when and where it gets accepted.   Maybe you will be able to catch it at a filmfest near you.   If so, give it a look.   It’s a lot of fun.

Oh, and right now, this very moment, we have a second film crew down in White Sands National Monument, shooting another short film based on another Howard Waldrop masterwork.   I could tell you which, but then I might have to kill you.   So far, so great, but there’s still lots of work ahead.    Howard may have a new collection coming out this year as well.   Who knows, 2022 could be the Year of Waldrop.

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON?   Glad you asked.   I’ve now watched rough cuts of nine of the ten episodes, and I continue to be impressed.   I cannot speak to the SFX, many of which are not in yet, but the look of it is great, and the acting, the directing, and writing are first rate.   And yes, for all you book fans, it IS my story.   Sure, there are some changes from FIRE & BLOOD — we could not present three alternative versions of every major event, not and keep our sanity — but I think Ryan Condal and his writers made good choices.   Even some improvements.   (Heresy, I know, but being the author, I am allowed to say so).    For years, as some of you may recall, I have been saying the TV version of Shae, as portrayed by Sibel Kekilli, was a deeper, richer, and more nuanced characters than the Shae in my novels.   In a similar vein, I am vastly impressed by the show’s version of King Viserys, played by Paddy Considine, who gives the character a tragic majesty  that my book Viserys never quite achieved.   Kudos to Paddy, Ryan and his writers, and Miguel and the other directors.   (There are a lot of great performances in HOUSE OF THE DRAGON — or HOT D, as I hear some are calling it.   You may never have heard of some of our actors, but I think you will learn to love them, just as you did with the cast of GAME OF THRONES).

Back home in Santa Fe, Sky Railway is doing really well.   Many of our trains are selling out.   If you are visiting the Land of Enchantment, be sure to book your ride early.   Oh, and last weekend we re-opened the bar and cafe at the historic Santa Fe Southern Depot in Lamy.   Right now only open weekends, but we will be expanding the hours.

I should say a word about my appearances.    I have decided not to attend this year’s worldcon in Chicago, for a variety of reasons.   Chicago remains one of my favorite cities, though, and it looks as though I may be travelling there once or twice during the year to come… for reasons quite different, and much more exciting, than a con.    Instead of worldcon, it looks as though I will be attending this year’s San Diego Comicon… assuming they do not move to December or go virtual, as they did last year thanks to the pandemic.   I would rather not attend any more virtual conventions.   Guess I’m a boomer, not a zoomer.

(It will feel odd to travel again.   I have only left home once since January 2020).

WINDS, you say?   Yes, still working.   Finally finished a clutch of Cersei chapters that were giving me fits.   Now I am wrestling with Jaime and Brienne.   The work proceeds, though not as fast as many of you would like.

That’s all for now.

Cooters Invade Montreal?

November 5, 2021 at 7:20 am
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Maybe.   Probably.   (We hope, we hope).

We made a little short film of Howard Waldrop’s classic short story NIGHT OF THE COOTERS back in August, right here in Santa Fe.   From a script by Joe R. Lansdale, directed by and starring Vincent d’Onofrio.   Shot the whole thing green screen, then turned it over to the wizards at Trioscope Productions (https://www.trioscopestudios.com ) who are adding… well, pretty much everything except the actors and the horses.

The film probably won’t be finished until next March.   Maybe February, if we are lucky.

But Howard Waldrop is going to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in Montreal, the first weekend of November.   He will not be able to attend to accept in person, alas… but we wanted to mark the occasion somehow, so we’re working as fast as we can to finish a short teaser / trailer for NIGHT OF THE COOTERS that can be shown at the con.   A little treat for all the Waldrop fans.

I hope we finish it in time.  I hope those of you attending the con will see it.   I hope you will love it.

Did I mention that this honor for H’ard is well deserved?   And long long overdue?

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Lords of Fantasy

July 30, 2021 at 8:55 am
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The upcoming World Fantasy Convention has just announced the winners of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards:

MEGAN LINDHOLM and HOWARD WALDROP.

I could not possibly think of two more worthy winners.

Megan Lindholm, writing under the name Robin Hobb, is one of the premiere fantastists of the last thirty years.   Her Farseer novels, featuring Fitz and the Fool, are classics of high fantasy.   If you have not read them, you don’t know what you are missing.   She has also done some great work under the Megan Lindholm byline, stories that fall more in the realm of urban fantasy and magic realism, just as engrossing and memorable as her epics.    She was long overdue for some major recognition.

And Howard Waldrop… what can I say about Howard Waldrop?  (That I have not already said in my introduction to his collection HOWARD WHO?)  What can anyone say about Howard Waldrop?   H’ard (as Gardner Dozois liked to call him) is one of a kind.   There has never been another writer like him, in fantasy, in science fiction, in literature.   Over the course of a career just as long as my own, he has only produced two novels… and one of those a collaboration… but he has turned out reams of short stories.

And WHAT short stories!   “The Ugly Chickens” won the Nebula and the World Fantasy Award (a long time ago, when it was still the Howie) and lost the Hugo.   A great story, but Howard has produced many other tales just as good.  “Heirs of the Perisphere.”  “Night of the Cooters.”  “Custer’s Last Jump.”  “Black as the Pit, From Pole to Pole.”  “A Dozen Tough Jobs.”   “Fin de Cycle.”  “God’s Hooks.”  “Save a Place in the Lifeboat for Me.”   “Do Ya, Do Ya Wanna Dance?”   “Flying Saucer Rock ‘n Roll.”  “Mary-Margaret Road-Grader.”  “Heart of Whitenesse.”  “Ike at the Mike.”  “Man-Mountain Gentian.”  “Thirty Minutes Over Broadway.”   Oh, and more, and more… I could go on and on.

Waldrop never writes the same story twice.   He writes stories that no one else could possibly write.   Funny, and sad, and whimsical, and erudite, and… words fail me, but they never fail H’ard.   In a just world, he would have a dozen Nebulas and as many Hugos by now.  SFWA would have named him a Grand Master ten years ago, and some worldcon would have made him its Guest of Honor.   But such accolades seldom come to short story writers, no matter how singular and amazing they may be.   This year’s World Fantasy Award panel of judges deserve kudos for recognizing this genius in our midst.

This year’s World Fantasy Convention will be in Montreal in early November.   I hope that both Howard and Megan will be able to make it, to accept their Trees in person.  I doubt that I will be able to make it myself… though I am tempted, I am so tempted… but that sound you hear will be me, applauding madly from afar.

(Oh, and watch this space.  I hope to have some more exciting Howard Waldrop news soon).

Current Mood: happy happy

Worldcon… Virtually

July 28, 2020 at 8:03 am
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CoNZealand is almost upon us.

As everyone knows (except perhaps the fellow who has been quarantining is his bomb shelter all these months, cut off from human contract), we are not actually gathering in Wellington, New Zealand this year, thanks to the pandemic.  Instead we are having the very first virtual worldcon.

The virtual Nebula Awards went pretty well, so I am hoping that Virtual Worldcon will as well.   But worldcon is a much bigger undertaking, so no one knows.  Least of all me.  Yes, I am the Toastmaster this year, but I am also one of the least tech savvy science fiction writers on the planet.   Aside from Howard Waldrop, anyway.   If the panels could somehow be conducted on the old GEnie platform, I would be fine.  I was very comfortable and quite active on GEnie.   But I gather we are using something called Zoom, and my every attempt to use Zoom hitherfore have been disasters.  This time I will have tech help from the con, however, so maybe it will go better…

I will be a small part of Opening Ceremonies, and I have a couple of panels as well… but my main contribution to the Virtual Worldcon will be as the host of the Hugo Awards.   Something I was looking forward to eagerly since the day the Kiwis asked me to be their Toastmaster.  Of course, that was when I thought I’d be performing on stage, with an audience.   Doing it up in my cabin in front of a video camera was… ah… not quite the same.  Sic transit gloria.

 

Anyway, here is how the Hugos are going to work…  I have already pre-recorded all of my opening remarks, introductions of the guest presenters (we will have several), amusing (one hopes) anecdotes and bits of history, discussions of each category, and readings of the names of the finalists (in the cases where I am presenting myself, rather than throwing the ball to a guest presenter).  ConNZealand has all those videos.  The rest of it will be live streamed from my theatre in Santa Fe, the Jean Cocteau, where a member of worldcon’s tech team will be helping me Zoom.   I will have the envelopes with the names of the winners sealed therein.  I may actually have a Hugo to wave about.

So the drill will go like this: for each category, you will get a pre-recorded video of me as a lead-in.  Then I will either read the finalists, so throw it to another presenter who will do the same.  Most of their remarks are pre-recorded as well.  Then back to me, this time live at the JCC, where I will rip open the envelope and announce the winner.  Then we cut to the happy winner, somewhere in the world…  assuming they are in front of their computers and know how to Zoom and all.  (No, unlike the other major awards shows, we have no plans to show the fake smiles on the faces of the sad losers).  The happy winner will make an acceptance speech, long or short as may be, that is entirely up to them.  Then back to me… either live me at the JCC, or pre-recorded me for the next category.

And on and on, starting with the Lodestar and ending with Best Novel.

That’s the plan.   Nothing could possibly go wrong, he said fearlessly.

I do not envy the director and tech team who will be doing all the cutting.  They deserve a Hugo themselves.   Maybe I will nominate them next year, in Best Related Work.   Assuming everything works…

I do hope some of you log on and watch, come Hugo time.   For good or ill, it will be one for the ages.

(There will be no Hugo Losers Party.  Sorry).

Current Mood: anxious anxious

Rocket Time!

June 30, 2020 at 9:10 am
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Worldcon is coming up in a month’s time, down in Wellington, New Zealand…

Or at least it would be, if not for the pandemic.   Which New Zealand has handled splendidly, for what it’s worth.   If only America had done half so well..

In any case, there will still be a CoNZealand, but it is going to be a virtual worldcon.  (Which is a damned shame for all those who will miss the chance to visit New Zealand, truly one of the most beautiful countries in the world).   And as CoNZealand’s toastmaster, I am going to be there… virtually… taking part from my fortress of solitude in the mountains and my theatre (now shuttered) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The toastmaster wears many hats at worldcon, but probably the single biggest part of the gig is hosting the Hugo Awards ceremony.   I am going to be doing that with a combination of live streaming and pre-recorded videos, which we will (I hope I pray) edit seamlessly together.   This week I have started recording some of those videos.   It has been fun, if a little surreal, to be reading off the names of this year’s Hugo finalists when voting has not actually started yet.   And trying to be amusing (one hopes) while talking into a camera without the feedback of laughter (or moans, boos, or soul-chilling silence) from an actual audience is challenging as well.   But so it goes.

SFWA did a great job with the virtual Nebulas.   (Hats off to Mary Robinette Kowal and her team).   We want to make the virtual Hugos just as much fun.   An evening of joy and celebration in these dark days of plague, riot, and police brutality.   We all need a little laughter.   I know I do.

The Kiwis are doing all they can to make Virtual CoNZealand a success.   I applaud them for their efforts, and hope it all comes out splendidly.  That being said, I also hope we never have to do it again.   Over the last half-century, worldcon has become an enormously important part of my life, I have come to realize.  I see people online — younger writers, most often — describing worldcon as a “professional conference,” and yeah, maybe, a little bit, for them… but not for me.   There are professional aspects to conventions, sure, networking and promotion and all that, but for me worldcon has always been a celebration, a party, a holiday, Christmas and Thanksgiving and Halloween all rolled up in one.   Most of all it is a family reunion, a place where I get to laugh and drink and share meals with old friends, meet new friends, and catch up with so many of the people I love, people I do not get to see anywhere else.   So let’s work hard on that vaccine, all you docs out there; I will be at CoNZealand in spirit, but I want to be at DC in the flesh.

((And before anyone starts to panic, “oh my god he is making videos in place of writing,” OF COURSE I am still working on WINDS OF WINTER as well.   That really should go without saying, yet somehow I need to say it, or someone might make stupid assumptions.   I am also doing some editorial work on three new Wild Cards books, reading scripts and making notes on a couple of exciting Hollywood projects, texting with agents, editors, and friends about this and that, eating several meals a day, watching television, reading books, and from time to time using the toilet.   Just because I do not mention it in every Not A Blog does not mean it is not happening)).

 

 

 

Current Mood: busy busy

The Amazing John Picacio

June 19, 2020 at 8:37 am
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SFWA held its Nebula Awards ceremonies last week, and John Picacio, artist extraordinaire, was one of the winners of this year’s Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award… not for his art, but for his contributions to the science fiction and fantasy community.

I had the honor of presenting the award to John.   Well, that is to say, I had the virtual honor of presenting a virtual award to the virtual Picacio.

For all of you who could not be there — which is everyone, thanks to our friend Covid-19 — here is what I had to say:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YV6qoTdD_3MZEQe3ulSNNiJrgT1RfSuM/view?usp=drivesdk

Congratulations once again, John.    Very well deserved.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Hugo Finalists Announced!!!

April 7, 2020 at 5:11 pm
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The final ballot for this year’s Hugo Awards was announced today, via Facebook and YouTube, by my friends at CoNZealand.

Congratulations to all the finalists… and condolences to all those who did not make the ballot.   Take some consolation in the knowledge that much fine work gets overlooked every year.

The Hugo Award is the oldest and most prestigious award in science fiction and fantasy… not only for writers, but also for artists, editors, and fans.  First given in 1953, it was the original award.  Many worthy honors have joined it in the half century since: the Nebulas, the Bram Stokers, the World Fantasy Awards, the Dragons, the Tiptrees, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Prometheus, the British Fantasy Award, the Ditmars, the Auroras, the Saturns… even the Alfies.   (Yes, I have forgotten some, beyond a doubt).  All wonderful honors.   But the Hugo Awards remain the greatest accolade that our field has to offer.

One of the reasons is that it is an award chosen by the members of worldcon, the World Science Fiction Convention, the granddaddy of them all.   By fans, in other words.  By YOU, if you like.   You need not even attend the convention: supporting memberships, considerably cheaper, also allow you to cast a Hugo ballot.  So if you would like your voice to be heard, head over to the CoNZealand website and sign up.

Sad to say, no one will actually be attending this year’s worldcon in Wellington, thanks to coronavirus.   The concom, prudently, has decided to make this year’s convention entirely virtual.   A necessity in this time of pandemic, I think, but a sad necessity.

I am the Toastmaster for CoNZealand, the host at the awards ceremony,so originally I was going to get to be the guy handing out the rockets come Hugo night, a once-in-a-lifetime honor that I was looking forward to immensely.  I am still the Toastmaster, as it happens, but I guess that now I am going to be a Virtual Toastmaster.   I suppose I qualify.   I did once write two scripts for MAX HEADROOM, after all (though neither one was produced, which could be an omen).  Alternatively, I could just tie the rockets to the legs of ravens… really big ravens…

Current Mood: excited excited

Hugo Nominations Open

January 6, 2020 at 2:57 pm
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CoNZealand, this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, has announced that nominations are now open for the 2020 Hugo Awards.   To nominate, you need to be a member of either this year’s worldcon, or last year’s Dublin convention.  You can nominate either electronically, or with a paper ballot (though very few chose the latter method these days).

Details can be found at https://conzealand.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/2020-Hugo-Nominations-Ballot-Printable-US-Letter.pdf

Members can nominate for the Hugos themselves, the two “Not A Hugo” categories, and for the Retro-Hugos that honor outstanding works published during the years when no Hugos were awarded.

First given in 1953, the Hugo is not only the oldest SF and fantasy award, but by far the most prestigious.   The list of past winners reads like a Who’s Who of our genre (and, honestly, the list of past losers is equally amazing).   No, you don’t need to read everything that was published last year to nominate.  You don’t need to nominate in every category either.  Just nominate the works you read and loved, and you’ll be fine.   Other fans will take care of the rest.

Even if you only nominate a single work in a single category, I urge you to NOMINATE.  Let your voice be heard.  The Hugo is fandom’s award, worldcon’s award, one of the greatest honors our community can bestow.  Winning a Hugo is an amazing experience… but earning a nomination is almost as exciting.   Far fewer people take part in the nomination round than vote on the final ballot, so this is the stage of the process where you can have the greatest impact.   There have been instances in the recent past when a single nomination was the difference between making the cut and being left off the ballot.   Just last year, my own imaginary history FIRE & BLOOD came six votes short of being nominated in Best Related Work (though, as it happens, I was later informed that it would have been disqualified in any case, for having too much fictional contest).   Almost only counts in horseshoes and grenades, as we all know… you wouldn’t want your favorite story off the year to be left off the ballot because you forget to send in a ballot.   So NOMINATE.

Speaking of which… for the last decade or so, I have been making recommendations of my own favorites (in certain categories, at least) on my Not A Blog.  There’s so much good work being published each year it is easy to get overlooked, so I wanted to do what I could to draw attention to worthy books, movies, and individuals.   I will not be making any recommendations this year, however.   I am going to be the Toastmaster this summer at CoNZealand, the guy on stage emceeing the event and handing out all those nice shiny rocket ships.  It would not be appropriate for me to go on record as favoring certain nominees (and, by implication, dis-approving of others… though that would be a shaky assumption, since I don’t always get around to reading everything in every case).   It behooves the Toastmaster to be neutral, I believe.  Which is not to say that I won’t be cheering on some winners and being aghast at others… but not in public.

I expect that I will go back to recommending work next year, when worldcon moves to Washington and it is someone else’s turn in the barrel as Toastmaster.

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful