Award Season: World Fantasy Awards

Mon 30 Aug 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

A little late (but better that than never): huge congratulations to all the World Fantasy Award nominees, those we know and those we don’t. Having been a juror, I know how much a nomination is worth! And, there’s a ton of stuff I haven’t read on here so it makes a good reading list.

I’ve occasionally done gender breakdowns of nominees (i.e. Locus 2009) and winners looking at it from a very simplistic and reductive gender angle: how many men are nominated and how many women? This point of view is the same one that makes looking at the ToC of The New Yorker so depressing every week. Also, even though Kelly is on the jury and is somewhere within hailing distance she has nothing to do with these posts. I like keeping track. When the winners approach a gender balance, I don’t post about that, because that’s not (or shouldn’t be) news.

And, yes, I agree that it is totally possible that in any single year all the best books may have been written by men. 2009 was apparently a year like that, according to the National Book Award winners. However, I don’t believe that year after year all the books by women are apparently not quite good enough. So, enough chuntering. One note: next year, nominators might consider finding some women artists. Here’s this year’s breakdown (from Locus, thanks Mark) and a link to last year’s. (Apologies is anyone has been mischaracterized by gender or nationality in my somewhat quick count.)

  • 37 men
  • 19 women
  • 38 USA
  • 10 UK
  • 3 Australia
  • 3 Canada
  • 1 Japan
  • 1 Russia

Novel

  • Blood of Ambrose, James Enge (Pyr)
  • The Red Tree, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
  • The City & The City, China Miéville (Macmillan UK/ Del Rey)
  • Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (Underland)
  • In Great Waters, Kit Whitfield (Jonathan Cape UK/Del Rey)

Novella

  • The Women of Nell Gwynne’s, Kage Baker (Subterranean)
  • “I Needs Must Part, the Policeman Said”, Richard Bowes (F&SF 12/09)
  • “The Lion’s Den”, Steve Duffy (Nemonymous Nine: Cern Zoo)
  • The Night Cache, Andy Duncan (PS)
  • “Sea-Hearts”, Margo Lanagan (X6 )
  • “Everland”, Paul Witcover (Everland and Other Stories)

Short Story

  • “The Pelican Bar”, Karen Joy Fowler (Eclipse Three)
  • “A Journal of Certain Events of Scientific Interest from the First Survey Voyage of the Southern Waters by HMS Ocelot, As Observed by Professor Thaddeus Boswell, DPhil, MSc, or, A Lullaby”, Helen Keeble (Strange Horizons 6/09)
  • “Singing on a Star”, Ellen Klages (Firebirds Soaring)
  • “The Persistence of Memory, or This Space for Sale”, Paul Park (Postscripts 20/21: Edison’s Frankenstein )
  • “In Hiding”, R.B. Russell (Putting the Pieces in Place)
  • “Light on the Water”, Genevieve Valentine (Fantasy 10/09)

Anthology

  • Poe,  Ellen Datlow, ed. (Solaris)
  • Songs of The Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Subterranean/Voyager)
  • Exotic Gothic 3: Strange Visitations, Danel Olson, ed. (Ash-Tree)
  • Eclipse Three, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Night Shade)
  • American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny: From Poe to the Pulps/From the 1940s to Now, Peter Straub, ed. (Library of America)
  • The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology, Gordon Van Gelder, ed. (Tachyon)

Collection

  • We Never Talk About My Brother, Peter S. Beagle (Tachyon)
  • Fugue State, Brian Evenson (Coffee House)
  • There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (Penguin)
  • Northwest Passages, Barbara Roden (Prime)
  • Everland and Other Stories, Paul Witcover (PS)
  • The Very Best of Gene Wolfe/The Best of Gene Wolfe, Gene Wolfe (PS /Tor)

Artist

  • John Jude Palencar
  • John Picacio
  • Charles Vess
  • Jason Zerrillo
  • Sam Weber

Special Award – Professional

  • Peter & Nicky Crowther for PS Publishing
  • Ellen Datlow for editing anthologies
  • Hayao Miyazaki for Ponyo
  • Barbara & Christopher Roden for Ash-Tree Press
  • Jonathan Strahan for editing anthologies
  • Jacob & Rina Weisman for Tachyon Publications

Special Award – Non-Professional

  • John Berlyne for Powers: Secret Histories
  • Neil Clarke, Cheryl Morgan, & Sean Wallace for Clarkesworld
  • Susan Marie Groppi for Strange Horizons
  • John Klima for Electric Velocipede
  • Bob Colby, B. Diane Martin, David Shaw, and Eric M. Van for Readercon
  • Ray Russell & Rosalie Parker for Tartarus Press

The Life Achievement Awards will be released in the coming weeks in a separate announcement.



& now the first review for Under the Poppy

Mon 30 Aug 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Publishers Weekly is again first off the blocks with their take on Kathe Koja’s huge sexy historical novel, Under the Poppy:

“The latest from Koja (Skin) is a page turner with riveting language and
close attention to sensory detail. Set in late 19th-century Brussels, the
story follows the adventures of puppeteer Istvan and brothel owner Rupert
who bond as friends and lovers. The first half of the novel is set at
Rupert’s brothel, Under the Poppy, a haven for bawdy puppet shows and loose
women. With war in the air, the brothel is forced to house soldiers led by a
corrupt general. A mysterious assault on Rupert leads to more violence and
an exodus of prostitutes from the establishment. Istvan and Rupert, with one
of the former working girls, who morphs into a theater owner and puppeteer,
leave as well and arrive in a new town, where they cavort with a family of
aristocrats that includes Isobel, who falls for Rupert (as does her young
brother, Benjamin, the family heir). Koja’s style is unconventional,
resulting in a melodrama with deep insights into character and a murky plot
balanced with prose as theatrical as the world it portrays.(Oct.)”



West Coast Holmes

Fri 20 Aug 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

If you’re in Portland (Monday, 8/23) or Seattle (Wed. 8/25) next week don’t miss the Meeks roadshow. Then, on Thursday the 26th Julia will be reading with our own Jedediah Berry at the Porter Square Bookshop in Cambridge (that place next to Cambridge, not that place in England). Fingers crossed I’ll see you at the Boston(ish) one!

Next month Julia will be reading with Karen Lord who is visiting from Barbados and will be at McNally Jackson and Greenlight Books as well as the Brookyln Book Festival—where she’s reading with N.K. Jemisin. October and November are busy with readings, too: check it out.



Friday wondering: to comment or not comment?

Fri 20 Aug 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 19 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

One of the perpetual questions around here is whether to provide feedback to writers when they send us something that’s not for us. Some writers love it, some hate it. And everyone knows that our response time has slowed horribly over the last year (sorry) so why spend extra time? Occasionally I’m asking to see another story, sometimes I’m trying to be helpful or useful. I received this email the other day in reply to a note I added about a story I turned down. It’s not the first such letter nor no doubt will it be the last (how many rejections-of-our-rejections have we received?) but perhaps I should short circuit them and not include notes at all?

This isn’t about this letter in particular (be nice, impolite comments deleted). I’m just curious what people like: comments/no comments; feedback/no feedback.

Thanks for taking the time to make a handwritten note on the rejection letter for my story, “TITLE.”  You wrote, “This was fun but a little reminiscent of ‘The Cold Equation’ or James Patrick Kelly’s ‘Think Like a Dinosaur.’”

I’ve never heard of these works. Were they recently published in your magazine? Or were you simply trying to say “TITLE” is derivative and unoriginal?

If it was the latter: I realize there are other stories on the topics of teleportation and genetic engineering, and even more stories involving children. I’m not surprised my story reminded you of others you have read, but I’m not sure why that is a problem. The mere existence of similar works is not a solid rationale for rejecting a story. Literature should be judged on its own merits rather than what others have achieved or—even worse—the arbitrary, preconceived notions of what constitutes “good” writing. Based on your note, it appears that you may want to think more carefully about the basis for rejecting the works you receive.

The collective unconscious runs deep, especially for writers. I recently saw an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that was so strikingly similar to “TITLE,” it gave me chills. The episode was called “The Masterpiece Society” if you want to look it up. I don’t feel threatened by the similarities because I know “TITLE” is different. I wrote “TITLE” when I was 20 years old and saw the Next Gen episode about a month ago (I’m 24 now). In different time periods from different perspectives, the Star Trek writers and I explored the exact same topics. How’s that for science fiction!

Just a thought.

Best good wishes,

AUTHOR



Fantastic first review for What I Didn’t See

Tue 3 Aug 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Publishers Weekly loves Karen Joy Fowler’s new collection:

“The bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club goes genre-busting in this engrossing and thought-provoking set of short stories that mix history, sci-fi, and fantasy elements with a strong literary voice. Whether examining the machinations of a Northern California cult, in “Always,” or a vague but obviously horrific violent act in the eerie title story, the PEN/Faulkner finalist displays a gift for thrusting familiar characters into bizarre, off-kilter scenarios. Fowler never strays from the anchor of human emotion that makes her characters so believable, even when chronicling the history of epidemics, ancient archeological digs, single family submersibles, or fallen angels. She even displays a keen understanding of the historical world around Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, in two wonderfully realized historical pieces. Her writing is sharp, playful, and filled with insights into the human condition. The genre shifts might surprise fans of her mainstream hit, but within these pages they’ll find familiar dramas and crises that entertain, illuminate, and question the reality that surrounds us.”
Publishers Weekly



Holly Black in Texas, MS, AZ

Tue 3 Aug 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Ganked whole cloth from Ms. Black’s lj:

[info]melissa_writing, Kelley Armstrong and Alyson Noel kindly asked me along for a couple of stops on their multi-author, multi-city Smart Chicks Kick It tour. Where I’m going to be is listed below, but look here for the full schedule of everyone and everywhere.

September 13th, 2010 7 PM @ BOOKPEOPLE, Austin, TX
Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Holly Black, Rachel Caine, & Cassandra Clare

September 14th, 2010 7 PM @ B&N THE WOODLANDS, Houston, TX
Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Kami Garcia & Rachel Vincent

September 15th, 2010 7PM. Off-site location TBD. Hosted by BLUE WILLOW, Houston, TX
Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan, Margaret Stohl & Cassandra Clare

September 16th, 2010 6 PM Off-site location TBD. Hosted by LEMURIA BOOKS, Jackson, MS
Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Jessica Verday & Sarah Rees Brennan

September 17th, 2010 7PM @ Scottsdale Civic Library Auditorium, hosted by POISONED PEN Phoenix, AZ
Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan, Kimberly Derting, and Becca Fitzpatrick