Double Jeffrey World Fantasy Awards

Wed 8 Nov 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

A Natural History of Hell cover - click to view full sizetl;dr 2 Jeffs won awards, so did other people. We love books and good drinks.


We went to cloudy and muggy, phew, San Antonio*, Texas, last week for the World Fantasy Convention and on Sunday — while we were at the airport waiting for our flight and chatting over a very much enjoyed beer with Scott Andrews of Beneath Ceaseless Skies — the awards were handed out.

I am delighted to report that Jeffrey Ford won for his collection A Natural History of Hell and doubly delighted to say that Jeffrey Alan Love, whose art graces the cover of that book among others, received the award for Best Artist. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

Jeffrey Alan Love made a huge impact at the con by pulling out his paper, pens, ink and pads and making (and giving away!) pieces of art at the bar and at the (massive! overwhelming!) group signing event on Saturday night. I took one home with me and am still amazed by his process. Can’t wait to pick up Kevin Crossley-Holland’s Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki which Jeffrey illustrated.

I spent most of my time in the dealers room chatting with people, checking out all the books, the lovely books, that everyone had brought, buying books, and sometimes selling books. We sold most of the books we brought, a lovely thing! I wonder sometimes if book rooms like this will still exist in five or ten years. They’re just like indie bookstores: if people want them to exist, they shop there. If they don’t care, they don’t buy books there, and the book room (or bookstore) disappears. I’m for them going on and on. I do love poking around and finding books I knew and did not know I wanted.

Meghan McCarron had recommended to all that the Esquire bar should be checked out and wow, that was a great hot tip. I loved the cocktails upstairs but the downstairs Cocteles de Maíz were the cocktails of my heart: that the menu was designed and printed (on paper made of corn!) by a local press, Snake Hawk Press [really, click that link], helped but wow. Also yum. What creations.

Of the Guests of Honor, I met David Mitchell and he was lovely, yay! Here’s Kelly’s picture of him chatting with Ted Chiang. I caught up briefly with Tananarive Due (one of my Clarion instructors!); I saw Gregory Manchess signing lots of books and enjoyed his art in the art show; I picked up a book by toastmaster Martha Wells; and I was sorry to miss Gordon Van Gelder being roasted, see my note above about the Esquire bar and not having a reservation there that night, darn it. Next time.

The final Guest of Honor Karen Joy Fowler did a couple of readings (thanks, schedulers!) so I got to the second one. She read chapters two and three of her next novel and all I can say is I hope it comes out sooner rather than later. She is a hell of a writer. Karen signed copies of her collection What I Didn’t See for us but then we sold them all, sorry. In fact, Kij Johnson and Kathleen Johnson signed copies of The River Bank and we sold out. Howard Waldrop then signed copies of Howard Who? and Horse of a Different Color and we sold out but we still have a few signed available from a previous visit, phew once more.

Then we came home, somewhat exhausted and ground into the floor by the act of talking to people for many days in a row — yup, that’s too much. Luckily now I get some quiet time to try and catch up on shipping and reading and erk, better go do that. (Smooth outro? Achieved!)

* — on the day we left, the day of the awards, the town was busy, people were going on about their lives, except for the 26 people murdered in a church 30 miles away. The gun laws and the amount of guns in this country are insane. Why are people allowed to have machine guns?



Quick thoughts on WFC 2015

Mon 9 Nov 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | 3 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Buy this from Powell's!Holy bananas, that ended surprisingly well!

  • This is why I never write these things. There’s too much I’ll miss and that’s an hour I should have been napping after the weekend working working!
  • The book room was a huge, great well-lit space with tons of space for the crowds of eager readers ready to snap up hot hot books. Sadly said readers seemed to be seduced by Saratoga Springs’s lovely streets and great restaurants and mostly did not appear. Or they couldn’t get memberships or something. Darn it.
  • That said, Ninepin Press sold tons of copies of The Family Arcana from our table. People love Jed’s story-as-pack-of-cards.
  • Lovely restaurants: Karavalli (Indian, wow); Hattie’s (all the sides = dinner for this happy vegetarian); Four Seasons (very handy for a box lunch for still happy parent and child); Cantina (Mexican: can you sit 10 people with no reservation for Sunday lunch? No problem — nice, thank you!).
  • Out-of-con experiences: taking a 6-year-old to a con immediately changes everything. There are too many people, it’s chaotic, it’s an unfamiliar space — and, yes, that’s just me. But she made half a dozen books and met some friends so it was not all bad. And: hotel swimming pool, of course! Kid’s museum: high five for pre-arranged play dates! Another of course: the park. Hooray for finding the Triton’s pool and the statues of Pan, Dionysus, and the Maenads as well as leaves, man, leaves. You can do a lot with leaves and a bit of Greek mythology goes a long way.
  • Meanwhile: Gary K. Wolfe reviewed Mary Rickert’s new book You Have Never Been Here in the Chicago Tribune. All right!

The Three Ps:

  • Panels: they were epic! I suppose as I did not go to any, see out-of-con-experiences above, previously mentioned (and sometimes coldly abandoned) table in book room, and the theme was Epic Fantasy. There were some people I’d have loved to see on panels but I did not. C’est la vie.
  • People: it is great to see friends and meet people only known online or . . . once-were complete strangers. I had one meeting at the con with Ron Eckel of Cooke International who does a fab job of selling our books abroad (dammit, that reminds me I have a list of things I have to send him) and otherwise “relied” on happenstance, which worked out mostly ok but for everyone I did not actually see. Oops.
  • Parties: I got to two (er, I think), Kickstarter and Ellen Kushner et al’s Tremontaine, and they were both busy and well supplied, yay! The latter was such a happening that I ended up sitting on the floor outside chatting for a long, long while with many good people.

Also:

  • The art show was great! We got a tiny skull with crown papercut by Kathleen Jennings and a fantastic painting we’ve admired for years by Derek Ford.
  • I sneaked a galley of Sofia Samatar’s forthcoming novel The Winged Histories to one of the happiest people I know, Amal El-Mohtar. Yay!
  • Chatted with Jeffrey Ford and Christopher Rowe. Why pick those two out of the hundreds? Because we like to transmute art into commerce and 2016 will see Jeff’s new collection A Natural History of Hell coming out and 2017 will see Christopher’s debut collection for which you should put in an extra pair of socks because it will knock them right off you and fortunately he is a much better writer than me so his book is actually good while my blog posts are, well, here we are, it never will end, will it?

Happily:

  • The bust of H.P. Lovecraft is done and gone as the World Fantasy Award. Well done Gahan Wilson for making it in the first place and the board for making the decision. The world changes and we change with it and everyone I know is happy about this change.

Goofy story:

  • On Sunday we went out to lunch with friends rather than taking the kid to the banquet. At 1:30 or so I got a phone call from Gordon Van Gelder (one of the award administrators) who asked if we’d be at the award ceremony later as he was wondering if our kids could have another play date while the adults droned on about awards. I thought this was a great idea so we made a play date.
    Which made sure we were back at the hotel.
    In time for the awards ceremony.
    In which we received an award.
    Ha!
    I swear I am not usually this dense (um, honestly . . .) but since the kids had had such a good time on Friday I figured this was legit. Ha again! I’ve even been party to wrangling unknowing award winners in the past. If anything I thought, hey, maybe Kelly’s story . . . ? but I really thought, ooh, playdate = happy kid. Hats off to Gordon, nicely done.

And the awards!

Congratulations to all the winners — and the nominees — especially Sandra Kasturi and Brett Savory at ChiZine whose work ethic and determination to push great, dark books into the world is unequaled. It was fantastic to see the collection award shared between Angela Slatter and Helen Marshall. I hate awards because it is silly that not everything gets the prize. I was happy to remember Kathleen Addison’s The Goblin Emperor had won the Locus Award and I cannot wait until Kai Ashante Wilson starts racking them up. I wish Life Achievement award winner Sherri S. Tepper had been there because some of her books blew me away and I’d have liked to thank her.

It is an honor to have been nominated and a surprise to win. I did not have a speech — not hubris, I just thought the jury would go for something else as these awards tend towards the darker side of fantasy and as ever it was a very strong category. But afterwards I realized how silly I was: the book had a decent chance: it is called Monstrous Affections, the stories are bleak, amazing, dark, scary, fantastic. Of course I think it should win all the awards (hello Mr. Nobel Prize, do you do YA anthologies? Have you read Alice Sola Kim’s story that ends the book? Dare you to read it all alone late at night . . .) but still. And. Also. Anyway.

Thanks to the writers and artists in the book — this award is obviously really all about their stories. Thanks to Deborah Noyes our editor at Candlewick Press as well as Nathan Pyritz the designer and everyone at Candlewick who have made working on this book (and Steampunk!) such a joy. Thanks also to cover artist Yuko Shimizu and as always to Kelly’s fabulous and steadfast agent Renée Zuckerbrot. We’re grateful to the judges for their hard work and to the readers everywhere who have allowed us to keep living the dream.