My 2012 Nebula Nominations

February 15, 2013

Today is the deadline to nominate for the Nebula award. Associate and Full members of Science Fiction Writers of America are each entitled to nominate up to five works on fiction in Novel, Novella, Novelette, and Short Story categories.

Here are the books and stories I selected:

Novel

I read *very* few new novels published in 2012. As such, I could not intelligently nominate multiple works in this category.  My plan is to read the five novels that get the nominations so, at least, I could cast my final Nebula ballot intelligently. But of the novels I did read, I loved John Scalzi’s Redshirts. Redshirts is a meld of space opera and humor that reminded me in some ways of Galaxy Quest. I loved every minute of it. It also gives me enormous pleasure to vote for a humorous book. As the readers of this blog already know, I’m partial to humor in SF 🙂

Novella

I did not cast any votes in this category. I was overwhelmed by the amount of great short stories and novelettes I was reading and just couldn’t allocate enough time to read in this category. I did begin to read Barry’s Tale by Lawrence Schoen and was enjoying it. I’m pretty sure it would get a nomination vote from me had I been able to finish it in time, but I want to be responsible with my votes and not cast one for something I hadn’t read all the way through. Still, the very least I could do is point out this entertaining read to all of you. It’s a free download, too.

Novelette

This is where things flip around — I read many GREAT novelettes and short stories but could only vote for 5 of each. This is what I went with:

The Waves, by Ken Liu (originally printed in Asimov’s) – This is, by far, the best piece of fiction I read in 2012. I *love* this novelette and wish there was an online version I could point readers to. Alas, it is only available in Asimov’s so far.

Taking Care of God by Liu Cixin — I fear that this novelette isn’t very widely known to the American readers. It appeared in Pathlight, a Chinese magazine published in English. But this is an amazing story, and I highly encourage everyone to read it.

Liberty’s Daughter by Naomi Kritzer, F&SF 5/12  — This near-future novelette in a libertarian setting made me want more. I hoK.pe Kritzer is going to expand this into a novel or at least write more stories featuring the same setting and characters.

Small Towns – Felicity Shoulders, F&SF 1/12

Alien Land – K.D. Wentworth, F&SF 1/12

Both of these last two novelettes came from the same issue of F&SF. This was easily the best single issue of a magazine I read in 2012. Not only did it feature those two novelettes, but several other excellent stories that made it relatively high on my list as well.

Short Stories

Mono no Aware by Ken Liu, The Future is Japanese anthology

Scraps by Michael Haynes, Daily Science Fiction

Seven Losses of Na Re by Rose Lemberg, Daily Science Fiction

England Under the White Witch by Theodora Goss, Clarkesworld

Earthrise by Lavie Tidhar, RedstoneSF

Once again, these are just some of truly amazing stories I read this year. Alas, there are only 5 slots per category.

Note that I couldn’t nominate any stories from Unidentified Funny Objects – per Nebula rules, editors cannot nominate the work they published.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Birthday Post

November 19, 2012

I turned 37 today. Alert the media. Or don’t. But, editors, please hold those rejection slips until tomorrow, k?

Over the last couple of weeks, I got to attend PhilCon, which was an awesome convention. Although it was a bit smaller than I expected (probably around 1000 people) I had a great time, catching up with old friends  and meeting lots and lots of new ones. I got to participate in discussion panels with the likes of Gardner Dozois, Neil Clarke, and Gordon Linzner and (mostly) held my own!  I’m already contemplating more conventions to attend in 2013!

This photo was blatantly stolen from Michael Haynes’ blog, where he talked about his own PhilCon experience and posted several more photos. And since we roomed together and hung out together for most of the con, I’m in several of those.

Another bit of good news I received literally the day before PhilCon was that Buzzy Magazine accepted “The Tinker Bell Problem.”  It’s a story of a demon who summons a human via a pentagram, expecting the human to use its awesome powers in order to solve all of the demon’s problems! It’s also my second sale to Buzzy and I’m excited that this story will be appearing there sometime in 2013.

I also have an interview up today at the Fantasy Scroll blog by Iulian Ionescu where I talk some about the challenges of being a writer for whom English isn’t a native language, publishing an anthology, and South Park.

Finally, I’m pleased to announce that Stupefying Stories issue 2.1, guest edited by David M. Blake, is hitting the virtual newsstands this week. David put a tremendous amount of work into collecting this issue and interweaving some ideas and concepts throughout multiple stories. It is also about twice as “thick” as a typical issue, and features some truly excellent authors, so you’d do well to check it out when it goes on sale!

 

 

Finally, I’m pleased to announce that Unidentified Funny Objects ARC (Advance Review Copy) is here and has been sent out to various reviewers as of yesterday. If you review books and would like a copy and the press release, please contact me. And if you don’t review books but would like a copy, you can help support UFO by pre-ordering one directly at ufopub.com

 


Guest Post: Leaving It All On The Page by Michael Haynes

July 3, 2012

Michael Haynes has recently released a non-fiction eBook “Write Every Day: Hints & Tips Towards a Daily Writing Routine.” He blogs regularly about writing-related topics at michaelhaynes.info and writeeveryday.info

To “leave it all on the field” in sports means to have not held anything back, to have given your all. I thought of this concept last night watching — of all things — Saturday Night Live audition videos. Here I saw Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, John Belushi… All of them leaving it all on their chosen field. The camera was on just them but you could occasionally hear commentary (and very occasionally, laughter) from those who were watching the auditions. All of these people were skilled performers to have reached that point, but you could see on their faces just how important this moment was to them. It was absolutely fascinating.

From there, my mind jumped to my own closest experience to these auditions: in-person tryouts for the televised quiz program Jeopardy. Twice I’ve made it past the online test and been invited to travel to near(ish) cities for those in-person events. Several dozen other qualifiers were there each time and we all went through written tests, mock games, and mock interviews. You go through all this and then you’re thanked for your time and told that you might (or might not) get the call to fly out to Los Angeles to (maybe) be on the show sometime in the next eighteen months.

My first time I sort of winged it and suspect I did so-so, but not well enough to make it on. I didn’t make it to the program with my second try, either, but when I left the room from that tryout I felt on top of the world. Why? Because I knew I’d left it all on the field. I’d read up more on the tryout process before my second experience and had learned that you’re being judged every second that you’re in the room, even if it’s not obvious. So I made a point to be “on” at all times, even when the people evaluating us were supposedly away from the room looking at our paper tests. I’m not a naturally outgoing person and would normally just sit quietly unless someone engaged me, but I made a point to chat up other contenders throughout that period. Even now, though my eighteen months are over, I feel happy with how I performed that day.

When writing for publication, if you want to reach the top levels, you’re unlikely to meet with success doing things halfway. You have to leave it all on the field or, in our case, the page.

But what does that mean? To me, it means that when I go to send a story out for the first time, that I want to feel like the story is as good as I, right now, can make it.

To me, it doesn’t mean going through endless revisions, but it does mean taking a critical look at your own story and not just saying “Eh, it’s good enough.” Professional-level editors are rarely going to buy “good enough.” Readers of these publications aren’t likely to rush out to read your other works because they thought that one was “good enough.”

No one is going to have every story they write be brilliant. And as we grow as writers, stories that once represented our best effort no longer will. But when we’re writing something new, we should always be looking to leave it all on the page.