Authors: Don’t Lie in Your Cover Letter

Or, to be a bit more charitable, don’t exaggerate.

Why do I even have to say this? Because of a cover letter I read today, in which an author claimed that their work had been nominated for (among other things) a Nebula Award.

Nebula Award Logo

A simple search turned up no record of that author having ever made the Nebula ballot in any category: novel, novella, novelette, or short story.* (Sure, it’s possible that they had written something under a pseudonym that was nominated, but that would have been an important detail to mention.)

Pro tip: Having someone tell you that they nominated your work for a Nebula does not equate to being a Nebula nominee. That title applies only to work that made the final ballot.

Pro tip the second: The person who’s reading your cover letter probably has a computer and knows how to do a search, so your lie — or your exaggeration — is likely to be discovered. And when it turns out that you weren’t actually on the ballot for that thing you claimed, your credibility and reputation suffer.

You’re better off not including a cover letter at all than to send one that’s so demonstrably bad.

___
*Or even script, back when that was a category.

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The Hugo Awards: Considering the Controversy

Of the dozen or so people who look at my blog with any regularity, there may be one or two who are interested in the current state of upheaval regarding the Hugo Awards, which, “presented annually since 1955, are science fiction’s most prestigious award.” The rest of you can feel free to ignore this post. Most people will.

The Hugos are conferred during the World Science Fiction Convention, and are determined by nominations submitted by and final votes taken of WorldCon members. They honor science fiction and fantasy works in categories such as Best Novel, Best Dramatic Presentation, and so forth. The categories themselves have changed over the years, and it could be an interesting exercise to examine the history of why the World Science Fiction Society decided to delete some categories and add others. But that would shed little light on the current controversy within the SF&F community over the awards.

That controversy — or feud, if you prefer — centers around what it means for a work to be considered the “best.” From one perspective, it’s a question of how well the method of selection reflects the community’s preferences; from another, it’s a question of the relative merits of any single work compared to all others.

To the first question, my friend Brad Torgersen (who recently included a story of mine on the “Sad Puppies 3” slate of Hugo recommendations) used a Venn diagram (seen in this blog post) to illustrate the representational aspect of the Hugo Awards. Having thought about this for a while, I’d like to extend his diagram as follows:


(SF&F Fandom Breakdown. Inadequate, I’m afraid, but a start.)

In my diagram, the ellipses correspond to:

  • A: Everyone who likes any kind of science fiction or fantasy story, whether presented as a movie, a TV show, a book, or in any other form
  • B: Those who consider themselves science fiction or fantasy fans
  • C: Those who attend SF&F conventions, whether general interest or fandom-specific
  • D: Those who attend the World Science Fiction Convention
  • E: Those who nominate or vote for the Hugo Awards — this ellipse extends beyond WorldCon because it includes “supporting members” who do not actually attend the convention
  • F: People who have heard of, but don’t care about, the Hugo Awards
  • G: People who, despite their consumption of science fiction or fantasy stories, would vehemently deny being science fiction or fantasy fans

I might have included people who have never heard of the Hugo Awards, if I could have figured out how to represent them. Also, I could have made the diagram more complete by trying to fit in SF&F professionals of one stripe or another, and even by trying to illustrate membership in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the nomination and voting for the Nebula Awards — but the picture seemed complicated enough so I stopped before it got too muddled.

At any rate, it should be clear that those who vote for the Hugo Awards are a small fraction of the “science fiction and fantasy community,” whether we consider that to consist of those who attend conventions or the larger group who consider themselves fans; indeed, Hugo Award voters are a miniscule portion of the very large group of occasional or even frequent SF&F consumers. Under the premise that the Hugo voting population has over time become less representative of the larger groups, one of the goals of the Sad Puppies campaigns has been to make ellipse E bigger by encouraging more people to become WorldCon members and to nominate and vote for their favorites.

We’ll return to this issue in a few moments.

For the second question — that of the merits of any single work compared to others — we should acknowledge that just as tastes differ from one person to another, tastes change over time. While I confess that my knowledge of the field’s history is lacking, I am given to understand that science fiction in particular used to be a literature of action as well as ideas, and that stories of characters’ accomplishments in the face of great peril or difficult moral choices were appreciated and honored. Thankfully, I can still find stories that depict moving encounters and risky endeavors; however, today those kinds of stories seem to garner less attention and fewer honors than (shall we say) more “refined” tales.

I, for one, do not seem to possess the sensibility to appreciate highly “literary” stories such as grew out of what was once considered the “New Wave” of science fiction, at least not to the degree that some of my friends seem to. Likewise, magical realism, avant garde, and “experimental” fiction leave me cold. I suppose my tastes are more pedestrian. For instance, I am unmoved by prose that is not narrative; no matter how brilliant or evocative the language is, if nothing happens in the text it will disappoint me and I will feel that the time I spent reading it was wasted. I more appreciate a story that involves interesting characters taking part in events that have consequences for themselves and others, that gives me the vicarious experience of escapades I will never attempt, in places I will never visit, with beings I will never encounter.

To select one example of how my tastes disagree with many of those who nominate and vote for the Hugo Awards, consider last year’s Nebula winner and one of the Hugo nominees for Best Short Story: “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love.” Other than its lyrical quality, I found little to appreciate in it — and I confess to some confusion as to how it fit the definition of a story, since nothing much happens. It is barely a vignette, and since the science it discusses is all part of a “what if” postulation it seemed barely science fictional as well. If it were re-cast as “If You Were a Polar Bear, My Love,” it would carry the same emotional content and perhaps be more science fictional, since the bit about “reviving extinct species” would at least imply that it takes place in a future in which polar bears are extinct instead of the present when dinosaurs have been extinct for millions of years. In neither case would any clones have been created from extinct DNA, though, and the text would still be a stream-of-consciousness exercise in fevered imaginings rather than an actual story with characters who take actions and overcome obstacles in pursuit of particular goals. However, since that sort of thing apparently appeals to a significant cohort of SF&F fans, it might still be an award-winning “story” — though I wonder if an editor would have given either the real or this imagined version a second look if the author had been an unknown.*

While I am confessing my own literary shortcomings, I’ll add that such “stories” wear me out. When I finish reading one, I don’t feel the breathless exhilaration of stepping off a roller coaster, or even of dismounting a carousel; instead, I feel the out-of-breath exhaustion of setting down a snow shovel, or saying goodbye to unwanted houseguests. I wonder how many readers, upon completing some inaccessible text, think well of themselves for putting forth the effort, like feeling good for eating one’s peas, and transfer that feeling of accomplishment to the text when it comes time to nominate or vote for awards. I also wonder how many — some fewer, I’d wager — enthusiastically repeat the reading experience for the sheer joy of it, or go looking for seconds. And if a story does not induce a reader to read it again, or to seek out others like it or other works by the same author, can it truly be the “best” the field had to offer?

I acknowledge that stories that leave me empty may leave other people exhilarated, or inspired, or with some other positive feeling, and who am I to gainsay their opinions? So I am left to congratulate the winners — the “bests” — while I shake my head in wonder. I suppose that if a story that fit my preferences were to win, other readers would be able to find fault with it and shake their heads in wonder that anyone would select it. Such is the nature of all electoral contests.

Unfortunately for me, science fiction (and, to some degree, fantasy) literature has of late elevated the status of “literary” works while ignoring more action-oriented fiction; at the same time, sales of SF literature have either stagnated or declined. Correlation is not causation, however, so we cannot automatically conclude that the rise of “literary” SF has adversely affected overall sales. Other factors may be at play, such as the mainstream acceptance of technologies that were once the purview of science fiction, and thus the loss of appeal of technology-based stories; the declining confidence in the ability of science and engineering to solve pressing problems, likewise; or the migration of segments of the population who used to read for entertainment to other forms such as movies, television, and video games.

And that leads us back to the first question, whether the Hugo Awards adequately represent the preferences of the SF&F-consuming public.

If I had more free time, I might attempt a comprehensive statistical history of the Hugos. Maybe I can go back to school someday, pursue an advanced degree in the history of ideas, and write a thesis on the subject. For instance, I’d be interested in digging up the records starting with the first Hugos — when the best novel award, for example, went to The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester — and examining, year over year,

  • The complete voting results, both for nominations and awards, including numbers of nominations received and numbers of votes cast
  • The numbers of eligible works, e.g., how many science fiction and fantasy novels, etc., were published in the appropriate year
  • Reported sales figures for the nominated novels, both prior to and after their nomination and prior to and after the award announcement
  • Sales figures for other SF&F entertainments, e.g., box office receipts, for the same time period
  • Etc.

It might be interesting to examine other tidbits as well, like the numbers of ballots (nomination or voting) disqualified for any reason. Unfortunately, those kinds of figures may not even have been recorded.

Though I do not have actual figures to present, can we conjecture what they might be likely to show?

Over time, the percentage of novels receiving nominations would fluctuate, but we might expect it to be generally lower now as independent publishing has flourished in the Internet era. We might therefore expect the votes cast for, say, Best Novel to have declined as a percentage of total novel sales for any given year. If we could devise some estimate of genre consumption in the total SF&F community (ellipse A, above), we would certainly expect the vote ratios for Best Novel to have declined because of the permeation of science fiction and fantasy into the larger culture since the 1970s. If these expectations hold true, then it should be clear that the Hugo Awards today reflect only a tiny fraction of the SF&F community.

Is that, however, a status quo we should accept?

If we believe in science fiction and fantasy as worthy art forms, capable of helping us examine the human condition and cope with change in ways that other entertainments do not, then it seems that enlarging our community would be a good thing both from a pragmatic viewpoint — more customers can support more content producers — and from the standpoint of wanting to impact the world around us. To that end, encouraging people to support the World Science Fiction Convention and participate in nominating and voting for the field’s most prestigious award should be a good thing. I cannot think of a good reason for anyone to prefer for the field and its flagship award to be small and insular, because if that continues (and especially if the SF&F field shrinks too much) many more puppies of all breeds will be saddened.

It may be that what is needed is a new, more comprehensive award. I used to tell people that I thought of the Nebula Awards as equivalent to the Oscars and the Hugo Awards as equivalent to the People’s Choice Awards, but I think I was wrong in that assessment. It seems to me now that the Nebula Awards are more akin to the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Hugo Awards are more akin to the Oscars (except that anyone can pay to participate in the Hugos), and that science fiction and fantasy do not have an award equivalent to the People’s Choice Awards. That discussion, however, will have to wait for another day.

Or maybe not. Even if awards multiplied like tribbles, they would still be only partly representative of the community as a whole. Those of us who nominate and vote will remain a self-selected cohort, and in the end the opinions we represent are only our own.

In closing, a personal note. I am neither the scholar nor the student of the SF&F field that I should be, but I respect it enough to have chosen it for my second career and I respect the Hugo Awards for their attempt to honor the best of the genre. And, yes, I would be quite pleased to count myself as a Hugo Award nominee or recipient. I imagine every author who has considered their work to be publishable and risked sending it to editors for possible rejection must at some time have thought of winning such an accolade, though some may not want the recognition (or the notoriety, as the case may be). For my part, I was quite happy when Brad Torgersen told me he was considering my novelette** for his slate of recommendations, if for no other reason than it meant that a few more people might read it than otherwise would. And if anyone liked my story enough to bestow on it a nomination, that would do my heart good.***

A final, really personal note. My blog posts are usually much shorter than this, and if you made it this far, and actually read this whole thing, I appreciate it. Thank you, sincerely, for your time.

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*It may not be fair, but we (and by that royal “we” of course I mean “I”) do pay a smidgen more attention to works by authors whose names we recognize. We are, most of us, pretty human in that respect.
**Specifically, from the May 2014 issue of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium.”
***I don’t have any illusions about actually winning. The one time an editor told me one of my stories was award-worthy it didn’t come close to making the list, and I can count on one hand, with fingers left over, the number of people who told me they nominated it.

___
RELATED POSTS ABOUT THE CONTROVERSY:
– From 2014, Larry Correia offers An explanation about the Hugo awards controversy
– Brad Torgersen, in January, Announcing SAD PUPPIES 3!
– Brad Torgersen presents his recommendations in SAD PUPPIES 3: the 2015 Hugo slate
– Brad Torgersen offers SAD PUPPIES: some responses to the fallout
– Larry Correia with a Sad Puppies 3 Update
– Sarah Hoyt discusses the matter at When Duck Noises Fail Me
– Brad Torgersen expounds on SAD PUPPIES: the march of the straw men

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Edited to note that “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” won the Nebula and was nominated for the Hugo. I had mixed up its accolades. GWR

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In Case You’re Nominating for Any Awards This Year

Welcome to my periodic “here’s what I have eligible for awards” post.

119/365 Vote for me...
(“Vote for me…,” by Dave, on Flickr under Creative Commons.)

Fiction. I have two stories eligible for award consideration, published in 2014:

Related/Dramatic Works. I did some voice acting in 2014, too:

Music. My album came out in 2013, but the Pegasus Awards aren’t strictly time-bound. “Another Romulan Ale” and “Tauntauns to Glory” were both played on the Dr. Demento show in 2014, so that’s something. But if you’re stuck for an entry for the rotating categories of the Brainstorming Poll, you might consider:

  • For Adapted Song, “A Ship With No Name,” “Thorin Oakenshield,” or maybe “The Enemy’s Gate is Down”
  • For Time-Related Song, “Ten Thousand Years Ago”

If you’re curious about any of these, whether you’re nominating for the Nebula, Hugo, or Pegasus Awards or not, let me know. I’ll be happy to send you a story, or even sing you a song!

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I Have Some Pretty Cool Friends …

And some of them just made the short list for the Nebula Awards!

Nebula Award Logo

Here’s the full list, with my friends marked in bold:

BEST NOVEL
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen) — I’m particularly pleased that this was nominated, for reasons that may or may not be obvious
Hild, Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)

BEST NOVELLA
“Wakulla Springs,” Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages (Tor.com 10/2/13)
“The Weight of the Sunrise,” Vylar Kaftan (Asimov’s 2/13)
“Annabel Lee,” Nancy Kress (New Under the Sun)
“Burning Girls,” Veronica Schanoes (Tor.com 6/19/13)
“Trial of the Century,” Lawrence M. Schoen (lawrencemschoen.com, 8/13; World Jumping)
“Six-Gun Snow White,” Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)

BEST NOVELETTE
“Paranormal Romance,” Christopher Barzak (Lightspeed 6/13)
“The Waiting Stars,” Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky)
“They Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Glass,” Alaya Dawn Johnson (Asimov’s 1/13)
“Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters,” Henry Lien (Asimov’s 12/13)
“The Litigation Master and the Monkey King,” Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/13)
“In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind,” Sarah Pinsker (Strange Horizons 7/1 – 7/8/13)

BEST SHORT STORY
“The Sounds of Old Earth,” Matthew Kressel (Lightspeed 1/13)
“Selkie Stories Are for Losers,” Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons 1/7/13)
“Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer,” Kenneth Schneyer (Clockwork Phoenix 4)
“If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,” Rachel Swirsky (Apex 3/13)
“Alive, Alive Oh,” Sylvia Spruck Wrigley (Lightspeed 6/13)

RAY BRADBURY AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING DRAMATIC PRESENTATION
Doctor Who: “The Day of the Doctor” (Nick Hurran, director; Steven Moffat, writer) (BBC Wales)
Europa Report (Sebastián Cordero, director; Philip Gelatt, writer) (Start Motion Pictures)
Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, director; Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, writers) (Warner Bros.)
Her (Spike Jonze, director; Spike Jonze, writer) (Warner Bros.)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence, director; Simon Beaufoy & Michael deBruyn, writers) (Lionsgate)
Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro, director; Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, writers) (Warner Bros.)

ANDRE NORTON AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black (Little, Brown; Indigo)
When We Wake, Karen Healey (Allen & Unwin; Little, Brown)
Sister Mine, Nalo Hopkinson (Grand Central)
The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine)
Hero, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
September Girls, Bennett Madison (Harper Teen)
A Corner of White, Jaclyn Moriarty (Levine)

DAMON KNIGHT GRAND MASTER AWARD: Samuel R. Delany

SPECIAL GUEST: Frank M. Robinson

___

I admit to some disappointment that other folks I nominated did not make the list, but with the exception of the dramatic works and the individual categories, I have at least one friend who is a finalist for each category. I think that’s pretty cool!

Or, at least, I think my friends are pretty cool …

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Let Me Know if You Nominate One of My Stories

Strictly out of ego-boosting curiosity, if you happen to put one of my stories into an otherwise-unused spot on your Nebula or Hugo Award nomination form, I’d be interested to know about it.


(My best story of 2013 was in the July issue of Asimov’s.)

For readers who don’t follow the science fiction and fantasy field, the Nebula Awards are roughly equivalent to the Oscars or the Grammies, while the Hugo Awards correspond more to the People’s Choice Awards. Nebula nominations are due this Friday, and Hugo nominations are due the end of next month.

Of my eligible fiction published last year, I think my best story was definitely the novelette, “What is a Warrior Without His Wounds?”, which appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction in July. It’s the story of a double amputee given the chance to have a whole, healthy body again — but at a terrible cost. (I also published two short stories last year: “A Star That Moves,” in LORE in April, and “The Entropy Box,” published in October in the Writers for Relief III anthology edited by Davey Beauchamp and Stuart Jaffe. Of the two, I think “A Star That Moves” is better.)

Of course, my other creative pursuit of 2013 was Truths and Lies and Make-Believe, but there’s no music category for the Nebulas or the Hugos. However, if you suggest any of my songs for a Pegasus Award I’d be interested to know that, too.

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Another Panel for illogiCon: Baen Free Radio Hour

I got my final illogiCon schedule, and in addition to my other panels I get to be part of the Baen Free Radio Hour on Saturday afternoon!

The “Baen Free Radio Hour Live Q&A” will be a live recording of the Baen Books weekly podcast. The recording will take place at 2 p.m., right after my reading.

The other panelists will be Baen author and editor Tony Daniel, Baen author and “chief technologist” Mark Van Name, the “Chainmail Chick” Allegra, and Nebula (and other) award-winning author (and NC State professor) John Kessel. I’ve been on panels before with each of them, so it should be fun!

If you want to see what else is happening at illogiCon, check out the full program schedule.

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Look at How Many of My Friends are on the Nebula Awards Ballot!

Okay, some of them may be more like acquaintances, but it’s still kind of surreal that I know people who are in the running for the awards.

Nebula Award Logo

To explain: Last week the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announced the nominees for the 2012 Nebula Awards, as well as for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation and the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. These are “industry” awards, in the same way that the Academy Awards are given within the movie industry, the Grammys within the music industry, etc. Among the nominees, I’ve marked my friends and acquaintances in bold:

Novel

  • Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW; Gollancz ’13)
  • Ironskin, Tina Connolly (Tor)
  • The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Drowning Girl, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
  • Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
  • 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

Novella

  • On a Red Station, Drifting, Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
  • After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)
  • “The Stars Do Not Lie,” Jay Lake (Asimov’s 10-11/12)
  • “All the Flavors,” Ken Liu (GigaNotoSaurus 2/1/12)
  • “Katabasis,” Robert Reed (F&SF 11-12/12)
  • “Barry’s Tale,” Lawrence M. Schoen (Buffalito Buffet)

Novelette

  • “The Pyre of New Day,” Catherine Asaro (The Mammoth Books of SF Wars)
  • “Close Encounters,” Andy Duncan (The Pottawatomie Giant & Other Stories)
  • “The Waves,” Ken Liu (Asimov’s 12/12)
  • “The Finite Canvas,” Brit Mandelo (Tor.com 12/5/12)
  • “Swift, Brutal Retaliation,” Meghan McCarron (Tor.com 1/4/12)
  • “Portrait of Lisane da Patagnia,” Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com 8/22/12)
  • “Fade to White,” Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld 8/12)

Short Story

  • “Robot,” Helena Bell (Clarkesworld 9/12)
  • “Immersion,” Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 6/12)
  • “Fragmentation, or Ten Thousand Goodbyes,” Tom Crosshill (Clarkesworld 4/12)
  • “Nanny’s Day,” Leah Cypess (Asimov’s 3/12)
  • “Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream,” Maria Dahvana Headley (Lightspeed 7/12)
  • “The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species,” Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/12)
  • “Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain,” Cat Rambo (Near + Far)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

  • The Avengers, Joss Whedon (director) and Joss Whedon and Zak Penn (writers), (Marvel/Disney)
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin (director), Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Abilar (writers), (Journeyman/Cinereach/Court 13/Fox Searchlight )
  • The Cabin in the Woods, Drew Goddard (director), Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (writers) (Mutant Enemy/Lionsgate)
  • The Hunger Games, Gary Ross (director), Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, and Billy Ray writers), (Lionsgate)
  • John Carter, Andrew Stanton (director), Michael Chabon, Mark Andrews, and Andrew Stanton (writers), (Disney)
  • Looper, Rian Johnson (director), Rian Johnson (writer), (FilmDistrict/TriStar)

(Yeah, I don’t know any of those folks … although I do share a birthday with one of the writer/director types.)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

  • Iron Hearted Violet, Kelly Barnhill (Little, Brown)
  • Black Heart, Holly Black (S&S/McElderry; Gollancz)
  • Above, Leah Bobet (Levine)
  • The Diviners, Libba Bray (Little, Brown; Atom)
  • Vessel, Sarah Beth Durst (S&S/McElderry)
  • Seraphina, Rachel Hartman (Random House; Doubleday UK)
  • Enchanted, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
  • Every Day, David Levithan (Alice A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)
  • Summer of the Mariposas, Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Tu Books)
  • Railsea, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)
  • Fair Coin, E.C. Myers (Pyr)
  • Above World, Jenn Reese (Candlewick)

You can find links to some of the stories referenced above, available to read for free, in this SF Signal post.

Now I just need to decide for whom I wish to vote.

I’m pretty sure I can’t make it to the awards ceremony, which will be in mid-May in San Jose. If you’re interested — and you don’t have to be a member of SFWA to attend — you can find more information about the Nebula Awards Weekend at http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/nebula-weekend/.

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New Story Announcement, and Awards Season Post

The contract is in the mail, so I can announce that my novelette “What is a Warrior Without His Wounds?” is slated to appear in the July 2013 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.

This will be my third story to appear in Asimov’s. I should receive the galleys in a few weeks.

In other news, “award season” is upon us again. Members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America are in the process of nominating works for the Nebula Awards, while members of the World Science Fiction Convention (last year’s or this year’s, see below for more info) are in the process of nominating for the Hugo Awards. In comparison to more widely-known awards, the Nebulas are like unto the Academy Awards, while the Hugos are closer in character to the People’s Choice Awards.*

By virtue of 2012 being my most successful publishing year ever, I have four eligible stories: two short stories (“Sensitive, Compartmented,” Asimov’s, April/May 2012, which was listed [with 1 of a possible 3 stars] on Tangent Online’s Recommended Reading List for 2012, and “The Song of Uullioll,” Analog, July/August 2012) and two novelettes (“The Second Engineer,” Asimov’s, October/November 2012, and “SEAGULLs, Jack-o-Lanterns, and Interstitial Spaces,” Analog, November 2012). If you’re eligible to nominate and you didn’t catch one of these stories in the magazine, write me a note — by comment, or by e-mail or Facebook or Twitter — and I’ll send you the story to consider.

___
*Regarding the People’s Choice-type award, if you want to nominate and vote for the Hugo Awards, you can purchase a “supporting membership” to the convention for $60. The price gets you electronic copies of the nominated works, plus portfolios of artwork from the nominated artists, all of which adds up to more than the price of the membership. To nominate, though, you must join the convention before the end of January.

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Hugos, and Nebulas, and Pegasi, Oh, My!

I’ve seen quite a few “Hugo Nominations” blog posts since the turn of the new year — because the nomination period is now open — and a few other awards-related posts way back in late 2011. I even wrote an awards post back in early December, asking for reading suggestions for the Nebula Awards.

So, as yet another exercise in self-promotion, here’s my most detailed awards season post ever.

First, if you don’t care what the Hugo Awards are, or the Nebula Awards, or the Pegasus Awards, then thanks for reading this far anyway! If you think you might care, but just don’t know what they are, I’ll give a brief run-down of each.

The Hugos and Nebulas are Science Fiction & Fantasy awards. By analogy to film awards, the Hugos are roughly equivalent to the Golden Globes, and are given out at every World Science Fiction Convention; the Nebulas are roughly equivalent to the Academy Awards (since they’re voted on by members of the profession), and are given out at a special weekend event held by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

I have two stories eligible for these awards:

  • In the short story category: “The Tower,” published in Crossed Genres Quarterly in June 2011. This is a “swords and sorcery” fantasy, in which there are swords and something resembling sorcery.
  • In the novelette category: “Therapeutic Mathematics and the Physics of Curve Balls,” published in Analog Science Fiction & Fact in September 2011. This is the story of a boy in a freak show who retreats into mathematics for comfort and sanity.

To nominate and vote for the Hugos, you have to be a member of WorldCon. A supporting membership (i.e., that gets you voting rights and usually an electronic package full of the nominated stories and artwork) is $50, so it’s not a trivial matter. If you think you might actually want to attend, this year’s WorldCon is at Chicon in Chicago. But to nominate and vote for the Nebulas, you have to be a member of SFWA, and that’s a big deal to some of us.

In contrast to the Hugos and Nebulas, the Pegasus Awards are “filk” awards, i.e., awards for science fiction & fantasy-related folk singing. (What can sometimes be confusing is that there are also other Pegasus Awards for video production.) The Pegasus Awards are given out every year by the Ohio Valley Filk Fest. They give awards in several categories, including Best Filk Song, Best Writer/Composer, Best Performer, and “Baddest-Ass” Song.

Pegasus Award nominations are made “by the people of the filk community,” whatever that means, although “voting is open to anyone with an interest in filk music.” The nomination period begins around Memorial Day and continues through July, then voting is open until Labor Day. More details about nomination submissions and such are yet to come; however, in the interest of planning ahead, I sang two songs around filk circles last year that should be eligible to be nominated:

  • “Saving Throws,” a Dungeons & Dragons-related song to the tune of “Edelweiss”
  • “The Monster Hunter Ballad”, inspired by the series of books by Larry Correia*

And thus concludes my shameless plug for the day.

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*FULL DISCLOSURE: Larry’s Monster Hunter books are published by Baen Books, and I’m one of Baen’s contractors.

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