Tag: hugos

Hugos, redux

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Since everyone is doing it for the final Hugo push (not that I think I have a rat’s chance, but it’s fun to share), a re-post of the stuff I’m particularly proud of for this year:

Short stories
-(SF) “After the Fire”, Apex Magazine, November 2009. Available in handy podcast format as well at StarshipSofa.
-(dark fantasy) “Golden Lilies”, Fantasy Magazine, August 2009. Came in the Top Five of the reader’s poll for 2009. Available in handy podcast format as well.
-(epic-ish/philosophical fantasy) “In the Age of Iron and Ashes”, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 31st December 2009. Also available in handy podcast format.

Novelette
(SF)“On Horizon’s Shores”, IGMS, issue 14, September 2009. Will email.

You can find a longer list of what I published in 2009 here at my website. If you feel like reading anything in the short fiction department, feel free to email me and I’ll provide you with a e-copy (PS: the offer applies whether you’re a voting member or not; I’d be delighted to share what I published).

Next post will feature actual content, I swear.

Your obligatory Hugo pimpage post

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I dithered over whether to post, or not, but what the heck…

Should you wish to read some of my shorts and nominate them for the Hugos (before March 13th): here are some stories I’m particularly proud of.

Short stories
-(SF) “After the Fire”, Apex Magazine, November 2009. Available in handy podcast format as well at StarshipSofa. AKA the one Lavie Tidhar commissioned out of me for his World SF special issue. Post-apocalypse, Chinese style.

In her dreams, Jiaotan saw Father: hands outstretched, the flesh of the fingers fraying away to reveal the yellowed, tapered shape of bones, the deep-set eyes bulging in their sockets, pleading, begging her to take him away.

-(dark fantasy) “Golden Lilies”, Fantasy Magazine, August 2009. Came in the Top Five of the reader’s poll for 2009. Available in handy podcast format as well. A story of Chinese ghosts, bound feet and unsatiated desires. This one was a lot of fun to write–fair warning though, it’s pretty explicit and somewhat gruesome (the violence is somewhat peculiar, and no one dies, but it’s kind of squicky all the same).

It was the smell which woke me up, insinuating itself between the planks of my coffin: cooked meat mingling with the sweet odour of aromatic rice, and the tangy hint of fruit and spices — a powerful summoning if there ever was one.

-(epic-ish/philosophical fantasy) “In the Age of Iron and Ashes”, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 31st December 2009. Also available in handy podcast format. In a besieged city, a man confronts a runaway slave–and faces what he’s made of his life. I confess this one is by far my favorite of the three. I am not very sanguine about its chances, though, as it’s even bleaker than the other two (and believe me, that takes something), and it’s been published in a fairly obscure venue. But one can hope :=)

They ran the girl down, in the grey light of dawn: a ring of copper-mailed horsemen, racing after her until her exhaustion finally felled her.

Novelette
(SF)“On Horizon’s Shores”, IGMS, issue 14, September 2009. Erm. My only true SF story of the year (the other one is an alternate history). A story of extreme transformations, love and learning to let go.

Alex and Thi Loan transferred at Sapalawa Spaceport, from their small shuttle to a military Naga craft — the only ones still allowed to crawl between the stars with the fuel shortage.

You can find a longer list of what I published in 2009 here at my website. If you feel like reading anything in the short fiction department, feel free to email me and I’ll provide you with a e-copy (PS: the offer applies whether you’re a voting member or not; I’d be delighted to share what I published).

Hugo recommendations

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So, with the deadline for the Hugos approaching, I thought I’d do some recommending. Herein is the stuff I’m really rooting to get onto the ballot. (fair warning: I know a lot of the people involved here, but I’m only recommending the stuff I loved, and sharing it in the hope that you’ll find some gems of your own in there).

Best short story:
“As Women Fight” by Sara Genge (Asimov’s December 2009): a nice and thoughtful take on gender changes, taking place on a planet where the gender in a couple is determined by who wins the annual fight. With neat reflections on friendships, abuse and the dividing line between man and woman. It’s been collected in two Year’s Bests, has made the Locus Recommended List, and I’ve already seen some support for it in the Hugo competition. Definitely worth a read.

“The Chrysanthemum Bride” by Angela Slatter in Fantasy Magazine, a dark story set in Ancient China, about a poor but vain daughter of peasants taken to be the bride of the emperor. Truly horrific, and will linger in your mind long after you’ve finished it.

Best novelette:
“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” (Interzone 220, reprinted online in Apex): ok, the title has me checking it every time I type it out, but this is one that’s made of awesome. Set in a world where people don new identities every morning with the help of masks, this one follows a typical individual as he stumbles onto the foundations of the society. It’s strange and rich with beautiful language, and a kickass ending.

Best novel:
By the Mountain Bound by Elizabeth Bear: a story that takes its inspiration in Norse myths, it follows the einherjar and the valkyries, the Children of the Light who try to uphold the order of a new world even though their Father (Odin) has died in Ragnarok. When a strange woman washes ashore, claiming to be the Lady, one of the gods the Children have been waiting for. She means to fight the prophecied war against their enemies–but is she really who she claims to be?
This one is a prequel to All the Windwracked Stars, which I also loved. Unlike its sequel, it’s definitely more epic fantasy in tone–but it takes its cues from the Norse epics, which are far more sombre and violent than most moden fantasies. I loved the ending–and loved that Elizabeth Bear had the guts and the skills to pull this off.
Canticle by Ken Scholes: sequel to Lamentation, this one continues to follow Scholes’ characters as they inch every closer to the secret of the destruction of the city of Windvir. Gypsy leader Rudolfo faces assasination attempts, and the birth of his own sickly son; young Neb seeks a secret in the desolate Wastes, one that could change the face of the Named Lands; and Winters, the ruler of the Marsh People, has to deal with heresies among her own people. Scholes melds religion and science brilliantly in this post-apocalyptic fantasy–this is even better than Lamentation (which had already blown me away).
The Shifter by Janice Hardy: I really wish there were a YA category on the ballot, but in the absence of that we’ll make do with Best Novel :=) The Shifter (aka The Pain Merchants in the UK) is the story of Nya, an orphan in a world where pain can be shunted off into a special metal. But Nya is special: she can shift pain into other people. When her sister disappears, Nya has to use her abilities to find her–without letting herself be found out and used as a weapon…
It’s got an awesome core concept, and a unique and fun voice for Nya that makes the whole book very endearing. Also, it doesn’t shy away from darker moral choices, definitely making it stick in the mind.

Best Semiprozine:
Interzone: regularly on the semiprozine ballot without my plug, I suspect, but still… I do love the magazine. It’s really willing to take risks and publish very different kinds of stories, and the fiction offerings are neatly complemented by DVD and book reviews. Been a subscriber for 4 years; and I fully intend to renew this one. For an example of cool fiction, see the Foster story above.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies: another one of the few I enjoy reading regularly: there’s a tremendous variety of style and subject matter, and a mix of new and established authors that combines to a very pleasant result. For an example of cool fiction, see the rich and complex “Thieves of Silence” by Holly Phillips, or Rodello Santos’s atmospheric “To Slay with a Thousand Kisses”, a neat take on cursed spirits.

Best Fanzine:
StarshipSofa: yup, podcasts are eligible for the Hugo. Check out my previous post for more info.

Campbell Award:
Rochita Loenen-Ruiz (First Year of Eligibility): Rochita has published fiction in Apex, Fantasy Magazine and Weird Tales. She has this beautiful, fluid writing style that allows her to move smoothly from a humorous, whimsical story like “Teaching a Pink Elephant to Ski” to more sombre subject matters like the plague-wracked world of “59 Beads”. My only regret is that she writes so little, because I sure as heck want to see more of her fiction out there getting recognition.

Juliette Wade (Second Year of Eligibility): Juliette is a member of my crit group, Written in Blood, who has sold stories to Analog. She draws on her experience as a linguist to craft strange and utterly believable alien races in stories like “Cold Words” or “Let the Word Take Me”. She also has an awesome blog, “Talk to You Universe”, where she discusses worldbuilding, linguistics and strange customs, a must for spec-fic writers.

Chris Kastensmidt (Second Year of Eligibility): Chris got a little unlucky for Campbell purposes, as he sold a single eligible story before a drought, a humorous retelling of Little Red Hood co-published with Jim C. Hines. His story “The Fortuitous Meeting of Gerard van Oost and Oludara”, an awesome tale of adventure, treasure hunting and magic set in colonial Brazil, is due out in the next issue of Realms of Fantasy. In the meantime, you can read his more humorous (but slightly dated) stuff here and here, and check out his awesome website for the Gerard van Oost and Oludar series here.

Sean Markey (Second Year of Eligibility): Sean writes quirky stories with beautiful language. Check out “The Spider in You,” in Strange Horizons, a very odd and dark story about people who worship large poisonous spiders as gods, or “Waiting for the Green Woman”, a story of a very peculiar father-daughter relationship: what do you do when your daughter is a tree in the desert?

Shweta Narayan (First Year of Eligibility): I really enjoy her stories–including “The Mechanical Aviary of Emperor Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar”, in the Shimmer Jungle Clockwork issue, a clever set of nested stories set within a Hindu/Mughal milieu, and “Nira and I” in Strange Horizons, a beautiful story about mists, spirits and caste divisions.

StarshipSofa for the Hugo

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In the series of “stuff that’s eligible for the Hugos”, there is this one: podcasts are eligible for the Hugos, same as any magazine. That makes Tony C. Smith’s StarshipSofa’s Aural Delights eligible in the category “Best Fanzine”.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, I urge you to do so: it’s a fantastic labour of love podcasting some awesome fiction, and some very smart commentary. (And, hum, yes, among the fiction they featured was my own “After the Fire”, which got one of the best narrations ever courtesy of Kate Baker).

The point of this is mostly to spread the word about podcast eligibility to a maximum of places, not so much campaigning–at least not yet… Feel free to repost, link, retweet, etc.

More details here about podcast eligibility.

Quickie post-worldcon post

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The con was great: met lots of new people and had lots of fun. Sunday was spent, as envisioned, on sheer adrenaline, going through two panels and a reading with a mounting heartrate, before rushing back to the hotel room to change into my evening dress for the Hugos.

And the Hugo Awards…

Well, it’s a good thing that they started out with the Campbell, which saved us nominees a lot of freaking out. David Anthony Durham won and made this awesome and very touching speech about community acceptance.

I subsequently was surprised to find out that though David led in all rounds of voting, by the end he had 161 votes to my 158, and that three-vote difference was all that separated me from actually having to improvise a speech up there…

Ah well. Such is life. I’m not complaining: I did take second place, and overall it’s been a really awesome year for me. Even though I didn’t win, I’m honoured to have just been nominated and to have stood in such good company. And I’ll make sure to keep an eye on all my fellow nominees, as I’m sure they’re off to great things.

Thanks a lot to everyone who voted for me; and special extra thanks to the Codex/Liberty Hall voting block, T.L. Morganfield, and Chris Kastensmidt for clapping and screaming so loud when my name was announced as part of the list of nominees. You guys totally made my night.

A couple of wins that had me really thrilled: Electric Velocipede took Best Fanzine–huge congrats to John Klima, who I’m sure would have loved to be there to collect his award.
Congrats to Elizabeth Bear for taking the Hugo for Best Novelette (she totally rocks), and to Ann Vandermeer and Stephen Seagal from Weird Tales for Best Semiprozine Hugo. My ROF illustrator Frank Wu took Best Fan Artist (and nearly broke something while running up the stage).

And I took a peek at the nomination ballot for the Campbell and saw familiar names: Chris Kastensmidt, Sara Genge, J. K. Cheney, fellow WOTFer Stephen Kotowych, and fellow Angry Robot author Colin Harvey. Huge congrats to all!

There will be a more detailed post when we come back from Canada and offload the camera’s pictures. In the meantime, here’s a picture of me in my Hugo outfit, courtesy of Cheryl Morgan:

Fiction roundup

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Read recently:

-Lian Hearn, Through the Nightingale Floor, Grass for His Pillow, Brilliance of the Moon: awesome YA set in a land much like Feudal Japan before the Shogunate. Takeo, an orphan raised in the forbidden religion of the Hidden, is adopted by Lord Otori after the massacre of his family. But Takeo has only exchangd one set of problems for another: as heir to a great house, he has to compound, not only with the power intrigues of the otherlords, but also with his real family–the Tribe, an alliance of assassins/mercenaries–who will stop at nothing to use him. Add to this his mad passion for young Kaede, heiresss to a powerful domain–and Takeo is just set for more than he can handle. Continue reading →