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The new house is something that's been in the works for a few months now: I saw somewhere in the Autumn, fell in love with it, convinced Amanda that I was in love, and we finally closed on it yesterday afternoon.
It's a lot like my old Addams Family house in the woods, only it's not an Addams Family house, more of little cluster of stone cottages in the woods. (The woman I bought it from had lived here fifty years exactly; the man whose family she and her husband had bought it from in January 1964 drew newspaper comics back in the Golden Age.)
The new house is a couple of hours from New York, and in order to close on it and take possession I unexpectedly (don't ask) found myself driving from Florida to New York State this weekend, via North Carolina (to see Maddy at college), vaguely worried that the snowstorms that have been circumscribing my movements for the last 2 months would have one final go at mucking up my travel plans. A storm was forecast, but it never happened.
I listened to the Best of Nick Lowe, David Bowie's The Next Day, and Simon Vance's Audiobook of Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan as I drove.
Driving meant that I missed a small storm which started on Twitter.
Back in January I got a request from the co-chair of the upcoming Worldcon in London (I don't know him, but he'd been given my email by a friend) asking me to forward an invitation to Jonathan Ross to host the Hugo Awards.
Jonathan is a UK TV and radio presenter, and, these days, a writer of comics. He's also one of the most highly regarded UK awards hosts. He's also become a friend of mine, has been for over 25 years. You can see us here together in the Search for Steve Ditko documentary. (Here's the last few minutes of the documentary. Keep watching, and you'll see me with a smile big enough to break my face.) He was also the person who talked me onto Twitter in the first place.
I forwarded the invitation, along with a note telling him that hosting the Hugo awards is a really enjoyable thing to do, and got a note back from the chair saying that Jonathan had said yes, and could I put something up welcoming him when they announced it.
Jonathan said yes because he's a huge SF and Comics fan -- in many ways, one of the most fannish people I know: he also writes SF comics. There's also a family connection: his wife, Jane Goldman, won a Hugo award (for best Screenplay).
I was really glad I was a) on a Twitter sabbatical and b) driving while all this was going on.
The weirdest bit was, I understood some of the worry; I'd had it myself, 25 years ago, when Jonathan and I had first met, and he asked me and Dave McKean to be on his chat show to talk about VIOLENT CASES. I said "No, you make fun of people. This is comics. It matters to me. I don't want you making fun of it."
To convince me that he a) didn't make fun of people on his show and b) that he would never ever under any circumstances mock the comics and comics creators he loved, Jonathan asked Dave McKean and me to come to the recording of the show: he was interviewing writer/artist Charles Burns that night. The interview was respectful and incredibly nice.
We never did that interview, although he's interviewed me a few times since over the years, in various different contexts. (When The Wolves in the Walls came out, Jonathan interviewed me and Dave McKean in front of a crowd of adults and kids. His interview was perfectly appropriate for the audience...) He's embarrassed me gloriously presenting the Eisner Awards.
I wasn't surprised that some people were upset by the choice of Jonathan as a host: as the convention says in their apology for their handling of this, and their apology to Jonathan and his family, at https://www.facebook.com/londonin2014/posts/804454159569536, they should have consulted better within their ranks, talked to their committees and so on, and made sure that that everyone was agreed that they wanted Jonathan as their host before they wrote to me and asked me to invite him.
If they'd known ahead of time that some people were going to have a problem with him as a choice of presenter (and I strongly suspect they did, given that one of their number had apparently resigned), they should have warned him and given him the option to withdraw, and at least prepared him. As it was, he and his family didn't know what hit them.
Twitterstorms are no fun when people are making up things about you or insulting you for things you didn't do or think or say. When scores of people from a group that you consider yourself a part of are shouting at you, it's incredibly upsetting, no matter who you are.
I was seriously disappointed in the people, some of whom I know and respect, who stirred other people up to send invective, obscenities and hatred Jonathan's way over Twitter (and the moment you put someone's @name into a tweet, you are sending it to that person), much of it the kind of stuff that they seemed to be worried that he might possibly say at the Hugos, unaware of the ironies involved.
I sympathise with anyone who felt that Jonathan wasn't going to make an appropriate Hugos host, and with anyone who spoke about it to the convention committee, but do not believe a campaign aimed at vilifying Jonathan personally was wise or kind. And for those who thought that making this happen was a way to avoid SF and the Hugos appearing in the tabloids, I'd point to the Streisand effect, with a shake of the head.
I have won Hugo Awards, and I am incredibly proud of all of them; I've hosted the Hugo Awards ceremony, and I was honoured to have been permitted to be part of that tradition; I know that SF is a family, and like all families, has disagreements, fallings out. I've been going to Worldcons since 1987. And I know that these things heal in time.
But I've taken off the Hugo nominee pin that I've worn proudly on my lapel since my Doctor Who episode, The Doctor's Wife, won the Hugo in September 2012, and, for now, I've put it away.
Straight from the offices of Publishers Weekly, it’s More to Come! Your podcast source of comics news and discussion starring The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.
In this week’s episode, Heidi and the rest of the More to Come Crew – Calvin Reid and Kate Fitzsimons – discuss Batwoman, J. H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman and DC’s editorial interference issues, the revived Penny Arcade “Dickwolves” controversy and ramifications for PAX, iFanboy stops operations, Mark Waid turns print comics retailer, Heidi MacDonald gives a talk about less known influential graphic novels at the Library of Congress and much more in this podcast from PW Comics World.
Now tune in Saturdays for our regularly scheduled podcast!
Awards season rolls on, unstoppable. The Hugos—given to the best in SF—have announced the 2013 nominees and here’s the comics category:
Best Graphic Story (427 nominating ballots cast)
Grandville Bête Noire, written and illustrated by Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse Comics, Jonathan Cape) Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks, written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW) Saga, Volume One, written by Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics) Schlock Mercenary: Random Access Memorabilia, written and illustrated by Howard Tayler, colors by Travis Walton (Hypernode Media) Saucer Country, Volume 1: Run, written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Ryan Kelly, Jimmy Broxton and Goran Sudžuka (Vertigo)
A nice eclectic mix for the year. Winners will be announced September 1, 2013 at LoneStarCon 3 in San Antonio, Texas.
Very quick one just to say I'm in the offices of a film company in London, spending two days interviewing editors, production designers, costume people and the like, for a short (ten minute) silent film I've written and will be directing in two weeks' time.
I can't tell you much more about it yet. It stars, er, a star, and another, different, star. I had the idea for it half way through the HousingWorks benefit Amanda and I did in April, and pulled out my notebook and wrote it down.
It got the green light on Friday, will be part of a series of Silent Films broadcast in the UK in December, and I have probably already said too much.
Wednesday and Thursday I'm doing events in Edinburgh (sold-out talks, with open signings afterwards).
Several days spent writing and recovering from travel. My dog is good, my bees are happy, I'm writing (scripts mostly), I'm eating healthy foods and walking and really life is enormously enjoyable and has very little in the way of adventures. The wildest thing I am doing currently is not shaving.
Matt Smith's debut episode of Doctor Who arrived on Saturday, and Maddy and I prepared to watch it. But Maddy, who is now fifteen and a half and has a driving permit, had gentlemen callers, three of, who were not going away. Eventually I wandered into the TV room and said "I'm putting on Doctor Who now, if nobody minds," and since they were all sort of affable and I was mad-eyed and unshaven and possibly dangerous, they said yes.
Maddy was mortified. She loves Doctor Who, but was certain it was the kind of thing that sixteen year old boys would hate, given that it was English and weird and, well, the kind of thing her dad liked. And she was worried that they wouldn't know what was going on.
I, on the other hand, knew that Steven Moffat had intended it as a good place to start, and was not worried.
The result was four people watching on the sofa, one of whom was deeply embarrassed by the whole affair (and, indeed, texted the young men with her on the sofa after twenty minutes, desperately apologising in case they weren't enjoying it). I loved the episode -- I'd spent some months telling people that Matt would be excellent (Admission: I'd seen his audition tapes and completely understood why he'd won the part) and that they should trust Mr Moffat -- and when the episode was done, I got up and thanked them and went into the office next door.
Two minutes later, a baffled but happy (and for the first time in 70 minutes, no longer embarrassed) Maddy shot in to the office to tell me that the gentleman callers had -- unbelievably -- liked it! And they had wanted to know if it was going to be on weekly, as they would like to come back and watch it again! Which left Maddy wondering which episodes she should show them to give them background on the show. Blink, and The Girl in the Fireplace, and Dalek, of course, but what else...
I did my best not to say "I told you so". Also did my best not to think it.
Now happily rewriting my episode to change it from being set at the end of this season to the beginning of the next. I think it'll be fun...
From Barnes and Noble.com. Not sure if I ever posted this, but here it is anyway...
I just read on Mr. Gaiman’s journal about some of the events he is doing for National Library Week. Since these events have limited seating, I thought Mr. Gaiman might wish to mention that anyone around the world can watch him speak via Internet streaming video on April 12, from 6 to 8 during the ALA-JCPL videoconference. More information at http://gaimanatjcpl.org
Reading to kids is a great experience, but when it comes to children’s books, the jokes often fall flat. Thankfully, many of our favorite comedians from Jeff Foxworthy to Jerry Seinfeld are able to tell great stories in the voice of our favorite funny people. Check them out for yourself and vote for your favorite!
Parents know they should read with their child every day. But reading together requires that your baby or toddler will actually sit still long enough for a book! If you’ve got a squiggler in your house, see if these tips help your reading time go a little more smoothly.
Illiteracy is linked to nearly every major socioeconomic crisis today. Since 2002, Mortar Board has made a national commitment to combat illiteracy with the “Reading is Leading” national project. Join Mortar Board in their third annual Virtual Book Drive challenge, held in conjunction with First Book, running through November 12.
The Hugo Awards are awarded for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy writing. The awards have been given since 1953 by the annual World Science Fiction Convention (the “Worldcon”). The awards are run by and voted on by fans. Check out nominees, winners and more information about this award by visiting www.thehugoawards.org
Tonight, Chicago will see the presentation of The 2012 Hugo Awards, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom. With categories for comics, television, novellas, fanzines and more, the only medium apparently not represented this year will be websites. Hmph! That aside, the Hugos are one of the more prestigious sci-fi awards available, having been active since the 1950s. It will doubtless be a great night for all concerned. Especially the winners!
Tonight will see writers like Bill Willingham and Mike Carey valiantly battle each other for ‘Best Graphic Story’, while Community attempts to wrest ‘Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form’ from the all-conquering Dr Who. All for this year’s lovely trophy, designed by Deb Kosiba.
Most notably, however, this year’s ceremony will also be livestreamed and liveblogged, so you can follow along at home. The ceremony starts at 8PM CDT, tonight, and will be hosted by blogger (and previous Hugo winner) John Scalzi. Go watch! And don’t forget to cheer on poor Neil Gaiman as he attempts to improve his win-loss ratio.
Congratulations to all concerned – and one note before we head any further. It appears that, whilst picking up his award for Doctor Who, Neil Gaiman possibly confirmed that he will be writing a second episode for next year:
…only a fool or a mad man would try to do it again… so I’m on the third draft.
Ooh! We’ll keep you updated on that. But for now: the winners!
Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor)
“The Man Who Bridged the Mist” by Kij Johnson (Asimov’s, September/October 2011)
“Six Months, Three Days” by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com)
BEST SHORT STORY
“The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2011)
BEST RELATED WORK
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Third Edition edited by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls, and Graham Sleight (Gollancz)
BEST GRAPHIC STORY
Digger by Ursula Vernon (Sofawolf Press)
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM
Game of Thrones (Season 1) (HBO)
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM
“The Doctor’s Wife” (Doctor Who) (BBC Wales)
BEST EDITOR, SHORT FORM
BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM
BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST
Locus, edited by Liza Groen Trombi, Kirsten Gong-Wong, et al.
SF Signal, edited by John DeNardo
BEST FAN WRITER
Jim C. Hines
BEST FAN ARTIST
SF Squeecast, Lynne M. Thomas, Seanan McGuire, Paul Cornell, Elizabeth Bear, and Catherynne M. Valente
I believe Dan Harmon (L) brought the Darkest Timeline instant goatees (well, vandykes)
I went to the Hugo Award ceremonies, brilliantly moderated by John Scalzi, a man who needs his own TV show...
...and collected the Hugo Award for my Doctor Who episode, THE DOCTOR'S WIFE.
(In this photo by David Dyer-Bennet I appear to have wandered in from a different, much more sinister, awards ceremony...)
I'm hoping that Chicon 7 will put the awards ceremony up online -- or even better, put the individual speeches up on YouTube. (They streamed them, but the stream was turned off by copyright 'bots just before I started speaking, so unless it goes up somewhere you'll never hear about what I thought of the Inspector Spacetime spin-off Community, or about the 1965 Doctor Who episode "Awards Ceremony of the Daleks".)
I went to the room parties (including the Hugo Losers Party. It's always a bit nerve-wracking going there, when you've actually won. I expect to be debagged or covered in custard or something.) The entire wonderful Scalzi family, mother-in-law Vera included, acted as my escort, help and bodyguard. This is about as cool as it gets.
I got four hours sleep. I flew back to Albany, while my Hugo was taken home without me in a TARDIS-blue car with the license plate IDRIS. Can anything be more appropriate?
Thank you to Idris-owner Steven Manfred, who has by now answered at least two thousand Doctor Who questions from me, and is always there when I come up with a new bunch of questions.
And it feels so strange to be writing that my episode of Doctor Who won a Hugo Award. I remember when I was predicting on this blog that The Girl in the Fireplace and Blink would win Hugos. And they did...
And I did mention during my awards speech that only a madman or a fool would tempt fate by doing it again, having won. And that I am now on my third draft...
PS: A reminder that I'm reading a brand spanking new story on Wednesday the 5th at 6pm at the Sosnoff Theatre at Bard College. Which is in the general neighbourhood of Poughkeepsie, NY. Please come and listen.
No. In fact, when I was a child I hated to read. School book reports were a nightmare. Even though my teacher in eighth grade sent my poem, “Stars”, to a high school anthology, and it was published, I hated to write. I never would have imagined that someday I’d do just that.
When did you decide to become an author?
I don’t believe I consciously decided to become an author, but when I started reading to my sons, I discovered books were fun and entertaining, and I learned a lot from them. I also became a teacher and read to my students, mostly Newbery and Caldecott winners. Perhaps this is where the idea that I might write began. The June 2007 issue of The Writer magazine contains my breakthrough article.
I know you write young adult fiction. Is there any other genre you enjoy working on?
I write middle grade, too, and have tried a couple of picture books.
Tell us about your latest release. What is it about? What inspired you to write such a story?
Rebel in Blue Jeans is due out sometime in 2007 in trade paperback. Sixteen-year-old Rebel Ferguson is having a bad year. She has to deal with her mother who has run away with the drummer in a rock band, her father who has started drinking, the boy on the neighboring ranch who suddenly wants to be more than a friend, and a handsome college guy with a bad reputation who has taken an interest in her.
We read a lot about divorce and how it affects the children, especially younger ones. I decided to write about the influence of divorce on teenagers, at least on one teen.
When working on a novel, what is your schedule like? How long does it usually take you to finish a full-length book? Do you edit as your write or do you cough up the first draft and leave the polishing for later?
I’m a morning person and try to write from 9 am to noon. My brain stops after that, and I usually work on promo or do research in the afternoons. I write slowly because I edit as I go along. I hate to do it that way, but I can’t seem to get past a paragraph or a sentence until it makes sense. I can’t just jot down my thoughts, which would speed things up. I have to watch the research, too, or I’ll spend the morning reading all sorts of interesting articles on the Internet. I’ll use some of it, but it could wait until later. There’s really no set time it takes me to finish a book. I started my recent wip in May 2006, finished the rough draft in September 2006. The first revision took from September 2006, to March 2007. I’ve already added a stack of Post-it notes for ideas for the next edit. This story is resting now, while I work on my middle grade. More edits will follow. How many I haven’t a clue.
Fledgling writers often try to emulate their favorite author’s style. Did you experience this when you first started writing? If yes, who was your role model?
I did and still do, to a point. I have to be careful, because when I read a book that I really like, I think I should write that way, and it messes up the story I’m working on. No one role model, in particular, just whomever I happen to be reading at the moment. Some authors I really like their style are Stephanie Meyer, Sarah Dessen, Scott Westerfeld, Jodi Picoult, Ally Carter, Gail Giles, Dean Koontz, and I could go on and on. I’m easily influenced.
With so many books published, how do you promote your work and still have time to write, or vice versa? Do you follow a planned writing/marketing schedule? Any tips you would like to share with other authors?
Promotion is hard for me. I’d rather be writing. Even though I taught elementary school children for years, I’m a shy person. My voice fades away into nothing when I’m talking to a group of people. To promote my books, I’ve sent brochures to local and area schools for school visits, because I’m comfortable speaking with children. I’m waiting for replies. Book signings at libraries and book stores are not so intimidating and actually fun. I’ve sold few books that way, however. I’m looking into an online blog tour that several authors have done. I’m working on a movie trailer, which may never be finished. I also donate my books to contests, such as Teens Read Too. Anything to get my books out there and in the hands of teen readers. I’ve tried local festivals, but the booth rental was more than the profit I made from my books.
As far as schedules, I usually write Monday through Friday and work on promotion on Saturday. Some weekday afternoons I type letters to mail and make brochures. I order bookmarks, pencils, and other giveaways.
Tips: All I can say is try different things to see what works. Contact area newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations. (Next on my to-do list.)
Any upcoming books on the horizon?
Yes. Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines should be out soon in e-book. The story is set in Vicksburg, Mississippi, when the city was under siege during the Civil War. Also, my first middle-grade novel, I Live in a Doghouse, is under contract. One day this little voice whispered in my ear, “I live in a doghouse.” Of course I had to ask him why. And the story developed from there.
Do you have a website where readers may find more about you and your work?
What advice would you give to those young adult fiction authors who are trying to break into print?
Never give up. Write your story. Don’t try to write another Harry Potter. Edit, edit, edit. If you’re in a critique group, let them read your manuscript. (I’m not.) Search the markets. Even if a house is closed to submissions, sometimes they will read a query. Check message boards, such as the SCBWI for updated information on publishing houses. Then mail it and get busy on your next work.
If there was one book you’d recommend as absolute read for aspiring young adult fiction authors, what would that be?
That’s tough. There are so many good ones. I like Writing for Young Adults by Sherry Garland.
Please leave us with some words of wisdom.
Whether you’ve chosen to be a writer or writing has chosen you, write the best story you can write. Children deserve nothing less. Your reward is not the money (though that would be nice), but receiving that letter from a child, telling you how much he/she likes your book and how he/she relates to the main character.
Beverly Mcclure talks about her latest young adult novel, Secrets I Have Kept. She also talks about inspiration, writer's block, and finding a publisher.
Hello, Beverly. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your book, and what inspired you to write such a story?
Secrets I Have Kept is a young adult mystery about Jennifer, a girl whose father, a molecular biologist, is kidnapped. Armed with nothing more than her own courage, a phone number on a candy wrapper, and her loyal Australian cattle dog, Chopin, she begins a desperate attempt to rescue him and to discover the reason for his abduction. In her search, she meets Casey, a runaway on a quest of his own: to find his father who deserted Casey and his mother when Casey was three. As they follow a trail of unusual clues, a chilling secret is revealed.
The idea for this story came to me one day when I was reading a magazine about the amazing drugs scientists are making with plants from the ocean. This story revolves around one such plant.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this novel? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline? How long did it take you to write it? I started with the idea of a plant that could fulfill man’s wildest dreams or be man’s greatest nightmare. Then my characters introduced themselves to me, and I made character sheets to help me remember what they liked, hated, looked like, etc. They just led me along. Sometimes I had to back up and follow a different path, but I seldom outline. I prefer to see where the story takes me. From idea to finished story was around a year, maybe a little longer. I am a slow writer.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?
Not really writer’s block. Sometimes I get stumped, but I play around with the scene, jot down possibilities, or go on to another scene with a reminder to go back and redo or finish the previous one. Long walks help to clear my head and an occasional solution will present itself. I think getting away from the story helps me focus on what it needs. It may take several days, but there is an answer.
How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?
I queried probably every large publisher in New York and those in between, with no success. Then I discovered small online publishers, and my book is now published. My advice would be to join messages boards such as Verla Kay’s Blue Boards, where writers, editors, and agents discuss the business of writing. Study the markets. Know what each house is looking for. Join a critique group. When your story is the best you can make it, send it out, again and again. If an editor makes comments, pay attention. Your story might improve with a few tweaks here and there. The markets are tough. Don’t get discouraged.
What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?
Networking on the Internet has been my most productive promotion, especially the Muse Online Writers Conference where I was a presenter. I’ve had small successes at local bookstore signings, but that readership is limited, where the Internet reaches almost the whole world.
What is your favorite book of all time? Why?
My favorite book is Gone With the Wind. I love Scarlet who is not perfect and sometimes I want to shake her and say “Wake up, girl, Look at him,” meaning Rhett Butler of course. Why would she like wimpy Ashley with a hunk like Rhett after her? Also, the Civil War era is one of my favorite time periods.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
Do you have another novel on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects.
Yes, I have two young adult novels scheduled for release in 2008. Rebel in Blue Jeans is a contemporary story about a girl whose mother runs away with the drummer in a rock band and what she does to try to bring her parents together again.
Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, is a historical fiction story about one family’s struggle to survive a changing way of life during the Civil War.
I’m also working on a young adult contemporary novel and a middle grade ghost story.
Thanks for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here!
Mark Askwith emailed after seeing the YouTube clip in the last post...
Thanks for posting the Youtube stuff. I had forgotten about this episode. It was never one of my favorites, but it is fascinating to look at it now. My gawd, Harlan’s clip is still relevant, and Garth looks like he’s a teenager. And you... dammit man, you must have a picture in your attic.
As I recall this interview almost didn’t happen.
You called me from Boston to say that a) you’d signed for a 180 people the night before and b) the flight had been delayed, so what should we do?
I suggested that I interview you in the limo because I knew… (although didn’t tell you) that the line at the Silver Snail was already over 180 people, and I knew if I delayed you the fans, the fine folks at the Silver Snail, and you, would not be happy.
So I came up with the plan to shoot you in the limo. This meant that I had to throw out all my carefully prepared questions, and replace them with questions about topics that would make sense visually. You just try coming up with questions where the back of a limo actually makes sense! As it turned out I got lucky- we got this stuff on fans, but my favorite part of the interview was all about The Quest and Sandman: Brief Lives, which you’d just started writing. Perhaps that episode will also surface.
BTW- The Mystery Person beside you in the limo is Silver Snail Manager Sherri Moyer who came along to ensure that I didn’t kidnap you.
I remember the moment when we all saw the line-up on Queen St.
A gasp from all of us… it was over 600 (mostly) black clad fans.
I interviewed some of the fans, shot the signing, and then wrapped the crew. A very well fed Dave Sim showed up later in the signing, torturing you with his description of his dinner (a story that he later chronicled in a story for your Chicago Guest of Honour Booklet).
At some point I succumbed and had dinner without you. I returned an hour later and the line seemed just as daunting. As I recall, you never did get dinner that night.
I think that this signing was the first time that I realized that you and Prisoners of Gravity were actually having a real impact, and it was a strange to have both revelations in the same moment. Countless fans thanked me for introducing them to your work, and that’s probably the best praise any ‘book person’ can hear. It was a sea change moment.
(Really, though, in retrospect I should not have been surprised, you’d won the ‘Favorite PoG Guest’ the year previously, somehow beating out Alan Moore, Anne Rice, Clive Barker and hundreds of other creators). Still, actually seeing the excitement in the fans as they met you was so much more palpable than a vote.
A note for booksellers -- there's a Children's Book Author Breakfast this year at Book Expo America, at which you'll hear from (and possibly meet) me, Judy Blume, Eoin Colfer and Sherman Alexie. It's hosted by Jon Scieszka.
FRIDAY, May 30, 2008 8:00AM - 9:30AM CHILDREN'S BOOK & AUTHOR BREAKFAST (Concourse Hall)
Tickets go on sale on Wednesday. (More details over at Lance's blog.)
Having initially pointed out on this blog that Steve Moffat's "Blink" would get the Hugo award for short form dramatic presentations, I then, following a mysterious email from a man I can only identify here by the initials P.C., shifted my support in this blog, superdelegate-like, to Paul Cornell's "Human Nature" two parter. No large sums of money have exchanged hands, yet.
I'm not sure that I can officially change my support again without seeming like some sort of strange human weathervane.
Luckily, you can nominate up to five things in each Hugo category. So here's an email from Marc Zicree, and here's me pointing out that Hugo voters should also nominate "World Enough and Time", by Marc and Michael Reaves, and that you can watch it on the web...
Wanted to let you know it's just been officially announced that STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES "World Enough and Time" starring George Takei and written by Michael Reaves and myself has been nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Script by the Science Fiction Writers of America, the first time an Internet production has been so honored.
I've also just been informed that March 1 is the deadline to nominate "World Enough" for the Hugo Award in Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form. The Hugo is the other big science fiction award, bestowed by the World Science Fiction Convention -- in 1968 the classic STAR TREK episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" won it.
So if you know anyone who's voting or nominating for the Hugo (and it only takes $50 for a supporting membership), send out the word. It only took 22 votes to get on the ballot last year in this category (and just 187 votes to win).
(For those who want to see it, you can watch "World Enough and Time" in its entirety in real-time streaming at http://www.startreknewvoyages.com/. And they also have a section on the NEW VOYAGES' homepage where one can click through to sign up for a supporting membership to Worldcon, to make the process that much easier.)
Also, I don't know if you heard, but Michael Reaves just had brain surgery relating to his advanced Parkinson's and is scheduled for another brain surgery immediately. At this stage, he can't type (though hopefully he will be able to soon, with the equipment many of us helped buy him at Christmas) and he's having great difficulty speaking. So a big part of my laboring so hard regarding the Nebula and Hugo is to help give him a boost right now. Even after 500 script sales and 30 books, he's feeling pretty isolated and down; these badges of recognition help him know how appreciated he and his work are, and go a long way toward making a hard time just a bit better.
My first Eastercon was Seacon in Brighton in 1984 -- a huge and wonderful affair. I was 23, wide-eyed and delighted by the convention. Bumptious, gawky, ransacking the dealer's room for Lionel Fanthorpe books for Ghastly Beyond Belief, occasionally mistaken for Clive Barker (why?) and starting to suspect that I might have found my tribe. And now, 24 years later, I'm some strange old-timery creature, at an Eastercon that's the biggest since, er, Seacon in 1984, and , despite the worries that friends have expressed to me about the greying of fandom, there seem to be a lot of people here the age I was at my first Eastercon or younger, an amazing amount of enthusiasm, and a lot of people who are having their first convention, and who may even now be suspecting that they might have found their tribe.
Altogether, a good thing.
Lots of old friends, and some new friends -- both China Mieville and Charles Stross are Guests of Honour as well, and I've known Charles for 20 years. (China for less than that.) I first signed in Fan Guest of Honour Rog Peyton's bookshop with Kim Newman in 1985 for "Ghastly Beyond Belief"... I keep running into people who I sort of recognise. Then I mentally subtract 25 pounds, make their hair dark and realise who they are.
Did an enjoyable, even if none of us were quite awake yet, panel on mythology in the morning, a wonderful panel on Fantastic London in the afternoon. Ate lunch with Patrick Nielsen Hayden, dinner with the astonishingly nice Paul Cornell -- who I am definitely supporting for a Hugo, at least until Steven Moffat comes through with the promised ice-cream, at which point I might waver. But until then it's Cornell all the way. We spent dinner in full Doctor Who nerd mode. It was much too much fun -- and I got to tell him an obscure Dr Who fact that he didn't know. Possibly one that not even Steven Manfred knows. Holly said we were very cute, and she enjoyed the conversation except possibly when we got onto the early stuff. Also somewhere in there was a lot of signing.
I met my Romanian publishers and was given Romanian copies of my books, and promised to think about coming to Romania...
Lots of fun things tomorrow -- I want to do a bit of a reading during my Guest of Honour time, because the only reading I'm down for is one for kids (a Wolves in the Walls reading) but I have to decide just what I want to read.
Mitch Benn plays at the convention tomorrow night. He just sent me a link to his latest video. It's a happy birthday song of a political nature. But the tune's nice and catchy...
Long day. Everything that has to be signed is signed, every telephone interview is done. Conference calls etc all dealt with. And at the end of a long working day, I now need to start writing. It's meant to be more fun than this, but I'm up against the wall on a research trip, and time is declining to be stretchy in the way I want it to (40 hour days.... 19 day weeks....)
I failed to go with daughter Holly on her Chicago road trip as well. Which would have been fun.
It looks there will be good news for all the people who have paid for Neverwheres from Hill House (or anything overdue from Hill House). I'll have more concrete information very soon.
And anyone who is waiting for a refund on the cancelled Tulsa Event, Mammoth Comics will be making sure the refunds happen -- apologies: I think absolutely everyone who could have screwed up on this one did, in a sort of Perfect Storm of screwedupness. But things should sort now. And guilt, if nothing else, will bring me to Tulsa sooner rather than later.
I hate to be nosy, but did you take Zoe to the vet? Blindness in aged cats is most commonly caused by hypertension (high blood pressure, as I am sure you knew). This condition can be secondary to kidney failure or dysfunction or hyperthyroidism. We do not see primary hypertension in cats generally. The second most common cause would be retinal atrophy, but it is much less common. Unfortunately, with neither disease is the blindness reversible, but if Zoe has an underlying disease, her well-being could be improved by treating it.
Thanks for allowing me to give unasked for advice, but I find that often my patients owners don't realize that disease in one area can cause a more obvious sign in another.
Sorry if you knew all this stuff already.
Shera a kitty vet (and huge fan)
I put this up because I thought it might be useful for other people as well. Yes, we took her to the vet today, who established that, yes, she is indeed blind. And is currently doing a whole set of tests on her. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for her. She's an astoundingly sweet-natured cat, who we've had since she was a barn-kitten: she fell downstairs when she was younger, and had her hip screwed together -- she's never been as active since. But she likes to be loved more than any cat I've known.(Worries.)
[later] She's back from the vet. It was indeed high blood pressure. They're trying to decide whether she needs medication. (She was hugely overweight when we got her back, and we put her on a long diet, so she's now at normal weight, which may help anyway.)
It's a great nomination list. I hesitated when I was told that The Graveyard Book was nominated -- I turned down a Hugo nomination for Anansi Boys a few years ago. But this time, after a few days to think, I accepted, and I'm glad I did, mostly because it's really astonishingly nice company to be in. The kind of company where I don't feel like I'm in competition: Neal Stephenson, Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross are friends (I've known Charles since, what, 1984? 1985?) and John Scalzi and I have boatloads of mutual friends, and I love his blogging, and, they're all great writers and damn, the award could go to any book on the list and I'd feel happy.
It's traditional to put nominated work online -- I've always made sure that short stories were up for free for voters (and everyone else) to read. Not sure yet if that'll happen with the text version of The Graveyard Book yet (I have to talk to my publisher), but in the meantime voters (and anyone else) can watch (or listen to) the whole book at http://www.mousecircus.com/videotour.aspx for nothing at all.
I'm really starting to like Google Voice. The 3 cents a minute calls to Russia from Canada through my cellphone are rather wonderful for a start. It has its little foibles, though: it sends a voice-to-text text message to your phone if someone leaves you a message. That's good. If an American leaves a message it's going to be pretty accurate. If an English person leaves a message, it might as well be random words. That's not good.
Did two panels today -- a conversation with Gary Wolfe, where we talked about reading fiction and criticism and reviewing and Gene Wolfe and such, and a conversation with Cheryl Morgan where we talked about dogs and bees and pumpkins and Doctor Who and things like that.
I presented two awards -- Best Graphic Fiction and Best Artist, and I won what feels like the heaviest Hugo there ever was for The Graveyard Book. I thought the Best Novel award would and should go to Neal Stephenson's Anathem (and still think that it might have done if that book had actually been included in the Hugo Voters Reading Packet that John Scalzi organised, where every Hugo voter was able to read all the Hugo nominated stories etc, thus, at least in theory, giving a much more educated voting base, who would vote on the basis of things they had read, rather than on name recognition or without having read things that were published in out-of-the-way places). I didn't have a speech prepared, but thanked everyone except one person.
You get about a week between being notified that you are nominated for a Hugo Award and the nominations being announced. This is to allow you to say "No, thank you" if you wish, and to decline the nomination. (I did this a few years ago with Anansi Boys.) The late Charles N. Brown called me during that week having found out by his own methods, or possibly just guessing, and told me not to decline the nomination. He was astonishingly firm and bossy about it, and while I had been wavering, after that call I emailed the administrator of the awards to let them know that I accepted. I should have thanked Charlie, and I didn't. So I am, here.