sff

/Tag: sff

Castle Rock was like… the uncanny valley of Stephen King. Just that weird combination of familiar and not-quite-right, blended enough to be off-putting. And not in the way the show runners intended.

Like, I didn’t… dislike it, exactly, but it’s just odd seeing something all dressed up in the trappings of King while being very fundamentally Not King.

2018-09-17T08:00:28+00:0015th September, 2018|Tags: pop culture, sff|0 Comments

Wyrdverse, Conflux, and Kickstarters (oh my)!

Oh no. It’s That Time of the Year again, the time when… (looks around nervously) … things happen.

Thing #1.

I formatted a book! Wyrdverse: Tales of the Wyrd is an anthology of short stories from the, well. Wyrdverse. These aren’t new—you may have previously read them on my website—they’re just now… collated better.

Wyrdverse is currently available super-cheap from Amazon, although if you’d like to snag yourself a free copy you can do so from the princely sum of your email address, by signing up to my book news mailing list.

Oh, and because the whole purpose of this exercise was to practice using Indesign, a print version of the book (in all its extensive, 80-page glory) should be available sometime in the next few weeks. So… keep an eye out for that.

Thing #2.

Speaking of awesome books you should buy (or, rather, back) right now, Crossed Genres’ Resist Fascism speculative fiction anthology is in the final days of its Kickstarter. From the official description:

RESIST. ANY WAY YOU CAN.

The world is in turmoil. The world is always in turmoil, but in recent years, people have seen violence and hatred become proud instead of ashamed. What meager rights we’ve fought for are being deliberately eroded. And the vulnerable have any help stripped away. All of this is happening openly and without fear of reprisal. And the worst perpetrators are some of the largest governments of the world.

Resisting the spread of fascism is as important now as it was 75 years ago. And there are many effective ways to resist.

For full disclosure, friend-and-all-round-awesome-person Rivqa has a story in this anthology, and I have read it and it is boss. So if you, too, would like to read a boss story about found family and Jewish jujitsu IN SPACE, then you should go smash that pledge button, as the kids on teh YouTubes say.

Thing #4.

Oh, and while you’re in the spending money mood,1 Mother of Invention is on sale! From the blurb:

Knit robots, build spaceships, and shape the future.

Extraordinary short stories about gender, artificial intelligence and the art of building something new. Mother of Invention features the work of Seanan McGuire, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Nisi Shawl, John Chu, Justina Robson and more.

Awesome? Yes. So what are you waiting for? Buy like a hundred copies and you’re set for presents to give out to all your friends, enemies, and loved ones at every birthday, anniversary, and culturally appropriate religious celebration for the indefinite future. Let’s all knit a softer, warmer robotic future together.

Finally… Thing #5.

Conflux! It’s coming, and I will be there. You can even come hear me blather on about narrative in the panel Play to write: what tabletop and video games can teach writers of fiction. And by “me” I mean “Rivqa and Elizabeth“, and by “blather” I mean “make interesting and intelligent points while trying to ignore their drooling co-panellist (i.e. me).”

Sound great? Of course it does! See you there.

  1. … I know, I know. ^
2018-09-12T08:15:44+00:0012th September, 2018|Tags: book news, books, conflux, cons, fandom, gonzo author stories, sff, wyrdverse, xp|2 Comments

Just who does win the Campbell?

So, apropos of yesterday’s post I decided to see who does, in fact, actually get nominated for (and who wins) the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Note that the data below was primary collected from Wikipedia. The “unknown” slices in the pies are because I didn’t go “deep doxxing” for biographical details, in the cases where nominees didn’t have obvious internet presences (e.g. Wikipedia pages, well-known social media profiles, etc.).

At least 76% of all Campbell award nominees are American.

All Campbell award nominees by nationality.

42 American winners, 4 Canadian, 1 British.

All Campbell award winners by nationality.

So, in other words: Who wins the Campbells? Americans, basically.


Other bonus fun facts (all caveats about unknown details applying):

  • The Campbell has been awarded since 1973.
  • In the first decade of the award, there was one Canadian winner (Spider Robinson in 1974), and one British nominee (James P. Hogan in 1979).
  • The first nominee I could find outside of the “US-UK-Canada” triad was Tobias S. Buckell, in 2002 (although note he currently lives in the US).
  • All known non-US-UK-Canada nominees are from the 2000s.
  • Nominees are about 37% female-identified to 49% male-identified (with 12% unknown, 2% nonbinary-identified).
  • Winners are 51% female-identified versus 49% male-identified.
2018-09-05T13:25:50+00:0027th August, 2018|Tags: fandom, sff, worldcon|7 Comments

Welcome to your authentic Hugos experience.

A couple of years ago, I was at an Author Event listening to a Big Name Editor talk. Let’s refer to the editor as “You”, just to be confusing.

So. You are a big name SFF editor, who publishes well-known, well-regarded annual collections of the “best of” variety. You have won multiple Hugo and World Fantasy awards, to name just a few. You are, for the most part, visibly a member of some, but not all, of the most privileged groups in society.

What I remember most about You speaking is the way You mentioned, quite offhandedly, that You never do blind or slush submissions for anthologies any more. You feel You don’t “need” to, because You have been in the scene for decades and You know it and are an identified tastemaker. Instead, when You’re putting together an anthology, You approach the authors You want to include. They rarely say no. I mean, why would they? You’re You, after all.

Like I said, this was just one little throwaway comment in a bigger, much longer and far-reaching conversation. Yet every time I think about things like diversity in SFF, or inclusion, or slates or cliques or whatever the Outrage Du Jour happens to be… I think of You, and Your comment. Because, here’s the thing. Those authors You include? The ones You choose to represent as the “best of” Your industry? These authors are, almost exclusively, already well-established big names. They’re also almost exclusively like You, demographically speaking.

Incidentally, I don’t read Your anthologies. After all, they’re always filled with the same handful of authors writing the same handful of stories. And they just aren’t my thing.

Funny, I guess. The way that goes.

2018-08-22T08:41:32+00:0022nd August, 2018|Tags: books, hugo awards, publishing, sff|Comments Off on Welcome to your authentic Hugos experience.

Worldbuilding is (still) overrated.

Above all, worldbuilding is not technically necessary. It is the great clomping foot of nerdism.

M. John Harrison on worldbuilding.

I’ve said this before, both here and on con panels, so it’s always nice to see it reiterated years earlier by other people.

For the record, I can always tell “worldbuilt” fiction, since its “Big Idea” is always something mechanical or setting-based, with characters designed to support that rather than the other way around. It’s not a “wrong” way to write a book—there’s no “wrong” way to write a book—but most of the outcomes don’t work for me that well. It’s also not the way I write, which is always driven by character concepts: “What if Loki survived Ragnarok and was also Steve Jobs?”, “What if a tax accountant turned into a tentacle monster and went on a Hero’s Journey?”, “What if a demon performed odd jobs in exchange for mortal souls… IN SPACE!!!! and also had to steal an angel?”, and so on. The “worldbuilding” then becomes a way to first construct, then deconstruct, then reconstruct those characters; the plot becomes the character development between pages 1 and 300.

Because I tend to write what I like to read, this is also the core of my big problems with “worldbuilt” fiction: its characters tend not to change very much, even if the world around them does…

2018-05-22T09:00:49+00:0025th July, 2018|Tags: sff, writing|3 Comments

Oh, WorldCon, no.

Foz Meadows has a write-up of the current WorldCon 76 drama.

This all feels very much like people used to running a small-town parochial con1 with an established member-base suddenly getting in a twist because they have to accommodate (gasp) outsiders.

I do think it’s maybe indicative of the fact that WorldCon is finally starting, in the last few years, to live up to the “world” part of its name. In other words, you can’t just have your local con grab the host spot and expect to be able to run things in the same way you always run them…

Edit: Another write-up.

  1. I know San Jose has a million or so people in it… but on the other hand, Melbourne has about 4 million and it took me like two years to feel like I knew, at least by sight, most of the regulars at Continuum. ^
2018-07-25T13:45:50+00:0025th July, 2018|Tags: cons, fandom, sff, worldcon|2 Comments