Friday, April 30, 2010

Psephology

Thanks to the ever-splendid Economist, I discovered a new word this week: psephology, the study of elections, voting patterns and electoral behaviour, and the forecasting of election results.

I don't know how many of you follow UK politics, but the general election is coming up, and the race has been shaken and stirred by the country's first televised debates between the leaders of the three main political parties: Labour (Gordon Brown), Conservative (David Cameron), and Liberal Democrat (Nick Clegg).

Yes, the first. Ten years into the 21st century, the UK has dipped its toe into the 20th century media approach to electioneering. The psephologists are having a blast.

UK elections are not like US elections. For one thing, UK voters cast their votes for the party (that is, for a Member of Parliament), and the parties select the leaders. The leader of the party with the most MPs becomes Prime Minister. The PM is not, officially, the head of state--that job is taken (hint: she wear a big shiny crown)--but head of government.

There have been three political parties in the UK for a 150 years or so. But since the 1920s, elections have been a two-horse race between the Conservative Party (also known as the Tories) and the Labour Party. The Liberal Party (now the Liberal Democratic Party) got sidelined.

Anyway, the televised, presidential-candidate style debate has turned the whole thing upside down. Various polls put the Tories in first, the Lib Dems in second, and Labour third. (They're changing all the time. It's pretty exciting--y'know, as these things go.)

This could be huge. For one thing, whoever wins (it'll be the Tories) will need to play nicely with the Lib Dems. Which means the Lib Dems' policies, particularly their long-held belief in proportional representation, will have to be taken on board. Which means the whole 2-party, first-post-the-post structure of UK elections will change. The UK will become more like many European nations, with coalition governments. This is a good thing, in my opinion. They'll have to start acting like grownups instead of hooting at each like children when parliament is sitting.

So who would I vote for? Arthur, of course.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Falling in love, again

On Sunday, Kelley and I had friends over for dinner to celebrate them moving in together. To mark the occasion we served wines that meant something to us as a couple.

We started with Champagne and nibblies: dates stuffed with walnuts, wrapped in prosciutto and baked. Then we had butternut squash soup (with a swirl of heavy cream and chopped fresh parsley) and Barbaresco, a 1999 Fontanabianca.

The first Barbaresco I ever tasted was a 1995 Fontanabianca, in 1997 at an Italian restaurant (long since closed) in Seattle's University District. One of those summer nights when I fell in love with Kelley all over again and began my love affair with the Piedmontese. The owner of the restaurant (a rogue called Angelo--who sometimes appeared at table with a black eye or missing tooth) suggested a wine (because at the time we knew nothing of Italian wine), and decanted it into a cheerful ceramic jug to air it out. I wasn't watching: I was holding Kelley's hand and grinning foolishly. But then, oh, the smell! It cut through my hormonal daze and made me pay attention: sun on mineraly dirt, and rising, rising like the last moisture from parched mineralyt earth. One day I'm going to go to Italy and I swear I'll be able to find that vineyard by scent alone: it will be a steep hillside with dusty soil and a sky like a blue bowl. I will want to plunge my hand into the dirt to the wrist and sniff it.

We've had all that late 90s vintages of Fontanabianca now, and they're all wonderful. They all bring back the memory of that night.

After the soup we had spring lamb stew, with a magnificent Barolo, a 1998 Pio Cesare that we first drank on one of our wedding anniversaries. It was just as fine: old school structure, a deep garnet colour, and that nose...

For desert, it was chocolate cloud cake and a '73 Armagnac. Sister to this one--but it tasted quite different: burlier and more...edged, shockingly distinct on first taste but then relaxing into complexity. I think I prefer it to the '80; it's much less like an urbane Cognac, and more like the coarse and energetic and bright Armagnacs I first fell in love with fifteen years ago. Anyway, here's a picture of dessert (not the best pic ever--hey, you try drinking three wines and an Armagnac and take a beautifully composed photograph):

It was a long, lazy evening of wandering conversation. And we all went to bed smiling.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Torture tree

I know the weather is about to change when the torture tree, the last holdout, starts to green.


Here's the tree on a misty morning two months ago:


The seasons really are moving along. Life is good. Happy Sunday.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

What to do after you get drunk...

Busy today, so go read the links for writers post on Sterling: some nifty stuff on what to search for just before you submit your work, good books for writers who want to learn, what to do when an agent says 'yes' (after you get drunk--hey, once you're officially A Writer, getting drunk is obligatory; it's one of the club rules*), and more...

_________________

* Not an official Sterling Editing opinion because, y'know, responsible editors would never suggest such a thing. Foolish writers, on the other hand, just don't care about things like consequences.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Did I expect this?

Over on Facebook a couple of days ago someone asked me if I had expected "this kind of recognition" (Locus and Hugo award nominations) for my novelette "It Takes Two."

No.

This isn't false modesty. (I don't do modesty. I'm a good writer. I know it.) I had no expectations because it's been so long since I wrote a short story that I had no notion of the climate out there.

All writing genres have their in-crowd, their Young Turks and Grand Old Men and Women (in our house we call them GOMs and GOWs--there are many more of the former; it's the nature of the beast). They have their tight communities and their passing fashions. For some awards it frankly doesn't matter how good you are; if you don't look right and smell right, if their people don't know your people or you're slightly out of style, you'll never get the gong.

I'm a native of f/sf but not a full-time resident. For the last dozen years I've been writing other things. I had no expectation that anyone would even notice this story. I certainly wasn't thinking about that when I wrote it. I simply had a blast, got paid reasonably, and went back to working on my magnum opus.

So the story's reception caught me off guard. But, hey, I adjust fast, and now I'm imagining shiny objects on my shelf. I'll be crushed when someone else takes them home. (Which will happen: my fellow nominees have written some very, very good work. Go read it.) But, wow, I got nominated for my very first Hugo! For my first short story in a decade! How cool is that?

Plus, I've now sold the story three (or four, or five--I'm wary of counting until the contract is signed) times. So here's my theory: I don't qualify as a GOW, and I'm definitely not a Young Turk. So I must be a Grand Old Dyke. Yep. I'm a GOD.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blurred air

The night before last I stood out on the deck by the ravine. It was sometime around three in the morning.

The moon was just a sliver, and hidden behind pearl grey cloud--yet the night was silvery bright. And very still. The air glistened. I swear, I could hear the trees breathing and the dew condensing.

I felt enormously clear and powerful. It's the kind of night that dares a person to extraordinary deeds, to acknowledgement of possibility. It's the time for murder or sex or oath taking.

I stood there for ten minutes or so. I wasn't cold. Then the lilac tree stirred in a cat's lick of air from the ravine, and the night smelt of brine and lilac, and it was simply a beautiful night.

I went to bed and went to sleep and thought no more of it. Then yesterday we had an early evening with a friend. At the end of the evening we said our goodbyes and left the pub. It was about eight o'clock and dusk. The air was grey and gold--and blurred. I blinked a few times, wondering if I'd had more to drink than I'd planned. But, no: the air really was blurred with very fine rain lit by a sinking sun reflected by and filtered through thin pearl cloud. Extraordinary.

So today I've been thinking about light and stillness and the moments when will condenses from the air like dew.

Something will come of this.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gay superhero pride

From the New York Times:

DIM lighting. Rendezvous-friendly nooks. Muscled bartenders. Pulsating dance music. At first glance, it could be any Saturday night in any gay bar in New York.

But then you notice, off to one corner, Superman flirting with Green Lantern. And there, across the room, someone in the form-fitting outfit of Black Adam, Captain Marvel’s foe, determinedly working the floor. In fact, there seems to be an inordinate number of men here tonight who look as if they have all but jumped from the pages of a comic book. And in some way, they have...

Gay and lesbian superheroes are in. Some people are cynical about it--for good reason--some people like me are more in the "Girls in skimpy clothes! Kissing other girls! Awesome!" camp.

What do you think?

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Locus Award finalist--a dilemma

I've just found out that "It Takes Two" is a Locus Award finalist. I'm in some fine company, including two of my fellow Hugo Finalists.

The winner will be announced here in Seattle on Saturday June 26th--

--which means I have a tricky decision to make. On the one hand, an evening of catching up with old friends, meeting writers who could become new friends, and maybe (or maybe not) picking up a shiny object for my shelf. On the other, well, it's our anniversary which we tend to prefer to celebrate in private. Yes, we have many anniversaries (see this and this and this), but every single one matters to me. A lot. Decisions, decision...

But, hey, what a lovely dilemma to be in :)

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Egg-shaped house

Here's an egg-shaped home office for the garden, or an emergency living pod. Or, well, something. Pretty nifty. Though not the bouncy house of the apocalypse... (Thanks, Evecho.)

It has a real reptilian egg look to it. But, wow, it would have to be a b-i-g dinosaur...

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Friday, April 16, 2010

queering sf, and comics, and hospital visits

Batwoman is getting her own series, yay! Matt Staggs' piece in Suvudu:

DC Comics announced Wednesday that Batwoman will have her own ongoing series beginning later this year. Batwoman’s most high profile role in comics has been that of lead character in “Detective Comics” during the disappearance of Batman. Artist J.H. Williams III, who was nominated for two Eisners for his work on “Detective Comics,” will continue his work with Batwoman, both drawing and writing the new series.

Batwoman is also the first lesbian superhero to have her own series, and is only one of a handful of gay comic book characters in the medium at all. Does seeing a lesbian hero in a mainstream comic book indicate a growing acceptance of LGBT characters in popular culture, over all?

If you read far enough you'll see my response. But then see Caitlin Kiernan's scepticism. She's not wrong but, eh, she's aiming for the moon, and, today, I'm just happy to fly. A dyke comic from a mainstream publisher? Woo hoo! How cool is that?

Also, over at Tor.com, they're talking about queering f/sf. I'm glad, of course, that it's a topic for discussion but I think they could use some help with suggested reading. Pop over and give them a hand.

In non-book queer news, President Obama yesterday phoned Janice Langbehn and apologised for what she went through when her partner, Lisa, died alone in a Florida hospital. He signed a memo prohibiting discrimination against same-sex (and other) hospital visitation. This is a Good Thing. Janice has been tireless in pushing for this. I know how crushing grief can be; she deserves recognition and our thanks for helping to make this happen.

Finally, over at Sterling Editing we have our weekly round up of links for writers. Lots of cautionary remarks from experts this week: how to write, how not to respond to rejection, and when (and not) to quit your day job. And lots more.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Adèle Blanc-Sec

Luc Besson's latest:



(thanks Angélique)

Based on Les Aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec, by Jacques Tardi. It looks like a great pile o' fun. Yeah, the subtexty, Xena-like let's-hint-at-girl-sex sequence is cheesy but, woo hoo!, sometimes I like a bit of cheesy goodness.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Clarion West Executive Director. Apply Now.

Clarion West, the peoplel who run the fabbest writers' workshop in the world, is looking for a quarter-time Executive Director. You can find the downloadable, printable and in every way nifty pdf here. But for those of you who are too lazy to click through (you know who you are), here's the thing in full:

Executive Director Job Announcement
The Clarion West Writers Workshop, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Seattle, Washington, is seeking a part-time Executive Director.

About Clarion West
The Clarion West Writers Workshop is a six-week workshop which helps new writers prepare for professional careers in speculative fiction. Every summer, 18 writers come together in Seattle in an intensive professional-level live-in workshop experience led by established writers and editors who offer critical feedback on writing, insight into publishing, and career advice. In conjunction with the annual workshop, we hold a reading series to showcase the work of our instructors and other events to bring together writers and readers of speculative fiction.

Our workshop has been held continuously in Seattle, Washington for more than 25 years. We have produced some of science fiction and fantasy's top writers and editors, and our graduates have received every major form of recognition in the field, including the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards. Our workshop is a transformative experience for many writers.

We're committed to the growth and success of speculative fiction writers; fostering diversity within speculative fiction; and building a global community of recognition and support for writers, readers, and industry professionals.

Clarion West changes writers' lives. We're looking for the right person to help us keep making that happen.

For additional information about Clarion West, please visit www.clarionwest.org.

We're Looking For…
An Executive Director with demonstrated fundraising and leadership ability who will embrace the Clarion West culture of collaboration and teamwork, and support our staff, volunteers, and board of directors in nurturing the workshop and sustaining the organization.

The Executive Director does not directly manage the workshop; we're looking for a leader and manager for the organizational structure that promotes and sustains the workshop and the extended community of alumni, donors, supporters, and industry professionals.

This is a paid part-time job estimated at 500 hours per year. Although the workshop is held in summer, the Executive Director has year-round duties and responsibilities. The position is based in Seattle.

Key Priorities
• Lead fundraising and development operations.
• Manage Clarion West staff (with Workshop Director, Communications Director, and Office Manager as direct reports).
• Ensure that all workshop, fundraising, communication, and administrative activities run smoothly and meet the goals set by the Board of Directors.

Key Responsibilities
Leadership and Management
• Recruit, hire, manage, and evaluate office, workshop, and communication staff. Ensure adequate volunteer support.
• Demonstrate sound human resource practices, commitment to diversity, and timely response to staff requests.
• Ensure that all operations meet the goals set by the Board of Directors.
• Ensure that the organization operates within budget guidelines.
• Oversee maintenance of official records and documents, and ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations.

Fundraising
• Plan and oversee the execution of fundraising, development, and alumni relations operations.

Board Relations
• Develop program, organizational, and financial plans as requested by the board, and carry out plans and policies authorized by the board.
• Act as the interface between the Board of Directors and the rest of the organization, seeing that the Board is fully informed on the condition of the organization.
• Work with the Board of Directors to assure that the organization has a long-range strategy for its survival and improvement, toward which it makes consistent and timely progress.

Community Relations
• In concert with the Workshop Director and Communications Director, maintain and support sound working relationships and cooperative arrangements with speculative fiction community groups and other relevant organizations.
• In concert with the Workshop Director and Communications Director, maintain overview of developments in the speculative fiction field and in the area of writers’ workshops.
• Ensure that all Clarion West staff and board members work together to represent Clarion West programs and the point of view of the organization to agencies, organizations, media, and the general public.

Qualifications
• A proven ability to create fundraising strategies and process; manage fundraising operations; and raise funds from a range of sources.
• A proven ability to lead, support, and mentor staff with integrity, enthusiasm, an emphasis on collaboration, and a commitment to results.
• Excellent communication, listening, and relationship-building skills.
• A minimum of four years of management and supervisory experience.
• Proven commitment to diversity and inclusion.
• Knowledge of nonprofit board structures and principles of governance.
• The ability to work a flexible schedule.
Clarion West, the fabbest writers' workshop in the world, is looking for a quarter-time Executive Director based in Seattle. Here's the job announcement.

To apply
Please submit a cover letter, resume, and contact information (phone and email) for three professional references. Submit your materials electronically, in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format, to:

Kelley Eskridge
Clarion West Board Chair
kelley_eskridge@clarionwest.org. 

We will begin reviewing applications on April 21, 2010.
The position will remain open until filled.

If you have questions
Please contact Kelley Eskridge, Clarion West Board Chair, at kelley_eskridge@clarionwest.org.

This would be a great job with a great organisation which does great things and you'd have a great boss. Apply now.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Thoughts on the short story

Over at Sterling Editing, we have our usual roundup of links for writers. The most interesting, for me, is the BBC Story link to thoughts by brilliant writers and editors and publishers on what a short story is and how it works.

Here, for example, is a quote from the publisher of Salt:

We see short stories as one step away from poetry; the public and book world see them as one step away from novels. This, I reckon, is the general crux of the matter: they have an identity crisis. Neither fish nor fowl, they don't easily fit and, perhaps because of this, are sadly misunderstood and overlooked, possibly by both camps.

I think stories can be either. Brilliant stories (the kind of thing Kelley writes) can be both. You?

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wow: The Elements--what an iPad textbook can look like



(via eBookNewser)

The 3-D option is particularly nifty. I'm thinking what an amazing iPad version I could make of And Now We Are Going to Have a Party: Liner notes to a writer's early life. And for so much less money than the paper version. Wow.

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Life is good

Busy doing stuff. But I thought you might like a photo of some of my Easter chocolate.

Naturally, they no longer look like this. I tend to start with the ears and work my way down...

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

If you'd like to buy me a present

photo: Sotheby's

According to the Guardian:

Sotheby's has announced it is to sell an extremely rare and perfectly conditioned first edition of St Augustine's complete works as edited by Erasmus. What makes the set of books even more special is the thousands of tiny red-ink corrections, amendments and commentaries, the majority of which have not been studied academically.

Pretty nifty. But you know what I'd like more? A first edition of the complete works of Bede. (Actually, I wouldn't mind any old reading copy of any edition of his extant works). While we're talking impossible things, I'd give my eye teeth to sneak into another stream of the multiverse and remove the copy of Hild's Life that was--must have been--written at Whitby Abbey sometime in the early eighth century. Damn I'd like to see that book...

What books--real or imaginary--would you like to see?

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Emerging LGBT Voices Writers' Retreat

The faculty have been announced for the Lambda Literary Foundation's Emerging LGBT Voices Writing Retreat. And, hey, I'm one of them.

Emerging LGBT Voices is a week-long writers' workshop in Los Angeles. Fellows will focus on fiction, non-fiction, or poetry.

I'll be teaching fiction, Ellen Bass poetry, and Ellery Washington non-fiction. Start your engines: applications due by May 1st!

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Complete list of Hugo Nominees

Lifted whole from the AussieCon4 website:

The Hugo Awards are awards for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy. They were first awarded in 1953, and have been awarded every year since 1955.

The 2010 Hugo Awards will be presented in Melbourne, Australia during Aussiecon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention.

Final voting will open 4 April 2010 and close 31 July 2010 23:59 PDT.

Supporting and attending members of Aussiecon 4 are eligible to vote in the final round.

The 2010 Hugo and John W. Campbell Award Nominees

BEST NOVEL (699 nominating ballots)
  • Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (Tor)
  • The City & The City by China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan UK)
  • Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America by Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)
  • Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente (Bantam Spectra)
  • Wake by Robert J. Sawyer (Ace; Penguin; Gollancz; Analog)
  • The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade)
BEST NOVELLA (375 nominating ballots)
  • "Act One" by Nancy Kress (Asimov's 3/09)
  • The God Engines by John Scalzi (Subterranean)
  • "Palimpsest" by Charles Stross (Wireless)
  • Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow (Tachyon)
  • "Vishnu at the Cat Circus" by Ian McDonald (Cyberabad Days)
  • The Women of Nell Gwynne's by Kage Baker (Subterranean)
BEST NOVELETTE (402 nominating ballots)
  • "Eros, Philia, Agape" by Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com 3/09)
  • "The Island" by Peter Watts (The New Space Opera 2)
  • "It Takes Two" by Nicola Griffith (Eclipse Three)
  • "One of Our Bastards is Missing" by Paul Cornell (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction: Volume Three)
  • "Overtime" by Charles Stross (Tor.com 12/09)
  • "Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast" by Eugie Foster (Interzone 2/09)
BEST SHORT STORY (432 nominating ballots)
  • "The Bride of Frankenstein" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's 12/09)
  • "Bridesicle" by Will McIntosh (Asimov’s 1/09)
  • "The Moment" by Lawrence M. Schoen (Footprints)
  • "Non-Zero Probabilities" by N.K. Jemisin (Clarkesworld 9/09)
  • "Spar" by Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld 10/09)
BEST RELATED WORK (259 nominating ballots)
  • Canary Fever: Reviews by John Clute (Beccon)
  • Hope-In-The-Mist: The Extraordinary Career and Mysterious Life of Hope Mirrlees
  • The Inter-Galactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children's and Teens' Science Fiction by Farah Mendlesohn (McFarland)
  • On Joanna Russ edited by Farah Mendlesohn (Wesleyan)
  • The Secret Feminist Cabal: A Cultural History of SF Feminisms by Helen Merrick (Aqueduct)
  • This is Me, Jack Vance! (Or, More Properly, This is "I") by Jack Vance (Subterranean)
BEST GRAPHIC STORY (221 nominating ballots)
  • Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Written by Neil Gaiman; Pencilled by Andy Kubert; Inked by Scott Williams (DC Comics)
  • Captain Britain And MI13. Volume 3: Vampire State Written by Paul Cornell; Pencilled by Leonard Kirk with Mike Collins, Adrian Alphona and Ardian Syaf (Marvel Comics)
  • Fables Vol 12: The Dark Ages Written by Bill Willingham; Pencilled by Mark Buckingham; Art by Peter Gross & Andrew Pepoy, Michael Allred, David Hahn; Colour by Lee Loughridge & Laura Allred; Letters by Todd Klein (Vertigo Comics)
  • Girl Genius, Volume 9: Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm Written by Kaja and Phil Foglio; Art by Phil Foglio; Colours by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
  • Schlock Mercenary: The Longshoreman of the Apocalypse Written and Illustrated by Howard Tayler
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION - LONG FORM (541 nominating ballots)
  • Avatar Screenplay and Directed by James Cameron (Twentieth Century Fox)
  • District 9 Screenplay by Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell; Directed by Neill Blomkamp (TriStar Pictures)
  • Moon Screenplay by Nathan Parker; Story by Duncan Jones; Directed by Duncan Jones (Liberty Films)
  • Star Trek Screenplay by Robert Orci & Alex Kurtzman; Directed by J.J. Abrams (Paramount)
  • Up Screenplay by Bob Peterson & Pete Docter; Story by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, & Thomas McCarthy; Directed by Bob Peterson & Pete Docter (Disney/Pixar)
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION - SHORT FORM (282 nominating ballots)
  • Doctor Who: "The Next Doctor" Written by Russell T Davies; Directed by Andy Goddard (BBC Wales)
  • Doctor Who: "Planet of the Dead" Written by Russell T Davies & Gareth Roberts; Directed by James Strong (BBC Wales)
  • Doctor Who: "The Waters of Mars" Written by Russell T Davies & Phil Ford; Directed by Graeme Harper (BBC Wales)
  • Dollhouse: "Epitaph 1" Story by Joss Whedon; Written by Maurissa Tancharoen & Jed Whedon; Directed by David Solomon (Mutant Enemy)
  • FlashForward: "No More Good Days" Written by Brannon Braga & David S. Goyer; Directed by David S. Goyer; based on the novel by Robert J. Sawyer (ABC)
BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM (289 nominating ballots)
  • Lou Anders
  • Ginjer Buchanan
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Patrick Nielsen Hayden
  • Juliet Ulman
BEST EDITOR, SHORT FORM (419 nominating ballots)
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Stanley Schmidt
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Gordon Van Gelder
  • Sheila Williams
BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST (327 nominating ballots)
  • Bob Eggleton
  • Stephan Martiniere
  • John Picacio
  • Daniel Dos Santos
  • Shaun Tan
BEST SEMIPROZINE (377 nominating ballots)
  • Ansible edited by David Langford
  • Clarkesworld edited by Neil Clarke, Sean Wallace, & Cheryl Morgan
  • Interzone edited by Andy Cox
  • Locus edited by Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong-Wong, & Liza Groen Trombi
  • Weird Tales edited by Ann VanderMeer & Stephen H. Segal
BEST FAN WRITER (319 nominating ballots)
  • Claire Brialey
  • Christopher J Garcia
  • James Nicoll
  • Lloyd Penney
  • Frederik Pohl
BEST FANZINE (298 nominating ballots)
  • Argentus edited by Steven H Silver
  • Banana Wings edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer
  • CHALLENGER edited by Guy H. Lillian III
  • Drink Tank edited by Christopher J Garcia, with guest editor James Bacon
  • File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
  • StarShipSofa edited by Tony C. Smith
BEST FAN ARTIST (199 nominating ballots)
  • Brad W. Foster
  • Dave Howell
  • Sue Mason
  • Steve Stiles
  • Taral Wayne
THE JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER (NOT A HUGO AWARD) (356 nominating ballots)
  • Saladin Ahmed
  • Gail Carriger
  • Felix Gilman *
  • Seanan McGuire
  • Lezli Robyn *
* Second year of eligibility
For the duration of the voting period, my novelette, "It Takes Two," is available on my website as a free PDF.

I'm as excited as a child--anyone would think this was my first time. Oh, wait, this is my first time for a Hugo! Ha!

There's a lot I find interesting about the ballot but I'm typing this after some serious celebrating so I think the Deep Thoughts (okay, pretty superficial at this point) thoughts will have to wait for later. For now: congratulations, everyone! I know a surprising number of people on this ballot and what I wish most of all is that we could all be in a room drinking our favourite tipple (whether it's Guinness, Coke Zero, 20-yr old malt, disgusting pink sticky things, or what). Cheers!

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

W00t! I'm a Hugo Finalist!

My very first! For "It Takes Two," which first appeared in Jonathan Strahan's Eclipse 3.

I'm getting this live from Twitter (follow #hugos) so it's all a bit scattered (and perhaps full of mistakes, which I'll correct later). But the other nominees in the novelette category are "Eros, Philia, Agape," by Rachel Swirsky; "The Island," by Peter Watts; "It Takes Two," by, y'know, me; "One of Our Bastards is Missing," by Paul Cornell; "Overtime," by Charles Stross; "Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest," by Eugie Foster. Lots of Brits. Go us!

Also of note to readers of this blog, nominations for Farah Mendelsohn's On Joanna Russ and Helen Merrick's The Secret Feminist Cabal.

More--and more coherently--later. Meanwhile, congrats to everyone, and woo-hoo!

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No one has the right to live their life without being shocked

Happy Easter. I grew up Catholic so Easter is all about the chocolate for me. But I know some of you think about god sometimes. Here's an exchange worth noting: Philip Pullman's response to the charge that the title of his latest novel, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, is shocking to an 'ordinary Christian'.



(Thanks, Angélique.)

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Chief Electricity Officer

The best summation I've seen so far of Apple's iPad is from Sarah Rotman Epps of Forrester Research. (Link via Babbage.) The beauty of it lies in the final paragraph:

The iPad’s cultural impact will far surpass the number of units it sells. It may be only 3 million people that buy the iPad this year, but the number that will reimagine how they use devices will be far greater. And that will be the lasting impact of the iPad. In three years, we’ll look back and marvel not at how many units Apple sold, but at the way Apple changed computing. The iPad may not have GPS (at least in the WiFi-only version), but it’s a road map for where computing is going: Curated, cloud-based experiences that are visual and tactile.

It seems to me that Apple and Google need to learn to play together for the Apple-and-the-Cloud dream to work. (Go read Tim O'Reilly's long but articulate thoughts on the State of the Internet Operating System.)

It will work one day, though. I have a friend who is a Vice President for a data-intensive corporation. I told her two years ago that Chief Technology Officer will make as much sense in the 21st century as Chief Electricity Officer did for most of the 20th. (Yes, they used to have such things.) Chief Information Officer, now, that's a whole other kettle of fish. She disagrees. I know I'm right; I look forward to crowing one day very soon. She will owe me a very expensive dinner.

But it won't happen until cloud computing is a utility; until we have non-denominational access. The day I can pick up a gadget and use it like a can opener, and not think about downloading this or that or some other thing to make it talk to the can, or the label on the can, or the contents of the can, that's the day I'll be happy. That's the day I get to resign from my job as my own Chief Technology Officer, and turn into a contented consumer.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

I think we need a new car

I think we need a new car.

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I love The Economist, but I doubt we'll date

I read The Economist cover to cover every week. I'm especially enamoured of their Special Reports, particularly Technology Quarterly, so I was double-dipped in delight on discovery of their new technology blog, Babbage. Take a look at this post, for instance:

OK CUPID, an online dating service in America, has run a lengthy analysis of its members' political attitudes and concluded that Republicans form an effective opposition party because they cohere better, ideologically. The data set consisted of 172,853 people and one crucial unmentioned bias: they're all lonely. Closer to Ok Cupid's specialty, however, is the conclusion that Republicans are more likely to match with each other than Democrats, who are evidently incapable of agreeing on anything. (Via Chart Porn)

Rare occurrences in The Economist: typos, stupidity, dullness. Common occurrences: witty captions, biting sarcasm, knowledgeable punditry. They occasionally suffer from elite-club syndrome--the in-the-knowness can get a little tedious--but, basically, the magazine (print and online) rocks the Thunderdome. I just don't think we're really, y'know, suited. Besides, I doubt it bakes.

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