Two bits of small news this morning:

1) The storySouth Millions Writers Award Notable Stories List has been released, and I'm very pleased to note that my short story, Love in the Absence of Mosquitoes, earned a mention on the list.

Equally importantly, several other friends, publications and excellent work ended up getting honored. It wasn't a huge surprise to see E. Lily Yu's The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees on this list (small note: I'm really hoping this short story pops up on the World Fantasy World nominee list (hint, hint, hint, nominators currently filling out ballots!) so that she sweeps the award nomination lists. But also joining her were Aliette de Bodard ([personal profile] aliettedb), A.C. Wise [profile] acwise), and Kristine Ong Muslim, which is all very cool. And the Journal of Unlikely Entomology earned a nod as well.

2) Here, We Cross, a chapbook of queer and gender-bending poetry, is now available from I have a poem in it, but the more important part is that sales of this chapbook are going to support Stone Telling, the little speculative poetry zine that has been producing some really marvelous work, and Stone Bird Press, the micropress currently behind Stone Telling and inkscrawl that I'm hoping will be producing various chapbooks and more in the future.
1. As I announced in a couple places elsewhere, my poem Snowmelt was nominated for a Rhysling Award.

I don't often have favorites among my poems, but "Snowmelt" was one of the rare poems that entirely satisfied me, and hands down the poem I was proudest of last year. I have, you see, a slight – very slight – obsession with structured poetry, but I can only rarely make it work. "Snowmelt," which mingles a triolet, rondeau, pantoum and a sonnet in with other mirrored and structured works, takes that obsession to new levels, and I'm delighted that someone else has decided to indulge my obsession with a nice nod of recognition.

Assuming the goblins cooperate, I believe we'll have a bit more news about Goblin Fruit, where this poem initially appeared, in the next few days....although you never quite know with goblins. Tricksy creatures, they be.

2. And since it's Thursday, it must be time for another post, this one about A Wind in the Door. I'll also note that people have already started chattering about A Severed Wasp in the comments on earlier posts, which suggests that we'll be having some interesting comments once we get to that book (not for a few more weeks.)

3. A few other good and interesting things are happening on the publishing front that I can't blog about quite yet, but, well, as they say, watch this space. Nothing good is happening on the writing front, where my work in progress can be best compared to that of a turtle who has decided that, you know, even this crawling thing is Too. Much. I've just been too tired to think clearly.

....why is the Batman theme song playing outside?

Anyway. Off to try to trick out a few more words.
And now for my stuff:

Novelette: Trickster. Not just my first sale to Clarkesworld, but also a story that I was quite pleased with, and which, as far as I'm concerned, already received the very best type of award in the form of a complete stranger who read it and got exactly what I was trying to do. I rarely pay attention to reviews but I have to admit that one gave me a strong sense of satisfaction.

Short story:

To my genuine surprise, Love in the Absence of Mosquitoes earned a Locus Recommendation and several favorable reviews, this mostly because, to be honest, I didn't think that people deliberately reading a journal about weird bugs would bother to read the one story in the issue without any bugs. Maybe they just needed the break. In any case, this was probably my second or third most popular/favorably received story of the year, a story of love, its absence, changed social relations, and oh yes, mosquitoes.

The most popular story, however, based on emails and blog comments, was probably Sister and Bones, which even earned praise from Terri Windling.

Hands down, however, the story gaining the strongest emotional reaction from pretty much everyone was, not at all to my surprise, The Woods, Their Hearts, My Blood, my happy little cannibalism tale.

Frankly, I have a hellish time choosing between those three stories: "Sister and Bones" is the lyrical piece; "Love in the Absence of Mosquitoes" the intellectual piece; and "The Woods, Their Hearts, My Blood," the emotional piece. They were all favorites from this year, and I suspect I'll be sneaking back into the Nebula forums to throw another one up, just because.

Also eligible: Green, which was my mother's favorite of everything I published this year; In the Pits of Isfhan, which hasn't had time to get much reaction from anyone yet; and Twelve Days of Dragons, which I loved, but is a holiday story, which awards tend to avoid.

I think that covers it.
Auuugh. I see it's the time of year again when we all pimp our various tales and doings and hope that our fellow writers and voters will notice. Did I say, auugh? Probably not loudly enough.

So this year, I'm splitting this into two posts. In this one, feel free to help ME vote by recommending award worthy novels, novellas, novelettes, short stories, graphic novels (otherwise Hugo is just going to get the usual OZ IS GREAT vote from me), and independent films available through the internet published/released in 2011. This can be your own stuff, or someone else's. This is your chance to grab my vote, and although I don't have the readership of a John Scalzi, I do have a few SFWA members (Nebula voters) and WorldCon attendees (Hugo voters) perusing this blog on a regular basis, so you never know.

I'll just note that this year, I'm seeing several different works popping up on everyone's year's best lists, which is pretty cool, and suggests that the fields are wide open. Also, if you wish, you too can be a Hugo voter if you purchase a supporting membership, which also helps support WorldCon. Yes, it's $50, but on the other hand they send you free ebooks for your membership.

I'll lead off by mentioning a few things by mostly complete strangers to me which I haven't seen on too many other lists:

1) The brilliant The Booth at The End, eligible for the Bradbury Award (Nebula), an independent film that asks just how far people might go to get what they want. I was mesmerized. (I'd really like to see this earn a Nebula nomination – this is the sort of independent work that the Awards should be nominating, and it might help convince [community profile] papersky that honoring filmed works isn't as pointless as she generally believes.)

2) Charlie Jane Anders Six Months, Three Days (novelette; I am admittedly a complete sucker for this sort of thing)

3) Ken Scholes, Making My Entrance Again With My Usual Flair (CLOWN! MONKEY!) (short story, and not the sort of thing that typically wins the Nebula or Hugo, but did I mention the clown and the monkey?)

4) Megan Arkenberg, Lessons from a Clockwork Queen (short story) (Shortly after I put this up I saw that this story has in fact appeared on a few other lists, so…go read it anyway.)

(Full disclosure: after I watched and praised The Booth at the End on Twitter, its creator, Christopher Kubasik began following me on Twitter, although we've never met in real life. I've been told that Charlie Jane Anders and I have been in the same room together; Megan Arkenberg and I have occasionally shared a TOC; and Ken Scholes and I like clowns and monkeys. But I've never spoken to them.)

For Best Fan Writer (Hugo), may I recommend Abigail Nussbaum, James Nicoll, Cleolinda (for years of unrecognized work), and anybody that might get nominated in the comments.

Go ahead and add stuff!
I was way too sick to post about this last night, but in case you missed it, The 2011 Hugo and Campbell nominees were announced yesterday. The important thing here to note is that [personal profile] rachel_swirsky was nominated for "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen's Window, and Geoffrey Landis for "The Sultan of the Clouds," and [personal profile] aliettedb for "The Jaguar's House in Shadow." YAY!

Otherwise, I am trying to figure out exactly how Randall Munroe counts as a fan artist (I didn't nominate him because it would never have occurred to me to put him in that category), and noting with amusement that the rest of the Hugo voters and I are very clearly reading completely different graphic stories. (Seriously? No love for Oz???? SNIFFLE.)

Major congratulations to all of the nominees, though, and yes, this includes Randall Munroe!

ETA: Just to clarify, I love XKCD - it's one of my don't miss webcomics; I'm just wondering why this was nominated in the fan category instead of the professional?
In a bit of surprise, I learned last night that my short story, Mademoiselle and the Chevalier, was selected as one of the storySouth Million Writers Award notable stories of 2010. A surprise, because as I've previously noted, Fantasy Magazine had a very good year last year, and I expected this story to be completely overshadowed by other brilliance.

In related good news, [personal profile] tithenai received a nod for her short story, "The Green Book," which also, as you might remember, received a well-earned Nebula nomination, [personal profile] aliettedb got a nod for Memories in Bronze, Feathers and Blood, [personal profile] catvalente got a nod for Thirteen Ways of Looking at Space/Time, and [personal profile] rachel_swirsky for Defiled Imagination AND The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen's Window (another well-earned Nebula nomination). Which just proves that I have a very very awesome friends list.

This is an interesting award, mostly because it looks at mainstream and genre works together: the main criteria are "online" and "at least 1000 words," which the internet being what it is, includes quite a lot of works. It's rare to see an award do this – most of the awards I've seen have been either aimed at genre – and in most cases, a very specific sort of genre – or focused on "literary" fiction, which admittedly can contain genre elements, despite an ongoing tendency (hi, New York Times) to consider genre as some sort of lower class literature by some of those literary fiction people.

Anyway, I digressed. (Shocking, I know) Congratulations to everyone. Voting for the reader's poll for this apparently starts up fairly soon, so expect a quick follow-up post later.
When I was a teenager, I used to look at those mysterious words on book covers: "Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards…" "by the winner of the Hugo Award…" "nominated for the Nebula" and wonder wistfully what these nominations were and who got to make them.

And now I've finally done my first Nebula nomination – yes, yes, right at the last minute, thank you very much – and that was a miserable experience.

This was thanks to three separate problems. One, for budget reasons, I am generally limited to books I can get in the library – and while our library is generally pretty thorough, it does not, alas, have a budget for many copies of most books (although I continue to, rather inexplicably, see several copies of Mercedes Lackey's books on the shelves, while overhearing other patrons ask, in hopeful voices, if by any chance the copy of Connie Willis' All Clear is in yet). As a result, I did not read several novels, and in particular, I did not read N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and Connie Willis' All Clear. I believe all of you who are assuring me in reverent tones thatThe Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is a brilliant, beautiful book that is utterly worthy of award nomination, but I am uncomfortable nominating material I haven't actually read. Hopefully I'll be able to read it before the time for Hugo nominations comes in, and see if I want to switch out names on a ballot.

(Yes, I did read some of the novels posted up on the SFWA forums, before people suggest that, which helped, but that couldn't make up for missing months of new books.)

Second, in some categories (and this is going to get worse with the Hugos) I had problems reaching five nominations. Not just novels; I have only four novella nominations, again because of a lack of reading on my part, not because of a lack of quality novels. True, two novellas from last year really stood out, but that still left me with two slots to fill and lots of googling/foruming.

I had the complete opposite problem with short stories. As I mentioned on Twitter, I began keeping a casual list on Excel of stories I would want to nominate, knowing that my chances of remembering specific stories by February were low to nonexistent.

By the time January rolled around, I had 83 stories on that list and had not read anything in Clockwork Phoenix 3 yet. (My apologies to [profile] time_shark with assurances that this has now been corrected, and, well, wow, and if you're still reading this, get thee out and buy a copy; this anthology was truly outstanding and the best Clockwork Phoenix yet; I'm not in it, so yes, I really mean it, but I digress.) More January reading brought that total up to 98. As it turned out, many of these were novelettes, not short stories (basically, someone somewhere picked a cut off point of 7000 words, with under = short stories and over = novelettes, which is all nice, but as a reader I really don't pay any attention to word count) which brought the number down again, but still left me with some very painful decisions. I'll add that a minor guess about 1200 short stories and 500 novelettes were eligible –the SFWA forums had about 300 eligible stories, but certainly didn't include all of the eligible works.

Worse, this time around, I actually knew and liked several of the people who had stories up for consideration -- and I liked their stories. I could easily be accused of bias here, but the teenager me, looking at books, had not considered that some of those people would be professional acquaintances and online friends.

Over the weekend I winnowed down the stories and the novelettes (and check IMDB to find out the writers' names for the Bradbury Awards; I hope IMDB is correct because I honestly don't bother to read the screenwriter names as they scroll across the screen in TV shows.) And, unfortunately, I had to leave some very worthy stuff off my list. I deliberately did not look at the running totals and previous nominations, since I wanted to make up my own mind, or get depressed because I wasn't on those running totals and previous nominations, and even now that my votes are in, I still haven't looked, so I have no idea how my nominations matched up with anyone else's.

But the lesson we can learn here is that this is an astonishing time for short speculative fiction. I'm not going to name specific authors here, but I am going to say that I found extraordinary stories (and novelettes) in, Fantasy, Subterranean, Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Apex Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Abyss and Apex, Ideomancer,Cabinet des Fees and more, not to mention the print anthologies of Warriors, The Beastly Bride,Clockwork Phoenix 3, The Way of the Wizard and others.

I've occasionally heard readers say that they can't find short fiction, and I kinda have to blink. (From the writer's point of view, things are a bit different – so many people are writing such excellent stuff that it's difficult to break in, making many of us, ok, me, wish for more short fiction publications, but that's clearly my problem and a sign that I have to polish my fiction, not a reader issue). There's a lot out there.

(Although as a reader, I still want more speculative poetry venues -- but that may be just me)

What there isn't a lot of out there is full length science fiction/fantasy films in 2010 worthy of Hugo nominations, which is why that field will be left mostly blank when I get around to filling out the next set of entries.

In any case, based on this, I would like to make a modest proposal: allow voters to nominate up to ten short stories (and maybe novelettes) for the Nebulas and Hugos, especially given that the number of eligible short stories (as I said, probably 1200) vastly outnumbers the number of eligible novels and novellas. A similar argument could probably be made for short dramatic forms, since the number of eligible television episodes vastly outweighs the number of eligible films, even in better years than 2010 (which was just terrible for science fiction films). It would at least make this time period a bit less painful.
I'm a bit late with this news, but it seems that Eric Shanower and Scottie Young just won an Eisner Award for Best Limited Series for the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I haven't been covering that adaptation in my Oz posts over at, but it's well worth checking out.
Well, this is a genuine shock.

Playing With Spades apparently just made the British Fantasy Awards 2010 Longlist.

Much thanks to [personal profile] csecooney for pointing this out to me - this award is usually completely off my radar, so I wasn't paying much attention to the list - and in my defense, it looks as if [personal profile] oldcharliebrown, who is better at keeping track of such things, missed it as well. Maybe I wasn't on the original Longlist?

In any case, much, much thanks to whoever nominated me, and congratulations to others on the list: [profile] wirewalking, [personal profile] aliettedb, [personal profile] truepenny and the many, many others who I am sure I am missing. (Just remember, I also missed me.) And congratulations to Fantasy Magazine for publishing so many nominated stories.
Sigh. I feel uncomfortable with doing this, but since I got nudged about this, and since everyone else seems to be doing it, you can find a list of my Nebula eligible works here. Basically, everything except for "The Fuddles of Oz" (originally published in Canada) and the poetry since July 2008 is eligible. Since most of them appeared in out-of-the-way venues, though, and the ones that appeared in larger venues were overshadowed by (in my opinion) better stories by considerably better known authors, I think my chances of appearing on the Nebula ballot are about 0.0001 percent. I may be overly optimistic. (Which is why, incidentally, I'm uncomfortable with this post...I'd be more gung-ho about this if there was a chance in hell, but of course, I probably wouldn't be pimping myself like this if I were. Hmm.)

(For the curious, works that originally appeared in Hub Fiction are considered eligible since they made their first appearance in electronic format, which means that they are treated as if they were published in the United States, even though Hub is based in Great Britain.)

For what it's worth, if I were nominating me, I would probably nominate the experimental Pogo Stick, possibly the most original thing I published this year. But I am a notoriously bad judge of my own work, so feel free to dispute this. (Actually, this was already disputed - the nudger in question was more excited about Colors and Playing With Spades. So there.) A more detailed post chatting about this year's publications (including the poetry) and what I thought about them will probably be appearing in late December/early January if I don't forget, and I'll probably be using that post for the probably inevitable upcoming Hugo/other awards post so that readers who just come here looking for movie/television snark (by far the majority of you) don't get overly bored by things like this.

I will say, however, that I sincerely hope Nebula voters and readers will be checking out and focusing on some of the awesome work appearing in Clarkesworld Magazine, Fantasy Magazine, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Abyss and Apex and any of the anthologies printed by Norilana Books, Small Beer Press, Hadley Rille Books and Morrigan Books. Because some seriously good stuff is appearing there. Go check them out.

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