Daily Archives: April 8, 2009

Artists: Go Down in Hugo History

How? By designing a Hugo Award Logo. Here are the details, courtesy of the press release I got just this second:

HUGO AWARD LOGO DESIGN CONTEST ANNOUNCED

The World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) has announced a contest for a design for an official logo for the Hugo Awards. The Hugo Awards honor the best in written and dramatized science fiction and fantasy, as well as other categories, and are the highest honors in the field of science fiction and fantasy. While the streamlined rocket that is a common feature of the Hugo Award trophy is well known within the field of science fiction and fantasy, there has never been an official logo suitable for designating that a work is a Hugo Award winner. WSFS, through its Hugo Awards Marketing Committee, is soliciting designs for such a logo, which would be suitable for use in the publishing and film/television industries, and in solidifying the Hugo Awards “brand.”

The contest is open to individual designers. Full submission guidelines are available on the Hugo Awards web site at http://www.thehugoawards.org/logocontest.htm. The major points that a successful design should contain are:

* The design must work well at a variety of sizes and in both black & white and color;

* The design must include something clearly recognizable as the classic four-finned Hugo Award rocket;

* The design must include the words “Hugo Award”.

Deadline for submitting entries is May 31, 2009. Entries must be submitted on-line at logocontest@thehugoawards.org. Entrants should check the submission guidelines carefully for acceptable file formats.

The winner will be selected by a jury and by the WSFS Hugo Awards Marketing Committee. The members of the jury are:

Chip Kidd (Graphic Designer/Writer/Editor)
Irene Gallo (Art Director at Tor Books and Tor.com),
Geri Sullivan (Fan & Graphic Design pro)
Neil Gaiman (3 time Hugo Award winning writer).

WSFS hopes to be able to announce the winner at the World Science Fiction Convention in Montreal (“Anticipation”) in August 2009.

A condition of proposal entry is that all rights to the designs become the property of WSFS for its sole use. The intention is to register the design as a service mark. As the Hugo name and rocket image are trademarks, unsuccessful designs are unlikely to be usable in other ways.

The winner will receive a special trophy incorporating the winning logo design, a $500 cash prize, and signed copies of Neil Gaiman’s Hugo Award-winning novel AMERICAN GODS and novella CORALINE, and the collection FRAGILE THINGS, including Hugo Award-winning short story “A Study in Emerald”. The winning designer will have the right to use the logo and identify him/herself as its creator. The logo is intended to be used widely on the Internet, news releases, and on the covers of Hugo-winning works.

The cash prize has been donated by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests (SCIFI). This is a non-profit organization that has run many conventions including the 1984, 1996 and 2006 World Science Fiction Conventions.

The Hugo Awards are named for Hugo Gernsback, who, in 1926, launched Amazing Stories, the first major American science fiction magazine. First presented in 1953, the Hugo Awards are presented by the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) (http://www.wsfs.org/). The members of each year’s World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”) nominate and vote on the awards, which are presented at a ceremony which is the high point of each year’s Worldcon.

Just a Reminder Re: Contacting Me via Phone

And the reminder is: I don’t really like it and I’m very likely to be annoyed with you if you do it, and when I’m annoyed, I have a pronounced tendency to be rude.  Which I’m pretty sure you won’t like.

Who is exempt from this “don’t call me on the phone” rule? Personal friends who I know in real life and/or business associates (i.e., people who pay me money on a regular basis, or with whom I am talking about services which will result in them paying me money). Everyone else should use e-mail, and even those people who are thinking of trying to do something with me which will result in me getting money should e-mail first.

Basically: When in doubt, don’t call, use e-mail to contact me. I bring this up because of a recent spate of people calling me up out of the blue, which I want to nip in the bud, because it makes me cranky to be called up by (to me) completely random folk, who are usually bugging me about something I’m likely to tell them just to send me an e-mail about, anyway.

This is all covered in my contact information in any event.

“But what I have to tell you is really important and I’m sure you won’t mind –” Yes, I will mind, actually. Remember that what is important to you is not necessarily important to me. And even if it is something that’s potentially important to me, do you really want to start off trying to tell me about it in a way that’s going to annoy me? I’m guessing “no.”

Thanks.

Ghlaghghee and Zeus Prepare to Send for the Restaurant Manager

They’ve been in those seats for hours and the bartender never came to take their drink order!

But there are reasons:

1. Cats don’t carry cash and rarely have working credit cards;

2. Their idea of a tip is a disembowled vole;

3. Zeus is underage anyway.

And anyway, everyone knows cats can’t handle their liquor. One beer and they fall asleep right on the barstool. Heck, sometimes they don’t even need the beer. But, clearly, don’t tell them that. They’re annoyed as it is.

The Big Idea: Kaza Kingsley

One of the nice things about going to a science fiction convention is that sometimes you meet new authors with interesting stories about their path to publication. When I was at Millennicon this year, I met Kaza Kingsley, whose story of her Erec Rex series of young adult books was interesting indeed: Kingsley built her own publishing house from the ground up — not only getting the books printed but getting actual bookstore distribution and making foreign sales of the books — doing the really hard back-end things that need to be done to get the books to readers.

And it worked: the first two books in the series sold well enough to attract the attention of major publishers. Now the first two books in the Erec Rex series are being reissued into trade paperback this week by Simon & Schuster (Erec Rex: The Dragon’s Eye being the first book) and the third book is prepped for release this summer. It’s a reminder that there is more than one road to publishing success… if you’re willing to do the work (and of course, if the work itself is good enough).

I’ve told you the backstory of Erec Rex’s path to publication, and here is Kaza Kingsley to tell you the backstory of the Erec Rex saga itself — and how it owes something to fantastic tales you may have already heard of.

KAZA KINGSLEY:

I’ve joked at times that writing is like an illness. No normal person would come home after a long day at work and write until the wee hours of the night. Or take the risk of giving up their job to write full time.

I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t writing something. Not that the little stories I penned in grade school were anything special. But it was always a great love of mine. I must have finished a hundred short stories before I started my first novel. And then I spent years in editing groups, reading books on story arcs… pretty much doing everything I could to work on my craft.

If writing is an illness, one of its major symptoms is reading. As a kid, fantasy was my entertainment of choice. I loved the Wizard of Oz series so much in second grade that I began to believe the characters were real, and was sure I would eventually escape through a cyclone, an earthquake, or some other natural disaster to meet up with my buddies in Oz.

So it was no real surprise when the idea for Erec Rex came to me, and it was a combination of my two loves: young adult fantasy and mythology.

Certain tales from mythology still make me shiver with fascination. The echoes of the past seem to resonate with our lives today. There is something so beautiful and haunting about stories such as the opening of Pandora’s box, Orpheus losing his great love Eurydice because he was unable to keep from looking back at her, and even the tragedy of King Midas.

I saw an incredible play called Metamorphosis, right before I began designing the Erec Rex series. There was no plot in the play, but it was the most beautiful reenactment of some of the ancient Greek myths by Ovid. The actors performed the short scenes in and around a huge pool of water that filled the stage. It was so vivid, the images stuck with me for months. So I was inspired again to pick up some mythology reading-this time including Norse and Celtic mythology as well as re-reading things like Jason and the Argonauts-all of which were adding fuel to a story which had started brewing in my mind.

The concept for this series struck me so hard that I literally had to write it. I imagined a kid-a normal kid from our world-that had to face and go through things that paralleled the most harrowing adventures in mythology: the Hercules legend. How would he deal with the tough decisions he would face? Would today’s hero have doubts? Would he fail at times, and lose the very things that are the most precious to him?

The Erec Rex series is my own version of this legend, twisted into something new. Just as Hercules had twelve labors that he had to face, Erec must tackle twelve quests if he will ever become king of the magical Alypium-saving it from sure destruction. Oh, and he has a few other problems thrown in, such as finding out that he might be turning into a dragon, and needing to rescue his missing mother, learning who his father is . . .

Forgive me. I am an excited author, getting ahead of myself. Suffice it to say that I am having a lot of fun writing this series. Within the story line I have woven in all kinds of references to mythology. For example, the three rulers of the Kingdoms of the Keepers-Piter, Posey, and Pluto-are reflections of the three ancient Roman gods: Jupiter, Poseidon, and Pluto. But I hope that readers will ultimately come away with something more important than legends and history. I hope that my stories offer a small escape to readers, a place to dream, and inspiration to pursue their dreams, whatever they may be.

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Erec Rex: The Dragon’s Eye: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Read an excerpt of Erec Rex: The Dragon’s Eye. Visit Kaza Kingsley’s blog. Follow Kaza Kingsley on Twitter.