One of Life’s Little Ironies


I just turned down this month’s featured selections for the Science Fiction Book Club… which happen to be The Last Colony, and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I turned them down because Patrick was kind enough to provide me a copy of his book, and also, you may be reasonably assured I have a copy or two of TLC tucked away somewhere. However, despite my passing on these books, I hope you will consider them if you are a member of the SFBC, particularly Patrick’s book, which I quite enjoyed.

I’m very pleased to be the featured selection for June, and the only thing that would have made it even better would have been if Ellen Asher and Andrew Wheeler, SFBC’s editors (and the people who chose my book to be a featured selection) had not been unceremoniously dumped by Bertelsmann, the SFBC’s new owner, once that company took possession of the book club a couple of weeks ago. I’m not entirely sure what’s to be gained by stripping the SFBC of their talents; from the outside this looks like one of those “penny wise, pound foolish” decisions that does not exactly raise confidence in the future of the book club. We’ll have to see what becomes of the book club from here.

In the meantime, I want to make sure I say thank you to Ellen and to Andrew: Their support of all of my books so far, and the support of the SFBC under their tenure, made a real difference in how my books did out there in the world. I owe them, as do any number of authors. I’m going to miss them at the head of the Science Fiction Book Club; if you’re a member, I don’t doubt you’re going to miss them, too.

The Hugos/Campbell This Year: A Discussion Thread

For the science fiction geeks out there: Is it just my imagination, or does there seem to be relatively little discussion of the Hugos/Campbell this year — and particularly little discussion of the Best Novel nominees? Bear in mind this perspective might be skewed by the fact that last year a book of mine was a Best Novel nominee, so I was probably paying attention more last year. On the other hand, I am a Hugo nominee this year, too, so it’s not like I’m entirely out of the loop at the moment. The only really substantive discussion was early on, discussing the dearth of female nominees in the fiction categories.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m interested in hearing folks’ thoughts about the Hugos this year, since I really haven’t heard as much out there as I usually do by this time of year, and I think some discussion would be good. I’m particularly interested in your thoughts in the fiction categories, especially the Best Novel category, which this year I think is interesting because I can plausibly construct scenarios in which four of the five nominees walk away with the award; last year I saw only two plausible scenarios (and no, me winning was not one of them).

So: Hugos! Campbell! Discuss! Don’t feel obliged to discuss the Best Fan Writer category, however, as that smacks of self-serving-ness here on this site. Here’s the nominee list again.

Also feel free to discuss whether there has been a lack of Hugo discussion this year, and if so, why. Because I’d like to know that, too.

System Check: Politics

The Whatever continues its dearth of political commentary these days, mostly because I still have the urge to jam a stick into my eye whenever I start to write about it. Just tried to write something about the Iraq funding bill the president just signed; blatted out some verbiage, looked at it, and decided that its real value was therapeutic rather than being of readable quality. Deleted it; it’s gone, you won’t miss it.

It’s not that I’m feeling apolitical, mind you. I’m just not seeing myself adding anything particularly interesting to the discussion. Of course, part of the problem is a vague feeling I should add something substantive; maybe I should just go for the snark. Three sentences and out. That’s always fun. I’ll have to think about that.

Brian Francis Slattery at Ficlets

Soon-to-be new science fiction author Brian Francis Slattery (whose debut novel Spaceman Blues: A Love Song is getting gushy praise from folks like Jay Lake, Catherynne M. Valente, and some dude named Harlan Ellison) has taken part in the Ficlets Spotlight program, adding a trio of really interesting Ficlets for people to play with and add onto. Come here to see them. And remember that if you’re a published author or writer and want to take part in the Ficlets Spotlight program, all you have to do is write three original Ficlets, post them to the Ficlets site, and let me know. I like promoting folks who add fun things for Ficlets members to play with.

Also, for all those writers waiting for Ficlet Interview questions: Really, I’m getting off my ass on those this week. I’m going to make June a Month O’ Interviews. You’re gonna love it.