Today’s Really Dumb News Story

Courtesy of Associated Press:

Obama’s issues yet to match earlier presidents’
Scholars say Lincoln, Roosevelt, Truman faced greater challenges in office

This is somehow a bad thing? I mean, I’m generally a fan of Obama and all; he seems a smart and generally capable fellow. But given the choice of testing his mettle with a nation-rending civil war and/or the deepest financial collapse in modern history and/or a global struggle against genocidal fascism, or not, I’d personally kind of rather go with not, you know?  Tell me Obama doesn’t have to face the problems of Lincoln, and my response to you is: good. Let’s try to keep it that way, shall we. I assure you, his current challenge level is perfectly sufficient.


Reminder: Viable Paradise Applications Due June 30

While we’re on the subject of writing workshops, I would be hideously remiss not to remind you that if you are hoping to apply to (and thus possibly attend) Viable Paradise, the week-long writing workshop at which I serve as an instructor, the proverbial clock is ticking: All applications need to be in by the end of this month, June 30, 2009. This gives you just a shade over three weeks to get your application together and in to us (although, you know. Sooner = better).

If you’re asking yourself “is this writing workshop really worth my time and money?” my answer would be, “No, unless you like the idea of spending a week being taught by some of the best writers and editors in science fiction and fantasy, in a setting of intense natural and scenic beauty, with fellow up-and-coming sf/f writers who, judging by VP’s alumni track record, may very well set the genre alight in the coming years. In which case: Maybe it is.” Hey, I call it like I see it, man.

In any event: Get your stuff together and get it in. June 30 will be here sooner than you think.


Clarion West Write-a-Thon: Sponsor a Writer to Sponsor a Writer-to-Be

So, my pal Tempest Bradford said to me, “Hey, I’m participating in the 2009 Clarion West Write-a-Thon, to raise money to help students attend the Clarion West writing workshop. I’m trying to raise $1,000. Wanna sponsor me?”

And I said, “Sure.”

And she said, “Great! And would you mind writing about it on your Web site to tell other people about it, and maybe get them to sponsor me?”

And I said, “Well, I would, but I’m trapped in a well and can’t get to the keyboard, so maybe you should write something instead and I’ll just post it.”

And she said, “That makes no sense, we’re conversing in e-mail and besides, if you can cut and paste what I write into a blog post, you can get to your keyboard.”

And I said, “Sorry, can’t hear you, the water’s rising.”

So she wrote something up and this is what she wrote. Which I am now posting. From a well. Using my mind. Take it away, Tempest:

Hello everyone, Tempest here. Scalzi has been kind enough to let me steal a few pixels on his blog to encourage you to sponsor me in this year’s Clarion West Write-a-thon. There’s a ton of information about the fundraiser, the workshop, and the scholarship I’m also raising money for here. But if you want the short version, here are 5 reasons to become a write-a-thon sponsor:

1. You’re intrigued by the idea of a write-a-thon. Is it like a marathon? Yes. Except without training, carbo-loading, and warm-ups. There is some stretching, though, as writing will put a crick in your neck.

2. You like getting things for free. Like PBS and NPR, I’m offering free gifts to people who pledge at different levels. You could get some free books, some cool jewelry, or your name in a story.

3. You fancy yourself a patron of the arts. You’ll totally have some bragging rights over your friends if you sponsor me. And if it turns out your friends are sponsoring me, too, you can always say “I pledged way more than you!” Well, only if you actually pledge more. And don’t you want to be more patronizing than your friends? (oh wait…)

4. You love science fiction, fantasy, and horror literature and want more of it. Donations go toward supporting the current and future students of Clarion West. Clarion and Clarion West students go on to do amazing stuff. See: Octavia Butler, Benjamin Rosembaum, Nisi Shawl, Cory Doctorow, Ted Chiang, Nalo Hopkinson, Kelly Link, and many, many more.

5. You believe that SF/F/H literature can only be improved by a greater diversity of voices. Clarion West is very committed to diversity amongst its students and instructors, and the Octavia E. Butler Scholarship provides financial support to writers of color who’ve been accepted at Clarion and Clarion West. Voices of color are very much under-represented in this field. By donating to this scholarship and this workshop, you’re doing something significant to correct that.

So there you go, the 5 best reasons I have for sponsoring me for the Write-a-thon. However, this isn’t about me, really — it’s about the students. If you sponsor me, you’re supporting them. If you help me reach my goal of raising $1000, you’re raising money for them. And hey, you don’t even have to sponsor me to be part of this. There are many, many writers who could use your pledges and encouragement to meet their writing and fundraising goals.

Even if you can only commit to giving a little, every donation counts. Click here to sign up! And thanks :)

And there you have it. Please consider sponsoring. Also, tell someone I’m in a well. It’s damp down here.


METAtropolis Starred Publishers Weekly Review

This is nice: METAtropolis’ upcoming print version just got a starred review in Publishers Weekly (scroll down for the review), which said, among other things:

Editor Scalzi (Zoe’s Tale) and four well known writers thoughtfully postulate the evolution of cities, transcending postapocalyptic clichés to envision genuinely new communities and relationships… Each story shines on its own; as a group they reinforce one another, building a multifaceted view of a realistic and hopeful urban future.

Nifty. It’s nice to see the anthology getting some reviewer love. To be clear, as editor of the project I’m getting a bit more credit than I should; Toby Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake and Karl Schroeder made my editing job one of those “collect stories, get credit for their work” gigs. On the other hand, if all editing gigs were this fun, I’d do more of them. And then when would I get my writing done?

Speaking of which, off to hit my daily quota.

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