Various and Sundry, 7/4/09
First off: Happy Independence Day! Here in the US we’re celebrating the day we kicked Britain to the curb, what, 233 years ago? Sigh. We were all so different then, weren’t we. And look at us now: The US and UK, totally all “friends with benefits.” Oh, UK. We love your accents.
* If you were planning to vote for this year’s Hugos today, HA! You’re too late, the voting closed at midnight. And as is now apparently traditional, when I woke up the morning after the Hugo voting closed there was an e-mail waiting for me asking me if I thought I was gonna win anything. My response this year, again: Oh, probably not, and almost certainly not in the Best Novel category, where the competition is, shall we say, awesome scary. And I’m very okay with this, since as noted before when fandom says to you, “Hey, you belong in the same category as Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson and Charlie Stross,” well, honestly. How much more win do you need?
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to win all three of the Hugos I’m up for, because then I could retire from Hugo competition, couldn’t I. But I sort of doubt that will happen, and if it did I would be the first to accuse me of ballot stuffing and to demand a full investigation. In the meantime, I’m not going to worry about it. It’s cool to be nominated, and it’s nice to win, and it’s also nice to see friends win, too.
* That said, I totally want to have us METAtropolis folks win Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. Dark Knight and Wall-E have already got Oscars, you know? They’re taken care of. And you know you’d rather see me, Toby, Jay, Karl and eBear (and Steve Feldberg, our producer) jumping up and down like happy monkeys on that Hugo stage than to watch some stand-in accept for someone who was never planning to show up. Mind you, the sight of the lot of us hopping up and down is not a reason to vote for METAtropolis — it needed to be judged on its own merits like the rest of the nominees. But it would still be more fun. Just saying.
* In e-mail and comments, I’ve had people asking me if I wasn’t just a bit too severe with Gordon Van Gelder and Gardner Dozois regarding the proposed F&SF workshop, and asking whether I really believe either man would try to take work from workshoppers for the magazine without paying pro rates. So to be clear: No, I didn’t and don’t believe that, and I’ve said a number of times, in both the entries and the comments that I don’t think it was ever their intent. I do think it was unfortunate they were not perfectly clear about the payment angle, however, and regardless of what I thought their intentions were, it’s perfectly legitimate to note out loud that this information wasn’t out there and that its absence was not a good thing.
In the comments, Gardner Dozois notes that one could have just sent an e-mail and asked. Well, sure. On the other hand, as a writer I’m wondering why a detail that fundamental was skipped in the first place; I guessed an oversight (which it was) but it was a puzzling enough oversight to call out. Also, Gordon Van Gelder had information on the workshop posted publicly, so I’m not sure why comment about publicly available material needs to be addressed privately.
Dozois was likewise offended that his 40-year-track record was not taken into consideration when noting the issue of lack of payment information, to which I say: Well, it’s not you, Gardner. It wouldn’t have mattered who it was involved in the workshop, I would have noted the absence of information. Trust me on this. As a professional writer, payment is my hobby horse, and like Rikki Tikki Tavi, I prefer to run and find out rather than be in doubt. I was surprised the payment issue wasn’t addressed, but I also cede the point writers have slightly different priorities than editors and publishers. So I brought it up.
Be that as it may, I do regret if Gardner Dozois feels that I have impugned his integrity. His integrity wasn’t really in question from my point of view, nor it is now (nor is Gordon Van Gelder’s, while I’m at it). I don’t regret pointing out the issue of workshop story payment was not addressed, nor do I regret discussing it publicly. It has been publicly addressed now by Van Gelder (F&SF will pay for the stories), so that’s that. Glad it’s resolved.