Mustaches of Years Gone By

My father sent along this picture to me, of him and my mother back in their married days, which were also coincidentally his Navy days, which means that in this picture both of them are about 20 years younger than I am at this moment. Which messes with my head, it does. I have no idea what it is the two of them are doing in the picture, although if I had to guess, I’d say he’s handing his paycheck over to mom there. Which is, oddly enough, pretty much exactly what I do when I get checks. Not to mom, though. To my own wife. You know what I’m saying, here.

But what I notice most is that dad is rocking the full-on Jim Croce mustache there in the picture, which, while it doesn’t conflict with the Navy uniform is still nevertheless a reminder that facial hair fashions were different back in the day. No aspersions to dad, but these days seeing a fellow in that suit with that ‘stache would cause me to look around to see if I could also spot the cop, the cowboy, the construction worker and the Native American in the chieftain hat. It was a more innocent, less disco-y time back then, I suppose.

Also, those of you who know me will be able to look at those two faces and see which parts of my own face come from which parent: Eyes, nose and mouth from mom, but eyebrows? All dad, man. Genetics. I’m telling you.


And Now, a Nebula Awards Geek Out Moment

Like, I’m totally friends with loads of the Nebula nominees this year. No, seriously! I know them personally! How cool is that? I know Nebula nominees, people. They let me hang out with them. They tolerate my presence. I’m full of the nerd-squee at the moment for each and every one of them, and plan to bask in the reflected light of their awesomeness.

Okay, I’m done geeking out. But honestly, the best thing about the ballot this year is being in the company of so many of my friends, who are also such good writers. This is my peer group, and I couldn’t possibly be happier about that.


2009 Nebula Award Nominations

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has released the list of nominees for the 2009 Nebula, Bradbury and Norton Awards, and I’m delighted to say The God Engines and Zoe’s Tale are on the list. The official press release is here, but you’ll find the full list below, with additional comments from me at the end.



The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade, Sep 09)
The Love We Share Without Knowing, Christopher Barzak (Bantam, Nov 08)
Flesh and Fire, Laura Anne Gilman (Pocket, Oct 09)
The City & The City, China Miéville (Del Rey, May 09)
Boneshaker, Cherie Priest (Tor, Sep 09)
Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (Underland Press, Oct 09)


The Women of Nell Gwynne’s, Kage Baker (Subterranean Press, Jun 09)
Arkfall,” Carolyn Ives Gilman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Sep 09)
“Act One,” Nancy Kress (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Mar 09)
Shambling Towards Hiroshima, James Morrow (Tachyon, Feb 09)
Sublimation Angels,” Jason Sanford (Interzone, Oct 09)
The God Engines, John Scalzi ( Subterranean Press, Dec 09)


“The Gambler,” Paolo Bacigalupi (Fast Forward 2, Pyr Books, Oct 08)
“Vinegar Peace, or the Wrong-Way Used-Adult Orphanage,” Michael Bishop (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jul 08)
“I Needs Must Part, The Policeman Said,” Richard Bowes (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Dec 09)
“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast,” Eugie Foster (Interzone, Feb 09)
“Divining Light,” Ted Kosmatka (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Aug 08)
A Memory of Wind,” Rachel Swirsky (, Nov 09)

Short Story

“Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela,” Saladin Ahmed (Clockwork Phoenix 2, Norilana Press, Jul 09)
I Remember the Future,” Michael A. Burstein (I Remember the Future, Apex Press, Nov 08)
“Non-Zero Probabilities,” N. K. Jemisin (Clarkesworld, Nov 09)
Spar,” Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, Oct 09)
“Going Deep,” James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jun 09)
Bridesicle,” Will McIntosh (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jan 09)

BRADBURY AWARD (dramatic presentation)

Star Trek, JJ Abrams (Paramount, May 09)
District 9, Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (Tri-Star, Aug 09)
Avatar, James Cameron (Fox, Dec 09)
Moon, Duncan Jones and Nathan Parker (Sony, Jun 09)
Up, Bob Peterson and Pete Docter (Disney/Pixar, May 09)
Coraline, Henry Selick (Laika/Focus Feb 09)

ANDRE NORTON AWARD (young adult)

Hotel Under the Sand, Kage Baker (Tachyon, Jul 09)
Ice, Sarah Beth Durst (Simon and Schuster, Oct 09)
Ash, Malinda Lo (Little, Brown and Company, Sep 09)
Eyes Like Stars, Lisa Mantchev (Feiwel and Friends, Jul 09)
Zoe’s Tale, John Scalzi (Tor Aug 08)
When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books, 2009)
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her
Own Making
, Catherynne M. Valente (Catherynne M. Valente, Jun 09)
Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld (Simon, Oct 09)

The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of SFWA. The awards will be announced at the Nebula Awards Banquet the evening of May 15 at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront, just 20 minutes from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

And now, some quick thoughts from me:

* Quite obviously I’m thrilled. This is my first ever Nebula nomination, and likewise my first Norton nomination, and I’m delighted in both cases. In the case of The God Engines, it’s different enough from everything else I’ve ever published that I didn’t know whether it would work for anyone else but me, so it getting a nod from my fellow writers is both humbling and gratifying.

And with Zoe, well. It’s very nice to see it getting recognition as a YA, considering it was written to be accessible to younger readers, a fact which is sometimes overlooked. Plus I think most of you know how insensibly proud I am of Zoe as a character, so this feels like my peers saying I did well by her, which is again humbling and gratifying. Zoe also makes a little bit of history by being the first novel to be nominated for both the Norton and the Hugo, which is kind of neat. I wouldn’t be surprised if that distinction is short-lived, however, as I think Leviathan has very good Hugo chances this year.

* Leaving aside my own work for a moment, I think this is one of the strongest Nebula slates in a long time, in just about every category, including the Bradbury and Norton. SFWA revamped the rules this year to reinvigorate the awards and the nomination process, and I think those changes really paid off; there’s a good diversity of nominees, and a wide stylistic and thematic range of stories for voters to choose from. I can’t think of a category where any one nominee is a runaway favorite, which speaks to the quality of the work across the board. So a round of applause to you, SFWA. To the voters this year: Well, your job will be tough, but think off all the good reading you’ll get to do in the process. That’s a fair trade.

* The awards will be given out during the aforementioned Nebula Banquet in May, as part of a larger Nebula Weekend, and yes, I’ll be there for that. I was planning to be there regardless, because a) Joe Haldeman is being made a Grand Master then and I don’t want to miss that, and b) I’m running for President of SFWA, and that’s when the election results are officially announced. So I guess that’s another thing I’ll be up for, isn’t it. As if I won’t be twitchy enough.

While the Nebula Weekend is a SFWA function, it is also open to the public; here’s more information on that. SFWA also very frequently schedules a mass autographing session featuring its members at a nearby bookstore, so if you’re in or around the vicinity of Cocoa Beach that weekend, it’s an excellent time to meet your favorite authors. See you there.


Tough But Fair

Dude kicked off a flight because he was too smelly. And you know what? If you reek so bad that more than just the people next to you notice, that’s not at all unreasonable. You’re all in a flying tube with recycled air for hours. Other people shouldn’t have to marinate in your feculence.

I’ve been on a couple of flights in my time that could have benefited from this policy, I’ll tell you that.

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