Nebula Weekend Recap

It was the Nebula Awards Weekend this last weekend, and the first of these that happened with me as the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and it was that fact that, as you may understand, made me hope that everything about it ran smoothly and well. Thus I am delighted to say that in my opinion, just about everything seemed to run smoothly and well. I do not personally take credit for this — that credit accrues to Nebula Weekend coordinator (and generally spectacular person) Peggy Rae Sapienza and her hardworking staff of volunteers — but as president I can officially be relieved. And thus, I am.

My own weekend was hella busy, because while most of the folks at the Weekend is there for relaxation, education, and the doling out of the Nebula Awards, I was there for meetings — a couple with the rest of SFWA’s Board of Directors (about whom I cannot say enough good things), one with the membership in general, and a few others generally attending to SFWA business. This followed by, of course, lots of hanging about in the bar and talking up a storm with other members and Nebula Weekend attendees. A result of this was right now my voice sounds like a frog being run through a strainer; since I actually have to speak tomorrow for the NYPL event, I’m going to try to spend most of today not saying a damn thing. I doubt people will recognize me.

The big event of the weekend was the Nebula Awards (note the name), and the ceremony was really excellent, if I do say so myself, thanks in particular to toastmaster Michael Swanwick, who kept the ceremony light and quick, and to our keynote speaker Michael Dirda, whose speech was observations of his own life on the periphery of the science fiction field. As for those big, shiny Nebula Awards, you can see who got to take one home in this list of awardees. As an observer of science fiction, I am very happy with this year’s Nebula crop, which I think very clearly shows the width and breadth of the genre and the variety of people who are writing it. As a person, I was especially delighted to be able to hand a Nebula to Rachel Swirsky, who made her first professional sale to me a few years ago. I told her at some point in our shared history that one day I would be on hand to see her get a Nebula. I liked being right about that.

For all that I was busy with business and being president and just plain being oh so very important, huff puff puff, I don’t think it’s any particular surprise that the best thing for me about the weekend was simply being able to see friends, many of whom were at the Nebs. Just to be able to sink into a bar chair, surrounded by a group of very clever people saying very funny things, is one of the great pleasures of life for me. I got a number of opportunities to do that this weekend, and to spend time with old friends and make some new friends as well, of whom one hopes that in time they will become old friends as well.

Oh, and I did laundry. So all of you in New York and Phoenix, where I will be next, need not be afraid of my emanations. A huge thank you to Storm — yes! Of Paul and Storm! — both for the use of his laundry facilities, and for a few hours of chill time. He is awesome in awesomely awesome ways, which are awesome.

In all, and for many reasons, just a really excellent weekend. I offer my sincere and genuine thanks to everyone who made it possible, from the folks who volunteered their time and efforts to my friends who, although they showed up for reasons other than just to make me happy, made me happy nonetheless. I can’t wait for next year’s Nebula Weekend.

Dialogue and Writing Excuses

I blew out my voice yesterday after a weekend of near-constant talking, so today I’m trying to be as quiet as possible (I know! Me!). But that doesn’t mean you can’t hear the dulcet tones of my voice — I’m featured on the most recent episode of Writing Excuses, the Hugo-nominated writing podcast hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler and Dan Wells. In the episode I’m on, I and Brandon and Howard discuss dialogue, and why it’s important to read outside of the genres of science fiction and fantasy to make your dialogue more interesting. It’s a fifteen minute (or so) podcast, and worth the time investment.