Some Thoughts on the Pose-Off Between Jim C. Hines and Me

You know. This one

1. The pose-off, while for charity, has its genesis in Jim taking pictures of himself in the poses that science fiction and fantasy book covers often put women in to call attention to the point that these positions are absurd (whereas the positions men are put in on covers are generally substantially less so). In the coverage of the pose-off, this point is getting a little lost, however, so Jim restates it here. Go take a look.

2. On the same subject, Think Progress’ Alyssa Rosenberg also has some thoughts. Also worth a look.

3. It’s fair to ask why I chose to do my picture in a dress and with a wig on; the answer is the woman in the picture is wearing a dress and has long hair, and I thought it was worth it to get as close to the original picture environment as possible. This also explains the crossbow, the bracelet and the heels.

4. Mind you, I was also aware of the humor possibilities inherent in me also having all those things and also being unshaven, which was another reason I chose to look as I did. Juxtapositions are fun!

5. That said, one of the side effects of that is some people wondering whether I was intentionally making a negative statement on transfolk. The answer: No. I am generally trans-positive because I believe people should be who they are, and they deserve love and support in becoming and then being that. I wouldn’t go out of my way to intentionally mock transfolk, because, among many other reasons, why be an asshole like that? We give transfolk enough burdens on a daily basis without me adding to their load. So if you’re a trans person (or love someone who is) and were wondering about intent, sorry if I made you wonder about that.

6. It was also not to make any statements about the other transfolk, i.e., transvestites, either. However, having briefly spent time in women’s clothing, I have newfound respect for the men who can rock that sort of kit, not to mention, of course, the women who wear it on a daily basis. That shit’s hard.

7. On the subject of whether the particular pose is ridiculous, my short answer is: Are you kidding? I just about popped my leg out of my hip socket holding that pose for roughly fifteen seconds. Some of that is down to me being a flabby, middle-aged dude trying to hold a gymnastic pose, but some of it is down to it being an entirely ridiculous position to put one’s self into.

8. Also, here’s a little bit of secret history for you: I did a little bit of gymnastics when I was a kid and could do a forward handspring without any real effort into my late 30s; I also took dance and can still cut a rug when it suits me. I’m flabby and middle-aged, but I’m not especially inflexible. That pose just about killed me getting into. Getting out of it was easy: I just fell forward. Anyone who wants to tell me that the pose isn’t really that ridiculous is invited to get into the position and hold it long enough to fire off a dozen photos or so.

9. I am happy my hip joint pain has been able to help contribute to the (so far) $6,700 Jim has raised for the Aicardi Syndrome Foundation, and pleased that so many of you have been generous in your giving. Thank you. There’s still time to give, incidentally.

10. There’s still one more pose-off between me and Jim to go. That’s not counting the mass pose with me, Jim, Pat Rothfuss, Charlie Stross and Mary Robinette Kowal. Consider both of these, why don’t you.

Gene Wolfe Chosen as SFWA Grand Master

One of the perks of the job as President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is that I get to select — in consultation with the SFWA board and its past presidents — the recipient of SFWA’s Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award. It’s an award that may be given annually, but should be given only when the time is right (I did not name a Grand Master in the first year of my presidential tenure, for example, for various reasons). This year, the time is right to name Gene Wolfe, one of our greatest living SF&F writers, as this year’s award recipient. I was delighted to be able to ask him to be our Grand Master, and even more delighted when he accepted.

Here is the SFWA press announcement on the award, with quotes from me, Neil Gaiman, last year’s Grand Master recipient Connie Willis, and of course, Mr. Wolfe himself.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America 2012 Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Awarded to Gene Wolfe

SFWA has named Gene Wolfe as the 2012 recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award for his contributions to the literature of science fiction and fantasy.

Gene Wolfe’s fiction first saw publication in the 1960s. He is best known for the novels The Book of the New Sun, Peace, and The Fifth Head of Cerberus, and received many awards, including the Nebula, World Fantasy and Locus.

Neil Gaiman: “It’s not that Gene Wolfe is, in the opinion of many (and I am one of the many), our finest living science fiction writer. It is that he is, in the opinion of the Washington Post (and of me, too) one of our finest living writers. He has been our uncrowned Grand Master for a long time, and now the rest of the world will know as well.”

In Gene’s own words: “There was a time – long ago to most of you, though it seems recent to me – when Rosemary, our children, and I were living from paycheck to paycheck and barely getting by. I’d had three not-terribly-good stories published in a college magazine before I went into the Army, and I thought I might just possibly write on the side and make us a little extra money. I sold a few stories. Then it was time for school to start again, and Rosemary began badgering me for money for school clothes. I would gladly have given it to her if there had been any. Another story, “Car Sinister,” sold, and instead of depositing the check I got the manager of the hardware store to cash it for me. I took it to Rosemary: ‘Here’s every dime I got for that story. That’s how much you have for school clothes.’  A few days passed, and I was sitting on the kitchen floor trying to mend a chair.  Rosemary came up behind me and said, ‘Shouldn’t you be writing?’

“That’s when I knew I was a writer.

“You’d better watch your step, folks; you’re raising me to a height I would never have imagined.  If you keep this up I’ll start thinking I’m a good writer.”

SFWA President John Scalzi, on choosing Wolfe: “You’d have to search far and wide to find a contemporary fantasy writer who has not been directly influenced by Gene Wolfe. His prose is a joy to read, his stories are dense and deep, and his worlds are dark and rich beyond compare. And to top it off, he is a genuinely delightful human being. It is well past time that his stories, his style and his contribution to our genre and to literature in general are recognized and celebrated with a Grand Master award. I am thrilled and humbled that Gene has graciously agreed to be our recipient this year.”

Connie Willis, 2011 Damon Knight Recipient: “Oh, how wonderful that Gene Wolfe is going to be a Grand Master, even though of course he already is in the minds of everyone who’s ever read his books or who’s ever known him!  He’s one of the loveliest people it’s been my privilege to know in science fiction–courtly, kind, frighteningly intelligent, and at the same time endlessly patient with us lesser mortals. I know everybody will be praising his books during the next few days, and deservedly so, but I also want to put in a word for his equally amazing short stories, like ‘The Island of Dr. Death and Other Stories’ and ‘The Death of Dr. Island’ –even his titles are brilliant!– and ‘Golden City Far’ and ‘The Detective of Dreams’ and ‘Memorare.’ And especially ‘Seven American Nights,’ which served as my first–and staggeringly memorable–introduction to him.

“Congratulations, Gene!  SO well-deserved!  And such good news!”

The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award is given by SFWA for ‘lifetime achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy.’ Wolfe joins the Grand Master ranks alongside such legends as Michael Moorcock, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Joe Haldeman. The award will be presented at the 48th Annual NebulaAwardsWeekend in San Jose, CA, May 16-19, 2013.

More information on the award’s history and the Nebula Award Weekend can be found at: