Various Things I Want to Tell You About, 5/1/14
Posted on May 1, 2014 Posted by John Scalzi 36 Comments
Because you want to know them. Yes you do.
1. My pal Helen Montgomery wanted me to make you all aware of the following, relating to Worldcon, live theater at the Worldcon, and how you (yes, you!) can help make it happen. I am going to quote Helen directly:
“I really appreciate you being willing to help promote what is the centerpiece of my ‘West End’ theme of theater at Loncon 3: the world premiere of an adaptation of The Anubis Gates, by Tim Powers. The adaptor and director is a woman named Ruth Pe Palileo, and the company is called Current Theatrics. I think I mentioned to you this weekend that Ruth is one of the people who did the Neil Gaiman plays at Chicon, and she’s done some work at Capricon as well.
“Current Theatrics is starting a crowdfunding campaign to help cover costs of airfare and lodging. All of the cast and crew have worked as professionals in theater, but they are volunteering their time to do this show – it’s completely a fannish labor of love. For most of them, this will be their first Worldcon and they are super excited about it!”
If you’re interested in helping them, here’s what to do:
1. Check out their Rockethub fundraising campaign, which features information and backstage videos and all sorts of stuff to get you up to speed;
2. Check in on their Twitter feeds. Ruth Pe Palilieo says, of these:
“folks can now ‘listen in’ on twitter conversations between characters from the show from two different time periods (1983 and 1810). These conversations take place in the four months leading up to the events in the novel/stage play. What a coincidence since we are in the four months leading up to the show! The tweets grew from acting exercises exploring backstories.
“The characters tweeting are
@JackySnapp from 1810
@TheBrendanDoyle from 1983
@BSteerforth from 1983
@Darrow_IRE (official page of DIRE Industries. J Cochran Darrow does not tweet) from 1983
“Also, we created one especially for folks who will be unable to attend Loncon 3. Lord Byron will buy them a virtual pint in consolation: @MayIBuyYouAPint
“(this last one is totally an in-joke for those who have read the novel.)”
You can also follow Ruth herself too: @ruthlesspal.
They also have a Facebook page.
2. As I noted on Twitter yesterday, Baen Books has launched the Baen Fantasy Adventure Award, which is a short story contest, the prize to be awarded at this year’s GenCon. You can enter! All the rules and information (including the submission window, which is now open) are at that link above. If you enter, good luck!
3. Congratulations to Ann Leckie, who just won the Clarke Award for Ancillary Justice! That’s the second award the book has won, along with the BSFA Best Novel Award (tie), and she still has the Nebula and Hugo to go. No matter what happens with either of those, she’s still having a very good year.
4. A scheduling note of note: Hey, I’ll be at San Diego Comic Con this year. My panels and events aren’t locked down yet, but I will let you all know when they are. But if you were on the fencepost about going to SDCC, well, now you have a reason to come! (Or avoid it, I guess, jerk.)
And there you go!
This post yet again tells me I am not connected to the genre community. This is the first I have ever heard of The Anubis Gates or Tim Powers. I just googled him.
You might very well want to avoid comic con at San Diego this year. According to Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire), that’s when the zombie apocalypse kills everyone at the convention center. (if you haven’t read her very fine story “Last Stand of the California Browncoats”. Even if I didn’t have a very bad case of “conventions are too loud and chaotic for me”, I’d be too paranoid to go this year.
OH MY GOSH!!! I was hoping you’d have Clarke Award news! I found _Ancillary Justice_ via your “Big Idea” and adored it. It was my Book of the Year and so far is my Book of the Decade. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve given it to or pressed it on. And am babbling with joy at you so I don’t squee in my office…again…after my initial outburst.
Okay, so I have a sinus headache and didn’t finish my thought. You know what I meant 1) great story and 2) no way no how am I going there this particular year, even if I get over my dislike of crowds in enclosed spaces.
@Guess / 4:35 pm
“This post yet again tells me I am not connected to the genre community.”
I’ve noted before that books don’t seem to have the same kind of conspicuous consensus-mainstream that movies do. If you ask random strangers to name five movies that have come out in the last year, with a preference for movies that *others* will *also* name (i.e. the Family Feud structure), I believe most people would do quite well. Not so with books – unless you ask people who happen to follow the same genre-literature blogs, they’ll probably fail miserably at naming new books that others have also named.
Elizabeth Bear once gave an interview with Tor.com, wherein she mentioned “Malinda Lo’s Ash, which of course the whole world is talking about.” And I’d never heard of Malinda Lo or Ash until reading that sentence.
Will you be signing at SDCC? Tell me you’ll be signing.
And how can I convince you to stop by my booth so I can give you a copy of my book, as like a present and a “thank you” for being an inspiration and someone who helps motivate me to write?
Those Gaiman plays at Chicon were fantastic. I imagine Anubis Gates will be too, shame London is all the way over there.
Yay Ancillary Justice! I was so behind the curve on that, just read it when the Hugos noms were announced and everyone was like “well I know what my top pick is” and I’m so glad I did.
@Stephen to be fair, there are far more books released each year than movies and those get far more attention. Also in books there are so many sectors of fans, if your primary niche was YA fairytale adaptations then I’m sure Ash would have been on your radar. While people do roam freely from their niche it’s hard to know all the news in every genre.
@odanu: Thank you for filling me in on Last Stand of the California Browncoats. I’d never heard of it before. Now I have something neat to read tonight!
Re: item 3 – DROP DEAD SCALZI! You just made me buy a book from an author I’ve never read… You and your shameless promotion of other authors in your genre!
I suspect a lot of us are jealous of you. You have the opportunity to discover Power and The Anubis Gates ahead of you. It’s an awesome experience.
True – and all the sweeter because the Clarke Award shortlist this year was (IMO) considerably stronger that it’s been for a while, and definitely a lot less of a sausage-fest.
I wouldn’t assume that about you or anyone else, Guess. The days have long passed when even the most assiduous SF/F reader could confidently assert they’d read everything worthwhile out there. I’ve reconciled myself to the bitter reality that even if I develop a meth habit and stop sleeping, I’m never getting to the end of that damn TO BE READ/WATCHED/LISTENED TO list. And that’s a very good thing!
I suspect if one hasn’t already decided that one is going to attend SDCC, then one will never be able to get tickets at this point. I live in San Diego and have never been able to procure tickets.
Well, this looked interesting so I pottered over to to take a look; I’m a reader, not a writer, always on the prowl for new authors to feed the addiction. And then it went south.
Any company willing to claim that Larry Corraia is as good a writer as Tolkien has serious credibility problems; I really don’t know why they should want to screw their award before it even starts but it certainly screwed any chances of me staying to scrutinise their catalogue…
Even If the play captures some of the quality of the Anubis Gates book, then it should provide excellent entertainment.
Well, blast, I can’t go to London. Any chance of crowdsourcing a video taping of it to go on the Internet after the con, like Star Kids?
Yay, Ms. Leckie!
Oh that poor San Diego ComicCon. An entire Insect Army descending upon them. Chirp.
Third, if you count the Golden Tentacle.
Yay Ancillary Justice! I haven’t loved a book this much in a really long time. I’ve actually given away two copies so far.
@Guess & @Adam Lipkin:
Add me to the list of slightly jealous people. “Anubis Gates” & “Last Call” are in my (rather long) favourite books list.
Also, obligatory xkcd.
I will accept that virtual pint in the spirit in which it is offered…
It grieves me greatly to hear you dismiss Baen, all of its authors, and a wonderful writing opportunity, because you disagree (as I do) with the very vocal and rather obnoxious personality and politics of one of their authors.
I’ve read the first 3 of LC’s Monster Hunter series (either in the Hugo nominee packet, or from my library). And you know what? I enjoyed them. Do I think any of them were worthy of a Hugo, or of appearing on my Favorites list? No. Did that stop me from enjoying them? No.
I find Sarah A Hoyt’s blog posts quite irrational and shrill (and I wonder just what sort of maltreatment caused her to react this way), but I’ve read all of her Shifter series, and it is fantastic — and I am NOT a fan of paranormal urban fantasy.
David Weber’s Honor Harrington novels feature an absolutely brilliant, capable female character with some incredible world-building and intelligent psychological and physical action.
And if you don’t know who Lois McMaster Bujold is, then you have missed out on some seriously awesome sci-fi.
Finally, Chuck Gannon’s (well-deserved) Nebula-nominated Fire With Fire features a main character who cares deeply about honesty, environmental conservation, doing the right thing, and improving the quality of life of all humans (not just the rich and powerful ones).
So go ahead, shut yourself off from a whole range of really fantastic SFF and the opportunity to enter a contest that could make you an established author because of one colossal jerk with a big mouth, if that’s what you want.
But that kind of seems like the way a 6-year-old would respond, doesn’t it?
Regarding Baen: Being able to separate the art from the artist is immensely important if you want to be able to enjoy Sci-Fi.
All the stuff people say about Larry Correia reminds me of the controversies a while back about Orson Scott Card. The Ender books still have a special place in my heart, and always will, though.
Regarding Ancillary Justice: So it’s pretty good? Will I enjoy it? It is anything like Lady Of Mazes? (I utterly loved that book) Is it anything like Spin State? Ghost In The Shell?
“Envy” is NOT “Jealousy”, so I’m not jealous of a new Tim Powers reader. However, I am envious.
“The Anubis Gates” is one of the great fantasy stories of all time. It’s my recommended gateway drug to the Powerverse. If you don’t like THAT, you won’t like his stuff in general.
My list of to read books just changed again. I have had Lord Valentines Castle by Robert Silverberg on my shelf for over a year as my ‘next book to read’ but other stuff keeps bumping it back. I’m on the last Hyperion book so now my next book is Anubis Gates. I’m actually multi-tasking since I like audio books. I am audioing the Magician Kings by Levy and House of the Sun by Alastair Reynolds.
My list never ends… Sometimes I feel like reading more fiction is like climbing a sand wall. Been meaning to get back to historical fiction for years now. I used to read alot of it. Have not had the chance. I admittedly don’t read the 50-75 books/year that Scalzi like readers plow through, but still…
I’m not Stevie, but I don’t think not feeling like perusing their catalogue is exactly the same thing as boycotting Baen and all Baen writers. Some things are good advertising that make people want to find out more about the publisher involved, some are not. This contest does not appear to be all that compelling as advertising for the publisher, at least to some people (and I include myself in that category as well).
Speaking as a writer, I followed the link only to find myself disinclined to put my work into a contest to be judged by Larry Corraia. I have not read any of his writing besides his blog as linked in recent controversies, but that was enough to tell me that however much I might like some of the authors listed in the contest description, there’s really no point (for me) in the contest as a whole. Larry Corraia seems biased in a way I don’t really understand, and personally, I’d rather submit elsewhere rather than waste my time. (Admittedly, I would have to write something specifically for the contest if I did want to submit, since I don’t have anything that fits sitting around, so take that fwiw in terms of likelihood even if LC wasn’t involved…but I do have an idea that I’ve been wanting to write that would fit quite nicely, so it’s not impossible either. And noticing who was judging definitely did kill what interest I had.)
Thanks for reminding me to buy Ancillary Justice. It seems like everyone is raving.
I’m reading Ancillary Justice right now… about 60% thru it and I keep wondering, when is this going to get good? Its a slog for me and to be honest I’d have given up if not for the fact that it’s a Hugo nominee and because so many of you think its great. I guess the zen of schizophrenia just isn’t my thing.
@MVS I felt the same way, so you’re not alone.
It has enough rave reviews from people whose tastes I normally share that I can only conclude it’s one of those books that you either love or hate. Though my feeling was less hate and more ‘meh’.
I find it kind of kind of interesting that the list of “great storytellers” on the Baen award site are in alphabetical order, except that Marion Zimmer Bradley is at the end, resulting in LC being first on the list.
Sadly, another ‘meh’ vote for Ancillary Justice. It didn’t make my socks go up and down, but it is pretty cool that there is enough variety in the various awards that not everything is to my taste.
I just finished it. The last 20% was interesting…. BUT (you just knew there was a big but in there somewhere, right?) it was — spoiler alert — a weaker ending than I was hoping for since it was an obvious prelude to the sequel. Likely to be titled Mercy of Toren I’d wager. An interesting Universe, but it definitely qualifies as the chick flick of space operas, IMHO.
When you say chick flick, do you just mean that there are a large number of female characters? (though someone told me that gender doesn’t really even exist in the novel since everyone is an uploaded/downloaded consciousness that can be put in whatever body is required)
Or do you mean “chick flick” in the sense that it’s Pride And Prejudice in space? Lots of sociopolitical plotting and backstabbing? Posthuman gossip and snipping? Emotional struggle and relationship drama? Very talky and conversation-centric?
Or is it just, in general, somewhat slow-paced and not the right cup of tea for somebody who likes alot of action and color in their Sci-Fi?
Inquiring book-buyers want to know!
@MrManny — yes you nailed what I meant by my rather insensitive shorthand. “Lots of sociopolitical plotting and backstabbing? Posthuman gossip and snipping? Emotional struggle and relationship drama? Very talky and conversation-centric?”
Gender, however, was used throughout… female pronouns for everyone. Though I knew some of the characters were male (as explicitly described in scenes on Nilt) I kept picturing everyone as females when tying to build scenes in my imagination. This led to some rather hot lesbian sex between Lts. Awn and Awer (I tried to spell her first name but failed). Once I got used to it however (70% of the way thru I’d guess) it no longer bothered me. And as an example of non-male biased writing, it was even enjoyable.
Whilst I didn’t really like the story as much as I wanted to, I did find it thought provoking and will chew on it for days to come, I’m sure. Perhaps in the fullness of time my appreciation or understanding, or both, will grow.
One more thought… you stated as “MrManny” that someone “told you”, “that since [gender doesn’t really even exist as] everyone is an uploaded/downloaded consciousness that can be put in whatever body is required”.
I didn’t get that. Of course the Lord of the Radch and the Justice of Toren were able to do that, as well as be in many places at once due to their multi-corporeal nature, but the human characters had definite lifetimes of 200 years or so and needed medical attention when injured. No mention that they could be uploaded from a dying body then inserted into a fresh one that I caught. While that option existed for Ships and the Lord Emperor, I don’t think it was available to others.
Perhaps in the sequel you could explore / explain that angle a bit? I’ll watch for it, and should it happen, I’ll likely purchase and read it since the depth of the Universe has such potential depth and tapestry. And who knows, maybe you’ll firmly establish “Chick Flick Space Opera” as its own sub-genre?
ReginaG: I believe Marion Zimmer Bradley’s surname is “Zimmer Bradley”, which puts her at the end of the alphabet.
Uh, wait, I think you may have me confused for someone else. You asked me to explore/explain that angle… I would love to, but I’m not the author of the book, just a guy who’s thinking about adding it to the next batch of books that I buy from Amazon.
I’m not really all about the slow-paced political maneuvering, though. The only books where I really enjoyed that were the Dune books, because Frank Herbert had so many interesting ideas, and the Bene Gesserit were pretty damn ninja. Also there was still enough action/adventure in those books to keep things moving along pretty nicely.
I pretty much can’t abide “chick lit”. Ancillary Justice is not “chick lit” at all — unless one considers having mostly female pronouns in a book makes it “chick lit”.
Which is ridiculous. No one calls books “bro lit” just because they have mainly male pronouns.