Tag Archives: news

Big Moves

Betsy Mitchell is retiring from Del Rey.

Paula Guran is leaving Pocket Juno to be a senior editor at Prime.

DongWon Song is leaving Orbit Books. No link on this as there hasn’t been an official announcement yet–at least not that I’ve seen–but given that the job posting for his replacement has been up for several days and I’ve heard about this from several people, I don’t think it’s a big secret at this point. Unrelated, the multitalented Jack Womack has left Orbit publicity; rumor has it that he’s taking some time to write a novel, which is thrilling news.

Looks like Jen Heddle’s move to Lucasfilm has started an avalanche of genre job-changing. Anyone else planning to jump on that bandwagon?

Cheryl Morgan Removes Some of Her Many Hats

For reasons somewhat loosely related to complaints about the Hugos, and perhaps more directly related to this conversation on Twitter, Cheryl Morgan is withdrawing from a number of organizations:

Nothing I have seen has been directed at me, which is a big relief after the ridiculous nonsense last year. However, all winners are tarred with the same brush. [...] In particular I’m tired of worrying that projects I’m involved in, which I care deeply about, will suffer through their association with whatever mud-slinging is affecting me. And I have to face up to the fact that for a large segment of the community I will never be anything more than a fan who won fan Hugos in controversial circumstances.

So I am bowing out.

I’ll be retiring from Clarkesworld [...] I’m also giving up SF Awards Watch. [...] I have resigned from the Board of Lavie Tidhar’s World SF Travel Fund. [...] I have resigned from the Board of the SF&F Translations Awards.

I am inevitably reminded of Cheryl closing Emerald City in 2006 after a very similar hyperbole-and-outrage set of conversations. It is worth noting, though, that that was hardly the end of her career, as exemplified by the list of commitments above. I wish her the best and hope she finds ways to stay in, or come back to, the parts of fandom where she currently feels unwelcome.

One Editor Leaves, One Magazine Enters

Weird Tales has been sold, and the new owner, Marvin Kaye, appears to be ditching the entire staff. The entire Hugo-winning staff. Including Ann VanderMeer, who’s due the lion’s share of the credit for dragging the magazine kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. VanderMeer’s last editorial isn’t even a proper editorial, as she cuttingly notes; it’s a post on the Weird Tales blog. That’s a pretty ignominious end to an illustrious five years.

But take heart! Magazines have risen from the grave and will again. New Worlds, for example, which raised the New Wave movement from infancy, is coming back after 40 years in mothballs. SF Signal reports that it’s to be retitled Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds, though Moorcock’s primary role is to contribute his name and occasional editorials. It’s not yet clear how the staff will be structured or what they’ll publish. No one’s really writing New Wave SF these days, and indeed, I’m not sure it’s possible to write post-AIDS New Wave fiction, though I’d love to see someone try. At any rate, the magazine is looking for “contributions of all kinds”.

I feel like no one talks about SF/F magazines very much, but they’re really important. A lot of good novelists start out writing stories; that’s where they learn how to send in submissions, how to handle rejection, how to work with an editor. A lot of good writers are simply good short story writers and they stay on that end of the field without ever coming to the attention of book-readers. A handful of talented editors, many of whom hold their posts for decades, plow through unimaginably huge slush piles to select the stories that shape the industry. I’m a passionate fan of short and medium-length SF/F–particularly the novella, a form that has given rise to some of the best fantastic fiction of all time–and I think it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the people who devote themselves to the often thankless task of publishing it in magazines.

Ms. VanderMeer, I salute you and hope you find a new gig very soon. New New Worlds editors, best of luck to you. I’m very glad to see you still care about trying to keep SF/F magazines alive until someone figures out how to make them profitable again.

Publisher News from Worldcon

I need to go get four hours of sleep before getting on my flight home, so here’s the big official non-Hugos news from Worldcon in brief:

  • Angry Robot is creating a home for fan fiction and fan art based on some of their books (presumably the ones whose authors have given an explicit go-ahead). The “best” of the works submitted will be published in anthologies, linking this venture to the long tradition of shared-world anthologies. The big question, of course, is whether the fanfic-authorized books are the ones fans will want to write fanfic for, but it’s terrific to see a publisher encouraging and approving fan creations.
  • Tor/Forge is collaborating with NASA to produce “NASA-inspired works of fiction”, sending authors to Goddard to meet with NASA staff and tour the facilities. This sounds a lot like Launch Pad, but with less emphasis on astronomy and more on space exploration, and of course with the Tor/Forge branding.

Also Kim Stanley Robinson told me all about the novel he’s writing but I’m not allowed to tell anyone else. Sorry about that.

If you haven’t had enough of the Hugos, there’s a round-up of reactions at Strange Horizons. And if you want a little extra glee in your day, load up the UStream video of the ceremony and fast-forward to the bookmark labeled “The Garcia Moment”. There’s also video of the hilarious “Just a Minute” Masquerade halftime show, which is an excellent way to spend an hour when you really ought to be going to bed.

…oops.

The 2011 Hugo Award Winners

As announced at Worldcon, below are the winners of the 2011 Hugo Awards. Exactly 2100 valid ballots were received, all but 14 electronically.

John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award (not a Hugo):

  • Saladin Ahmed
  • Lauren Beukes
  • Larry Correia
  • Lev Grossman
  • Dan Wells

Best Fan Artist:

  • Brad W. Foster
  • Randall Monroe
  • Maurine Starkey
  • Steve Stiles
  • Taral Wayne

Best Fan Writer:

  • James Bacon
  • Claire Brialey
  • Christopher J. Garcia
  • James Nicoll
  • Steven H Silver

Best Fanzine:

  • Banana Wings
  • Challenger
  • The Drink Tank
  • File 770
  • Starship Sofa

Best Semiprozine:

  • Clarkesworld
  • Interzone
  • Lightspeed
  • Locus
  • Weird Tales

Best Professional Artist:

  • Daniel Dos Santos
  • Bob Eggleton
  • Stephan Martinière
  • John Picacio
  • Shaun Tan

Best Editor, Long Form:

  • Lou Anders
  • Ginjer Buchanan
  • Moshe Feder
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Nick Mamatas
  • Beth Meacham
  • Juliet Ulman

Best Editor, Short Form:

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Stanley Schmidt
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Gordon van Gelder
  • Sheila Williams

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form:

  • Doctor Who: “A Christmas Carol”
  • Doctor Who: “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang”
  • Doctor Who: “Vincent and the Doctor”
  • “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury”
  • “The Lost Thing”

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • Inception
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  • Toy Story Three

Best Graphic Story:

  • Fables: Witches
  • Girl Genius, vol. 10
  • Grandville Mon Amour
  • Shlock Mercenary: Massively Parallel
  • The Unwritten, vol. 2

Best Related Work:

  • Bearings: Reviews, 1997-2001, Gary K. Wolfe
  • The Business of Science Fiction, Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg
  • Chicks Dig Time Lords, Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea
  • Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, vol. 1, William H. Patterson Jr.
  • Writing Excuses, season 4, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells

Best Short Story:

  • “Amaryllis” by Carrie Vaughn
  • “For Want of a Nail” by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • “Ponies” by Kij Johnson
  • “The Things” by Peter Watts

Best Novelette:

  • “Eight Miles,” Sean McMullen
  • “The Emperor of Mars,” Allen M. Steele
  • “The Jaguar House, in Shadow,” Aliette de Bodard
  • “Plus or Minus,” James Patrick Kelly
  • “That Leviathan, Which Thou Has Made” Eric James Stone

Best Novella:

  • “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window,” Rachel Swirsky
  • The Lifecycle of Software Objects, Ted Chiang
  • “The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon,” Elizabeth Hand
  • “The Sultan of the Clouds,” Geoffrey Landis
  • “Troika,” Alistair Reynolds

Best Novel:

  • Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis
  • Cryoburn, Lois McMaster Bujold
  • The Dervish House, Ian McDonald
  • Feed, Mira Grant
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin

Congratulations to all the winners! Especially Sheila Williams, whose win is long overdue.

A New Global Fan Fund

Via Aliette de Bodard comes news of this fabulous venture:

A combination of genre professionals and fans from the international scene and the United States have gathered together to create the World SF Travel Fund. The fund has been set up to enable one international person involved in science fiction, fantasy or horror to travel to a major genre event.

The first recipient of the fund is genre blogger and activist Charles Tan, from the Philippines. Charles is a tireless promoter of speculative fiction. Besides his own Bibliophile Stalker blog, he contributes to the Nebula Awards blog, the Shirley Jackson Award blog, SF Signal and The World SF Blog. He also edited two online anthologies of speculative fiction from the Philippines. Charles is highly regarded in the SF scene both in the USA and internationally. The Fund’s intention is to facilitate Charles’ travel to World Fantasy Con 2011 in San Diego, California….

The Fund has set up a Peerbackers Project with the hope of raising $6000, enabling two years of running. The Board, tasked with selecting future candidates, is composed of Lauren Beukes, Aliette de Bodard, Ekaterina Sedia, Cheryl Morgan and Lavie Tidhar and reflects the truly international nature of the SF world today. For inquiries and further information please contact worldsftravelfund@gmail.com.

Charles Tan is exactly the right person for this. That’s a great list of board members, too. Peerbackers is much like Kickstarter, as far as I can tell, so this effort is entirely crowd-funded; I hope it gets enough support to get off the ground.

News from Comic Con

Scott Westerfeld made two big announcements at Comic Con yesterday: the long-rumored Uglies film now has special effects companies Lola (Captain America) and Hydraulx (Avatar) on board, and the Uglies series is being adapted into a manga to be drawn by Steven Cumming and published by Del Rey.

Vertigo also announced that South African SF author Lauren Beukes, my personal pick for this year’s Campbell Award for best new writer, will contribute to their forthcoming Fairest series, a princess-focused spin-off from the Eisner-winning Fables line of fairy tale adaptations. Beukes contributed to Vertigo’s recent anthology Strange Adventures; looks like they’re happy with her work.

Catching Up

Cool things that have hit my inbox in the past week:

I have fought both my personal and my work inboxes down from hundreds to dozens of messages, so this should be the last linkdump for a while. Of course, people do keep posting interesting things…

Back from Readercon

A scant few weeks after posting about my attempt to go as long as possible without meeting Neil Gaiman, I have lost the game: he randomly showed up at Readercon (yes, the convention committee was as surprised as everyone else) and Peter Straub kindly introduced us. We also got surprise visits from Junot Diaz and Marjorie M. Liu. One of my favorite things about Readercon is that you never know who’s going to come by.

Neil was at the convention primarily to attend the Shirley Jackson Awards ceremony, one of three that take place at Readercon. The winners:

  • Novel: Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • Novella: “Mysterium Tremendum” by Laird Barron
  • Novelette: “Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains” by Neil Gaiman
  • Short story: “The Things” by Peter Watts
  • Collection: Occultation by Laird Barron
  • Anthology: Stories: All New Tales edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio

The full list of nominees is here, and you can see video of the ceremony here.

Also given at Readercon are the Rhysling Awards for speculative poetry. In the short poem category:

  • First place: “El Codex Chupacabra” by Juan Manuel Perez
  • Second place: “Welcome Home (The Nebulas Song)” by Janis Ian
  • Third place: “Peach-Creamed Honey” by Amal El-Mohtar

And in the long poem category:

  • First place: “The Sea King’s Second Bride” by C. S. E. Cooney
  • Second place: “Dark Rains Here and There” by Bruce Boston
  • Third place: “Wreck-Diving the Starship” by Robert Frazier

This year’s Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award went to Katherine MacLean, the award’s first female winner and first living winner. She was on hand to accept the award, give a short speech on the nature of sentience and intelligence, be interviewed by Samuel R. Delany (that link goes to a video of the interview, no transcript) and generally charm and delight everyone at the convention.

Also announced this weekend (but at Mythcon, not at Readercon) were the Mythopoeic Awards. The winners:

  • Adult literature: Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
  • Children’s literature: The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Inklings studies: Planet Narnia by Michael Ward
  • Myth and fantasy studies: The Victorian Press and the Fairy Tale by Caroline Sumpter

Congratulations to the many winners! I love that all these awards touch on very different aspects of our genre; it’s wonderful to be reminded just how broad the SF/F/H umbrella is, and how many amazing people crowd together beneath it.

I am entirely hoarse, entirely behind on my work, entirely exhausted, and still glowing from the joys of this past weekend. Many thanks to the Genreville readers who came up to say hello; it’s nice to know I’m writing to real people and not just shouting into the void. I hope to meet more of you at Worldcon in just a few weeks!

PS Publishing Acquires E-Rights for Nine Zoran Zivkovic Books

From the press release:

In a major deal, PS has bought the digital English language rights to Zoran’s nine titles for an autumn release: Impossible Stories, Twelve Collections & The Teashop, The Last Book, The Bridge, The Writer/The Book/The Reader, Impossible Stories II, Escher’s Loops, The Fourth Circle and The Ghostwriter.

The first seven already appeared as PS print editions, and we’re delighted that Zoran has entrusted these last two titles to us. But there’s more. Alongside the digital edition of The Ghostwriter, PS will bring out a limited hardcover edition, but there are no current plans for a print edition of The Fourth Circle. As we announced in our joint press release with Zoran, the electronic edition will be the only game in town.

I’ve added links to PW‘s reviews of a few of those books so you can see why this is such exciting news. Živković (I dare not put the accented characters in the subject line of the post for fear of breaking RSS readers) is an amazing writer of surreal, metafictional, deliciously weird stories and novels. I hope this helps his work to become better known.

Since PS is a U.K. company, I inquired about availability and distribution. PS publisher Peter Crowther wrote back, “The e-books will be available through our website and Amazon in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. We are producing MOBI files for Kindle users and ePub for those with Apple iPads, Sony Readers and other eBook reading devices.” This might well break my self-imposed embargo on buying digital books. No word yet on pricing or date of release, but given that PS has already published five of the seven books, I’d expect those five, at least, to go up relatively soon.

EDIT: Crowther tells me “the prices will be £3.99 or less for the novels and collections, and £1.99 or less for the novellas”. A steal!

2010 Tiptree Award Winner Announced

According to the Tiptree website, the 2010 Tiptree Award goes to Baba Yaga Laid an Egg, by Dubravka Ugresic (Canongate, 2010).

Baba Yaga Laid an Egg impressed with its power and its grace. Tiptree juror Jessa Crispin explains that the beginning of the book “does not scream science fiction or fantasy. It starts quietly, with a meditation on the author’s aging mother, and the invisibility of the older woman…. But things shift wholly in the second act, with a surreal little tale of three old ladies, newly moneyed, who check into an Eastern European health spa. There’s another revolution in the third act, where what looks like a scholarly examination of the Russian fairy tale hag erupts into a rallying cry for mistreated and invisible women everywhere.”

Crispin notes that the fairy tale figure Baba Yaga is the witch, the hag, the inappropriate wild woman, the marginalized and the despised. She represents inappropriateness, wilderness, and confusion. “She’s appropriate material for Ugresic, who was forced into exile from Croatia for her political beliefs. The jurors feel Baba Yaga Laid an Egg is a splendid representation of this type of woman, so cut out of today’s culture.”

Honor list:

  • The Bone Palace by Amanda Downum (Orbit 2010)
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit 2010)
  • “Diana Comet and the Disappearing Lover” by Sandra McDonald (published as “Diana Comet,” Strange Horizons, March 2 & March 9, 2009)
  • “Drag Queen Astronaut” by Sandra McDonald (Crossed Genres issue 24, November 2010)
  • The Secret Feminist Cabal by Helen Merrick (Aqueduct Press 2009)
  • Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor (DAW 2010)
  • Living with Ghosts by Kari Sperring (DAW 2009)
  • The Colony by Jillian Weise (Soft Skull Press 2010)

Long list:

  • Beth Bernobich, Passion Play (Tor 2010)
  • Stevie Carroll, “The Monitors” (Echoes of Possibilities, edited by Aleksandr Volnov, Noble Romance Publishing 2010)
  • Roxane Gay, “Things I Know About Fairy Tales” (Necessary Fiction, May 13, 2009)
  • Frances Hardinge, Gullstruck Island (MacMillan 2009)
  • Julia Holmes, Meeks (Small Beer Press 2010)
  • Malinda Lo, Ash (Little, Brown 2009)
  • Alissa Nutting, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls (Starcherone Books 2010)
  • Helen Oyeyemi, White Is for Witching (Doubleday 2009)
  • Rachel Swirsky, “Eros, Philia, Agape” (Tor.com, March 3, 2009)

Congratulations to all!

Twitter: The New Publisher Recruitment Tool

Remember some years ago when the big shocking thing was John Scalzi getting a book deal with Tor because of material he posted to his website? Well, move over, WordPress: publishers are now finding new authors through Twitter. I just got this press release from Angry Robot:

Those busy metal fellows at dynamic SF publishing imprint Angry Robot have pounced upon the debut novel of British-based New Zealander ADAM CHRISTOPHER.

Christopher is well-known to many at the heart of the British science fiction community through his strong presence on Twitter, under the nickname @ghostfinder. It was through reading his posts that AR first became aware of him – a lesson to other prospective authors, perhaps. In keeping with Angry Robot’s emphasis on the new channels for promoting all of its authors, he will of course continue to promote his work via Twitter.

The deal, for world rights to two novels across all formats, was done between Christopher and Angry Robot editor Lee Harris.

Actually, the parallel isn’t so much between blogging and Twitter as it is between face-to-face networking and social media. Obviously Christopher wasn’t posting novel excerpts to his Twitter feed. In an interview at Floor to Ceiling Books, he says that connecting on Twitter was just the first step in a mostly conventional in-person process:

The whole submission process was pretty straightforward – I knew the Angry Robot guys online (as the press release says, nothing would have happened if it hadn’t been for Twitter!) and sometime in mid-2010 I dropped by their office for a visit. Over lunch I described Empire State, and outlined a few other novels I’ve also written (including Seven Wonders). Marc and Lee liked what they heard and invited me to send it in.

After that it was pretty much the usual thing – sample chapters and a full synopsis, and then the full manuscript was requested. The whole process from that initial meeting to signing the contract took about nine months. People talk about the publishing industry being slow but it’s a complicated business. There were a lot of individual stages and checkpoints that Empire State had to get through before they made the offer.

So it’s not actually that knowing publishers on Twitter will get you a book deal, any more than having lunch with publishers will get you a book deal. What will actually get you a book deal is having written a book that a publisher thinks is worth buying. It probably helps to have a foot in the door, but there are, if you will pardon the tortured analogy, many kinds of feet that can be wedged in there: connecting on Twitter, meeting at a convention, having a good agent.

Speaking of which, I note that Christopher negotiated his own book deal, and take this as an opportunity to remind writers that agents are not just matchmakers who can be bypassed if you have other ways of getting your synopsis and chapters in front of someone with buying power. Agents are there to make sure you get as much money as possible and don’t inadvertently sign a contract that will come back to bite you later. As Theodora Goss says, “When I’m going over contracts, I’m actually grateful that I was a corporate lawyer, because at least I know what the various parts of the contract are for. How do people who aren’t lawyers do it?” The buying and selling of books remains a business, regardless of how those first introductions are made, and I hope authors will keep treating it as one even if their publishers are also their friends—or their social media “friends”.

New Stross from Orbit

Commissioning editor Bella Pagan at Orbit Books UK has announced the acquisition of three new titles from Locus and Hugo Aaward winning cross-genre author Charles Stross.  The titles are The Apocalypse Codex, Neptune’s Brood, and The Lambda Functionary. The first title is a new book in Stross’s popular Laundry Files novels. Stross informs his readers that Neptune’s Brood is a space opera set in the Saturn’s Children universe and The Lambda Functionary is a near future thriller set in the Halting State and Rule 34 universe.

Saturn’s Children, Halting State and the previous Laundry Files novels were released in the US through Ace.

A Date for A Dance with Dragons… Again

George R.R. Martin writes the post his fans have been waiting for:

No. Sorry. Not done yet. I’m close, though. Watch this space. When the book is done, you will read it here.

Meanwhile… there is news. Big news. The end is in sight, at long long last, and we’re close enough so that my editors and publishers at Bantam Spectra have set an actual publication date. A DANCE WITH DRAGONS will be in your favorite bookstore on

TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2011

Yes, I know. You’ve all seen publication dates before: dates in 2007, 2008, 2009. None of those were ever hard dates, however. Most of them… well, call it wishful thinking, boundless optimism, cockeyed dreams, honest mistakes, whatever you like.

This date is different. This date is real.

Barring tsunamis, general strikes, world wars, or asteroid strikes, you will have the novel in your hands on July 12. I hope you like it.

There is really only one possible response to this announcement:

If Bantam Spectra actually sends me an ARC of this baby, you’ll be the first to know.

Link Roundup

  • The Stoker Award shortlist is out! Congratulations to all the finalists.
  • The Clarke Award eligibility list is out! And Torque Control is holding a contest for guessing the six finalists, with the winner getting copies of all six books and the Clarke homage anthology Fables from the Fountain.
  • The winner of today’s “We’re living in the future” award: putting giant kites on cargo ships to reduce fuel usage. That scratching sound at the edge of your hearing is Paolo Bacigalupi frantically taking notes.Next thing you know they’ll be calling sailing ships “carbon-neutral”… oh hey, they are.
  • Finally, author Adam P. Knave declares this the week of Ten a Day. Specifically, he suggests sending compliments to ten people a day, every day this week. There’s a blog badge for it and everything!So go spread the love. It’s a nice way to mark the end of February (I do not know anyone who likes February) and warm up either the slow crawl toward spring or the slow descent of fall, depending on your hemisphere.

Link Roundup

Just a few quick links today:

2010 Goodreads Choice Awards: Hints for the Hugos?

The 2010 Goodreads Choice Awards have been announced, and the top five titles in the fantasy, SF, and paranormal fantasy categories may give us some hints as to the likely contenders for the 2010 best novel Hugo.

A crowded fantasy field showed a pretty close race. The top five, out of 4711* votes cast:

  1. Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, 451
  2. The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman, 426
  3. Kraken by China Miéville, 386
  4. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin, 363
  5. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, 353

Sanderson clearly has a lot of fans, and I wonder whether their votes ended up split because he had two strong books in the running. I hadn’t even heard of the Hoffman, perhaps because it was marketed as YA (so I don’t know why it’s in the fantasy category rather than the YA category). Splitting “paranormal fantasy” off into its own category seems to have taken a lot of the female authors out of the fantasy-qua-fantasy running; kudos to Jemisin for bucking that trend. This also probably settles the question of which of Jemisin’s two 2010 novels will get award consideration, which is almost a shame, since I thought The Broken Kingdoms was even better than The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Nice to see Jemisin and Miéville breaking the color barrier, too.

SF (3764 votes cast) was much more clear-cut:

  1. Feed by Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire), 592
  2. Blackout by Connie Willis, 345
  3. Dreadnought by Cherie Priest, 310
  4. Star Wars Fate of the Jedi: Backlash by Aaron Allston, 309
  5. Killbox by Ann Aguirre, 276

This win for Feed, with nearly double the votes of the runner-up, is pretty tremendous, and I hope it boosts McGuire’s Hugo chances. (When’s the last time a mass market original won a Hugo?) Willis may have suffered for having Blackout considered on its own, without All Clear. Once again, Priest’s steampunk alternate history novels are classified as SF; can anyone explain this to me? Tie-in novels get a really undeserved bad rap, even though some terrific writers work on them–for just one example, if Eric Nylund, Greg Bear, and Tobias Buckell wrote an all-original SF series together, it would be praised to the skies, but since they’re writing spin-offs of Halo, their work goes practically unnoticed–and it’s great to see Allston making a showing here. Aguirre’s space opera is likewise often overlooked, perhaps because of its paranormal-ish covers. And on the gender front, Allston is actually the outlier! When’s the last time you saw an SF award where four out of the top five were written by women? It is an all-white crowd, though.

Then there’s paranormal fantasy, which got 7190 votes or nearly as many as SF and fantasy combined:

  1. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris, 1506
  2. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs, 707
  3. Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews, 646
  4. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith, 630
  5. Changes by Jim Butcher, 574

Urban fantasy is the spec fic world’s version of box-office smash hits that don’t have a prayer of winning an Oscar. Each of these books got more votes than any of the SF or fantasy titles except for Feed. (McGuire’s 2010 urban fantasy title, An Artificial Night, placed 12th in the paranormal fantasy category.) The sixth-place title is Richelle Mead’s Succubus Shadows, which got 441 write-in votes. If any of them makes it to the final Hugo ballot, I’ll eat my nonexistent hat. The most plausible candidate for a Hugo pin is probably Butcher; I think the Hugo-voting crowd is far more likely to read him than Harris, Briggs, or Andrews. Something about those icky girl cooties.

I do think there are some Hugo hints here overall, though. My best guess at the shortlist: Feed, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Blackout, Dreadnought, Kraken. And McGuire may well find herself trading in her Campbell tiara for a rocket.

* If you saw “4711″ and immediately thought of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, give yourself a nerd cookie.

Locus Magazine Launches Digital Edition

Locus has announced that starting with issue #600 in January, the magazine will be available in PDF as well as print, with plans for ePub and Kindle versions as well. Digital subscriptions will be available, as will single issues.

The announcement includes this nod to the work involved in creating digital editions of print publications: “We have to reformat the layout of the entire magazine each time to produce the digital version, but it’s worth the extra work.” Take that, people who think “e” is short for “free”!

This reminds me to remind you that PW is also available in digital formats, and that digital subscriptions cost less than print subscriptions. Check out the digital version of this week’s issue; I think it looks pretty snazzy.

Bacteria and Old Lace

The news is out on NASA’s recent exciting discovery.  No, it’s not alien life on Titan, and  it’s not the answer to David Bowie’s question about life on Mars either.  It’s pretty amazing, though, and might well change things for writers of hard science fiction.

Gizmodo reports that bacteria whose DNA is made with arsenic in place of phosphorus have been found at Mono Lake in CA.  This changes a lot about our understanding of how life can operate.  The official NASA announcement is not out yet, but it will probably provide a lot of rich material for SF authors to use in future books.

On a personal note, I remember from my California days that “Save Mono Lake” bumper stickers were popular.  I’m glad we saved as much of it as we could.  A photographer friend of mine, Joe Decker, has a photo gallery of the natural beauty of Mono Lake, though none of us knew it would hold such an amazing secret.

Twin Tufa

Twin Tufa • Mono Lake State Tufa Reserve, California • January 2003 • Joe Decker/Rock Slide Photography