As I am working on this %$#% novel, and in the absence of any real content, have a LOLCat:
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From AussieCon4 – home of the 2010 World Science Fiction Convention:
BEST NOVEL (699 nominating ballots)
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (Tor)
The City & The City by China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan UK)
Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America by Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)
Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente (Bantam Spectra)
Wake by Robert J. Sawyer (Ace; Penguin; Gollancz; Analog)
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade)
BEST NOVELLA (375 nominating ballots)
“Act One” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s 3/09)
The God Engines by John Scalzi (Subterranean)
“Palimpsest” by Charles Stross (Wireless; Ace; Orbit)
Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow (Tachyon)
“Vishnu at the Cat Circus” by Ian McDonald (Cyberabad Days; Pyr; Gollancz)
The Women of Nell Gwynne’s by Kage Baker (Subterranean)
BEST NOVELETTE (402 nominating ballots)
“Eros, Philia, Agape” by Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com 3/09)
“The Island” by Peter Watts (The New Space Opera 2; Eos)
“It Takes Two” by Nicola Griffith (Eclipse Three; Night Shade Books)
“One of Our Bastards is Missing” by Paul Cornell (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction: Volume Three; Solaris)
“Overtime“ by Charles Stross (Tor.com 12/09)
“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” by Eugie Foster (Interzone 2/09)
BEST SHORT STORY (432 nominating ballots)
“The Bride of Frankenstein” by Mike Resnick (Asimov’s 12/09)
“Bridesicle” by Will McIntosh (Asimov’s 1/09)
“The Moment” by Lawrence M. Schoen (Footprints; Hadley Rille Books)
“Non-Zero Probabilities” by N.K. Jemisin (Clarkesworld 9/09)
“Spar” by Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld 10/09)
BEST RELATED WORK (259 nominating ballots)
Canary Fever: Reviews by John Clute (Beccon)
Hope-In-The-Mist: The Extraordinary Career and Mysterious Life of Hope Mirrlees by Michael Swanwick (Temporary Culture)
The Inter-Galactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children’s and Teens’ Science Fiction by Farah Mendlesohn (McFarland)
On Joanna Russ edited by Farah Mendlesohn (Wesleyan)
The Secret Feminist Cabal: A Cultural History of SF Feminisms by Helen Merrick (Aqueduct)
This is Me, Jack Vance! (Or, More Properly, This is “I”) by Jack Vance (Subterranean)
BEST GRAPHIC STORY (221 nominating ballots)
Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Written by Neil Gaiman; Pencilled by Andy Kubert; Inked by Scott Williams (DC Comics)
Captain Britain And MI13. Volume 3: Vampire State Written by Paul Cornell; Pencilled by Leonard Kirk with Mike Collins, Adrian Alphona and Ardian Syaf (Marvel Comics)
Fables Vol 12: The Dark Ages Written by Bill Willingham; Pencilled by Mark Buckingham; Art by Peter Gross & Andrew Pepoy, Michael Allred, David Hahn; Colour by Lee Loughridge & Laura Allred; Letters by Todd Klein (Vertigo Comics)
Girl Genius, Volume 9: Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm Written by Kaja and Phil Foglio; Art by Phil Foglio; Colours by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
Schlock Mercenary: The Longshoreman of the Apocalypse Written and Illustrated by Howard Tayler
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION – LONG FORM (541 nominating ballots)
Avatar Screenplay and Directed by James Cameron (Twentieth Century Fox)
District 9 Screenplay by Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell; Directed by Neill Blomkamp (TriStar Pictures)
Moon Screenplay by Nathan Parker; Story by Duncan Jones; Directed by Duncan Jones (Liberty Films)
Star Trek Screenplay by Robert Orci & Alex Kurtzman; Directed by J.J. Abrams (Paramount)
Up Screenplay by Bob Peterson & Pete Docter; Story by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, & Thomas McCarthy; Directed by Bob Peterson & Pete Docter (Disney/Pixar)
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION – SHORT FORM (282 nominating ballots)
Doctor Who: “The Next Doctor” Written by Russell T Davies; Directed by Andy Goddard (BBC Wales)
Doctor Who: “Planet of the Dead” Written by Russell T Davies & Gareth Roberts; Directed by James Strong (BBC Wales)
Doctor Who: “The Waters of Mars” Written by Russell T Davies & Phil Ford; Directed by Graeme Harper (BBC Wales)
Dollhouse: “Epitaph 1″ Story by Joss Whedon; Written by Maurissa Tancharoen & Jed Whedon; Directed by David Solomon (Mutant Enemy)
FlashForward: “No More Good Days” Written by Brannon Braga & David S. Goyer; Directed by David S. Goyer; based on the novel by Robert J. Sawyer (ABC)
BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM (289 nominating ballots)
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
BEST EDITOR, SHORT FORM (419 nominating ballots)
Gordon Van Gelder
BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST (327 nominating ballots)
Daniel Dos Santos
BEST SEMIPROZINE (377 nominating ballots)
Ansible edited by David Langford
Clarkesworld edited by Neil Clarke, Sean Wallace, & Cheryl Morgan
Interzone edited by Andy Cox
Locus edited by Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong-Wong, & Liza Groen Trombi
Weird Tales edited by Ann VanderMeer & Stephen H. Segal
BEST FAN WRITER (319 nominating ballots)
Christopher J Garcia
BEST FANZINE (298 nominating ballots)
Argentus edited by Steven H Silver
Banana Wings edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer
CHALLENGER edited by Guy H. Lillian III
Drink Tank edited by Christopher J Garcia, with guest editor James Bacon
File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
StarShipSofa edited by Tony C. Smith
BEST FAN ARTIST (199 nominating ballots)
Brad W. Foster
THE JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER (NOT A HUGO AWARD) (356 nominating ballots)
Felix Gilman *
Lezli Robyn *
* Second year of eligibility
I’ve only read a few of the nominated works this year, but I will say that I hope Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente wins best novel. I read it about six months ago, and I still think about it from time to time. I love Valente’s lyrical writing style – it’s almost like reading prose poetry, and it’s very much a part of what makes the novel work so beautifully. It’s also…different. As in, defies categorization different. It could be called fantasy, I suppose, but it’s not sword and sorcery by a long shot. It’s something else entirely – otherworldly and dark, sensual and seductive, pawing at the edges of reality. Palimpsest is a story that leaves its mark on you, and I won’t forget about it any time soon.
I also enjoyed Rachel Swirsky’s “Eros, Philia, Agape”, a sad, haunting story that reminded me of Asimov’s “Bicentennial Man.” Good science fiction is not only about imagining what technology will be like in the future, but how that technology will impact us as human beings, and what the power of becoming gods in our own small universe will mean. A very good read, particularly if you like stories about AI.
Of course, in the Graphic story category, I have to go with “Batman – Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” by Neil Gaiman. With what seems like no effort at all, he takes a story we think we all know, and creates something both beautifully new and poignantly familiar. I can admit I cried at the end of this one, and that’s a rare thing for me these days.
Warmth. Signs of spring. I love that my birthday falls during this time, that every year the Earth comes alive again just at the moment I am turning a year older. This is like New Year’s for me, screw that January 1st business. And you know, if you were running low on useless trivia for the day, March was originally celebrated by the Romans as the New Year, when lots of grand festivals were held and troops marched off to war (March is named for the Roman god of war, Mars). September was originally the seventh month, hence “Sept”, “Oct”, “Nov”, Dec”, etc. Julius Caesar moved it back, later on. Something about the innacuracies of the lunar calendar. Whatever. I’m sticking with March.
In any case, the weather made it possible to head down to the farm again on Sunday. Inside the house I painted one of the bedroom ceilings while my sister sorted and boxed years of keepsakes, clothes, and junk. Outside I was able to clean up a few flower beds and plant somewhere around 15 or so azaleas, butterfly bushes, shade perennials, and an herb or two. The LOML continued with the old fence removal, a herculaean task that hopefully will be finished up this summer. As usual, there were beautiful flowers in bloom everywhere. The camellia japonicas are at their peak, joined by early season snowdrops, forsythia, daffodils, and narcissus (yes I know they’re taxonomically the same thing). Pictures after the cut.
In other news, the novel is treking along. 1000 more words yesterday, hopefully a pace I can keep up all week. Right now our heroine is deep in the bowels of Hell, having a little fireside chat with the big man himself. Trouble is brewing. “No fear,” Satan whispers. No fear.
And speaking of Satan, yesterday my shiny, new, signed copy of Joe Hill’s latest, Horns, arrived in the mail. I’d ordered it from The Signed Page, so it came inscribed with a cool little drawing. Happy, happy, squee! For those of you who don’t know, Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son, author of a couple of books now along with an outstanding short story collection. A fine, fine spec fiction writer in his own right. In some ways, I actually prefer his work to his dad’s, as he explores a wider range of themes than his father does. Very cool. I’ll probably devour it over the weekend.
And now, as promised, some photography. All cultivar names, incidentally, are just guesses. My mom bought and planted what she loved, but she wasn’t a big record keeper:
While waiting on pins and needles for Teh Springs to arrive, I thought of this.
This work by Lynette Mejia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
This flower that smells of honey and the sea,
White laurustine, seems in my hand to be
A white star made of memory long ago
Lit in the heaven of dear times dead to me.
A star out of the skies love used to know
Here held in hand, a stray left yet to show
What flowers my heart was full of in the days
That are long since gone down dead memory’s flow.
Dead memory that revives on doubtful ways,
Half hearkening what the buried season says
Out of the world of the unapparent dead
Where the lost Aprils are, and the lost Mays.
Flower, once I knew thy star-white brethren bred
Nigh where the last of all the land made head
Against the sea, a keen-faced promontory,
Flowers on salt wind and sprinkled sea-dews fed.
Their hearts were glad of the free place’s glory;
The wind that sang them all his stormy story
Had talked all winter to the sleepless spray,
And as the sea’s their hues were hard and hoary.
Like things born of the sea and the bright day,
They laughed out at the years that could not slay,
Live sons and joyous of unquiet hours,
And stronger than all storms that range for prey.
And in the close indomitable flowers
A keen-edged odour of the sun and showers
Was as the smell of the fresh honeycomb
Made sweet for mouths of none but paramours.
Out of the hard green wall of leaves that clomb
They showed like windfalls of the snow-soft foam,
Or feathers from the weary south-wind’s wing,
Fair as the spray that it came shoreward from.
And thou, as white, what word hast thou to bring?
If my heart hearken, whereof wilt thou sing?
For some sign surely thou too hast to bear,
Some word far south was taught thee of the spring.
White like a white rose, not like these that were
Taught of the wind’s mouth and the winter air,
Poor tender thing of soft Italian bloom,
Where once thou grewest, what else for me grew there?
Born in what spring and on what city’s tomb,
By whose hand wast thou reached, and plucked for whom?
There hangs about thee, could the soul’s sense tell,
An odour as of love and of love’s doom.
Of days more sweet than thou wast sweet to smell,
Of flower-soft thoughts that came to flower and fell,
Of loves that lived a lily’s life and died,
Of dreams now dwelling where dead roses dwell.
O white birth of the golden mountain-side
That for the sun’s love makes its bosom wide
At sunrise, and with all its woods and flowers
Takes in the morning to its heart of pride!
Thou hast a word of that one land of ours,
And of the fair town called of the Fair Towers,
A word for me of my San Gimignan,
A word of April’s greenest-girdled hours.
Of the old breached walls whereon the wallflowers ran
Called of Saint Fina, breachless now of man,
Though time with soft feet break them stone by stone,
Who breaks down hour by hour his own reign’s span.
Of the old cliff overcome and overgrown
That all that flowerage clothed as flesh clothes bone,
That garment of acacias made for May,
Whereof here lies one witness overblown.
The fair brave trees with all their flowers at play,
How king-like they stood up into the day!
How sweet the day was with them, and the night!
Such words of message have dead flowers to say.
This that the winter and the wind made bright,
And this that lived upon Italian light,
Before I throw them and these words away,
Who knows but I what memories too take flight?
-Algernon Charles Swinburne
Cloudy, cold and windy this morning, the remnants of the storms that passed through yesterday. The local weatherman reported that the science backs up my suspicions – it has been colder and wetter than normal here this year. Colder, and wetter, it seems than it has been in many years. It’s made pulling myself from the grip of winter that much harder. Still, I am here, dreaming of the warm sun on my skin. Peter Pan says to think happy thoughts and you can fly.
Working on the novel today. This blog feels like that first book sometimes. I have no audience, really, save myself at this point. Like the entries I make here, this first book is written for me, whether I sell it or not, whether anyone ever reads it. It is my cry out into the aether, my scratched paintings on the wall of a cave, my thin, ever-so-human voice calling out into the darkness. Will anyone hear? Who knows. What’s important is the sound. When I am dead, all that will be left are the memories of me in the hearts of my children and these words. The memories will pass away, as all intangible things do. But my words – my words will remain.
After the cut, the requisite a-ha video of the day.
Tired. So very, very tired. This is the worst time of year for me, the last few weeks of winter that seem to last forever. By this time I’ve almost had it with being indoors. I’m a child of the summer, of bare feet and warm breezes and green things. I’m a child of gardens and picnics and barbecues; of hazy, humid summer nights lit up with fireflies. Every year as the end of February approaches I become more and more restless, resentful, and bad-tempered. I’m literally aching to get outside, to work until my fingernails are ragged and dirty, and the air around me is filled with the sound of bees buzzing and the lazy, sensual smells of jasmine. I’m out of sorts, and anxious. Spring just can’t get here fast enough.
Saturday was nice. We woke up early, packed a spartan lunch and headed out to Arcadia. The morning was spent cleaning and packing while the LOML installed a plywood subfloor in one of the bedrooms. Due to the recent (unending) rains, the outside areas were literal bogs, but bogs make for very easy fence post removal, so the afternoon was spent pulling up old rusted fencing and cleaning up debris from recent storms. At one point I took down a sign I’d put up last year to find an adorable little bat curled up, half-asleep and clinging to the wall. I was very excited, as we’ve been talking about installing bat houses on the property to invite a few to live there and eat the host of mosquitos that swarm throughout the summer. The LOML softly reinstalled the sign without disturbing him. All over the yard he spring bulbs were blooming en mass, and I couldn’t resist taking a giant bouquet of daffodils, narcissus, and camellia japonica home so that, for a few days at least, I could close my eyes and pretend I was there again. Good dreams that night.
This week stretches out before me into a jumble of medical checkups, car maintenance, vet appointments, and homework. Not even sure if I’ll get to write. Supposed to be cold and rainy a good part of the time. I’m despairing and longing for Spring. Just a few more weeks, I keep saying to myself. Just a few more weeks.
Snow is predicted again for tonight. This is truly the strangest winter in my memory. As a kid I can recall several winters when it snowed, even up to a couple of inches accumulation, and times when the snow stuck around for a couple of days. This, however, will be the third measurable snowfall this season in this area. Very strange, Mr. Watson. Very strange, indeed. In the meantime, my wait for spring continues. Lots of trees and shrubs are beginning to bud, and the first daffodil bloomed on Sunday. They’re all very put out by the persistence of the cold and snow. I’m not sure what to tell them – hopefully they’ll make it through the latest bout of teh freezes without suffering too much damage. Spring will come, damnit, if I have to call her up from Hades myself.
Got little in the way of measurable work done on the novel yesterday. I have sheaves of notes lying around on my office floor, spread around me like an offering. I have notebooks filled with plot outlines. I feel like I am standing at a crossroads, only instead of four choices there are four thousand. Roads, possible directions, spreading out in infinite directions like the rays of the sun. More outlining done yesterday, and I’m heading back into Lucifer’s curiosity shop today, so we’ll see. Ever hopeful for a tiny light in the darkness around me to lead the way out of the forest.
An archeologist has recently discovered a temple complex in Turkey that appears to be approximately 11,500 years old. This is before agriculture, before towns, before even pottery, firmly still in the hunter/gatherer period. His theory is that everything we’ve ever imagined about the development of civilization is exactly backwards. We did not come together, form societies, and then decide to begin worshiping gods. Worshiping gods is what brought us together in the first place. Many, many implications here. Both my academic and my artistic minds are trying to wrap themselves around this. How much we have yet to discover about our development as a species. Fascinating.
Back to work. Or some reasonable facsimile thereof.
This work by Lynette Mejia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.