Before and Afterlives and The Shirley Jackson Award

In all the hustle and bustle that lead up to the release of “Jamie Marks is Dead” I failed to report a fantastic bit of news that occurred in mid-July. As I’d mentioned in an earlier post back in May, my short story collection Before and Afterlives had been nominated for the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award in the category of Best Single-Author Collection. In July it was announced that I had won the award. In fact, there were two winners: my collection and Nathan Ballingrud’s amazing collection, North American Lake Monsters.

I could not be happier to have this collection–something of a retrospective of the best of my short stories from the first decade of my life as a publishing writer–recognized with this award. Shirley Jackson’s work has been an enormous influence on me since I was a teenager assigned to read “The Lottery” in a high school English class, like so many of us from a certain generation were. Her small town spooks and just-on-the-edge-of-surreal thrills spoke to me on so many levels. To have my collection of stories recognized in her name is really, as they say, a dream (or perhaps in Shirley’s case), a nightmare come true.

I’d like to thank Steve Berman, my publisher at Lethe Press, for believing in my stories and for bringing this collection out into the world. I’d also like to thank Alex Jeffers for the gorgeous interior design, and Steven Andrew, who designed the cover, which I still look at from time to time and think, Damn, that cover is unbelievably fantastic.

Thanks, too, to the many editors of the magazines and anthologies that first published the stories individually.

Here’s a photo of the book and the award itself.

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Jackson and Nebula Award nominations

It’s been a few months since I last updated here. Since “Jamie Marks is Dead” debuted at in the Sundance Film Festival competition in January, a lot of other really wonderful things have occurred.

First, I was nominated for a Nebula Award in the category of Best Novelette for my story, “Paranormal Romance”!

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This is the fourth time I’ve been nominated for a Nebula Award. The first time was in 2007 for my novelette, “The Language of Moths”, and the second time was in 2010 for my novel-in-stories, The Love We Share Without Knowing. The third time was in 2011, for my novelette, “Map of Seventeen”. Clearly the novelette is my category!

I’m always honored to be named a front runner for the Nebula Award, and this time is no different.

imgres-1Secondly, my collection of short stories, Before and Afterlives, has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, in the category of Best Single-Author Collection. I’m ecstatic to be nominated for this award. I started out as a short story writer, and it remains the form I feel most affection for, regardless of my becoming a novelist too. For Before and Afterlives to be nominated in the Best Collection category is the proverbial dream come true for me, both because the book collects many of the short stories I wrote over my first ten years as a writer, but also because Shirley Jackson has been a huge influence on me as writer for years and years. I constantly go back to her strange and eerie stories from the 1950s and 60s and the still hold immense power for me as a reader (and as a writer). For my stories to be recognized as a body of work for this award is really affirming for me.

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The semester at Youngstown State University, where I teach fiction writing, has finally ended, and I’m looking forward to a productive summer of writing. More news when I have any to share. Until then, I hope everyone reading this has a great summer.

And good luck to all of those nominated for the above awards.

Andre Norton Award Jury Duty

While I already announced this on Facebook and Twitter , I thought I should mention it here on my blog, too, in case someone out there doesn’t keep up with my doings in the socializing networkings of the internet.

I’ll be serving as a juror for the 2012 Andre Norton Award, which honors outstanding science fiction and fantasy Young Adult and Middle Grade books.  Feel free to contact me by email if you have recommendations!

Official announcement from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America follows:

The 2012 Andre Norton Award committee has been chosen, and will begin accepting books for consideration. Any young adult/middle grade prose or graphic novel first published in English in 2012 is eligible.

The judges are:

Victoria McManus (chair)
Christopher Barzak
Merrie Haskell
Eugene Myers
Carrie Vaughn

The committee will consider all submitted young adult and middle grade books until January 31st, 2013. The award will be presented at the 48th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend in San Jose, California, on May 18.

For submission information, please contact Victoria McManus at: victoriamcmanus@yahoo.com

The Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, named to honor prolific science fiction and fantasy author AndreNorton (1912–2005), is a yearly award presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) to the author of an outstanding young adult or middle grade science fiction or fantasy book published in the previous year. The award was established in 2005 by then SFWA president Catherine Asaro and the first SFWA Young Adult Fiction committee and announced on February 20, 2005. The first Norton Award (for the year 2006) was bestowed during the Nebula Awards ceremonies on May 11–13, 2007.

The road not taken

Today is the day.  Welcome to Bordertown is officially out.  And today is also the day to announce the winner of the Bordertown Lives pendant Mia Nutick has so graciously offered for my contest.  And the winner is: Kathy Barreca.

If you haven’t taken a little dip into the contest entrant’s pool in my previous post, please do.  ALL of them were great, but Kathy’s hooked me because of the magical device she used as her way to get to Bordertown:  Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken.  It was simple yet totally evocative, and I think poems are magical routes to other places.  Sometimes into another person’s psychic landscape, and sometimes into more easily visited places.

But you should go read all of the entrants’ posts because they’re all good in so many different ways.  One writer even has television writing credits in her background and didn’t enter to win, just to participate in a round of storytelling fun, which is totally a Bordertown thing to do. 🙂

Congratulations, Kathy.  I’ll be getting you in touch with Mia shortly, and congratulations to all those readers who have been eagerly awaiting the new anthology, and congratulations to the editors and writers who all had the opportunity to work on bringing the place back for a spell.

Nebulated

And now it can be told:  my novelette “Map of Seventeen” has been nominated for this year’s Nebula Awards.  This is the third time for me to be nominated for the Nebula.  The first time was in 2007, when I was also in the novelette category with my story “The Language of Moths”. The second time was last year, when my novel-in-stories, The Love We Share Without Knowing, was nominated in the novel category.  Is third-time’s-a-charm for real?  I don’t know, but I’m honored as always to be included as a writer in these awards.

Here’s the press release for the awards, along with all of the other nominees.  Congratulations to everyone.  See you in D.C. at the ceremony.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is proud to announce the nominees for the 2010 Nebula Awards.

The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of SFWA. The awards will be announced at the Nebula Awards Banquet (http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-weekend/) on Saturday evening, May 21, 2011 in the Washington Hilton, in Washington, D.C.. Other awards to be presented are the Andre Norton Award for Excellence in Science Fiction or Fantasy for Young Adults, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation and the Solstice Award for outstanding contribution to the field.

Short Story
‘‘Arvies’’, Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed Magazine 8/10)
‘‘How Interesting: A Tiny Man’’, Harlan Ellison® (Realms of Fantasy 2/10)
‘‘Ponies’’, Kij Johnson (Tor.com 1/17/10)
‘‘I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno’’, Vylar Kaftan (Lightspeed Magazine 6/10)
‘‘The Green Book’’, Amal El-Mohtar (Apex Magazine 11/1/10)
“Ghosts of New York’’, Jennifer Pelland (Dark Faith)
‘‘Conditional Love’’, Felicity Shoulders (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine1/10)

Novelette
‘‘Map of Seventeen’’, Christopher Barzak (The Beastly Bride)
‘‘The Jaguar House, in Shadow’’, Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine 7/10)
‘‘The Fortuitous Meeting of Gerard van Oost and Oludara’’, Christopher Kastensmidt (Realms of Fantasy 4/10)
“Plus or Minus’’, James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine12/10)
‘‘Pishaach’’, Shweta Narayan (The Beastly Bride)
‘‘That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made’’, Eric James Stone (Analog Science Fiction and Fact 9/10)
‘‘Stone Wall Truth’’, Caroline M. Yoachim (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine 2/10)

Novella
The Alchemist, Paolo Bacigalupi (Audible; Subterranean)
‘‘Iron Shoes’’, J. Kathleen Cheney (Alembical 2)
The Lifecycle of Software Objects, Ted Chiang (Subterranean)
‘‘The Sultan of the Clouds’’, Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine 9/10)
‘‘Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance’’, Paul Park (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 1-2/10)
‘‘The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window’’, Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Magazine Summer ’10)

Novel
The Native Star, M.K. Hobson (Spectra)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit UK; Orbit US)
Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
Echo, Jack McDevitt (Ace)
Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor (DAW)
Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis (Spectra)

The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Despicable Me, Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud (directors), Ken Daurio & Cinco Paul (screenplay), Sergio Pablos (story) (Illumination Entertainment)
Doctor Who: ‘‘Vincent and the Doctor’’, Richard Curtis (writer), Jonny Campbell (director)
How to Train Your Dragon, Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders (directors), William Davies, Dean DeBlois, & Chris Sanders (screenplay) (DreamWorks Animation)
Inception, Christopher Nolan (director), Christopher Nolan (screenplay) (Warner)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Edgar Wright (director), Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright (screenplay) (Universal)
Toy Story 3, Lee Unkrich (director), Michael Arndt (screenplay), John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, & Lee Unkrich (story) (Pixar/Disney)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown)
White Cat, Holly Black (McElderry)
Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press; Scholastic UK)
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, Barry Deutsch (Amulet)
The Boy from Ilysies, Pearl North (Tor Teen)
I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett (Gollancz; Harper)
A Conspiracy of Kings, Megan Whalen Turner (Greenwillow)
Behemoth, Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse; Simon & Schuster UK)

For more information, visit http://www.sfwa.org/

About SFWA
Founded in 1965 by the late Damon Knight, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America brings together the most successful and daring writers of speculative fiction throughout the world. Since its inception, SFWA® has grown in numbers and influence until it is now widely recognized as one of the most effective non-profit writers’ organizations in existence, boasting a membership of approximately 1,800 science fiction and fantasy writers as well as artists, editors and allied professionals. Each year the organization presents the prestigious Nebula Awards® for the year’s best literary and dramatic works of speculative fiction.

Nebula Awards Interview

Last year I was a nominee in the category of Best Novel for the Nebula Awards.  An interview was conducted then, and has just recently been posted on the Nebula Awards site.  Please go over and give it a read.  I can’t even remember what I said now, though!

A photo of me singing karaoke in a Japanese karaoke pub is included.  I couldn’t resist, considering the interview centered around a novel set in Japan, which I wrote while living there (singing karaoke regularly). 🙂

You can read it by clicking here.

 

Off to the Nebs

Off to the Nebula Awards weekend in Cocoa Beach, Florida tomorrow morning. This is the second time I’ve been nominated for a Nebula. The first time was in 2007 for my novelette, The Language of Moths, which you can read by clicking here if you missed it when it came out (I really need to publish a short story collection. Okay, I don’t *need* to, but I would *like* to). It’s always exciting to be nominated for such a wonderful award as the Nebula. I plan to enjoy the weekend no matter what.

Until I’m back, here’s an awesome pre-Nebula Weekend review of the nominated novels from Real Change News. My book is one of their favorites.  An excerpt:

The 2009 Nebula Awards, awarded to science fiction and fantasy writers by their colleagues, will be announced the weekend of May 13 – 16. Interestingly, there’s no space travel in the six nominees for best novel. Two are set in the present, one in the past and only two on other worlds.

My favorite candidates share a theme — how culture shapes our perception of reality. “The Love We Share without Knowing” by Christopher Barzak is a sweet meditation on human connection. Marketed as a fantasy, it could be magical realism. Its finely crafted language evokes the meaning in everyday events.

Barzak explores relationships among Japanese citizens and American expatriates after the events of 9/11. None of the characters knows everyone in the book, but all are affected by each other. The themes of cultural shock and alienation explore how we are alone in our connection and connected in our loneliness. Barzak sums it up in his final lines: “The fireflies glow off and on in the mist-covered fields, calling out, Here I am, waiting for another light to appear in the darkness. Here I am, one calls to another. Come find me.”

See you all in a few.

SF Mind Meld

Over at SF Signal, the Mind Meld feature today incorporates responses from various Nebula nominees on the subject of other worthy candidates that were not nominated for the Nebula.  I participated in the response panel with this:

There are so many good books and stories out there. Awards showcase only a select few. Some of those novels that were not included in this year’s Nebula Award Nominees are: Ekaterina Sedia’s The Alchemy of Stone, Catherynne Valente’s Palimpsest, Jedediah Berry’s Manual of Detection, Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, and Alan DeNiro’s Total Oblivion, More or Less (this last one was released late in 2009, though, so perhaps we may see it on awards lists in the future). Some stories I loved in the past year that I would have loved to see on the ballot are Theodora Goss’ “The Puma”, M. Rickert’s “The President’s Book Tour”, Ben Francisco’s “Tio Gilbert and the Twenty-Seven Ghosts”, Will Ludwigen’s “Remembrance is Something Like a House”, and Carlos Hernandez’s “The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria”.

I could actually go on, but then, like awards lists, this is just a selection of the books and stories I read in the past year that I found remarkable, or that surprised me in some way. The more a person reads, the harder it is to be surprised. So when I come across narratives that make me sit up like a fresh reader again, for me that’s a sign of something special.

Here, though, is one more piece of fruit: a kind of book that the Nebula doesn’t recognize with an award each year is the short story collection, one of my absolute favorite kinds of books. I would be able to make a very long list of books to recommend for that list, if it existed. I would love to see that as an additional category to the Nebula Awards at some point in the future. Especially since short fiction has been such an important form for writers and readers of Science Fiction and Fantasy from the genre’s beginnings.

Lots of other responses to peruse, so head on over.  Lots of good recommendations abound.

Thank you

Still glowing with excitement to have had my book nominated for the Nebula Award this year, I’ve been thinking back to when I first started to be serious about writing.  I guess the nomination has put me into a bit of a mood to think about where I started as well as where I am in my writing life.  I can still remember exchanging letters with the writer Mary Rosenblum, who actually wrote me back when I sent her a fan letter, and encouraged me with my writing.  And going to a week long writing workshop in Cleveland one summer, when I was nineteen, as a decision to put myself into a situation that I didn’t feel like I could get so easily back home in Youngstown:  into the company of other people who are all in love with doing this thing, making stories up and telling them to other people, and trying to make them as well as they can.  I met Karen Joy Fowler there, and James Patrick Kelly, who asked me how a farm boy from Ohio decided he wanted to be a writer, and I said even I didn’t really know how it happened, it was just with me since I can remember, an urgent desire to tell stories, to live in my imagination for a part of every day of my life, and a love of language and the way it can be shaped into so many different forms and voices.   He told me he thought I could do this, and I’m pretty sure I looked at him like he must have something wrong with him.  Who would think that about me? I wondered.  Sometimes I still do.

It was Jim and Karen and then Jonathan Lethem, who I met the following summer at the same workshop, who encouraged me to apply to a six week long writing workshop for speculative fiction writers called Clarion.  I can remember trying to make excuses not to apply, because Clarion had such an amazing reputation, and I didn’t think I could possibly be the sort of writer who they would find to be worthy of being there.  Jim continued to politely remind me over the course of the next year, in e-mails, to apply.  Eventually, at the last minute, I did.  And was accepted.   And when I spent those six weeks in the company of writers doing nothing but writing and critiquing each others work, and talking about our favorite authors and their work, I really just knew it was where I wanted to be ever after.  If I could.

I started publishing short stories afterward, first in the little but mighty zine, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, which Gavin Grant and Kelly Link were just then starting up and it was already building a following of excited readers.  Soon after that, my first professionally published story was in the online magazine, Strange Horizons.  Terri Windling selected it to be included in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and then Scott Westerfeld selected a story of mine for the Nerve issue of speculative fiction.  It was a very exciting time in my life, and in many ways this nomination for the Nebula Award has made me feel that same kind of excitement I had when I was first introduced and accepted into a community of writers and began to publish.  It’s reminded me once again how fortunate I am to be a part of the speculative fiction community, which has nurtured and helped me not only to grow as a writer over the years but as a person.  It’s become a part of my life, even if, as one of my early spec fic writing mentors told me, “You don’t really do this in a way that most people will be expecting, but that’s also a good thing.”  He was referring to the kinds of stories I write and the way that I tell them, but I was welcomed to the party all the same.  That kind of generosity is one of the most amazing features of this particular writing community.

So it’s been a wild ride, and I hope for it to be able to continue for as long as possible, and I’m pleased as can be that my little novel-in-stories is on that list with some of those Big Idea heavy hitters that have garnered well-earned praise in the past year since they’ve appeared.  It feels, in a way, like a milestone, and I’m honored to be among them, and all of the writers of SFWA, who have made the second part of my life a writing life, and one that has taken me places I might not have gone had I not met and been befriended by such awesome folks as these.

2009 Nebula Awards

The Nebula Awards Nominees for this year have been announced, and to my excitement and surprise, my novel-in-stories, The Love We Share Without Knowing, has been nominated in the novel category!  I’m very honored to be named among these other authors and titles.  Now I will go squee in private.

SFWA is proud to announce the nominees for the 2009 Nebula Awards.

The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of  SFWA. The awards will be announced at the Nebula Awards Banquet the evening of May 15 at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront, just 20 minutes from the Kennedy Space Center in Fla. Other awards to be presented are the Andre Norton Award for Excellence in Science Fiction or Fantasy for Young Adults, the Bradbury Award for excellence in screenwriting and the Solstice Award for outstanding contribution to the field.

Short story
“Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela,” Saladin Ahmed (Clockwork Phoenix 2, Norilana Press, Jul09)
“I Remember the Future,” Michael A. Burstein (I Remember the Future, Apex Press, Nov08)
“Non-Zero Probabilities,” N. K. Jemisin (Clarkesworld, Nov09)
“Spar,” Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, Oct09)
“Going Deep,” James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jun09)
“Bridesicle,” Will McIntosh (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jan09)

Novelette
“The Gambler,” Paolo Bacigalupi (Fast Forward 2, Pyr Books, Oct08)
“Vinegar Peace, or the Wrong-Way Used-Adult Orphanage,” Michael Bishop (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jul08)
“I Needs Must Part, The Policeman Said,” Richard Bowes (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Dec09)
“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast,” Eugie Foster (Apex Online, Nov09)
“Divining Light,” Ted Kosmatka (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Aug08)
“A Memory of Wind,” Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com, Nov09)

Novella
The Women of Nell Gwynne’s, Kage Baker (Subterranean Press, Jun09)
“Arkfall,” Carolyn Ives Gilman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Sep09)
“Act One,” Nancy Kress (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Mar09)
Shambling Towards Hiroshima, James Morrow (Tachyon, Feb09)
“Sublimation Angels,” Jason Sanford (Jason Sanford, Nov09)
The God Engines, John Scalzi (Subterranean Press, Dec09)

Novel
The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (Nightshade, Sep09)
The Love We Share Without Knowing, Christopher Barzak (Bantam, Nov08)
Flesh and Fire, Laura Anne Gilman (Pocket, Oct09)
The City & The City, China Miéville (Del Rey, May09)
Boneshaker, Cherie Priest (Tor, Sep09)
Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (Underland Press, Oct09)

Bradbury Award
Star Trek, JJ Abrams (Paramount, May09)
District 9, Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (Tri-Star, Aug09)
Avatar, James Cameron (Fox, Dec 09)
Moon, Duncan Jones and Nathan Parker (Sony, Jun09)
Up, Bob Peterson and Pete Docter (Disney/Pixar, May09)
Coraline, Henry Selick (Laika/Focus Feb09)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
Hotel Under the Sand, Kage Baker (Tachyon, Jul09)
Ice, Sarah Beth Durst (Simon and Schuster, Oct09)
Ash, by Malinda Lo (Little, Brown & Company, Sep09)
Eyes Like Stars, Lisa Mantchev (Feiwel and Friends, Jul09)
Zoe’s Tale, John Scalzi (Tor Aug08)
When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books, 2009)
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente (Catherynne M. Valente, Jun09)
Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld (Simon, Oct09)

For more information, visit www.nebulaawards.com or www.sfwa.org