Nebula time

Calling all speculative fiction writers and readers:

The Nebula Award nomination period is now open! The rules have changed a lot this year, and I’m excited to see how those changes are reflected in the preliminary and final ballots.

Alas, I’ve read almost nothing but books assigned for my MFA degree and my own students’ stories in the last year, and am woefully behind on many of the current sf releases, wondering now to vote.  So I’m calling on all of you (whoever’s out there reading this somewhat neglect blog) to please recommend your favorite short stories, novelettes, novellas, novels, sf films, and spec fic YA novels.  It would be a great help to have somewhere to start, based on good recommendations.

One request:

Please limit your recommendations to three works across all categories. (I just want your absolute favorites!)

Thanks so much!

Oh, and a P.S. plug to those SFWA members who may be reading:

In terms of my own work that is viable for Nebula recommendations this year, they are:

In the novelette category, my story “The Ghost Hunter’s Beautiful Daughter” which appeared in this month’s Asimov’s issue.

In the novel category, my novel The Love We Share Without Knowing, which came out at the tail end of 2008 (which makes it a valid work for which to cast a vote).

Honorably mentioned

The James Tiptree Jr. Award was recently announced, and The Love We Share Without Knowing was included on the award’s Honor List.  What can I say?  I’m honored!  The Tiptree is a wonderful award.  Here are the two books that won this year (congratulations to both authors, as well as those on the honors list!), some insights from this year’s judges, as well as that aforementioned honor list:

Tiptree Winners Announced!

A gender-exploring science fiction award is presented to Patrick Ness for The Knife of Never Letting Go and Nisi Shawl for Filter House.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness and Filter House by Nisi Shawl 

The James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council ( is pleased to announce that the 2008 Tiptree Award has two winners: Patrick Ness’s young adult novel, The Knife of Never Letting Go (Walker 2008) and Nisi Shawl’s short story collection, Filter House (Aqueduct Press, 2008).

The Tiptree Award will be celebrated on Memorial Day weekend at WisCon in Madison, Wisconsin. Each winner will receive $1000 in prize money, an original artwork created specifically for the winning novel or story, and (as always) chocolate.

A panel of five jurors selects the Tiptree Award winners and compiles an Honor List of other works that they find interesting, relevant to the award, and worthy of note. The 2008 jurors were Gavin J. Grant (chair), K. Tempest Bradford, Leslie Howle, Roz Kaveney, and Catherynne M. Valente.

The Knife of Never Letting Go begins with a boy growing up in village way off the grid. Jury chair Gavin J. Grant explains, “All the villagers can hear one another’s thoughts (their “noise”) and all the villagers are men. The boy has never seen a woman or girl so when he meets one his world is infinitely expanded as he discovers the complications of gender relations. As he travels in this newly bi-gendered world, he also has to work out the definition of becoming and being a man.”

Juror Leslie Howle praises Ness’s skills as a writer: “Ness is a craftsman, plain and simple. The language, pacing, complications, plot this story has all of the elements that raise the writing to something well beyond good. Some critics call it brilliant. It’s a page-turner, and the story continues to resonate well after reading it. It reminds me of the kind of classic SF I loved when I was new to the genre.”

In addition to the Tiptree Award, The Knife of Never Letting Go also won the 2008 Booktrust Teenage Prize (U.K.), which celebrates contemporary fiction for teenagers, and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.
Publishers Weekly, which selected Filter House as one of the best books of 2008, described it as an “exquisitely rendered debut collection” that “ranges into the past and future to explore identity and belief in a dazzling variety of settings.” Tiptree jurors spotlight Shawl’s willingness to challenge the reader with her exploration of gender roles. 

Juror K. Tempest Bradford writes, “The stories in Filter Houserefuse to allow the reader the comfort of assuming that the men and women will act according to the assumptions mainstream readers/society/culture puts on them.”

Juror Catherynne M. Valente notes that most of Shawl’s protagonists in this collection are young women coming to terms with womanhood and what that means “in terms of their culture, magic (almost always tribal, nuts and bolts, African-based magical systems, which is fascinating in itself), [and] technology.” In her comments, Valente points out some elements of stories that made this collection particularly appropriate for the Tiptree Award: “‘At the Huts of Ajala’ struck me deeply as a critique of beauty and coming of age rituals. The final story, ‘The Beads of Ku,’ deals with marriage and motherhood and death. ‘Shiomah’s Land’ deals with the sexuality of a godlike race, and a young woman’s liberation from it. ‘Wallamellon’ is a heartbreaking story about the Blue Lady, the folkloric figure invented by Florida orphans, and a young girl pursuing the Blue Lady straight into a kind of urban priestess-hood.”
The Tiptree Award Honor List is a strong part of the award identity and is used by many readers as a recommended reading list for the rest of the year. This year’s Honor List is:

  • Christopher Barzak, The Love We Share Without Knowing (Bantam, 2008)
  • Jenny Davidson, The Explosionist (HarperTeen, 2008)
  • Gregory Frost, Shadowbridge and Lord Tophet: A Shadowbridge Novel (both published by Del Rey, 2008)
  • Alison Goodman, Two Pearls of Wisdom (HarperCollins Australia 2008), published in the United States as Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Viking 2008), also Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye in the United Kingdom
  • John Kessel, Pride or Prometheus (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 2008)
  • Margo Lanagan, Tender Morsels (Knopf, 2008)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin, Lavinia (Harcourt)
  • John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In (Quercus (UK) 2007), original Swedish in (2004), first published in English as Let Me In, St. Martin’s Press (2007), Translated by Ebba Segerberg)
  • Paul Park, A Princess of Roumania (Tor, 2005), The Tourmaline (Tor, 2006), The White Tyger (Tor, 2007), The Hidden World (Tor, 2008)
  • Ekaterina Sedia, The Alchemy of Stone (Prime Books)
  • Ali Smith, Girl Meets Boy (Canongate U.S., 2007)
  • Ysabeau S. Wilce, Flora’s Dare: How a Girl of Spirit Gambles All to Expand Her Vocabulary, Confront a Bouncing Boy Terror, and Try to Save Califa from a Shaky Doom (Despite Being Confined to Her Room) (Harcourt, 2008)

Familiar Strangers

Over at Bookspot Cenral, Jay Tomio has reposted an essayistic thing, “Notes Towards a Sort of Supreme Fiction”, which I wrote a very. long. time. ago.  In my mid-twenties.  Reading over it again is like reading the work of a familiar stranger.  It also makes me feel just a little bit old. 🙂

Here’s Jay’s intro to the piece:

More bringing back vintage pieces from names you know now! I dug up some files from the Ratbastards! Today, Chris Barzak is one of the great young writers we have, with novels like One for Sorrow and The Love We Share Without Knowing (one of my best of 2008). The former won the Crawford award for Best Debut Novel.

Back then, however, we had a young man writing essays with titles like Notes Towards a Sort of Supreme Fiction. With his permission, it is this piece that BookSpot Central now represents. We’d like to thank Mr. Barzak for allowing us to do so . . .

You can read the whole thing by clicking here.

I should probably also mention that One for Sorrow has made the preliminary 2008 Nebula Awards ballot.  It’s a list with some amazing writers on it.  I’m honored to be included in their company.

Evidence of Love in the new F&SF

If you haven’t got around to reading the October/November issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction yet, you should go out and get a copy, or subscribe or at least order the issue (it’s the best issue of almost any genre magazine each year, if you ask me, something about the season maybe?). M. Rickert’s short story, “Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment: One Daughter’s Personal Account” steals the show (and it is quite a show, featuring stories by Stephen King, Geoff Ryman, Carol Emshwiller, Michael Swanwick, Terry Bisson, and other excellent writers). I don’t think I have come across another story in recent months (years?) that seems so utterly to be perfect for both the James Tiptree Jr. Award (for fiction that expands our understanding of gender) and the new Shirley Jackson Award (because this story is a near future version of “The Lottery” if you ask me).

That one story is worth the price of the issue alone. But you do indeed get all those other stories by the authors I mentioned, and more, so do yourself a favor and get this issue, even if you don’t normally read this magazine. I highly recommend it.


This video is from Logo, an MTV owned televison station programmed for the GLBT community. All I can say is that it’s about six minutes long, and you have to “wait for it” till about the last one or two minutes for the really interesting part. (The famous transexual Amanda Lepore is hilarious and weird, but the really interesting part comes late in this little clip). Watch it, then afterward go here and vote.

Locus Award Nominees

It’s been brought to my attention that my novel One for Sorrow has made it onto the list of finalists for Best First Novel in the Locus Awards this year (thanks Rick and John!).  Very excited, of course, especially to be named among that list of other first-time novelists.  Congratulations to everyone in all the categories.

Locus Awards Finalists

Voting in this year’s Locus Poll and Survey has closed. Winners will be announced in June at the Locus Awards Ceremony in Seattle, June 21st.

Here are the finalists — the top five ranking items — in each category, listed here alphabetically by title, then by nominee.

The Accidental Time Machine, Joe Haldeman (Ace)
Brasyl, Ian McDonald (Pyr)
Halting State, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK)
Spook Country, William Gibson (Putnam; Viking UK)
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Michael Chabon (HarperCollins)
Endless Things, John Crowley (Small Beer Press; Overlook)
Making Money, Terry Pratchett (Doubleday UK; HarperCollins)
Pirate Freedom, Gene Wolfe (Tor)
Territory, Emma Bull (Tor)
Ysabel, Guy Gavriel Kay (Viking Canada; Roc)
Extras, Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse; Simon & Schuster UK)
The H-Bomb Girl, Stephen Baxter (Faber & Faber)
Magic’s Child, Justine Larbalestier (Razorbill)
Powers, Ursula K. Le Guin (Harcourt; Gollancz)
Un Lun Dun, China Miéville (Ballantine Del Rey; Macmillan UK)
City of Bones, Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster/McElderry)
Flora Segunda, Ysabeau S. Wilce (Harcourt)
Heart-Shaped Box, Joe Hill (Morrow; Gollancz)
The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss (DAW; Gollancz)
One for Sorrow, Christopher Barzak (Bantam Spectra)
“After the Siege”, Cory Doctorow (The Infinite Matrix Jan 2007)
“All Seated on the Ground”, Connie Willis (Asimov’s Dec 2007)
“Memorare”, Gene Wolfe (F&SF Apr 2007)
“Muse of Fire”, Dan Simmons (The New Space Opera)
“Stars Seen through Stone”, Lucius Shepard (F&SF Jul 2007)
“Dark Integers”, Greg Egan (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2007)
“The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate”, Ted Chiang (F&SF Sep 2007)
“Trunk and Disorderly”, Charles Stross (Asimov’s Jan 2007)
“We Never Talk About My Brother”, Peter S. Beagle (Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show Jun 2007)
“The Witch’s Headstone”, Neil Gaiman (Wizards)
“The Last and Only, or, Mr. Moscowitz Becomes French”, Peter S. Beagle (Eclipse One)
“Last Contact”, Stephen Baxter (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction)
“A Small Room in Koboldtown”, Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s Apr/May 2007)
“Tideline”, Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s Apr/May 2007)
“Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?”, Ken MacLeod (The New Space Opera)
The Dog Said Bow-Wow, Michael Swanwick (Tachyon)
The Jack Vance Treasury, Jack Vance (Subterranean)
Overclocked, Cory Doctorow (Thunder’s Mouth)
Things Will Never Be the Same, Howard Waldrop (Old Earth)
The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories, Connie Willis (Subterranean)
The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant, eds. (Ballantine Del Rey)
The Coyote Road, Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, eds. (Viking)
The New Space Opera, Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan, eds. (Eos)
The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror 2007: Twentieth Annual Collection, Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant, ed. (St. Martin’s)
The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (St. Martin’s)
Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction, Jeff Prucher, ed. (Oxford University Press)
Breakfast in the Ruins, Barry N. Malzberg (Baen)
The Country You Have Never Seen, Joanna Russ (Liverpool University Press)
Gateways to Forever: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1970 to 1980, Mike Ashley (Liverpool University Press)
Shadows of the New Sun: Wolfe on Writing/Writers on Wolfe, Peter Wright (Liverpool University Press)
The Arrival, Shaun Tan (Lothian 2006; Scholastic)
Dreamscape: The Best of Imaginary Realism, Claus Brusen & Marcel Salome, eds. (SalBru)
Emshwiller: Infinity x Two, Luis Ortiz, ed. (Nonstop Press)
Mervyn Peake: The Man and His Art, compiled by Sebastian Peake & Alison Eldred, edited by G. Peter Winnington (Peter Owen)
Spectrum 14: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood)
Ellen Datlow
Gardner Dozois
David G. Hartwell
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Gordon Van Gelder
Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet
Bantam Spectra
Night Shade Books
Subterranean Press
Stephan Martiniere
John Picacio
Shaun Tan
Charles Vess
Michael Whelan


I’m back from Florida, which was wonderful. It was both weird and wonderful to be applauded and go up on a stage and give a little acceptance speech for an award for my writing, and I’m still tingly from the whole feeling.

This week, however, has been very busy for me, and I had to hit the ground running. I gave a talk and a reading at the Friends of the Library meeting on Wednesday, and answered lots of questions they had about writing and publishing. Then on Thursday I was on campus from 8-5 for an all-day interview for a full-time fiction writing instructor position, talking with deans and directors and giving a thirty minute presentation to the English department faculty. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but somehow also fun to have a half hour to talk about various topics related to writing and reading and teaching. A long day, in other words, exhausting on a certain level, but it also flew by pretty quickly.

Just received notice that One for Sorrow is in the Elite Eight competition over at the Fantasy Bookspot site. They’ve matched my book up with Ted Chiang’s Merchant at the Alchemist’s Gate. After just spending several days in Orlando with Ted, it feels weird to see readers duking it out over which they liked better, but it’s also cool to see people interested in books to this degree.

Lots still left to catch up on in the wake of my very busy past two weeks, so more later. I feel spring coming, and am going outside to get some fresh air.

Wow (now with links)

It has been brought to my attention that my novelette “The Language of Moths” has been honored with a Spectrum Award (in a three-way tie) in the category of short fiction.

I’m surprised that people are still reading that story, but also really happy.

At some point in the near-ish future, “The Language of Moths” will be released by Blackstone Audio as a book on tape, as well.

G’night all.

*You can find “The Language of Moths” in Jonathan Strahan’s Fantasy: The Very Best of 2005 anthology, or Sean Wallace’s Best New Fantasy anthology.

Hurray for Midwestern Awesomeness

After a day of braving the twelve degree cold today, with a running inner monologue about the ridiculous starkness and severity of the Midwestern winter accompanying me throughout my travels about town, I came home to find an e-mail from my editor telling me that One for Sorrow has been nominated for the 2008 Great Lakes Book Awards.

What the awards are about:

Founded in 1995, The Great Lakes Book Awards annually honor the year’s brightest and most deserving books about America’s heartland. The purpose of the awards is “to recognize and reward excellence in the writing and publishing of books that capture the spirit and enhance awareness of the Great Lakes region.” You can find out more here: Finalists will be determined over the summer, and the winner will be announced at the Great Lakes Booksellers Association trade show on October 3, 2008.

By the time I finished reading this e-mail, I had forgotten how I’d come to feel like a walking Popsicle this afternoon. As my editor Juliet says, “Hurray for Midwestern Awesomeness!”

Totally agreed!

The Crawford Award

one for sorrowI just found out yesterday (and see the news was just released) that this year’s Crawford Award is being given to One for Sorrow.

The award, according to the press release, is sponsored by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, recognizes an outstanding first book of fantasy published during the preceding year, and will be presented March 22 at the association’s annual conference in Orlando, Florida, where I will certainly be.

Other titles on this year’s shortlist are Laird Barron, The Imago Sequence (Night Shade); Ron Currie, Jr., God is Dead (Viking); Ellen Klages, Portable Childhoods (Tachyon); and Ysabeau Wilce, Flora Segunda (Harcourt).

Instead of a formal committee structure, the Crawford Award is determined by a panel of nominators, who review and discuss each other’s nominations. This year’s panel included John Clute, Kelly Link, Farah Mendlesohn, Cheryl Morgan, and Graham Sleight. The award is administered by Gary K. Wolfe of the IAFA Board.

The Crawford Award was established in 1985 through a grant from Andre Norton in memory of early fantasy small-press publisher William L. Crawford, who had died the preceding year. Past winners have included Charles de Lint, Susan Palwick, Greer Gilman, Jonathan Lethem, Candas Jane Dorsey, Alexander Irvine, Steph Swainston, and Joe Hill. Last year’s winner was M. Rickert.

I can say this two ways:

1.) I’m so honored to be in the company of writers such as these (both in the previous winners list, as well as the short list for this year).


2.) I’m totally flipping out in the best possible way.

Both really capture the truth.