Q&A

Joseph Mallozzi hosts a book of the month club over at his very popular blog.  This month The Love We Share Without Knowing is the selection.  Joe posted a great response to the book and then opened the comments section up for questions from his fellow readers.  Today my responses went up.  We talked about all sorts of things:  genre writing versus literary, Japan, my life there, the making of my book.  If you’re interested you should teleport over to Joe’s original post on the book, and then move onto the Q&A post.

Thanks again, Joe.  It was fun!

Next year: a reprise

Following on the heels of the Beastly Bride anthology mentioned in my last post, fabulous editor Ellen Datlow announced on her blog today that one of her and Terri Windling’s new anthologies has been completed and turned in to their editor at HarperCollins:

Teeth

Table of Contents

Introduction by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow

Things to Know About Being Dead by Genevieve Valentine

All Smiles by Steve Berman

Gap Year by Christopher Barzak

Bloody Sunrise by Neil Gaiman

Flying by Delia Sherman

Vampire Weather by Garth Nix

Late Bloomer by Suzy McKee Charnas

The List of Definite Endings by Kaaron Warren

Best Friends Forever by Cecil Castellucci

Sit the Dead by Jeffrey Ford

Sunbleached by Nathan Ballingrud

Baby by Kathe Koja

In the Future When All’s Well by Catherynne M. Valente

Transition by Melissa Marr

History by Ellen Kushner

The Perfect Dinner Party by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black

Slice of Life by Lucius Shepard

My Generation by Emma Bull

Why Light? by Tanith Lee

She’s guessing it’ll be out in 2011.  I can’t wait to read all of the stories.  It was a blast to write mine for this anthology.  I didn’t think I had a vampire tale in me.  It’s definitely not a typical vampire story, but it’s turned out to be one of my favorites to write because of that.

Beastly indeed

I mentioned last year that the newest volume of the mythic fiction series edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling would be released this coming spring, and here we are, a couple of days after its release date.  The Beastly Bride.  This is a great anthology of fiction for young adults and adults alike.  Here’s a description from editor Terri Windling:

The fourth volume in the Mythic Fiction series contains beastly brides, animal bridegrooms, shape-shifters, were-creatures, and other stories of animal-human transformation from world mythology. The authors who have contributed to the book are Christopher Barzak, Peter Beagle, Steve Berman, Richard Bowes, Carol Emshwiller, Jeffrey Ford, Gregory Frost, Nan Fry, Jeanine Hall Gailey, Terra Gearheart, Hiromi Goto, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, Steward Moore, Shweta Narayan, Johanna Sinisalo, Lucius Shepard, Delia Sherman, Midori Snyder, E. Catherine Tobler, Jane Yolen, and Marly Youmans.

My own story certainly has a shape changer of sorts, but it also investigates the other half of the anthology’s title, bride, by addressing that most recently still (unfortunately) touchy subject of a marriage between a same sex couple.  Beastly indeed.

If you pick it up, I hope you enjoy the stories.

Gaslight Dogs

Dear internet drifting jellyfish,

Have you read any books by author Karin Lowachee?  Well, if not, now is your chance to start by picking up her newest novel, released just yesterday by Orbit Books.  It’s called Gaslight Dogs, and it sounds like a wonderful fantasy novel.  Here’s a description:

At the edge of the known world, an ancient nomadic tribe faces a new enemy-an Empire fueled by technology and war.

A young spiritwalker of the Aniw and a captain in the Ciracusan army find themselves unexpectedly thrown together. The Aniw girl, taken prisoner from her people, must teach the reluctant soldier a forbidden talent – one that may turn the tide of the war and will surely forever brand him an outcast.

From the rippling curtains of light in an Arctic sky, to the gaslit cobbled streets of the city, war is coming to the frozen north. Two people have a choice that will decide the fates of nations – and may cast them into a darkness that threatens to bring destruction to both their peoples.

This is the sort of fantasy novel I’ve been wanting to read for a long time.  Complex, unique cultures, native versus industrial colonial forces, personal choices that hold political ramifications and consequences.  I’ve ordered my copy and can’t wait to get my hands on it.  You’re next.

Dear Reader

There are so many reasons for writing.  For me, I take pleasure in design for the sake of design.  The perfect melding–or even if not perfect, the interesting melding–of various materials into a shape that catches the eye of the mind as the words flare during the process of interpretation and become fireworks, emotional surges, and flashes of insight, in a reader’s imagination as well as my own.

But there are other reasons beyond design itself.  Many reasons.  I was reminded of one last night, after coming home from the latest event I put on for the Ytown Reading Series with my students.  This message was waiting for me in my inbox:

After hearing about the Nebula nomination, I went out and bought your book for my Kindle.

I’m about 60% through it and wanted to tell you I’m really enjoying it. It wasn’t what I expected (the SF ghetto tends to follow certain rules), but I have been very pleasantly surprised.  After I’m done reading it, I’ll probably read it to my wife.  I hope that isn’t a problem.

Normally my wife would get the Audible edition, but it doesn’t look like there’s a audible version for me to buy for her.  So she’ll get me, instead.

I’m always touched to hear from readers who have enjoyed, appreciated, or found something they were looking for, sometimes desperately, in one of my stories or books.  And each time I hear from them, I’m reminded of what else writing is inherently about:  other people.

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of writing for one’s self.  I do that when I’m fascinated in the process of writing as a reader myself.  Writing as a reader is something I do.  I’m often telling myself stories as I write, experiencing the act of writing as a reader, existing in dual levels of the process at the same time, making and interpreting as I create.  But it’s other people, not just myself, that will hopefully, eventually, read what I’ve made.  And hopefully will find something they’ve wanted or craved or needed, even without knowing it, when they do read what I’ve written.  Those are the kinds of books I love most, to be surprised that I wanted something without realizing what it is I’ve thirsted for.

I try not to be materialistic:  to not seek after the fame and the riches, to not be jealous or envious of those who are rewarded richly in publicity and recognition and money for their writing.  But reading over this reader’s message today, after being reminded of the importance of connecting with others through my work, I also realized that it’s hard to connect without my writing being somehow recognized, as the Nebula nomination lead him to seek out my work, a book he would never have heard of if not for the award.  I’ve recently found bloggers and Twitterers talking about my book’s nomination as well.  Some had already read it, and exclaimed giddily how happy they were that the book had been nominated for the award.  Others confess to the book having eluded their awareness, and after reading it were surprised that it had been so overlooked or unnoticed.

I don’t want to desire recognition or to be known, mainly because I don’t want to be beholden to desire.  But I do understand now more than ever that recognitions like the Nebula nomination are how those other people, readers who may be waiting for my words and don’t know that my books even exist, discover my stories and books.

I’m looking forward to discovering more of my readers in the future as well, the people I don’t know exist, who don’t know that I exist yet either. I hope someday that we can be brought together in that space where words fire and flare.

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

YA before YA was cool

Last week the famous J.D. Salinger passed away, which lead to an internet riot of people either mourning–some respectfully, some deeply–or people taking pot shots at Salinger and his most famous character, Holden Caulfield. The funny thing is, most of the people commenting on the book really don’t know anything about how the book was received, its context, and why it was a hallmark book, and why perhaps it is disliked by so many contemporary readers.  (My own theory is that many books that are taught in schools are going to be disliked, because a certain amount of students are going to dislike reading anything they are forced to read.) But over at Collen Lindsay’s blog, The Swivet, you can read a guest post by my friend Richard Bowes, who was a young adult at the time Catcher in the Rye was released.  It’s an insightful post for anyone interested in Salinger, Holden Caulfield, the 1950s in America, and YA literature in general.

A sample:

Does this make Catcher in the Rye great literature? No. But when it came out it was unique, a novel read mainly by young people, some of them very young at a time when YA as a category didn’t exist. There were only adult novels and a substratum of novels for children and very young teens.

By the time Salinger finally produced Franny and Zooey and got on the cover of Time Magazine, two other novels that also appealed to the young – Lord of the Flies (1954) and A Separate Peace (1959) – had started to get mentioned along with Catcher.

Like The Catcher in the Rye, these novels weren’t written for adolescents; they were discovered by them.

Read the whole thing by clicking here.

Another recommendation

Over the winter break I had a chance to read more books of my own choosing than I’ve been able to do in a while.  One of them was Ali Shaw’s debut novel, The Girl With Glass Feet.  This novel is a modern fairy tale, set in a faraway land, St. Hauda’s, an icy island that is as remote and strange and wonderful as any fairy tale setting I’ve seen.  The characters are flawed and yet incredibly sympathetic, the plot: how to love in the face of impending death that comes in the form of glass that takes over one character’s body slowly but surely.  There are strange and improbable creatures inhabiting this book, tiny cows the size of butterflies, with wings to match.  It is a book that holds promise for future wonders to come from Mr. Shaw, and I look forward to them.