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Fictionwise (reprints of some of Derryl's fiction)
~ Wednesday, April 23, 2003
Continued from the post below this one:
I don't know what to say, though, or even if I should really care. I'm on the record elsewhere as referring to the Nebula Awards as a glorified bowling trophy, and even though I posted briefly about the Auroras, they are in comparison a glorified mini-golf trophy. The Hugos are maybe a bit better, since it's all fan-driven, but that does leave the process a little more open to wacky decisions (for instance, 2001, when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire defeated, among others, Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson). So maybe the Hugo is the SF world's equivalent of Car Salesperson of the Year.
I have no answers, of course. I wish there were a way for smaller publications to grab the readers by the lapels (or, to be more accurate, by the buttons) and convince them that it's worth their time and money to buy some of these magazines. One thing that might be worth thinking about (avoiding the awards issue now and concentrating wholly on the marketing side) is to band together, carry each other's magazines to local conventions, perhaps offer discounts through a central clearing house if you subscribe to, say, three separate mags, and pool money to buy a decent slot at major cons. We're already doing this last at WorldCon this year, sharing a table with Descant, a literary magazine which is releasing an SF issue at the con.
I do welcome thoughts on the matter, here or by email. And I hope that other people are paying attention to this. I mean, I do subscribe to Locus, but I am not at all sure what it is that justifies 16 out of a possible 19 awards, and why they don't just politely remove themselves from the running. It's embarrassing to think that someone could be that needy about a hunk of metal and wood.
Here's the list of this year's nominees for the Hugo Awards. Where my attention has drifted this year is to the list of semi-prozine nominees, and in relation to that I'd like to direct your attention to the list of past winners. For those of you unfamiliar with the field, I'll note that Interzone is the only magazine that publishes fiction; the other two are news and review magazines. This year's list has the same appearance, with Interzone being the sole publication for fiction.
I wish to know if the semipro fiction magazines out there are really that bad, if the fiction they publish really doesn't work, or doesn't catch anyone's attention. I am of course speaking from a position of possible conflict of interest, of course, being one of the Fiction Editors for On Spec, which as a semipro mag would surely have qualified for this category, moreso because this year the ceremonies are being held in Canada. On Spec has been publishing continuously for over a decade now, well past 50 issues, a good-looking magazine that has received a decent amount of critical praise and attention, published some world-class authors and artists, and has been doing nothing but improving the quality of its fiction for all that time.
I'll be honest here; I did suggest to some folks in various locations that they consider nominating the magazine. The "glory" wouldn't have been mine, anyway, since Jena Snyder and Diane Walton do almost all the work.
But even barring one fine magazine, there are plenty of other fiction outlets kicking around that deserve the same sort of praise, and yet are constantly ignored, both at awards time and, frankly, at opening-the-wallet time. I think here of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Aurealis, Say..., Talebones, and The Third Alternative, all magazines that are doing worthy things with fiction from writers of all stripes. And yet the list of nominees includes (mostly) publications that offer news and/or gossip. Even the one that could be considered as adding to the writer's craft is, at best, a gathering point for writers to brag about sales or newbies to read about markets or pitfalls in the biz. And then these writers move on out and submit their stories to the magazines that are later ignored.
More on the next rock. Damn Blogger doesn't like too many links in any post.
~ Tuesday, April 22, 2003
Still planning a rant about the Hugos. It'll come soon. In the meantime, I have three stories that qualify for the Auroras, so if you're a Canadian and are interested in nominating but haven't read them yet (because you shouldn't nominate what you haven't read), email me.
The paper is done. Including two pages of citations, Interstellar Conflict Across Time: Military and Structural Similarities and Differences Throughout the History of Space Opera clocks in at 26 pages. In a brief rush of blogging before I head off to hand it in and return books to libraries, let me point you to Terrorist Titties (via Tom Tomorrow), some ruminations on litterbugs, and a flying cat.
~ Sunday, April 20, 2003
Well, today I am 40. Jo and I went out for dinner last night, and imagine my surprise to find that in Prince George there is a restaurant called Da Moreno that some people (and not locals, either) consider to be the finest Italian restaurant in Canada. Apparently, the lead singer of Big Sugar thinks so, and whenever he plays in town almost always ends up being late for his gig because he's having an after-dinner coffee with Moreno himself.
We each started with a small slice of very garlicy Bruschetta, as well as a nice (and, as per usual in dining establishments, overpriced) glass of an Australian Shiraz, likely the best wine I've had in about two months. I have a good bottle sitting in the wine rack here, but I'm sitting on it for another year or two; the good stuff only comes out rarely. Then Jo had a salad with organic greens, goat cheese, apple slices, and a vinaigrette, while I had pan-seared scallops wrapped in prosciutto on caramelized brown sugar. Only three of them, which was just right, since it was very rich. For the main course, Jo had a spinach ravioli, and I also had ravioli, but filled with lobster meat and in a tomato and basil sauce. I'm drooling just writing about it. Chef Boy-Ar-Dee would have me for life if they could offer this one. Dessert was a tiramisu for Jo (very light, she pronounced, which is rare) and I had a chocolate torte with home-made ice cream and a raspberry coulis. Afterwards, we were full, but not over-stuffed, which was a pleasant sensation. The portions were just right, as were the tastes, of course.
This morning the boys did their Easter egg hunt, after wishing me a happy birthday, and then they borught me my present. Wow. A Palm Tungsten T with a keyboard and a travel charger kit. Jo was thinking ahead and knew it would be a pain for me to bring my laptop to Scotland. Now I have a few months to get used to this little machine to make sure I get the most out of it.