Cold Ground
email Derryl (replace AT with @)

Places to Go:
Derryl's Fotolog
Fictionwise (reprints of some of Derryl's fiction)
Alyx Dellamonica
Boing Boing
Charlie Stross
Jena Snyder
Making Light
Randy Reichardt

~ Saturday, May 24, 2003
I have no idea how to do permalinks, so there is no pointer to it, but somewhere around here I had written about the Hugos, and had also made mention of the Auroras, Canada's version, which I called a "glorified mini-golf trophy." I'm now here to tell you that this description may not be true; instead, I think of the Aurora as the favorite player award given by a bunch of beer-swilling mullet-heads on a slow pitch team (much like the Rattlers, a team I play on).

I'm torn between being a combination of politic and polite or being eviscerating, and for the moment the more sober me is winning out, although that could change in the near future. I direct your attention, first of all, to the list of finalists. I will admit that I have only read one novel on the list for Long Form English, and I think it should be the clear winner, hands down. While Karl Schroeder's Permanence was not, in my view, as strong as his novel Ventus, it was still a great read packed with ideas and adventure, and much of it was relevant to today. I have nothing bad to say about the other nominees, considering I haven't read these books, although I do find myself curious about the placement of a book that had extremely limited release. But perhaps (actually, likely) this comes about because of how few people participate in the nomination process.

More troubling to me are the Short Form English and English Other categories. You will note in the first that there is only one story from a well-known SF mag there, while three are from one anthology and the last from the editor of the anthology that included the other three. Let me state quite clearly that I don't believe the voting was rigged; again, I think this is largely the province of a system that gets very little participation. But I did watch in another forum as fans of this author's work were urged to nominate the works of writers from the anthology. On the face of it, a noble deed; attempting to get some recognition for the writers who came through for you is a nice thing to do. But the quality of other work out there, and in more accessible locations, too, would seem to negate the presence of almost every other voter.

Let me stress here that this is a fault partly of the system, but mostly of the voters themselves. If people can't be bothered to read and nominate, then the works they like don't make the list. A group voting for (or with) someone they like is not the problem, since they are actually taking part in the process.

Sadly, works by Cory Doctorow, A.M. Dellamonica and Holly Phillips, among others, get neglected. But then again, this is the award that ignored Neuromancer the year it won everywhere else, even Australia, so my surprise is limited.

Finally, and I won't flog it too much more, you'll note a similar pattern in the Other category, including the second year in a row that a toy-selling cartoon has been nominated. Hell, if you look at last year's list you'll see that it won. You'll also detect the start of this very pattern I'm noting.

This is not sour grapes. I'm proud of the three stories I published last year, but all three were in relatively obscure (although decent-paying) publications. I let people see them if they wanted to, but my flogging days are over. Plus, I firmly believe that the three people I mentioned two paragraphs up all wrote better stories than me last year. The award is a joke, and it has been for years. Certainly the French-Canadians recognize this, as witnessed by their nominating and voting patterns (scroll to the bottom of last year's page to see how many people bothered).

It costs $5.00 to vote, if I recall correctly. This year, I will be taking that money (and probably a little more) and donating it to the Sunburst Award. This one at least offers some money to the (usually poor) writer who wins, and is emphatically not a popularity contest.
Head here and click on "Bush vs. Bush" to watch the debate of the year.
~ Friday, May 23, 2003
Zoë update

Well, my math skills and memory both failed me. Turns out that Zoë is 19, which means I was off by 2 years. I'm somewhat stunned.

I'm not yet sure of what went down, but she did receive her birthday package, but it seems that her father did not pass on my address. However, she phoned my father (Mom's in Nova Scotia right now, and will be quite disappointed she missed the call) and got my address, so apparently I can expect a letter.

She's in the local community college, taking Art, but beyond that I know nothing; I think Dad may have been at a bit of a loss for words, and he tells me the conversation felt a tad superficial. But what do you say to a step-grandchild you haven't heard from for over a decade?

I'm even more nervous now as I await her letter.
~ Thursday, May 22, 2003
"Like all fads, corporate governance has its zealots," he said. I am so happy that Conrad Black's grip on the Canadian media is pretty much extinct. Here's hoping the bastard goes down in flames.
From today's paper (a biweekly called The Free Press), two ads:

Under Daycare, "Spring baby goats due on June 8, minutes from town. ECC, first aid, good beginnings course, experienced. Shiftworkers, babies welcome. Call for more info."

Also one for a Greek restaurant that brags about their excellent "Homos."
Here's the first-ever picture of Earth from Mars.
~ Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Some news about the new M. Night Shyamalan movie. Yowza.
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