And the Best New Insult is…

Delany"You don’t even know how to spell Delany, bitch."

Of course, this has a limited use in my life, since most of the people I know do. But still: Book clerks around here seem to deserve it based on the response when I ask if they have About Writing in stock.

Corollary for my SF peeps: "You don’t even know what the R. in Samuel R. Delany stands for, bitch."

Well, c’mon, what does it stand for? First person to get it right wins … something. (Justine, you’re disqualified. Scott, you too, because she’ll just tell you.)

p.s. Yeah, bummer, I had to order it, because nobody had it in. And I need something ass-in-geary right now, because I’m not writing and I’m going a little bonkers because of it. The use of the word bonkers should suffice as an explanation.

And the Best New Insult is… Read More »

Gender Bender

Instant_Fanzine has this year’s finalists for the Philip K. Dick award.

COWL by Neal Asher (Tor)
WAR SURF by M. M. Buckner (Ace)
CAGEBIRD by Karin Lowachee (Warner Aspect)
NATURAL HISTORY by Justina Robson (Bantam Spectra)
SILVER SCREEN by Justina Robson (Pyr)
TO CRUSH THE MOON by Wil McCarthy (Bantam Spectra)

This is not the gender balance* one sees in science fiction award nominees every day. I like it.

(Plus, go Justina go!)

*Three women vs. two men, for those who don’t know that M.M. Buckner’s a woman.

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Short Fiction Jackpot

The preliminary Nebula ballot just came out. There’s a bunch of worthy stuff on there, although due to its incomprehensible eligibility system much of it may seem old enough to have been honored in previous years. (Do not try to understand; it’s a flawed, overcomplicated system.) Anyway, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction has just put up a whole bunch of stories from the ballot for free online. These include several of my favorite stories from the past few years. I’m going to list them below, and highly recommend checking them out. (And then subscribing!) That said, I’m sure every story F&SF has on the ballot is worth your time.

But I think these are worth more of your time:

"Start the Clock," Benjamin Rosenbaum
"Cold Fires," M. Rickert (Do NOT miss this story!)
"The End of the World as We Know It," Dale Baley (There are a couple of sections of this story that have stuck with me as much as any fiction that acknowledges 9/11.)
"Keyboard Practice, Consisting of an Aria with Diverse Variations for the Harpsichord with Two Manuals," John G. McDaid
"I Live With You," Carol Emshwiller (Seriously, one of the best stories I read last year.)
"Magic for Beginners," Kelly Link (Maybe my very favorite story I read last year and one of my favorites of Kelly’s, which is saying something.)

So, what are you waiting for?

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Year in Reviewers

Strange Horizon has collected some thoughts from their reviewers on their favorites of 2005. Um, at least from the ones who weren’t, like me, too scattered to get their pick in on time. I would have said The Fairy Tale Review. And Veronica Mars (there’s arguably a ghost in season 2, thus making it maybe SF). And Jeff Ford’s The Girl in the Glass.

Because I can never pick just one thing.

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More Magick and SF

TeleportTed clarifies his original post, in another fascinating one. However, reader be warned:

Imagine a story in which teleportation is available in the form of teleport booths, where anyone can walk up, dial up a destination, and go. Now imagine a story in which teleportation is available only in the presence of a certain individual, who exerts his/her will to make it happen.

To me, based on these admittedly scant descriptions, the first story feels more like science fiction, while the second feels more like fantasy. If you don’t perceive this difference between the two stories, or if you do perceive this difference but couldn’t care less about it (both of which I consider perfectly legitimate reactions), then I advise you to stop reading this post right now, lest it piss you off.

*Why have I been cursed to wake up before 8 a.m. two weekend days in a row? Hardly fair.

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WithBoots lives!  Ted Chiang has a post about technology, magic and consciousness you should read:

This doesn’t mean that a fantasy universe is necessarily ruled by a capricious god or gods; being a person doesn’t mean being arbitrary or inconsistent. But one consequence is that, in a fantasy universe, certain things are not susceptible to mass production. For example, you could say that, in order for your magical radio to function, you need to appease a certain deity, and so you say a prayer each time you make a radio, and your radios always work. That’s consistent with dealing with a person. But if you’ve got a machine that is stamping out functional radios by the thousands, it’s no longer reasonable to say that it’s appeasing a deity every time. Instead, it makes more sense to say you’re dealing with impersonal laws of nature; your radio is an example of applied science, not applied magic.

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Hey Geeky Girl (Updated)

The memed up version of the Guardian’s phallocentric 20 best geeky novels list has inspired some interesting discussion (in the comments to that post). Christopher Rowe and Chris McLaren have responded by making lists of geeky books by women. (See also the discussion at this LJ.) (The update is Meghan McCarron’s list added at the end of the post.)

This is going to be embarrassing, but I’ll meme up these behind the cut. (My own list would have a lot more books I’ve read. But many of these are books I have long had every intention of reading and just haven’t, or have read other books by the authors instead.)

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Value What You Value

Christopher weighs in on the demise of SciFiction:

It’s sad that they’re shutting it down, and you know what else? It is surprising, too, despite what a lot of others have said. It seems like a lot of people (like, disappointingly, many SFWAns) are innately suspicious of any endeavor that they can’t at least see some revenue in, even if they don’t see a “profit.” A lot of people "knew it was just a matter of time." Well, patronage has got a fairly respectable track record in Western art, predating even good old Adam Smith. I think that was part of the impulse behind SCI FICTION and I think it’s an impulse that will continue to exist, one that should be fostered.

Read the whole thing (then go pick a story!).

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You’re Invited to a Wake

Dave Schwartz has launched The ED SF Project to celebrate SciFiction:

SciFiction is ending after five and a half years of great fiction. I don’t think we should let this go without, at the very least, showing our appreciation for the site and the work Ellen Datlow and so many talented writers have done.

Here’s my idea.

By my count there are 320  stories archived at the site. I’m willing to bet that there are that many SF writers/critics/fans/what have you who have some sort of presence on the web. So I’m thinking, let’s all of us write an appreciation of one of the stories.

It doesn’t need to be something long — it could be a few paragraphs, or it could be in-depth; it could be a critical analysis or just a reaction to the story. Just something that focuses on the fiction and shows how much impact the site has had. Remember, this is an appreciation. A celebration. Pick a story you love, or discover a new one by reading through the archives. Discover for yourself just what we’re losing. Then let’s give it the best sendoff possible.

Claim a story in the comments at the site; first come, first serve. I’ll be writing about John Kessel’s fabulous "It’s All True."

You need to be a part of this, trust me — even if you never really followed the site, discover something, read a story you wouldn’t otherwise and write about it. If you did follow it, make a tough choice and tell the rest of us why. See you there, unless you’re a big old L7.

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