New look

Hmmm. Don’t know if this new look is going to work out, but I’m going to try it for a little while. I’ve temporarily knocked out the comment links, but will put them back shortly, and have deleted the email contact info. That wil be fixed soon, too.

Saving the Hugos

Finally…!

… a sensible solution on how to stop Locus dominating the Hugos. Cheryl Morgan, in the latest Emerald City, suggests that we should “get 1,000 of your friends to go out and subscribe to Locus so that Charles goes above the 10,000 limit. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind too much.” I suspect not, either, though I haven’t asked him. Anyone up for the challenge?

Oh, and this is probably a good time to add a slightly more public ‘Congratulations and well deserved’ to Cheryl for her Hugo win at Noreascon. I’ve enjoyed reading Emerald City since first stumbling across it a year or two ago, and look forward to every issue. What more could anyone ask for from a ‘zine? Which brings us, briefly, to another question raised by Cheryl. Should she remove herself from the Hugo race next year because she’s doing some work on the convention? My view, for what it’s worth, is no. The SF community is just too small to avoid such situations, and you need to find ways to work around them. In this case, it doesn’t seem like there’s a conflict of interest, so I hope to have the chance to vote for EC again in 2005.

Short fiction season

As the short fiction season winds down for me, I’m slowly able to turn my attention to reading novels, which is a good thing. I love short fiction, but I need to switch back and forth from time to time, or I begin to get a little nutty.

So, the other day I picked up the galley of Charlie Stross’s new ‘fantasy’ novel, The Family Trade. To quote Damien Broderick, from his upcoming review of the book in Locus, it’s ‘a bold pretend-fantasy in the tradition of Peter Drucker’ that features ‘a sensible laptop-packing journalist grrl caught up in lethal problems of interdimensional best practice accounting and sophisticated business management restructuring.’

That’s about as good a description as anyone could come up with, except it overlooks the fact that the book is compulsively readable and totally engaging. I’ve read all of Stross’s books to date, and most of his short fiction, and you can see that he’s getting better and better with every book that comes out. Singularity Sky was good, but Iron Sunrise was a lot better. The Atrocity Archives was good, but its sequel will no doubt be better. Accelerando looks set to be a genuine contender as the best and most important SF novel of 2005, and in the meantime The Family Trade is the most immediately accessible and purely entertaining of Stross’s books, a kind of modern mix of Roger Zelazny and H. Beam Piper. It’s due out in December and you should check it, and Damien’s upcoming review of it in the November Locus, out.

And next? Well, there are many great things being involved with Locus. The best, for me, is the rare times I get to spend hanging out with Charles, talking and drinking his scotch. But, you also get to meet fascinating people, make connections and, occasionally, get things very early. So, next up for me is the sequel to The Family Trade, The Hidden Family. I could wait till next year to find out what happens next, but I really don’t want to.

Secret fun…

Jeff VanderMeer mentions over at his blog that if you purchase a copy of his extremely fine collection Secret Life from the good folks at Ziesing Books you can get a personal, one-off secret life written just for you. I think this is an extremely cool, fun thing and readers of this blog should definitely do it. Not only do you get a wonderful book (which, let’s face it, is very cool), but you get your own personal life story. What could be cooler than that? Hmmm, wonder what a secret life of me would be like…

Note: To find the offer follow the link above to the site, then search on “Secret Life” after checking the box below Shakespeare’s head.

Note 2: I just re-read this post and I think I need to stop using the word cool. It’s just not cool.

Completing the year

Assuming all goes to plan, in the next two weeks or so I have to write two main volume introductions to Science Fiction: Best of 2004 and Fantasy: Best of 2004, as well as (I think) twenty-five individual story notes. I have previous notes for nine of the story authors, but that’s still something like 8,000 words or so of new stuff to come up with. I expect it’ll take all of that time to get everything right, but then we’ll be pretty much done till next time.

Oh, I should add that doesn’t mean we’ve officially stopped reading for the two books. The reading period closes this coming Friday, and we’ll still look at anything we see up till then (and keep a weather eye out for anything between 1 October and our delivery date), but we have the main list bedded down and a couple floaters that may or not make it. The one decision we have made about this year’s books is no recommended reading lists. We could readily have compiled lists, but we’re so much under the microscope for space that we decided it was best not to push it.

What else? For those interested, I expect to have official news on the fate of Best Short Novels: 2005 in a couple weeks. I’ve seen some great stories for it, and am quite optimistic that it’ll happen, but you never know. After that, it’s on to Locus‘s recommended reading lists, some proposal work for some anthologies, and I’ve got to knuckle down and get seriously under way with The Starry Rift. And somewhere in there we’ll be having a fairy princess party for Sophie’s third birthday, which should be the real highlight, and visit from Sean, which should be fun.