I’ve slowly been working away on a number of projects in the background here at Coode Street. In addition to the overagonised rationalisation of financial paperwork and such, several new proposals are even now winging their way out to publishers, and we’ve finalised the plans for the family trip to the US in August/September.

To give a brief run down, Marianne, Jessica, Sophie and I will fly out of wet and wintry Perth on the morning of Tuesday, August 15. We’ll be overnighting in Suh-Suh-Suh-Sidenney, before flying on to San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon. We arrive there on Wednesday morning. I think we’re going to stay in a B&B in Berkeley or something like that on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, catching up with friends, taking the girls to Fentons, and seeing CHARLES. The girls willl then fly on to New York on Saturday morning, and I’ll head up to CHARLES’s house for a couple days of fine scotch and conversation (I might even try to record the first ever Locus deckcast, if I can). From there, CHARLES, Liza and I fly down to Los Angeles for LAConIV on Tuesday 22 August, getting in around noon. I’ll be sharing a suite with the International Society for Little Pink Girlie Drinks, which should be enormous fun, hanging out with the Locus gang, the Night Shade Posse (of which I am a member), and catching up with friends. I might squeeze a business get together or two in, but basically this one’s mainly going to be for fun. Then, on Monday 28 August, at just after noon, I fly off to New York to catch up with the girls, see family again and such. I know we’re planning some time up in the Catskills that week/weekend, which should be great, then back to the city for the week of the 4th of September. I know we’re also going to spend a couple nights at a hotel in Manhattan, when we’ll do mega-tourist stuff (Sophie really wants to go to the Statue of Liberty), and I’ll do a little business and catch up with industry friends like Howard, Ellen, LaGringa, and maybe even the Lad. We’ll celebrate Marianne’s birthday with her family, then we have the horror trip back doing New York – LA – Sydney – Perth non-stop. We will be weary by then.

Now, if you’re going to be somewhere that I am, and you’d like to catch up, let me know. I’d love to see EVERYone, but especially CHARLES. I’m tired now, but this is going to be fun.

Your favorite…

I’ve been reading Margo Lanagan’s posts over at Inside a Dog, where she talks about her travels in the US and such. On a whim I checked out the bio they have for her (you can see it here), and was struck by her answer to the question ‘My favourite book is…’.

I wasn’t perplexed by her answers – you can’t really object to someone else’s answer to that question for all sorts of good reasons – but by the question itself. I love books, and have probably read thousands since I first learnt to read. I love music, and couldn’t tell you how many songs have given me enormous pleasure. And movies, I could watch a day away in front of a screen. But, you want me to pick just one? Why? What is the need to have a ‘best’? Does anyone really have such a thing? I don’t. Not at all.

If I love a given work of art for some reason, I generally love it for a different reasons than I love some other work of art. I mean, I love Bernard Malamud’s The Fixer. It’s a shattering powerful novel that has haunted me for years. Malamud’s portrayal of Yakov Bok is extraordinary. I also love Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods, which is bright and sharp and funny. It resonates in a different part of my mind. Do I like one more than the other? No. I like them different from one another. It’s the same if you’re playing “Highway to Hell” or “So What?”. The driving power of AC/DC is irresistible, but so is Davis’s quintet.

Anyhow, I guess I’ll probably be asked the question again at some time in the future, and I’ll try to answer it to be polite, but it doesn’t make any sense to me. Does it make sense to you?

That awards meme

Well, everyone seems to be doing the ‘which award winning novels have you read’ thing at the moment, so here’s my go at it. So far I’ve read forty-six of the fifty-three novels (87%) to win the Hugo Award. Rather than go through book by book, I’ll just say I’ve not read:

  • Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Hominids, Robert J. Sawyer
  • Dreamsnake, Vonda N. McIntyre
  • Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
  • Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
  • (tie) “…And Call Me Conrad” (This Immortal), Roger Zelazny
  • They’d Rather Be Right (The Forever Machine), Mark Clifton & Frank Riley

Of these, I’ve meant to read the Brunner for a long time, and the Zelazny is actually in my to-read stack at the moment. I didn’t do quite so well with the Nebulas (we parted ways in recent years). Of the forty-one novels to win, I’ve read just thirty-two (78%). I’ve not read:

  • Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold
  • The Speed of Dark, Elizabeth Moon
  • The Quantum Rose, Catherine Asaro
  • The Moon and the Sun, Vonda N. McIntyre
  • The Terminal Experiment, Robert J. Sawyer
  • The Healer’s War, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
  • No Enemy But Time, Michael Bishop
  • Dreamsnake, Vonda N. McIntyre
  • The Einstein Intersection, Samuel R. Delany

Of the thirty-five novels to win the World Fantasy Award, I’ve read twenty-eight (80%). While I really mean to read the Walton, which sounds great, I’ve not got to:

  • Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton
  • The Antelope Wife, Louise Erdrich
  • Godmother Night, Rachel Pollack
  • Lyonesse: Madouc, Jack Vance
  • Perfume, Patrick Süskind
  • Doctor Rat, William Kotzwinkle
  • Bid Time Return, Richard Matheson

Of the thirty-four novels to win the John W Campbell Award, I’ve read just twenty-four (71%, my worst of all of the major awards). I’ve not read:

  • Market Forces, Richard K. Morgan
  • Omega, Jack McDevitt
  • (tie) Terraforming Earth, Jack Williamson
  • Genesis, Poul Anderson
  • Brute Orbits, George Zebrowski
  • Brother to Dragons, Charles Sheffield
  • A Door Into Ocean, Joan Slonczewski
  • The Alteration, Kingsley Amis
  • Malevil, Robert Merle
  • Beyond Apollo, Barry N. Malzberg

Looking at the list, in all likelihood this won’t change. And, as a quick follow-on, I’ve not read 12 of the Philip K. Dick Award winners or six of the Arthur C. Clarke Award winners.

Finally, Locus has presented the Locus Awards to novels in five categories. Of the hundred books to win in those categories (SF/Fantasy/Horror/YA/First), I’ve read eight-six, which seems a pretty good record. The ones I’ve not read actually overlap the above list a bit. I probably should read the Dreamsnake, huh?

Reading and reading and stuff

I’ve been gone for a while because of various commitments. When I hit tax time I get very, very stressed and tend to drop everything else. Now that I’m pretty much done things are beginning to settle out a bit, which is good. I’m reading for both The New Space Opera (we’re waiting for two or three stories to come in) and for The Jack Vance Treasury (we want a final list in a week or so), waiting to hear back if my YA SF anthology was accepted, doing paperwork, committing acts of poor taste, not watching the World Cup, nagging my travel agent to actually finish up the bookings for the US trip, and actually, by recent standards, winding down. The next few weeks will mostly be filled by doing this stuff, and by getting some proposals out to publishers. If I remember correctly, it won’t be so long till I’ve delivered everything under contract, and I’ve got some new projects I’m excited to get on with after World Fantasy this November.

In the meantime, some quick comments and recommendations:

I just read Charlie Stross’s new novelette “Trunk and Disorderly”, which he mentions here, and which will be published in Asimov’s soon-ish. It’s a funny mid-future SF romp in a very Wodehousian mode. I think a good dollop of the kind of exoticism that you see in Jack Vance could have worked well too, but I think it works very well as it is, and is a good story. It’s also the first in a series of stories, so I’ll be fascinated to see what happens next.

Chris Rowe’s “The Voluntary State” was one of the most interesting SF stories of the year before last. He’s about to show up in the pages of F&SF with a really great story, “Another Word for Map is Faith“. If memory serves it’s part of his “Uncommonwealth” series of stories, and it’s terrific. A doozy. I’ll be stunned if it doesn’t show up in a bunch of year’s bests.

The ever wonderful Sharyn November sent me a care package which arrived two days ago, stuffed with goodies. I’m currently two-thirds of the way through Delia Sherman’s upcoming novel Changeling, and loving it. It’s set in the same world and features some of the characters from her story “CATNYP”,. which I also loved. Check it out.