The Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists have announced the nominees for the 2009 Chesley Awards. I am delighted to see Shaun Tan up for Best Artistic Achievement and for Best Interior Illustration for Tales from Outer Suburbia. I was also thrilled to see two of my pals, co-editor Lou Anders and publisher/co-editor Bill Shafer up for Best Art Director. Incredibly well-deserved. Congratulations to all of the nominees of course, but extra good luck to these three.
The first book review I wrote, back in 1985, was of Terry Pratchett’s The Color of Magic. It ran in a bookstore newsletter and was signed pseudonymously as by ‘Mycroft XXX’. As everyone knew (and knows), Mycroft (or Mike) is the name of the computer in Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It was first published in 1966, and went on to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel the following year.
To say that Moon was one of my favorite novels of all time is almost an understatement. I first read it some time in the early 70s. I had a battered old New English Library edition with a fairly dull cover which I read and re-read, revisiting the adventures of Manual Garcia O’Kelly Davis, the one-armed computer tech who finds that a computer has become self-aware and gets caught up in a rebellion on the moon in 2075.
You can read all about the book on Wikipedia, but I loved Mannie, Mike, Wyoh, and the Baker St Irregulars. Of course, like many of us, I’ve hit that age where I don’t read the old books anymore. You can’t trust that old memories hold true, and there’s always the fear that you can destroy and old love simply be revisiting it. For that reason, I was interested to see that Charles Brown of Locus has just re-read the book, and still loves it. He’s right to say that Heinlein’s reputation has waned over the twenty years since his death, and issues like his depiction of women, his politics and so on are real ones. But, maybe, I might go back. I’m certainly tempted to visit old friends again.
Were you sending me a story for Eclipse Three? That thing that just went whooshing by was the deadline! Of course there’s still a little time – don’t despair – but if you’re planning on it, let me know that something’s on the way. This new book is going to be a good one, though very different (to me at least) from Two.