Category Archives: Journal

Successful, but challenging…

There are times when it’s difficult to reconcile the differences between various aspects of your life.  So far this year has been successful, but challenging. Since returning from World Fantasy in Toronto I have sold four new anthologies, including finding a wonderful new home for my ‘best of the year’s series, been commissioned to edit a special issue of a magazine I love and respect, worked with my colleagues and dear friends at Locus on eight issues of the magazine, recorded 26 episodes of the Coode St Podcast with my partner-in-crime Gary K. Wolfe and several episodes of the Last Short Story podcast, had Gardner Dozois call two of my books the best science fiction and the best fantasy anthologies of the year, attended a terrific convention in Canberra, been incredibly fortunate to have two of my books win the Locus and Aurealis Awards, and been nominated for the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. I also saw Bruce Springsteen live in Sydney, a fine Elvis Costello show, a good Rickie Lee Jones show, and half of a You Am I gig that I was happy to see. With a little luck I’ll see more. And, of course, Miss 11 got into the Gifted and Talented Program, which made me almost insanely proud.

But, at the same time things have been difficult and challenging for me at my day job. Nothing seriously wrong, and I am very fortunate to work with a great group (from my director to my manager to my immediate colleagues), but it’s not been much fun. I’ve also had a string of minor health problems, starting with what looks to have been a nasty ear infection that has left me with slightly damaged hearing and permanent tinnitus (and caused me to miss a best friend’s wedding), a blurry right eye caused by the collapse of the collagen layer at the back of my eye (something that can happen when you get older and are very short-sighted apparently), and a sore neck. They’ve all slowed me down, and worn away at me. As have some unnecessary and unfortunate complications to do with my editing.

Some or all of this will come right, and there are good things ahead. Today Springsteen tickets go on sale.  Seeing him next February will be huge. I am going to London and Brighton in October, which I think will be fantastic (even though getting ready for it feels like a slog), and there are family birthdays and celebrations.  The family is going away for Christmas, which should be terrific. And in January I’ll be turning fifty, which I’m definitely not looking forward to: lots of talk of parties and celebrations, but I feel mixed and unsure about it and may prefer just to let the day go past unnoticed. Who knows?

Either way, it’s been a time of feeling tired, stressed and worn out. That said, while I’m perfectly willing to whinge a bit on my blog, I look at the challenges facing others and know how comparatively lucky I am.

Lately….

It’s July and I’ve not been blogging. I know why I haven’t been blogging. Mostly because I have Twitter, and because of the semi-shambles that the first half of 2013 has left everything in round here. I’ve not blogged much about all sorts of small, recurring problems – mostly medical ones like hearing and blurry eyes and so on – which haven’t been life-threatening, but have kept me from feeling like blogging or doing much.

What have I been doing? Well, since getting back from Canberra and the Australian Natcon I’ve watched a lot of TV – four seasons of Justified, a season of Nashville, a season of The Americans, two seasons of Switched at Birth, and so on. I’ve read a small handful of novels, most of which I’ve discussed on the Coode Street Podcast with Gary K. Wolfe. I’ve also recorded a couple episodes of the Last Short Story podcast, read some excellent short fiction, started work on The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 8,  bought the first story for Reach for Infinity, seen the cover art for the follow-up to Fearsome Journeys, bought the central story for my special issue of Subterranean Magazine, and outlined a couple of other projects.  I’m pretty sure there was also a 13th birthday party for my daughter in there, a 75th birthday for my mother, and some travel and other planning.

What lies ahead in the second half of 2013? Well, without indulging too much in repeating myself, I have some Locus editing to do, taxes to get submitted, the above-mentioned anthology and editing projects to finish and deliver, and a trip to London and Brighton for World Fantasy Convention to plan. I’m very excited about the latter. I’ll be doing some touristy stuff before WFC with Ellen Klages and Gary Wolfe, as well as trying to pack some UK-focussed podcasting into things, and then down to Brighton. Every year I take a tuxedo with me for my brilliant agent Howard Morhaim’s big annual shindig, but this year I’m hoping to just take a normal suit. See if I can get away with that.  I also have a few birthdays to help celebrate before Christmas, and then my own 50th in January (no idea what to do about/for that). I mega-ton of reading. I really want to finish the best of the year before Brighton as much as possible, and all sorts of other things. And all that on top of a day job.

It should, all in all, be a busy time. I’ll try to record more of it here, but we shall see how that goes. Tonight: Locus editing, business paperwork and day 2 of the 1st Ashes Test.

 

For future me

I sometimes look back at old blog entries to bring back details of little personal things. Not often, but sometimes. Today is the day, future me, when we went out to see Driving Miss Daisy at His Majesty’s Theatre with mum. Can’t tell you if we enjoyed it, because that’s tonight. Jessica turned thirteen this week. We had a family dinner at Villa Da Vinci, and she got more One Direction stuff than any sane human could ever need. Sophie and you sat at one end of the table, Stephen and Barbara at the other, and much pizza and pasta was consumed in what seemed a good night. Tomorrow there’ll be a small family party at the house, with Jessica M and Bella. Hopefully Jessica S will love it.

This week we also continued our way through Switched at Birth, you failed to do much new reading though you did start re-reading Consider Phlebas following the sad news of Iain Banks death. Last week we watched Gremlins for family movie night (a failure) and this week is Jessica’s choice and she seems to want Some Like it Hot. We’ll see how that goes down.

It was also part of your continuing (but hopefully when you read this, long over) period of minor ill-health. Your ears have settled down after a lengthy period of difficulty, as have your teeth (unconnected though that is). Just to make things happy, though, your right eye is acting up and is blurry. Saw the ophthalmologist who explained what was going in. It should be okay. You have, sadly, put most of the weight you lost back on. Still, you’ve identified the recipe for success so hopefully over the coming months that will turn back around. And a look back at old blog posts (11 years worth) shows you usually have the flu around now, but not this year. Yet.

And, finally, we’re a few weeks away from tax time. A favourite. Still, you’re in pretty good shape for it so if all goes to plan the rest of the year should be easier.  Oh, and Jessica just got up even though it’s 6am, so you tucked her back into bed (she still likes that at thirteen) and she asked if we could go on a family holiday. You should look into that.

Conflux is coming

Next week I will be attending Conflux 9, the Australian National Science Fiction Convention, which is being held at the Rydges Hotel in Canberra.  Along the way I seem to have agreed to appear on three panels, none of which I feel especially qualified for, but all of which I hope will be enormous fun.  If you’re coming, and I hope you are, check out the program and say hi!

The Natcon, for those of you unfamiliar with it,  is the annual gathering of the tribe here in Australia, so next week writers, artists, editors, publishers, fans, and readers of all stripes (those are never discrete groups, by the way), will head to Canberra to talk, eat, drink and live science fiction and fantasy for a long weekend.  It’s a chance to catch up, to do a little business and to reconnect with the field. I almost always find these events rejuvenating, and the Conflux’s I’ve attended have been terrific.

I do seem to have already booked all but one of my dinners (a failing of mine), so I think I know what I’m doing every night except for Sunday.  I’m also thinking about doing a whole bunch of short interviews for Coode Street, which if they work out should be fun. I need to work out the details of those, though.

Other than that, I just need to get ready. Before I know it, it’s going to be Wednesday morning and Alisa, Terri and I will be at the airport and ready to go. I can’t wait!

A picture of a rocket, being the logo for Hugo Awards
2013 Hugo Awards

As was reported here yesterday, LoneStarCon3, the 71st World Science Fiction Convention, announced the nominees for 2013 Hugo Awards.  Many friends and colleagues were nominated and delightfully I was nominated for Best Editor, Short Form and Gary and I were nominated for The Coode Street Podcast in the Best Fancast category.

To say this is an honor and a pleasure, even if it has happened before, doesn’t really begin to cover how I feel about being nominated for the Hugos. This year’s awards have a record number of nominating ballots, topping several recent record setting years, so community involvement is at an all time high. This means that being nominated takes more nominations and means even more, because it means more people appreciate my/our work. I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has nominated me and the podcast this year. It does mean a lot to be on the ballot amongst such fine company and to have the respect and support of our community.

There are many conversations to have about the changing awards, their lack of diversity, and how representative they are, but at this point I really just want to say thank you. It does mean a lot. Good luck to everyone in San Antonio this August. I wish I could be there. Lasso a steer for me!