Episode 579: Remembering Patricia A. McKillip


Earlier this week, we were all stunned by the news of the tragic death of World Fantasy Life Achievement Award winner Patricia McKillip, whose luminous works have influenced and moved generations of readers and writers for nearly half a century.

Jonathan and Gary are joined by McKillip’s longtime friend, Ellen Kushner, herself a winner of World Fantasy, Locus, and Mythopoeic Awards, and by Campbell Award winner E. Lily Yu, We talk some about Pat’s personal modesty and sharp wit, but mostly about her astonishing body of work, not only in fantasy but (as Lily points out) in her less familiar forays into SF. Like all tributes, it’s probably inadequate to the work, but it’s deeply felt by all of us.

The Book of Witches – Update

Thank you again to everyone who submitted work to the open reading period for The Book of Witches. My apologies for taking so long to respond to everyone. I have now written to all of the writers whose stories sadly did not make the book. There were so many of them, and they were all great, but now have a final shortlist.

I will be spending the weekend cutting the final shortlist down to the final group of three or so stories, and those writers will hear from me by Monday. I can tell you that the stories on the shortlist are terrific and I’m confident The Book of Witches is going to be fantastic.

Five anthologies to look out for…

Someone in Time: Tales of Time-Crossed Romance
Someone in Time:(Solaris, May 2022)

There are all sorts of interesting anthologies coming out this year. I’ve edited two – Someone in Time: Tales of Time-Crossed Romance and Tomorrow’s Parties – but there are a lot of great choices. I am putting lists together for myself, just to keep track. Zoraida Córdova’s anthology of Latin American YA SF is already in stores, as are Sheree Renée Thomas’s first anthology of the year. I’ll be chasing copies of the others.  Are there other anthologies you’re looking forward to?

Cat people

In October 2018 we went looking for a new cat. Sophie found the slightly wild and temperamental Gigi somewhere south of the river, and I think mostly thought she was pretty, and said she should come home with us.

Jessica, who is phobic about animals, said she was up for it. Sophie’s birthday was approaching, and her present to Sophie was to agree to us having a cat. I was, to be honest, pretty neutral. I’d last had a cat more than a decade earlier and didn’t feel like I needed to repeat the experience. But Gigi was renamed Gwen (actually something longer, but I’ll just mistype it), and joined the family.

It’s been a very mixed experience. Gwen was a bit wild, but settled into a fairly sweet but temperamental cat who mostly wanted to be left alone, which didn’t really suit Sophie, who wanted a cuddly best pal, or Jessica, whose resolve failed utterly and to do this day just wishes she’d leave. It’s not been easy but she’s cute. Marianne, who had no interest in cats, has become Gwen’s bestie, which is kind of funny.

This photo shows her not long after her arrival, just curious.

Today is an odd day. I was due to be in the office but am working from home. We have Jon-Paul coming to repair the hallway floor, the first of many, many repairs and upgrades to the house, which has fallen into sufficient disrepair that one tradesperson asked if it was a rental (rude!). Hopefully, that will go well. I did get a walk in, but everything else feels stalled. Other than that, things are just ambiently stressful, though it’s a lovely day.

More on Wednesday

Didn’t get the additional exercise on Tuesday so some ground to make up on Wednesday. I did watch a handful of episodes of Made for Love and am hooked.  The copy of Le Guin’s  The Found and the Lost arrived too. Sadly,  Amazon’s poor packaging meant the dustjacket was slightly torn, so that’s not so good. It’s both an impressive and a useless book, in my opinion. Too big and bulky to be useful as a book, but filled with wonderful work, which is frustrating.

I did get my tax return for 2020/21 submitted which means, assuming the ATO doesn’t dispatch their stealth ninjas for me, that a refund is on its way. I have to get the quarterly return done, then on to the next annual one. I also have an enormous backlog of editing and such to do. I think I fell into a real funk, editing-wise, when Saga dropped the year’s best series, so I need to find my feet there a bit.

We also had the company we’d chosen to build our new patio decided not to proceed this morning, so that needs more attention. It does feel a bit one step forward, six steps back right now, but I’m sure it will improve.

…unavoidable stuff from jonathan strahan…