Hugos for sale?

Those wacky, fun guys at SciFiWire have worked out what it would cost to buy a Hugo nomination and/or win. Apparently the Best Editor, Short Form nomination last year would have cost $1,750 and the win $14,000.  The article and the calculations are light-hearted.   SciFiWire aren’t proposing a course of action, and they’re not planning on throwing money around (or suggesting that anyone else does). It did make me think though:  if someone walked up to me and offered me $1,750 for last year’s Hugo nomination, I wouldn’t sell it.  It was a special thing, being up for the Hugo.  Very special. And some things shouldn’t be for sale.

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year @ the Shade

In these uncertain times, it seems like it’s worth mentioning that The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year is in robust good health.  I’ve delivered the 2008 book to Night Shade, we’re almost done with copyedits, I’ve seen a draft cover and the book should be in-store some time in March.  We’ve also had discussions about the long-term future of the series. I’m hard at work on Volume 4 at the moment and fully expect to be continuing the series for many years to come.

Some good year’s best news…

Ellen Datlow has just announced that she will edit a year’s best horror anthology series for Night Shade Books. Night Shade have picked up the first two volumes in the series, to be published in 2009 and 2010 respectively.  I’m delighted by this and happy to welcome Ellen to the Night Shade clan.  Ellen’s a good friend and a brilliant editor, so it’s wonderful news that she’ll still be editing a year’s best horror series.

Hymns to the silence

I want to romanticise this, but I can’t quite.  I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland not long after Christmas in the winter of 1964.  It would have been cold, I guess: I don’t know (and I can’t quite bring myself to use some wikipedia resource to check). Between my birth and our leaving Belfast there were no doubt many family occasions, but in truth I don’t remember them.

Four years later my family boarded a ship in Southampton and sailed on the Fairstar for Perth in Western Australia.  I don’t remember that either, though some details filter through, coloured by family photographs and family stories – there’s a photo somewhere of us all standing on the dock at Southampton, Stephen and I holding arms full of games that I feel like I remember, but mustn’t because I can see myself in the picture.

We arrived at an unprepossessing cargo shed in Fremantle in July of 1968. It was, I remember being told, a day of drenching rains.  I don’t remember that either.  We were taken to a flat in Bentley, a Perth suburb, where we lived for some months before moving up to a semi-rural property my parents rented in Glen Forest.  My first memories really start there.  Hot summer days, making play dough with flour and salt, playing in the orchard down near the dam, running around the chicken sheds on the next-door neighbour’s property, watching bushfires surround the property, driving with my mother on an unsealed gravel road up a long hill to drop my brother at school, endless days spent swimming at the local pool, nearly falling out of the car when the door swung open on a turn going down the hill (and having my mother calmly reach back, swing the door closed, and continue on), fishing for tiny crayfish in a creek that ran past the beer garden at the local pub where my parents were quietly drinking, going into a small local grocer and buying chewing gum cigars.  All memories, or almost memories.

And somewhere in there, the image of grey laminated television set with rounded edges at the corners, a cream trim and rickety legs transmitting images of men landing on the moon.  We only lived in Glen Forest for a year or so, before my parents moved to our ancestral home in Mt Lawley.  Truthfully, the dates rather blur.  It was early 1969, I think. My sister was born in August of that year, and that was partly why we moved.  We were closer to schools and my father’s work, so Mt Lawley made sense.  I remember my aunt took my brother out to keep us busy while my parents did the moving.  I remember sleeping in bunk beds that first night, and then going to the small shop across the road to buy something or other.  When I came out and crossed the road there was a boy – he would have been five, I guess – sitting there eating an icy pole.  He had short blond hair and wore glasses.  He introduced himself as Marcus Duckydouble.  I didn’t know that was the name of the icy pole he was eating, and accepted it (though I did get a very strange look from his mother when I met her and greeted her as Mrs. Duckydouble).  We were best friends for the next eight years.  Life is like that.

To bring this ramble to a close – though, in truth I could ramble all day because it’s oddly soothing to draw the old memories out and look at them one more time – the thing I can’t quite romanticise is this.  I left the shores of Northern Ireland in the summer of 1968.  Forty one years later I find the music that I am enjoying the most is Van Morrison’s romanticised songs of Belfast that are gathered on many, many of his albums.  His voice soothes, and the images in the songs seem like ones I know.

Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror

Gavin Grant and Kelly Link have announced that there will be no volume of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror published in 2009.   This is sad news indeed.  I remember picking up the first volume, with its creamy Tom Canty cover, back when it was just The Year’s Best Fantasy, and have followed it every year as it became the award-winning icon of the field that it has become.

The note from Gavin and Kelly doesn’t say much about the fate of the series, but I hope it turns out well for everyone involved.  Gavin, Kelly, and Ellen are all friends, and I would only want success for them.