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James A. Harre, Sept 24, 1924–Feb 16, 2014

James A. Harre, my father in law, passed away early this Sunday morning. He had prostate cancer (those of you with prostates, please do not wait until you’re having severe problems to get checked) and was in hospice care, at home with his family.

He was a great guy, cheerful and friendly. He loved to fish, and days before he died he told us he was looking forward to the opening of trout season. We all of us knew he wouldn’t be doing any more fishing, but that’s the kind of cheerful guy he was.

He was also a voracious reader, particularly of science fiction. When he first came home from the hospital, he asked me if I could get my hands on a copy of the sequel to Rachel Bach’s Fortune’s Pawn, which he had read and enjoyed very much. I have to thank Rachel, and Ellen Wright at Orbit, for helping me get a copy of that, and the third in the trilogy, to give him before he died. He was very, very pleased to have them. The idea that he might actually be able to read them was, let us say, optimistic. But that wasn’t the point.

His obituary is here, and is as inadequate as all such things are.

Tentacles and Tiptrees

There will be a couple of posts in quick succession today, since a lot has happened in the past couple weeks but it doesn’t seem like it should all be lumped together.

So. Awards! In chronological order!

Ancillary Justice was awarded the Kitschies Golden Tentacle for best debut. This is very much an honor. Just its being on the shortlist was amazing. Here’s that list:

  • A Calculated Life by Anne Charnock
  • Stray by Monica Hesse
  • Nexus byRamez Naam
  • Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  • Those are some fabulous books! And someone (more than one someone!) thought Ancillary Justice belonged on that list. Chuffed doesn’t even begin to describe it.

    My awesome UK editor Jenni Hill attended the ceremony, and accepted my (completely adorable) tentacle trophy on my behalf.

    And then! Because that was somehow not sufficient awesome! The Tiptree winner and honor list have been announced. The winner is Rupetta by N.A. Sulway. Which I have not read, but I am looking forward to reading it. I generally try to pick up a copy of the Tiptree winner(s) when I’m at Wiscon, if I don’t already have one. Which I usually don’t–I look forward to the Tiptree announcement partly because it’s so often awarded to a book that I have never heard of and am glad to be introduced to.

    So that is, of course, its own kind of awesome, but cast your eyes over the honor list. Yes, Ancillary Justice is on it. Nicola Griffith’s Hild is too, and Electric Lady (my book is on a list with Janelle Monae!!!) and “Heaven Under Earth” by Aliette de Bodard and more things, some of which I am unfamiliar with but that won’t be true for long if I can help it.

    So, happy award dance!!!!

    Miscellaneous Information, in Chronological Order

    Surfacing to note a few things.

    Thing the first: I am super thrilled to find that Ancillary Justice is a finalist for the Kitchies Golden Tentacle Award. That list is amazing, and I’m thrilled that the judges seem to think that Ancillary Justice belongs there. It’s an honor to have my book named alongside the others on that list. Check them out, if you haven’t already! I’ve been hearing great things about Nexus, by Ramez Naam and it’s been on my list of things I’d like to read all year. I’ve also been hearing good things about Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, and I’m going to have to move both up in the queue, and check out the other Golden Tentacle finalists.

    Thing the second: Remember I was all about how you should read Sofia Samatar’s A Stranger in Olondria and maybe nominate her for the Campbell (NOT A HUGO AWARD)? Well, the folks who give out the Crawford award apparently like the book too. See? You should totally check it out if you haven’t already.

    Thing the third: Alex Dally MacFarlane is going to be writing a column for tor.com on the topic of post-binary gender in SF. I am definitely looking forward to reading these. There’s some headdesk-worthy foolishness in the comments–my personal favorite so far, the comment declaring that the whole “post-binary” thing has been done to death already in SF, for example, all those stories in which a person of one binary option disguises themselves (or behaves in a way stereotypically characteristic of) the other binary option (I’ll take “Unclear on the Concept” for $500)–but also quite a lot of “This should be really interesting, looking forward to it!”

    Thing the fourth: The BSFA shortlist is out! Unconquered Sun, look at that list! What fabulous company! It’s a tremendous honor. I am particularly pleased to see Liz Bourke on that list, for her Sleeps with Monsters column at Tor.com, but the whole list is great. Congratulations to everyone!

    I’m not gonna lie, when I was a little baby writer this was exactly the kind of thing I fantasized about, seeing “[Book], by Ann Leckie” on an awards list. I think this is normal. I strongly suspect the vast majority of SF/F writers have that fantasy from time to time.

    But most of us, if we want to keep our balance, recognize that for a fantasy. Not something we can pin any hopes on, or actually aim for in any kind of realistic way. And in the end, there are only a limited number of spots on awards lists, far fewer than the number of worthy books or stories. There are always books and stories that for one reason or another get overlooked–not enough buzz at the right time, not quite the sort of thing various juries or voting groups tend to go for, whatever. The list of works nominated for awards is not at all the entire list of works worthy of notice and praise. In the end, in the big scheme of things, awards aren’t something to measure your career by.

    Or, you know, that’s what you tell yourself. I’m not gonna lie, though, seeing my book nominated for awards is freaking awesome.

    I have felt like I was hallucinating since I first knew I’d sold the book. That sensation has only increased in recent weeks. I’m not sure any of this is real. But it’s amazing and wonderful, so please don’t wake me up.

    Informational Things

    Still on break, but I’ve been slowly accumulating Things that Should Be Blogged. So, to begin:

    1) C.S.E. Cooney’s fabulous “Martyr’s Gem” (which I know is fabulous because I published it at GigaNotoSaurus) will be appearing in Rich Horton’s Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2014. When this story turned up in the slush I thought “Oh, no, she’s sent me fantasy and I’ve got way too much fantasy, I won’t be able to buy it.” By the time I was finished reading I was like, “Yeah, I’m gonna buy it anyway.”

    2)I am only slowly making my way through We See a Different Frontier, and definitely enjoying it. But, you guys! Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s “Them Ships”!

    If you’re a SFWA member, “Them Ships” is available for you to read. If you’re a member, you probably already know where to look for it. If you’re not (or even if you are), well, check out We See a Different Frontier, it’s got lots of good stuff in it!

    3)I was podcasted! More specifically, I was a guest on the Functional Nerds podcast. It was fun, and you can listen to it if you like.

    4)The io9 Book Club read Ancillary Justice, and met last week to discuss the book. Then I did a Q&A session, which was quite a good time.

    Still otherwise on Social Media break. Stay well!

    Oh, by the way, I’m not eligible for the Campbell

    Breaking my break again, since a few people have asked, and I know people are thinking about their ballots. But, as the subject line says.

    My first short fiction sale started the clock ticking, back in 2006–my first sale was “Hesperia and Glory” to the John Scalzi-edited issue of Subterranean, and it appeared thereafter in Rich Horton’s years best antho. A great way to start off, right? I think so!

    But not only does short fiction have a smaller audience than novels, I was also never terribly visible on the short fiction scene. This is not a complaint, it is a statement of fact. And partly because of that, a lot of people who are reading Ancillary Justice aren’t aware of my short fiction publications and some of those people have, very flatteringly, wondered if I might be eligible for the Campbell.

    I’m honored and flattered that people would consider nominating me. But I’m not actually all that new a writer, and am not eligible.

    (Here is where I whisper “Benjanun Sriduankaew” again. And “Sofia Samatar.”)

    And since I’m on this thing anyway. As soon as I decided to take my twitter and blogging break, I immediately thought of (or ran across) half a dozen things I wished I’d linked to first. And since I’m breaking my break for just a bit today, I’ll link to them now.

    First of all, when I was listing things that came out this year that I really thought were fabulous, I forgot to mention Keffy Kehrli’s “This is a Ghost Story.”

    I heard him read this story last time I was at Wiscon, and I’ve been waiting for it to be published since then. I knew it would be, because it was so freaking good.

    Second. I’ve said before that every aspiring writer ought to read Hal Duncan’s posts on writing. There’s a new one and, guess what, it’s more required reading. This time it’s “How Not to Cut Adjectives.” Read. It. Do not speak to me again of never using adjectives. Better yet, don’t pass on that sort of bad advice.

    Third. The same goes for the thing about the evils of passive voice. Read this paper by Geoffrey Pullum (link is a pdf). Ponder it. Take it to heart.

    Fourth. The thing about self promotion. I find I’m with Amal on this. Yeah, the people with the biggest megaphone are going to be louder and get more out of it–forbid it, and the people with the biggest megaphones are going to be the only ones who get any promotion to speak of. It’s all very well to wish that attention just naturally fell on the most worthy work. The fact is, it does not, and rules about who may or may not speak properly, when, and about what, are by and large designed to benefit the people who are already in powerful positions. The fiction that worthy works will (or ought to) just naturally attract attention, and that pointing out the existence of your own work in the hope others will pay attention to it is some sort of perversion or corruption of this noble, beautiful process conceals the fact that actually, particular people, and particular works, tend to get more attention no matter what.

    Sometimes courtesy and propriety is just consideration for others. Sometimes it’s a weapon used to keep particular sorts of people in their place.

    PKD

    So, barely a day after I declare a break from blogging and Twitter, I hear that Ancillary Justice is a finalist for the Philip K Dick award.

    My daughter isn’t a hundred percent certain who to root for, though, since she hasn’t actually read my book, but she did like Self Reference Engine quite a bit.

    The “it’s an honor to be nominated” thing is a cliche, but honestly, it is an honor. Look at that list! And there’s Ancillary Justice, right there with the others!

    High five to all the finalists!

    So, I’m a pretty serious introvert. Generally, online is fabulous because I get to interact with people–because I do like being with people!–without being drained by it. Concentrated real-world interactions are wonderful, but exhausting. When I come home from a con, for instance, I generally want to crawl under my bed and just stay there and not talk to anyone for a couple of days. And I’ll have had a wonderful time and really enjoyed being with everyone. It’s just tiring. Unlike online.

    Or so I thought. I’ve been a lot more engaged online lately than I used to, and I think my assumption that I could socialize that way without setting off my introvert reaction was a faulty one. I’ve been letting emails pile up in my box, and I’ve been a bit…frayed, I guess. Some of it is likely that I just spent two weeks with everyone home all the time and none of my usual house-to-myself time. And some of it is probably just the year I’ve had, which has been an amazing and wonderful year, but perhaps, rather like a convention that I’ve enjoyed tremendously, I need to recover from, just a bit.

    So I think I’m going to try to take the next couple weeks off from social media. If I owe you an email, I will do my best to get back to you soon. But I’m going to try staying away from Twitter and blogs for a while.

    Before I go. Everyone is all about the “what I’ve published this year that’s eligible for awards” thing, which actually I think is good because as I said last post, I’m lucky to remember what I read this week, let alone when anything was published or what category it ought to go into. So I’m glad to be reminded. I don’t see any point in doing that for myself, because I really only had one thing published this year and anyone reading this already knows about it.

    So instead I’m going to mention a few things that I do remember reading, mostly because it was very, very recent or else consistent over the last year or so.

    I would like to bring your attention to Sofia Samatar’s novel A Stranger in Olondria, which I just read last week and which is fabulous.

    I rarely say what I’m nominating, for any of the awards I’m eligible to nominate and vote for. But I’m going to say up front that this year I intend to nominate Zen Cho and Benjanun Sriduangkaew for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer (NOT A HUGO AWARD). I was extremely pleased to see Zen on the ballot last year. I cannot claim impartiality–both of them have been published at GigaNotoSaurus.

    But then, I published those stories because I loved them, and I think both writers do wonderful work. So check them out, if you haven’t already. In particular, check out Benjanun’s “Silent Bridge, Pale Cascade” which ran at Clarkesworld recently.

    I saw mention somewhere that perhaps Sofia Samatar was also eligible for the Campbell, and you know, like I said, A Stranger in Olondria was pretty freaking fabulous.

    Strange Horizons also had a nice roundup of things their contributors liked this year. Not all of which came out last year, but hey.
    ______
    EDITED TO ADD: I should have checked the list–it looks like last year was Zen’s second year of eligibility, and so there’s no point my nominating her this year. Well, read her stuff anyway.

    2013

    So, all the cool kids are posting wrap-ups and summaries and what they’ll be doing next year and all that kind of thing.

    My 2013 in writing was pretty much writing Ancillary Sword and the rest of it was Ancillary Justice coming out. Which was pretty freaking amazing.*

    The upcoming year will be much the same, though it’s Ancillary Mercy I’m writing this time. I plan to be at Wiscon. Other travel will depend very much on factors that aren’t resolvable just now.

    Have a wonderful, amazing 2014 everybody!

    ___
    *I’m sure other things happened, but I don’t often keep track of things–I’m filled with admiration for the folks who know what they’ve read or seen or done in the past twelve months. I’m lucky to remember what I read last week.

    My Fanfic Policy

    It may seem premature. Presumptuous, perhaps. But I have reason to consider now an appropriate time to post my official feelings about fanfic of my writing.

    I’ve given this a lot of consideration. I know it’s a topic that can sometimes be a bit contentious, and so I spent some time writing and editing my statement very carefully so that it fully conveyed my thoughts on the matter. Here it is. Please read it over carefully:

    Ann’s Fanfic Policy:

    You kids have fun!

    No, seriously. I won’t read it, not because I’m afraid anyone will accuse me of stealing, but because I think it’s healthier for me if I don’t, for various reasons. And I won’t appreciate people trying to sell their fanfic, but I’m under the impression that’s already part of the fanfic community’s normative values, so honestly it’s not something I’m worried about.

    I’m not a fanficcer (though I have committed a few small pieces, mostly pastiche or small amusements for friends, and one of which–the Wilson/Valasi slash–maybe three people have seen, and will certainly not be seen by many more), but I completely understand the impulse, and it looks like good fun, and how amazing to have people engage so intensely with your work? I mean, seriously.

    So. Like I said. Have fun!