Join my newsletter and receive the first three chapters of Provenance!

On Slates

There’s a sort-of conversation happening on Twitter this morning, sparked I think by Elizabeth Bear’s post at Charlie Stross’s blog.

First off, I deplore slates. In the context of the Hugos, they are an asshole move. Just don’t slate.

Second off, I am saying unequivocally that I do not agree to be on anyone’s slate, do not approve of my inclusion in any slate, and anyone who slates a work of mine is thereby demonstrating their extra-strong motivation to be seen as an asshole.

Now, there’s some concern that assholes making up a slate for next year would deliberately include the work of people they hate, in order to force those people to withdraw any nominations they might get. This might be a genuine concern for some writers. It is not one of mine.

Look, let’s be real. I was largely an unknown writer when Ancillary Justice swept the awards last year. It made the Hugo ballot because quite a lot of voters thought it was worthy of the award, and for no other reason. This year, well, look at the nominations stats. At first there was a single, non-slated work in the novel category, before withdrawals started. It was Ancillary Sword. So even with a second book in a trilogy being less thrillingly new, I had enough readers want to nominate my book that the slate could not stop it.

If (this is a huge “if” and not something I am depending on in any way) IF I were so fortunate as to find that Mercy was nominated for the Hugo, I’m pretty damn sure it wouldn’t be because of any slate. I know for certain that I have a lot of readers who not only enjoy my work but think it’s award-worthy. I have no need to decline a nomination that I know pretty well came from my fans. Or, you know, what Bear said:

First of all, I’m going to state up front that I will never willingly participate in a slate. If I learn that I have been included on a slate, I will ask to be removed, and I will bring as much force to bear on that issue as I legally can.
Additionally, I’m going to rely on the discretion of readers and fans of goodwill, who I think are pretty smart people. If you see my name on a slate, please assume that it’s being done by ruiners to punish me, and that whoever put it there has ignored my requests to remove it. I have nothing but contempt for that kind of behavior, and I’m frankly not going to do anything to please them at all.
My colleagues, of course, are free to deal with the situation as they see fit, up to and including refusing nominations. As for me, well—while I reserve the right to turn down an award nomination at my discretion, I’m not about to be forced into it by the action of trolls and reavers. I expect my readers to be able to make up their own minds about my work, and decide for themselves if it’s worthy of an award or not, and vote accordingly in a fair and sportsfanlike fashion.

I’ll add that I, personally, would find it hilarious to see certain parties suddenly declare they love my books. I would laugh and laugh and laugh. After all the noise made about how the Ancillary books are nothing but message fic and somehow lacking in spaceships and adventure (seriously?) and my readers only pretend to like them because social justice points or whatever, blah blah the writing is crap, blah blah Affirmative Action blah pronouns blah messagefic blah blah–after all that, now they’re going to turn around and with a straight face declare that Mercy is actually deserving of the field’s highest honor and everybody nom it?

Hilarious. And I already get a good laugh out of the no adventure or spaceships thing, and the affirmative action thing–really, you’re just making yourself look ridiculous when you say stuff like that, you might as well put on a clown nose–so it would just be whipped cream on top of that comedy sundae.

Other folks will make other decisions, and that’s as it should be. But I strongly suspect any attempt at “punitive slating” will backfire spectacularly. I mean, it’s not like it wouldn’t be absolutely transparent what they’re doing.

And I think the conversation about “but it would be hypocritical not to withdraw because you’ve said you hate slates!” betrays a somewhat un-nuanced approach to such things. I find it a bit concern-trolly, in fact, though I don’t doubt some of the people saying it are entirely sincere, I’m just talking about my impression of it. But honestly, if you’re not a concern-troll, maybe spend some more time thinking about how things actually stand before you keep going on about how disastrous it would be if assholes slated my work next year.

Ancillary Mercy Audiobook News!

Or, really, more like audiobook AWESOMENESS.

So, today my Orbit UK editor Jenni Hill toured the RNIB Talking Books studios. Which is already cool, but guess who she met there?


Yes, Adjoa Andoh was there. And she was there because she was recording the audiobook of Ancillary Mercy.

Words fail me at how happy I am about that! Though I am a trifle envious I’m not near enough to the UK to have cadged myself a place on that tour. But that’s only a tiny thing next to seeing that Adjoa Andoh is reading my book!

Oh, the news part is, yes, there will be an audiobook of AM, and as far as I know it comes out the same day as the book-book, and it is, in fact, being read by Adjoa Andoh.


Newsletter Signup (plus get all of Ch1 of Ancillary Mercy RIGHT NOW)

So I now have an email newsletter. Basically, if you sign up you’ll get emails maybe three or four times a year with information like upcoming releases, opportunities for pre-order goodies, or appearance dates.

And if you subscribe to it now, you’ll get access to all of Chapter 1 of Ancillary Mercy. Like, today.

So if that sounds good to you, enter your email below, and if everything works the way it should, that’ll end up with Chapter 1 being sent to the email you give.

Ancillary Mercy Approaches!

So, it’s coming up on September, which means Ancillary Mercy hits shelves a little over a month from now.

And here are some things that are going to start happening soon:

  • Within the next couple of days, it will become possible to sign up for my newsletter. I say “my newsletter” but I’m going to be a hundred percent honest with you, it’s not going to be a regular, chatty kind of thing. We’re talking the occasional announcement. I haven’t had one till now because I figured folks got whatever news I had for them from my blog, and from Twitter. And whatever silliness I’m up to generally goes out on Tumblr. But! Here’s the thing–if you sign up for the newsletter, you will get access to Chapter 1 of Ancillary Mercy. That’s right! Not the little dribble of sentences I’m giving you, but the whole chapter.

  • Some time after that–I don’t know the date exactly but it will probably be around the first week of September–if you present proof of pre-order of AM, you’ll get access to Chapters 2 and 3 of Ancillary Mercy. I’ll post here the moment I know the webform for this has gone live.

  • And sometime after that–not sure of the exact dates–you’ll be able to show proof of pre-order or purchase of AM and be entered into a drawing for a signed print of John Harris‘ fabulous cover artwork.
  • How awesome is all of that? I’ll let you know as soon as I have word these things go live. As I understand it, the newsletter signup will be up sometime in the next few days, and I’ll blog the instant I know about it!


    Later this week I’m headed to Spokane for Sasquan! For various reasons I’ll only be there on Saturday and Sunday. Well, maybe if the plane doesn’t hit a truck full of bacon I’ll be there Friday evening.

    I will have badge ribbons to give out! Also (while supplies last) pins! If you have a desire for an Awn Elming pin or a Translator Dlique memorial pin, seeing me at a con is a good way to get one. (If you don’t have the chance to do that, I’ll almost certainly be listing them on Etsy again some time after October. Maybe in September, depending on my schedule.)

    I might also have other swag!

    My panel schedule is here. Note that I have a reading on Sunday. I will probably read the opening of Ancillary Mercy. I will maybe also have a couple printouts of the first three chapters of AM to be raffled off.

    I will also be at the Hugos. I considered writing a post about my opinions on the Hugos this year but in the end I decided it wasn’t worth it. Other people have already said a lot of the things I would like to say.

    I will say that the difference between “acts like an asshole for marketing purposes” and “actually is an asshole” is so very small that it might as well not exist. And I am looking forward to the implementation of E Pluribus Hugo.

    I will also say that I don’t expect to be taking home a rocket this year. There haven’t been very many back-to-back Novel winners, and I expect most voters will figure I got quite a lot of love last year (I did!) and maybe others could use some. I find this more than reasonable, and I heartily endorse other writers getting love. And rockets.

    Ancillary Mercy bit by bit

    So, last year I did the thing where starting a month before the release of Ancillary Sword, I blogged one sentence a day from the opening of the book. Of course, Orbit posted the entirety of Chapter One a week or so after I began, which kind of made my sentence-a-day pointless, but eh, it was fun.

    This year I am going to begin two months before. Because–I checked–Orbit is going to post Chapter One about a month before release day. So! That means, I’ll give you a sentence, or maybe even a paragraph, a day for thirty or so days, and then you’ll have the rest of Chapter One to amuse you until the book comes out. Sound good?

    Ancillary Mercy–incidentally currently available for pre-order at fine booksellers everywhere, and probably some not-so-fine ones–comes out October 6. Today–if I’ve performed the WordPress incantations properly–is August 5. Watch this space!

    Sasquan Schedule

    Yes, I’ll be in Spokane next month! Here’s my schedule:

    The Alien Among Us: The Fiction of C.J. Cherryh

    Saturday 11:00 – 11:45, Conference Theater 110 (CC)

    C.J. Cherryh has long been a master of creating alien societies (and often at showing how we can be the aliens). The panel explores her fiction and her influence on the field.

    Chip Hitchcock (M), Jack Campbell , Ann Leckie, Jo Walton


    The New Space Opera

    Saturday 15:00 – 15:45, 302AB (CC)

    We’ve come a long way since the days when “space opera” was a derogatory term. Many of SFs best writers over the last 20 years have written space opera. What’s made the difference?

    Rich Horton (M), Jeffrey A. Carver, Ann Leckie, Charles Stross , Doug Farren


    Hugo Awards Ceremony

    Saturday 20:00 – 22:30, INB Performing Arts Center (CC)

    The Hugo award ceremony will be livestreamed.


    Autographing – Anaea Lay, Ann Leckie, Bud Sparhawk

    Sunday 10:00 – 10:45, Exhibit Hall B (CC)

    Anaea Lay, Ann Leckie, Bud Sparhawk


    Reading – Ann Leckie

    Sunday 12:00 – 12:45, Bays 111C (CC)

    I don’t know what I will read for this! Maybe the opening of Ancillary Mercy? Maybe the beginning of a recent piece of short fiction? I dunno.

    I plan to carry some Awn Elming pins and, yes, some Translator Dlique pins! If you want one, ask me, I’ll be happy to give them to anyone who wants them until I run out. Oh, and I’ll have ribbons, too.

    See you there!

    And The Winner Is…

    Or, actually, “the winners are.”

    So! There were fifty-two entries. Or, technically, fifty-two entrants. Several of those included more than one proposed concluding line. A few of those were actually from different people in the same household or at least sharing the same email address.

    I hadn’t said anything about multiple entries, so I let that stand. I stripped the lines of their identifying information and handed them over to my panel of distinguished judges. Those judges were: Margo-Lea Hurwicz, Anna Schwind, and Rachel Swirsky.

    After much deliberation, they gave me their decisions. Competition was fierce! I personally laughed out loud several times while reading the entries.

    There were a few common themes in the entries. A couple of the winners are instances of these, in each case the one the judges thought the best example of its type. But all the entries were fabulous, and I want to thank everyone for entering. Reading the entries was great fun, and the judges had fun, and I hope you’ve all had fun. In fact, I hope I can do something like this again some time.

    So! To the results of the judging.

    First place goes to Genevieve B:

    There once was a duck who was God,
    Who said, “It’s exceedingly odd.
    I fly when I wish
    and I swim like a fish,
    But my quacking’s dogmatically flawed.

    Genevieve will be getting a 3oz packet of Benefit tea, an infuser, and Lieutenant Peepsarwat to keep her company while she drinks it.

    Second place goes to Lord Peter Wolohan. Who actually sent two proposed last lines. And as it happened, the judges told me they wanted to award four instead of three because they couldn’t bring themselves to cut the fourth one. And I said “Sure!” because, you know, why not? And then when I went to match the lines to the authors, I discovered that two of them were by Lord Peter. Who is only getting one bag of tea–he has chosen EtrepaBo. And his lines tie for second place. They are:

    But drinking tea with this bill is a sod.


    I’m a deity, demonstratum est quod.

    Third place goes to enemyofperfect, who made us all giggle with their entry:

    And my cock’s more a corkscrew than rod.

    Enemyofperfect is not a tea drinker! However, I do actually have a not-tea blend at Adagio, I just haven’t made it public until now. I was trying to come up with some kind of Orsian Not Tea thing. In the end I decided that if you want to have some Orsian Not Tea, you probably want some of that iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk in it. But this mate blend I made up is actually really nice. It’s mate with some chocolate (and I think some hazelnut, because it’s based on Adagio’s mocha mate blend) and peppercorns for a little spicy kick. So I’ll be sending enemyofperfect a 3oz packet of Not Orsian Tea.


    I had read through all the entries. And I was determined to leave the decisions entirely up to the judges. But there were two that I thought really ought to get some kind of special notice. And since it was my contest, I decided to declare two Honorable Mentions.

    The first goes to Clare for:

    Yet I cannot compete with the Raad.

    Quite a lot of entrants went to some (very much appreciated) effort to tie the last line in with the books and/or the universe. See, for instance, third place above. But this one in particular did so in very explicit fashion, even trying really hard to get “Radchaai” in there. I felt this deserved some extra appreciation.

    And Honorable Mention number two, comes from writer Kate Orman, best known for her Doctor Who novels. It was the most meta of all the entries, I felt, and one of the several that made my family look at me funny when I laughed at it:

    But my penis – (That’s quite enough. — Mod)

    I realized I wanted to send something to my two honorable mentions. I pondered sending a bag of dicks, and while that seemed clever, I wasn’t certain it was really the right choice. Then I discovered I could send them a bag of ducks.

    I ordered a bag just to be sure they were what they said they were. And I am here to tell you that they are, indeed, very tiny duck-shaped gummies, and also really really delicious. They’re made of fruit juice, fruit puree, and pectin and my goodness they’re very fruity flavored. So, Clare and Kate, I will be mailing you your bag of ducks in the next day or two. The tea and infusers (and squooshy lieutenant) will be going out just as soon as the tea actually gets here.

    Thanks again to everyone who entered–I had so much fun doing this, and reading all of your entries.

    Adagio Now Sells Sample Packages of Fandom Blends

    Like the title says. I was poking around Adagio Tea, and discovered that they now sell single sample tins of fandom blends. They’re a little pricey at $4 each–the site says they make about five cups, obviously this depends on how much you use, but that’s eighty cents a cup. Compare that to the per cup prices on their other, high end teas. Pretty steep. (Haha, steep.)

    But! For just four bucks you can try a little bit of a blend that sounds interesting, instead of ending up with a three ounce bag* of something you really don’t like. So, say, if you were wary of the lapsang in EtrepaBo, you could try just a little bit.

    This is an even cooler development than their selling boxes of ten sample tins at once. I did buy some, and gave them out to people, and then Adagio ran out of tins (they said they hadn’t expected the sample tin thing to be so popular) and I was sad, and now they’re back, and even better. You can buy ten samples of one blend, for $20. Or you can buy one tin for $4.

    And there are quite a lot of fandom blends beyond mine that you might want to check out!

    *Three ounces is a lot of tea. You know what’s even more? A freaking pound of tea. A couple years ago I ran across a tin of Republic of Tea Rosepetal Black. I don’t know what moved me to buy it, I didn’t think I’d like flowery tea, let alone with roses. I was probably just curious. But oh my goodness it was lovely. And then I went to the website and discovered I couldn’t buy more until spring–it was seasonal and when they ran out, it was gone till the next year. So when it came around again, I bought a pound of the stuff. It’s been two years and I think I may have gotten through half of it. Granted, I have so many other teas right now (they’re all research!) that I don’t drink it every day, or even necessarily every week. Still. One pound is a lot of tea.

    Ancillary Sword Ebook Price Cut!

    Want an ebook copy of Ancillary Sword? You can buy one now for just $4.99. In the US, anyway. I don’t know if there’s a similar price cut for the UK, although it looks like there might be.

    Also I think this price is available all through the rest of July.

    So! You can get your $4.99 ebook of Ancillary Sword from Kobo, or from Barnes and Noble, or from Amazon.

    For some reason, when I try to go directly to the Nook version on the Barnes and Noble site it’s giving me an error. Hoping they get that cleared up.

    So, if you’ve only read the sample in the Hugo packet and want the rest, or if you borrowed AS from the library (yay, libraries!) and want your own copy, now’s a good time to grab the ebook of Ancillary Sword.

    (Also, don’t forget that Ancillary Mercy is available for pre-order. Even, yes, at Amazon this year.)