Neil Clarke

The Award-Winning Editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, The Best Science Fiction of the Year, and More

Month: December 2006 Page 1 of 3

A few of my favorites for 2006

Some traditional and not-so-traditional categories (all based on content, not construction or presentation) for books/stories published and read in 2006:

Best Novel
Blindsight by Peter Watts

Best First Novel
Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell

Best Collection
The Empire of Ice Cream by Jeffrey Ford

Best Chapbook
The Bible Repairman by Tim Powers

Best Story (this was a tough one)
The American Dead by Jay Lake

Best Book Published Only in the Small Press
Alabaster by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Best Related
Plumage from Pegasus by Paul Di Filippo

“Where Are You?” Award
The Third Alternative/Black Static

All in all, I had a lot of good books and stories to chose from this year.  Despite reading more Fantasy than Science Fiction, I found the majority of my favorites to be Science Fiction.  For example,  John Scalzi and Charles Stross would take the remaining top three places for best novel if I extended these lists.  Tim Powers would likely be the highest fantasy author on the list and Jeff Vandermeer a little further down.  I think I’m just becoming jaded with the current state of fantasy, with a heavy reliance on sequels and stories that don’t end.  Perhaps this is another reason I’m finding myself more drawn to short fiction over the last few years.

So, that’s my meaningless list.  How about you?

Clarkesworld Bestsellers for the Week Ending December 24, 2006

Books
1Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti (Hardcover)
2A Soul in a Bottle by Tim Powers (Signed Hardcover)
3Carnival by Elizabeth Bear (Paperback)
4Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge (Signed Numbered Hardcover)
5Academ’s Fury by Jim Butcher (Paperback)

Magazines
1
Fantasy & Science Fiction
2
Realms of Fantasy
3
Fantasy Magazine
4
Weird Tales
5
Asimov’s

This week represents a work week one-day shorter than normal.  By mid-week, people stopped the rush to get books for the holidays, so we had a tilt towards the preorders that came in.  Teatro Grottesco had heavy preorders and easily kept Tim Powers from taking what seems like a regular top-spot anytime something new comes out.  Carnival had a lot of Christmas gift orders to keep it sailing smoothly in the top 5.

Nothing too unusual with the magazine sales.  A few big back-issue orders brought Weird Tales back up into the mix and Realms seemed to have a stronger than normal week.  Several magazines sent us new issues that week and I’m still getting those listed now that the store is open again.

 

Holiday madness and a cool new toy

It’s been a rough couple of weeks.  After packing up the last big pile of boxes before closing the store for the holidays, I had to clean up a two three rooms that had become book depositories.  I cut up the boxes for recycling, threw out four bags of assorted catalogs, junk mail, and papers, and vacuumed.  We assembled the Christmas tree, decorated it, wrapped gifts, configured computers and crashed late Christmas Eve. 

This morning the kids were up at 7.  Wrapping paper flew into the sky and everyone ended up getting something fun.  The boys have nice big screens for their computers, more games, and music.  Lisa ended up with an MP3 player, some CDs, and a microphone (which we’ll need more parts for) for her radio show. 

The cool device to the left is my present, a Squeezebox by Slim Devices.  Lisa really did her homework on this one.  I can’t even begin to adequately describe this thing.  Among the many features, it gives me access to all my MP3s (stored on a networked hard drive) via a remote control and plays it all, very nicely, through my stereo.  It will also work with internet radio stations and a variety of other online sources via that same remote. 

Tomorrow, while the music plays, we’ll be getting ready for the next family party (at our house tomorrow night) and hoping that my traditional holiday flu doesn’t strike again.

Not Dead Yet

Ever since the sale was announced, I’ve been swamped.  Can’t complain too much.  I’m quite thankful that so many people want to help get some books out of here and keep my wife sane.  My sanity, however, is slipping.  (an example would be the one break I had becoming the Little Drummer Boy radio show)  Since Clarkesworld Books is a one-man show, I have been processing and packing orders in almost all of my free time for a week now.  Not the brightest thing to do this before the holidays either.  I stress out over picking gifts.  If only more of my family read!  To put the icing on the cake, a transformer blew and damaged two of my servers at work.  Three long days of work with people going “what’s wrong” and having to explain why DHCP is actually important to their daily lives.  I’m the only technology professional here.  (insert long agonized scream)

So, no, I’m not dead yet.  I just feel that way.  I know I owe a few people emails and will get to them soon.  The day job lets out for the holidays tomorrow, so maybe life will get a little easier.  🙂

In other news:

We have a change in lineup for the January issue of Clarkesworld Magazine.  Caitlin R. Kiernan was scheduled to have story in this issue, but she needs more time, so we’ve moved Elizabeth Bear’s “Orm the Beautiful” over from the February issue. 

We need help

My wife has a Live365 radio station and tonight we decided to do a live broadcast instead of her regular automated playlists.  We did an hour and a half of nothing but Little Drummer Boy covers interspersed with Little Drummer Boy trivia and theories.   We ended the transmission with one of the worst versions ever… the one by Johnny Cash where he skips ra pa pum pums.  You can hear see it performed on YouTube if you skip through Silent Night. 

We have reports of our listener’s ear spontaneously bleeding.

Another Review for Clarkesworld

This time it’s for issue #3.  Here are some highlights:

“Readers who love classic fairy tales will savor this tale like a fine wine.”

   — Suzanne Church (Tangent Online) writing about “Urchin’s While Swimming” by Catherynne M. Valente

“Davidson’s style is honest and comedic with a solid flare for characterization. . .  At the feast of modern speculative fiction stories, “The Other Amazon” is a refreshingly crisp salad with a bit too much dressing left at the bottom of the bowl.”

   — Suzanne Church (Tangent Online) writing about “The Other Amazon” by Jenny Davidson

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