Neil Clarke

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

Month: March 2008 Page 1 of 2

Hairworld?!

FantasyBookSpot is running its annual best book tournament, pitting book against book in a deathmarch to first place. They are down to the final 8 and one of the match-ups is “Under My Roof” by Nick Mamatas vs “Shadowstorm” by Paul S. Kemp. Nick, not wanting to be beaten by a Forgotten Realms tie-in and Hasbro product, threw down a call for supporters. Paul defends his honor and rallies his troops. Nick threatens to eat a baby if he wins. And then…

Paul went and dragged my poor magazine into it in this post.

 Dick Clark’s Hairworld?!! 

Ok folks. I was voting for Nick anyway (“Under My Roof” is a very fun book), but now… Kemp must go down!! 🙂 

Register now and vote Mamatas. Show no mercy.

Edit: Here’s another example to put on the long list of how easily humor can be misread on the internet. It appears that some people took Nick’s comments about shared-worlds too seriously. Nick has asked that his book be withdrawn from the competition. 

The Million Writers Award

Last year, Clarkesworld Magazine had the honor of publishing the storySouth Million Writers Award winning story for 2006, Catherynne M. Valente’s “Urchins, While Swimming“.  This award recognizes the best online fiction published in a given year and they are now open to reader nominations for the best online story of 2007.

I think we published some amazing stories in 2007, but this is more about what you think. If you read a great online story that was published last year, then this is your opportunity to show your appreciation. The nominations close a week from today, so go to this page now and follow the directions. It’s quick and simple.

the end of the tree…

The tree that fell earlier this month is finally cut up and out of the way.

The fireplace will be well-stocked for the next few years:

There are two more rows of wood behind that.

Here’s another attempt at giving you an idea of just how big this tree was:

Those aren’t kids feet. They belong to my wife. At some point I’m going to have to sit out there and count the rings.

Crazies

I need to get something off my chest.  For the last week, my wife has been dealing with some particularly determined people. It all started when Lisa posted some samples of things she had been trying to do in polymer clay. She had been to a demo a few weeks earlier and tried out some of the techniques. They didn’t work out to her liking, but it encouraged her to work on something else, expanding on work she had done for some time prior. There are many who can attest to her prior work. Myself included.

A while later, some friends of the artist who performed the demo suggested that she remove those images out of respect for the artist’s right to control the distribution of his technique. Not feeling any real ties to the dissatisfying work she had posted about that project, she complied. She did not, however, remove the images of the work she did after abandoning his approach. The artist, it seems, has declared that he owns exclusive control over mathematically blending colors in the medium, particular when it comes to a variation on what is considered a standard practice in the field. Lisa has been using her mathematics background in her work for years and she, like many others, had tried variations on the old theme. Given that Lisa’s work was sufficiently different than his, she respectfully declined the demand and therefore invoked the wrath of the “Polymer Police.” To call them police gives them a level of credibility they can’t claim. These are just regular people taking up a self-righteous crusade and one of them has resorted to some ugly behavior in private emails. Relentless is a word that comes to mind.

Now the point of their whole argument is that they want her to remove one photo from her blog because they claim it undermines a 2 day course and will cost the artist paying students. Nevermind that the photo is not of one of his steps. Amusingly, they also keep calling the single image a tutorial. At this point, the only customers they can prove they have lost or will lose are the ones they’ve completely alienated by their behavior. I’ve been exchanging details with a few of my friends in the education world who are completely appalled by their stance.

Lisa decided to tackle the bigger issue (can of worms) and blogged how there was a problem within the polymer clay community in regards to teaching and ownership. I had hoped, as I think Lisa did, that her post would spark a discussion on good teaching so this sort of abuse would happen less often. Lisa is far from being the first victim. I guess the point as I see it is that good teaching involves encouraging your students to use and expand upon the knowledge you impart. A good teacher inspires. A good teacher does not set limits on their students. If you have secrets, you don’t teach them. If, as this one teacher claims, an entire two-day curriculum can be rendered useless by a single picture, are they really teaching anything? Many people have come forward to say that, even knowing the entire curriculum of a class, they have still paid for classes just to have the experience of being taught by certain artists. It seems to me that good teachers are part of the attraction for taking a course.

Lisa could have easily caved to the demands of these people, but doing so would be an admission that they are right. Not only have other people seen Lisa’s prior work, but a few people have also come out of the woodwork to say that the technique in question is not as original as the artist thinks. I am proud that she has stood her ground and I know she’s been receiving many emails from people praising her for it. In some ways, it is particularly depressing that several of these people mentioned that the wouldn’t post publicly on the issue for fear of further retribution from the Polymer Police.

The negative emails are the definite minority, but I’m fed up with these self-righteous people and had to say something. Thanks for bearing with me.

Day Trip to Lunacon

I hadn’t been planning on going to Lunacon, but it’s only an hour and fifteen minutes from home and we didn’t have plans for Saturday. Despite some confusion on the Cross County Parkway, I eventually arrived at the con around noon and registered for the day. I put out postcards for Clarkesworld, Realms, Shriek, and Memorare and then headed off to the dealer’s room where I spent more time talking than browsing. In the ten hours I was there, I only managed to get to three panels: 

The Secret Handshake: Part joke, part reality. A look into how authors land their deals. Amusing and informative.
The State of Short Fiction: Typical is short fiction dead or dieing topic but well-managed by having a well-balance set of panelists who represented a print magazine (Realms of Fantasy), online magazine (Abyss and Apex), and someone who had worked on anthologies in the past. I don’t usually see these this balanced.
The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts: What makes a good anthology, how they sell and once again, is the short story dieing. Unfortunately there wasn’t that big a crowd and only a few questions.

The rest of the time was spent at the bar or at some of the con parties. It’s always nice to run into Joshua Palmatier, Patricia Bray, Jennifer Dunne, and Sam Butler. A lot of my bar/party time was spent with them. I also had the pleasure of meeting Wendy Delmater (from Abyss and Apex) and chatted with her for a while about online magazines, life in general, and jokes.

Lunacon may not be my kind of con (I lean more towards the literary, not so much the gaming, filking, and costumes), but I had a great time and wish I could have spent more time there.

Bannermania

Inspired by the fine banners that Weird Tales recently made available, I spent some time this weekend playing around and came up with these:





You can find these banners (and the html code for using them on your website or blog) on this page. If you use one, please let me know. I’m going to try to keep track of the traffic coming in from our generous friends.

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