Neil Clarke

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

Twitch

 
I tend to be a stay-at-home kind of person, but I’ve had to cancel traveling to a lot of conventions and events in the last year. One of the things I tend to enjoy the most about those events is the interactions I have with fellow attendees (fans and professionals).

Later this month, I’ll be hosting some online short fiction-related panels with some friends and colleagues, but Kate has been pushing me to try using Twitch for more “just me” stuff. I’ve created an account and plan on holding informal kaffeeklatsch-like events there. If that sentence doesn’t make sense to you, let me translate…

Twitch is a video streaming site. If you go to this page, you’ll find my profile there and can sign up to be notified when I’m “streaming” (on camera and available). I can’t see the audience members, but they can “talk” to me via the chat room. At conventions, a kaffeeklatsch (or a literary beer) is an informal event where you can go and have a group chat with one of the guests. The participants ask questions about the work you do and other related stuff.

I’m going to give this a try and see how it goes. The first session will be Thursday, April 9 at 1PM EDT. How long it runs will completely depend on the audience. Hope to “see” some of you there. (If this works out, I’ll schedule others at different times and different days. Not trying to favor any one particular time zone here.)

2020 Hugo Finalist for Best Editor (Short Form)

 
The 2020 Hugo Award finalists were announced yesterday and I am deeply honored to once again be a finalist for Best Editor Short Form. (This is the eighth time. No wins so far.)

Like many conventions, however, Worldcon (New Zealand) has had to make the difficult decision to cancel their physical convention and replace it with an online convention and award ceremony. This will be the first virtual Worldcon and Hugo Award Ceremony and I’m looking forward to taking part in all they offer. I encourage you to do so too.

Being a finalist this year has been a source of some amusement for me. My career in publishing started online with Clarkesworld and it has occupied a dominate portion of the work I’ve done over the last fourteen years. I find novelty in the fact that there’s a chance that my first win could happen during the first digital Hugo Award ceremony. Somewhat poetic even. Win or lose, however, it’s a wonderful thing to be a part of, particularly after the last six months.

I’d also like to congratulate to my fellow short form finalists: Ellen Datlow, C.C. Finlay, Jonathan Strahan, Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, and Sheila Williams. Quite a fine club to be a part of, don’t you think?

Slush Reader Application 2020

 
If you are interested in being a slush reader for Clarkesworld Magazine, I highly recommend that you fill out our application. When a vacancy opens, we consider/reconsider every application turned in during the last year before soliciting new applications on social media. Quite often these positions are filled from existing applications.

A few notes:

  1. This is an unpaid volunteer position.
  2. Slush readers & other staff are prohibited from submitting stories or articles to the magazine.
  3. You should have time to read an average of five stories a day. (You can stop reading a story when it’s clear that we shouldn’t publish it.)
  4. Priority is given to writers and those considering becoming an editor.

A version of this post is reblogged every year or so with minor changes.

Life in the time of Covid-19 as someone of high risk

 

Almost everyone is effected by the Covid-19 pandemic in some way. Here in NJ, we’ve been in lockdown for over two weeks. In that time, NJ has become the second-most infected state in the country. Both my wife and my youngest son (a high school student) have been working from home. My oldest son works at a bank, which has thankfully transitioned to drive-thru only service. We have seen our parents, siblings, nieces, or nephews since all this started. I have extended family here and abroad that have been exposed to C19 and I worry about them.

Given my medical history, I’m considered a high-risk. Should I contract the virus, the odds of it becoming life-threatening are significantly worse. I try not to think about this too much, but it’s always there. Knowing what friends in China and the Seattle area went through ahead of us, I started my emergency food shopping earlier than most and have only ventured out to resupply once. I can’t describe how stressful that trip was and how particularly irritated I am by facemask-wearing individuals who think the 6ft rules don’t apply to them. (While I was there, the announced that they were adopting elderly and high-risk only shopping times for high risk individuals. They should be restricting pickup and delivery services to those groups too, but aren’t.)

Given that my job is pretty much run out of my house, the daily routine is only changed by the presence of others–who largely keep to themselves during “work” hours–and stress. I try to minimize the number of times I look at the news and social media. It just makes me angry or depressed, often both. There have been cleaning sprees and I’ve decided to wage war on the ever-encroaching thorn bushes and honeysuckle that have been reclaiming many square feet of our backyard. You can call these coping mechanisms.

On some days work is… difficult. I had been keeping the response time for our slush pile to 24 hours or less, but around Wednesday, I just burned out and didn’t look again until this morning. I have acceptance letters to send, an editorial and introduction to write, some stories to edit, and a couple of ebooks to format. I don’t seem to have the energy for any of it at the moment. Maybe I need to go play a videogame, clean some more, or just listen to some music (though a number of people in the house would just hate that).

I’m used to not seeing a lot of people for extended periods of time, but I figure I’ll eventually feel like doing it again, particularly as more and more of the conventions I had planned to attend this year have canceled or rescheduled. To combat this encroaching isolation, I’m trying to set up a few online video panels for April. I expect them to be four-person panels, about an hour each, scattered around the month. They will be free, but since the hosting services have participant limits (unless you are wealthy), there will be limits on who can participate through the built in chatroom. Fortunately, it looks like we can stream it simultaneously to our YouTube channel, so any people beyond that limit will be able to watch there. The idea is to keep it casual and fun. We all need that right now.

So, yeah, a bit stressful, with this sword hanging over me. It’s not the first time I’ve had one over my head though and practice doesn’t make it easier. It does give some perspective though. We’re healthy right now. That’s the thing I have to focus on. Just have to do what is in our control to stay that way. I wish you all the best of luck in the weeks and months ahead. Stay safe.

ICFA – Trip canceled

 
Due to my cardiac issues, I am currently considered a high risk if exposed to Covid-19. The CDC has recently posted a recommendation that such individuals avoid travel and crowds. My doctors have expressed similar thoughts. As much as I was looking forward to attending ICFA in Orlando next week, I’ve decided to follow their advice and cancel my trip.

The number of cases in NJ is still quite low, but there has been one just a town away. Several friends are in places that have it far worse. I wish them (and you) all the best. Keep safe. Better caution than risk with something like this.

Clarkesworld 2/2020 Submission Data

 
Just looking over our February submissions data:

1112 Submissions read

  • 502 Science Fiction (45.14%) Avg word count:
  • 303 Fantasy (27.25%)
  • 84 SF/F (7.55%)
  • 62 SF/Horror (5.58%)
  • 113 Dark Fantasy (10.16%)
  • 39 Other (3.51%)
  • Average word count: 4711
  • Percentage of first time submissions to CW: 40.45%
  • 6 Accepted (0.54%*)
  • 1 Rewrite Request
  • 2 Currently in Second Round

* The acceptance rate does not indicate your odds of being published. Using that value would assume that all stories are equal, which is not true. You like some stories more than others. So do we. Don’t self reject a story because of math.

  • United States 62%
  • United Kingdom 9.8%
  • Canada 8%
  • Australia 2.7%
  • India 1.4%
  • Nigeria 1.3%
  • Rest of World 14.8% (62 countries, no one else over 1%)

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