No Power, No Win

Power at Clarkesworld HQ is still out. Last night, the cold drove us to make a hasty retreat to my parent’s house, which only regained power yesterday. The slushpile is backing up and I apologize for the delays, but they are inevitable at this point. Some of you might wait a whole week. 🙂

After several months of health-related distractions, it was a real pleasure to spend the weekend in Toronto while attending the World Fantasy Convention. I have to give a big thanks to Lisa for letting me go and to Kate Baker for driving us (Genevieve Valentine and I) up there. It wouldn’t have been possible any other way. The drive up and back was much longer than I ever like to be in a car, but time just flew. It’s rare for me to be anywhere with people that share common interests and musical tastes, so it worked out wonderfully. Along the way, we saw a tornado made of birds and Niagra Falls (Canadian side).

The Con itself was also great. My panel on ebooks was on Friday, so I was able to enjoy a mostly obligation free weekend the rest of the time. Sean offered some space for the Clarkesworld chapbooks on his table in the Dealer’s room, so I hung out there a lot and spoke with a lot of people. Among the Clarkesworld authors I ran into there were E. Lily Yu, Suzanne Church, Mari Ness, Cat Rambo, Holly Phillips, Lavie Tidhar, Tony Pi, Brenda Cooper, Aliette de Bodard, Mary Robinette Kowal, and (of course) Genevieve Valentine. The chapbooks attracted some nice attention and sold well. If I could have fit more in my bag, those probably would have sold too. Several people asked me about print subscriptions, but the cost of mailing creates some pricing concerns. One of the things we may do is offer a subscription plan that bundles issues together in quarterly bundles. I’ll start making copies and bundles available for sale on the website once we get power back at the house.

As you know, Kate, Cheryl, Sean and I were up for a World Fantasy Award this past weekend. We were hoping that the third time would be the charm, but it wasn’t to be. We lost to Tartarus Press (who claimed their third win). I have to admit to being somewhat disappointed, even though I never expected to win. (Heck, I never expect to be nominated. This is still a very surreal experience for me.) Thanks to the judges and voters for thinking us worthy of being nominated!

World Fantasy Convention 2009 – A Quick Summary

World Fantasy Con in two words:  ENERGIZING and EXHAUSTING

THURSDAY: The LAST DRINK BIRD HEAD party was Thursday night.  Kudos to everyone involved in running the party. It was a blast. The evening started slow, but it built up quickly and turned into a lot of fun. I sold a bunch of copies of LDBH at a table there and later helped Jeff and Ann VanderMeer (the book’s editors) hand out the first ever Last Drink Bird Head Awards. (Jeff details here.) I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Jeff and Ann had selected me for the Last Drink Bird Head Special Achievement Award, which will now be named after me. (Don’t we have a Clarke Award already?) Anyhow, I was pretty incoherent when the time came to accept. I was caught off-guard and was running on a total of 7 hours sleep in the previous 66 hours. I have no idea what I said, but I do recall several moments of being unable to say anything.
 
FRIDAY: Spent a lot of time hanging out in the Dealer’s Room trying to figure out why the Prime Books table was so well-hidden in the room configuration. Sean was kind enough to offer me some space to sell some of the Wyrm books, including Last Drink Bird Head. Over the course of the weekend, many LDBH contributors stopped by there to sign copies. I shipped a few boxes home, so once those arrive, I can start sending out the preorders. The evening was capped by dinner with Sean and my new distributor (details forthcoming) and a bunch of parties.

SATURDAY: A highlight of this day was going to Kij Johnson’s reading of "Spar" from last month’s issue of Clarkesworld. All I can say is WOW. Afterwards, I had the pleasure of speaking to her for a few minutes. By the way, the signed sheets that she read from are now safely tucked into a special section of my collection.

The attending Clarkesworld fiction staff (Nayad, Sean, Sean, and friends/family) got together for dinner that night. The restaurant nickeled-and-dimed for everything you’d expect to be included in a meal at a Chinese restaurant, but the company was excellent and I remember laughing a lot. Sleep deprivation removes most of the details, but I think I remember something about Muppet Baby Zombies and other invented slush horrors. Later, more parties, more new friends, and lots of talking.

SUNDAY: The big day. The World Fantasy Awards. We were up for the Special Award: Non-Professional and Catherynne M. Valente’s Clarkesworld story, “A Buyer’s Guide to Maps of Antartica” was in the running for best short story. Neither of us won, but I can’t complain about who either of us lost to. At some level, I suspected we’d lose to Michael Walsh. Book publishers have won the lion’s share of the awards in the category over the last ten years and Mike was overdue for some recognition. During the judge’s panel afterward, they indicated that our category had been one of the easy ones to decide, being settled after their first round of email. They also said that they had thought “outside the box” in making their selections, specifically mentioning The Mythopoeic Society and Elise Matthesen (an artist who inspired writers through jewelry-making) . Since only three of the five nominees are picked by the judges, I’m going to assume that Electric Velocipede and Clarkesworld were voted in. In which case, THANK YOU! to all the voters.  I’ve asked and no, they don’t release the details of the voting that selects those two nominees. It’s a shame, because I’d really like to know how things shook out in the various categories. I should have asked why.

Anyhow, congratulations to the winners! In the end, it was nice to see so many friends and Clarkesworld contributors among the winners. I think the one I was happiest about was PAPER CITIES (edited by Ekaterina Sedia) winning for Best Anthology. (In the after panel, the judges indicated that picking the winner in this category was easy.) If you haven’t read this one… go buy it now.

I opted to take a red-eye home Sunday night, so my time after the awards was limited to packing boxes and some quick good-byes. Soon, the super shuttle came to take me to San Francisco airport (cheaper to fly from and had direct flights to Newark) and off I went. I arrived home early Monday morning was tackled by my boys shortly after I came through the door. It’s good to be home.

Clarkesworld World Fantasy Award Nominations

I am stunned. I’ve been so busy trying to get ready to go to Worldcon and attend the Hugos, that I completely forgot that the World Fantasy Award Nominations were coming…  and they landed today.

Clarkesworld is represented in the following two categories:

Best Short Story
"A Buyer’s Guide to Maps of Antarctica" by Catherynne M. Valente (May 2008)

Special Award Non-Professional
Sean Wallace, Neil Clarke, & Nick Mamatas (for Clarkesworld)

A huge thank you to all of you who have supported us and made this possible. Completely unexpected and hugely appreciated. The full list of nominees can be found here.  Congratulations to all our fellow nominees!