.Big news first . . . "A Small Room in Koboldtown" has received the Locus Award. I could not be present, but my good friend Leslie Howle graciously accepted in my place. Although I was strongly tempted to have her read my Nobel Prize acceptance speech, I behaved myself, and so she ended up thanking Sheila Williams, everyone at Asimov's Science Fiction, and of course the good people of Locus itself.
There are a lot of positive things to be said about the other prize winners, but I will content myself with a small anecdote about Terry Pratchett, the winner for Best Fantasy Novel (Making Money):
A Small Anecdote
I won my first Hugo in absentia. The Worldcon was in Australia and my travel funds were tapped out, so I stayed at home. Friday night I went to bed wondering if this would be the year I was awakened by the infamous Drunken Phone Call. Saturday morning I woke up to the sure knowledge that I'd lost yet another rocket.
Sean's D&D buddies had been over the night before, so there were teenage male bodies sprawled all over the floor downstairs, among the empty pizza boxes and Pepsi bottles. So Marianne and I began tidying up. In the process and thinking nothing of it, I picked up the phone, which the lads had knocked over in a fit of joie de gaming, and put it back on the hook.
The phone rang. It was my pal, Jack Dann, calling from Australia, to give me the news.
The gamers were beginning to groggily rise from the floor. "Hey, guys!" I said. "I just won a Hugo."
And, being well brought up young men, they said, "Congratulations, Mr. Swanwick. That's very nice for you."
I listened to Jack some more, and then reported that it was Terry Pratchett who had presented it to me.
Their eyes got huge. "Wow!"
So there's where I stand, relative to the Bard of Discworld. It would be annoying if I didn't admire his stuff as greatly as I do.
Because I'm your friend and I care for you . . .
. . . I'm urging you to rush right out and see Mongol on the big screen. This is a joint Russian-Mongolian production, the first of a projected three movies on the life of Genghis Khan, and it is flat-out wonderful. The realities of contemporary American cinema being what they are, the movie will probably be gone in a week. So you've got to move fast.
The story is grim, epic, and immersive -- and told entirely from within the worldview of the Mongols. Odnyam Odsuren is a knockout as the young Temudjin. And Khulan Chuluun is not only beyond gorgeous as Borte (known to history as "Borte of the Grey Eyes") but her very hard life in a very sexist society is presented in a surprisingly respectful manner.
And, believe it or not, what we have here is a delicate and moving love story.
But, oh man, you have got to see what Mongolia looks like widescreen and Cinemacolor -- vast, bleak, beautiful, terrifying, heroic. If you wait until you can watch Mongol at home, you'll be missing the best part of the movie.
And . . .
In Saturday's poem du jour, Richard Wilbur gets politicaL