The Hugo shortlist has just been announced, and so now I can at last crow about being on the Best Related Work ballot for Hope-in-the-Mist: The Extraordinary Career and Mysterious Life of Hope Mirrlees. "Best Related Work" used to be "Best Nonfiction" until it was won by the extraordinarily funny Science Made Stupid, whose author (Tom Weller) observed in his acceptance speech that he was flattered until he got to the "nonfiction" part, at which point he had to wonder about the people giving it to him. Weller's next book, Culture Made Stupid, mentioned on the back that the prior book had won "a Hugo -- you know, one of those Yugoslavian cars?" At which point the SF world blushed deep crimson and changed the category title. The world is a better place for Mr. Weller being in it.
So why am I so happy? Take a look at my competition.
Best Related Book
- Canary Fever: Reviews, John Clute (Beccon)
- Hope-In-The-Mist: The Extraordinary Career and Mysterious Life of Hope Mirrlees, Michael Swanwick (Temporary Culture)
- The Inter-Galactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children's and Teens' Science Fiction, Farah Mendlesohn (McFarland)
- On Joanna Russ, Farah Mendlesohn (ed.) (Wesleyan)
- The Secret Feminist Cabal: A Cultural History of SF Feminisms, Helen Merrick (Aqueduct)
- This is Me, Jack Vance! (Or, More Properly, This is "I"), Jack Vance (Subterranean)
That's one tough category. I've read the Clute, the Mendlesohn on Russ, and the Merrick, and of course Jack Vance is Jack Vance. The Mendlesohn study of Kids Books I failed to get at last year's Worldcon because the only huckster selling them sold out in about ten minutes flat. Which reminds me that it's time to call Big Blue Marble and place an order. Shoulda done it long ago.
So who would I vote for if I weren't on the ballot? I honestly don't know. As I said, that's one tough category. Luckily for me, however, I have a dog in this fight. So all moral quandaries are solved. I'll simply vote for myself.
The rest of you guys have got it tough, though. I don't envy you at all.
You can see the entire Hugo ballot here.
And just a reminder . . .
The search for a title for my Darger & Surplus novel continues. My Blue Ribbon Panel of Only Slightly Nepotistic Judges met this weekend and did a first pass-through of your title ideas to date, and eliminated about a third of them as not having a chance in Hell. (This included the strangely brilliant Gorky Bark, alas. Just because it's good doesn't mean that it's right.)
I'll have the novel in the mail to my agent this week. And I'll know who if anybody is the contest winner . . . when the novel gets named. I can't announce a winner before then because, well, if I chose your submission and then my editor overruled me, you'd be terribly disappointed.
But trust me, I'm grateful for your help and I'm taking all your suggestions seriously. Even Gorky Bark.
Above: There I am with the world's foremost Hope Mirrlees impersonator, Marianne Porter. Marianne's Uncle Charles used to do a splendid job impersonating George Westinghouse at corporate meetings. There must be something in the bloodline.
How come every third picture I see of you guys, you have a wine glass or cocktail glass in hand? You make being an SF author seem so glamorous! This endangers the "Discourage New Authors Day" initiative...
I'm not sure whether or not you're taking further suggestions, but 'Man-dogs and Muscovites' just occured to me...
Congratulations on the Hugo nomination, Michael!
It's wine pressed from the bodies of used to be aspiring writers. It's cheap, plentiful and only comes in those tacky cardboard casks.
"Man-Dogs and Muscovites", eh? Well ...
In bear-haunted climes there are certain times of year
When well-wrapped citizens quiver,
put fur hats on and still shiver.
It's to this one rule that the biggest fools adhere,
Because the wind is much too wintry
and one must avoid its entry in one's ear --
Thank you all.
The glasses were for champagne, provided by the incomparable Henry Wessells after Marianne made her triumphant theatrical debut as Hope Mirrlees.
There's no getting around the fact that triumphant moments tend to happen to me far more often when Marianne is present than when she is not.
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