This anthology will be coming out soon, but for the next week you have the opportunity to win a signed copy. Tachyon Publications is having a Goodreads giveaway of the book that you can enter here, which runs through May 22. If you want to know more about the book, just look at the contents at Tachyon’s site. Every one of those stories that I’ve read is a knockout, and the ones I haven’t read are climbing my to-do list just by virtue of their inclusion.
I’ll be in Madison, Wisconsin from May 26-29th for WisCon. Here’s what I’ll be doing.
• Friday, 9:00 am – 12:00 am, Caucus: Critique Session. I’m running one of the workshop sessions this year, and very excited to do so. This is one you’d’ve had to apply for in advance. If it sounds like something cool and you missed your chance, look for it next year. There are general fiction workshops every year, plus special topic sessions on things like genderqueer writing and romance in SF.
• Friday, 7:30-8:30 pm, Capitol/Wisconson: Opening Ceremonies. Pat Schmatz and myself, last year’s Tiptree winners, will be there to crown this year’s winner, Anna Marie McLemore.
• Saturday, 10:00-11:15 am, room 605: Judging the Tiptree. Current Tiptree jurors discuss the process of judging and selecting Tiptree award winners. Other panelists are Jeanne Gomoll, Aimee Bahng, Kazue Harada, Alexis Lothian, Roxanne Samer, and Julia Starkey.
• Sunday, 10:00 am – 11:15 am, Michelangelos: Burning Up on Re-entry (reading). I’ll be reading some of my fiction, along with Jed Hartman, Kat Tanaka Okopnik, Benjamin Rosenbaum, and David J. Schwartz. This’ll be in the back of the Michelangelos coffee shop around the corner from the con hotel, where I’ve attended many WisCon readings over the years but never before done one.
This was made public a little while ago, at the same time the new winner and honorees for work published last year were announced (congratulations to them all, especially Anna-Marie McLemore!), but I’ve been remiss in mentioning here that I’m on the panel of judges for the 2017 James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award. The panel often includes a past winner of the award, and I’m thrilled to fill that role this year. Serving with me are Cheryl Morgan, Julia Starkey, Kazue Harada, and our chair Alexis Lothian.
As a consequence, I won’t be tracking my fiction reading online at all this year, since it will mostly be for award consideration. Also, if you follow me on social media, you will see me posting about the award with some regularity. That’s because the judges need people’s help making sure we see all the excellent work that gets published this year. The Tiptree Award has an open recommendations system, so any new (i.e. published in 2017) science fiction or fantasy that you think explores or expands notions of gender is eligible, and can be nominated just by typing the details into a simple web form. You submit it, we’ll see it.
In December I traveled to Eugene, Oregon to attend the 2016 Tiptree Symposium, a two-day academic conference on the work of Ursula K. Le Guin. I got to see some old friends, made some new ones, briefly met Le Guin herself, and heard many thoughtful panels and lectures. If that sounds like something you’re sad to have missed, you’re in luck: the University of Oregon has put videos of the presentations online.
I’m planning to rewatch several of these, starting with the incredible panel Alexis Lothian put together on “Speculative Gender and The Left Hand of Darkness,” featuring Aren Aizura, micha cárdenas, and Tuesday Smillie presenting three trans perspectives on the novel. I took five pages of notes on this panel alone, and came away feeling I hadn’t been able to jot down everything I wanted to think more about.
Since the video index page I linked above truncates the titles, here’s a full listing of the videos:
December 1, Sally Miller Gearhart Lesbian Lecture, Dr. Alexis Lothian, “Queer Longings in Straight Futures: Notes Toward a Prehistory for Lesbian Speculation”
December 2, Welcome and Panel 1: Ursula K. Le Guin and the Field of Feminist Science Fiction
December 2, Panel 2: UO Prof. Edmond Chang’s Feminist SF students on The Word for World is Forest
December 2, Keynote and Q & A: Karen Joy Fowler, “Ursula Le Guin and the Larger Reality”
December 3, Panel 3: “Speculative Gender and The Left Hand of Darkness”
December 3, Panel 4: “Le Guin’s Fiction as Inspiration for Activism”
December 3, Keynote: Brian Attebery, “The James Tiptree Jr. Book Club: A Mitochondrial Theory of Literature” (The text of this one was also published on Tor.com)
Look at that gorgeous cover. This book is going to be amazing, and I’m pleased to announce it will include a new short story of mine, “My Time Among the Bridge Blowers.” I’ll have more to say about this story once it comes out, but for now I’m just thrilled to be a part of this collection with so many other writers I admire.
“The New Mother” was translated and published back in September by China’s (and the world’s) largest circulation science fiction magazine, Science Fiction World. In fact, given the circulation, it’s entirely possible that more people will have read this version of “The New Mother” than the one I originally wrote.
Now the contributor’s copies have made their way across the ocean to me. Looking through it, though I can’t read the text, I notice a lot of interesting things.
- My name, when translated into Chinese, is 尤金 费雪. I’m told this contains characters for both “gold” and “snow.”
- There are many translation footnotes, most commonly for elements of the story dealing with acronyms and initials. All acronyms and initials are rendered in English characters in the text, then contextualized below. There is one footnote that, from context, is clearly explaining why, in English, a group with a condition called HCP might name their news magazine “The Hiccup.” More common acronyms, like DNA, are still printed in English, but not footnoted.
- In the English version of the story, the journalistic passages that made up every other section were distinguished from the narrative passages by italics. In the Chinese version there is clearly a typeface distinction going on, but I don’t know how to characterize it. I want to say that the parts that were italicized in English are here rendered in sketchier, less blocky looking characters. I don’t know if that’s just same typeface’s equivalent of italics, or something more like a different font.
- There’s a fantastic, manga-style illustration to open the story; a double page splash of angry people shouting across a hospital as young girls are pulled away from their mother, while in the center a religious figure with hooded eyes reads from a book while standing beneath a sign that says “KEEP QUIET.” Here’s the best scan I was able to get:
At WorldCon in Kansas City I got the chance to join Jo Walton on the Coode Street podcast, hosted by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe. We talked about writers that characterize different eras of science fiction, how science fiction differs rhetorically from fantasy (more detail on that here), and whether there’s a difference between the kinds of literary experimentation in the past and what is pursued today. As tends to happen, I fell a little bit into just listening to Jo be enviably clever, but I did get a chance to talk about the Iowa Writers’ Workshop’s modern support for genre writing, and contemporary writers who inspire me (going on for a bit about Carmen Maria Machado and Meghan McCarron and Carola Dibbell). You can listen to the episode on the Coode Street site, on your podcast player of choice through iTunes, or via the embedded player below.
I’m quite please to say that “The New Mother” has been selected for inclusion in Lethe Press’s Heiresses of Russ 2016: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction, edited by A. M. Dellamonica and Steve Berman. This will be the first time my work appears in a reprint anthology. It looks to be a gorgeous book, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it and learn who I’m sharing the TOC with. “Heiress of Russ” is an appellation I never would have claimed for myself, but couldn’t be happier to receive. You can buy the book from Lethe’s site here.
I did very little reading this past summer, my attention instead consumed by other responsibilities. These are the only books I managed the last few months.
- Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton – A book I’d saved for a time when I wanted to read something I was absolutely sure I would enjoy. It’s impossible to overstate how delightful and sly this is. I’ll be, I’m certain, revisiting this novel as comfort reading in the future.
- Drinking at the Movies by Julia Wertz – I’ve been reading Wertz’s comics online off and on for years, and it was nice to revisit these earlier strips.
- Astro Boy vol. 10 by Osamu Tezuka – Borrowed from Ada Palmer’s library, this volume collects the story arc in which Astro Boy must fight the robot Pluto. I read this so that I can at some point return to Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto with greater appreciation.
- Domu: A Child’s Dream by Katsuhiro Otomo – Another book borrowed from Ada Palmer, this is one I’d been wanting to read for a long time, I think since it was reviewed on Artbomb in the early 2000s. I love Otomo’s Akira, and this book in many ways feels like an earlier experiment in creating that world. It also reminded me that there has still never been another mangaka who draws action quite like Otomo does. I’m going to be buying a copy of this for my own collection.
- Engine Summer by John Crowley – Crowley’s prose is pristine, and much as in The Deep, here he employs a shadowy frame narrative that maintains an undercurrent of curiosity even as a hundred pages go by without the story glancing that way. This book is lyrical and contained, pleasant but not major. Still trying to work myself up to giving Little, Big another shot.
- Blindsight by Peter Watts –I think I fundamentally disagree with the philosophy of mind at the core of this novel, but very much enjoyed it nonetheless. I stayed up all night reading it in one go. Watts writes excellent, cutting sentences to hold some big science fiction ideas. I have many nitpicks, but Blindsight is a novel of real ambition and menace. I admire that.