Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2012 Sunburst Award nominees

Cover art by Raymond Swanland
The nominees for the 2012 Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic have been announced. We are very excited to see that K.V. Johansen's Blackdog is a nominee in the adult category.

The Sunburst jury says this about the book: "Blackdog is everything high fantasy should be: a tale of wars among gods, demons and wizards that also works as an oddly compelling social-cultural coming-of-age novel. The Blackdog has, through a multitude of incarnations, protected the living goddess, Attalissa, who manifests in the world as a human. This time, over many years, she is driven away from her power-giving lake and grows up among the caravanserai of her new Blackdog, the caravan guard Holla-Sayan, and learns to be a more moral human/god. The characterizations of the young girl and her anguished, shape-shifting protector, as well as other gods, friends, and a demonic enemy, are profound & moving. This is a strongly imagined fantasy world, its peoples rendered with both wit and insight."

The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is a juried award to recognize stellar writing in two categories: adult and young adult. The awards are presented annually to Canadian writers with a speculative fiction novel or book-length collection of speculative fiction published any time during the previous calendar year. Named after the first novel by Phyllis Gotlieb (1926–2009), one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian science fiction, the awards consist of a cash award of Cdn$1,000 and a medallion which incorporates a specially designed "Sunburst" logo. The winners receive their awards in the fall of every year.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Winter Witch

Winter WitchWinter Witch by Elaine Cunningham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book. Winter Witch is a collaboration between Elaine Cunningham and Dave Gross,I found it had a depth of world-building and a sense of fun to rival any non-tie in fantasy novel. I was surprised that one of the inaugural titles for Pathfinder's tie-in line would open with such a graphic and gruesome description of childbirth. From the start, that opening established that this wasn't by-the-numbers fantasy. The northern cultures described were fascinating, the characters were great, the plot well-divided between humor, action, and pathos. I was very, very impressed. I plan to both read Dave Gross's other works and to read more Pathfinder Tales. Bravo!.
View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Deep South Con 50

Last weekend, I was privileged to be a guest of Deep South Con 50, held at the Embassy Suites in Huntsville, Alabama. The guests of honor were Lois McMaster Bujold, Howard Tayler, Larry Montgomery,  David Hulan and Dr. Demento, with Travis "Doc" Taylor as Toastmaster. But also on hand were Gregory Benford, John Picacio, Jim Minz, and Gene Wolfe. Quite a con.

I came in early to teach the writing workshop with Toni Weisskopf, she of Baen books. We kicked off the writing workshop with my "screenplay writing for novelists" talk, then went across the street to the adjacent library where Gregory Benford was speaking (his new book with Larry Niven sounds fascinating, and may actual one-up Ringworld for the next really cool Big Dumb Objecs). Then it was out to dinner for great German food -- thank you Julie-- and back to the bar.

Friday was the workshop. These are always labor-intensive but very rewarding for me, and I hope my students got as much out of it as I did. Good luck all of you! You'll do fine if you just ignore everything I said.

Meanwhile, it was an interesting feeling to be done with the bulk of my responsibilities before the con-proper started. My family joined me on Friday and we took John Picacio out to dinner at Huntsville's best restaurant, Grille 29.

Saturday kicked off by leading a Saturday 9 am walk around Big Spring Park with Toni Weisskopf. Then I did my usual Pyr presentation, only we couldn't seem to bring the lights in the room down to show off the cover art slide show. Every time we turned the lights down, they immediately bounced back up. "It seems to be on some kind of timer," someone said. We turned them down maybe 40 times and each time they came immediately back on, like clockwork. Or like the people in the dealers' room and art show who were really pissed that we kept turning their lights off! Oh well. Sorry guys. We didn't know. And it was (for us at least) good comedy. That afternoon I sat on a Hard Fantasy panel next to Gene Wolfe, and that was probably my programming-fav of the weekend.

Other highlights of the con were spending time with my friend John Picacio, getting to know Howard Tayler and his wife Sandra better, getting to know John's friends Will and Tara (pictures above with Picacio and Minz), catching up with my friends Tom and Pam Kanik, and hearing Travis Taylor tell stories about Rocket City Rednecks.

A wonderful con overall. Thanks very much to the organizers, who did a great job, and all the fans!

Monday, June 18, 2012

2012 Chesley Award Nominations

ASFA, the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists, have released the finalists for the Chesley Awards. The cover artists for three Pyr novels are finalists in the category of Paperback Books:

Justin Gerard for Hearts of Smoke and Steamby Andrew P. Mayer
Lucas Graciano for The Goblin Corpsby Ari Marmell
Jon Sullivan for The Curious Case of the Clockwork Manby Mark Hodder

I'm also thrilled at the news (which I got at 1 am Saturday night) that I've just received my fifth Chesley Award nomination in the category of Best Art Director. I'm tremendously humbled to be sharing this honor with fellow nominees Matt Adelsperger (WotC), Irene Gallo (Tor), David Palumbo (Night Shade Books), and Jon Schindehette (WotC).

The Chesley Awards were established in 1985 by the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists to recognize individual artistic works and achievements during a given year. The Chesleys were initially called the ASFA Awards, but were later renamed to honor famed astronomical artist Chesley Bonestell following his death in 1986. The awards are presented annually at the World Science Fiction Convention.

Congratulations to all the nominees! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Planesrunner nominated for Sidewise Awards

This year's nominees for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History have just been announced. I'm thrilled to find Ian McDonald's Planesrunner, one of our first young adult offerings, nominated in the category of Alternate History, Long Form.   The winners will be announced at Chicon 7, this year's Worldcon, in Chicago, Illinois during the weekend of August 30.  This year's panel of judges was made up of Stephen Baxter, Evelyn Leeper, Jim Rittenhouse, Stu Shiffman, Kurt Sidaway, and Steven H Silver.

Congratulations to Ian McDonald and all of the nominees.

Short Form

* Michael F. Flynn, The Iron Shirts (Tor.com)
* Lisa Goldstein, Paradise Is a Walled Garden (Asimov’s, 8/11)
* Jason Stoddard, Orion Rising (Panverse 3, edited by Dario Ciriello, Panverse Publishing)
* Harry Turtledove, Lee at the Alamo (Tor.com)

Long Form

* Robert Conroy, Castro's Bomb (Kindle)
* Robert Conroy, Himmler's War (Baen Books)
* Jeff Greenfield, Then Everything Changed (Putnam)
* Ian R MacLeod, Wake Up and Dream (PS Publishing)
* Ian McDonald, Planesrunner (Pyr)
* Ekaterina Sedia, Heart of Iron (Prime)
* Lavie Tidhar, Camera Obscura (Angry Robot)

The Sidewise Awards for Alternate History were conceived in late 1995 to honor the best allohistorical genre publications of the year. The first awards were announced in summer 1996 and honored works from 1995. The award takes its name from Murray Leinster's 1934 short story "Sidewise in Time," in which a strange storm causes portions of Earth to swap places with their analogs from other timelines.
For more information, contact Steven H Silver at shsilver@sfsite.com or go to http://www.uchronia.net/sidewise.