I tend to really resist writing convention reports because if I try to name-check everyone I met, I will inevitably forget someone and then they might swear enmity against me for life and that would make me sad. So I’m just going to say up front that I’m not going to try to name everyone I met.
I was up for a Hugo Award this year, which provided us with a stupendous excuse to take a family vacation in Ireland and Iceland. (Icelandair is both a budget airline and clearly an arm of the Icelandic Bureau of Tourism since they let you arrange a multi-day stopover in Iceland at no extra cost, and inundate you with on-board advertisements designed to sell you on the idea. HORSES! NORTHERN LIGHTS! SCENERY!)
We went over about a week before the convention started. Ed and I visited Ireland 20 years ago — before we had kids — and Dublin was our least favorite bit, so we wanted to get out of it as quickly as possible. We took a train to Cork, where we discovered that the guest house I’d booked thinking it was walking distance from the train station was not around the corner from the train station but straight up a cliff. (There were stairs! I do not recommend hauling a bunch of suitcases up four flights of stairs, in the rain, while massively jet-lagged and operating on almost no sleep. Just, I mean, if you were considering it.)
The rest of the trip went quite a bit better.
Next month I will be at Dublin 2019: an Irish WorldCon. If we know each other (either in person or online) and you’ll be in Dublin and you’d like to try to meet up, please let me know!
Here’s my official schedule:
Reading: Naomi Kritzer
16 Aug 2019, Friday 20:00 – 20:20, Liffey Room-3 (Readings) (CCD)
Kaffeeklatsch: Naomi Kritzer
17 Aug 2019, Saturday 12:00 – 12:50, Level 3 Foyer (KK/LB) (CCD)
The author as a fellow traveler on the hero’s journey
18 Aug 2019, Sunday 10:30 – 11:20, Odeon 4 (Point Square Dublin)
Many authors, unsurprisingly, form a strong emotional bond with their characters, experiencing the joys and frustrations of the story along with them. How does this affect the writing process itself? What about the impact on the writer’s critical engagement with their own work? How much does an author’s engagement depend on their personality, their approach, or the type of story being written?
Dr Kristina Perez (M), Michael Swanwick, Karen Simpson Nikakis, Naomi Kritzer, Daryl Gregory
Gods, religion and atheism in the genre
18 Aug 2019, Sunday 13:00 – 13:50, Wicklow Hall 2B (CCD)
Gods and religion are often an integral element of SFF worlds; they offer ways to build conflict and to explore alternative philosophical concepts. How have authors tackled the creation and inclusion of religion in their worldbuilding? Is it possible for atheism to exist in worlds where gods literally walk among the people?
Derwin Mak, Dominic Riemenschneider MA, Ehud Maimon, Naomi Kritzer (M), Meg MacDonald
I am excited to tell you that my story “The Thing About Ghost Stories” is a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Novelette!
If you read my blog for the Minneapolis politics, you may not be familiar with the Hugo Awards: Wired magazine called the Hugo “the premier award in the science fiction genre.” It’s a big deal and I am deeply honored and very excited to be nominated.
You can see the full list of everyone nominated here. It includes a lot of people I know and am super excited for.
The Hugos are awarded at Worldcon, which this year is in Dublin, Ireland. I’m totally going.
(My short story “Cat Pictures Please” won the 2016 Hugo for Best Short Story, and the YA novel I wrote about the AI in the story is coming November 19th and currently available for pre-order!)
(I was writing and submitting this year! I sold stories that will appear in 2017, and I wrote new stories that I’ve started sending around, I sold a short story collection that will come out in 2017, and I sold translation rights to “Cat Pictures Please” and some of my other stories…but only one story actually appeared this year, and that very late in the year. So it goes.)
::wipes dust off blog::
So hey! Early voting in Minnesota just started, which means I am overdue for getting started with this year’s election blogging. But before I get started with that, I really feel like I should mention that back in August, like over a month ago now, I won a Hugo Award for Best Short Story for Cat Pictures Please. I have no idea if there are people out there who read my blog here but do not follow me on either Twitter or Facebook, where I gleefully and excitedly jumped up and down right afterward.
Me with my Hugo. Photo taken by John O’Halloran, Ohana TyeDye Photography
The star-and-moon batik jacket and skirt belonged to my mother. It was her favorite dress-up outfit for years and years. When my sister and I cleaned out her closet in July, Abi suggested that I wear it to the Hugo Awards as a way of having her with me. When I got dressed for the Awards Ceremony, I also carefully stashed a couple of Kleenex in the pocket. Every single time Abi or I checked the pockets of anything our mother had ever worn, there were a couple of tissues in the pockets. She wanted to be prepared! (My Grammie has the same habit. She always wants a tissue in her pocket, sleeve, or the little carrier bag of her walker. Or ideally all three.)
The Hugo rocket is currently sitting on the buffet in our dining room. I will eventually find another spot for it, but here’s the thing — as you may have guessed, we are cat owners. In fact, we got a new cat in June.
One of our cats is sufficiently large that he managed to (accidentally) shove a literal stone sculpture off the mantelpiece a few months ago. The Hugo rocket is heavier than you might expect but it’s also a bit top-heavy and I really don’t want it to get broken. Where it is, it could get tipped over but it’s not going to make a six foot fall to the floor.
After winning, I got interviewed on MPR, which was awesome, and I got quoted in a Salon article, which was cool, and Chuck Tingle called me a “True Buckaroo” (and bitter conservative puppy John C. Wright called me a “graying spinster,” which was bonus levels of hilarious because Ed and I celebrated our 20th anniversary in July! Actually, we briefly acknowledged our anniversary, promised ourselves a lovely meal out, and … still have not taken it because our summer was ridiculously busy.)
I always have this weird idea that things will calm down a bit once school starts. This is a patently absurd belief. Not only does school mean my kids’ activities all ramp up again, September is also when BOTH of my daughters have birthdays. Molly turned 16 this year, and Kiera turned 13. Plus I got called for jury duty — I actually initially got called for the week of WorldCon, but I got a deferral until September. That was the week of the 12th through the 16th, and I actually got on a jury. Jury service was extremely interesting but surprisingly exhausting. (You have to sit and listen to people for long periods of time.) Molly does Mock Trial, so I’d actually been in Ramsey County courtrooms before to watch her team competing — it was very odd being in that same setting for real. Also, the prosecutor started out his opening statement in almost the exact same way that the Mock Trial kids do. (He was very young. I totally bet he did Mock Trial back in the day.) All the jurors took things very, very seriously — no one tried to evade jury service by trying to make themselves sound biased, and no one tried to rush through deliberations to get the heck out. I might write more about it later — I’m allowed to say whatever I want now that it’s over — if people are curious.
During voir dire (the part where the judge, then the lawyers, get to ask you questions to try to filter out the people they don’t want), the Defense lawyer asked us each to share some personal detail about ourselves. I’m not sure what her goal was in doing this but it gave us all stuff to chat about in the jury room, which was nice. (You’re not allowed to discuss the case among yourselves until it’s over and you’re deliberating.) Anyway, for my personal detail I told everyone I’d won a Hugo Award in August. One of the other jurors had actually read the story! Which was very cool. (And the judge’s clerk told me afterward that he and the judge were going to look up my story now that the trial was over. I hope they liked it.)
Anyway! I will be be back in a bit to start blogging about the 2016 election. In the meantime, I’ll note again that if you live in Minnesota, you can find your ballot at the Secretary of State’s website — both a list of candidates (that includes links to websites when available) and a literal sample ballot so you can see how it will look. You can send away for an absentee ballot right now, or go in early and vote right now. (They call this “no-excuses voting.”) The two things on my own ballot that I legitimately don’t know right now how I’ll vote on: a school board special election (someone quit their seat) and a proposed constitutional amendment on how we pay state legislators. Honestly, every other race I already know how I’ll vote — but writing about this stuff is fun, so you’ll get my full take, barring any unforseen disasters.
So if you normally read my blog for the local politics or because you’re one of my family members, that is the sort of subject line that should tell you immediately that you’ve stumbled into some sort of unfolding drama that you’re not in on. Fortunately, Arthur Chu wrote a fantastic article that should bring you up to speed, if for some reason you want to dive in: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/12/right-wing-trolls-hijack-scifi-oscars.html
(8 million words of SF fandom politics below the merciful-to-the-rest-of-you cut.)