My Trip to Asia, Part II: China

The actual trip was at the invitation of Future Affairs Administration, which publishes SF in China (and does a bunch of stuff, actually, but I was most familiar with their publishing because they’ve translated several of my stories into Chinese). It was also sponsored by Wanda Group, which I had not heard of prior to the invitation but which owns, among other things, AMC Theaters. There was a group of both Chinese and non-Chinese science fiction writers; we were taken around the Danzhai Tourist Village and in exchange, we’re each writing a story inspired by the trip.

A group of writers (some Chinese, some white) holding a sign and standing in front of a building with an "Office of the Mayor" sign on it.

I didn’t know who else was coming until I got there. The other western writers were me, Fran Wilde, Carolyn Ives Gilman, and Samantha Murray (who’s Australian). The Chinese writers were Han Song, Zhao Lei, Tang Fei, Liang Ling, and Su Wanwen. The organizers from FAA were Vera Sun and Emily Gu.

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My 2018 Fiction Roundup

Here’s my fiction that came out in 2018 (with helpful information on the categories they’d go in, should anyone want to nominate them for anything):

“Prophet of the Roads,” which appeared in the  Infinity’s End anthology (edited by Jonathan Strahan), July 2018. If you squint, this might be a far-far-far-future sequel to “Cat Pictures Please.” This is a short story.

Field Biology of the Wee Fairies, which appeared in Apex, September 2018. There’s also an interview with me about the story in which you can see some photos of the protagonist, who is based on my mother. This is a short story.

The Thing About Ghost StoriesUncanny, November/December 2018. This story was also featured on their podcast, which includes an interview with me. This is a novelette, barely.

In 2019, look for my YA novel, Catfishing on Catnet, which will be coming out from Tor Teen in November! (You’ll see the cover, an excerpt, outtakes, and the all-important pre-ordering link as those become available this year, don’t worry.) This book includes one of my absolute favorite scenes I have ever written, in which the AI protagonist of “Cat Pictures Please” teaches a high school sex ed class.

 

On Editing (Your Own) Fiction

Over on Twitter, I saw this insightful observation:

She is not wrong. There’s a lot of writing advice that focuses on, “shut off the inner critic, just write, you can fix it in editing” and a lot less advice on editing. I think about editing pretty consciously both because I work on my own stories, and because I’m in a critique group (I’ve been in this group for over twenty years) and so I think a lot about story structure and what my colleagues are trying to do with their stories so I can help them do it better.

I responded with a Twitter thread, but my friend Magenta nagged me to turn it into a proper blog post, so okay. Here’s an essay with my insights on how to edit your story, now that you’ve followed Anne Lamott’s classic advice and written a shitty first draft, which you are now trying to fix.

(I know basically nothing about editing magazines or books. I have never worked as an editor professionally. This isn’t about that sort of editing; this is about taking a draft, something that’s truly not ready for the light of day, and turning it into something you’re sufficiently pleased with to show other people.)

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Cat Pictures Please & Other Stories is out today!

My short story collection (published by Fairwood Press) is OUT TODAY!

Cat pictures cover Signage.indd

It includes “Cat Pictures Please” (of course) but also a number of stories that are not online:

“Isabella’s Garden,” about a preschooler with supernatural gardening powers. Originally appeared in Realms of Fantasy. (Almost the very last issue.)

“The Wall,” my Berlin Wall time travel story, which appeared in Asimov’s and won the Asimov’s Reader’s Choice Award.

“Artifice,” which is a story about robots and board game parties and what makes us human. It appeared in Analog.

“Cleanout,” which is my story about the emotional difficulty of cleaning out the extremely cluttered home of a dead or dying relative. This is one of those incredibly common difficult experiences, and I wanted to write about it. It’s also about family secrets. Published in F&SF.

AND ALSO:

“Perfection” and “Ace of Spades,” two stories that have not been previously published and are not available anywhere else.

As well as “Cat Pictures Please,” “Bits,” “So Much Cooking,” “Wind,” and other stories that have appeared online, gathered together here for your convenience (or so you can give it to your friend or family member who doesn’t much Internet.)

(Not included in this volume: the Seastead stories. Those fit together into a novel, which my agent is trying to sell.)

If you would like a SIGNED copy of Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories, my two local SF/F bookstores can set you up. Uncle Hugo’s. Dreamhaven. You can also, of course, order it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  It is available in both print and e-book versions.

 

 

I am writing a new novel

So hey, fans of pushy, nosy, cat-loving AIs: I am writing a YA novel for Tor Books based on “Cat Pictures Please.”

It features the AI, a social network that revolves around cat pictures, and a teenager with an unstable home life, an obsession with bats, and a night-photography hobby.

It’s going to be AWESOME and I’m super excited. Here’s the announcement from Tor (and yes, the picture in the article is a picture of one of my cats, Balto): http://www.tor.com/2017/02/27/naomi-kritzer-cat-pictures-please-novel/

Award Eligibility Post

I had only one story that came out for the first time in 2016: my short story “Zombies in Winter,” which was published by the new online magazine Persistent Visions.

(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.)

 

 

And then suddenly it was September

::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.

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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.

cassie

Our newest kitty, Cassie Fluffypants

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.