Miscellaneous writing news + a virtual book signing

In the last week of April, I won the Minnesota Book Award followed two days later by the Edgar Award (both in the Young Adult category). Last week, the Nautilus Book Awards named Catfishing on CatNet a Silver Winner. (The Nautilus Book Award focuses on books striving to make a better world and goes heavily to non-fiction, but they also have a YA fiction category.)

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I don’t have my Edgar yet but this is what they look like.

I am deeply honored that my book has spoken to so many people. You can see what else it’s a finalist for (and when/how the winners will be announced) here.

If you happen to need a copy of Catfishing on CatNet, or a copy of my short story collection or anything else they’ve got in stock, I’m going to do a virtual signing at Uncle Hugo’s/Uncle Edgar’s on Tuesday, May 12th, and if you get your order in before noon on May 12th you can get a personalized signed copy. (After that, there should be plenty of signed copies available for order, but they will not be personalized.)

 

 

Mayday, Fictional Mayday, and “So Much Cooking”

If you’re one of my Minneapolis readers, you have probably at least once attended the Powderhorn Mayday Parade and festival put on for 45 years by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater on the first Sunday in May. My family has attended most years since sometime in the late 1990s; I’ve been in the parade with my kids twice. Everything in the parade is human-powered, and the puppets and costumes were overwhelmingly made by participants out of materials like papier-mache, under the guidance of teaching artists hired by Heart of the Beast.

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After the parade is the pageant. I used to go to the pageant, but got out of the habit when my kids were young and squirrely. The time lag between parade and festival is substantial, especially if you’re watching near the northern end of the parade (which we always did because it’s so much less crowded the further north you go) and we liked bringing chairs to sit on, which we then had to either return to the car (always parked miles away) or carry to the park (ugh) and we liked the parade better than the pageant anyway. The pageant is a performance done at Powderhorn Park that finishes with a flotilla of boats bringing a giant puppet of the sun across the lake.

mayday3Once the sun puppet arrives, it’s raised up, along with a giant Mayday pole that’s also a tree of life, and the audience sings “You Are My Sunshine.”

One of the things about Mayday that nearly everyone who goes agrees on is that it’s clearly magic. The weather for the parade is not always great. I’ve watched it in both rain and snow. (I’ve also bailed a few times because the weather was so miserable.) But when they row the sun across the lake, no matter how bad the weather was earlier, the sun comes out. It’s uncanny.

The Mayday Parade and Festival is enough of an iconic Minneapolis event that you can make reference to rowing the sun across the lake, and expect people to understand what you’re talking about.

Last year, Heart of the Beast announced that they were taking a year off. So there wouldn’t have been a parade this year even without a pandemic. It may possibly return next year.

Back in 2017 or 2018 I worked on a sequel to “So Much Cooking,” my story about cooking during a pandemic. I didn’t get very far, and for various reasons I don’t think I’m going to ever return to it, but the bit I wrote included a section about a post-pandemic Mayday Parade, which I’ve decided to share on my blog. Please consider donating to HotB — which was already struggling, and like all arts organizations, has been hit really hard by the pandemic.

Story excerpt is below the cut.

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Award Nominations & Virtual Award Ceremonies

My new novel, Catfishing on CatNet, is up for a lot of awards this year, which is delightful. The pandemic, unfortunately, means that basically all the award ceremonies are going to be online. For the convenience of family, close friends, and extremely committed fans, I’m collecting here the schedule and links to all the virtual award ceremonies. This post will be updated as I get more information. (Some of these award ceremonies are not happening for months and their information right now is just, “we’re going virtual, more information coming.”)

I just want to say: I feel so incredibly honored by every one of these nominations. Looking at the other books in my category is an absolute delight in every single case, and I need to remember to call one of my local bookstores that’s doing mail order or delivery and order some of the ones I haven’t read yet because they look amazing. 

The Minnesota Book Awards, April 28th, 7 p.m.

Catfishing on CatNet is a finalist in the Young Adult Literature category of the Minnesota Book Awards, which are presented each spring by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.

The Minnesota Book Awards will be live-streamed online on April 28th at 7 p.m. More information here. I believe they’ll have a live-stream up on the page; they’ll also be streaming to YouTube and to their Facebook page. Finalists will be called on the phone in order to make acceptance speeches. If you register at the link as attending, you’ll be entered to win a set of all the winning books.

The Minnesota Book Awards did a series of “Meet the Finalists” events on Zoom, which you can watch on YouTube; they’ve set up a playlist. Minnesota has such an amazing array of incredibly talented and interesting writers.

Update: I won!

The Edgar Awards, April 30th, 10 a.m. CDT.

Catfishing on CatNet is a finalist in the Young Adult category for the Edgar Award, which is presented by the Mystery Writers of America to the best mysteries of the year. I was absolutely, totally floored to be nominated for this — although in fact one of the things I most love about YA is how seamlessly it can embrace multiple genres.

MWA is going to announce winners, a category at a time, on Twitter. (The MWA feed is @EdgarAwards.) We were all asked to submit a video of ourselves giving an acceptance speech, and I think the winners’ speeches will be uploaded to YouTube and linked. Anyway, watching the announcements roll out on Twitter tends to be how I watch awards shows I’m not attending in person regardless so I have to say, I love this option.

Update: I won!

The Nebula Awards, May 30th, 7 p.m. CDT.

Catfishing on CatNet is a finalist for the Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction. This is a science fiction award, given by SFWA (the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America). There is going to be a whole virtual Nebula Weekend, and the awards will be livestreamed. I don’t know a lot of details beyond the date and time, but as they’re announced I expect they’ll go up on SFWA’s website. (The programming for the virtual weekend is being announced May 15th, I think.)

Editing very quickly to add links:

https://events.sfwa.org/events/55th-annual-nebula-awards/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fTixQc410o

Update: I did not win. The Andre Norton award went to Riverland by my friend Fran Wilde.
Locus Awards, June 27th

Catfishing on CatNet is a finalist in the Young Adult category. The Locus Awards will take place at the Virtual Locus Awards Weekend. They’re planning some virtual programming but I don’t have any details yet on exactly how this will work.

Update: there should be a live link on the Locus Awards page sometime today (I think). The ceremony starts at 3 p.m. West Coast time (5 p.m. CDT, 6 p.m. EDT). I think it’s just going to be Connie Willis announcing the nominees and winners by category; they did not ask nominees for an acceptance speech or video, because editing everything together was going to be too much to try to get done when they also had a magazine to get out.

Update: I did not win. The Locus Award went to Dragon Pearl by my friend Yoon Ha Lee.

ITW Thriller Awards, July 11th.

The International Thriller Writers award the Thriller Awards each year, and Catfishing on CatNet is a finalist in the Young Adult category. The ITW is hosting a “Virtual ThrillerFest” on their Facebook page and will be announcing winners on July 11th. (More details to come.)

Update: the Thriller Award went to Tom Ryan for Keep This To Yourself.

The Hugo Awards, August 1st or 2nd.

Catfishing on CatNet is a finalist for the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, which is given with the Hugo Awards but is technically not a Hugo Award. (The good news for Lodestar Finalists: that means we go first, right after the Astounding Award, I think.) The Hugo Awards along with the Lodestar and the Astounding Award are nominated by the members of the World Science Fiction Society — which is to say, the members of WorldCon. Anyone who wants can buy a supporting membership to ConZealand and vote (and! you generally get a voter’s packet with electronic copies of most of the nominated works.)

ConZealand announced in March that they were moving to a virtual convention. They did a lovely job streaming the Hugo nomination announcements; they are planning a livestream of the awards that sounds similar to how the Nebulas did it, except they are also requesting that all nominees send a just-in-case back-up video in case the technology falls apart. (I can’t find a schedule on their website yet, so I’m not actually sure which day it’ll happen.)

Update: I won!

The Dragon Awards, Labor Day Weekend

Catfishing on CatNet is a finalist for the Dragon Award. This is an award usually given at DragonCon (but everything’s virtual this year.) Anyone at all can register to nominate and vote in the Dragons, and if you’d like to go register to vote for Catfishing on CatNet (or one of the other YA/MG books on the ballot) plus anything else on the longer ballot that you think is worthy of an award this year, you can register here. I am not sure when and how winners will be announced, other than “Labor Day weekend.”

The Anthony Awards, October 17th

The Anthony Awards are a mystery award given by Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, which would have been held in Sacramento, California this year but is instead (like everything else) virtual. Catfishing on CatNet is a finalist in the YA category. The awards, and the convention, are named after Anthony Boucher, a mystery, horror, and science fiction writer and editor who died in 1968.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. Is it a total bummer not being able to go to the awards ceremonies?
A. I am both very disappointed and also very aware that in the context of a catastrophic global pandemic, there are people with much worse problems than “my trip to Los Angeles to maybe win an award is now cancelled.”

Q. How many of these were you going to go to in person?
A. Well, the Minnesota Book Awards, obviously. (Those would have been in downtown St. Paul. I just about could have walked.) I was also planning to go to New York for the Edgars (and to see my nephews!) and to Los Angeles for the Nebulas (and to see a friend who lives there!) I was probably not going to make it to ConZealand. New Zealand is a very long, expensive trip from Minnesota, and I would love to go to New Zealand sometime but I’d really rather go in February, when it’s summer there and winter here. I know, I know, New Zealand has very mild winters, but August is usually one of the nicest months in Minnesota and February is typically the worst.

ETA: You know something I’m discovering that’s sort of weird. With SF/F, I know a lot of people. Not literally everyone, but most of the people I don’t know, I have a friend who does. With Mystery and Thriller, I hardly know anyone. It feels sort of like being the new student at a very large high school. (I do appreciate the fact that mystery writers joke about murder a lot. This is a form of humor I deeply appreciate.) But it would have been really nice to get to go to the Edgars, ThrillerCon, and BoucherCon, just for the opportunity to meet a bunch of people face-to-face and have a stronger sense of being part of this new community. As it is, I’m connecting with people online a bit but it’s harder.

Q. Are you going to dress up in cocktail attire like the Minnesota Book Awards suggested?
A1. YES, I will be wearing EXTREMELY FANCY CLOTHING and you should most definitely picture me accordingly.
A2. If you’re holding a cocktail, that means you’re in cocktail attire, right?

 

My 2019 Fiction Roundup

The cover of my book, CATFISHING ON CATNET. Shows a teenage girl looking in alarm at her cell phone, with the tagline, "How much does the internet know about you?"

The only fiction I had published in 2019 was my novel, CATFISHING ON CATNET. If you’re nominating for awards, the Hugos, the Nebulas, and the Locus Awards all have a special category for YA. (Okay, technically the Andre Norton Award may be a separate award, but it’s presented along with the Nebulas, and the Lodestar Award is a separate award, but it’s presented along with the Hugos.)

It is also eligible in the novel category.

It is currently a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award (!) and the Edgar Award (!!) (that one still blows my mind.) My publisher also ran out of printed copies and had to order another run — so if you tried to buy it locally and couldn’t, just know that it should be available again shortly!

Since the beginning of 2020 I’ve had a short story published on Clarkesworld (“Monster“) and my short story “Little Free Library” will appear on Tor.com this spring. The sequel to CATFISHING ON CATNET is scheduled to come out in April of 2021.

CATFISHING ON CATNET news

Catfishing on CatNet came out in November from Tor Teen. If you don’t yet have a copy, you can order it from Amazon or BN.com or Uncle Hugo‘s (which may have signed copies) or Dreamhaven (ditto) or buy at your own local independent bookstore. It is also available as an audiobook! And you can read an excerpt from it here.

Last week I found out it was a finalist for the Edgar Award in the YA category. This was incredibly exciting for a whole lot of reasons — I’m familiar with the Edgar Awards (because they are the top award in the mystery genre) but it’s not an award I had ever thought I might be honored with.

There are awards where they call you up or e-mail you, where you know before the announcement but can’t tell anyone. (The Hugo Awards and the Nebula Awards both let you know in advance, and then you have to sit on the info.) I found out about the Edgar Awards from Twitter. Specifically, I got tagged in a congratulatory Tweet, and my mental process went something like:

  1. Oh, I’m being congratulated with a group of other writers, probably for a nice review.
  2. Wait, this link is talking about the Edgar Awards.
  3. HOLY SHIT.

And then a few days later I found out that Catfishing on CatNet is also a finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards, which are more specifically local but also a really big deal.

Anyway, I’m really excited!

For fans of my short fiction: I also had a short story come out this month in Clarkesworld, “Monster.”

Upcoming Book-Related Events

My new book, CATFISHING ON CATNET, is coming out on November 19th, which is in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS. I have several related upcoming events that local people (and even non-local-people) might be interested in.

Thursday, November 21st, 7-8 p.m. – Sci-Fi Night at Magers & Quinn with Sue Burke, Naomi Kritzer, and Marissa Lingen 

Sue Burke will be reading from her book INTERFERENCE, in which we’ve met intelligent aliens and they are plants. Marissa Lingen will be reading a short story about genetically-engineered modern-day mastodons. I will be reading from CATFISHING ON CATNET. We’ll do some Q&A, and we’ll be happy to sign your copies of our work. It will be fun! Magers & Quinn is at 3038 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408.

Find out more about this event at the Magers & Quinn Events page.

Friday, November 22nd, 7-8:30 p.m. – The Loft Presents If: Catfishing on Catnet: Naomi Kritzer with Kelly Barnhill

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Kelly Barnhill is a Newbery-medal-winning author of middle grade fiction and also a friend of mine. We’re going to sit on a stage and chat about books, writing, Internet privacy, online friendship, and any other topics that strike our fancy (if you’d like to come and have any topics you’re itching to have us cover, leave a comment or send me an e-mail?) There will also be a SLIDE SHOW OF CAT PICTURES, so if we get boring, you can just stare at the cat pictures and think “awwwwwwwwwww!” (Cat pictured: a random very friendly cat we met in Iceland.)

This is a ticketed event. Tickets are available from the Loft website.  The event will be at Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55415. Books will be available for purchase at the event, and we will be happy to sign things.

Saturday, November 23rd, 1-2 p.m. – Signing at Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Books.

This is just a signing, but — note, out-of-town readers! — you can put in an order for the book at Uncle Hugo’s, let them know how you want it signed (like, do you want it signed to Jane Smith or do you just want a signature), and they’ll have me sign it while I’m there and then they’ll ship it to you. (You can do the same with any of my other books and even some of the magazines with my work — here’s the order page.)

You can feel free to show up with anything you want signed — Uncle Hugo’s doesn’t have a policy of “only books bought HERE, TODAY.” (If you bring a stack of stuff bought from Amazon, and feel a twinge of guilt, I would encourage you to expiate your guilt by buying some additional items from their store while you’re there. They have a fantastic selection of new and used, they have signed copies from many fine local authors, and they are under one roof with Uncle Edgar’s, which sells mystery.)

Uncle Hugo’s is at 2864 Chicago Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55407. If you’d prefer to place your order over the phone, you can call them at 612-824-6347.

If you’re looking at these events and feeling stymied about which one to go to, here’s a quick guide:

  • If you want to hear me read from my work (along with Sue Burke and Marissa Lingen), go to Magers & Quinn on November 21st at 7 p.m.
  • If you want to hear me talk about my work (along with Kelly Barnhill), go to the Loft at Open Book on November 22nd at 7 p.m. (But don’t forget it’s a ticketed event. You can buy a ticket here.)
  • If you really aren’t interested in hearing me say anything in particular but would like a signed copy, go to Uncle Hugo’s on November 23rd at 1 p.m.
  • If you want a signed copy but prefer not to leave your house (or, you know, if you live somewhere far from Minneapolis), go to the Uncle Hugo’s website and put in an order for a signed copy.

I got my box of books last week so I now have beautiful hardcover copies of my book, and I am so excited for this book to be out in the world! It’s gotten starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly (which called it “an entertaining, heart-filled exploration of today’s online existence and privacy concerns”) and from Kirkus (which called it “wickedly funny and thrilling in turns”) and I’m so excited for anyone who’s enjoyed my other novels, my short stories, or my political blogging to have a chance to read it.

 

CATFISHING ON CATNET coming November 19th

816WkzoELELMy technothriller YA (young adult) novel about friendship, online community, AIs (artificial intelligences), robots, hacking, sex ed, and road trips, is coming out on November 19th.

If you would like to pre-order it, you can do that on the usual big behemoth sites OR you can preorder from Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore — which will allow you to get a signed copy even if you’re not local. You should also be able to pre-order it from anywhere that you’d normally buy books. It will also be available as an audiobook.

I will be doing several book-related events the week it comes out! On November 21st, I’ll be at local bookstore Magers & Quinn along with Marissa Lingen and Sue Burke. On November 22nd, I’ll be at the Loft Literary Center with Kelly Barnhill. On November 23rd, I’ll be signing at Uncle Hugo’s. (If I add other stuff, I will edit this post.)

You can also read an excerpt from it right now over at the Tor Teen blog! You can also read the (starred!) reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly. Finally, you could go read the short story that started it all, Cat Pictures Please. (The AI narrator of the short story is also one of the viewpoint characters in the novel.)

 

Trip Report II: Dublin 2019, An Irish WorldCon

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.

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WorldCon 2019 Schedule

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
Format: Kaffeeklatsch
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

Format: Panel
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
Format: Panel
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 went to a science fiction convention in Beijing

So remember when I went to China back in December? In April, I got invited to China again, this time to be a Guest of Honor at APSFCon (Another Planet Science Fiction Convention) in Beijing. This was the second APSFCon; there have been almost no SF conventions in China, although there’s an awards event held in Chengdu. The convention culture is incredibly different. I’m going to do a separate post about the awesome tourist stuff we did in China (I brought Ed along) and this post is just going to be about the SF convention.

I’ll note that unlike some of my friends, I have never been to a science fiction convention outside of the US. (I have barely been to any outside the midwest.) But I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what a science fiction convention looks like: you’re in a hotel (or occasionally a convention center), there are panels where people talk and an audience asks questions or offers “more of a comment than a question,” there are a few solo presentations. Fans meet up and hang out. There’s a consuite where you can get food and hang out. There’s a dealer’s room and an art show. All official events happen inside. Depending on the convention, there might or might not be costumes and gaming. Usually there are parties in the evening, frequently run out of hotel rooms but open to all members of the convention. If you’re looking for a writer, check the bar first. (Even if they’re not a drinker, they’re probably in the bar because they went there to find all their friends, who were in the bar. Hardly anyone is actually drinking very much unless there’s an editor there who’s buying.)

APSFCon ran over Saturday and Sunday of last week. Guests from outside of China included me, Allen Steele, Lawrence Schoen, Crystal Huff, Sean Stewart, and Michael Swanwick from the US; Derek Künsken and Kelly Robson from Canada; Samantha Murray from Australia; Kim Bo-young and Kim Juyoung from South Korea; David Sheldon-Hicks from the UK; and Taiyo Fujii from Japan. Most of these people are writers but Sean Stewart is more a VR developer and David Sheldon-Hicks is a visual effects designer for movies.

Invited guests from the China included Liu Cixin (author of The Three-Body Problem), Han Song (who’s similarly famous in China to Liu Cixin, but much less well known in the US because his work hasn’t been translated), one of the stars and one of the directors of The Wandering Earth (Chinese blockbuster SF movie, viewable on Netflix), and most of the writers I met at the Danzhai workshop.

The convention was held at a museum. One of the features of the museum was a detailed model of Beijing (this was only part of it):

Me, standing in front of a lighted model of a city.

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