Manitoba Publishing Awards

The Manitoba Book Awards were announced last night at the Centre culturel franco-manitobain. As always, I had a blast hanging out and talking to the local writers and literary folks. Host Drek Daa was funny and the evening went very smoothly (meaning of course, that the bar line moved quickly). Susie Moloney, winner of the inaugural Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction (I can finally state that I was a juror on this award. It was an honour and a privilege and I’m sure Michael would be pleased with both the shortlist and the winner), delivered a touching and funny speech via Armin Wiebe.

There was no one dominant book among the winners this year (J.R. Léveillé won two awards) which is nice, but I was rooting at least a little for my editor, Wayne Tefs to have a big night (partly because I wanted him in a good mood when I turned in my edits, but mostly because he’s a damn fine writer).

Without further ado, congratulations to all the winners and nominees!

Aqua Lansdowne Prize for Poetry
Prix Lansdowne de poésie

Poème Pierre Prière by J. R. Léveillé, Les Éditions du Blé

Best Illustrated Book of the Year
Meilleur livre illustré de l’année

David’s Trip to Paraguay: The Country with Amazing Colours / Davids Reise in das Land der vielen Farben, story and design by Miriam Rudolph, CMU Press

Manuela Dias Book Design of the Year
Prix Manuela-Dias de conception graphique en édition

Poème Pierre Prière parJ. R. Léveillégraphiste Bernard Léveillé, publié par Les Éditions du Blé

Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book

A Large Harmonium by Sue Sorensen, Coteau Books

Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award
Prix littéraire Carol-Shields de la ville de Winnipeg

Ravenscraig by Sandi Krawchenko Altner, Heartland Associates

Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction

The Thirteen by Susie Moloney, Random House Canada

Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction

The Girl in the Wall by Alison Preston, Signature Editions

Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction
Prix Alexander-Kennedy-Isbister pour les études et essais

King: William Lyon MacKenzie King: A Life Guided by the Hand of Destiny by Allan Levine, Douglas and McIntyre Publishers Inc.

John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer

Jennifer Still

Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher
Prix Mary-Scorer pour le meilleur livre par un éditeur du Manitoba

Butterfly Winter by W.P. Kinsella, Enfield and Wizenty (an imprint of Great Plains Publications)

McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award
YOUNGER CATEGORY:

S is for Science: A Discovery of Alphabet by Larry Verstraete, Sleeping Bear Press

OLDER CATEGORY:

Tori by Design by Colleen Nelson, Great Plains Teen Fiction

McNally Robinson Book of the Year

Not Being on a Boat by Esmé Claire Keith, Freehand Books (an imprint of Broadview Press)

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New Award

On the eve of the Manitoba Book Awards, where the first ever Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction will be presented, the Winnipeg Science Fiction Association has announced the creation of another new award. They’re naming it for a Manitoban, and Canada’s only (so-far) Grand Master of Science Fiction, A.E. Van Vogt. So far there’s not a lot of information about eligibility, or the method by which the award winner will be chosen. From the press release it’s safe to assume one must be a Canadian writer, so the Prix Aurora Awards and the Sunburst Award will have some company.

I do hope (as a writer of fantasy) that Science Fiction is being used as a catch-all term for “speculative fiction” (or whatever you want to call it). And yes, I hope this mostly because I don’t write science fiction, and it would be great to have another award my work is eligible for (let’s face it, I’ll never win a Booker, a GG or a Giller). However, there’s more to my hope than my writerly selfishness. While I read some science fiction, fantasy makes up much of my to-read pile, so I know I’ll be more invested in promoting and discussing this new award if I’ve read the works being considered (this is assuming a shortlist is even named–and I hope it is).

I’m looking forward to hearing more about the nuts and bolts of WINSFAs new award, but in the mean time, thank you, this is great news.

Press release below:

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – The Winnipeg Science Fiction Association Inc (WINSFA) is delighted to announce the creation of the A.E. VAN VOGT Award (The A.E.V.V.A.).

Exactly 100 years ago, on April 26, 1912, Alfred Elton Van Vogt was born on a farm in Edenburg, a Russian Mennonite community east of Gretna, Manitoba, Canada. By July 1939, he had written his first Science Fiction story and had it professionally published.. He continued to write in Winnipeg until 1944 and it was during this time that one of his major stories “SLAN” was written. By 1995 he was awarded the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) . He has been the ONLY Canadian Science Fiction Writer to be awarded this major title.

The Winnipeg Science Fiction Association (WINSFA) has taken advantage of this moment in time to create an award to honor this Manitoba born writer and his unique position as Canada’s only Grand Master and we extend our sincere gratitude to Van Vogt’s family for granting permission to honor his name & works.

This award will be called the A.E.Van Vogt Award or AEVVA.

We believe that this award, based on spotlighting the best in Canadian Science Fiction Writing over the past years, will:

  • Draw attention to Canadian Science Fiction
  • Demonstrate that Canada has been producing World class writers for some time.
  • Cause more people to talk about Science Fiction .
  • Promote better writing.
  • Discover more writers.

The actual award will consist of a presentation piece and monetary prize.

We will host the award ceremony here in Winnipeg in late Sept to continue our support of Canadian Science Fiction.

Good News Day

My publisher Turnstone Press just sent out the first press release for Thunder Road! Which means they just sent out my first press release!

Turnstone Press imprint Ravenstone, known until now for its mysteries and thrillers, expands to include speculative fiction in 2012. This fall Ravenstone will feature two new novels of speculative fiction with the talented up-and-coming fantasy writer, Chadwick Ginther, and the much-loved mystery-maven-turned-speculative-fictionista, Karen Dudley.

Here’s the whole deal.

In other news, Innsmouth Free Press released the Table of Contents for Fungi, edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Orrin Grey.

 

(Art by Oliver Wetter)

In no particular order:

  • Ann K. Schwader, “Cordyceps zombii” (poem)
  • A.C. Wise, “Where Dead Men Go to Dream”
  • Andrew Penn Romine, “Last Bloom on the Sage”
  • Camille Alexa, “His Sweet Truffle of a Girl”
  • Chadwick Ginther, “First They Came for the Pigs”
  • Daniel Mills, “Dust From a Dark Flower”
  • Ian Rogers, “Out of the Blue”
  • Jane Hertenstein, “Wild Mushrooms”
  • Jeff Vandermeer, “Corpse Mouth and Spore Nose”
  • John Langan, “Hyphae”
  • Julio Toro San Martin, “A Monster In The Midst”
  • Kris Reisz, “The Pilgrims of Parthen”
  • Laird Barron, “Gamma”
  • Lavie Tidhar, “The White Hands”
  • Lisa M. Bradley, “The Pearl in the Oyster and the Oyster Under Glass”
  • Molly Tanzer and Jesse Bullington, “Tubby McMungus, Fat From Fungus”
  • Nick Mamatas, “The Shaft Through The Middle of It All”
  • Paul Tremblay, “Our Stories Will Live Forever”
  • Polenth Blake, “Letters to a Fungus”
  • Richard Gavin, “Goatsbride”
  • Simon Strantzas, “Go Home Again”
  • Steve Berman, “Kum, Raúl (The Unknown Terror) – b. 1925, d. 1957”
  • W.H. Pugmire, “Midnight Mushrumps”

The three extra stories included in the hardcover edition are:

  • E. Catherine Tobler, “New Feet Within My Garden Go”
  • J.T. Glover, “The Flaming Exodus of the Greifswald Grimoire”
  • Claude Lalumière, “Big Guy and Little Guy’s Survivalist Adventure”

An Interview with M.K. Hobson

Here’s my promised follow-up interview with M.K. Hobson about the Kickstarter Project for her third novel, THE WARLOCK’S CURSE. In my years as a bookseller and writer I’ve interviewed over thirty writers, occasionally as a paying gig, but usually because of the simple reason that I loved their work. Mary is the first author I’ve reconnected with for a second interview (another first, her Kickstarter was the first one I ever backed!).

Enjoy!

CG: What encouraged you to give Kickstarter a try?

MKH: It’s very simple. Spectra didn’t want to continue my Veneficas Americana historical fantasy series and I did. I’ve got a very strong vision for this series, and since I managed to build some good momentum with the first two books, I thought THE WARLOCK’S CURSE was a prime candidate for testing the “new publishing” waters. Additionally, the book was almost complete by the time Spectra passed on it, and I was quite excited about the work I’d done, and I wanted to share it with readers (and because I’m ornery as a mule) I decided that’s what I would do.

CG: How’s the early response been to your project?

MKH: Very encouraging! We reached 40% of the funding goal within the first couple of days, and we’re getting close to 50% at the time of this writing. The funding velocity has, of course, slowed, but that’s par for the course. My expectation is that it’ll pick up again as we approach the finish line. I think backers get what we’re trying to do, and that’s to publish a book that objectively meets or exceeds every quality standard of a book published through traditional channels. That means professional cover art, editorial, copyediting, and publicity—all paid for at non-discounted industry-standard rates. In some ways, I’m testing this new model to see where it fails. Because where it fails (if it fails) is where we will find the answer to the commonly-asked question: “What do we need traditional publishers for, anyway?”  And if it doesn’t fail … well, we will be able to draw some interesting conclusions from that, won’t we?

CG: THE WARLOCK’S CURSE begins another duology in your Venficas Americana series, what is it about a two book arc that appeals to you over a standalone novel or a trilogy?

MKH: A duology gives me the right amount of space to tell the story I want and provides a nice symmetrical dramatic structure. You can build to a good nail-biting cliffhanger, send everyone out for refreshments during intermission, then bring things to a thundering climax in Book 2. Trilogies, in all honesty, creep me out. That middle book … what is that? It’s not the beginning, it’s not the end, it’s just … the middle. And stand-alone novels … well, clearly, I’m far too wordy for those.

CG: THE WARLOCK’S CURSE features Dreadnought and Emily’s son, why keep the series in the family for the third and fourth books?

MKH: From the get-go, I’ve imagined this as a multigenerational family saga. I am fascinated by family histories, how the triumphs and tragedies of each generation indelibly mark the next. I also have this funny concept that will begin to play out in the next two books—as we progress onward through the series, the characters we loved as heroes in the past books will inevitably form the core of whatever “shadowy cabal” the characters in the present book are striving against. The parents always think they know best, and the children are always out to prove them wrong. I think that’s a pretty true-to-life family dynamic, don’t you?

CG: You’ve continued your story through the generations, how far would you take it forward if you could? Could readers expect a futuristic, SFnal take on credomancy?

MKH: Absolutely! I’ve plotted duologies going forward in time through to the present day … but what the “present day” will be by the time I catch up to it is really anyone’s guess. Once I catch up to that “present,” it’ll surely be a hoot to see where I can take it from there.

CG: What was the most interesting thing you learned about the time period of THE WARLOCK’S CURSE?

MKH: I was astonished by how much disparity there was between the theoretical and the techological. By 1910, Einstein’s “annus mirabilis” was already five years in the past … and the “birth” of quantum physics came five years before that, with the debut of Planck’s constant at a meeting of the German Physical Society in 1900. But twelve years later, Americans were still hand-cranking their gasoline automobiles—electric starters didn’t first appear until 1912. That boggles me. The scientists had quantum physics figured out, but you couldn’t start a damn car without breaking your arm?

CG: Aside from the obvious addition of magic, were there any points where you deviated from history to serve your story?

MKH: In these next two books, I had to struggle a lot more with the problem of “breaking history.” Some of the quasi-magical/pseudo-technological advances I’ve put into this book make 1910 America feel a lot more like 1920s America. This is mostly because I felt compelled to avenge history’s more egregious sins against the sainted Nikola Tesla. As a result, there’s a form of “radio” in 1910 (though it’s delivered by Tesla’s World Wireless System, and is played on “Teslaphones”) and I consigned Edison to moving picture-moguldom, which is exactly where that slimy bounder belongs. It’s all very satisfying fictionally, but historically, it opens several cans of rather slippery worms. I had to fight to keep the cool technology from getting too advanced, because I have to leave places for myself to go in the next books. If the 1930s starts looking like the 1950s, and the 1950s starts looking like the 1980s, then we’ve got Nagel posters hanging on J. Edgar Hoover’s office walls, and no one wants that.

CG: As a sartorial aside, do you have a preference for the clothes of either time period of your two series?

MKH: The 1870s will always be one of my favorite eras, because the style is so decadent and sumptuous. The 1910s are much more restrained—slightly dull, even. But when you set the two eras side by side, you begin to see how truly revolutionary the simplicity of the 1900s was. It’s hard, from the vantage point of today, to appreciate how very different and fresh the fashions were. But when you stand in the 1870s and look *forward* … it’s much easier to see, and much more impressive.

Kickstarter

I signed up for a Kickstarter account today.

What’s Kickstarter?

It’s a chance for artists of all stripes to crowd-fund their work. Kickstarter struck me as a good thing in general, and I’ve watched a few projects slide by being promoted on my Twitter feed and was glad to see that they’d exist (Evil Hat Productions’ Dinocalypse Now, I’m looking at you). Still, I’ve never felt the need to contribute. What changed?

It’s all M.K. Hobson’s fault.

I met Mary at the 2010 World Fantasy Convention. It was lovely to be able to chat with Mary at her signing table and I had a blast at her co-launch party with Catherynne Valente at WFC. As it happened, I was reading Mary’s (not-at-the-time-but-eventually-to-be Nebula Award nominated) debut novel The Native Star. I loved the book. I wanted to read more stories in the world she created. Unfortunately the series was cut prematurely short after only a second book.

Enter Kickstarter and The Warlock’s Curse.

So. Here we are. Me with another fabulous way for me to spend money on books. 😀

If you’re not familiar with her work, here’s my post-convention McNally Robinson Booksellers interview with M.K. Hobson. Even better, she’s offered to answer a few more questions about her Kickstarter project, The Warlock’s Curse, so stick around, I’ll have another post soon.

CG: How did you get your start as a writer?

MKH: I have been writing stories since I learned how to write. I had an early fascination with the book as an object, so I wasn’t just content to write stories, I also had to do the illustrations, create a cover, and bind the pages into a book. The results were always slightly unsatisfactory — and they still are, truth be told. It’s like there’s this Platonic ideal of a book in my mind, I don’t know how it got there, but I doubt I will ever achieve its creation.

CG: What attracted you to writing in the period of the Reconstruction?

MKH: I think the “Gilded Age” — the period after the Civil War and before World War One — is one of the most fascinating, definitive periods in American history. The seeds of much of what we are as a nation today were planted then. We were just beginning to look at ourselves as “Americans”, just beginning to realize that our future destiny might be much larger than we’d ever imagined. It was a very exciting and mythic time.

CG: What was the most interesting tidbit of information you found while researching your novel?

MKH: While researching the book, I first learned about the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. The Exposition, which was the first World’s Fair in the United States, really captured my fancy, to the point where it ultimately became a large set-piece in the second half of the book. I find events like the Exposition fascinating because it was so beautiful and so cosmopolitan, and yet so temporary.

CG: What would you say was your greatest challenge in writing The Native Star?

MKH: I wrote the book all the way back in 2002, when my daughter was very young, so simply finding time to write was a challenge. Also, I had to pare back everything I wanted to do to keep the narrative tight. There are many alternative scenes that never made it into the book.

CG: There seems to be an environmental undercurrent to the book, what with the Black Exunge acting as a sort of toxic waste and the populace’s reliance on magic feels similar to our modern relationship with oil. Was this intentional?

MKH: Originally it wasn’t, but as I fleshed out the idea and the parallels became more obvious, I did play it up. I didn’t mean it to be an ecological statement as much as a critique of the kind of short-sighted “manifest destiny” mode of thinking that was so prevalent during the industrial revolution (and is still prevalent today, alas.)

CG: The magic system of your book is fascinating and multi-layered. Could you explain a little about it to our readers, and why you decided to include multiple types of magic?

MKH: Because this is historical fantasy, I wanted to come up with a magic system that would fit with real-life magical traditions from around the world. Looking at a wide variety of them — hoodoo, Ozark folk magic, European, Asian and African magical systems — I tried to extract the commonalities. Those, as I saw them, were faith, spirit, and blood. That’s how the three magical “traditions” came into being.

CG: Since Credomancy affects reality with a sort of majority consensus rules, if you could make enough people believe one thing in order to change to our world, what would it be?

MKH: If every human being were to truly believe that the happiness of every other human being was just as important as his/her own happiness, I think most of the world’s problems could be solved pretty quickly.

CG: In your world, magic exists as a part of everyday life. Why did you decide to integrate it into society rather than having it remain hidden from the general populace?

MKH: I love a good “secret history” as much as the next writer, but I didn’t want to take that approach with this book because I was really interested in seeing how I could integrate magic with actual history. Also, settings in which magic is practiced in secret usually end up having one of “those” scenes … you know, where a muggle sees something magic, or one of Darrin Steven’s clients sees Samantha levitating a casserole out of the oven, and there’s a big zany to-do about it … and I find those kinds of scenes really exceptionally tedious. I prefer to avoid them all together.

CG: A big part of Steampunk seems to be the “Do it Yourself” attitude it fosters. How involved are you in the craft side of the culture?

MKH: I really enjoy sewing and costuming. I’ve created several period costumes for myself (photo courtesy of Devon Monk), and I also love sewing for my daughter, who’s just getting started on the con scene and has a way better figure than I do. She’s a joy to sew for.

CG: Steampunk has been one of the more popular movements in SF lately, but you coined the term “Bustlepunk” for your work. Could you explain the distinction?

MKH: For me, “Bustlepunk” reflects my own personal interest in the manners and sartorial trappings of the era–whereas Steampunk generally seems more focused in the gizmos and techology.

CG: You’ve written the series as a duology. Do you have any plans for Emily and Dreadnought beyond Book 2, The Hidden Goddess?

MKH: There are a lot of places I could go after The Hidden Goddess. My original idea was to jump forward fifteen or twenty years and begin another duology following one of their sons. However, I do have an idea for another Emily & Dreadnought book, so I could possibly write that. I’d also very much like to write a book or books about Penelope Pendennis.

CG: Finally, what is your favourite Western Myth or Legend?

MKH: I don’t know if I’d call it my “favorite” myth, but the myth of the rugged individualist with a strict moral code–whether he’s a heroic gunslinger with a past or an honest sheriff facing down a pack of bad guys–is the one I most strongly resonate to, and is probably the one that has the strongest influence (for good or ill is a matter of debate) on the American psyche.

2012 Prix Aurora Nominations

The nominations are out for the 2012 Prix Aurora Awards. It’s a great list of books, stories and creators, with some serious domination by my pals over at ChiZine. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I could fill my entire novel ballot every year with ChiZine books and still have deserving titles left out in the cold, so kudos to them for capturing four (!) of the six novel slots.

Special shout outs to Helen Marshall and Sandra Kasturi for inviting me to participate in the 2011 Spec Fic Colloquium, to On Spec Magazine for publishing my first short story in their Summer 2011 issue, and to Dan O’Driscoll who was the cover artist for my (yes, I’m claiming it as mine) issue of On Spec.

I feel privileged to be friends with many of this years nominees, and want to wish everyone good luck!

Professional Award Nominations

Best Novel – English

Enter Night by Michael Rowe, ChiZine Publications

Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism by David Nickle, ChiZine Publications

Napier’s Bones by Derryl Murphy, ChiZine Publications

The Pattern Scars by Caitlin Sweet, ChiZine Publications

Technicolor Ultra Mall by Ryan Oakley, EDGE

Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer, Penguin Canada

Best Short Fiction – English

The Legend of Gluck” by Marie Bilodeau, When the Hero Comes Home, Dragon Moon Press

The Needle’s Eye” by Suzanne Church, Chilling Tales: Evil Did I Dwell; Lewd Did I Live, EDGE

One Horrible Day” by Randy McCharles, The 2nd Circle, The 10th Circle Project

Turning It Off” by Susan Forest, Analog, December

To Live and Die in Gibbontown” by Derek Künsken, Asimov’s, October/November

Best Poem / Song – English

A Good Catch” by Colleen Anderson, Polu Texni, April

Ode to the Mongolian Death Worm” by Sandra Kasturi, ChiZine, Supergod Mega-Issue, Volume 47

Skeleton Leaves” by Helen Marshall, Kelp Queen Press

“Skeleton Woman”” by Heather Dale and Ben Deschamps, Fairytale, CD

Zombie Bees of Winnipeg” by Carolyn Clink, ChiZine, Supergod Mega-Issue, Volume 47

Best Graphic Novel – English

Goblins, webcomic, created by Tarol Hunt

Imagination Manifesto, Book 2 by GMB Chomichuk, James Rewucki and John Toone, Alchemical Press

Weregeek, webcomic, created by Alina Pete

Best Related Work – English

Fairytale, CD by Heather Dale, HeatherDale.com

The First Circle: Volume One of the Tenth Circle Project, edited by Eileen Bell and Ryan McFadden

Neo-Opsis, edited by Karl Johanson

On Spec, published by the Copper Pig Writers’ Society

Tesseracts Fifteen: A Case of Quite Curious Tales, edited by Julie Czerneda and Susan MacGregor, EDGE

Best Artist (Professional and Amateur Nominations)

(An example of each artist’s work is listed below but they are to be judged on the body of work they have produced in the award year)

Janice Blaine, “Cat in Space”, Cover art for Neo-Opsis, Issue 20

Costi Gurgu,cover art for Outer Diverse, Starfire

Erik Mohr, cover art for ChiZine Publications

Dan O’Driscoll, “Deep Blue Seven”, cover art for On Spec magazine, Summer issue

Martin Springett, Interior art for The Pattern Scars, ChiZine

Fan/Volunteer Award Nominations

Best Fan Publication

BCSFAzine, edited by Felicity Walker

Bourbon and Eggnog by Eileen Bell, Ryan McFadden, Billie Milholland and Randy McCharles, 10th Circle Project

In Places Between: The Robin Herrington Memorial Short Story Contest book, edited by Reneé Bennett

Sol Rising newsmagazine, edited by Michael Matheson

Space Cadet, edited by R. Graeme Cameron

Best Fan Filk

Stone Dragons (Tom and Sue Jeffers), concert at FilKONtario

Phil Mills, Body of Song-Writing Work including FAWM and 50/90

Cindy Turner, Interfilk concert at OVFF

Best Fan Organizational

Andrew Gurudata, chair of the Constellation Awards committee

Peter Halasz, administrator of the Sunburst Awards

Helen Marshall and Sandra Kasturi, chairs of the Chiaroscuro Reading Series (Toronto)

Randy McCharles, founder and chair of When Words Collide (Calgary)

Alex von Thorn, chair of SFContario 2 (Toronto)

Rose Wilson, for organizing the Art Show at V-Con (Vancouver)

Best Fan Other

Lloyd Penney,letters of comment

Peter Watts, “Reality: The Ultimate Mythology” lecture, Toronto SpecFic Colloquium

Taral Wayne, Canadian Fanzine Fanac Awards art

Another Sale!

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend. Good Friday got off to a great start as a woke up to a contract in my Inbox from Innsmouth Free Press for my Sword and Fungus (like Sword and Sorcery, but with mushrooms) yarn “First They Came for the Pigs”. I wrote the story on spec for the Fungi anthology edited by Orrin Grey and Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

“First They Came for the Pigs” will be lurking beneath this awesome cover by Oliver Wetter. Also cool: Molly Tanzer and Jesse Bullington–two amazing writers–co-wrote and sold a story for Fungi. I’m quite chuffed about sharing a Table of Contents with them. As soon as the editors release the complete TOC, I’ll be sure to post it here (I mean come on, that’s like the easiest blog post EVAR).

2012 is shaping up to be a pretty solid year so far; two short story sales (both succeeding first time out of the gate, I might add), four reviews for Quill and Quire and a number of other things down the pipe I can’t quite talk about yet. And of course, Thunder Road lands in the fall.