I love Powell’s, City of Books. It’s one of the major draws to Portland — not just that we’ve got a giant bookstore, but that we’ve got the sort of literate culture that requires the giant store. In the science-fiction and fantasy section, there’s this column, signed by SF & F authors who visit. Inspired by Cherie Priest’s visit, I wandered up to the SF desk and said, “Hi, I’m the Campbell Award winner for this year. Could I sign the column?”
This was cool because:
a) This is the first time I’ve introduced myself that way and it was sort of like playing dressup.
b) I didn’t have to explain anything else. His eyes sort of lit up, he congratulated me, and grabbed the key.
c) My name is on the column at Powell’s! Like I’m a real author and everything!
I know, it’s ridiculous that it has that effect on me, but holy cow! Do you know how many times I’ve looked at the names on there and marveled?
Sean was very accommodating and took photos for me. Look! You can see him in the reflection on the column.
When we had the Codex Writers’ Retreat we had a cookout one night and on another night we went out to barbecue. I had to explain to some of the guests that the two words were not synonymous. The following song will explain better than I could.
Here’s a bit of wine-maker jargon for you. Our friend Wayne is in town for a couple of days. He and Rob have been talking wine and wine making like they’ve both been starving. I’ve been listening and mostly staying out of their way. But this, this I had to share.
We were at dinner and they were talking about this new winery that Rob has started working at ((Did I forget to mention that?)) and he said something about how all the grapes were going to be delivered in FYBs.
I said, “What’s an FYB?”
Wayne looked at the table next to us and then said, “Well. F stands for something that’s not polite to say at a restaurant.”
I stare at him for a second before I get it. “Really?”
“Yes. With an -ing. Then the other two are Yellow Bin.”
Rob confirmed. Apparently the F***ing Yellow Bins are so universally reviled for being hard to work with that this is an industry standard term. Everyone calls them FYBs.
By this point, I think everyone probably heard about Jay Lake’s colon cancer news. The man is a cancer survivor the likes of which the world has never seen. When I heard the diagnosis, I emailed him asking if there was anything I could do for him from New York.
Oh yes. Yes, there was.
Jay asked me to build a puppet of his tumor, because he wanted to be “smarter and funnier” than his cancer. Before I had materials in hand, it was clear that Jay had kicked the tumor without the need for puppetry.
The colon, on the other hand, is a troublesome thing. So, I’m building Jay Lake a puppet of his colon in a jar. Today, I went shopping for specimen jars. Besides needing something the right size and shape, it also needed to be plastic so that I can drill holes in it with abandon. Tomorrow I’ll start the mech for the “mouth” of the colon.
Jim C. Hines has composed these verses which I think will tickle you. Indeed, you should visit his site to see the whole of it.
I am the Very Model of a Modern SF Novelist
I am the very model of a modern SF novelist,
I’ve manuscripts space opera, anime, and fantasist,
I know the kings of fandom and the best flamewars historical
From Andrew Burt to LiveJournal, in order categorical;
I’m very well acquainted too, with matters editorial,
I keep my cover letters brief and never too suctorial,
About rejection etiquette I’m teeming with propriety,
With many cheerful facts about your online notoriety,
I’m very good at worldbuilding and proper use of ansibles;
I know the hyphenated names of beings unpronounceable:
In short, in matters space opera, anime, and fantasist,
I am the very model of a modern SF novelist.
Last Thursday, you may recall, I posted a bunch of my one-star Amazon reviews and challenged other authors to do the same, the idea being, you know, that there are worse things in life than a negative Amazon review. And what do you know, authors have begun taking me up on the challenge, posting choice one and two star reviews they have received. How very healthy of them.
I thought I wouldn’t get to play along, not having any novels out, but, behold! One of the anthologies I’m in has a one star-review.
The title of this book clearly tries to capitualize on the popular sci-fi motion picture “Solaris” and the underlying work, but nothing could be further from the truth. These stories at are best second rate, and most are third rate. The plots are often interesting but the prose is pedestrian, the charaters are wooden, and the outcomes are guessed a mile in advance. Save your money for the Tessaracts series
Wooden characters! Pedestrian prose! Predictable!
Scalzi was right, you can take a certain amount of joy from a negative review.
(Tor Books – July 14 2020) Mary Robinette Kowal continues her Hugo and Nebula award-winning Lady Astronaut series, following The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, with The Relentless Moon. The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor strike becomes more and more clear, but the political situation is already overheated. Riots and […]