Women are destroying science fiction. Resistance is useless.

WDSFLightspeed magazine decided last year to do a magazine of SF created entirely by women. Some bigots in the industry believe that we are ruining the genre with our icky fallopian tubes and our breast milk spraying everywhere and should just sit down and shut up. So, we have decided to let their prophecy come to pass. We have decided to completely destroy science fiction.

Guest edited by the amazing Christie Yant, this month’s magazine has many more stories as usual (from Seanan McGuire! Charlie Jane Anders! James Tiptree, Jr! NK Jemisin! Amal El-Mohtar! Nonfic from Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam! And more more more!) , over 180,000 words of content, and twice as many stories podcasted as usual, and that’s where I have the honor of coming in. I am the guest host of this month’s podcasts, taking over from Jim Freund. So if you miss my intros from Escape Pod and Pseudopod, this is where you can find me for a month at least, introducing some amazing stories.

You can find out how to get the magazine – and its unprecedented print copy! – at Lightspeed’s website where you can subscribe, get the podcast, or leave a comment about how icky girls are getting their cooties all over your space ships. But we’re coming.

Resistance is useless Vogon(And I kept waiting for someone to “well, actually” me and say the phrase is “resistance is futile” and then I would point out that I was quoting Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – I love the Vogon guard, who knows exactly what he wants out of life – and not Star Trek, but then no one, did, and my defense went pffffftttt. But I do have this neat image from the classic BBC series.

 

Jay Lake

Jay Lake passed this morning. When I think about him, I remember him as strong, kind, and welcoming. And those seem like mild words, but Jay was the epitome of all three, unlike anyone I’ve ever met.

Jay wouldn’t say he was strong against his cancer, he was the first to say he was angry and frightened. But he was strong in the way that he didn’t hide it, he didn’t deny it, and he was open about what it did to him. He blogged about his cancer, he revealed much of the mystery behind it, and the treatments, and he was totally honest. He never put hope into miracles; he had hope, of course, but when the science told him he was terminal, he accepted it and put his affairs in order making sure his daughter was taken care of. (I had a relative who denied cancer for months and the family scrambled to get things done when the end was obvious. This was difficult.) He even threw his own wake to say good bye to friends last summer.

He also fiercely protected his daughter’s privacy, wanting her life online to be hers, not an extension of him. He blogged about his politics and his atheism with equal strength, never getting shouty and personal, but always presenting his arguments clearly.

Jay was always kind to me, he gave me an interview at my first WorldCon, and always said hello. He always welcomed people into SFF; I heard twice today on Twitter that new(ish) writers said they had met Jay, and he had remembered them the next time they met, even though they didn’t expect him to. Writers meet a lot of people at cons, after all, but Jay would likely remember you.

The day after the Hugo awards last year, he made a point to talk to me and tell me that he was in charge of caring for/keeping track of the Campbell tiara. He told me that, in addition to me winning the award, he was passing that responsibility to me, since he thought I was passionate enough about the award to make sure the tiara tradition continued. I nearly cried right there.

One of the biggest thrills of my life was receiving the Campbell Award from Jay and his daughter, and then getting a picture with them afterward. Jay is well loved and will be missed.

lake_campbell

Jay Lake, me, and Jay’s daughter after the Hugo ceremony – Photo © 2013 James J. Seals, all rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.

Anthology Sale!

I am thrilled to announce I made a story sale to John Joseph Adams for the extremely amusing anthology, Help Fund My Robot Army!  This book features stories written entirely in the form of Kickstarter (or other crowdfunding) campaigns, inspired by the Keffy R.M. Kehrli story of the same title (and format.) My story is “SAVE THE PHOTOPHOBIC HEMOGLOBIVORES WITH THE SANGUINE RESERVE!” *

See the rest of the ToC here.

robot-army

* Thanks to Fran Wilde for helping me make the title sexier.

Weathering the bizarre post-RT shitstorm

At 6:15 yesterday morning, I boarded an airport shuttle with my friend Ursula. I was tired. Worn out from the RT Booklover’s Convention and lots of walking in NOLA. I was surprised and pleased to see my local friend Nan on the shuttle. As I sat down, she said, “How was your RT?”

I said, “It was Ursula.”

Now, see, I had the following thought in my tired head, I should introduce Nan to Ursula. I’m not sure if they know each other. That’s polite. It’s good to be polite pre-dawn, otherwise we become barbarians. Wait. Nan asked me a question. I should answer that first. I’ll say, “It was fine, thanks. By the way, do you know Ursula?” But the brain got short-circuited and I mixed my messages because I was thinking one thing while trying to address something else. So I said, “It was Ursula.”

Common, forgivable mistake, right?

There’s a shitstorm going on now in the wake of the Romantic Times Booklover’s Convention.* As an attendee and as someone who was at the Giant Book Fair on Saturday, I’m very confused about this storm.

Facts:

  1. The Book Fair had two rooms. One for authors published by publishing houses and one for indie (self-pub) authors. The indie author room was called “The Indie Author Room.” I think our room was called the “Published Author” room, or something more descriptive and less offensive. Ursula even mentioned how diplomatic it was.**
  2. The books were sold with two different business plans. Publishers give bookstores a returns program, so if they don’t sell books, they can return them. Indie authors can’t offer the same perk. So RT purchased their pub house books from distributors and told indie authors they could sell on consignment. I wasn’t in the indie author room, so I don’t know too many details about this, but it’s broken down here in this post by Courney Milan.
  3. The fact no one is talking about- RT gave away several identifying badge ribbons. I received one that said “Published Author.” Another one I saw several people wearing was “Aspiring Author.” People weren’t forced to wear these. Aspiring wasn’t a derogatory term. Aspiring also didn’t mean indie.

My theory: A harried volunteer – RT is a HUGE convention, and the volunteers often seemed frustrated or confused – saw someone’s “Aspiring Author” ribbon, got that phrase stuck in their head, and instead of directing someone to the “indie author room” instead said, “aspiring author” room.

This is just a theory. But I was there, and I never once heard about this “aspiring author” room although the indie room was mentioned many times over the loudspeaker. Still, word has gotten out, and the rumor mill is going strong (fueled in part by Hugh Howey) about how horrible RT is for treating indie self-pub authors as “aspiring.” Civil rights terms are coming up in boggling misappropriation, even.

SHOULD the pub authors and the indie authors have been placed together? Probably. We certainly weren’t separated based on popularity or books sold; I would bet cash money that a lot of the indie authors sold more books than I did. They had their fans, their books were in demand.

COULD the authors have been placed together? Frankly, with the very confusing setup and the nightmare lines that were already there, I think mixing the two groups would have made everything so much worse.

So the real question here is, was there a way to keep both authors in the same room? Honestly, no, our room was full to “Oh god I hope there isn’t a fire” with 200 authors and more fans. Could the group have been separated by A-L authors in one room and M-Z in the other? That might make sense. But there’s still the problem of the consignment vs bookstore-provided books. The “let the cashier figure it out” isn’t an option, trust me when I say these lines were hellishly long. It took hours for some people to get through.

(Course I did wonder why they just didn’t have it like an SF convention with one big dealer room open the whole con instead of four intense hours, where the author drops by the booth when she can, but that’s another story.)

There is something to talk about here, but focusing on a slip of one volunteer’s tongue and stirring a shitstorm of WE ARE NOT RESPECTED11!!11!!!! is not the way to do it. I’m not saying this is a tone argument, I’m saying this is misinformation that is getting a hell of a lot more attention than the truth is. It’s heavily distracting from the real issue of “is there a way to mix the two groups in an efficient way that’s good to the authors AND the poor fans already so patient to wait in hell-lines?”

*Tiny, shameful aside – is anyone else glad it’s not SFF that’s the genre-of-shitstorm-focus this week?

**Ursula and I are both hybrid publishers.