July 12th, 2007


quick update

Dear friends -

Yep, I'm still alive. The Intensive Institute in SF is running very well, with many interesting and insightful people involved. From all over the world, I might add, mostly from out of town this year. Six people staying in the dorm, so there's more cameraderie than some years, with nearly half the class having lunch together each day and dinner each evening, plus extracurricular stuff like movies and such. Fun but exhausting.

The Campbell Conference went fantastically. If you still don't know who won the Awards, here's part of what I'm writing for LOCUS: Third place for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short science fiction of 2006 went to “Lord Weary's Empire,” by Michael Swanwick; second place to “A Billion Eves,” by Robert Reed; and the winner was Robert Charles Wilson for his story, “The Cartesian Theater.” Wilson was present to accept his trophy and speak to the audience.

Third place for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel of 2006 was a tie between BLINDSIGHT, by Peter Watts, and FARTHING, by Jo Walton. Second place went to THE LAST WITCHFINDER, by James Morrow. Ben Bova, who took over editing ASTOUNDING/ANALOG magazine when Campbell died in 1971, won for TITAN, his latest in the Grand Tour series. Bova was also present to receive his honor.

Here are a bunch of photos of the event.

Just got home from the new Harry Potter movie with some of the Institute students. Let me tell you, corrupted beaurocracy is far scarier than monsters. A political message there, hmmmm?

Got my copies of Visual Journeys in the mail yesterday, and the book looks great! Haven't had time to read any of the stories yet, but flipped through and enjoyed the art very much.

Slept 12 hours last night, catching up after many days of not sleeping much, and beat an illness that was threatening to overwhelm me. I should do some more of that now.

Not reading any LJ during this crazy-busy time, really, so if something big has happened in your life, please let me know here! I would like to keep up with friends' lives.

Off to bed!

Campbell Award process

I have gotten a few questions about Ben Bova's TITAN winning this year's John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Some have asked if my recent post is an explanation for why the novel won the Award.

No, that simply describes my own feelings about the genre. For everyone's information, here's some info on the Campbell Award and its selection process:

The Award was created to honor the late editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine (now named Analog). Campbell, who edited the magazine from 1937 until his death in 1971, is called, by many writers and scholars, the father of modern science fiction. Writers and critics Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss established the award in Campbell's name as a way of continuing his efforts to encourage writers to produce their best possible work. Incidentally, Ben Bova edited the magazine for many years after Campbell's death.

Campbell-Award nominees come from the science-fiction publishers and from individual jurors. Jurors currently include Gregory Benford, Paul Carter, Elizabeth Anne Hull, me, Farah Mendlesohn, Pamela Sargent, Tom Shippey, and James Gunn as Award Chair. The jurors read all these books - usually starting in December or earlier - and then debate the books on their merits, coming up with a list of finalists in May upon which we vote for a winner.

We do not try to achieve consensus the way the smaller jury for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award does, though occasionally many favor the same novels. Some books are passionately put forth and others dismissed with equal passion. Not infrequently, the same book is both one juror's favorite and another's least-favorite. So far, no one has been moved to name-calling or bomb-throwing, but these debates can get pretty enthusiastic.

I hope this helps everyone understand the process. I'll ask for Betty's notes from when she announced TITAN as the winner and see if she's willing to share them here.