Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hugos, Puppies and Glee. Oh My....

Just getting back from a weekend of family Easter-y things and bonus college visit so it's time to catch my breath and take in this weekend's announcement.  I'm finding it a little difficult to express how thrilled and honored I am that Verity! has been nominated for a Hugo Award in the Fancast category.  This is a project that has consumed massive quantities of time, all given willingly and (mostly) cheerfully. It is something I think about every day, and work on nearly as much.  Don't get me wrong, last year's nomination for Chicks Unravel Time was pretty amazing, but books are a different beast.  The lead time for a book is considerable so by the time it is actually published you've moved onto the next thing and its become a sort of "what I did on my summer vacation" memory. (Seriously, all of a sudden the hand wringing, deadline anxiety, copy edit wrangling is wrapped up in a hazy fondness. Much like childbirth, you tend to gloss over the pain!) But Verity! is very immediate. It's what I did last week, it's what I'm doing today, and what I'll be doing next month.   And I couldn't be more pleased. So hats off to Erika, Kat, Liz, Lynne and Tansy - we made a really cool thing.  Just as importably, hats off to all the Doctor Who Podcasts who supported us, offered assistance and set the bar amazingly high (I'm looking at you, Radio Free Skaro). We couldn't have done it without you.

What else is making me happy about this year is SO MANY of my nominations made the ballot.* I'm particularly pleased that Aliette de Bodard was nominated for her novelette The Waiting Stars. Her work just keeps getting better and better. Lee Harris of Angry Robots is another happy making nom. Angry Robots' range keeps surprising me so kudos to the team. The entire, incredibly diverse "Best Related Works" category is fantastic, with a special shout-out to book-cousin "Queers Dig Time Lords" edited by Michael Damien Thomas and Sigrid Ellis. And check out the Best Fan Writer nominees! I literally squeaked when they were announced. How can I choose the best out of THAT line-up?  Collectively they've put out hard-hitting, gut-wrenching and incredibly impactful pieces that not only examine SF/F but the SF/F fandom and gender politics. I'll also admit a soft spot for Paul Cornell's "The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who", nominated for Best Graphic Story. And not only because Verity! is vaguely referenced. It really is a charming love letter to all that is good in Doctor Who.

My Verity! cohorts  have also done very well for themselves.  Tansy Rayner Roberts has the distinction of competing against herself as her own podcast, Galactic Suburbia, has also been nominated for Best Fancast.  Lynne M. Thomas has once again been nominated for Apex Magazine. Well deserved nom to top off her final, triumphant year as editor. (I had an essay published in Apex in 2013 so I'm basking in a bit of reflected glory....)  All in all, 2014's ballot is diverse, representative and filled with things I love. (Five-ish Doctors! Vote Five(ish) Doctors!)

Then there's the Sad Puppy Campaign. Whatever. The downside of a democratic process is that someone, somewhere will find some way to the job the system. Is it illegal? No. Is it distasteful? Yes. For the record, I have NO problem whatsoever with a creator announcing their eligible works. A year is a long time to have things stick around in crowded brain spaces. I also don't have a problem with anyone (creator or fan) telling me who they're voting for or who they'd recommend. There have been more than one instance where I've discovered amazing works that hadn't hit my radar thanks to recommendations made by someone whose work I admire. What I do have a problem with is someone making the nomination a political "shove-it-up-their-arse" move.  But, perhaps naively, I have faith in the inherent decency of people. I hope that all of those who bought memberships simply for political reasons find something in the voting package that blows their socks off, expands their world-view and makes them rethink their life choices. They probably won't, but it's possible. I hope that the cream rises to the top, on its own merit. I hope that, this year more than ever, votes are cast thoughtfully and with great conviction. Yes, name recognition is often a deciding factor when someone has run out of time, or interest, in a category but I hope people give this year's votes more care.  The award, and ALL the nominees, deserve that consideration.

This year's ballot may be slightly tarnished, but I'm choosing to bask in the good. There is an awful lot to be happy about. So, congratulations to all the nominees! May the odds be ever in your favor. ;-)

*I'll save my ranting about the lack of a YA category for another day. Because...really? 

Friday, April 18, 2014

I was doing some housekeeping at the Verity! blog when I decided to pop in here for a dust and tidy as well...which is when I realized I hadn't updated since last summer. Crikey, how did THAT happen?! All I can say is thank you internet gods for The Twitters because some days 140 characters is just a about all I have time for.

Lots of things are happening, both personally and professionally but, to be honest, the personal is sucking all the air out of the room at the moment. The Eldest Child is down to the wire in making his choice for University. Having so many options is a *good* problem but it still is taking up a lot of brain space and family time as we do one last whip round of school visits.

On another personal note I have finally succumbed to the lure of the Mac. I'm writing this post on a shiny, new MacBook Air which I have fallen madly in love with. It's been a short, passionate affair that goes something like this:

Day 1:  Shiny!!!
Day 2:  Shiny, shiny toy!
Day 3:  Oh dear god, what have I done?
Day 4:  Okay, this isn't so bad...
Day 5:  I..think I'm getting the hang of this.
Day 6:  Okay, I know I still have things to learn, but I'm really liking this...
Day 7:  Forgive me Saint Jobs! All these years...wasted. Never leave me, you darling machine.

I know there are still frustrating days ahead but consider me a full-fledged consumer of the Apple Kool-Aid.

In a more serious note, Emma Vieceli recently wrote an excellent post on the limits of film production when it comes to female-driven properties. This topic has been nudging its way to the front of the brain queue as we're poised on the brink of the "summer blockbuster" season. Last summer Linda Holmes, of the NPR blog Monkeysee and Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, wrote a fantastic article on finding women in the movies. (Hint: it wasn't easy.) I'll be looking at this more in the very near future. Will this summer see something different or will we be, as in 2013, looking at another "solid, impenetrable wall of movies about dudes"? Hmmmm....