In the attempt not to write a novel-length report, I am limiting myself to the highest of the high points:
In Which Much SF Goodness Ensues
- I was happy to be able to attend The Golden Duck Awards (for Science Fiction Literature for Children), which has a long and distinguished history. This year Suzanne Collins's Catching Fire became the first novel to win after its predecessor in a series (The Hunger Games) also had won. It received the Hal Clement Young Adult Award. The complete list of Golden Duck winners is here.
- Gardner Dozois crashed our panel on young adult novels and was delightful. I'm especially pleased I had the opportunity to chat a good while with fellow-panelist Jana Oliver (a.k.a. crazywritergirl) about the House of Night novels and Tulsa, the phenomenon of adult readers enjoying young adult novels, and her forthcoming young adult dark fantasy series Demon Trappers and its carefully-researched relationship to/setting in Atlanta. The cover art for the first novel looks beautiful; you can see the U.K. version here.
- Schedule-wise, I always seemed to be zigging when podcast pioneer Mur Lafferty was zagging, so we didn't have the chance to talk a great deal at any one time, but it was a great treat to be on the same panel with her about 21st-century fandom, and I look forward to our paths crossing again soon. She's one cool lady.
- I thoroughly enjoyed meeting author matthewsrotundo and attending his reading of "The Woman Who Hated Halloween." Now I'm even more in the mood for October, if that's possible.
- After hearing her stories, I'm convinced Mary Robinette Kowal should write her next novel about her bionic centenarian grandmother. I'd read it.
- Our panel on regional fandom was a hoot, and now I'm doubly excited about being a guest at next year's StellarCon.
- My solo presentation about young adult dystopian fiction was absurdly well attended, and afterward the conversation spilled out into the hallway and continued for a while longer. I was most pleased by the great discussion that followed. Thanks, everyone!
- Last but definitely not least, several StarShipSofa listeners introduced themselves to me, talked about the podcast, and expressed support for its chances in this year's Hugos. This made my day -- my whole con, in fact.
In Which My "Must Read" List Grows
Here are some of the titles I added, thanks to NASFiC:
- Bull Spec, which is a new hard-copy magazine of speculative fiction -- roughly, science fiction, fantasy, slipstream, and a few other bits around the edges -- published quarterly from Durham, North Carolina. It's off to an impressive start.
- Redstone Science Fiction, which is a new online magazine of speculative fiction that publishes quality stories from across the science fiction spectrum, from post-cyberpunk to new space opera. The most recent issue has a story from Gray Rinehart, so I know it must be good.
- I was already interested Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve before the con, but now I'm even more enthusiastic. I had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the author, William H. Patterson, Jr., and also attend a reception in honor of the book, at which he shared additional insights on Heinlein, his relationships, and his use of satire -- as well as a sneak peek at the rare pictures included in the volume. This will hit bookstores in a week, so there's not long to wait.
- The Last Man Anthology, a forthcoming collection of stories inspired by one of my very favorite novels, Mary Shelley's The Last Man. It will be available in October.
- Journal of a UFO Investigator: A Novel by David Halperin, due out in February 2011, which promises to be a fascinating read.
In non-genre news, while in Raleigh I also had a wonderful dinner and chat with two fabulous ladies, shiny_elfriend and ashesngolddust. Here's hoping there's an opportunity for a repeat soon.
"Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today- but the core of science fiction, its essence, the concept about which resolves, has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all. "
- Isaac Asimov, "My Own View," The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Holdstock, ed., 1978