Archive for March, 2008

Hugo Award Nominees Announced

Posted: March 25, 2008 in Hot Book News

2008 Hugo Award Nominees
Published on 21 Mar 2008 at 12:09 pm..

Denvention 3, the 66th World Science Fiction Convention, has announced the ballot for the 2008 Hugo Awards. Nominations were made by the members of last year’s World Science Fiction Convention, held in Yokohama, and this year’s, to be held in Denver. Members of the 2008 convention will have until July 1, 2008, to vote on this ballot. Winners will be announced and trophies awarded at Denvention’s Hugo Awards Ceremony on Saturday, August 9.

The voting will be conducted by mail and online. The online ballot will be available at the Denvention 3 web site in the near future. You do not have to attend the convention to vote. A Supporting Membership ($50) is sufficient to secure you voting rights. Memberships can be purchased here.

The full list of nominees for this year’s Hugo Awards, and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, is as follows:

Best Novel

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon (HarperCollins, Fourth Estate)
Brasyl by Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr)
Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer (Tor; Analog Oct. 2006-Jan/Feb. 2007)
The Last Colony by John Scalzi (Tor)
Halting State by Charles Stross (Ace)

Best Novella

“The Fountain of Age” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s July 2007)
“Recovering Apollo 8″ by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov’s Feb. 2007)
“Stars Seen Through Stone” by Lucius Shepard (F&SF July 2007)
“All Seated on the Ground” by Connie Willis (Asimov’s Dec. 2007, Subterranean Press)
“Memorare” by Gene Wolfe (F&SF April 2007)

Best Novelette

“The Cambist and Lord Iron: a Fairytale of Economics” by Daniel Abraham (Logorrhea, ed. John Klima, Bantam)
“The Merchant and the Alchemist”s Gate” by Ted Chiang (F&SF Sept. 2007)
“Dark Integers” by Greg Egan (Asimov’s Oct./Nov. 2007)
“Glory” by Greg Egan (The New Space Opera, ed. Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan, HarperCollins/Eos)
“Finisterra” by David Moles (F&SF Dec. 2007)

Best Short Story

“Last Contact” by Stephen Baxter (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, ed. George Mann, Solaris Books)
“Tideline” by Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s June 2007)
“Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?” by Ken MacLeod (The New Space Opera, ed. by Gardner Dozois, and Jonathan Strahan, HarperCollins/Eos)
“Distant Replay” by Mike Resnick (Asimov’s April/May 2007)
“A Small Room in Koboldtown” by Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s April/May 2007, The Dog Said Bow-Wow, Tachyon Publications)

Best Related Book

The Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community by Diana Glyer; appendix by David Bratman (Kent State University Press)
Breakfast in the Ruins: Science Fiction in the Last Millennium by Barry Malzberg (Baen)
Emshwiller: Infinity x Two by Luis Ortiz, intro. by Carol Emshwiller, fwd. by Alex Eisenstien (Nonstop)
Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction by Jeff Prucher (Oxford University Press)
The Arrival by Shaun Tan (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Enchanted Written by Bill Kelly Directed by Kevin Lima (Walt Disney Pictures)
The Golden Compass Written by Chris Weitz Based on the novel by Philip Pullman Directed by Chris Weitz (New Line Cinema)
Heroes, Season 1 Created by Tim Kring (NBC Universal Television and Tailwind Productions Written by Tim Kring, Jeff Loeb, Bryan Fuller, Michael Green, Natalie Chaidez, Jesse Alexander, Adam Armus, Aron Eli Coleite, Joe Pokaski, Christopher Zatta, Chuck Kim. Directed by David Semel, Allan Arkush, Greg Beeman, Ernest R. Dickerson, Paul Shapiro, Donna Deitch, Paul A. Edwards, John Badham, Terrence O’Hara, Jeannot Szwarc, Roxann Dawson, Kevin Bray, Adam Kane
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Written by Michael Goldenberg Based on the novel by J.K. Rowling Directed by David Yates (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Stardust Written by Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Paramount Pictures)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Battlestar Galactica “Razor” Written by Michael Taylor Directed by Félix Enríquez Alcalá and Wayne Rose (Sci Fi Channel) (televised version, not DVD)
Doctor Who “Blink” Written by Stephen Moffat Directed by Hettie Macdonald (BBC)
Doctor Who “Human Nature’ / “Family of Blood” Written by Paul Cornell Directed by Charles Palmer (BBC)
Star Trek New Voyages “World Enough and Time” Written by Michael Reaves & Marc Scott Zicree Directed by Marc Scott Zicree (Cawley Entertainment Co. and The Magic Time Co.)
Torchwood “Captain Jack Harkness” Written by Catherine Tregenna Directed by Ashley Way (BBC Wales)

Best Professional Editor, Short Form

Ellen Datlow
Stanley Schmidt
Jonathan Strahan
Gordon Van Gelder
Sheila Williams

Best Professional Editor, Long Form

Lou Anders
Ginjer Buchanan
David G. Hartwell
Beth Meacham
Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Best Professional Artist

Bob Eggleton
Phil Foglio
John Harris
Stephan Martiniere
John Picacio
Shaun Tan

Best Semiprozine

Ansible edited by David Langford
Helix edited by William Sanders and Lawrence Watt-Evans
Interzone edited by Andy Cox
Locus edited by Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong-Wong, Liza Groen Trombi
New York Review of Science Fiction edited by Kathryn Cramer, Kristine Dikeman, David G. Hartwell, Kevin J. Maroney
Best Fanzine

Argentus edited by Steven H Silver
Challenger edited by Guy Lillian III
Drink Tank edited by Chris Garcia
File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
PLOKTA edited by Alison Scott, Steve Davies, and Mike Scott

Best Fan Writer

Chris Garcia
David Langford
Cheryl Morgan
John Scalzi
Steven H Silver

Best Fan Artist

Brad Foster
Teddy Harvia
Sue Mason
Steve Stiles
Taral Wayne

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (Sponsored by Dell Magazines and administered on their behalf by WSFS)

Joe Abercrombie (2nd year of eligibility)
Jon Armstrong (1st year of eligibility)
David Anthony Durham (1st year of eligibility)
David Louis Edelman (2nd year of eligibility)
Mary Robinette Kowal (2nd year of eligibility)
Scott Lynch (2nd year of eligibility)



In the beginning was the encyclopedia. Yea, verily. I looketh upon it with mine own eyes. And I saw that it was good. There was evening and morning whilst I readeth it. Then again, there’s evening and morning pretty much every day (unless you live really, really far north). But I digresseth.

A score of months later (give or take, who can count), came the Bible. It was fruitful. It multiplied. It cracketh me up. It restoreth my sense of humor. I laugheth, as it led me to the path of righteousness. Or not.

Yea, verily, I did then contact A.J., and he doth reply. I asketh, and he answereth. And here it is, now, for thine own eyes. Enjoyeth.:

BSR: It’s a little trite to ask you where on earth you come up with your book ideas, but where on earth do you come up with your book ideas? What inspires (or possesses) you to embark on these incredibly ambitious projects?

AJJ: Well, I love the idea of quests. But I’m not much of an outdoor person, so I don’t see myself climbing K2 or doing the Iditarod race. So my quests tend to be intellectual or spiritual. Things I can do without getting frostbite. I also like taking things to the extreme. So I figure, if I’m interested in religion, why not go all the way – live the entire Bible – and see what works? And I love first-person writing. I love to read it and I love to write it. If it’s done well, it can be like you’re right there with the author on the journey.

BSR: Out of all the trials and tribulations from your biblical year, what was the toughest thing you endured? And, by the way, did you get to keep the slave?

AJJ: I’d say there were two parts that were the toughest. There was the attempt to avoid the little sins we all commit every day – the lying, the coveting, the gossiping. I live in New York and work for the media. So that was pretty much 75 percent of my day. The second tough part was trying to obey laws that will get you into a little trouble if you follow them in 21st century America. Like stoning adulterers. Or owning a slave. (For slavery, the closest thing I could find was a summer intern. He was great. But he had to go back to college.

BSR: With three little ones at home and what I presume is a full-time writing job, how do you find time to write your books, much less do the extensive research?

AJJ: I am having a tough time.

My sons haven’t embraced the distinction between work hours and play hours. Right now, I’m working about 16 hours a day, and getting about two hours of actual work done, because my kids come into my office every three minutes to have an important discussion about bananas or Dora the Explorer. So I don’t think I’ve mastered the balance yet.

My only trick is that I try not to waste a single second. I don’t let my mind wander too often. If I’m going around the corner to get a bunch of grapes (as I had to do today), I try to have something specific to think about while I’m walking. A little project. Like, what headline an article should have. Or a list of people I’d like to profile for Esquire.

BSR: Have you ever given thought to writing fiction, or actually, have you ever written fiction?

AJJ: I’ve dabbled a couple of times. But I just don’t think I’m built for it. Even in my reading choices I tend toward nonfiction. When I was young, I remember reading Tom Wolfe talking about how nonfiction – when it’s written in a vibrant way – is more compelling than fiction. So that really influenced me. Then he decides to write nothing but fiction. So I don’t know where that leaves me.

BSR: What are you reading lately? Anything you’d recommend?

AJJ: I wish my friends would stop writing good books. I keep feeling compelled to read them. My friend Jennifer Traig wrote a book about hypochondria called Well Enough Alone, which will be out later this year. Also, though he’s not a friend, I’m in the middle of Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us. I loved the description of Manhattan before people came in, plowed the hills down, and put up a Duane Read drugstore on every block.

BSR: What on earth (or heaven) is next for you after a year spent following the Bible?

AJJ: Well, my wife says I owe her after all I put her through with the encyclopedia and Bible projects. She’s pressuring me to to The Year of Giving My Wife Foot Massages. But I’m not sure how mass the appeal would be. But I do want to do one more of the immersion projects.

BSR: Finally, for someone whose writing ambition is to follow the same sort of path you have, what advice would you give?

AJJ: I’m worried my advice will be stuff they’ve heard before. I don’t have any huge original secrets like “use more umlauts.” To me, the most important thing, I think, is just to generate ideas nonstop. Be an idea machine. Because rarely – especially when you’re starting out – will someone assign you a book or a freelance article. You have to pitch relentlessly. And second, over-report. Especially if you’re describing a scene. Write down every detail, even the ones that seem trivial – the sound of American Gladiators playing in the background, for instance. You never know what you’ll end up using .

Blesseth thee, A.J. Jacobs. I hath enjoyed this very much. Verily, verily much, I say unto thee.

P.S.: This before/after will never stop crackething (?) me up.

“At The Store” by Jane Kenyon, from Otherwise. © Graywolf Press, 1997.

I. At The Store

Clumps of daffodils along the storefront
bend low this morning, late snow
pushing their bright heads down.
The flag snaps and tugs at the pole
beside the door.

The old freezer, full of Maine blueberries
and breaded scallops, mumbles along.
A box of fresh bananas on the floor,
luminous and exotic…
I take what I need from the narrow aisles.

Cousins arrive like themes and variations.
Ansel leans on the counter,
remembering other late spring snows,
the blue snow of ’32:
Yes, it was, it was blue.
Forrest comes and goes quickly
with a length of stovepipe, telling
about the neighbors’ chimney fire.

The store is a bandstand. All our voices
sound from it, making the same motley
American music Ives heard;
this piece starting quietly,
with the repeated clink of a flagpole
pulley in the doorway of a country store.

Readers' Advisory Rules!

Posted: March 11, 2008 in Library School

I hope you’re sitting down, because I know this will shock you. Ready? Okay. Don’t say I didn’t warn you:

My favorite part of library school so far is the RA course I’m taking this semester.

I forgot what it was like to be required to read books for a class, and let me tell you, it’s WONDERFUL! We have to read a book a week from now through the end of the semester, creating a big mamajama “Reading Map” outlining the books read, the Read Alikes and the Like Reads for all the books read.

We also have to write an RA module, designed to teach our fellow librarians more about the subject, AND we need to design an RA department for an imaginary library. Or for our own, if that would be an option where we are currrently.

The book at the center of my reading map is Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. It’s an old favorite of mine, a work of classican American literature that’s been deemed a “feminist classic.” Well, maybe.


The work of literary fiction I read was James Salter’s Light Years, a book recommended to me by Michael Dirda of The Washington Post. It’s gorgeously poetic, an exploration of a modern American marriage.


This week’s genre is mystery. I’m reading Nevada Barr’s Deep South, which is set on the Natchez Trace. I’ve never read Nevada Barr before, but I’m enjoying this one. I’ve hardly read anything that could be called “mass market” either, whether in genre or mainstream fiction. I’m generally a literary fiction gal, or a nonfiction/biography, literary criticism type. I have a lot of catching up to do!


Another thing I won’t kid you on, as long as I’m confessing, I got into this profession because it’s surrounded by books. It wasn’t for the romance, not for the fame, nor for the incredible action. It was for THE BOOKS.

This semester’s crazy-hectic. I think I already told you I’m taking three graduate courses through the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I barely remember yesterday, it’s so busy. Good thing it was a terrible winter, since I had to be inside the whole time anyway.

I’m looking forward to the summer, or specifically, to everything after May 9, which is the last day of the spring semester. I’ll take a course (or two) online this summer, but that in itself will be a vacation, sister! I can’t wait.

Well, back to the books. I just wanted to report in briefly on how school’s going, and to send my laundry in case you have a few extra hours to do that for me. Whoops, sorry. I forgot I’m not an undergrad anymore. So I guess I can’t say, “Send money,” either.


From the MotherReader blog:

2008 Weird-Ass Picture Book Awards

Wow. There’s an excitement in the air in anticipation of the Weird-Ass Picture Books Awards for 2008. Well, I can feel it and I’m all a-tingle. No, hold it. That’s my cell phone.

It’s important to note that the designation of “weird-ass” is not necessarily a bad thing. Some books in their very strangeness reach new heights of art and storytelling. I’d like to think that this year’s winners have given us something to think about — or at the very least, made us go, “Hmmmm.” Here are the winners.

The WAPB Award for Cover Art goes to:


New Socks, by Bob Shea
In the words of Fuse#8, “This may well be the very first hipster picture book I’ve encountered, published in the last five years.” In my words, “How funky is your chicken?”

The WAPB Award for Illustration goes to:


Bow Wow Bugs a Bug, by Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash
This wordless book starts off pretty normal, with a dog tracking a bug. Things get stranger as two dogs with two bugs meet and greet as dogs usually do, to put it gently. Then it gets stranger and stranger and stranger. Lots of fun, but totally weird.

The WAPB Award for Story goes to:


Five Little Gefiltes, by Dave Horowitz
Taking the format of Five Little Ducks, Horowitz uses gefiltes instead to positively wacky effect, using lots of Yiddish colloquialisms. I’m not sure this book will play in Peoria, but it will have fans in Brooklyn. Oy vey!

And the 2008 Award for Best Weird-Ass Picture Book goes to:


Cowboy and Octopus, by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith
To address the intrinsic weirdness of this book, you need go no further than the title Cowboy and Octopus. This surreal pairing of friends leads to a truly strange book in story and illustrations, making it a masterpiece even in the world of WAPB. Bravo!

Congratulations to all our winners.

While The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z! written by Steve Martin and illustrated by Roz Chast, was nominated and considered, ultimately it was rejected by the committee (uh, me) as being an adult book in children’s picture book clothing, and therefore ineligible for the award. Plus it sucked.

The Boy With Two Belly Buttons, by Stephen Dubner, illustrated by Christoph Niemann, was also considered for storyline, but as it turns out the book is just bad, not weird. What luck, though, that it can be viewed in its entirety at Amazon. If I’d had to leave my computer to assess the book, I’d have been ticked off.

Thanks for being part of the 2008 WAPBAs. Start looking for contenders for next year. I’ve already seen two possible nominees and it’s barely March, so it could be a stellar year for the strange. Let’s say, for the wonderfully strange.