Hugo Party, Eclipse 3, Steampunk 2, Shared Worlds Scholarship, and More

Hugo Party
Just a reminder that if you live in Tallahassee and are curious to see what a Hugo looks like, and say hi to Ann, we’ll be hanging out at the Mellow Mushroom from 7pm to 9pm on Saturday. A casual, laid-back party.

Eclipse 3
Jonathan Strahan has announced the line-up for Eclipse 3 and it’s extremely strong. Let me blunt. In the wake of the fall-out from the mindblowing SF stories antho being all white males, it’s just as important if not more important to celebrate anthologies that seem more diverse and inclusionary. In other words, being proactive means not just complaining about what seems wrong but praising what seems right. This doesn’t mean that if Eclipse 3 for any reason isn’t up to snuff that you soft-ball reviews, etc. Stories have to be good stories no matter who writes them. But I know that editing this series has been tough for Strahan–editing in general is tough; the anthos I’ve edited or co-edited have taken more out of me than any other projects–and he deserves credit for putting together such a cool line-up. The more anthos like this that succeed in the marketplace, the more diversity you’re going to see, and less reliance on the same safe names (from a book sales point of view–which is the main way that publishers gauge how they think an anthology is going to do). The more anthos like this that don’t succeed in the marketplace, the more you’re going to see a fall-back reliance on what’s comfortable for publishers. Activism means letting your money talk for you, sometimes.

Last Drink Bird Head
We’ve just bought http://www.lastdrinkbirdhead.com and we plan on using it for a pretty cool promotion. The idea is going to be that there’ll be the ability for anyone to write their own Last Drink Bird Head creation from the guidelines and post it to this site, and there will be a donation button for people to donate to various literacy charities. We may also try to sponsor a Last Drink Bird Head week, where writers do LDBH flash fictions and drive donations to a particular URL. Still early days, and lots of other projects, but that’s the initial plan.

Steampunk 2
For this second reprint anthology we will accept reprint submissions via email. The dates for submissions haven’t been set yet, but it may be as early as November. We’re still working out the schedule. Never fear, though–you will see the guidelines when available. We’ll make sure of that.

Leviathan 5
We still plan on doing this anthology, but we’re pushing off the reading period until sometime in 2010 due to other projects we need to clear off of our plates before then. It may just have a general dark fantasy theme. Originally, we were thinking dark, surreal humor, but we’re still thinking it through.

Shared Worlds 2010
Ann and I are committed to offering a full minority scholarship at Shared Worlds starting in 2010. Shared Worlds, a teen writing camp focusing on SF/F, is a great entry point for future writers interested in non-realist writing, and it’s important that it encourage diverse participation. I was struck this year by just how much good this camp can do over the long-term. Minority applicants will still be eligible for other scholarships, but we want there to be at least one specifically for this purpose. We’re still working out the details, since we can only guarantee a third of such a scholarship out of our own pockets every year, still a substantial investment given I live off of my writing/editing. (If you’re interested in contributing to such a scholarship, get in touch at vanderworld at hotmail.com.)

Ann and Me, Workin’ on Projects
I’d just like to add a short note that, um, when a book has my name and Ann’s on the cover, it’s because Ann and I are equal partners in these endeavors. In many cases, Ann actually does more of the work because I also have my own writing projects. It’s a little distressing when someone calls an editing project we do jointly “Jeff’s”. It’s more than a little sexist, and it’s simply not fair. I know that I have a higher public profile because I blog a lot and write a lot of nonfiction, in addition to the fiction writing, but still…Also, when my name is not on something…I don’t have anything to do with it. There’s still a myth out there that I somehow select the fiction for Weird Tales or something. Um, not true–I have absolutely 100% nothing to do with Weird Tales. My first look at stories is when the magazine comes out, and that’s a true pleasure: to see what Ann’s been up to, and to have so many wonderful surprises as a result.

Comments

  1. PhilRM says

    I’m a huge fan of short fiction anthologies, the less-themed the better (with the exception of things like SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH), but I have to admit, I was pretty disappointed with ECLIPSE 1 (except for the stories by Beagle, Shepard, Sterling, and Ford). However, that didn’t dissuade me from ECLIPSE 2, which I thought was much more interesting overall, and the line-up for ECLIPSE 3 looks excellent. One quibble (and this may be something over which Night Shade has no control, sadly): the distribution for these books seems pretty poor. I picked up the first one while browsing in my local B&N (which has quite a good S/F section), but the only copy I ever saw (and immediately purchased) of ECLIPSE 2 was in Compass Books in SFO, which is an astonishingly good bookstore for an airport – I first discovered Roberto Bolano while browsing there.

  2. jeff vandermeer says

    I thought E1 was uneven, with some great and not so great stuff. E2 was much more consistent.

    Re distribution–this is why it is important to buy what you like and want to support. Or distribution gets spottier and spottier. Granted, the first two were hamstrung by legitimate controversy.

  3. PhilRM says

    “..the first two were hamstrung by legitimate controversy.”

    Really? I had no idea. As controversial as the mind-blowing SF uproar?

    In any case, I will be keeping an eye out for E3.

  4. PhilRM says

    Oh, and I forgot to mention in my first post, the LDBH web promotion idea sounds awesome!

  5. GlenH says

    Phil
    The controversy regarding both was pretty similar to the “Mind-blowing” affair. The first anthology had a roughly equal number of stories by men and women but only promoted the men on the front cover. The second had only two women-authored stories out of fifteen or so.

  6. says

    I actually defended the Night Shade crew about Eclipse 1 (Eclipse 2 was, looking at it from the outside, no two ways about it, a PR and transparency disaster), because knowing them they were thinking just straightforwardly “what names will sell this book” to the exclusion of any other factors, so my reasoning was that the act of only putting the men’s names on the cover wasn’t sexist. It wasn’t cool, but it was simply about trying to sell copies, given the relative sales figures of the male writers compared to the female writers in that particular book. But then they deviated from that enough to put one of their house writers, male, who doesn’t sell as well on the front, diluting their argument, although it was, again, a decision that came from somewhere other than sexism. From a publisher’s point of view, I totally understand that. The antho business is tough, tough, tough, and a bit of a crapshoot. You can be toast in like five seconds. Those who’ve never edited an antho or sold one to a major publisher or major indie tend not to understand, too, that the distributor and the chains will often have a say in the covers–and whose names go on the covers.

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