Deadlines are kicking my butt, so this space will be quiet until Monday. (I will be on facebook for fun, though.)
In the meantime, tell me what you’ve been up to.
What’ve I learned the last couple of weeks?
—We need more, and more varied, best-of and reprint anthologies, with as much difference of approach in them as possible–not fewer. These are the arks of our common reading culture and outlive the magazines they often cull from. Without past anthos, the book of the weird would be impossible. Even with the internet, these anthos are crucial. The fewer we have, the more of an oligarchy of taste, and the more good work we consign to history’s dustbin.
—Some stories and authors are in part more popular or remembered because either their work has fallen into the public domain or their estates are nice about reprints.
—No editor putting together a large-scale retrospective should ever be criticized too severely for choices, as many things are beyond their control.
—A lot of the work popular now will be forgotten in 20 years, and much of it rightly so. As it ever was.
Finally, a few people expressed condolences that Finch wasn’t on the Hugo finalist list. That’s very kind, but not only do I not expect to be on any list, ever, I do not lobby for awards (why would you want something you can influence like that?), and I do not set my goals for success around them, although this isn’t meant as a repudiation of awards. Still, if you need anecdotal evidence of how in the long-term awards don’t always matter, and I’ve been up for my share of them, City of Saints didn’t win anything it was up for and is in print and remembered/cited more than many award-winning books of the period–or at the very least equated equal status. It’s nice to be up for an award, but it shouldn’t be an expectation (indeed, my fiction has never been up for a Hugo and I’m doing just fine). I am thrilled to be up for a Nebula, would’ve been thrilled for a Hugo or anything else, but not getting something that’s a perk is like crying about not having chocolate sprinkles on your ice cream. And being too wrapped up in stuff like that is detrimental to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The work is the important thing, and making the work as good as humanly possible is the goal.