Little by little, one travels far.
This is not Graeme, but it was the most amusing photo I found when I Googled his name.
Like many bloggers, I first entered the blogosphere by reading other bloggers and discovering the wonderful community of Fantasy and Science Fiction fans that I was always unable to discover in ‘real life.’ Among those early discovered blogs was Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review, a sharp blog edited by a lovely English bloke named, well… Graeme. It wasn’t a very long before I began A Dribble of Ink, inspired by bloggers like Graeme. He is prolific, and has a range of interests that would make any blogger jealous. Today, he announced in his final blog post that Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review will be closing its doors.
It’s been a little while coming but it’s time to bring this blog to a close. Obviously there are a whole load of reasons (none of them particularly interesting to you guys) but the bottom line is that I’m not really enjoying it anymore and that means that it’s time to stop. That’s not to say that I won’t come back, in the future, and start something up again; just not here. I’ve got some ideas but I just want to stop and chill out for a while.
I think that’s about it. It’s been a amazing experience but you have to know when it’s time to stop. It’s time to stop )
The online SFF community is a vibrant and tight group of fans, and though Graeme’s blog is ceasing publication, I hope that the curator continues to be a part of the community. As a blogger who has been at it for several years myself, I can understand Graeme’s reservations and applaud his decision to decide that he’s just not having fun anymore. It can’t have been an easy decision to make. Best of luck to Graeme in his future endeavours, and congratulations on over six years of terrific service to the SFF blogging community.
By now, you’ve probably seen the results of the 2012 Hugo Awards, which are littered across the ‘net. Instead of sounding like a broken record and posting the unabridged list, I thought I’d toss around a few of my thoughts on the results that most interest me, specifically ‘Best Novel,’ ‘Best Fanzine,’ and ‘Best Fan Writer.’ Overall, I’m quite happy with the results, and found many overlaps between my original nominating ballot and the votes I cast.
For the full list, visit Tor.com.
Winner: Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor)
A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin (Bantam Spectra)
Deadline by Mira Grant (Orbit)
Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan UK / Del Rey)
Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (Orbit)
Very surprised, and delighted, to see Among Others sitting atop this list. I nominated it, and gave it my top vote earlier in the year, but I expected it to get trampled by A Dance with Dragons, or Mieville. Some consider the novel to be too pandering towards the older generation of fandom, who has a huge impact on Hugo voting, and many they’re right, but as someone who was born after Among Others ended, rose-tinted glasses didn’t have any effect on my perception and enjoyment of the novel; The dreamy Welsh setting did, the starkly drawn protagonist and the tender relationships she built around herself did, but nostalgia didn’t. Good choice, voters.
One of my favourite weekly features in the blogosphere in Mieneke Van Der Salm’s Blogger Query interviews. Every Wednesday, she pulls one blogger or reviewer and puts them to question. It’s a fun way to get to know some of the personalities in SFF fandom. And, well, this week was my turn.
A little snippet:
You’ve been quite outspoken about the lack of regard for blogs as fan publications and bloggers as fan writers, mostly in regard to the Hugos. Do you think regard for blogs as fan publications from awards and the way the publishing industry regards blogs are intertwined? Would increased respect from the publishing industry also increase respect for blogs and bloggers from awards committees or are awards too insular for such cross-pollination?
Yeah, I’ve raised a stink or two, and been successful at opening at least a small dialogue about the matter between the incumbent fan publications (fanzines) and the up-and-coming ones (blogs). It’s something I feel very strongly about.
To be honest, I wouldn’t be so quick to link the perception of blogs and online fan writers by the publishing industry to the struggles they’ve had in being recognized by the award committees and voters. Conversely, I’d say that publishers, large and small, pay a heck of a lot more attention to blogs and the online space than they do to the traditionally published fanzines. This is keeping in the tradition and origins of fanzines, which by their nature are independent and often focus more on exploring the natures and issues of fandom, than in being a part of the PR circle that runs the publishing industry, a pitfall that blogs have to be sure to avoid. Instead, you have a new generation of writers, many of them a bit younger, in their mid-twenties to late-thirties, that is trying to break into an area that is often run and heavily influenced by an older generation that has long been entrenched in their ideals and tendencies.
Whether they’re older men or not (and, in the case of the Hugo Awards, there are over a 1,000 eligible voters, so they’re not all old men, of course), old ideas and habits still exist. It’s always been a challenge for the young whipper-snappers to push against the older generation, trying to promote new ideas and the fast-moving world that has grown up around the original foundations of awards like the traditional awards. Right now, bloggers are those young whipper-snappers, and we just need to make enough noise to ensure that, when the time comes, voters take us as seriously as we deserve.
With all that said, I think the addition of SF Signal, which I’ve contributed to on occasion, on the recent Hugo ballot is a huge step for online fan writing and blogs in general. I hope to see a continued drive in that direction. Not at the expense of great fanzines and fan writers working in more traditional mediums, but as a joining of the two, recognizing the best writing, period.
If you want to hear a bit about my thoughts on reading, writing, the Hugos and blogging, I encourage you to read the whole interview.
In 2011, after much angst and delay, my first novel, God’s War, came out from Night Shade Books. It went on to win the Kitschy Award for Best Debut Novel and was nominated for a Nebula Award as well as a Locus Award for Best First Novel. I earned out my advance in about six months and sealed the deal for the third book in the series not long after that. I’ve also just sold UK and audio rights for all three novels in the series.
Looks like a smashing good success all around when you string it all together like that, doesn’t it? In fact, it looks almost miraculously easy, as if I must have written some kind of exceptional book or something. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my books. But I also read a lot of other books in 2011 that I thought were a lot better, some of which didn’t make any awards list and many of which are still earning out their (probably substantially larger) advances.
So how did this happen? How does a little book that was rejected at nearly every other publisher as being “unmarketable” and had its first contract cancelled for similar concerns get so much… well – as people kept putting it online – “buzz”?
The real answer is, nobody really knows exactly why some books get talked about and some books don’t. A lot of people will tell you that who you know is what gets you published. And until I went through this process, I’d be the first to tell you that that’s bunk.
What I didn’t realize was that I was about to become one of those “silly punks” myself.
But turns out that once you can actually write a good book, that it does actually matter a good deal who you know and who’s heard of you. Recently, in this post over at Staffer’s Musings regarding the relationship of book bloggers and publishers, God’s War and its marketing came up again in conversation, with an assertion that, hey, you know, it must have been because it was such a good book that it made all these lists.
But there were a LOT of good books that didn’t make these lists. What helped God’s War get noticed? There’s a lot of mysterious stuff that happens among readers with particular books, and I can’t pretend to get that, but what I can do is tell you how I went about trying to get this book noticed, and how a small but passionate bunch of book bloggers, colleagues, and friends helped get this book’s name out in 2011. Is this approach applicable to other books? Sure. If you’re willing to play the game. And accept the fact that what you’re about to launch yourself into is a casino, not a meritocracy. Continue reading
Issue #315 of The Drink Tank, the Hugo Award-nominated fanzine edited by Christopher J. Garcia and James Bacon, just hit
newstands efanzines.com and it’s dedicated entirely to examining this year’s Hugo ballot. It’s called “Handicapping the Hugos.”
Also included are thoughts on the awards from Charlie Jane Anders, Niall Harrison and some guy named “Aidan Mohr.” Despite the mispelling of my name, I’m absolutely thrilled to have been invited to take part in the analysis with several other Hugo-nominated fan writers (and Niall Harrison, who, damnit, should be a Hugo-nominated fan writer by this point,) all of whom have a strong online presence.
Also of interest are Garcia’s thoughts on the inclusion of SF Signal in the “Best Fanzine” category:
OK, there’s been a lot of folks in the blog community that were not happy with the Hugos last year.
They point out that much of fandom is blogs and podcasts and so on and they wanted to see them represented on the Hugo ballot. And there were others who didn’t like that and it went on and on. Aidan Mohr [sic] was one of the loudest folks decrying the lack of blogs and so on. There were others, but his were the most widely discussed among the folks I know. This nomination was probably not directly tied, though even I was a little surprised that it didn’t do better in the nominations last year . I expect it to destroy the rest of us completely. [W]hen it ended up somewhere around number 13 or so. It’s got a huge following, far bigger than any of the other nominees, or probably eFanzines.com in total!
So, go read “Handicapping the Hugos”, The Drink Tank #315. You’ll find insight into the ballot and also and interesting look at how another portion of the fan community views the awards and the nominated books/stories/writers/editors.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Drink Tank, its editors and the fanzine culture in general, check out Garcia’s “Ma Vie En Zines,” and article he recently wrote for A Dribble of Ink exploring fanzine history and culture.