The 47th Nebula Awards were present this evening, May 19th, 2012, at a ceremony held in the Hyatt Crystal City hotel in Arlington, VA. The Toastmaster was Walter Jon Williams.

Keynote speaker, E. Michael Fincke, Col. USAF (Ret) NASA Astronaut, gave an inspiring talk that thanks the science fiction and fantasy community for their imagination, because so many engineers believe that what they write is not only possible, but actually work to bring it to fruition. His talk was highlighted with pictures of the international space station and some outstanding film of Earth from space.

The Service to SFWA award was presented to Bud Webster for his work in tracking down the estates and heirs of writers who are no longer with us, to help protect their works.

Solstice Awards were presented to Octavia Butler and to John Clute.

The Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy went to Delia Sherman for her book The Freedom Maze.

The Ray Bradbury Award for Dramatic Presentation went to Dr. Who: The Doctor’s Wife written by Neil Gaiman and was directed by Richard Clark. (BBC Wales).

James Patrick Kelly presented the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award to Connie Willis, who gave a humorous and touching acceptance speech.

The short story award was presented to Ken Liu for “The Paper Menagerie” published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction March/April 2011.

The award for novelette was presented to Geoff Ryman for “What We Found” published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction September/October 2011.

The award for novella was presented to Kij Johnson for “The Man Who Bridged the Mist” published in Asimov’s Science Fiction October/November 2011.

The award for novel was presented to Jo Walton for Among Others published by Tor.

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We had a few stops to make on our way to Balticon but we actually managed to get here at a reasonable time. We’d passed a long line of police cars along the major highway all lined up — some with their hoods up. We realized it was for the funeral procession of a state trooper.

It seems we were lucky. Later people were saying how the drive was the longest ever to get here. Some people ended up taking 3 hours to drive the last 20 minutes of the route here because of that parking lot that was the highway due to the funeral procession. Everyone was trying to put a good face on the delays because of the reason for it, but for many it was a very trying experience. If you’ve ever been on a major highway that suddenly turned into a parking lot on a 90+ degree day with humidity — I’m sure you’ll understand.

Anyway, we arrived and got our room. Walked around to find the Capclave table — no one was there yet so it wasn’t set up. Managed to get our registration materials. Then we went to eat lunsup (lunch/supper combination — too late for lunch, too early for supper). Once we got back marked my panels in the pocket program, we decided to check the Capclave table again. Now there were people and Dodo’s — the village dodos to be precise. I’ll try to get pictures up once I can get things set up for a download. We had people stop to talk and ask about our Dodo’s but no one bought a membership to Capclave yet.

At almost 6 PM, I headed out to my first panel, Luddites of Fandom? The moderator was Carl Cipra, who did a marvelous job of seeing we all got a chance to contribute and kept us on track. Panelists were Ray Ridenour, Grig “Punkie” Larson, and me (Gayle Surrette).

The panel description was: Why do some fans persist in doing things the old-fashioned way — not getting an email connection or publishing fanzines on paper instead of posting on the Web? Are the people who still use real paper a handful of misfit cranks who won’t get with the? Wait — did we actually SAY that? The real question may be what medium will serve best in a particular case: a phone call or a letter or a flower. (And maybe, too, how to get along while trying to figure that out.)

Turns out most of us while we’re comfortable with technology do have some hesitancy about some aspects of it. Discussion was wide ranging and covered some of the reason people are reluctant to let go of older technologies and some drop the old for the new immediately. Why do we save things?

One interesting thing was on the topic of books and ereaders. Book give a tactile pleasure when reading — the paper, the typeface, the smell, the look, feel, weight — etc. On the other hand eReader are just not the same tactile pleasure. Do we save books we never intend to read again as trophies or status symbols. It’s going to make me think about why I hold onto my books — even though I’ve decided we really need to cull our shelves at home.

9:00 PM — Fantasy Motifs in SF Literature. Panelists: Douglas Fratz, Gayle Surrette (moderator), Izolda Trakhtenberg, Michael Swanwick, and Bernard Dukas.

Description: Fantasy is about elves, and SF is about spaceships, and ne’er the twain shall meet, right? Or is it? It has even been noted that an “enchanted forest” exists in “Against the Fall of Night” but…but that’s SF…not fantasy! So what happens when SF uses fantasy motifs? Is it no longer SF, or at least not “real” SF? Is Yoda Merlin? AKKA the One Ring? How does a writer take a classic fantasy motif and make it SF–or it more than just dressing it in hardware? Are there any fantasy motifs which have not been used…or cannot be used? Why do hard sf writers bother to play with folkloric images: What do they get out of this miscegenation, (and why?)

I thought this went pretty well. The discussion was pretty wide ranging but on track. At the beginning, I mentioned Clarke’s Law that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. I then asked if magic in fantasy just became technology in SF. Of course not — it’s not a one-to-one substitution but it gave the panelists something to hang their own theories on. Discussion cover the tropes of fantasy and how they have been used in SF and to what degree. How folklore and folk tales get updated for space — I wish I could remember the details but I found myself enjoying the discussion and the various additions and exception and possibilities suggested by the panelists and the audience.

This panel just seemed to take off on it’s own — everyone was excited by the topic. If only all the other panels this weekend go so well and fuel the imagination so much.

Then we stopped in a few parties and now we’re winding down for the night.

If you’re at Balticon, (or even if you’re not), leave a comment and let me know what you think about the above topics and/or what you’re panels were like. When I’m here I can’t see or sit in on anywhere near as many items as I’d like to so I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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Here’s my schedule for Balticon 45 starting Friday, May 26 to May 30 in Marriott’s Hunt Valley Inn, Baltimore, MD.

Fri. 6:00 PM: Salon B, Luddites of Fandom
Fri. 9:00 PM: Belmont, Fantasy Motifs in SF Literature

Sat. 1:00 PM: Belmont: Favorite Shared Worlds.
Sat. 4:00 PM: Salon C: How Plausible is Today’s Hard SF?

Sun. 9:00 AM: Salon B: Writers We Don’t Understand.

There may or may not be another panel — it was on one list I got and not on the others but I don’t have the final, final list yet. Anyway, I expect to have a good time and hope to meet many of SFRevu’s readers while I’m there.

I’ll also be spending some time at the Capclave fan table, so check there for me. Capclave is Washington D.C.’s local annual science fiction and fantasy convention held in October. Check the website for details. This year’s guests are Catherynne Valente and Carrie Vaughn.

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SFWA, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of American, announced the winners of the this year’s Nebula Awards at their annual Nebula Awards Weekend held in Washington, DC. You can read the full list of nominees and winners on the SFWA website.

Best Novel: Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis (Spectra)

Best Novella: “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window,” Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Magazine, Summer 2010)

Best Novellette: “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made,” Eric James Stone (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, 9/10)

Best Short Story (a tie):

“How Interesting: A Tiny Man,” Harlan Ellison (Realms of Fantasy, 2/10)
“Ponies,” Kij Johnson ( 1/17/10)

Also presented:

SFWA Service Award: John E. Johnston III
Solstice Awards:

Alice B. Sheldon / James Tiptree, Jr.
Michael Whelan

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation: Inception Christopher Nolan (director), Christopher Nolan (Screenplay) (Universal)

Andre Norton Award: I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett (Gollancz, Harper).

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The Capclave Mascot -- A dodo for reading is not extinctAs those of you who read this blog regularly know, I’m the chairperson of Capclave 2010. Capclave is the Washington Science Fiction Association’s annual convention, held this year in Rockville, Maryland. Our guests of honor this year are Connie Willis, Ann VanderMeer, and Jeff VanderMeer. There will also be many other guests — writers, editors, publishers, and of course fans of speculative fiction in all its various designations.

One of the things that we’re very proud of this year is the number and quality of the workshops we’ll be offering to participants. If you are registered to attend Capclave, there is no extra charge for being in a workshop, but space is limited and some have requirements (homework that’s due at the time of the workshop or before you arrive in the case of the VanderMeer workshop).

If you are already a member of Capclave and wish to sign up for one or more of these workshops, send email to workshops at capclave dot org (you know how to parse that email address I’m sure). If you haven’t signed up for the convention yet, check out the website and sign up then send your email asking listing the workshop you wish to be in.

Here’s the full list of workshops:

Workshops at Capclave:
Capclave 2010 is pleased to once again host a number of interesting workshops. Space is still available. If you are interested, send an e-mail to our workshop coordinator.

Online Content Workshop
Putting your comics, music, video, and fiction online is easy. Making it pay is harder, but it can be done. Join webcomic creator and comedy musician Rob Balder as he talks about making a living with the free content model. Get practical advice (feel free to bring a laptop/tablet and samples of your stuff) and work out a specific strategy for growing and monetizing an audience around your work. Two hour workshop.

Plotting Workshop
What makes a story a story? How do you construct a viable plot from a bare (naked) idea? We’ll start at the beginning, and by the end, you should have everything you need to know to plot your story. Allen Wold will lead this 2 hour session.

Reviewer’s workshop
A good reviewer does more then read free books and say “I like that”. Peter Heck, a regular reviewer for Asimov’s Science Fiction will demonstrate the hallmarks of a good review and how to create one. Bring a at least 10 copies of a review you’ve written and are proud of.

Wordsmith’s Workshop
Danny Birt will guide you through looking at writing from the perspective of the single word, and then work up from there, making sure that every word counts. This 1.5 hour workshop is good for beginners to professionals and is limited to 16 participants.

Writer’s Workshop
Allen Wold will lead a panel of authors in a hands on workshop. Learn many skills as you work on a short story. Session will be for 2 hours on Sat. and for those interested, a 1 hour follow-up on Sunday. Number of Participants is limited to 12.

Writer’s Workshop
Jeff and Ann VanderMeer will critique short stories of 12 participants. Each participant must write and submit a story of no more than 7500 words at least 2 months before Capclave (by August 22nd) to the workshop email address (workshops at capclave dot org). The story will be shared with the VanderMeers and the other participants. This will be a 2 hour workshop.

Hope your as excited about these opportunities to learn as we are to be able to offer them to our convention attendees.

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Capclave Dodo -- where reading is not extinctJust today the last fiddlybits on the new Capclave 2010 website got finished up and the site is live. We even have a registration link so you can sign up for the convention on line.

The Guests of Honor for Capclave, which will be held October 22-24th, 2010 at the Rockville Hilton (1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852), will be

    Connie Willis
    Ann VanderMeer
    Jeff VanderMeer

All these guests are standouts and the convention should be great.

Capclave is the Washington, DC areas literary science fiction convention and in the past the convention has had kaffeklatches; readings by authors; a dealers’ room (lots and lots of books); space science presentations from NASA scientists; workshops on writing, reviewing, contracts & negotiating basics for writers, publicity for writers, and getting an agent; a hospitality suite, room parties, filking, and board gaming. The WSFA Small Press Award Ceremony is traditionally presented during a Saturday night event.

The membership will be capped at 500 this year. So, check out the website — bookmark it and check back often because we’ll be adding details as we delve into planning the programming schedule and invite participants. The website also has a link to the Capclave blog which will have the most recent news about what’s going on. And since I’m the chair of Capclave 2010, you’ll probably hearing a lot about Capclave here in my blog too.

Right now membership rates are the lowest they are going to be — $35 per person. Membership prices will go up on January 1st to $45 and raise again on July 1st and October 1st. Capclave does offer special rates for active military and students with proof of their status.

So, if you enjoy science fiction, fantasy, and related writings or you are an aspiring writer, or you’re a professional (author, editor, publisher, reviewer, etc.) in the genre — join us in October 2010 for a great convention.

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WSFA Small Press Award 2009The Washington Science Fiction Association is pleased to announce the winner of the 2009 WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction: “The Absence of Stars: Part 1” by Greg Siewert, published in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, edited by Edmund R. Schubert, Hatrack Publishing.

The award honors the efforts of small press publishers in providing a critical venue for short fiction in the area of speculative fiction. The award showcases the best original short fiction published by small presses in the previous year. An unusual feature of the selection process is that all voting is done with the identity of the author hidden so that the final choice is based solely on the quality of the story. The award consists of certificates for both the author and publisher as well as a trophy and $250 for the author.

The other finalists were:

    “Drinking Problem” by K.D. Wentworth, published in Seeds of Change, edited by John Joseph Adams, Prime Books (August, 2008).”

    Hard Rain at the Fortean Café” by Lavie Tidhar, published in issue 14 of Aeon Speculative Fiction Magazine, edited by Bridget McKenna.

    “His Last Arrow” by Christopher Sequeira, published in Gaslight Grimoire: Fantastic Tales of Sherlock Holmes, edited by Jeff Campbell and Charles Prepolec, Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, (October, 2008).

    “Silent as Dust” by James Maxey, published in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, edited by Edmund R. Schubert, Hatrack Publishing.

    “Spider the Artist” by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, published in Seeds of Change, edited by John Joseph Adams, Prime Books (August, 2008)

    “The Toy Car” by Luisa Maria Garcia Velasco, (translated from Spanish by Ian Watson) published in April 2008 edition of Aberrant Dreams, edited by Joseph W. Dickerson.

The winner is chosen by the members of the Washington Science Fiction
and is presented at their annual convention, Capclave, held this year on October 16-18 in Rockville, Maryland. Present to accept their awards were Greg Siewert and Edmund R. Schubert, the editor of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.
Also present to accept their Honorable Mention certificates were: James Maxey for his story “Silent as Dust” and John Joseph Adams editor of Seeds of Change accepting for Nnedi Okarafor-Mbachu and K.D. Wentworth.

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Capclave DodoCapclave starts tomorrow. Today, we had to drive in to deliver the boxes of books filled with Reincarnations by Harry Turtledove (foreward by Sheila Williams). The book debuts at Capclave.

We also helped stuff the registration packets so they’ll be ready when registrations opens. We didn’t stay at the hotel tonight (or should I say this morning) since we have to drive back in tomorrow with the car filled with the SFRevu stuff for our table in the Dealers’ Room. It was a busy and active day but satisfying in that we got to talk to people and catch up on what’s happening in people’s lives, discuss Capclave items and what still needs to be done and what has been done, make some plans for next year based on this years experience, and to just appreciate being with friends.

If you’re in the DC area and enjoy science fiction and fantasy, check out Capclave. Conventions are a great place to meet people who enjoy the same reading material that you do. I’ll be posting daily coverage of the convention here — or as much coverage as I can and still manage a few hours sleep each night.

If you do come to Capclave — say hello if you spot my name tag or see the SFRevu table in the dealers’ room stop and say Hi.

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