So, I’ve won a Nebula.
I couldn’t be at the ceremony tonight because baby Miranda needs her daddy. But Jamie Todd Rubin was gracious enough to accept for me and take that picture so I can be sure it’s not a dream. He also read my acceptance speech, which I’ve reproduced below:
When I was a kid, my grandmother taught me how to do zhezhi (origami). I remember being especially fascinated by the final stage of some of these paper constructions, which involved blowing them up like balloons, giving life to the paper animals.
I’ve always wanted to write a story based on that moment, which felt like magic.
I’ve also encountered few works of fiction that treat the life of the mail-order bride with real sympathy. Most seem to portray these women as either victims or conniving opportunists. Yet in my experience, many women who come to the West as mail-order brides are neither, but real people with complicated histories and yearnings and pains that are universal.
I’m glad that this story struck a chord with so many. Thank you, Gordon Van Gelder, for believing in this story. And thank you all very much, my fellow writers.
Tonight feels really special. I’m going to give my wife and daughters another kiss.
Congratulations to all the nominees and winners. I’m proud to be in such amazing company.
“Recognizing Gabe: un cuento de hadas”, by Alberto Yáñez, is just the kind of story that I associate with Strange Horizons. A fairy tale about gender, It’s beautiful both in the idea and the execution. (And now I wish I had come up with something this cool…)
I used to do a lot of book reviews on my site, and then, after the Great Crash that wiped everything out, I just stopped.
I haven’t stopped reading, of course. So I’m going to try to bring a little bit of that back, over time.
I’ll start by recommending a few short stories I read recently that I liked:
“Keeping Tabs”, by Kenneth Schneyer, at Abyss & Apex. Intimate, moving, sympathetic, and psychologically complex, this is a wonderful sci-fi take on our celebrity culture — from the perspective of a fan.
“The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees”, by E. Lily Yu, at Clarkesworld. This is a complex, beautiful fable with a sting as sharp as those of the titular insects. Ostensibly a fantasy about mapmaking wasps, I suspect that every reader will come out of it with a different idea of what it “meant.” The story was selected by Jonathan Strahan for his Best of the Year anthology, and it’s easy to see why.
Another sale to F&SF! I’m proud of this one, and it feels good to return to one of my favorite markets.
Now I just have to keep on writing.
One of the nicest things in the life of a writer must be hearing from a reader who really got what you were trying to do.
I saw this review of “The Paper Menagerie” in the F&SF forums:
Liu manages to create emotions so subtly you almost miss how they’re creeping up on you. Thus, when the climax of the story comes, it delivers a surprisingly strong emotional punch.
Thank you, Geoff Hart. I’m lucky that GVG took a chance on this story and got it in front of some great readers.
Now I have to go and try harder.
And in other news, my flash fantasy piece, “The Box That Eats Memories,” has been sold to Daily Science Fiction. This is my first sale to DSF, and I’m really pleased.
My story, “The Paper Menagerie,” will be in this.
I just read a beautiful piece of flash fantasy tonight — the kind that makes you jealous and wish you had come up with it — and it confirmed something I’ve been thinking lately: good concepts for contemporary fantasy can be generated by literalizing metaphors.
This was what I did in “State Change” (your soul/spirit is literally an object). And it was also the idea in The Golden Compass (your soul/spirit is literally an animal). It seems that whenever you treat a metaphor as real, there’s the potential for an evocative, moving exploration of the metaphor as fantasy.
This is no doubt old news for many fantasy readers and writers, but it’s still exciting to discover tricks like this on your own.
“The Chase,” a flash piece, has been sold to Every Day Fiction. Two sales to them in a row! I’m so psyched.
Taking a small break before going back to the novel.
Meanwhile, I’m starting on a new fantasy short story that’s written to follow a formula (no, not a mathematical one). It’s an interesting exercise, and I feel pretty good about it.