jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Feb. 15th, 2019 09:30 am)

Friday is trying not to obsessively check email now that Project K is out on submission…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:

At long last, book two of the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse is out in the world! Today is the official release of Terminal Uprising. In this book, Mops and company return to the ruins of Earth.

Terminal Uprising Cover Art by Dan Dos Santos

We’ve already seen a couple of reviews for this one.

“Subtle absurdist humor permeates the narrative, derived from faulty translations, cultural references without context, and unconventional solutions to problems. Clever characterization and action-packed moments round out this thoroughly satisfying outing.”

-Publishers Weekly

“Hines writes a crackling good action scene… Hines is also damn good at banter and witty repartee, and at evoking strong feelings of empathy in the reader … I really enjoyed this novel, and I look forward to another installment in the full course of time. I can’t imagine what Mops and her crew will get up to next — and that’s, of course, four-fifths of the fun.

-Liz Bourke, Locus

You can read the first chapter online, if you want to try before you buy (or check out from the library, or whatever).

Finally, I’m hoping to get another newsletter out today, and will probably give a book away to a random subscriber. So sign up now if you want to be included in that giveaway.

Purchase links below. Thank you to all of my readers, and to everyone who checked out the first book, posted reviews, pre-ordered, and/or just offered support and encouragement along the way.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Default)
( Feb. 1st, 2019 09:30 am)

Friday went willingly into the ice, to be thawed out when we need it most.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Jan. 25th, 2019 08:59 am)

Friday was once again snubbed by the Oscars…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:
jimhines: (Default)
( Jan. 21st, 2019 02:47 pm)

Problem: Surgical masks don’t work well with long beards. Beard hair keeps getting pressed into my mouth, and when I take the mask off, I end up with bizarre-looking mask-beard.

Problem (cont.): Since Amy will be receiving chemo for several more months, which weakens or wipes out her immune system, I’m going to have to keep wearing the masks to visit her.

Problem solved:

I mean, they did warn us that chemotherapy would lead to hair loss…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Jan. 19th, 2019 03:55 pm)

It’s a new year, and that means it’s time for another look back at last year’s writing income. I’ve been doing this since 2007, because I think it’s important to have open conversations about trying to make a living as a writer — as well as dispelling the myth that we’re all making Rowling- and King-sized paychecks.

Previous Years: Here are the annual write-ups going back to 2007: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017. In 2016, I did a survey of almost 400 novelists about their income.

My Background: I’m a primarily “traditionally published,” U.S.-based SF/F author with 13 books in print from major New York publishers. The first of those 13 books came out from DAW in 2006. I’ve also sold about 50 short stories. I’ve never hit the NYT or USA Today bestseller lists, but my last five books have been lead titles for my publisher. In late 2015, I mostly-quit my full-time day job. Since November of 2015, I’ve worked 10 hours a week for the State of Michigan, and spent the rest of my time as a writer and stay-at-home Dad.

2018 Summary: 2016 was my best year as a writer, thanks in large part to a three-book deal I signed with DAW. I spent the next two years working on those books. My agent has also been shopping around a middle grade project, and will begin shopping a second in the coming weeks, but those won’t boost the income levels until if and when we sign a contract.

In total, before taxes (but after any agent commissions), I made $38,812.29 from my writing last year, down about $4000 from 2017.

Here’s the annual income graph going back to 2002.

The biggest check of the year was for the delivery and acceptance payment on Terminal Uprising. The smallest, if you’re interested, was a $0.89 royalty payment from Smashwords in September.

2018 Breakdown: I added a category for Audio book advances and royalties this year, since that’s becoming a more important source of income for a lot of the writers I’ve talked to. The bulk of the self-published income came from the release of Imprinted early last year. Interestingly, I didn’t have any new short fiction sales in 2018; all of that is royalties, primarily from one anthology that’s done surprisingly well.

  • Novels (U.S. editions) – $26029.29
  • Novels (non-U.S. editions) – $4406.39
  • Self-published Work – $3569.10
  • Short Fiction – $810.62
  • Audio – $3396.89
  • Other – $600

Other Notes: With my wife’s health issues, I’ve written pretty much nothing for the past two months. I’m hoping that will change as she continues to get stronger, but this is going to continue to impact everything. I’m hopeful that 2019 will see the sale of at least one of those two middle grade projects, but like so much else, that’s out of my control.

Anyway, I hope this is helpful to folks.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Jan. 18th, 2019 09:30 am)

Friday has completely lost track of what day it is…or what year, for that matter.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Jan. 17th, 2019 01:30 pm)

Amy has gotten through the second round of chemo, which meant the hospital was finally able to discharge her to an acute rehab facility. (She’s been in a hospital bed for more than a month, so she needs some therapy to rebuild muscle and such.) Unlike the hospital, which was an hour+ from home, the rehab facility is only 20 minutes away, which means I’ve been able to split time between there and home.

There’s not really much else to report. From what they can tell, the chemo is doing its job so far. Amy’s in much better shape than she was a month ago. But we have a long way to go before we’re through. The current plan is for 3-4 more rounds of chemo, followed by a bone marrow transplant. We’ll be back staying at the hospital for the next round in a couple of weeks. Not sure if subsequent ones will be able to be done closer to home or not.

Thank you again for all of your support for my wife and our family. It means a lot to know we’re not alone.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:

I’m back home for the first time in a while, and I’ve been given permission to talk more about what’s going on. Last month, my wife Amy was diagnosed with cancer — an aggressive form of lymphoma, to be specific.

Aggressive, but treatable. We’ve done the first round of chemo, and the last scans showed some tumor shrinkage, which is a good sign.

This all started with a flare-up of lower back pain. Unfortunately, Amy has chronic back pain, and we’ve had flare-ups before. So the initial doctor visits just led to more painkillers and rest. It wasn’t until I took her to the Emergency Room last month that they discovered what was going on. By then we were dealing with a blast crisis (proliferation of immature white blood cells), dehydration, some organ failures…

I can safely say that was the worst week of my life.

I’m happy to say they were able to treat the immediate health crisis. The messed-up white blood cells have been cleared out, organ function is back to normal, dehydration and malnutrition have been addressed. We’re onto focusing on the long-term treatment plan now.

There’s no prognosis or percentages here. You can find survival rates for her particular type of cancer, but she’s significantly younger than the average patient. And five-year rates are based on patients who were diagnosed at least five years ago — we have five more years of research and advances now.

She’ll still be in the hospital for a while. She’s awfully weak after everything she’s been through. She’s not quite up for visitors yet, but she’s getting closer. I’ll be heading back tonight or tomorrow. I’ll still be mostly offline, and I haven’t written a word of fiction in more than a month, which is likely to continue.

To any of our friends or family who are hearing this for the first time, I’m so sorry. We’ve tried to update people, but Amy has so many people who love her, and my brain has not been at its best. Please feel free to text or email me.

My family has been holding up okay. Everyone has come together to offer support and help out, and I’m so grateful. The kids have been amazing, each in their own way. It’s hard, and that’s going to continue for a while, but we’re all doing our best to take care of each other as well as taking care of Amy.

She’s had really good care. We’re making sure that continues. So far, the insurance side of things has gone pretty smoothly. I’m not holding my breath for that to always be the case, but I’ll deal with that when and if it goes sideways. I’ve also taken care of things like her FMLA leave from work, and applying for short-term disability. The main priority right now is helping her keep getting better.

Oh, and I know the photos might be a bit odd — what can I say. Taking pictures is one of the ways I cope with the stress. Even with a relatively old iPhone camera.

I’m not up for answering a lot of questions online/publicly, since it’s not about me. And we’re not currently looking for advice. But your love and support and encouragement are always appreciated. Thank you.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:

I’m still offline, but wanted to share a guest post from my friend Andrea Johnson, aka the Little Red Reviewer

#

Hi!  My name is Andrea Johnson, and I’ve run the book review blog Little Red Reviewer since 2010. I review primarily science fiction and fantasy, I interview authors, attend local conventions, buy books like its going out of style, and generally talk to everyone all the time about some book I really liked. I’ve done radio segments, been on live TV,  and now I’m kickstarting The Best of Little Red Reviewer,  a print book of my best reviews!   Because why dig through the archives of my blog to find the good stuff, when I can package it in a beautiful little paperback just for you?  Can blog posts and book reviews exist outside of a computer screen? Let’s find out!  Click here to learn more about the Kickstarter and what The Best of Little Red Reviewer is all about.

Best of Little Red Reviewer

In the meantime,  here are some Useful and Interesting things to know about running a Book Review Blog. 

What are some of the pitfalls of running a book review blog? 

I think the biggest pitfall is overextending yourself by setting unrealistic goals, and then getting burned out. Your blog is a hobby, right? So set realistic goals for yourself. Pushing yourself to post 4 book reviews a week, do three cover reveals a week, download 20 books a month from netgalley, and accepting every review request that comes your way are all sure recipes for burn out and having a really un-fun time with this whole book blogging thing. And trust me on this: the moment it stops being fun, the moment it starts to feel like “work”, you will stop posting content to your blog.

It’s OK to say no to a review request, it is OK to remove your contact information from your blog if you’re feeling overwhelmed with review requests. It’s OK to take a break if you are feeling burned out. It’s OK to read something you feel like reading, even if everyone else isn’t reading it. It’s OK to have an unpopular opinion. It is super OK to do as many blog memes, blog tours, cover reveals, and non-book-related posts as you want.

To avoid common blogging pitfalls, just be honest with yourself about why you are blogging. Stay true to your personal goals, and you’ll be fine.  Don’t beat yourself up if your blog doesn’t look like someone else’s or if  your content is different than theirs.  And if your goal is to download 20 books a month from netgalley and read and review all of them? Go for it!  But don’t beat yourself up if you only read and review 15 of them. 

How to Get People to Read Your Reviews

Be social online.  Be authentic in your reviews, and develop your own style.

Be social!  I’m an introvert, so this one was hard for me. Being social online is easier than it looks.  See a post on someone else’s blog that looks interesting? Leave a comment.  I love WordPress “reader”, it helps me find recent blog posts on any topic I want, and I when I find cool posts on science fiction, book reviewing, Star Trek, etc, I comment on ’em!  Many of those bloggers end up visiting my site in return, and we’ve both found a new blog site to follow. Are you on twitter, facebook, instagram, or whatever the cool kids are using these days? Follow authors you like, follow publicists, follow other bloggers, talk about books you are excited about, link to your posts, and most importantly, interact with people on social media. Tell them you liked their book, or liked their review of a book you read.

The secret is to make sure you are starting a conversation. Talk with people, not at them.

Be authentic and develop your own style.  Authenticity is a fancy word for being honest. If you loved the characters in a book but thought the plot was undeveloped, say so.  If certain kinds of books work for you and you know you struggle with other kinds of books, say so.  Be super honest, be authentic, be yourself. You’ll develop a style in time. It probably took me 5 years of writing book reviews to develop my own style. I shouldn’t have been surprised that my book reviewing style matches who I am in real life: Snarky, sarcastic, sometimes sweary, sensitive and sometimes poetic, brutally honest, and sometimes shy and unpredictable.

Be social so that people know who you are, what your blog is all about, and what content you’ve recently posted.  Be authentic and they’ll keep coming back for more. 

What happens if I don’t like a book I’m reading?

This is a toughie!  If you dislike the book so much, maybe because it is a genre you really aren’t into, just DNF (do not finish) it and be done with it. Life is too short to waste on bad books, right?  Some book bloggers only post positive reviews, and will stay silent about books they didn’t finish. In my “5 Books 50 Pages”  posts (here and here), a good half of the featured books got DNF’d. Nothing was inherently wrong with those books, they just weren’t the book for me.

If I’m committed to reviewing a book I didn’t like,  I try to find something positive to say about the book, and then I discuss the reasons the book didn’t work for me.  For example, I know for a fact that I struggle with books that have large casts of characters and lots of different POV chapters.  My review will tell you that perhaps that aspect didn’t work for me, but here are some other things I enjoyed about the plot or the world building, so maybe this book will work for someone else who is reading the review, especially if you love large casts and different POV chapters.

Not every book is going to work for every reader. We all have things we love in books, and things we don’t like. It’s OK to not like a book. It’s OK to respectfully talk about what you didn’t like about it.  Be respectful, be honest.  And if you attend conventions, be prepared to come face to face with an author whose book received a negative review on your blog. Because that will happen. It will be awkward. You will survive.

Now that we’ve gotten through all that, let’s talk books and reviewing!

What’s your favorite book review that you’ve ever written?

What book was a surprise for you?

Do you go back and reread your favorites? Why do you enjoy reading them again?

#

Andrea Johnson runs the science fiction and fantasy book review blog Little Red Reviewer (littleredreviewer.wordpress.com), where she has published over 400 reviews since 2010. In 2012, she founded the #VintageSciFiMonth blogging event, and she has organized read alongs and blog tours. She was a contributor to SFSignal, and is currently the author interviewer at Apex Magazine. Andrea and her husband live in a college town in Michigan, and their home looks like a library that exploded. In January of 2019, Andrea will be running a Kickstarter to print a book of The Best of Little Red Reviewer, which will include her best reviews. 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

We’re dealing with some family stuff. I may go into detail later, but for now, just know that blogging and social media are going to be sparse to nonexistent for the foreseeable future. I’m also going to be worse than usual about responding to most emails and such.

For readers wondering about book three, this does mean Terminal Peace is likely to be a bit delayed. How much is impossible for me to say right now.

I know this is … well, a bit ominous, and I’m sorry for making people worry without providing any specifics.

Love to you all.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Dec. 14th, 2018 08:01 am)

Friday was up at 5:30 this morning and why is 5:30 a.m. even a thing???

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:

Apologies to anyone waiting on email from me. We’ve been dealing with family health issues for the past 2+ weeks. Nothing life-threatening, but rather incapacitating until we can get things treated. Hopefully one of these days the various doctors will stop sending and losing referrals and handing us off to someone else without actually doing anything, and maybe one of them will actually help…

#

In personal health news, I’ve learned I’m officially a mutant. The BRCA1 gene helps suppress tumors and fight cancer. Turns out mine is broken.

In women, this mutation drastically increases the chances of breast and ovarian cancer. (We started testing family members when my cousin, who has breast cancer, tested positive for the mutation.)

In men, the risk is much smaller, but it’s still there — increased chances for breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancer, and melanoma. But that increased risk is still in the single digits for all but the prostate cancer, and that last is maybe 1 in 4. So I’ll be starting screening earlier than I otherwise would have, but I’m not losing sleep over this stuff yet.

#

Hope you’re having a better December than we are!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Dec. 7th, 2018 09:30 am)

Friday has imposter syndrome, and needs to stop comparing itself to Saturday.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Dec. 6th, 2018 10:40 am)

I hadn’t originally planned to watch Netflix’s She-Ra reboot. The previews hadn’t really grabbed me, and I don’t really have that much TV time. And then I started hearing about complaints from what I’ll call the Manbaby Corner of the internet, how She-Ra was ruining everything by … I’m not exactly sure … I think it was something about female characters who weren’t all designed for the sexual appreciation of straight men?

Anyway, the Volume of Manbaby Whining (VMW) score has been a reliable way of finding good stuff, so I went ahead and binge-watched She-Ra.

It was delightful.

The show is so unapologetic about presenting girls and women with a range of personalities, bodies, strengths, weaknesses, and powers. Some of the secondary characters might feel a little one-dimensional, in part because there’s a limited amount of screen time to go around, but it works.

Like Steven Universe, the traditional Smurfette Syndrome (one girl in a sea of boys) is pretty much flipped around. The only main male character is Bow … and there are hints that he may be trans. (Cue another round of VMW. Poor guys … wherever will they find representation now?)

My favorite storyline was the relationship between Adora and Catra. Seeing Catra curled up on the foot of Adora’s bed in the beginning, seeing how they watched out for each other … the betrayal Catra felt when Adora left her … the tension between them at Princess Prom…

Adora and Catra

Then the episode Promise comes along, showing us Catra and Adora as little kids, developing that love and loyalty even more, until Catra finally has to make a choice. Damn, that was powerful and heartbreaking.

(Also, Catra is voiced by AJ Michalka, who is also the voice for Stevonnie on Steven Universe!)

And that’s before you get into things like Swift Wind, the horse revolutionary, or the relationship between Glimmer and her mother, or the delight with which Sea Hawk keeps setting his ships on fire, or Entrapta’s character (who reads to me as possibly being on the autistic spectrum) and her development, or the hug-loving perfection that is Scorpia. As one Twitter user put it…

Scorpia and Catra

For those who’ve seen it, what did you think?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:

ETA: After I posted this, Reddit removed JDA’s comments. Per the r/fantasy rules, “Acting in bad faith in this community can and likely will have consequences.

#

A friend of mine was doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) over at Reddit. Among the comments and questions, someone posted the following:

“You’ve been integral in helping me grow my career to where I’ve made six figures on writing in less than 2 years in the biz. So thank you for the support! Look forward to joining you in SFWA. :)”

Seems innocuous, right? Even friendly and flattering, if a bit boastful and self-aggrandizing.

Here’s the thing. The author doing the AMA was SFWA president Cat Rambo. The individual leaving the comment was Jon Del Arroz. You may remember Del Arroz’s name from an earlier blog post documenting his history of trolling and harassing. One section of that post covered his attacks against Cat Rambo, including:

  • Accusing Rambo of defending pedophilia
  • Accusing Rambo, without evidence, of trying to “destroy” him
  • Generally trolling SFWA and Cat Rambo

Rambo repeatedly told Del Arroz to stop contacting her. It reached the point where she had to tell him any additional emails would be forwarded to her attorney.

Now take another look at that comment Del Arroz left on Rambo’s AMA.

There’s nothing friendly about repeatedly, deliberately violating someone’s boundaries. When someone has again and again told you to leave them the hell alone, and you keep following them around, popping up to leave comments or whatever? The words might be friendly, but the behavior is creepy/stalker/harassing.

It’s an attempted power move on the part of the creeper. “Ha ha, I don’t have to respect your boundaries, and there’s nothing you can do about it!” And if the victim complains, the harasser immediately blames them. “I was just trying to be friendly. Why does she have to be so hateful?”

#

How many times do we see this kind of stalking, harassing behavior get downplayed because, from the outside, it seems harmless? “Oh, he was just coming up to your booth to say hi, that’s all. Why do you have to get all upset about it?”

Maybe because, again and again, there’s more to the story. There’s a history of harassing, threatening, and/or controlling behavior. But it’s easier to accuse the victim of overreacting than it is to recognize that a lot of this nastiness is deliberately intended to appear harmless. Not only does it let the harasser flaunt their power to violate the victim’s boundaries at will, it also sets the victim up to look crazy if they try to respond. (See also: gaslighting.)

How many times have we heard about a conflict and thought to ourselves, “I don’t get why the person is so upset. It doesn’t sound like this was a big deal.”

Just like a friendly comment on an AMA — in isolation — doesn’t seem like a big deal.

I’m not saying nobody ever overreacts to a slight. But people are awfully damn quick to downplay and dismiss complaints by refusing to consider larger patterns of behavior. And that dismissal is one of the reasons creeps and stalkers continue to get away with this kind of harassment.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Nov. 30th, 2018 09:10 am)

Friday is slowly sorting out the ending for this next book…

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Nov. 29th, 2018 03:40 pm)

While I was in France, I hit my 20-year anniversary with type 1 diabetes.

In October 1998, I was a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University. I’d been really thirsty for a while, was having to pee all the time, and had turned into a Very Grumpy Jim. I also lost about 20 pounds, dropping to around 130ish.

My father is also type 1, so I was somewhat familiar with the disease, and had an idea what was happening to me. I went home and borrowed dad’s glucose meter, which said my blood sugar was too high to read. And that day — Halloween of 1998 — off to the hospital we went.

I’ve blogged about this from time to time over the years. I started out taking multiple shots a day and using a glucose meter that took 30 seconds to process my blood sample. A little while later, I switched over to an insulin pump. The meters got faster, smaller, and started using smaller blood samples.

I changed my diet in some respects — the biggest change was probably switching away from sugared pop — but I don’t have a rigid diet or meal schedule. Instead, I check my blood more often and fine-tune with my insulin as needed.

Earlier this year, I upgraded to a continuous glucose monitor, which gives me rough real-time data about my blood sugar. I still need to manually test my blood a few times a day to calibrate and double-check the CGM. My current meter is the size of a large USB thumb drive, and automatically sends my blood glucose reading to the pump. It also buzzes and beeps at me if my sugar starts to drop too low, which is both reassuring and obnoxious.

I’ve been pretty fortunate so far. We haven’t seen any direct complications from the diabetes. I’ve had a few other conditions come up that tend to be more common in diabetics — a minor thyroid malfunction, Dupuytren’s disease (which will require hand surgery in the coming years), and a bout of Peyronie’s disease (which is more common among people with Dupuytren’s, but may not be directly linked to the diabetes…) Annoying as these have been, they were all manageable/treatable, one way or another.

I’m also lucky to have very good medical insurance, which has covered most of the cost of my supplies and medications. A lot of people aren’t so fortunate, having to pay hundreds of dollars for each vial of insulin. Some end up rationing their insulin, which can lead to hospitalization and/or death. The American Diabetes Association has more information on their Make Insulin Affordable website.

I’ve learned two big lessons about the disease over the past two decades. (So I’m averaging learning one lesson every ten years. I never claimed to be a quick learner.)

1. The worst thing you can do is ignore or neglect the disease. A lot of the side effects happen over the long term. If I blow off checking my blood sugar for a few days, or let my sugar get out of control for a bit, it’s not likely to kill me right away. I might not even notice any immediate problems…for a while. Unfortunately, by the time you do notice, you’re likely to be facing major medical complications.

A family friend got into trouble with out of control type 2 diabetes. She needed a kidney transplant, among other things. My father used to play racketball with a man who lost a foot to uncontrolled diabetes.

It’s a pain in the ass having to manage this thing every single day, but it’s a heck of a lot better than the alternative.

2. There’s no such thing as perfect control. Yesterday I had a sandwich, granola bar, and yogurt for lunch. My blood sugar jumped into the 200s and insisted on staying there for much of the early afternoon. Today I had the exact same lunch. I took the exact same amount of insulin. My blood sugar is currently 112.

Why the difference? Heck if I know. Maybe my activity level was different? Maybe I was more stressed? Maybe the diabetes fairy rolled a natural 20 and got a critical hit on my blood sugar yesterday.

There’s a lot I can and should do to fine-tune my control, but there are too many variables to control them all, and sometimes stuff happens that just makes no damn sense. So you do the best you can. Talk to the doctor for ideas on how to improve control. But also recognize you’re not going to achieve perfection.

#

Having inherited this thing from my father, I’m worried about passing it along. Dad and I both became diabetic at age 24. Both of us were in grad school, too. Ergo, I’ll make sure my kids don’t go to grad school until they’re at least 25. Problem solved!

Or not. But given how far the technology has come just in the past 20 years, let alone the 44 since Dad was diagnosed, I’m hopeful that when and if one of my kids comes down with it, we’ll have gotten the disease mostly under control, if not cured outright.

And on the day we do cure this thing — assuming I’m still around — I plan to celebrate with the biggest hot fudge sundae.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:

A little while back, author and editor Silvia Moreno-Garcia contacted the World Fantasy Convention about the lack of diversity in their Guest of Honor line-up. Their response said, in part:

“Convention committees select Special Guests and especially Guests of Honor in order to recognize and pay tribute to their body of work within the genre over a significant period of time, usually consisting of decades in the field. Currently we find ourselves in the position of having a limited number of non-white/male authors, artists, agents, and editors to call on to balance the slates. However much we all wish it were different, and however glad we are to see things changing, the fact remains that only recently have a significant number of diverse writers, artists, agents, and editors entered the field.” (Emphasis added)

There’s a lot to unpack in the full letter, but I wanted to focus on this particular idea, that guests of honor had to have decades of experience in the field. So I went through the list of WFC guests of honor and pulled together the year of the con and the year of the guest’s first published book. It’s not a perfect way to measure years in the field, but I think it works pretty well.

Disclaimers:

I’ve posted the spreadsheet for anyone to review. Feedback and corrections are welcome.

I tried to eliminate all but the author guests of honor. Also, some conventions had both guests of honor and “special guests.” In these cases, I did not include the special guests.

There are a handful where I’m not sure about the first novel. All total, I ended up with 93 author guests, from 1975 to 2018.

Data:

ETA: Data and spreadsheet have been updated with corrections.

With those disclaimers out of the way, let’s take a look at the data.

  • Average Number of Years in the Field: 24
  • Median Number of Years in the Field: 22
  • Least Years in the Field: 4 5
  • Most Years in the Field: 73
  • Number of WFC Guests of Honor with less than 10 years in the field: 7 5
  • Number of WFC Guests of Honor with 10-19 years in the field: 29 30
  • Number of WFC Guests of Honor with 20-29 years in the field: 34 35
  • Number of WFC Guests of Honor with 30+ years in the field: 23

Conclusions:

The WFC Board said, “Convention committees select Special Guests and especially Guests of Honor in order to recognize and pay tribute to their body of work within the genre over a significant period of time, usually consisting of decades in the field.” I’ve seen others, people not necessarily affiliated with the con, argue that WFC author guests of honor should have at least 30 years in the field.

The latter is obviously untrue. Only a quarter of all guests have been active SF/F professionals for three decades or more.

As for the Board’s statement, it’s true that most guests of honor have had between one and two decades of professional SF/F experience. Most, but not all. WFC has repeatedly shown a willingness to have newer authors as guests or honor as well.

So any argument that WFC has to choose guests with a longer history in the SF/F field is demonstrably untrue.

Other Comments:

1. That excuse also falls flat since we’ve had diverse authors in the field for more than just the past 10 years. Authors of color, for example, were not invented in 2008.

2. Even if that weren’t the case, if you have a screening policy that results in the exclusion of minorities? You change the damn policy.

3. Three authors have been WFC author guests of honor twice. While all three of these authors have impressive careers and are very much deserving of honor and respect, this is another sign we need to look a little more broadly for guests.

4. As for the Board’s statement that, “only recently have a significant number of diverse writers, artists, agents, and editors entered the field,” here are just a few authors off the top of my head who — surprise! — have been around for a while now…

  • Samuel R. Delaney (The Jewels of Aptor, 1962)
  • Octavia Butler (Patternmaster, 1976)
  • Haruki Murakami, (Hear the Wind Sing, 1979)
  • Steven Barnes (Dream Park, 1981)
  • Ted Chiang (First Nebula Award in 1991)
  • Michelle Sagara (Into the Dark Lands, 1991)
  • Tananarive Due (The Between, 1995)
  • Stephen Graham Jones (The Fast Red Road: A Plainsong, 2000)
  • David Anthony Durham (Gabriel’s Story, 2001)
  • L. A. Banks, (Minion, 2003)

There are a heck of a lot more — my list is mostly limited to American authors, but shouldn’t the World Fantasy Convention welcome fantasy author guests from, well, the whole world? The idea that diverse authors and other SF/F professionals are somehow a new, recent thing is just utterly absurd and asinine.

Do better, WFC.


Errors/Corrections

  • The WFC History site listed Mary Robinette Kowal as a 2014 Guest of Honor. She was actually the Toastmaster, and as such, should not have been included in the dataset.
  • The WFC History site omitted Tananarive Due, who was a Guest or Honor at the 2017 WFC.
  • Jeff VanderMeer’s first book has been corrected to Dradin, In Love, first published in 1996.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

.

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags