For your consideration: The NAACP Image Awards

Del Rey has submitted The Best of All Possible Worlds to the literary subcommittee of the NAACP Image Awards for consideration in their literary awards category. Now this is not quite a situation like the Oscars where I can hope for a full-page FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION ad in the major newspapers, but it feels very exciting and awe-inspiring and important to me. In fact, it’s so important that I have a request.

I understand that many reviewers like the fact that The Best of All Possible Worlds sites people of colour firmly in the future, in space, on colonies, in a way that is unfortunately unusual for much of the SF we encounter in books and movies. It’s okay for people to be happy about that, but I come from a region whose people and educational system have always had a firm grasp of global demographics, so for me it doesn’t feel like a particular virtue to have written the future the way it’s most likely to be.

What I am wondering is whether certain parts of my book are being overlooked by readers and reviewers who are not well-versed in postcolonial and Caribbean literature. I’m referring to two chapters: ‘Bacchanal’ and ‘The Master’s House’.

I’d be so grateful if an academic or reviewer in Caribbean and postcolonial literature could examine, assess and critique the book in general and those two chapters in particular from a position of expert knowledge. My job is to write the stuff, not explain it, and my policy is to rarely react to reviews, so I can’t guarantee any kind of ‘you’ve got it’ endorsement. I simply want to see a discussion started in an area that I feel is significant but has been barely mentioned as yet.

Old news recap

I’ve been working hard on some projects and thus only updated where I could be brief – twitter, Facebook and a couple of times even tumblr. But now I have a little time, so I’d like to recap some of the old good news.

I didn’t make a final post for my Carolinas trip, but there was not much more to tell. I had a fantastic time at Orange County Library and Chapel Hill Library with audiences that were far more mainstream/literary than SF, but very attentive and appreciative of my work. I also did a reading at Flyleaf Books. Very enjoyable – smaller audience, but the questions were still of a high calibre.

People who follow me on twitter would have seen that I came home and quickly went into AnimeKon Expo, our Bajan SF convention. Tobias Buckell was back, Robert Edison Sandiford had a new book out, and we had a bit of a Three Musketeers thing going where we had a panel together, kept our book tables side by side, and even managed a field trip for some story research. This was so soon after the Carolinas trip that it was hard for me to be at 100 per cent. I wish I’d had more energy and preparation time to get full benefit from the event, but I’m fairly happy with what I was able to do, and it’s always hugely inspiring to hang out with Tobias and Robert and talk Caribbean SF.

I’ve been invited to be Guest of Honour for the 2014 Åcon SF convention in Finland (SO EXCITED YOU HAVE NO IDEA). Details to follow in due course!

I celebrated the release of Jeff VanderMeer’s amazing writing guide Wonderbook on twitter, tumblr and Facebook. I’m extremely proud to be one of the contributors; you can find my essay on page 27 (here’s a teaser). There’s so much beauty and inspiration in that book that you’ll never get bored.

I was surprised and very pleased to find that The Best of All Possible Worlds made it to the semifinal round of the Goodreads Choice Awards Best Sci-fi category as a write-in-vote with reader support. Thank you so much to all those who voted!

Finally, I was absolutely thrilled that RT Reviews nominated The Best of All Possible Worlds for both Best Science Fiction and Book of the Year. The awards ceremony takes place at their annual convention, which is being held in New Orleans next year! Tempting! Very tempting!

Day Zero: Destination Adelaide

About planes, the Tiptree, the Kitschies, music, movies, and a nightclub.

On Tuesday 26 February, I departed for Adelaide. I was travelling light, cabin baggage only. Access to free wifi varied quite a bit, and I spent most of the first two legs of the journey sleeping and reading. When I did have wifi, I was most often in email-discussion with my colleagues on the Tiptree jury as we reached the final phase of selection. Congratulations to Caitlin R. Kiernan (The Drowning Girl) and Kiini Ibura Salaam (Ancient Ancient) for their well-deserved win! Congrats also to the authors who made the honour list: Elizabeth Bear, Roz Kaveney, M.J. Locke, Kim Stanley Robinson, Karin Tidbeck, Ankaret Wells, and Lesley Wheeler. You can check out all the works at

When I landed in Dubai, I checked my twitter and discovered a surge in mentions. Redemption in Indigo had won The Golden Tentacle (Best Debut) at the Kitschies. Thank you so much to the Kitschies judges! May I take this opportunity to draw to your attention the Kitschies playlist. This was my contribution:

Kitschies playlist

Between Dubai and Adelaide I was mostly awake, so I caught up on some movies. Beasts of the Southern Wild was the first I saw. I loved it as a filmwatcher and a storyteller, and I did cry even though I’d been warned about ‘the scene that will make you cry’. I also watched two tai chi movies, a bit silly in plot but great in fight choreography.

On arrival in Adelaide late on Thursday 28 February, I smugly sauntered past baggage claim with my carry-on and handbag and was greeted by Adelaide Writers’ Week volunteer Sophie Byrne. I expected to come across as a shambling, incoherent, jetlagged wreck, but she was kind, reassuring and restful. She took me to my hotel and gently suggested that I do a quick unpack, enjoy a shower and change, and then think about heading back out with her to the Barrio. Which I did!

The Barrio was delightfully surreal. I never managed to see it in the daytime, but to my blurred and bleary vision it was an accretion of found objects, an assemblage of post-apocalyptic salvage. There I found Sean Williams, the delightful human being who got me hooked on Tim Tams in San Diego, increased the dosage to a full box in Toronto, and thus gradually lured me to Australia. After all too brief a time, the jetlag, as expected, came down upon me like a mighty hammer, so off I went for my first proper sleep since Monday night.

Next, Day One of the Writers’ Week!

Some new links and a reminder

First the reminder. My last book giveaway continues at this post. Go comment to enter!

Apologies for not giving some of these links sooner. I’ve been busy and now I’m both busy and fighting a cold/fever. There are new guest posts, and interview, and a mini review:

Next week I’m travelling to the Adelaide Writers’ Week in Australia. I will post a selected itinerary over the next few days. Unfortunately, I will be travelling at the time that the Kitschies are being awarded, and I have no guarantee of wifi in airports or on planes. Expect intermittent twitter and blog-silence next week and the week after.

Two interviews, one review

I have updated the pages for Redemption in Indigo (Kitschies nomination), The Best of All Possible Worlds (excerpt, interview, review and news), and About (nomination and interviews).

There’s an interview from last year, recorded during the Bocas Lit Fest. I can barely remember what I said, but I do recall I had a fantastic time. Go listen to it now at The Spaces Between the Words.

BookPage has a review of The Best of All Possible Worlds and an interview I did with Gavin Grant of Small Beer Press (thanks Gavin!).

The City’s Son and Redemption in Indigo

UPDATE. The Kitschies were announced today (18 Jan 2013), and both Redemption in Indigo and The City’s Son have been nominated in the best debut novel category! Congrats to all the nominees, and thanks to the members of the jury!

This week’s giveaway will be Redemption in Indigo (paperback)

UK Cover RiI small

plus another Jo Fletcher book:

The City’s Son, by Tom Pollock (hardback)


Expelled from school, betrayed by her best friend and virtually ignored by her dad, who’s never recovered from the death of her mum, Beth Bradley retreats to the sanctuary of the streets, looking for a new home. What she finds is Filius Viae, the ragged and cocky crown prince of London, who opens her eyes to the place she’s never truly seen.

But the hidden London is on the brink of destruction. Reach, the King of the Cranes, is a malign god of demolition, and he wants Filius dead. In the absence of the Lady of the Streets, Filius’ goddess mother, Beth rouses Filius to raise an alleyway army, to reclaim London’s skyscraper throne for the mother he’s never known. Beth has almost forgotten her old life – until her best friend and her father come searching for her, and she must choose between the streets and the life she left behind.

You have a week to comment on this post. Tell me which Jo Fletcher Books or non-SF Quercus titles you’re looking forward to reading in 2013. If you wish, add your twitter name, tumblr or blog url. Next Wednesday night (around 8pm GMT-4), I’ll choose a winner from the comments. I’ll announce the name next Thursday when I post about the new giveaway.

Have fun!

A New Arrival

If you follow my twitter, you’ll know that a lot is happening very soon. For example, the UK edition of The Best of All Possible Worlds will be out 31 January, and I will be running a competition giving away copies of that book, Redemption in Indigo, and other Jo Fletcher Books titles. But I’m going to talk about that later this week, not today. Today concerns a new arrival to my bookcase:


That lovely etched crystal piece is the Carl Brandon Parallax Award. I’ve crowded it together with the other bookcase dwellers for the photo. On the left we have the Frank Collymore Award (The Best of All Possible Worlds), the Aslan (also known as the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award) in the foreground, the Crawford Award plaque in the background and my first ever writing award, the Frank Collymore Award for Redemption in Indigo.

And just because, here is another photo of the Parallax looking pretty in front of my fav decorative blue bottles:


Huge thanks to the Carl Brandon Society!

World Fantasy Convention 2012

I haven’t the time to tell you everything, so here are the highlights:

The Truly Marvellous VanderMeers

Heartiest congratulations to Ann and Jeff for winning the Best Anthology World Fantasy Award with The Weird. I cannot recommend this book too highly. It is a gift to both genre and mainstream readers. A lot of hard work and love went into this anthology, and it shows.

It was my great pleasure to meet Karin Tidbeck and attend the book release party for her excellent short story collection Jagannath. I remember watching in delight as Jeff VanderMeer tossed a stuffed toy bunny (a stand-in for giveaways that were too fragile to be airborne) into the squealing crowd rather like a bride throwing a bouquet to desperate bridesmaids. Also launching were Ann VanderMeer’s anthology Steampunk Revolution (contributors enthralled the room with one-sentence readings from their stories) and At the Edge of Waking by Holly Phillips. The cakes were gorgeous … iced with the covers of the books. I had some of the Jagannath. Delicious.

Why Is the Rum Gone?

It went to a better place. Two better places in fact. I brought with me two bottles of Mount Gay Extra Old. One went to the gentlemen of the Coode Street Podcast, Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan. The other was handed over to the Cooke Agency, specifically my brilliant and hardworking agents Sally Harding and Ron Eckel. I have reason to believe that the rum was thoroughly enjoyed by those who were invited to partake. They shared generously; I saw a lot of bright eyes and dreamy smiles as people approached me later to thank me for rumrunning!

The Toastmaster’s Hashtag

Gary K. Wolfe delivered a top-quality speech at the awards, full of humour and edge and insight into the genre. When discussing the issue of spoilers in reviews, he demonstrated the skill of the ‘three syllable synopsis’. The Whale Wins. The Ring Melts. George Shoots Jay. Such sweet brevity should easily find a place on twitter under #3syllablesynopsis. Make it trend!

The Cool Kids

I know I’m inviting trouble by naming some names and not others, but I have to say that I was especially revved up and inspired by the conversations I had with E. Lily Yu, Ellen Klages, Daryl Gregory and Ted Chiang. Ted thinks I’m a little insane because I remarked that the WFC bookbag was so heavy I could drown someone with it. Ellen and Daryl know I’m insane and pretty much encourage me to ever greater heights of functional literary insanity. Lily is, I think, relieved to learn just how insane I am because together we can plot to take over the world. (I’m Pinky, she’s The Brain. Narf to you too.)

Talking to Derryl Murphy made me rush out and buy Napier’s Bones and bring it back the next day for signing. Hearing Amal El-Mohtar read from The Honey Month had the same effect, but when I ambushed Amal in the hotel corridor in hopes of getting a copy and a signature I learned that I was too late; they were all gone. Never mind. It goes to the top of my acquisitions list. Nene Ormes (compatriot and friend of Karin Tidbeck) was another person I wanted to read after only a few minutes of conversation, but I will have to wait on a translation or learn Swedish for that.

In conclusion, let me say congratulations again to all the nominees and winners. My sympathies to those who were unable to get to Toronto because of storm-related difficulties. Thank you to all who told me how much they enjoyed Redemption in Indigo or mentioned listening to SF Crossing the Gulf.

This post could be three pages long, but I can’t permit it. There are other things afoot, as those who follow my twitter will know. Stay tuned (by the end of this week perhaps, but definitely before the end of the next) for a post about me and the Adelaide Writers’ Week 2013, and a wrap-up and commentary on the first complete series of SF Crossing the Gulf.

Hugo Awards and SF Crossing the Gulf Episode 4

First of all, congratulations to all the Hugo award winners, and special congratulations to the winner of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, E. Lily Yu!

(For the record, these are not belated congratulations, these are extended congratulations. I have been congratulating by tweet and email since Sunday.)

Secondly, it’s Wednesday-fortnight again and that means podcast! I’m delighted to be discussing The Rainmaker’s Mistake by Jamaican writer and sociologist Erna Brodber. I thought Karen Burnham would find it challenging – hah, she didn’t! And she loved it and we hope you do too. You can listen to the podcast here at SF Signal, but before you do, it’s worth visiting The Spaces Between the Words for an interview with Erna Brodber that will enhance your podcast experience.

An interview and an invitation

Brad R. Torgersen, 2012 nominee for the Campbell Award, is interviewing the other Campbell nominees on his blog. So far he has an interview with Mur Lafferty and with yours truly. Go look!

The next episode of SF Crossing the Gulf will soon be released. Usually we warn listeners that we plan to be very spoilery and advise reading the book or stories in advance. This time we are discussing My Bones and My Flute by Edgar Mittelholzer, which is out of print but available at libraries (the link provided leads to WorldCat, one of the biggest if not the biggest library catalogue search engines). We’ll provide a summary of the novel before our discussion and fill in details as we go along, so in this case you will not need to have read the book in advance. Mittelholzer is a great start point for anyone new to Caribbean SF, so I invite all novices to come and listen. I also invite the Mittelholzer specialists, those who are more than well-acquainted with Caribbean literature, to listen and ensure that I don’t misrepresent him too badly. I’m looking forward to having a vigorous and illuminating discussion in the comment thread afterwards!