Annual Locus List Arrives Annually

WRITING 02For those who don’t know, Locus Magazine does an annual Recommended Reading list of stories and books from the previous year. The list is chosen by reviewers and industry professionals and generally requires more than one vote to make the list. So permit me the minor brag of mentioning that two of my short stories made the list from 2014, The Manor of Lost Time and The Sorrow of Rain, both from Beneath Ceaseless Skies. A famous sf writer once famously noted that “The Blank of Blank” titles were the titles away from which to stay, but I dunno. They’re not terribly exciting as titles, I agree, but evocative and they did seem to fit.

You can see the full list at the link below. Lots of great reading to be found there, from Mary Rickert, Jay Lake, K.J. Parker, Robert Reed, Aliette de Bodard, and well, far too many to list here. That’s why there’s such a thing as the Locus Recommended Reading List.

Recommended Reading

WRITING 02It’s that time again—the Locus Recommended Reading List has been published at their web site. If you don’t know what this is, Locus has more or less been the trade magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy field for a lot of years. Every year they do a recommended reading list of the previous year’s fiction in several categories – novels, YA, collections, novellas, etc. You can see the entire list here. This time, my story from Beneath Ceaseless Skies, “Cherry Blossoms on the River or Souls” is included. Keep in mind that the LRRL acts as the unofficial “long list” for the 2013 Locus Awards, which will be decided by the votes of readers and subscribers. And yes, it’s always nice when your work is noticed in a positive way. Or, really, noticed in a negative way. The trick is to be noticed at all.

If you think I’m kidding, I invite you to take a look at the Locus reading list for 2013. Notice something? Yep. There’s a reason it’s referred to as a long list. Do you know how one gets a story or novel or collection on the Locus list? Two of the magazine’s contributors/editors/reviewers have to agree it belongs there. Sometimes, I am told, if a person argues passionately enough, it only takes one. Now, think of all the stories/novels whatever that did not make the list. For example, Yamada Monogatari did not make the list for collection. I’m disappointed but not surprised. It wasn’t reviewed by Locus and so didn’t come to their attention in any meaningful way. But there’s a lot of work out there in that same boat. And a significant percentage of it is of comparable or even better quality to what did make the list.

All this is not to complain but simply to point out a very basic reality—not every piece of fiction published in a given year is going to get any significant notice, regardless. There is simply too much of it. Great from a reader’s standpoint—there’s an embarrassment of riches out there. Not so good from the writer’s perspective. It’s hard not to feel like one snowflake in an avalanche. I mean, you’re there, but so what? Almost no one would miss you, and certainly not that small group of skiers you’re aiming at. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll graduate to the status of one drop in a bucket. If you melt really well.

Put away the knives and nooses, this isn’t about despair. It’s about why we do what we do. If you’re writing to please other people, stop that. Find something more useful to do with your life while you still can. If you’re writing for posterity, for your own sake knock it off. Seriously. Posterity doesn’t give a damn. I’ve pointed out this fact before and it bears repeating—most writers, good, bad, and brilliant, are completely forgotten within fifty years of their shuffling off their mortal coils. I’d even go so far to say that most of them don’t even make it that long. If you’re doing it to make a living and you’re accomplishing that, great. You’re one of a rare breed.  If you’re writing fiction for yourself, if writing makes you a better, saner human being than you would otherwise be, also great. I can think of few better reasons

Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.


Completely Self-Serving Post. No, Not Even a Little Bit Altruistic.

Japanese MaskIt’s that time of year again, so here’s the thing: In the Palace of the Jade Lion made the Locus Magazine Recommended Reading List for 2012 in the Novelette category. Which mostly means that at least two of the magazine’s staff and reviewer pool thought it didn’t suck. I would say it also means that the story is eligible for the annual Locus Award in its category, but that would be deceptive. Frankly, any story that was published last year and otherwise met eligibility requirements is eligible in its respective category. What being on the Locus Recommended List really means in this context is that the story will be listed directly on the Annual Locus Poll and survey, where readers can vote on their favorite stories, and you wouldn’t have to do it as a write-in. That’s pretty much it.

So if you read “In the Palace of the Jade Lion” and also thought it didn’t suck, you could follow the link above and, you know, vote for it in the poll. You don’t have to be a subscriber to vote; that’s open to anyone, and the poll is open until April 15th. And if there are any more stories or books that you liked last year, you can vote for them, too. Frankly, we could all use the support, so it’s all good.

Okay, I’m done. Next post I’ll try to have something less self-serving to say. No promises, though.

If This is Tuesday, This Must Be…

Monday was nonsense day. Not that every day isn’t, but today I’ll try to fit in some, you know, actual information. I try to do that now and then, if only to remind myself that it exists, if anyone wants it.

WRITING 02First off, the Yamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter giveaway at Beneath Ceaseless Skies is almost over. Wednesday is the last day to enter, so if you’re interested in getting a big chunk of the Lord Yamada stories in one place for free, that’s the place to go. Preferably no later than tomorrow, otherwise that particular ship has left the dock.

Second, it seems that In the Palace of the Jade Lion from BCS #100 has made the Locus Magazine Recommended Reading list for 2012. You can see the full list here.

Finally, I know at least two people out there have been wondering when the #$@# sequel to Black Kath’s Daughter is going to be done. The answer, I’m afraid, is “not for a while.” At the moment, the project is officially on hold, or as officially as anything ever is around here. There’s something else brewing that’s going to require that it be put on the back burner for now, simple as that. I’ll say more when or if there’s anything solid to tell.