Hey there, internets!
I’m currently deeply involved in edits on Machine, a/k/a White Space II, a/k/a The Return Of Mantis Cop. I also have a particularly nasty case of time delay con crud that I picked up at WorldCon, or at least I do as I write and schedule this newsletter, a couple of days before it’s sent.
As many of you probably already know, Dell Magazines has made the decision to re-name the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer to the Astounding! Award (punctuation mine). This change was influenced by long, painstaking work behind the scenes by a number of people, and most recently by Campbell winner Jeannette Ng’s acceptance speech, which paid particular attention to Campbell’s legacy of racist and authoritarian editorials.
Fifteen years later, receiving that award remains one of the proudest moments of my career. And I think Dell is making the right choice in renaming an award that is intended to welcome new professionals to an increasingly diverse field. Some people feel that this is an erasure of Campbell’s legacy; I disagree. I see it as an acknowledgement that his legacy is complicated and problematic, like so many legacies, and I also see it is a push back against the darkness of an increasingly authoritarian worldview overtaking so many of our purportedly democratic nations.
People are scared, and when people are scared they close themselves away. To my mind, science fiction is meant to be a reaching outward. Often it fails in that ideal—but at its best, it welcomes various perspectives.
Speaking of milestones, and that story I mentioned previously, the 70th anniversary edition of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is out today, and it contains a story I wrote over the course of about two years, starting in 2016 and finishing last year. That story is called “Erase, Erase, Erase,” and it’s about fountain pens, terrorism, dissociation, and personal responsibility—not necessarily in that order.
It was an extremely difficult story to write, it turns out, because it’s so very quiet. And because the stakes are very high, but all off-screen—well, you’ll see. If you buy the magazine, anyway.
As you can see, that’s quite a lineup to be a part of.
And that’s what I have right now!
Talk to you in a bit,