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Issue #125 - January 2006

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By Cheryl Morgan

Philip K. Dick Award Nominees

It has been another excellent year for the Philip K. Dick Award, the award for paperback novels published in the US in the past year. This yearís nominees are:

Cowl by Neal Asher (Tor Books); War Surf by M. M. Buckner (Ace Books); Cagebird by Karin Lowachee (Warner Aspect); Natural History by Justina Robson (Bantam Spectra); Silver Screen by Justina Robson (Pyr Books); To Crush The Moon by Wil McCarthy (Bantam Spectra).

Iím particularly pleased for Justina who has been ignored by the US market for far too long. Iím also pleased for Peter Lavery at Pan Macmillan who is not only Justinaís editor, but also Neal Asherís editor as well. (He also has this chap called Miéville on his books.)

As you probably know, Justina is a Guest of Honour at this yearís Eastercon, Concussion, which takes place at Easter. The PKD winner is announced at Norwescon, which also takes place at Easter. This caused a small amount of running around. As far as I know, the plan is that Justina will still attend Concussion in Glasgow, but we will try to get some sort of hook-up to the Norwescon folks in Seattle. This may not be live, because the award ceremony is likely to take place at 5:00am Glasgow time (at which point the bar will just about be running out of Real Ale). We shall see. The Concussion web site will have updates as and when I get them to post.

Indian SF

Dr. Srinarahari has sent me a report of the annual meeting of the Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies, which took place in Mysore in December. The conference sounds to have gone well, with 200 people attending. The papers presented included subjects such as J.G. Ballard, Terry Pratchett, The Matrix and The Life of Pi, along which what look like a number of hard science presentations. Perhaps of most interest is the fact that they ran a 1-hour video conference with a group in Mumbai. Maybe next year they could do a link-up with someone outside India.

Or maybe I can work out some means of getting to Maharashthra in November. It is all a question of having the right frequent flier points, right?

Hugo Nominating Time

As those of you who are part of the process should know by now (because you will have received your ballots), nominations are now open for this yearís Hugo Awards. Those of you who have not need to buy your L.A.Con IV memberships by the end of January. And all that means it is time for you to get your ideas in to the Emerald City Hugo Recommendation List. The more of you who express an opinion, the more of an effect you will have on those people who actually have a vote. Just because someone else has already suggested something doesnít mean that you donít need to. The more people who put their names to a recommendation the better that work should do.

A few technical points to bear in mind.

The Best Professional Editor split has not yet been approved by a second Business meeting, so Best Professional Editor will remain a single category this year.

Emerald City is no longer eligible for Best Fanzine because weíve started paying some of our contributors (and because I say so). Instead we are in the Best Locus category (also known as Best Semiprozine). In theory any nominations for Emerald City in the fanzine category will be moved to Semiprozine if, and only if, there is space on the ballot. (If all five Semiprozine nomination slots have been used a new one canít be added.) If the L.A. Con IV Hugo Administrator has a fit of nitpickiness (unlikely ó John Lorenz has run the Hugos before and did a great job) or if you have five nominees already in Semiprozine, nominations for Emerald City in Best Fanzine will probably be ignored. You have been warned.

Not that I expect to win. It is the Best Locus category, after all. Locus is a much more impressive magazine than Emerald City, and it has Gary Wolfe. But it would be an honor to be nominated. Just like polling high in the Locus Poll, it would encourage people in the industry to treat Emerald City seriously Ė something we need much more now we are a professional concern.

Of course I am also eligible for the Best Dave Langford category, but I stand no more chance of winning that than Emerald City does of winning Semiprozine, so Iím not worrying about it.

Finally you may have noticed that L.A. Con IV has used its Special Hugo powers to create a one-off category for Best Interactive Video Game. There has been some discussion of this online, most notably Greg Costikyan complaining about there not being a category for boardgames or RPGs. I think it is an interesting experiment, but I wonder how many people will nominate anything, and whether the games they nominate will be SF. I havenít played a video game in about 20 years. Kevin plays Locomotion regularly, but it is hardly SF and only vaguely fantasy. Mark Kelly dug out some Locus Survey results that showed only 26% of Locus readers play video games, compared to 31% who read fanzines, 43% who read comics, and 71% who watch movies. This doesnít bode well. But Special Hugos are experiments, and thus are generally worth doing once.

Incidentally, if you think that the new category is a bad idea, the correct thing to do is to not nominate anything, and if the category does get onto the final ballot (which it may not if insufficient people nominate) to vote for No Award.

BSFA Awards Short Lists

The short lists for this yearís British Science Fiction Association Awards have been announced by Award Administrator, Claire Brialey. The lucky works are:

Best Novel: 9Tail Fox - Jon Courtenay Grimwood (Gollancz); Accelerando - Charles Stross (Orbit); Air - Geoff Ryman (Gollancz); Learning the World - Ken MacLeod (Orbit); Living Next Door to the God of Love - Justina Robson (Macmillan).

Best Short Fiction: "Bears Discover Smut" - Michael Bishop (Sci Fiction, 26 October); "Bird Songs at Eventide" - Nina Allan (Interzone #199); "Guadalupe and Hieronymus Bosch" - Rudy Rucker (Interzone #200); "I, Robot" - Cory Doctorow (Infinite Matrix, 15 February); "Imagine" - Edward Morries (Interzone #200); "Magic for Beginners" - Kelly Link (F&SF, September - also collected in Magic for Beginners, Small Beer Press); "Soft Apocalypse" - Will McIntosh (Interzone #200); "Two Dreams on Trains" - Elizabeth Bear (Strange Horizons, 3 January).

Best Artwork: Cover of Brass Man - Steve Rawlings (novel by Neal Asher, published by Tor UK); Cover of Elantris - Stephan Martinière (novel by Brandon Sanderson, published by Tor); Cover of F&SF, January 2005 - Max Bertolini; Cover of Interzone #198 - Kenn Brown; Cover of Interzone #200 - Pawel Lewandowski; We3: chapter 2, pp2-3: "Run!" - Frank Quitely (with Grant Morrison and Jamie Grant, published by Titan Books).

Categories with more than 5 entries had ties in the nominating process.

The final ballot and award presentations will take place at Concussion, the 2006 Eastercon, with the award ceremony on Saturday April 15th.

Solaris Launches

Following on from the Golgotha Run review, Iím pleased to hear that Black Library is launching a new imprint, Solaris, that will focus on original SF&F. Although most of their current output is work-for-hire style tie-in novels, Solaris will be a traditional publisher with normal contracts. Iíve known Marc Gascoigne for longer than almost anyone else in the business, and I have great confidence in his taste in fiction. This could be good.

It is worth noting, all of you writers out there, that Black Library has operations in both the US and UK, and generally publishes books simultaneously on both sides of the pond.

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Emerald City - copyright Cheryl Morgan - cheryl@emcit.com
Masthead Art copyright Steven Stahlberg (left) and Gerhard Hoeberth (right)
Additional artwork by Frank Wu & Sue Mason
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Editorial assistants: Anne K.G. Murphy & Kevin Standlee