As counterpoint to my previous post, thanks to Michael R. Underwood (a real stand up guy, you should read his books), this, too, is my birthday song.
Today is my 44th birthday.
My birthday hasn’t really been something to celebrate for years, now. It’s a day closer to my death, a day to mark my mortality. It’s day that reinforces my loneliness. It’s a day to mark and measure the failures of my life.
My late father was a birthday twin of mine. Every birthday I have, is a reminder that my father has passed on, and that one day, I will die, too. It’s inescapable for me not to think of that.
It goes further, though.
Growing up, a bunch of family birthdays were celebrated all at once in Early October, rather than having an individual birthday celebration for me or a dual one for my father and I. While these family gatherings, at my grandmother’s house, were usually pleasant affairs, and there is a sense of family and camaraderie in having a grand birthday celebration, there is also something smaller about having a piece (and a small piece) of a celebration, rather than a celebration of one’s own. Sure, my mother made a birthday dinner every year, but really, any real celebration was usually deferred to the big family one.
The year that my grandmother passed away was a particularly tough one. She died only a few days before my birthday, and in the somber mood of that year, there wasn’t a birthday celebration, for the family, or for me.
I give credit to my friends Nicole, Matt and Bridgette. They surprised me with a surprise birthday party, once. An event never repeated before, or since. It was delightful, and memorable, just because it was so unexpected. So singular. It was a celebration not for the entirety of my family, or even my father and me. It was a celebration for ME.
I don’t follow astrology, but for the astrologically minded, I am a “shy introverted Libra”. I want to be social, I want people to like me, I want people to do stuff with me—but I have doubts when such social affairs occur, and I find it painfully impossible to propose such things. So, in the 13 years since I left New York City, my birthdays have been painfully lonely affairs.
In 2002, during my sojourn in California, my birthday was an abject failure. I took a long trip by bus and trail all the way to the Getty Museum to celebrate my birthday. It was a long, arduous trip. The worst part of it was—my attempts to call people, there, to try and reach out, all failed. I felt utterly, terribly, alone.
That was the start of the dark season , the dark season when I seriously contemplated suicide.
Beyond that dark moment, there were few celebrations (although sometimes My Friends the Olsons™ would invite me over once I moved to Minnesota) and much loneliness on my part. With Scott’s death, and Felicia’s moving to Arkansas (and even before that, when they lived in Iowa), my birthdays have really been intensely lonely, solitary affairs.
The cake is indeed a lie. But the world still turns and revolves, and the solar system hurtles through the galaxy, and the galaxy through the local group.
Life goes on.
Renay of Lady Business (and her aarmy of helpers) has done a really good job in getting this information today.
These graphs and this information are irrefutable evidence that there IS an issue of bias in SFF awards:
SFF Awards have a problem. Despite some gains towards diversity in recent years, books by and about cis men still dominate nearly all the major awards. The gains in recent years have been encouraging, but they’re offset by long histories of privileging cis men and their writing over cis women and trans and nonbinary individuals. Most of the longest-running awards have heavily male-dominated histories. Let us be clear that this is not because cis men produce superior work. Despite their difficulty in getting published and publicized, cis women and trans and nonbinary individuals have been putting out quality work for as long as they’ve been getting published. But the SFF field by and large prefers to recognize and award books by and about cis men.
ANNOUNCING: A NEW OPEN DOOR PERIOD AT ANGRY ROBOT
The tides of publishing are changing rapidly and Angry Robot remains right at the forefront, surfing through the storms on an insulated circuit board. Another wave is coming down the pipe, this time of our own creation. That’s right, it’s time for another Open Door period!
As you may have noticed, we normally only accept submissions for new Angry Robot books from literary agents or people known to us. But for a couple of months every year we are delighted to open our doors wide and encourage proposals from one and all.
In fact, several of our most notable novels over the years have come to us through our Open Door periods. If you know Angry Robot, you surely know Wesley Chu’s award-winning Tao series – The Lives of Tao, The Deaths of Tao, The Rebirths of Tao. Wesley’s debut came to us as an Open Door discovery, as did Philip K Dick Award-nominated Cassandra Rose Clarke, Lee Collins, Lee Battersby, and the upcoming Drake by Peter McLean. Why not join them?
When when when?!?
The Open Door period will last from 1 December 15 to 31 January 2016. Yes, that does coincidentally mean that you could take advantage of this year’s NaNoWriMo to finish that manuscript in time to get it in to us. You clever thing.
What are you looking for?
A book that will fit with the Angry Robot range – which as you surely know includes SF, F and a little pinch of WTF. Note that we are looking for full-length novels, not short stories, novellas, epic poems, comic book scripts, etc etc. Angry Robot books are aimed at adults, so no middle grade or young adult themes this time.
Who are you looking for?
Anyone who has written a thoroughly entertaining, full-length science fiction or fantasy novel. Our Open Door is open to all.
We did want to say the following though. We appreciate diversity at Angry Robot. Our track record at AR speaks for itself, but we can do even better. We also know that writers from diverse backgrounds are sometimes hesitant to submit. So we’re saying this in big letters:
We want to explicitly invite writers from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences to submit to this Open Door.
Several of our most commercially and critically-successful books have come from writers speaking from diverse backgrounds and/or about diverse characters.
This genre belongs to everyone, and we at Angry Robot want to be a part of making that maxim true in practice by championing diverse voices and helping them reach a wide audience.
So everyone, send us your best work. Show us worlds real and imagined with all their glorious complexity and diversity, that reflects the reality of today’s culture. We can’t wait to see what stories you all have to share.
Tell us more!
Patience, padawan. More detailed notes are coming soon. For now, the message is simple:
• The next Angry Robot Open Door opens December 1st 2015
• It will close on January 31st 2016
• It will be open to full-length science fiction and fantasy novels
• We want to buy and publish the best of these books on the Angry Robot list
• Angry Robot have found a notable clutch of fabulous writers from Open Door in past – this time, it could be you.
I’ve been playing Borderlands 2 as a form of stress relief, and for its faults, it has, I see, a surprising amount of
diversity. Delightfully so:
Out of the Six playable characters, 2 are women, one is a clear minority (Salvador is Hispanic).
The leaders of the city of Sanctuary are a minority man and a woman, both playable characters from the first Borderlands.
Sir Hammerlock, a quest giver, casually mentions his ex-boyfriend in one quest plotline.
The leader of the town of Overlook brooks no sexism from one of the residents, and she cleverly has the PC deal with said sexist pig by means of heavy artillery.
Ellie, a quest giver, is body-shape positive, and comfortable with her overweight proportions.
Sure, there is a lot of crassness in the game, but its refreshing to see a not insignificant amout of diversity where they didn’t necessarily “have” to put it.
The SFF Audio podcast had me on to talk about the very weird Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay.
Fred Kiesche might say that, like Elvis, I am Everywhere. But not really.
You know, its rich that Sad Rabid Puppies would go so far as to unperson someone they accused of being a “Social Justice Warrior”
Sure, freedom of association and all that…but this looks awfully…Orwellian?
The actual thing that caused this seems to be that one of the former bloggers said something bad about someone and their association with super genius Theodore Beale.
And so it begins…
“To that end, this thread will be the first of several to collect recommendations. There will also be multiple permanent threads (one per category) on the SP4 website where people can make comments. The tireless, wonderful volunteer Puppy Pack will be collating recommendations.
Later – most likely somewhere around February or early March, I’ll be posting The List to multiple locations. The List will not be a slate – it will be a list of the ten or so most popular recommendations in each Hugo category, and a link to the full list in all its glory. Nothing more, nothing less.”
We’ll see how it works in practice, of course. It looks less like a slate at first glance, which heartens me. The proof will be in the pudding.