The Campbell Rag

Back in August, that hot, dusty country that seems so long ago and far away, I woke up on the morning after the Hugos–groggy and hungover and blister-footed, as you may or may not often find yourself on the final morning of WorldCon–and fumbled my half-blind ass towards my laptop. Logged in. Wiped the sleep from my eyes. Checked the social network scene. Noticed people were pinging me. But why? I was pretty sure no serious faux pas had been made, as far as my foggy, fugue-y brain could recall. Hadn’t called Rory McCann ‘The Hound’ to his face, hadn’t given anyone’s Hugo statuette a handjob, hadn’t told the entire city of San Antonio to kiss my ass.

Turns out this was why. The Hugo stats were out. I had come within three votes of making the Campbell ballot, but missed the mark and landed atop the longlist instead. Which is nothing to fuckin’ scoff at, to be god-damned sure, as there were far better writers than I at the bottom or not even on there at all. Still, though. A double-edged sword down my throat first thing in the morning, and (as double-edged swords tend to be) it was rather hard to swallow.

Three votes. Three people. That’s all it would have taken.

ANYWAY. It’s that time of year again, again, and I have even less of a chance of making the ballot in 2014 than I did last year. Depression has cut my output to a trickle. I’ve only made one sale this year, to the wonderful Nightmare, and it sank almost as quickly as it surfaced, being a short, slight, angsty little thing. But my friends have poked me and prodded me and ever-so-gently bullied me into mentioning that, yes, I am still eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. It’s my last year. When 2015 rolls around, I will be, as they say, too old for this shit, and godspeed to the new recruits with their shiny button eyes and shiny button hearts just waiting to be ripped out.

If you enjoyed my stories last year and voted for me then and still like ‘em now, you can vote again, you glorious, stubborn mule, you. If you’ve just discovered my bibliography this year and you are so totally into what I’m peddling you will burst like a can of springy snakes and die if I don’t get on that ballot, vote for the first time! Anyone who buys a membership can vote. The rules:

Like the Hugo Awards, the Campbell Award voting takes place in two stages. The first stage, nomination, is open to anyone who had a Supporting or Attending membership in the previous, current, or following year’s Worldcon as of January 31. For Loncon 3, this means members of LoneStarCon 3 (the 71st World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio), Loncon 3 itself, and Sasquan (the 73rd Worldcon in Spokane) can nominate any eligible author.

(A Supporting membership, by the way, means you can still vote on the Hugos and the Campbell even if you’re not in the mood to fly to London this August, although it is a lovely city and if you can you really should try and manage it. Think of it as an Absentee ballot.)

Anyway, if you need a refresher course on what I wrote last year, here’s a quick list. If you’ve never read a word of my work, hey, now might be a good time to start! And even if you hate what I’m doing, try and vote for someone, dig? There are a lot of amazing writers up for the Campbell this year, including the bodacious Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, the eminent Emily Jiang, the terrific and foxy Tim Susman, and Andy Stewart, who has multiple sales to F&SF and thus needs no alliteration or introduction.

My bibliography:

Her Words Like Hunting Vixens Spring, Lightspeed, February 2012
Tornado’s Siren, Strange Horizons, February 2012
Sun Dogs, Lightspeed, September 2012
The Beasts of the Earth, the Madness of Men, Nightmare, November 2013

I thank you for your consideration, I thank you for any votes you may or may not toss my way, and I especially thank you for getting me so very, very close in 2013. I may be a tiny fish in this great big pond, but for a moment you made me feel like Octoshark.