ONLY HARMLESS IS A NOVELETTE, or: Eligibility Post 2018 Good-Time Rockafire Explosion

I’ve been swaying back and forth on making this, as every single year my skin crawls and my gorge rises and my chills, they multiplyin’ as awards season approaches and I feel obliged to do the seasonal song and dance of self-promotion, which for me is less a dance and more a painful flailing ailment not unlike St. Vitus. I hate talking up my own work, and I hate making a dedicated post about it even worse. Is there anybody out there I haven’t already gibbered frighteningly at about the stuff I published this year? Isn’t this what Twitter is for? Does anybody even read blog posts anymore?

I’m self-deprecating about my work; I still feel like someday soon somebody’s gonna wake up and realize they’ve been paying me for this shit and then it’s off to Imposter Jail breaking rocks for the next thirty years. Worse, I am very very lazy, and blog posts require more effort than rattling off BUY MY BOOK on social media. But here I am, and if you’re reading this here you are as well, so I guess we might as well go on a magical temporal journey through the year’s output together before a video of a kitten arsonist distracts your attention or mine or HEE HEE HOW DOES IT HOLD THE GAS CANISTER WITH ITS LITTLE PAWS–

Okay. Right. What did I write this year?

THE ONLY HARMLESS GREAT THING (NOVELETTE, 17,200 words, Tor Dot Com Publishing): Hey, remember my little book that Tor published in late January of THIS YEAR? 2018? The year that is still going on somehow? The year that will always be going until we all die? It’s eligible for Best Novelette in pretty much every award going. Because it’s a novelette. There has been some understandable confusion on this matter because it was released as a hold-in-your-hands dead tree book under Tor.com’s novella project. Do not let that fool you, as the Sad Elephant Book is something like 300 words too short to technically count as a novella. Under certain rules it could still slip in even if it was miscategorized as a novella, but my WORRY is that the confusion is going to split votes and kill my chances completely. Which would suck.

I don’t mind not making the ballots. Shit happens. Shit is forever happening; it’s whatever. But if I don’t make the ballots because half the people voting thought it was a novella and the other half knew it was a novelette (because it’s a novelette) and that wee little technicality sinks my battleship, I will be very cross indeed. So: NOVELETTE. NOVELETTE. It’s not quite a mop and not quite a puppet, but maaaan.

Novelette. Spread the word. If you see someone calling it a novella, fly down squawking and get tangled in their hair.

THE TALE OF THE THREE BEAUTIFUL RAPTOR SISTERS AND THE PRINCE WHO WAS MADE OF MEAT (short story, 7,000 words, Uncanny Issue #23): Man, y’all REALLY love dinosaur fairy tales. I love you all for loving dinosaur fairy tales. This has not a chance in several hells of entering the short story ballot fray, already a perennially packed field jammed with much more deserving, less ridiculous entries, but if your heart demands that title be jotted down in one of your slots for the sheer ridiculousness factor alone, it’s a short story published in August 2018. It wanted to be a novelette as well, but just missed the mark.

NO FLIGHT WITHOUT THE SHATTER (novelette, 8,000 words, Tor.com): Probably the best thing I’ve ever written. Extinct animal ghost aunties, climate change, and the logical endgame of the Anthropocene. A novelette, because I am apparently incapable of writing anything shorter than 7,000 words these days. Nobody read it because it dropped the week of WorldCon–a week after Three Raptor Sisters had already captured everybody’s moist, bloody hears–but I’m mentioning it anyway because it’s as eligible as the other two and deserves a chance just as much, dammit. I’m a sucker for the underdog, or under-thylacine, if you will.

(Although if you gotta pick one to put on your Novelette ballots, make it Only Harmless, as the chances for that one are waaaaaaaaay better. But you don’t HAVE to pick. You could stick them both on there, if you had an empty slot and were feeling generous.)

Thassit. Vote your heart, as always. If you put any one of these three on your ballot I’ll be eternally thankful for the thought, not least because it’ll make me feel less crabby about how bad I am at making these eligibility posts every damn year.

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