Shameless Plug – Nebula and Hugo Nominations: Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest

I look up as my life starts to return to some semblance of normalcy, and I can’t believe it’s already February. Zounds.

So, okay, the Nebula nomination period is entering the homestretch (last day for noms is February 15th) and, as has been pointed out to me, Hugo nominations are underway and have been since last month.

So herein my shameless self-promo plug:

My novelette, “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast,” which is currently on the shortlist/ballot of the BSFA Awards, is in the running for the Nebula ballot, currently in a 4th place tie with nine votes. For SFWA members who haven’t made your nominations yet, it’s available to read or listen to for free for your consideration:

• Read it at Apex Magazine.
• Listen to it (fabulously narrated by Lawrence Santoro) at Escape Pod.

It’s also eligible for Hugo consideration for folks who are attending or have a membership to this year’s Worldcon.

“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest”: UK Love and Shameless Self-Promotion

Saw that “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” (originally published in Interzone #220) was nominated for a 2009 BSFA Award! *Woot!* For any BSFA members who haven’t sent in your nominations yet, my story can be read for free at Apex Magazine, where it was reprinted, or heard podcast (read by the fabulous Lawrence Santoro) at Escape Pod. The deadline for nominations is tomorrow (Jan. 16).

Also, Interzone is now running its annual readers poll for IZ stories published in 2009. Polling ends March 31st!

And finally, a reminder for SFWA members that Nebula nominations end on February 15th. One more month left! I’m delighted (ecstatic, absolutely blown away) that “Sinner” has received so many nominations. I’m actually daring to hope that it might just make the ballot.

2009 Nebula Nomination Period Open

The 2009 Nebula nomination period opened yesterday and runs through Feb. 15, 2010. This is the first year of the revamped Nebula nomination rules, a process that really, really needed an overhaul. It promises to be much more transparent and commonsensical than the previous system.

I invite folks to peruse the Carl Brandon society list of 2009 short stories by writers of color and the Nebula suggested reading offerings at the site for some fabulous fiction to consider nominating.

And, of course, my own shameless plug:

My novelette “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman Beast” was published by Interzone and reprinted in Apex Magazine in 2009, making it eligible for Nebula consideration.

Folks can read it for free from Apex‘s site or listen to a free podcast of it, read fabulously by Lawrence Santoro, at Escape Pod.

Tuesday Recap, a Review from The Fix, and Author’s Notes for “Beautiful Winter”

So recapping yesterday: insomnia, oversleeping, driving to the MARTA station and having the power windows on my car die—driver-side fully down.

So, bleary from sleep deprivation, I had to figure out what to do with my car: leave it at the train station in one of the highest crime-rate cities in the nation* or drive home and switch to the hubby’s car and end up very, very late for work.

I ended up leaving it at the station, gambling that I could awaken Matthew via cell phone and have him swap cars before someone either hotwired my car or stole everything out of it. As it turned out, I couldn’t wake up the hubby, who is an astoundingly sound sleeper, until noon (his usual waking time) despite ringing him every fifteen minutes or so. But those spirits and deities who watch over flustered, harried insomniacs were vigilant, and my car was neither jacked nor targeted by opportunistic thieves.


But I’m now looking at a $450+ repair bill to fix my @#$!% power windows. Sigh. The cosmos is not exactly smiling upon my save-money-to-fly-to-Singapore endeavors.


Writing Stuff

In other news, I’m still digging myself out of the Dragon*Con catch-up hole, ergo I’m only now catching up on various writing news. After discovering the review of Returning My Sister’s Face at Cabinet Des Fées yesterday, I went on to find a couple more items that went up while I was focused solely upon Dragon*Con and therefore looking away from the Internet:

• My author’s notes for “Beautiful Winter,” published in issue #13 of OSC’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, are now up at Editor Edmund Schubert’s blog.

• “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” in Apex Magazine was reviewed by Kimberly Lundstrom in The Fix:

“Eugie Foster’s stunning novelette, ‘Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast’ [originally published in Interzone] is the highlight of Apex Magazine’s August 2009 issue…Foster paints this uniquely imagined society in vivid hues, by turns beautiful and terrifying. She draws the reader in with lush descriptions and holds her by doling out tantalizing morsels just as the reader craves them. From its intriguing beginning to its shocking end, ‘Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast’ is a gem not to be missed.”

* Technically, the North Springs station is not in Atlanta proper. Also, it bears mentioning that the MARTA rail areas are some of the safest places in metro Atlanta.

“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, etc” now up at Escape Pod

Still wiped, but wanted folks to know that Escape Pod published “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” while I was at Dragon*Con (why do they always publish my stuff while I’m at D*C?). Lawrence Santoro did a simply fabulous reading of it! Go listen, yo. It’s free!

Yesterday, fosteronfilm, dude_the, and I were comatose for most of the day. We emerged briefly to get food and pick up Hobkin from his godmother, then returned to blissful unconsciousness.

It’s getting harder and taking longer to recover from D*C every year.

Recurrent Themes of Identity

Realized that I’ve been dwelling upon the nature of identity a lot of late, dancing around the issue in the subjects I’ve been researching and the stories I’ve been writing. It’s been subconscious, so the “whoa, recurrent themes of identity!” came as a bit of an epiphany. Post-epiphany, I wanted to get some of it down in writing in order to help organize it in my head.

Quickie background: I did a lot of research on the halo effect for “Whatever Skin You Wear.” (None of which I ended up expounding upon, but which I undoubtedly will in some future tale. Research is never wasted, I tell myself).

In a rather large nutshell, upon first encountering a new individual, people spontaneously seek clues indicating whether that person’s intentions are good or bad (i.e., their warmth) and also their ability to act on these intentions (i.e., their competence). And these impressions are based upon appearances. Shallow but true, appearance is the single most obvious and accessible personal characteristic in social interactions, and we’re geared to be influenced by it.

As it turns out, something like 80% of our impressions of others can be loosely clumped into warmth and competence trait categories. These two classifications are markedly universal across cultures and made very quickly, often in as little as 1/10 of one second. Yeah, Mom was right. First impressions are important.

Also, warmth is gauged faster than competence, with attractive people rated as more warm compared to their less attractive counterparts. Furthermore, when we judge an individual as being warm, we tend to judge them as competent too. That cognitive bias, the manifestation of the affect heuristic, is the “halo effect.” Or, to put it simpler, folks tend to assign to good-looking individuals favorable traits like talent, intelligence, and kindness. And they do so predominantly without being aware of the role that physical attractiveness played in the process.

For example, research with school children showed adults interpret aggressive acts from attractive children as being less naughty than when their less-attractive peers engaged in such acts, and also that teachers attribute more intelligence to good-looking children.

So yeah, Psych. 101 no brainer: appearances influence how people perceive us.

The offshoot of that is what I’ve been pondering: how our appearance influences how we perceive ourselves. How much do others’ expectations mold who we are? How much does our self-concept develop from what we observe when others react to us?

With my most recent story, “Whatever Skin You Wear,” donning different virtual avatars allows people the freedom to reconcile who they are inside with their outer appearance. And I realized after the fact that it’s the counterpart/inverse story to “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast,” where it’s only when the masks come off that people are able to come to know who they really are. Totally unintentional that. As I said, “whoa, recurrent themes of identity” epiphany.

And also, I really, really want to lock people into rooms and do experiments on them.

Happy Year of the Ox and more reviews of IZ220 and “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest”

Happy Chinese New Year!

Verily slammed at work. The legislators are back from their week off hashing out the budget, and this morning was a mad (editorial) dash to clear out the intray before the post-lunch chaos hits.


Writing Stuff

The fabulous Jason Sanford drew my attention to a number of shiny reviews of IZ#220 and “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest” that made me squee:

“disconcerting and thought-provoking in equal measure and should rightly earn its author wider exposure—and perhaps appearances in the Year’s Best and on various award ballots.”
—Colin Harvey, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction

“a classy fantasy, a strange society in which the wearing of masks in not only compulsory, but one in which the mask worn confers a different daily identity…The implications of this are subtly portrayed, as is the response to those who oppose this status quo.”
—Mark Watson, Best SF Reviews

“the best of the issue…A fantastic piece of worldbuilding.”
—Matt Bruensteiner, Garbled Signals

“This surreal story of people living in a beehive society and changing their identity and personality each day…opens out into something dark, powerful and moving…including an ending that successfully avoids cliche and reminds the reader that freedom and self-discovery can lead to a great deal of pain.”
Sci-Fi Gene