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Wild Cards Coming Atcha

Got some cool stuff coming down the pike for Wild Cards fans... especially those of you who came in with INSIDE STRAIGHT or FORT FREAK or one of our other recent Tor originals, and have been seeking high and low for the older books ever since.

Many of those older books are, alas, still out of print. But Tor has reissued the first five volumes in trade paperback, and now we're bring back volumes six and seven as well.

ACE IN THE HOLE is our sixth volume. Set during the dramatic (and bloody) Democratic National Convention of 1988, this one is a full mosaic, weaving together stories from Melinda M. Snodgrass (Dr. Tachyon), Walton Simons (Demise), Stephen Leigh (Puppetman), Walter Jon Williams (Golden Boy), and Victor Milan (Mackie Messer). Look for the new trade paperback on FEBRUARY 28.



DEAD MAN'S HAND, volume seven, is a companion piece to ACE IN THE HOLE. In fact, the two were actually one book, until it got too big and our publisher asked for a split. DMH takes place during the same week as AITH, the former mostly in New York City, the latter mostly in Atlanta. This one is a mosaic too, but with only two writers: John Jos. Miller writing Yeoman, and yours truly with Jay Ackroyd, aka Popinjay. Which makes it more of a collaborative novel, really. This is our noir novel, a classic mean streets murder mystery with superpowers. It will be great to have it back in print after so long. Look for it on JUNE 13.



((Both of those covers are by the amazing Michael Komarck. Do remember that name when you're making your Hugo nominations for Best Professional Artist, Komarck is way overdue)).

OH, and hey... on other Wild Card fronts, there's a cool new post up on the WC website, wherein David Anthony Durham confesses how he stole his IBT character from his son. ;) You can check it out here:
http://www.wildcardsworld.com/

Fight the good fight, boys and girls. And remember, you can't die yet, so haven't seen the Jolson story.

Tags:

Jimmy Is Coming

Come join us at the Jean Cocteau tomorrow.

James S.A. Corey -- that famous two-headed science fiction writer, otherwise known as Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck -- will be on hand at 1 pm to talk about his/ their latest installment in the Expanse series, BABYLON'S ASHES. And of course he/ they will be scribbling in books afterwards.



The fun starts at 1pm. Admission is free with the purchase of a hardcover book, $5 with the purchase of a paperback, and $10 without book purchase. You can call ahead and reserve a book if you like, and I do advise it; stocks are limited.

Daniel and Ty are also Wild Cards contributors (though Jimmy is not), the creators, respectively, of Jonathan Hive (Bugsy) on the one hand, and Tinkerbill and Horrorshow on t'other. And of course we'll have piles of Wild Cards titles on hand for them to sign as well, along with the earlier books in the Expanse sequence, and lots of Daniel's solo fantasy novels.

For what it's worth, I loved BABYLON'S ASHES. One of the best Expanse books yet, and a novel that will certainly be on my own Hugo nomination ballot. If there's any justice at all, it ought to be a finalist this year.

Might also mention that we have lots of other great guests and special events coming up at the JCC in the weeks and months to come. Comedian CARLOS MEDINA will be here on Tuesday, February 14, if you'd like to spend Valentine's Day laughing. On March 13, Joe R. Lansdale His Own Self will be returning for a special screening of the second season of HAP & LEONARD... and of course to sign some of His Own Books as well. Further down the road, we're expecting visits from JOHN NICHOLS and from TERRY BROOKS (not the same night, no), dates and details to come. And yes, we have MAX HEADROOM and H.P. LOVECRAFT coming as well! Visit the JCC website at http://jeancocteaucinema.com/ and sign up for our newsletter and e-mail blasts, and you'll never need to miss one of our special events.

See you at the movies.

One of Our Aces Has Fallen

Very sad news out of Denver for all readers of science fiction and fantasy, and for Wild Cards fans in particular. We've just received word that Ed Bryant has died.

Ed did reviews for LOCUS for years, and they've posted an excellent obituary for him... more complete than what I could have cobbled together. Find it here: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2017/02/edward-bryant-1945-2017/

In addition to all his other considerable accomplishments, however, Ed was also one of my Wild Cards writers. He's been part of the series since the very beginning, contributing a story (a collaboration with his dear friend Leanne C. Harper) to the very first anthology, and appearing off and on in other volumes over the years. He created or co-created numerous Wild Cards characters, but the one he used most was Sewer Jack, the gay Cajun subway worker who turned into a twelve-foot long alligator in times of crisis.



Always a fan favorite, Sewer Jack was last seen in volume twelve, DEALER'S CHOICE... but, perhaps fittingly, he will be back for one last hurrah in the forthcoming volume MISSISSIPPI ROLL, in a story penned by David D. Levine. Ed read and approved David's handling of his character, and was pleased to see him back on stage.

Here's Ed at happier times, from the 1988 worldcon in New Orleans, when WILD CARDS was a finalist for a Hugo Award. We all dressed to the nines that night, and had a hell of a celebration afterwards, even though we lost to Alan Moore's WATCHMEN.



I first met Ed in 1971 or 1972, either at a worldcon or perhaps at Harlan Ellison's house. After so many decades, the details fade. But he's been a friend for decades. We partied together at more cons than I can recall, competed for Hugos and Nebulas and occasionally for women, attended Milfords together and critiqued each other's work. He visited Santa Fe and stayed at my house, I visited Denver and stayed at his.

Out here in the west, Ed was often asked to preside at cons as a toastmaster and master of ceremonies, a task at which he excelled. He had a wry, dry wit, always funny, never cruel. No one who attended the 1981 worldcon in Denver will ever forget Ed in his maroon tails presenting the Hugo Awards on roller skates. So far as I'm concerned, he's right up there with Connie Willis and Robert Silverberg as the Best Hugo Hosts Ever.



Ed's health had been failing for some years, sadly, and he was not able to attend as many cons as he had in the past. But I was fortunate enough to see him in November at Tuscon in Tucson, Arizona, where he was once again the toastmaster, and at MidAmericon II in Kansas City a few months before that. He was frailer than he used to be, but still the same old Ed, sharp and funny as ever

Fandom and the world of science fiction will miss his gentle wit, his easy laugh, his talent. For for those of us who were his brothers and sisters in Wild Cards, our universe will never be the same. One of our aces has fallen.

Meow Wolf Gets Even Cooler

Just wanted to give the locals... and anyone passing through the Land of Enchantment... the heads up that Meow Wolf is open again. The attraction was closed from January 17 to February 1, alas, but for all the best reasons. Not content to rest on their (by now considerable) laurels, the amazing Meow Wolf collective decided to make the House of Eternal Return even cooler by adding some new rooms and revamping some old ones. So now there are even more secrets to uncover and portals to explore.

Come check it out.



It's been an amazing year for Meow Wolf, by the way... less than a year, actually, since we're still a month and a half shy of our first anniversary. You always hope for success when starting any new project, and when the project is as new and different and creative as this one, you cross your fingers and mutter a prayer to whatever deities you believe in. A year ago, as the Meow Wolf artists were madly pushing to finish everything before the scheduled opening, the hope was that we would be able to draw 100,000 visitors to the attraction every year. If we managed 150,000, that would have been occasion for celebration. Well, Meow Wolf hit that mark within the first three months, and by now, some ten and a half months since the opening, more than 400,000 people have visited the House of Eternal Return.

If you're not one of them, hey, you don't know what you're missing. Meow Wolf has become the most Instagramed place in New Mexico, surpassing even White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, and the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. And the reviews on TripAdvisor and Yelp will blow your mind.



There has been all sorts of incredible recognition as well, even beyond the excitement and pleasure of all our visitors (especially the kids). In November, Meow Wolf won a THEA Award from the Themed Entertainment Association. https://meowwolf.com/2016/11/meow-wolf-wins-thea-award/ They will be collecting that in April at Disneyland. And the American Institute of Architects in Santa Fe voted Meow Wolf an award as well, for its fusion of art and architecture. http://www.aiasantafe.org/2016

It pleases me to observe that Meow Wolf is also reaching out to help other artists. Most recently, in the wake of the tragic Ghost Ship fire in Oakland that claimed the lives of 36 people, Meow Wolf has announced a hundred thousand dollar fund to help DIY (Do It Yourself) art and music spaces improve their venues and bring them up to code, so that horrors like the Oakland fire need never recur http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2016/12/13/meow-wolf-starts-fund-for-diy-artists-in-response.html (And in case you are wondering, the defunct bowling alley that houses Meow Wolf was brought completely up to code before opening, and is inspected regularly. In fact, the fire marshall was there two days ago, when I last visited, testing the ear-splitting fire alarm. There are smoke alarms all over the House of Eternal Return, much of it is fireproofed, and all of it is sprinklered. Wonders are wonderful, but we did all we could to put safety first).



All this success, all this coolness, all this good work... I can't take credit for any of it, really. I am just the landlord. But I am proud to be associated with it. The artists and creators of Meow Wolf are an incredible bunch of people, and they've made Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the world a better place with their energy, imagination, and hard work.

And the best part is, they've just begun. Denver, Austin, Los Angeles, watch out for spiders and giant robots, you never know what might turn up on your doorstep.

A Bit More (Fake) History

I had intended to write this post a few days ago, when Bantam gave me the green light, but I got busy, and we had Carrie Vaughn coming to town, and a worldcon/ Hugo deadline approaching, and all that seemed more time-sensitive, so I wrote those instead. Unfortunately, that meant the news below broke from other sources, and inevitably, all sorts of weird distortions crept in, and now the internet is rife with rumors and false reports and misinformation. Pfui. I need to set the record straight.

My friend Gardner Dozois, long-time anthologist and winner (many many times) of the Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor, has a big new fantasy anthology coming out this fall. It's called THE BOOK OF SWORDS, and it's about... well... swords. Y'know. "Stick 'em with the pointy end."

I have a story in the book. "The Sons of the Dragon" is the title. Those of you who enjoyed "The Princess and the Queen" in DANGEROUS WOMEN and "The Rogue Prince" in ROGUES will probably like this one too. It's water from the same well. A history rather than a traditional narrative. A lot of telling, only a little showing. (The opposite of what I do in my novels). But if you're fascinated by the politics of Westeros, as many of my readers seem to be, you should enjoy it. As the title suggests, "The Sons of the Dragon" chronicles the reigns of the second and third Targaryen kings, Aenys I and Maegor the Cruel, along with their mothers, wives, sisters, children, friends, enemies, and rivals. If you're read something to that effect on the web, good, that much is right.

However, there is a lot that's wrong out there as well. THE BOOK OF SWORDS is not my book. I didn't write but a small part of it, and I didn't edit it, nor even co-edit it. Gardner is one of my oldest friends and he and I have co-edited a number of anthologies together. We did OLD MARS and OLD VENUS together. We did SONGS OF LOVE & DEATH and DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS together. We did the huge award-winning cross-genre anthologies WARRIORS, DANGEROUS WOMEN, and ROGUES together. But we did not do THE BOOK OF SWORDS together.

SWORDS is all the Great Gargoo. I mean, it's not as if he hasn't edited a hundred other anthologies all by himself, before he did a few with me. We're friends, but we are not attached at the hip. I edit Wild Cards without any help from Gardner, and he edits lots of great stuff without any help from me... including THE BOOK OF SWORDS and next year's THE BOOK OF MAGIC (which will also have a story from me, a reprint).

Truth be told, I loved editing those anthologies with Gardner, and we want to do more together. We're talked about MORE ROGUES and EVEN MORE DANGEROUS WOMEN, since those two books were hugely successful, and we have definite plans for OLD LUNA and, who knows, maybe eventually OLD MERCURY and OLD PLUTO and OLD URANUS. But we're not doing any of that NOW. The anthologies, much as I loved them, were taking too much of my time, so I stepped back from them... until I finish THE WINDS OF WINTER, at least. Once that's done, maybe I can sneak another one in...

The point is, just because I had to step back did not mean Gardner had to. And he hasn't. Hence THE BOOK OF SWORDS, which I expect to be just as good as ROGUES or DANGEROUS WOMEN.

The lineup of THE BOOK OF SWORDS is an impressive one:

Introduction by Gardner Dozois
THE BEST MAN WINS, by K.J. Parker
HIS FATHER'S SWORD, by Robin Hobb
THE HIDDEN GIRL, by Ken Liu
THE SWORD OF DESTINY, by Matthew Hughes
“I AM A HANDSOME MAN,” SAID APOLLO CROW, by Kate Elliott
THE TRIUMPH OF VIRTUE, by Walter Jon Williams
THE MOCKING TOWER, by Daniel Abraham
HRUNTING, by C.J. Cherryh
A LONG, COLD TRAIL, by Garth Nix
WHEN I WAS A HIGHWAYMAN, by Ellen Kushner
THE SMOKE OF GOLD IS GLORY by Scott Lynch
THE COLGRID CONUNDRUM, by Rich Larson
THE KING'S EVIL, by Elizabeth Bear
WATERFALLING, by Lavie Tidhar
THE SWORD TYRASTE, by Cecelia Holland
THE SONS OF THE DRAGON, by George R.R. Martin

There's some amazing writers there. Some of the stories, I expect, will contend for the Hugo and the World Fantasy Award. But I wouldn't know which, since I haven't read any of them yet, since I am not the editor. Unlike, say, ROGUES and OLD MARS and the like, where I read every word, because I was the co-editor.

THE BOOK OF SWORDS is scheduled for release on October 10 in hardcover and ebook. (I don't have the cover art yet, but when I do I will post it here).

As for my own story...

Long-time lurkers on this site will recall that several years ago, when we were working on the gorgeous illustrated worldbook/ concordance that was eventually published as THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE, I wrote a number of 'sidebar's about Westerosi history. Actually, I got rather carried away, until I found I had written 350,000 words of sidebars for a book that was supposed to have only 50,000 words of text (it ended up having a lot more that that, actually). Since I had only reached the regency of Aegon III the Dragonbane, and had largely skipped over Jaehaerys I the Conciliator, however, it became apparent that my sidebars were going to burst the book.

So we pulled them all out, including only severely abridged versions of the main events in THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE. The full versions, much longer and unabridged, will eventually be published in a fake history tome to be called FIRE & BLOOD (and sometimes just the GRRMarillion), but since that one is years away, I included excerpts (again abridged, though not as severely) in DANGEROUS WOMEN and ROGUES. That's where "The Princess and the Queen" and "The Rogue Prince" came from.

"The Sons of the Dragon" came from the same place. Gardner asked me for a story. I told him I did not have the time to write a story. He asked if perhaps I had more like "The Princess and the Queen" lying about... as it happened, I did. So I sent him "The Sons of the Dragon," he liked it, and there we are. (Fwiw, though "Sons" has never been published before, some of you may have heard me read it at one convention or another. I think I've read it twice, though offhand I do not recall when).

Anyway... that's the story of the story. Don't believe any other weird crap you may encounter on the web. It's Gardner's book, and it should be a fine one. You can't go wrong with Robin Hobb, Scott Lynch, Lavie Tidhar, Daniel Abraham, Matthew Hughes, and the rest of the contributors that Gargy has assembled. You'll love their stuff, I know. Maybe you'll like my contribution as well... if you're partial to fake history.

Hugo Thoughts: Best Professional Artist

Hugo nominations are now open. You will have until mid March to make your nominations... however, if you were not a member of MidAmericon II, you have only today and tomorrow left to sign up for either That Finnish Convention (this year's worldcon) and/or ConJose II (next year's worldcon) to earn the right to nominate. Act now, or forever hold your peace.

A few days ago I posted a few recommendations for the two Dramatic Presentation categories. Today I'd like to offer a couple of artists for your consideration, staggering talents who did some outstanding work in 2016, and are more than worthy of nomination.

The first of them is MICHAEL KOMARCK, who has been painting our Wild Cards covers ever since Tor revived the series. He's done a bunch of other things too... check out his website... and he is doing the artwork for a Wild Cards graphic novel that is just going to blow your mind, but it's his recent Wild Cards covers that make me want to get up and dance. Here's some of his recent work.



Komarck has been nominated for the Hugo once before, but has never won. Here's some of his older Wild Cards covers. Amazing work.



I had the honor to work with another wonderfully talented artist this year as well: the French artist DIDER GRAFFET, who illustrated the 2017 Ice & Fire calendar from Random House.



There's lots more art in the calendar just as good. Grab and copy and see for yourself.

Of course, SF and fantasy are blessed with all sorts of extraordinary artists, many of whom have been Hugo winners or nominees in years past. John Picacio, Julie Dillon, Donato Giancola, Stephan Martiniere, and many more are worthy of your consideration as well. But any list of recommendations that does not include Komarck and Graffet is woefully incomplete, imnsho.

GENIUS

A few posts down you'll find my Hugo Award ruminations for the Dramatic Presentation categories, where I opine at some length about the best films and television shows I saw last year.

Much as I love SF and fantasy, however, not everything I read or view falls into those categories. I wanted to say a few words about another movie I saw recently, and loved.

It's a film called GENIUS, a period piece set in the 1930s about the relationship between Maxwell Perkins, the legendary Scribners editor, and his most troubled (and troubling) writer, Thomas Wolfe. (No, not Tom Wolfe, the 60s journalist of THE RIGHT STUFF fame, Thomas Wolfe, the doomed 30s novelist of YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN). Stars Colin Firth and Jude Law, both of whom gave brilliant performances. Scripted by John Logan, directed by Michael Grandage.

GENIUS came and went last year almost unnoticed. It was certainly unnoticed by me, else I would have tried to book it for the Jean Cocteau. But it's running on HBO right now, so all those who missed it (virtually everyone) now has another chance to see it.

I hope you do. Especially if you're a writer, or an editor, or have any interest in 20th Century American literature, Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, or Maxwell Perkins.

The movie got very little notice from the world at large, but I loved loved loved it. Maybe because it's a writer's movie. The period is wonderfully evoked, the acting is fine, and there's one ten minute scene in the middle of the movie... from when Wolfe delivers OF TIME AND THE RIVER till when Perkins gets on that train... that I thought was just hilarious, heart-breaking, poetic, painful, and just all-around... blue. A blue that was deeper than blue, a blue such as never before...

Well, let's just say it was a great scene in a fine movie.

Lots of fine movies came out last year, in our genre and out of it. Many of them have been nominated for various Oscars. GENIUS was not, but if I were in the Academy I would certainly have nominated it. Much I loved ARRIVAL and MOANA and some of the other big movies of 2016, I think GENIUS was my favorite film from last year.

Carrie, Carrie, Carrie

We had a fun afternoon with Carrie Vaughn today at the Jean Cocteau. Talked about new book, MARTIANS ABROAD, about Old Mars and New Mars and Podkayne and Heinlein, about her bestselling Kitty Norville series, about her contributions to Wild Cards.

If you missed it, have no fear. We taped it, and plan to upload a streaming video soon.

Before she left, of course, we made her sign lots and lots of books for us, so if you're looking for an autographed copy of MARTIANS ABROAD or any of her earlier books, or a hardcover of INSIDE STRAIGHT signed by both Carrie and yours truly, you need look no further than the JCC bookshop.



Check out these and other signed books at http://jeancocteaucinema.com/product-category/author/

Hugo Thoughts: Dramatic Presentation

That Finnish Worldcon has opened Hugo nominations for 2016, and all over the internet the usual suspects are stirring and sharing their thoughts and recommendations. Being very suspicious my own self, I thought I'd chirp in with my own notions, as I have in years past.

First, the basics (forgive me if you have read this before, which most of you have):

To nominate, you need to be a member of at least one of these three worldcons:
-- MidAmericon II, last year's Kansas City worldcon,
-- the current year's worldcon, in Helsinki,
-- the 2018 worldcon, ConJose II, in San Jose, California.

If you were a member of MAC II, you're set. If not, you need to join one or the other of the forthcoming cons... and to secure nominating rights, you need to do that by January 31. Which means you have THREE MORE DAYS to join. Once you've signed up, though, you'll have another six weeks or so to decide what you want to nominate. You do NOT have to attend to be able to nominate. Supporting Memberships are also available, at a much lower rate.

To join the Helsinki con, go to:
http://www.worldcon.fi/

To join for San Jose, the address is:
http://www.worldcon76.org/

Once you've signed up, you will be sent your own personalized link to the nominations page, which will allow you to nominate the books, stories, movies, television shows, artists, fans, and editors whose work most wowed you this past year.

The Hugo Awards were first given in 1953, and remain our field's most prestigious, important, and meaningful awards. The list of Hugo winners is a Who's Who in science fiction and fantasy, and you can have a voice in determining which names are added to that distinguished roster besides those of Alfred Bester, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Roger Zelazny, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jack Vance, Connie Willis, Samuel R. Delany, N.K. Jemisin, James Tiptree Jr, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, Gardner Dozois, Lois McMaster Bujold, Orson Scott Card, Poul Anderson, Frank Herbert, Anne Leckie, Anne McCaffery, and so many many more.

Today I thought I'd ruminate a bit on the Dramatic Presentation Hugos. There are two of those: Long Form and Short Form. For all practical purposes, Long Form means "feature films" and Short Form means "television episodes," though the rules actually allow all sorts of other things to be nominated (live theatre, radio plays, easter eggs, slide shows, albums, once even an acceptance speech from the previous year, which was kind of the height of stupidity). But the only real hard and fast criterion here is running time.

This year's Long Form race is going to be dominated by two movies, I have no doubt. ROGUE ONE is a Star Wars film, and a pretty good one at that (the best since THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, imnsho); it has to be the odds on favorite going in. ARRIVAL, however, could give it some tough competition; a brilliant, powerful adaptation of a Ted Chiang story, relentlessly intelligent, well filmed, well acted (how Amy Adams did not get an Oscar nod I will never understand).

If we presume that ROGUE ONE and ARRIVAL are shoe-ins, though, the question remains as to what will occupy the other four slots on the final ballot. Certainly there were other genre movies released last year. DR. STRANGE, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE, PASSENGERS, A MONSTER CALLS, THE JUNGLE BOOK, GHOSTBUSTERS, X-MEN, STAR TREK, yadda yadda yadda. Myself, I liked some of these a lot, other less, and still others I have yet to see. Some may make my ballot.

There's another option, however: television series. And it's an option well worth considering.

See, the rules allow a television show to be nominated in two different ways. You can nominate an individual episode of a series in Short Form, so long as it is under ninety minutes, or you can nominate an entire season as a whole in Long Form. (You can actually do both if you really like a show, but the Hugo administrators will then make the showrunners chose which nomination to accept, so the same show cannot appear simultaneous in both categories). Most recently, it happened to GAME OF THRONES. At the Chicago worldcon, GAME OF THRONES season one won the rocket in Long Form, ahead of several feature films. (In subsequent years, however, GOT won in Short Form, for individual episodes).

In today's television world, there are two different sorts of shows: episodic series, where every week tells a self-contained story with a beginning, middle, and an end, and serial shows, where the entire season is one story, one continuous dramatic arc, with no resolution until the final episode (if then). LAW & ORDER is its various incarnations is an example of the former, HBO's recent brilliant courtroom drama THE NIGHT OF an instance of the latter. In the not-too-distant past, episodic shows used to dominate television drama, but in recent years that has definitely changed. These days we have a real mix, though to my mind the best shows are almost all serials. The longer format allows you to do so much more.

This is truly the Golden Age for science fiction and fantasy on television, with more interesting series than ever before... most of them serial dramas. WESTWORLD, for instance. Terrific show. But the entire season is one story. To me, it makes no sense to pick an episode at random and nominate it in Short Form, when every episode depended so much on what had come before and what was to follow. I will be nominating WESTWORLD season one in Long Form, and I urge other WESTWORLD fans to do the same. Then we have STRANGER THINGS, recent Golden Globe nominee, another cool new genre show... I loved the series, but looking back, did I love one episode? No, I loved the whole story, so I'd nominate STRANGER THINGS, season one. Ditto for PENNY DREADFUL, the final season, which wrapped up in fine style last year. You could also make a case for MR. ROBOT, if you consider that sf.

And, of course, there's GAME OF THRONES. Our sixth season won an unprecedented number of Emmys, setting an all-time record. And there are individual episodes that won Emmy acclaim: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss won for writing for "Battle of the Bastards," Miguel Sapochnik took the directing Emmy for the same episode, and "The Door" also earned a directing nomination for Jack Bender. But it was the season as a whole that won for Best Drama, and for me, at least, it makes the most sense to nominate GAME OF THRONES, season six, in Long Form.

When I look at the other movies eligible this year, aside from the Big Two, I see some good work, for sure... but nothing that stands head and shoulders above shows like WESTWORLD, STRANGER THINGS, PENNY DREADFUL, and GOT. I think the time has come for serial television drama to have more of a presence in the Long Form category.

And what about Short Form, you ask?

There are still plenty of episodic shows left, more than enough to fill that category. GRIMM and ORPHAN BLACK and FLASH have all been nominated in recent years, and their fans will likely have favorite episodes again this year. And then there are the anthology shows, the most outstanding of which is BLACK MIRROR. As with TWILIGHT ZONE and OUTER LIMITS in days of yore, every episode of BLACK MIRROR is self-contained, and many of them are brilliant. (Dark as hell, disturbing, but masterfully done). Your favorite BLACK MIRROR episodes should definitely be nominated here; so far, the show has been criminally overlooked in the Hugos. Of course, there's DR. WHO as well. I don't know which episodes will be nominated this year, but there will surely be one. Or two. Or three. Or four. For GOT fans who reject my Long Form argument, or prefer to nominate in both categories, "The Door" and "Battle of the Bastards" are the likely contenders.

And then there is the interesting case of THE EXPANSE. You could make a good argument for nominating the entire first season of THE EXPANSE in Long Form, as with WESTWORLD or GAME OF THRONES or STRANGER THINGS, since it is one continuous story. However, the airing dates of THE EXPANSE season one straddled the calendar year, so half of the episodes came out in 2015. Not sure what that does to the show's eligibilty. (Two of those early episodes did garner considerable support last year, and would likely have made the ballot if not for the Puppies). In light of that complication, I think EXPANSE fans (like me) should probably nominate their favorite episode in Short Form. My pick would be the season finale, "Leviathan Wakes." Originally broadcast on February 2, 2016, it is clearly eligible, whereas the earlier episodes are not.

Those are my thoughts on the Drama categories in this year's Hugo Awards. You're welcome to share your own. (As ever, please stay ON TOPIC or your comments will be nuked).

No matter which shows and movies you chose to nominate... NOMINATE. Surely the events of 2016 have demonstrated the importance of voter turnout.

Wild Cards Take Texas

We're calling the latest Wild Cards volumes the America Triad. First one up was MISSISSIPPI ROLL, which we completed and turned in back in October. Then came LOW CHICAGO, delivered in December. And now comes the third and final book in our cross country tour: TEXAS HOLD 'EM.

Another one done. The manuscript went off to our editors at Tor yesterday. Hot damn!

The table of contents for this one:
Caroline Spector "Bubbles and the Band Trip"
Max Gladstone "The Secret Life of Rubberband"
William F. Wu "Jade Blossom's Brew"
Diana Rowland "Beats, Bugs, and Boys"
Walton Simons "Is Nobody Going to San Antone?"
Victor Milan "Dust and the Darkness"
David Anthony Durham "Drop City"

TEXAS HOLD 'EM is the final book in the America Triad, and the twenty-sixth volume of the overall series... but no, it's not necessary to have read the first twenty-five to enjoy this one. In fact, it's not even necessary to have read MISSISSIPPI ROLL and LOW CHICAGO (though we hope you will). The America books are not a triad in the traditional sense, like the ones we have done before; they are more in the nature of three stand-alones, linked thematically rather than by plot. Aside from a couple of double-dippers, each book of the three has a different roster of writers.

The cast in TEXAS HOLD 'EM includes long time fan favorites like the Amazing Bubbles, Mr. Nobody, and Rustbelt, and brings back a couple of minor players from past books in much bigger roles (Jade Blossom from INSIDE STRAIGHT, the Darkness from SUICIDE KINGS), but you'll meet a bunch of fun new characters as well. Diana Rowland and Max Gladstone are here making their Wild Cards debuts (Abandon hope, all ye who enter here). I think you'll love their work as much as I do.

TEXAS HOLD 'EM is a departure for us in other ways as well. Like the Marvel and DC universes, the Wild Cards universe is huge, and allows for all sorts of different stories. Last summer's HIGH STAKES was our horror outing, and one of the darkest we have ever done. TEXAS HOLD 'EM is the other side of the coin; a romp, light-hearted and frenetic, with touchs of screwball comedy.

Which doesn't mean it was easy. "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard," someone once said (just who is a matter of dispute).

Look for TEXAS HOLD 'EM sometime next year. At last word, Tor is slating MISSISSIPPI ROLL for publication in hardcover in the fall of this year, with Chicago and Texas to follow, but we don't have hard dates for those two yet, but you'll know when we do.

Meanwhile, we have further Wild Cards books in mind... and that TV series in the works...

Remember, we can't die yet. We haven't seen the Jolson Story.

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