Friday, January 9, 2015

Philip K. Dick Award Nominees for 2014

Congratulations to the six authors nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award:

ELYSIUM by Jennifer Marie Brissett 
MEMORY OF WATER by Emmi Itäranta
REACH FOR INFINITY edited by Jonathan Strahan

Emmi Itäranta was one of my first interviews as host of New Books in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and I have a special fondness for her book, which offers a tender, wise vision (with a strong female protagonist) of a world irrevocably injured by climate change.

And after my next interview airs (with Ben H. Winters, another award winner, of The Last Policeman fame), I'll be chatting with Rod Duncan. His interview probably won't air until March, but I'll be sure to ask him how it feels to be nominated.

First prize will be announced on Friday, April 3, 2015.

Podcast No. 12: 'You’re only as good as your last book,' says Kameron Hurley, author of The Mirror Empire

Here are some highlights from my conversation with Kameron Hurley, author of The Mirror Empire, on New Books in Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Although her first book was a success (winning the Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer and the Kitschy Award for Best Debut Novel), the other two books in the series, Infidel and Rapture, were hurt by the financial troubles of the publisher. Hurley rallied, finding a new agent and a new publisher, but the path wasn’t easy. As she says, “You’re only as good as your last book. If your last book doesn’t sell, then you’re not going to sell other work. … This is an up and down business. It’s not a straight trajectory. You have to work very hard, and I think that’s very motivating for me to know I have to work very hard just to stay in the game.”

While writing is a solitary affair, Hurley has surrounded herself with a circle of supporters—and advises everyone to do the same. “If you’re going to have a goal in life… You want to be a CEO, you want to open your own business, you want to be a writer [then] you need to surround yourself with people who support what you are doing. And that’s everyone. If your family doesn’t support what you do then maybe don’t see them as much. I hate to say it. And if you have a partner who doesn’t support what you do, then maybe you should look at a different partner. If the agent that you have is not working out and your styles just do not work and you’re not getting what you need from that relationship then you need to find an agent that works.”

Check out Hurley's essay "We Have Always Fought"—about the history of women in conflict—which was the first blog post ever to win a Hugo Award.