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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Gernsback and I, and the Call of Nature

My odd little metafiction, "Biographical Notes to
'A Discourse on the Nature of Causality, with Air-planes' by Benjamin Rosenbaum"
, is on the Hugo ballot. It's competing with amazing works by Chris Rowe, Kelly Link, and Paolo Bacigalupi. (The Flynn may be amazing too, but I haven't read it; actually, I haven't read the Link either, but I can say with confidence that it's amazing because everything Kelly writes is amazing).

(And David Moles -- who nagged and cajoled me to write and then submit that story, and did brilliant editing on it, including goading me to create the attempt at a Hegelian synthesis (or third alternative?) of worldviews at the end, is up for the Campbell award as well. Shout-outs also to Mr. Kelly and Mr. Denton on that ballot, both of whom have kindly taken me under their broad, pterodactyl-like wings on many occasions. And to the incomparable Mr. Stross, the mighty Ms. Bear, the surreal Mr. Picacio, the doughty Mr. Robeson, and Morgan, Datlow, Dozois, Van Gelder and Groppi... at this rate I will know everyone on the ballot in a few years...)

Also, the British science magazine Nature asked me to write a very short story (800 words), of "technological SF, set in the next 50 years", for the last page of the magazine (they're running a series of them). I sent 'em one, and they accepted it.

I am fascinated by my psychological reaction: this much success is making me acutely nervous. I was very comfortable with the notion of someday being on the Hugo and Nebula ballots as kind of a vague, happy ambition, which could hover in the future, casting beams of beatific light on the present, and where I could imagine it as a blissful return to the unmarred integrity of Being, to when I was, say, four years old and the most important creature in the universe and everyone I knew adored and celebrated me. (And Nature, you know, never occured to me)

Now that I am actually living through my fifteen minutes, I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. I mean, holy crap. The Nebula ballot was one thing; I could just barely enjoy that, though it was on the border of painful. But this! Come on now! Stop this carousel, I want to get off!

I hope I will soon calm down enough to actually enjoy it.

Posted by benrosen at March 27, 2005 06:15 PM | Up to blog

Nice job with the Nature invitation! I've only seen a couple of stories from that series, but they've been memorable ones: David Langford's "comp.basilisk FAQ" and Greg Egan's "Only Connect".

Posted by: Dan Percival at March 29, 2005 01:37 PM

Wow, Ben! Congrats! I can barely contain myself, and I'm just a friend! I can hardly imagine what you're going through :)

Keep it up, man!

Posted by: Matt at March 29, 2005 01:39 PM

If it would help, I could not vote for your story for the Hugo. :)

Posted by: Patrick Samphire at March 30, 2005 04:43 AM

No, no, that's far too much to ask. You go on ahead... vote your conscience. I'll just suffer.


Posted by: Benjamin Rosenbaum at March 30, 2005 09:10 AM

I just read the nominated story, and in my own arrogant opinion, it's brilliant. I'm itching to find somebody to read it aloud to, but most strangers won't sit still for that sort of thing...


Posted by: Vardibidian at March 30, 2005 10:49 AM

Thanks V! I assume you mean the Hugo-nominated one?

Although the whole award nomination thing is, as observed, oddly stressful (maybe it's the legions of anonymous voters set to judge you? the sense of weird disjunction of arriving at a dreamed-of milestone, still carrying your human load of doubt and fear?), hearing from actual people that they liked actual stories is very happymaking. Yay!


Posted by: Benjamin Rosenbaum at March 30, 2005 11:30 AM

I can't believe I neglected to cogratulate you on the Hugo nomination! Maybe it came as no surprise...

What a great story, and in good company, too.

Posted by: Dan Percival at March 30, 2005 11:42 AM

PS: I'd sign up for an MP3 of "Biographical Notes..." read by Vardibidian. Ben, would you permit such a thing?

Posted by: Dan Percival at March 30, 2005 11:45 AM

Yes I would!

Posted by: Benjamin Rosenbaum at March 30, 2005 11:48 AM

Yep, the Hugo-nominated one. And I'm tempted to go ahead and record that mp3, which would certainly teach Dan a lesson.


Posted by: Vardibidian at March 30, 2005 09:36 PM

School me, I dare you.

Posted by: Dan Percival at March 31, 2005 11:34 AM

Regarding the Nature short-shorts: until recently, the current series was available online, but they've now restricted access to subscribers only, forcing the rest of us to make a physical trip to the library.

Jonathan Strahan has a couple posts about the series; the latest is here.

Posted by: Ted at March 31, 2005 01:59 PM
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