Once & Future

Charlotte Ashley – Book seller, collector, writer, editor, historian

March 14, 2017

Sum of Us TOC Announcement!

I have been waiting months to tell you about this one, you guys. Yes, I have another short story coming out in, yes, another nifty anthology. But lest you should think these are becoming routine, let me correct you. There’s is nothing routine about a project like this. I have been fired up about it since Lucas Law asked me to contribute.

Sum of Us is an anthology of stories about the complexities of caregiving, explored through the lens of speculative fiction. That sounds specific, I realize, but it is something that is more fundamental than that: care, connections, community, responsibility for the sum of a people, rather than just the self…. these are things that inform all stories – or should – and I was really invested in exploring it.

I came up with my story immediately, inspired by my father’s attitude towards his own end of life (when it should come, which is hopefully not for ages and ages.) The elders in my life have been curmudgeons and grumps to a man, the sort of people who don’t want to be cared for and who stubbornly intend to raise hell until the moment they (presumably) spontaneously combust, leaving nothing to bury. These are people who, in my opinion, have a lot of energy to harness for grand adventures.

“Orang Tua Adventure Home Academy” is the story of one such curmudgeon who turns up on a beach in Penang, intending to vanish into the jungle, and winds up being pressed into some 17th century hydrodynamic engineering. This story wrote itself. I had so munch fun, and love my characters to pieces.

When I got the final TOC this week, my heart nearly exploded. I am in fantastic company. I genuinely can’t wait to see how this batch of geniuses engage our empathy. Check it out:

Foreword, Lucas K. Law
Introduction, Dominik Parisien
The Dunschemin Retirement Home for Repentant Supervillains, Ian Creasey
Bottleneck, A.M. Dellamonica
Mother Azalea’s Sad Home for Forgotten Adults, James Van Pelt
Things that Creep and Bind, Christie Yant
The Gift, Bev Geddes
The Gatekeeper, Juliet Marillier
The Healer’s Touch, Colleen Anderson
The Crystal Harvester, Brenda Cooper
The Burdens We Bear, Hayden Trenholm
A Mother’s Milk, Heather Osborne
The Mother’s Keepers, Edward Willett
The Oracle and the Warlord, Karina Sumner-Smith
The Beautiful Gears of Dying, Sandra Kasturi
The Gardener, Amanda Sun
Number One Draft Pick, Claire Humphrey
Orang Tua Adventure Home Academy, Charlotte Ashley
Sunshine of Your Love,- Nisi Shawl
Good-bye is that Time between Now and Forever, Matt Moore
Ambassador to the Meek, Alex Shvartsman
Gone Flying, Liz Westbrook-Trenholm
Am I Not a Proud Outlier?, Kate Story
Blinders, Tyler Keevil
Dreams as Fragile as Glass, Caroline M. Yoachim
Afterword, Susan Forest

Anyway, Sum of Us is due out on September 8th, 2017. You can pre-order the book directly from the publisher, Laksa Media. The official launch will be at When Worlds Collide in Calgary, AB in August. I won’t be there (unless someone wants to fly me out there, ha ha ha) but I’ll be at various Ontario launch parties. Watch for it!

March 13, 2017

Event Horizon 2017 – A Free Campbellian Anthology

I blogged earlier this month about the Campbell Award, offering a suggestion or two for who you might want to nominate for it (including me). My list was short n’ sweet, being mostly stellar and very high-profile writers who have shot out into the field like a bundle of fireworks, but it was far from comprehensive. There are dozens of writers who have done some absolutely heartbreaking work in the last two years. Choosing a ballot of 5 is tough work.

But Jake Kerr and Shirtsleeve Press managed to pull of a miracle. Over the course of about a week, they have pulled together Event Horizon 2017: An Anthology of Authors Eligible for the John W. Campbell Award. This free anthology includes the work of over 75 authors eligible for the Campbell award – some 400,000 words of fiction, some of which is being offered for free for the first time.

This includes my short story “A Fine Balance,” which can otherwise only be read on the paper pages of the Nov/Dec 2016 F&SF and the forthcoming Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2017.

Event Horizon will only be available for a limited time. This link will disappear on July 15, 2017. But that is plenty of time to give it a skim and pick your Campbell nominees! You can nominate for the Campbell Award (and the other Hugo Awards) up until March 17th, 2017.

You have nothing to lose! Download the book for a tonne of great reading and an introduction to your next favourite authors. Enjoy!

March 2, 2017

In Which I Am Eligible for the Campbell Award

It’s awards season!

I have been keeping an eye on the award eligibility posts of others in my field, and I think I have the hang of what is expected.  Modesty is the name of the game, fellow Earthlings, and I am nothing if not modest.  Everyone tells me how modest I am. I’m also the most humble. Ask anyone.

I don’t deserve any awards, I’m pretty sure. Personally, I hate my work. Everyone does. The cool people, anyway. Everyone else’s writing is better than mine, probably; if there is even such a thing as quality in art, which there isn’t. Awards are just excuses for fancy parties and circle jerks. Nobody likes those. If I was nominated for any awards, I would refuse them; at first anyway, until you FORCED me to accept them.

On my honour, I have stood impassively in my bubble of authenticity, merely breathing art for its own sake. If any of it happened to make it out into the wider world, I promise that was only an accident, or maybe the unavoidable march of its genius. They published it, not me. I donated my fee to puppies. I never even read it, myself. Oh, you read it? Well, there’s no accounting for taste.

*record scratch*

*struggles not to laugh*

Okay, okay. OKAY.

There is exactly one reason I started writing: because I love my writing. I wanted to read particular stories told in a particular way, so I wrote them myself. I knew just how to craft each character and just how to turn each scene because I needed them to be like that for my own satisfaction, for my own enjoyment. It has been the greatest joy of the last two years to discover that the stories I write resonate not just with me, but with other people – a lot of other people.

My first story to appear in a major publication was “La Héron” in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in early 2015. This story went on to be nominated for both the Aurora Award and the Sunburst Award, and was picked up for podcasting by PodCastle last summer. This was a pretty great start, but 2016 beat that start by a mile.

First, I had my second F&SF appearance with my Quebec Revolution novelette, “More Heat Than Light,” in May 2016.

In June, “La Clochemar” appeared in Clockwork Canada ed. Dominik Parisien, garnering some fantastic reviews.

In August, “La Héron” went up at PodCastle.

In September, Haralambi Markov featured me in his Tor.com column, “Innumerable Voices.”

In October, I undertook a musical collaboration, writing and performing “Distant Skies” with the Junction Trio.

Then, in November, the publication of “A Fine Balance” marked my 3rd appearance in F&SF. Soon after, I placed the story in Rich Horton’s forthcoming Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2017.

In between I sold reprints, did readings, talked at conventions, gave workshops, and joined writer’s groups. I wrote more, sold more, and took on more challenges than ever before. I kicked ass and took names. Not bad for my second year as a professional writer.

My stories are eligible for a variety of awards this year, but what has made me most proud over the last couple of years is not any one story, but the trajectory of my career in general. I decided I wanted to be a writer, and I am doing it. Not only that, I’m doing it well.  I could not be happier with my progress so far, nor could I be more excited about what the future has in store for me.

That’s why the award I am shilling for today is the John W. Campbell Award.

The Campbell Award is a companion of the Hugo Awards, awarded to the ” best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of the two previous years.” I am in my 2nd and last year of eligibility for the Campbell. I would appreciate your nomination.

To nominate for the Campbell (as well as the other Hugos!) you must be a member of the 2016, 2017, or 2018 WorldCon. If you were a supporting member of any of these conventions, you will have received your nomination link! If you join WorldCon 2017 (to be held in Helsinki, Finland) now, you will be eligible to vote for the awards, but not nominate. They will close to nominations on March 18th, 2017.

I hope you will consider me.

And me? Well, okay, *I* am pretty great, but I get to nominate 5 people! Here’s your bonus today – my Campbell ballot. Aside from myself, I will be nominating:

Kelly Robson

Roshani Chokshi

Cassandra Khaw

Tamara Vardomskaya

Cheers, everyone!