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A Statement upon Winning a Hugo
I won a Hugo!
Yes, all right, this wasn't my first. Technically, I've won five over the past six years. But let nobody tell you that it's possible to get jaded about these things. It just doesn't happen.
Afterwards, because Jack Dann asked if we'd ferry Gardner Dozois's best editor Hugo back to Philadelphia, both Marianne and I were carrying rocket trophies through the halls from party to party. Seeing her coming, people would smile and say, "Congratulations!"
Terry Pratchett was the guest of honor at Noreascon, which gives me an excuse to tell the story of my first Hugo. That was the year the Worldcon was in Australia, and I went to bed wondering if I would be awakened in the middle of the night by the traditional drunken phone call that absentee winners get from their friends.
Alas, the night passed without event. I got up and said to Marianne, "Well, I lost another one." Because this had happened so many times before, Marianne just said, "Too bad." And we went downstairs.
Our son, Sean, had had his D&D buddies over that night, and the floor was littered with pizza boxes, plastic bottles, and teenaged male bodies. So we started tidying up, clearing away trash, and making coffee. In an excess of gaming frenzy, the young men had knocked the phone off the hook, so we put that back too. We didn't think anything about it until five minutes later, when the phone rang.
It was Jack Dann calling from Australia. "You putz!" he said. "I've been calling for hours and your phone is always busy."
Carefully, I said, "Do you have anything to tell me, Jack?"
I listened. Then, to the gamers, who were staggering up out of sleep, I said, "Hey, guys! I just won a Hugo!"
"That's nice, Mr. Swanwick, congratulations," they said, being well-brought-up young men. I listened to Jack some more.
"Terry Pratchett presented it to me!"
Their eyes grew wide with awe.
Writing life has been hectic:
"Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh, Gibbon?" So said the Duke of Gloucester to the author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and I know how the poor ink-stained wretch must have felt. I was feeling overwhelmed with work the other day, so I decided to get organized by sticking up post-it notes with the title of everything I was actively working on. Which turned out to be two novels, four stories, two essays, three introductions (one for Michael Swanwick's Periodic Table of Science Fiction, forthcoming from PS Publications, and the others for collections to Lucius Shepherd and James Tiptree, Jr.), and six separate collaborative stories. "Well," I said. "There's my problem."
As problems go, though, it's a good one. And I'm anxious to get all these books and stories written and out of the way so I can get to all the other stories I've been meaning to write. As my wife says to me, from time to time, "Type faster, Swanwick!"
My most recent book, Cigar-Box Faust and Other Miniatures (Tachyon Publications), a collection of short-shorts or flash fiction, has been garnering uniformly glowing reviews. Which is cause for speculation and wonder. After all, no book, no matter how good it is, will be liked by everybody. So why no dissenting voices? My theory is that short-short fiction is an inherently modest form. It has neither pretense nor sub-text. It's only there to entertain you. So panning a collection of the stuff would be like kicking a puppy. Any critics with an animus toward my work will be patiently awaiting my next novel.
My newest publication is the introduction
to Henry Wessells' Another Green World, which has been posted here so you
can read it. It's been published by his own imprint, Temporary Culture, in an
edition of two hundred and fifteen copies, so most of you will never even see the
book. And yet it has three blurbs, one taken from my introduction, and the other
two by Hugh Kenner and William Gibson. Henry works in the rare book trade, and
he's definitely created a rarity here.
Reading and Book Signing at the Science Fiction Museum
Interaction - the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention and
Delaware Valley Paleontological Society
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