Since I guess I should do one of these.
Yes, look, I have the same exact struggle with this shit as most of the other people I know. Let’s all recognize the fact that Awards Season is a weird, anxious, uncomfortable time for a tremendous number of us, emotionally and in general, when we feel like we have to do things that go massively against our nature, which is call attention to our own stuff against the bone-deep conviction that no one will like us or our stuff if we do.
THAT SAID, for your award consideration, here’s the stuff I’ve done this past year.
- “Shape Without Form, Shade Without Color” (Tor.com)
This is a very dark, very strange (par for the course with me at this point tbh) story about mental illness and the way narratives bleed into magic and vengeful ghosts. I wrote it during a very rough time and it’s heavily autobiographical. The response to it was interestingly missed—some people seemed to dislike the fact that it’s not even really a story in the classic sense, a few other people expressed the belief that my depiction of mental illness was negative (fair) and therefore ableist (uhh), and a bunch of people said something to the effect of “yes, this is it, this is exactly how it feels to be this way”. Given that I often find myself trying to describe the indescribable in my writing, that last was extremely good to hear, though not one bit of the story itself or anything around it sat easy for me.
- “eyes I dare not meet in dreams” (Tor.com)
The status of this one in terms of award eligibility is a little odd; an earlier version of it was actually posted a few years ago on a sociology blog I ran with some grad student friends, but given that it was never widely distributed or in a paying market—or indeed a fiction market of any kind—Tor and I decided to treat it as an original work rather than a reprint. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not you agree with that reasoning. Regardless, this is an angry piece of feminist cultural criticism which is personally one of my favorite things that I’ve ever written.
- “In the Blind” (Clarkesworld)
This one came from an idea that I actually had while considering some ideas for fanfiction, and I’m very pleased with how it came out. Originally a story about the dread and claustrophobia of being trapped in a confined space with someone you really dislike and with the potential end of the human race going on below, it ended up being a kind of meditation on several different levels of disconnection—from society, from interpersonal relationships, from the self, from the world—and how the emotional explosion stemming from that connection can lead to violence, and how in fact violence is its own form of connection (which I think is something of a Theme with me, given that my story in the current issue of Uncanny Magazine deals with some of the same issues).
- And there’s also my serial audio drama podcast Gone. I’m honestly not sure what award category this would go in—Hugo long form, maybe? One of these days I’ll write a longer rant about how we really need to figure out what to do with podcasts where the Nebulas and Hugos and World Fantasy Awards are concerned. Anyway, if you feel like nominating it for anything, there it is.
And that’s it. I’ve published more stuff in years past in terms of sheer numbers, but in terms of quality, I’m pretty happy with 2017 overall. Bring on 2018. May it be a better year in all respects for just about everyone.
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