james_morrow (james_morrow) wrote,

News from Cocoa Beach

This year’s Nebula Award for Best Novella went to The Women of Nell Gwynne’s, a triumph that obviously meant a great deal to the family and agent of the late and much lamented Kage Baker.

For the past two months, Kate Milford’s blog, The Clockwork Foundry, has featured a series of posts called “The Informed Nebula Voter Project.” Here’s an excerpt from Kate’s review of Kage’s book: “The women in question constitute an elite group of information gatherers for the Gentlemen’s Speculative Society – they are whores only incidentally. When four European power brokers are invited to the house of Lord Basmond, a noble offering a levitating technology at auction, Lady Beatrice and three of her cohorts are dispatched as the entertainment ... Then Lord Basmond is murdered ... and the girls suddenly have ... a murder to solve ... This story is an adventure with very, very cool detailing: the chain of events that brings Lady Beatrice to Nell Gwynne’s, for instance, and Mr. Felmouth, the Society’s ‘Q,’ who invents marvelous gadgets. And there’s a pretty seriously cool twist at the end – this story turns out to be not exactly the story you think it is. I love when that happens.”

Had Shambling Towards Hiroshima won the award, my acceptance speech would have begun like this: “The day before Kathy and I boarded the train for Orlando, I received a letter from an attorney in Tokyo representing ToHo Productions. The company is claiming that, in writing Shambling Towards Hiroshima, I plagiarized some obscure ToHo character named Godzilla. The attorney insisted that all copies of the novella be immediately destroyed, and I must cease and desist from using the character in my fiction.

“My fellow SFWA members, tonight I stand before you to attest that, until the letter arrived from Tokyo, I’d never had any knowledge of a monster called Godzilla. I’d never heard of that radioactive behemoth. I never had sex with that lizard.”

I would have gone on to dedicate the award to “my lovely and brilliant wife, Kathy,” and also to “a late, great writer named William Tenn, my comrade in satire, who lived an admirable human life under the pseudonym Phil Klass.”

My gratitude would also have gone to Tachyon editor Jacob Weisman, managing editor Jill Roberts, publicist Matt Staggs, long-range-planner Bernie Goodman, better-angel-of-Jacob’s-nature Rina Weisman, and Gorgantis fanzine creators Fred Ramsey and Bill Spangler.

As a final gesture, I would have noted that, while it’s wonderful to receive a Nebula, I’ve always wanted to win a Hugo, “so indulge me while I employ my Nebula-to-Hugo Conversion Kit.” The packet in question comprises a roll of Scotch tape and a Styrofoam coffee cup. When turned upside down and affixed to the top of a Nebula, such a cup has the immediate effect – when the lighting is sufficiently poor – of transforming the Lucite block into a rocket ship.

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