Speechless, Nearly – Gratitude Post Plus Some Secret Facts…


The past six days have been filled with your messages, emails, DMs, and so much community. I wish I could draw or put better words to how grateful I am to know you all, to know (and to meet sometimes for the first time in person) the amazing authors on each of the Nebula and Norton lists, as well as on the Compton Crook Award list. These are all wonderful books. You have some great reading ahead of you, as well as what you’ve read already. (ps OMG I got to meet N.K. Jemisin and CJ Cherryh and John Hodgman, you guysssss.)


One Maxmillian Von Drake Cumberbaffle McDragonface with one Andre Norton Award!

To say I was nearly speechless on Saturday night is an understatement. I didn’t have one — a speech, that is — until about 4am Saturday morning, when I woke up with the *perfect* Alternate Universe speech pretty much already written in my head … and that’s all I had. (I’m working on a post about the AU Nebulas, which are wonderful, so stand by.)  I’m so glad I had that, because I walked up to the podium, still wondering if I’d heard Daryl Gregory (award-winning author of We Are All Completely Fine, among other things) wrong and if he was about to ask me what I was doing standing up there. He didn’t. I gave my speech and made it back to the table where I got to yell my head off for Sarah Pinsker, Alyssa Wong, Naomi Novik, and Nnedi Okorafor. I also got to cheer for Lawrence M. Schoen for his dedication to service at SFWA, for Sir Terry Pratchett, and for Mad Max: Fury Road, and THEN I got to cheer again for all of the exceptional authors giving alternate universe speeches because — here’s the thing — in any given universe, any of us could have won. Trust me on this: I write SFF, I know.  I love that about our community – how there is so much potential, and so much possibility, and so many amazing things to read.

Some other important facts about Nebula Award night:

  • While I was speaking, twitter was scrolling my screen so fast my phone was glowing blue, so you all were up there with me, not just in spirit but in fact.
  • I have no idea how to hold an award properly.
  • I got totally busted by my editor overhearing me whispering another book’s name when we got to the novel category. I spoke to another author on the list earlier, and we agreed that we were all rooting for one another as much as for ourselves. This is an amazing thing about the community and something I treasure.
  • I DID NOT LOSE MY ROOM KEY EVEN ONCE. This is important because (if you know me or have traveled with me you are rolling your eyes right now) I always lose my room key but I didn’t. Nevermind that I lost other things.
  • What I did *misplace* were my Andre Norton and Best Novel nominee certificates! Temporarily – phew! I had to slink into the ops room to get them back. And oh, I got teased A LOT. Deservedly. I um,… also lost my nominee pin but I found it again. But I didn’t lose my room key! ::proud::
  • Anne Leckie and Ken Liu told me once or twice they thought I might have a good chance at an award. I did not believe them. This means that I have to do dishes or something, so they tell me now.

So I’m going to post the youtube of my speech and the text below. I haven’t watched it because I have a hard time doing that, but I have watched the others and I can tell you this: All of the speeches are amazing, and you should check them out. Mine was silly, because it came from an alternate bookshelf underworld, but I still meant every word.

At the same time, I saw yesterday that Updraft has also won The Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Award. This is an amazing honor and I am grateful to the Baltimore Science Fiction Society for considering me, as well as to my fellow 2016 Compton Crook Class – Ferret Steinmetz, Cat Rambo, Josh Vogt, Holly Bodger, Kristie Charish, Brian Groover, Kirsty Logan, and Marshall Ryan Maresca.

I’ll be down at Balticon50 and teaching a workshop on Friday and then around and on programming all through the convention! Please come visit – there will be a signing, readings, shenanigans… and hopefully an outing or two because I’m already making lists of favorite Baltimore places to eat.

I’m currently also cooking up a thank you giveaway, for when I get over this cold I seem to have picked up. Stay tuned!

A̶l̶t̶e̶r̶n̶a̶t̶e̶ ̶U̶n̶i̶v̶e̶r̶s̶e̶ ̶S̶p̶e̶e̶c̶h̶ ... 2015 Andre Norton Acceptance Speech (text, copied from phone, exact text may vary):

Hi. [Awkward nattering & some nerves go here] Thank you all so very much. Thank you to SFWA for this amazing conference, and to all the volunteers and professionals who make it possible. [awkward nattering goes here too, I think?] (thoughts going through my head: am I really going to read this? Ok yes. Oh dear dog, I’m going to read this.)

I come to you today from an odd little land located somewhere between knee hight and ankle height. This land is called the lower half of the bookshelf.

My friends and I – the S’s and T’s the Us Vs and Ws, all the way to the Zs would like to thank you for searching both high AND low and would encourage you to continue your deep knee bends (they’re good for you) as you reach for our books. We have so many good stories to tell.

As well, I’d like to thank this community of writers for the exquisite experience of finding myself listed among my heroes. You made this beautiful list that reflects so much about our community and our strengths. Thanks especially to the groups and workshops and those who teach craft every day in ways large and small. To my agents, Russ Galen and Rachel Kory. Thank you.

And I’d like to thank another very important W. My fabulous editor, Miriam Weinberg, and her incredible colleagues at Tor – including Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Irene Gallo, Patty Garcia, Ardi Alspach, Stephan Martiniere and Tommy Arnold and everyone in production, who have made my debut year so incredible.

And last but not least, for the lowest rung has the greatest honor in the bookshelf underworld, I’d like to thank my family. You are wild(e) and wonderful and without you I’d be much higher on the shelf, but never so happy and supported.

photo by John Scalzi. Timing: when it clicked.
photo by John Scalzi. All rights reserved, John Scalzi. Timing: when it clicked.


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