AnLab Award winner!

My story, "Ashes of Exploding Suns, Monuments to Dust" (read it here on Patreon) just won the AnLab Award for Best Novelette of 2018

They announced it during the Nebula Awards Weekend. Thought I'd share my acceptance comments here (I kept 'em to less than one printed page):


It's difficult to express how deeply touched I am to receive this honor. News arrived at a time when I needed something good to happen. And oh boy is this a good thing. I'm over the Moon!

I've always held Analog in highest esteem – as a pre-teen, I first subscribed when Ben Bova was editor. Stan Schmidt published my first story back in 1995, and it's remained the first market where I send new work. I inserted an Easter egg or two in his honor into this story. We even got to share an issue! Thank you for believing in me first, Stan. 

I'm impressed by how Trevor Quachri (the current editor since 2012) is guiding this ship into the future. Not that he makes the writer's life easy! That's something I've always appreciated about Analog: If an aspect of the science doesn't add up, the good editor asks us to correct it – Trevor even sent this piece to his predecessor for a physics-check. 

That led to six months of research and math to work out the science for something that's really just world-building for the narrator's far-future society. But it serves as a vital literal metaphor to help build parallels and strengthen everything else. It turns out stars are really heavy. No, heavier than that. Trevor's demand for scientific rigor forced me to invent a new method of moving stars (and making plasma-cannons that can bake an entire solar system). 

Along those lines, I also want to thank my friend and colleague Phil Baringer, an experimental particle physicist and professor who co-teaches a course on "Science, Technology, & Society" with me at the University of Kansas, and who often serves as my writing science advisor. 

I love the power of science fiction. Inspiring ideas and rigorous speculation embodied in dynamic characters, set in interesting places that explore the human condition encountering change – that's my favorite literary flavor. This love led to dedicating my life to writing, studying, and teaching SF, investing more than half my life into the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas. 

The SF mode of enquiry is a powerful tool for examining ourselves and exploring What if. I've talked to groups ranging from philosophers to computer scientists to biotech researchers, and almost everyone said they were inspired to pursue their research by what they read in the pages of something like Analog. Even today's graduate English students – once a bastion of anti-SF snobbery – often come to their interest in writing or literary studies via SF.

And of course they do! Science fiction is the natural intersection of science, engineering, and the Humanities; the overlap at the core of the human Venn diagram. Analog – and its predecessor – has been the jewel set at the very heart of SF since the Golden Age. 

Receiving this AnLab award means so much to me because it comes from the readers who make this astounding magazine possible. Thank you for choosing my story as representative of what you love about Analog, and thank you for all the kind words you've shared about it. This is my first major award, and coming from you is just Wow!

At its heart, science fiction is a community of people always "asking the next question," who are dissatisfied with the world as-is, who seek new visions about what might be. 

Being honored by this community of explorers, for a piece I worked on so hard for so long, means the world to me. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you!


Congratulations to all the winners - see the Locus story here to see all the winners, and check out the 2018 AnLab finalists page here to read most of them online. 

I haven't forgotten about y'all, by the way - the upcoming posts I mentioned are still coming up once we wrap up deliberations for the Campbell Award (where I'm juror and committee chair), finals for this semester's classes, and setting up this summer's Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop (which might still have a slot or two remaining - apply ASAP if interested).

This weekend I'll be at ConQuesT, Kansas City's science-fiction convention celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. See me at a reading (from this story or my in-progress novel), the Benefit Auction tables, or the Sunday afternoon Benefit Auction, where I'll be an auctioneer raising funds for AboutSF, the Center's educational-outreach program.

I can now say "award-winning author" and mean something bigger than convention- or university-level awards. I'm smiling over here.

Ad Astra!