It's time for some congratulations.

First, I just learned from Cheryl Morgan that the speculative poetry symposium I put together with Mike Allen, Alan DeNiro, and Theodora Goss made the shortlist for the British Science Fiction Association Awards in the nonfiction category. I just did the organizing of the article; Mike, Alan, and Dora did all the heavy thinking, and they deserve the accolades. Congratulations also to the rest of the nominees, and especially to Gary K. Wolfe, whose Soundings was the winner.

Speaking of Alan DeNiro, his forthcoming collection of stories, Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead, has made the longlist for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. I got one of the first galleys of the book, and it's truly an extraordinary collection. Having been familiar with Alan's work for a while, I thought I knew what to expect, but reading it all together, the breadth and inventiveness of the stories astounded me far more than I was prepared for. I can't think of another collection that has, on the whole, impressed me quite this much since I read Kelly Link's Stranger Things Happen four or five years ago. (And yes, I could be accused of bias, since Alan and I are acquainted, and he was one of the three Ratbastards who published my [generally unloved] story "Fragments", but even if I am inclined to think somewhat kindly of him, that does not account for how much his book impressed me.)

Speaking of Ratbastards and books that impress me, the news can now be spread far and wide that Chris Barzak has sold his first novel, One for Sorrow, to Juliet Ulman at Bantam. If I can be accused of bias toward any writer, it's probably Chris (and toward any editor, Juliet), and I am particularly biased toward this book, so you may not want to believe me when I tell you that it contains a few scenes so achingly beautiful they will make you cry, but, well, it contains a few scenes so achingly beautiful they will make you cry. Unless you have no heart or are an asshole. So there.

As I write this, Chris is on a plane heading home after spending nearly two years living and working in Japan (and if you haven't been reading his blog about the ups and downs and ins and outs of life there, you've been missing a great read). Welcome back Chris, for however long it may be.

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