Interview by Scott Laming,
This year for the 2007 Nebula Awards Banquet in New York, AbeBooks
teamed up with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association
to give someone a pair of tickets to the event and a couple nights'
stay in downtown New York. The winner was Gavin Grant, who was
kind enough to tell us about the high points from the weekend.
AbeBooks: How did you enjoy the event?
Gavin Grant: The SFWA weekend was a ton of fun.
We were very surprised to be going. My wife and I run an indie
press (Small Beer Press) with
many connections in the sci-fi world (we'd even published a small
hardcover edition of one of the Nebula novel finalists, Ellen
Privilege of the Sword) but we'd decided not to attend
the Nebulas. In the following weeks we will be in Madison, Wisconsin,
for a convention and then return to New York City for Book Expo.
However when we received the news: well, who could say no to two
free nights in New York? Not us!
We took Amtrak to the city (so civilized!) and arrived in time
to join a crowd of writers for dinner. From then on we were immersed
in conversation about science fiction and fantasy with writers
new and old.
AbeBooks: What would you say is the best part
of the event for an SF&F Fan?
Gavin Grant: The awards ceremony might be the
best part where fans can (hopefully!) see their favorite authors
applauded for their work, but really the whole weekend can be
just as fun. There was a mass signing at a nearby bookshop where
readers could meet an amazing range of writers and editors: from
Willis to Peter
S. Beagle, Carol
Emshwiller to James
Datlow to Paul
AbeBooks: Where there any surprises or interesting
Gavin Grant: D.G.
Compton, who received the Author Emeritus award, was hilarious!
But since I would only misquote him (it was late at night and
the HarperCollins table was very hospitable...) you'll have to
wait and see if there is a podcast of the event.
Another surprise was that the hotel was one block away from the
World Trade Center site. It was sobering and surreal to go from
heady talk of science fiction and fantasy to then wander around
the fenced-off site with many other tourists wondering why, six
years later, there's still a hole in the ground.
AbeBooks: Did you get a chance to meet James
Gunn or any of the other authors that were attending the Nebulas?
Gavin Grant: I did not meet James but I did
spend some time talking to two of his former students who honored
Gunn at the awards banquet, Kij
Johnson and John
Kessel. Both of them are great writers and both either teach
or have taught writing. Coincidence? I don't think so!
Gunn is obviously an inspiring, well loved, and intriguing man
who much deserves his award.
I wasn't meeting John
Kessel about James
Gunn, though. We met with him (at the City Bakery, mmm!) to
seal the deal on publishing his new short story collection, Invisible
Empires, which we will publish in 2008!
AbeBooks: Best or most interesting talk/panel?
Gavin Grant: James
Patrick Kelly (who podcasts fiction weekly at www.jimkelly.net)
led a panel on web presences. It's been years since anyone had
to tell authors they needed a website. This panel presented authors
with different approaches to the web:
Ford (whose novel The
Girl in the Glass was a Nebula finalist) blogs at 14theditch.livejournal.com/
(read it as "One for the ditch"!) where he makes sure
he answers everyone who comments. He posts about his writing,
foreign editions of his books, art by his (talented) son, Derek,
and politics. He never pulls his punches.
-- Boston-based Theodora
Goss (www.theodoragoss.com) set up her site years ago to be
visually striking and decidedly different from other sites. She
posts a monthly journal rather than a blog. She says it brings
in all kinds of readers including those like her who "might
be more interested in fairies than the internet."
Buckell (www.tobiasbuckell.com/) blogs daily on all aspects
of his career and the genre and has become a node for information
for new and experienced writers.
The hour flew by. The result: authors need Web sites but they
don't have to be the same.
AbeBooks: What new books or new authors where
being talked about?
Gavin Grant: Devi Pillai from the new Orbit
imprint gave us a great postcard folder with information on their
first books which include a new "Culture" novel from
UK writer Iain
M. Banks. Can't wait for that. We had lunch with Jennifer
Stevenson (whose first
novel we published) who told us Del Rey is publishing her
three sexy fantasy novels next spring one per month for three
books. That model of publishing, which maybe started in the romance
genre, is getting very popular in science fiction after Naomi
Novik's Temeraire novels (18th century navy + dragons!)
were such a big success. Young adult novels are also all the rage
and people were talking about M.T.
Black, and Diana
Sign up for AbeBooks'
free Science Fiction & Fantasy Newsletters