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My Tentative Worldcon 79 Schedule

No Comments » Written on November 20th, 2021 by
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Worldcon 76

I’m not willing to get on an airplane yet, but I can do a multi-hour car ride, and so I’ll be attending DisCon III, the 79th World Science Fiction Convention, which runs from December 15th thru 19th. This year’s WorldCon has been plagued with many problems, not least of which included being moved six months, having to scramble for a new hotel, and losing their chair and many of their staff. Between all these problems and the small matter of a global pandemic, actual attendance will be greatly reduced, but like so many conventions they are planning to also include an online track of programming, and I’ll be a part of both. Here’s where you can find me:

Thursday, December 16th
11:30 am | Autographs 1 | Signing.
Come by and I will sign all the things!

2:30 pm | (online) Congressional Room | Language in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.
From The Languages of Pao to Embassytown, authors from all eras have explored the limits of humankind’s greatest invention: language. In this panel, linguists and language experts discuss what works and what doesn’t, and how to walk the line between science and science fiction with respect to language.
With K.A. Doore (mod), Jenn Lyons, Hanne Paine, Nikhil Singh, and Eli K.P. William.

Friday, December 17th
11:30 am | Suite 325 Main Room | Kaffeeklatsch.
Fun small group discussion with me. I believe you have to sign-up in advance. Several other author friends are supplying lots of freebies so there will be gift bags for all participants!

2:30 pm | (online) Kress) | Xenolinguistics.
What makes a language alien, or at least non-human? This may involve grammatical systems not found (so far) in natural human languages, or even modes of communication distinct from spoken, signed, or written language. Will aliens have different understandings of the context in which a communication takes place?
I’ll be moderating and my co-panelists will be Yasser Bahjatt, Jana Bianchi, Ruthanna Emrys, Brenda Kalt. and Juliette Wade.

4:00 pm | SFWA Table | Bonus Signing.
If you missed my “official” signing time earlier in the day (or the line was just too long), I’ll be hanging out at the SFWA table doing an auxiliary bonus signing. Come by and receive a free, autographed, Science Fiction Trading Card!

Saturday, December 18th
9:00 am | Lobby? | Stroll with the Stars.
I am thrilled to report that I will once again be participating in this grand Worldcon tradition. Come start your day with me and other SF luminaries (heh, did you know I was a luminary?) for a leisurely, forty-five minutes as we strut our stuff.

It’s possible that some of the above will be in flux, and/or I’ll have supplementary information to share, but here’s where it all stands as this moment. If anything does change I’ll post an update.

How Many “Books?” (as of October 2021)

No Comments » Written on October 18th, 2021 by
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The other day someone asked me how many books I’d written and I didn’t have a quick answer. Why? Well, “books” is a funny term, and it’s gotten funnier as publishing trends have changed. For purposes of this list, I’m not counting any of the books that I edited of other authors’ fiction, just things that I wrote or co-authored and that were published as a standalone product. This includes titles that run much shorter than a typical novel, such as chapbooks and novellas, and at the other end of spectrum things like omnibus editions that may bundle multiple novels into a single package. Likewise, I’m also including collections in this count. Further muddying comes about when a book is initially released by one publisher, goes out of print, and is brought back later by a different publisher, with or without alterations to the second version.

Here then is my list of books as of October 2021. The parenthetical ratios show the number still in print vs. the total number in each grouping.


CHAPBOOKS
(2/5):
2003-01-01 – Buffalogic, Inc. – SRM Publisher
2006-01-01 – Buffalogenesis – SRM Publisher
2008-01-01 – Buffalogistics – SRM Publisher
2018-10-01 – Creature Academy – Paper Golem LLC
2020-03-09 – Excerpts of Jorl ben Tral – Paper Golem LLC
Chapbooks

COLLECTIONS (5/8):
2005-11-08 – Aliens and AIs – Eggplant Literary Productions
2010-08-23 – Sweet Potato Pie and Other Surrealities – Hadley Rille Books
2012-11-12 – Buffalito Buffet – Hadley Rille Books
2018-12-12 – Sweet Potato Pie – Paper Golem LLC
2019-07-21 – Buffalito Bundle – Paper Golem LLC
2020-07-02 – The Rule of Three – Paper Golem LLC
2020-10-12 – Openings without Closure – Paper Golem LLC
2020-12-10 – Eating Authors – Paper Golem LLC
Collections

NOVELLAS (8/12):
2012-08-03 – Barry’s Tale – Hadley Rille Books
2013-08-29 – Trial of the Century – Hadley Rille Books
2014-11-06 – Calendrical Regression – Noble Fusion Press
2017-11-09 – Barry’s Deal – Noble Fusion Press
2018-06-30 – Invasion (w/ Jonathan Brazee) – Semper Fi Press
2018-08-01 – Scorched Earth (w/ Jonathan Brazee) – Semper Fi Press
2018-09-05 – Bitter Harvest (w/ Jonathan Brazee) – Semper Fi Press
2019-07-31 – Calendrical Regression – Paper Golem LLC
2019-08-10 – Barry’s Tale – Paper Golem LLC
2019-08-28 – Barry’s Deal – Paper Golem LLC
2019-10-23 – Trial of the Century – Paper Golem LLC
2020-09-17 – Soup of the Moment – Paper Golem LLC
Novellas

NOVELS (12/14):
2009-06-01 – Buffalito Destiny – Hadley Rille Books
2011-05-11 – Buffalito Contingency – Hadley Rille Books
2015-12-29 – Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard – Tor Books
2018-08-14 – Moons of Barsk – Tor Books
2019-09-25 – Buffalito Destiny – Paper Golem LLC
2019-11-24 – Buffalito Contingency – Paper Golem LLC
2020-01-06 – Fight or Flight (w/ Brian Thorne) – Paper Golem LLC
2020-02-13 – Alien Thrill Seeker (w/ Brian Thorne) – Paper Golem LLC
2020-04-09 – Anger Management (w/ Brian Thorne) – Paper Golem LLC
2020-07-28 – Ace of Corpses – Paper Golem LLC
2021-01-05 – Ace of Saints – Paper Golem LLC
2021-02-04 – Slice of Entropy – Paper Golem LLC
2021-03-31 – Pirates of Marz – Paper Golem LLC
2021-06-15 – Ace of Thralls – Paper Golem LLC
Novels

OMNIBUSES (6/6):
2018-10-07 – Seeds of War Trilogy – Semper Fi Press
2020-05-07 – Command Performance – Paper Golem LLC
2020-06-04 – Adrenaline Rush – Paper Golem LLC
2020-08-22 – Galactic Capers of the Amazing Conroy – Paper Golem LLC
2021-08-31 – Ace of Agency – Paper Golem LLC
2021-10-03 – Conroyverse – Paper Golem LLC
Omnibuses

KEY:
SRM Publisher is Steve Miller (aka co-author of the Liaden Universe) who generously introduced me to publishing chapbooks.
Eggplant Literary Productions is Raechel Henderson, a pioneer in SF digital publishing.
Hadley Rille Books is Eric T. Reynolds, a publisher of anthologies to whom I had sold numerous short stories, until one day we said “hey, we both want to publish novels,” and then we did just that.
Noble Fusion Press is Barbara Hill, workshop organizer extraordinaire.
Semper Fi Press is Col. Jonathan Brazee (ret.), who introduced me to the glory of the Indie life.
Paper Golem LLC was originally my small press, but I shut that down a couple years back and nowadays it is my personal imprint.

So, depending on how you count things, I’ve published some forty-five “books,” of which thirty-three still exist out in the world. Many more are planned (some are already written and just await publication).

Eating Authors: James Alan Gardner

1 Comment » Written on July 27th, 2020 by
Categories: News
James Alan Gardner

Happy birthday to me.

A few hours after this posts I expect to be online for a virtual birthday celebration. I hit sixty-one today, but the party is more of a celebration of the fact that I’m still around to check off another birthday after the rigors of the past year with its cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy, endless scans and tests, innumerable visits with medical specialists, weeks of physical therapy, surgery, hospital stays, brutal side effects, convalescence, and ongoing recovery. I think ERB’s John Carter said it best: “I still live.” He got to go to Mars, me, I’m letting friends throw me a virtual party.

A few weeks back I was part of an online conversation discussing a Canadian SF convention and someone asked if I knew this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest James Alan Gardner. I recognized the name, but no, we’d never met. The next day I realized that I’d never read any of his books, and immediately went off to pick up a copy of Expendable, the first volume in his League of Peoples series.

I was blown away!

Light and fun and clever, James is a master of the very same style that I strive for in much of my own writing. I’ve been devouring his books since (I’m currently on number 7), and I immediately reached out to invite him to be a guest on the blog, and lo, here he is!

James attended Clarion West, took home the Grand Prize in the Writers of the Future contest as well as Canada’s Aurora Award and has been nominated for both the Nebula and Hugo Awards. In addition to writing and teaching science fiction and fantasy, he dabbles in mathematics and geology — none of which explains why he has been attempting to teach kung fu to a rabbit. I keep hoping it’s a metaphor, but who am I kidding?

Rabbits aside, go read his books, they’re absolutely delightful!

LMS: Welcome, James. Please tell me about your most memorable meal.

AJG: Canada celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1967, and many special projects were funded in the exuberance of that year. One of them was SOLE: Summer of Learning Experience, a program that offered small amounts of money to set up local education centers for teens across the province of Ontario. In my hometown of Simcoe, this took the form of a drop-in center in an old railway station that hadn’t been used in years. The director of the center described himself as lazy; instead of trying to organize a lot of activities on his own, he just put out a call to people around town. “Hey, if you have free time, why don’t you teach kids about something you love doing?”

Expendable

Lots of people responded. There was a young guy who came in once a week and worked kids through the lengthy process of making themselves custom leather sandals. An older man led nature hikes every Sunday afternoon. A college art student on her summer vacation showed up most evenings to help people work on whatever kind of art they liked.

And it turned out that an older woman in town had studied as a Cordon Bleu chef in the 1930s. Times being what they were, no restaurant would hire a female chef, and she eventually just got married and became a housewife…but when she heard that SOLE was looking for people to teach things they loved, she leapt at the chance.

So every Thursday throughout the summer, she opened her house and her kitchen to teens who wanted to cook. Usually, there were six to eight of us. Our Cordon Bleu teacher planned the menu and bought the ingredients; we’d work on the meal all day, starting at 10:00 in the morning and finishing around 6:00; then the director of SOLE plus a few invited guests would arrive, and we’d all eat what we had cooked. The guests paid to cover the cost of all the ingredients, while the rest of us ate for free.

All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault

I always felt that our teacher chose famous dishes for us to cook: things I’d actually heard of, like Quiche Lorraine, Coq au Vin, and Crêpes Suzette. On the other hand, maybe she just thought we should learn to cook the Cordon Bleu specialties, and those specialties were the most well-known…or perhaps, since Simcoe was an unsophisticated town, and the 1960s were a time when people seldom went out for dinner except to mom-and-pop restaurants, our teacher thought she needed to serve famous dishes if she wanted to attract guests who would, after all, be paying considerably more for their meal than they would at a hamburger joint.

At any rate, those dinners were amazing, both in terms of food quality — delicious things I’d never tasted before — and in the whole experience of cooking together all day with other kids, then spending a languid two hours at the table, and then (oh well) cleaning up as fast as we could. More than fifty years later, it’s hard to remember which dishes we cooked on which days… but let me pretend that the highlights of the summer all happened at the same meal.

So we started with French onion soup: so sweet, and of course, with croutons and grated cheese. I drove my mother crazy for years thereafter, insisting on shredding cheese into every kind of soup she ever cooked.

They Promised Me The Gun Wasn't Loaded

Coq au Vin: cooking with wine! Daring! Especially since all the cooking staff were under age. We were assured that every bit of alcohol boiled off during cooking, so we wouldn’t get in trouble by going home drunk… and might I say that the smell of chicken cooking in wine was far more appealing than my first actual taste of wine years later.

For dessert, we had the greatest Apple Strudel in the history of the world. I remember three of us working for hours on the pastry, gently pulling it wider, ever wider, with our hands, until it was so big we had to take it into the living room to finish stretching it out. Our teacher told us that good strudel pastry was supposed to be so thin, you could read a newspaper through it… and I think we nearly got there. We wrapped it over and over around a homemade apple filling, producing a sugary dessert where the pastry was as fine as tissue — one of the best things I’ve ever made in my life, in a kitchen or elsewhere.

So a memorable meal in the eating? Absolutely. But it was more memorable for the entire experience, and an awesome way to spend an entire summer. It sparked a love of cooking (and eating!) that I cherish to this day.

Thanks, James. I’m wondering what the weekly dinner guests thought of those meals (especially if their usual fare was limited to Simcoe’s mom-and-pop restaurants, and how they managed to return to more mundane meals once summer ended.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

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Obligatory Award Eligibility Post (Delayed, But-Not-Too-Late)

No Comments » Written on December 17th, 2019 by
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Hey there. You’ve all seen posts like this before, from both the “cool kids” and those of us with less swag. I suspect that’s because we all suffer from imposter syndrome and award nominations give us a sense of validation, even if we have to go out of our way (with posts like this one) to remind people to love us for what we make.

And yes, I see the irony there.

The second half of 2019 is proving to quite chaotic as unanticipated health issues devour my time and energy. Life? Meh. I’m taking it day by day. Anyway, here we go.

Most of my effort this year was spent relaunching all the titles in my Amazing Conroy series. That said, I did sneak in a few new tales. Two of these, a novelette and a short story, represent the best of my original work this year. I’ve provided links to the appropriate SFWA Forums where members can download them (after first logging in).

Both works were published in obscure books that you’re probably not going to encounter in the normal course of things. Hence this post so you’d learn of their existence and have the option to look them over as your time and interest dictate.

Please note: I am not asking for your nomination or vote. That would just be wrong on so many levels, and even I’m not that crass. But I do hope you’ll choose to read one or both of them because I believe the works will speak to you more eloquently than I can. If either does so, I’d welcome an acknowledgment of it on the Nebula Reading List.

Mind Din

“Mind Din” (approx. 15,675 words)
NOVELETTE (https://www.sfwa.org/forum/topic/14101-mind-din-by-lawrence-m-schoen/)

This novelette appeared in my short story collection Buffalito Bundle in July of 2019. The rest of the pieces in the collection had been published before, but “Mind Din” was new to the collection. This tale is set in the Conroyverse and features the Amazing Conroy and his alien companion animal, Reggie, as well as a deadly virus that causes telepathy, government agents, a possible descendant of a world famous Sri Lankan cricket player, the use of pool balls as brutal projectiles, the Atlanta Zoo, and some very long medical words scattered to your unconscious mind.
Nebula Reading List link: https://www.sfwa.org/forum/reading/work/3945-mind-din/

“Crossing the Line” (approx. 4360 words) SHORT STORY
(https://www.sfwa.org/forum/topic/14314-crossing-the-line-by-lawrence-m-schoen/)

Crossing the Line

This story appeared in The Expanding Universe 5 anthology edited by Craig Martelle, released in September 2019. Some clever commenters have said it “puts the LIT in LitRPG.” Maybe. The story’s about a humanities professor competing as a piece in an alien civilization’s chess game. If she wins, she could gain access to a long lost piece of literature. If she loses, her memories are at risk and her life is over. Much like last year’s Nebula nominee “The Rule of Three,” there’s very much an ‘old school’ feel to this story. I hope you like it.
Nebula Reading List link: https://www.sfwa.org/forum/reading/work/3946-crossing-the-line/

Both works have already received a bit of love on the Nebula Suggested Reading List (indeed, “Crossing the Line” has crept up into double digits!). I hope you find them to your liking as well.

And that’s it. Thanks for reading this far.

My Tentative Philcon 2019 Schedule

No Comments » Written on October 14th, 2019 by
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Philcon

In just a few days I’ll be away at Capclave, but in less than a month it will be time for Philcon. I have another trip that starts the Monday after Philcon, and so to conserve energy I’ll only be at the convention for a single day, Saturday, November 9th. If you think you see me there on Friday or Sunday, it’s probably not me but some alien doppleganger, so please take appropriate precautions. But on Saturday, here’s where I’m currently expected to be:

Saturday, November 9th
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. | Plaza III | Linguistics in Science Fiction
SF & F writers sometimes invent entire imaginary languages. Sometimes they imply imaginary languages with consistent names. Sometimes they even depict alien thought patterns on the basis of imaginary languages. How much is faking it and how much requires real knowledge?
with Vikki Ciaffone (mod), Aaron Rosenberg, abd Anna Kashina]

12:00 p.m. – 01:00 p.m. | Executive Suite 623 | Readings: Three Authors
This year, in its infinite wisdom, Philcon is meeting the demand from its author guests by cramming them in threes into the hour-long Readings slot, referring to it as 20 minutes each, but ignoring the need to end before the top of the hour or allow time for audience members to get settled in the venue. So, more like 15 minutes each. Maybe. Foolishly, they’ve made me the “moderator” of my time slot, which means I get to choose the reading order. I”m telling you now, I’m going first, so show up on time. And then, please stay for my fellow authors who got stuck in the same time slot as me. Thanks.
with Michael A. Ventrella, and Elektra Hammond

1:00 p.m. – 200 p.m.| Crystal Ballroom Promenade | Signing
Much as with the readings, the convention is this year packing three authors (instead of the usual two) into the signing slot. No problem. I’ll be there ready to sign all the things. I should also have a nice assortment of books for you to purchase, in case you forgot to bring me something to sign (I’m helpful that way). In particular, I expect to have copies of the relaunched titles in the Amazing Conroy series. They’re very shiny. You want one of each. Really.
with Michael A. Ventrella, Jay Smith Hodges

And that’s it. I asked the kind folks in programming to keep it light for me as I don’t know how much energy I’m going to have and they came through.

My current plan is to slink off from my signing to have a late lunch with an old friend, and then maybe come back and chill in the lobby for a while (assuming I have sufficient spoons). Seriously, the lobby is the place to be. All the cool kids are there. Join us.

My Preliminary Capclave 2019 Schedule

No Comments » Written on September 28th, 2019 by
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Autumn has begun and so my thoughts turn toward the trip down toward the Washington, D.C. area for one of my favorite events: Capclave.

They’ve posted the “Preliminary” schedule and as such it could change. Likewise, having just started chemo, my own ability to safely attend is a matter of discussion in my household (I’ll be monitoring the next couple weeks of blood tests closely). But, as of right this moment, here is my schedule:

Friday, October 18th

5:00 p.m. | Monroe – Psychos
What is a psychopath and are they really running the world? Do psychopaths have an advantage when it comes to running countries and major corporations? What can we do about it? What if we developed an accurate test (as in Sawyer’s Quantum Night) to see who is a psychopath?
J. L. Gribble, Larry Hodges, Robert Sawyer, Michael A. Ventrella (M), and me.

Saturday, October 19th

1:00 p.m. | Washington Theatre – A Matter of Style
Some writers have a poetic flow to their writing, others do not, both work. They can include it from the first word on paper or insert it later. How flashy should your prose be? How can writers prevent the language from hurting the story? Which writers in the field have the most interesting styles?
T. Eric Bakutis, Sunny Moraine, James Morrow (M), A.C. Wise, and me.

4:00 p.m. | Monroe – Writing under Duress
Tips, cheats, and strategies to keep writing even after life punches you in the throat. General self-care for writers.
Kelly E. Dwyer, LH Moore, Diana Peterfreund, Jamie Todd Rubin (M), and me.

5:30 p.m. | Wilson – Reading
I’m sandwiched between Chuck Gannon at 5pm and Jack Campbell at 6pm, which sounds pretty awesome to me. As for me, I will probably read my short story “Crossing the Line” from the recent The Expanding Universe 5 anthology.
Come early, stay late. Bask in the SFness of it all.

8:00 p.m. | Atrium – Mass Signing
This is your opportunity to get my signature on something! And not just me, but probably many many others authors. But come see me first. Why? Because I asked you to. Thanks.
endless talent and beauty and also me.

Sunday, October 20th

11:00 a.m. | Eisenhower – Its a Narrative Matter: First, Second, and Third
There are challenges and expectations for each type of perspective. Discussion of the various points of view and which ones work best for individual stories. Why might an author choose to redo the story from a different tense?
Meriah Lysistrata Crawford (M), Robert Sawyer, Alex Shvartsman, K.M. Szpara, and me.

Again, all of this could change without notice (especially when Rob Sawyer realizes we’re scheduled to do two panels together and he activates that restraining order he has). But for now, this is anyone’s best guess.

In addition to all of the above, as my energy levels allow, I’ll probably be spending large chunks of the con just chilling in the lobby. Come on over and say hello.

Resigning from the SFWA Board of Directors

1 Comment » Written on April 10th, 2019 by
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Effective as of 10am today, April 10th, 2019, I am resigning my position as a member of the SFWA Board of Directors.

We live in a world where appearance often carries more weight than intention. Recent controversies, and my perceived involvement in them, have increasingly made it difficult for me to effectively perform the responsibilities for which I’d been elected. Accordingly, it makes sense for me to step aside and allow someone else to continue the work.

Today’s decision notwithstanding, I remain committed to the ideals and goals of SFWA, perhaps best expressed by the statement the Board composed at last year’s Nebula Conference: “We are genre writers fostering a diverse professional community committed to inclusion, empowerment, and outreach.”

It has been my privilege to be of service to this organization and our community. I encourage you all to pay it forward.

Lawrence M. Schoen, Ph.D.

Congratulations Nebula Nominees!

No Comments » Written on February 20th, 2019 by
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Nebula Conference

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has released the list of finalists for this year’s Nebula Awards. It’s an especially powerful ballot, bearing a stellar list of incredible work and talented authors.

Congratulations to all of the nominees! I hope you’ll all be able to attend this year’s conference in southern California. All evidence suggests that the Events Team has outdone themselves and we are in for the very best conference yet.

I’ll confess, part of my delight at this year’s list of finalists stems from seeing my own name listed as a nominee for Best Novelette for “The Rule of Three.” I am exceedingly proud of this piece. I believe it’s the best thing I’ve ever written at less than novel length, and it shows the maturation of my abilities as an author over the years.

This is my sixth Nebula nomination in seven years, and my first for novelette. The competition is particular fierce, and as always, win or lose, it really is an honor to find my work listed among such incredible writers.

But I didn’t get there by myself, and I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge and express my gratitude to the people who’s efforts contributed to my nomination.

Zangaogao Terraces

I wrote “The Rule of Three” in response to a visit to Guizhou, China. I was part of the first Danzhai workshop sponsored by the Future Affairs Administration and the Wanda Group. My experiences there will live forever in my memory, as will the incredible conversations I had with Derek Künsken, Kelly Robson, Alyx Dellamonica, Lucia Liu, Bo Jiang, Lucia Liu, Bao Shu, and especially Vera Sun, and FAA co-founder Ji Shaoting, all of which contributed to the shaping of the novelette.

Alex Shvartsman, longtime friend, convention roommate, and editor of Future Science Fiction Digest bought the story and featured it as the premiere piece in the first issue of the online magazine. His backing and belief in the novelette, basically launching the magazine with it, means more to me than I can properly express, and his continuous championing of it has been wonderful. He’s also responsible for catching a glitch in which my software (not me, I tell you, it was the software) deleted one scene and duplicated another in the manuscript. Good catch, Alex!

Elektra Hammond was my copyeditor on this novelette and she’s great. Really, it’s that simple. She’s come to know my voice from her work on other projects of mine (most notably both books in my Barsk series) and I believe that makes a huge difference. Thank you, Elektra.

Wulf Moon produced the podcast version of the novelette, doubtless providing greater saturation and allowing the work to reach more people than the print version could. He asked all the right questions and his results were excellent. Thanks, Wulf.

And finally, 脱团猫 (aka Isaac), has been handling the translation of “The Rule of Three” into Chinese. Like Alex, he also caught the twin problems of a duplicated and missing scene (and thankfully, I had the fix in hand about a day before he did so I could send it to him). His comments have been insightful and helped shaped the final manuscript before Alex published it, and will surely yield a great translation when the novelette is released in China later this year.

So, yes, my name appears on the novelette and the nomination list, but it wasn’t just me. If anyone reading this ever has the opportunity to work with any of the people I’ve listed and thanked here, know that you are in good hands and you’ve involved yourself with people of incredible talent and skill.

And again, congratulations and good luck to all the nominees!

Lawrence