Friday, September 30, 2022

Quick Sips 09/30/2022

For those who hadn’t seen it yet, We’re Here 2021 is now released and out in the world! It is super pretty thanks to cover artwork by Paul Kellam, who did a fabulous and colorful cover for Fiyah and whose Insta is incredibly gay and thirsty so obviously it was a fabulous fit for the second year of We’re Here. I do recommend people check out snag a print copy as soon as possible, because they tend to go fast. But it’s exciting launching year two now that the inaugural volume is a Locus and Ignyte award winner. Onward!

There’s actually a lot of stuff going on, including me finally pulling the trigger on getting all of my smut back out into the world. Though I’ve been putting it off for quite some time, I’ve signed a contract to republish all 18 of my previously published SFF queer romance and erotic romance stories, which range from a flash piece I’ll be giving away for free to a ~20k story that will be getting released on its own for the first time. All of these will be coming out at JMS Books over the next year, at a pace of 2 stories/month starting in November.

It’s actually…quite a bit of work. I had been almost hoping that I could cheat and only release most of them as a collection, but apparently that’s not how it’s done so the collection will come only after the stories have been released individually. And really, it’ll be more like two collections, one that’s all of my miscellaneous stories, and one that’s the superhero Spandex and Superpowers stories. But that won’t be for a while now. Until then, it means rereading, reblurbing, and getting cover suggestion stuff together for almost twenty different works. I’ve finished up most of the work on the ones that will be coming out this year, but that still leaves 14. Oof. This will be interesting.

Aside from those, not much new to report in the realms of publishing. In the realms of discourse, someone seems to have taken issue with my calling the Hugos a popularly voted award. If I understand the argument well enough, it’s basically because you need to know about the awards and pay to vote on the awards, and because there is some expectation that you read/peruse the finalists before voting, that it is a curated and juried award. But honestly, I don’t buy it. There’s no requirement that voters read/check out all the finalists. There is no actual boundary between a person and voting aside from the money required for membership. So…I just can’t consider that a curation/juried process.

Indeed, it tries to frame the monetary component of voting as something other than a rather corrupt attempt to keep the popularity contest limited to “popular among the people who can afford a WorldCon membership.” Now, there are some initiatives to make those memberships more accessible to people who otherwise can’t afford them, but it’s always going to be something that strikes me more as a tool of gatekeeping/corruption rather than a sign that it’s working to ensure integrity in the system. After all, the Puppies specifically were able to have an oversized impact because they were able to mobilize people with the money to spend, something that we’ve seen historically is going to favor more dominant groups.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that WorldCon needs money to operate as a convention, and the Hugos are a fairly large part of that. I don’t have an alternative to paying to play, given that the Nebulas also have a monetary component in SFWA membership fees, etc. I just…don’t think the monetary elements of the awards make them not popularly voted. It’s still a popular vote, just as the Nebulas are. There is no requirement to consider all of the finalists, and just in general with juried awards you tend to think that the jury members have been chosen because they have some sort of qualification more than $50 in their pocket they’re willing to hand over. So.

In media, we’ve finished watching the two seasons of Star Trek: Picard, which is an interesting show. I was actually a little disappointed with the ending, not because it wasn’t good but because it maintained a certain kind of focus on sacrifice that I’m still a little ehhh about. It allowed JL to put some of his own guilt and shame aside, but it also sidestepped that not all of his actions, not all of the ways he’s kept himself from happiness, have been about guilt. Or not just *only* guilt. They’re still very much in the “the needs of the many” category and forget that even Star Trek questioned and rejected that line in the very next (though rather bad) movie, where they offered up the reversal looking at “the needs of the one.”

But maybe because “the needs of the many” comes from the more warmly regarded movie, we’ve gotten show after show that sort of holds that up, and Star Trek has been all about personal sacrifice, where people who question that, who mess with that, are the villains. I was hoping that Q was out to teach JL not just to let go of his guilt, but to choose himself sometimes. Over Star Fleet. Over commitments. Over the many. And really he hasn’t still. Taking a chance on romance and love might seem a step in the right direction, and I agree with that, but imo it’s still not really enough. We didn’t linger enough on Chris’s choice to stay in the past, and in any event it became too much about the good he could do there, rather than just about making the decision that made him most happy. And…sigh.

Anyway, it was good. We also watched the first season of Star Trek: Prodigy, which was good. Lots of good beats there, and still in the standard U Star Trek so yay. Unfortunately, despite the fact that DS9 is very well regarded these days, I’m a bit disappointed that it’s being ignored in terms of connections to any of the current franchises. All of the standard U shows are pulling from TOS, TNG, and Voyager mainly. And cool, cool. But DS9! Come on! Please! Revisit Cardassia! GARAK!!!!!

Ahem. Anyway, that’s that. Not much else to report right now. I hope all is well with you! Cheers!


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