On Thursday before my last drill weekend my wife started looking for a couple of twin mattresses and box springs for my two boys. We’re changing their sleeping arrangements. She found two for sale on KSL.com. A deal was struck. She and her mother showed up at the seller’s house with her dad’s pickup truck.
The seller rolled up his garage door to reveal a plethora of mattresses in heaps and rows filling his garage. There were the two twins on the front row.
But, lo and behold, a Certa King mattress presided over one corner of the stack.
“How much for that one?” my wife asked.
Because it had fallen on the ground at some point it was slightly smudged. For this reason, the seller said he would let it go for $95. An excellent price.
“I’d like to buy that one too,” says wife.
“Excellent,” says the seller.
“I only have the $100 dollars for the two twins but I can get you the other $95 later today.”
“Excellent,” again. Money was offered and received.
The two twins and the King, sadly, would not all fit in the pickup my wife and her mother had brought.
“Not to worry,” says the seller. “I will deliver all three tomorrow and you can give me the $95 for the king then.”
“Wonderful,” says my wife. “Thank you so much.”
“No problem,” says the seller.
The next day, Friday, comes and goes with many phone calls between wife and seller but no delivery. Wife starts to get a little nervous because she has paid $100 but has no mattresses.
I’m not going to detail some of the categories. Some I will.
I put “Feed” by Mira Grant in the number one slot for Best Novel and I felt her vision, clarity, and sheer pizzazz carried it by a wide margin. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin came in second. Not much to say about the others. They were all good books.
I wanted to punch Connie Willis in the face when I got to the end of Blackout, or rather, the non-ending that tailed off that side of the book. But I understand that’s her publisher’s fault for splitting the book at the last minute rather than her own. That’s the rumor I heard anyway. I’ll go with it because punching old ladies in the face isn’t really an option.
For Best Novella I tapped “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window” by Rachel Swirsky because it was awesome, sweeping, and painted so concretely for me that I feel like I was there. Again, all the entries were fine, fine stories, a few nearly as good as Red Flowers.
Best Novelette, went to “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” by Eric James Stone because it struck so close to home for me. I can’t truly occupy any viewpoint but my own and Eric sits right next door. The story spoke to me and he’s a brave man for bringing religion into it. Bravo, sir.
Short Story totted up in favor of “For Want of a Nail” by Mary Robinette Kowal very closely followed by “Ponies” by Kij Johnson. Nail stands on its own, Ponies may take a bit of explaining. It’s one of those stories that could be brushed aside as merely shocking for shock’s sake if it wasn’t so horribly resonant with my own experience of the world. Let us not be the bully ponies in our own lives…
Big fan of Writing Excuses and Schlock Mercenary, no surprise there.
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form I gave to Inception, followed by Toy Story 3. I put Scott Pilgrim at the bottom because I wasn’t equipped to appreciate it. I’ve never lived the shallow bachelor life, sometimes to my regret but not very often, and the characters all fell flat for me for, probably, that reason.
I voted on a couple other categories but my reasons are shady and kind of blurry so we’ll leave those alone.
Best new Writer? I’m friends with two of the nominees so I’m not saying who took 1 and who took 2. One of them is liable to shoot me from more than 300 yards out and the other just might bury me alive in his backyard. I don’t need that kind of pressure.
Next stop Worldcon! Kind of…
I know Howard Tayler, the creator, author, and artist of the web comic “Schlock Mercenary.” He’s a great guy, smart and fun to talk to. A few years ago a mutual friend recommended that I read the comic as I’d probably get a kick out of it, I being in the military and the strip being about mercenaries and all.
I looked up the site, went to the beginning of the strip, and did not read it. Aside from being an arrogant typer of words I fancy myself an artist. Strictly part-time and amateur, but I do draw. The art in Schlock Mercenary was terrible. So terrible that I didn’t like looking at it. I feel guilty saying this now because, for heavens sake, here was a guy drawing a comic strip day-in-day-out and making money at it and all I’d ever done with my drawing was sketch in my little sketch books that I never show to anyone. But it was bad.
So, jump to March of last year. I’d finally met Howard and we got on famously. I decided to try again on the strip, just jump into the middle as it were and start with the current strip and keep reading every day until I had a handle on the story line. Joy of joys the art was no longer bad. It was, in fact, fantastic. And the story, which I hadn’t really given a chance on my first attempt, was fun and smart too.
Which brings us to today. I still read the current strip everyday. Howard is apparently famous, and rightly so, for posting a new strip everyday without fail since day one (12 June 2000).
Now, however, I’ve started over at strip one and kept going. I’m watching his art evolve as I do. I’m talking both story and line art here. It just gets better and better.
Nicely done Howard. Nicely done.