Monthly Archive: April 2010

Reminder: Jeff in the Wild Tomorrow

Just a reminder that I’ll be appearing at the  Science Fiction Society of Northern New Jersey’s Monthly Face the Fiction event tomorrow, April 10, at 8pm at Borders Books & Music, 235 Interstate Shopping Center, Ramsey, NJ. (  I’ll be rambling on about myself for a while, reading from the Avery Cates books, and taking questions. I expect there will be video of this event posted, but you really ought to come in person. You don’t get the full Jeff effect unless you can see just how hungover I am.

See ya there!


Edgar Awards

Well, look at that: The universe, noting that I’d posted a cranky missive about literary awards, has chosen to mock me. In short, I’ve been invited to attend the Edgar Awards Banquet.

Note: I’m not attending in any official capacity. There’s no award for me, and from what I can tell most everyone else involved has no idea who I am. I’m going as a guest of my agent. Wherever there is an open bar, my agent works hard to get me invited. What’s stunning about this is that the banquet is black tie optional. My agent seriously advised me to wear a tuxedo, if I owned one.

Let’s all enjoy that moment: Someone thought I owned a tuxedo.

Anyway, I’ll be there on the 29th, trying hard to look respectable and probably discovering that the bartenders have a photo of me taped up behind the bar, with the words UNDER NO CIRUMSTANCES EVER SERVE THIS MAN written under it in black marker. I hope the universe is amused.


The Trouble with Awards

First, a disclaimer: I have never won a Major Award for my writing. Or a Minor One. Or, say, an award of any kind. I am not bitter about this. Plenty of genius goes unrecognized in this sad world, and I have the warm comfort of booze to get me through the lonely nights in my office that is completely devoid of awards. Fuck it. I am not bitter.

Of course, they just announced The Hugo Awards (quick scan . . . nopes, not there) which is what makes me think of this topic. Would I like to win a Hugo? Sure. But here’s the curious thing: I look back on the list of Hugo Award-winning books, and I find I haven’t read quite a number of them. And, for a surprising number of those titles, frankly have no desire to (“The Wanderer” by Fritz Leiber comes to mind). It isn’t just Hugos, either – I once read through a list of movies that won Best Picture Oscars, and the same situation was apparent: I hadn’t seen a large proportion of the films, and I had zero desire to rectify that situation.

Now, I am but one slimly talented and somewhat endrunkened author, so my personal failing to absorb my own culture is not proof of anything. Hell, man, my existence is not proof of anything. All I know is, just about every single list of major awards is pretty much a snoozefest for me, and usually the further back you go, the less interested in the winners I become. This doesn’t have anything to do with time; the last two books I read were published in 1931 and 1972. I think it’s just perspective: The movie that won Best Picture last year still has that unvarnished sheen of Proven Quality to it, whereas something from a bit further back – say, Gladiator – has had that sheen scraped off and stands there shivering and alone like a drunk coed waiting for a bus after a Frat Party: Not nearly as attractive as it appeared earlier. I’ve seen it on TV too many times and I know all the seams, all the terrible line readings, all the logic problems with the plot.

You see, the simple fact is I don’t think these awards are really very good at sussing out what’s really good. Now, if I ever win a Major Award I will remove this post and burn down my own house to remove any evidence that I ever said that, because if I win a Major Award you are going to hear about it. I’ll have T-Shirts made, I’ll call you up every five minutes to remind you, and I will make sure that every cover of my books is emblazoned with the words WINNER OF THAT MAJOR AWARD so unsuspecting fools can buy copies based solely on that recommendation. And my official line will be that Major Awards are mankind’s best and most scientific way to determine art’s value. But deep in my heart I will still know that awards are generally bullshit.

Awards are useful, sure.  It’s just remarkable how little use I have for them in my reading and viewing choices. This is either because I am a shallow jackass, or because Awards are kind of random and often poorly administered, or simply because something that seems really cool when it first comes out turns out to be a shallow, bloated monstrosity filled with faux importance and cheap manipulation when you’ve had some years to get past the hype. And of course people vote for things for really dubious reasons, sometimes. Now if someone would please nominate me for a Hugo for Best unresearched Blog Post, I’d appreciate it. Thankee.


Some April Appearances

I’m actually leaving the Compound this month and appearing in public, and I don’t mean in bars, downing whiskies and asking people if they’ve ever heard of me:

APRIL 10, 2010, 8:00PM:

Science Fiction Society of Northern New Jersey Monthly Face the Fiction: Borders Books & Music, 235 Interstate Shopping Center, Ramsey, NJ. This event is held the second Saturday of each month and spotlights guests in various areas of genre.  SFSNNJ has had Charlaine Harris, Lincoln Child, L.A. Banks, and many others.  For a full list of guests please visit

APRIL 27th, 2010, 6:00 pm:

Launch party for the MWA‘s newest anthology “Crimes by Moonlight” at Mysterious Bookshop (58 Warren St, NY, NY).  The party will be part of the MWA’s Edgar week festivities. My short story “Sift, Almost Invisible, Through” appears in the anthology.

I plan to be sober for both of these events, but cannot promise anything, so get there early if you want coherency. I’d love anyone who wants to come out to do so and say hi!