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If you’re a science fiction fan, you’ve probably heard of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. If you’re not, here’s the cheat sheet straight from the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas:

“The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short science fiction of the year was established in 1987 by James Gunn, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at KU, and the heirs of Theodore Sturgeon, including his partner Jayne Engelhart Tannehill and Sturgeon’s children, as an appropriate memorial to one of the great short-story writers in a field distinguished by its short fiction.”

The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award is a juried award as well, with this year’s jury including Elizabeth Bear, Andy Duncan, James Gunn, Kij Johnson, and Nöel Sturgeon (one of Sturgeon’s children and trustee of the Theodore Sturgeon Literary Estate).

It’s kind of a big deal for the science fiction field. And Cat Valente is it’s latest recipient.

That’s right: Cat’s short story “The Future is Blue,” published in Drowned Worlds (edited by Jonathan Strahan) took the prize! As you may have already seen on Twitter, Cat is incredibly excited, chuffed, and all-around honored to be awarded the Sturgeon Award.

Learn more about the award and past winners at the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award’s site.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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This weekend, Cat will be at the 2017 Campbell Conference and Awards in Lawrence, KS. We’ll post Cat’s schedule later this week, if possible, so check back here on Wednesday!

In the meantime, we’ve got another exclusive excerpt from The Refrigerator Monologues to share with you! We hope this embarrassment of riches will entice you to pick up a copy, if you haven’t already – and if you aren’t able to get a copy yet, may this keep your appetite whetted.

THE HELL HATH CLUB VS. THE MIGHT OF ATLANTIS

All eyes turn to the lady in green. She swirls a spoon around her coffee cup. It doesn’t make any noise. Thank the tiny baby Jesus, down here in Deadtown we are spared the constant tinkle of silverware against porcelain that plagues the restaurant industry. A long, long red curl slides out of the black pearl comb in her hair and lands on the table like a spurt of blood. It hurts to look at it. Like a camera flashing in your eyes. The sides of her head are shaved down to red fuzz, just the one long horsetail left, running up and over and down her spine like a special-edition collect-them-all punk-rock Barbie doll. . .

You can continue reading this excerpt at Paste. Enjoy!

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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The Refrigerator Monologues has gone live, coming straight at you from the Hell Hath Club down in Deadtown! You should be able to find it wherever books are sold, or at least get your friendly neighborhood librarian (or bookseller) to order it for you. It’s also available in a variety of e-formats, since Deadtown is high tech and modernity-compliant (as is the wonderful Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster and our publisher today).

For your shopping convenience, we offer the links below:

IndieBound | Amazon | Powell’s | Barnes & Noble

Should you need more tempting, the early reviews of The Refrigerator Monologues are in and they are fantastic!

“Bestseller Valente’s dazzling new story cycle creates its own comic book universe, complete with the gorgeously wrought prose pyrotechnics that readers have come to expect from her. She’s well known for her skill at unpacking the hidden truths embedded in fairy tales and archetypes; here she turns that skill on the troubling treatment of women in comic books, a perfect fit between author and subject matter. This is Valente at her sharpest and most pointed, ably assisted by illustrations from comics artist Annie Wu (Black Canary).”

Gwenda Bond, Publishers Weekly

“Valente chooses to eschew the soothing route of ‘saving’ her heroines or even letting them save themselves. Instead, she gives them strong voices and allows them to rage, mourn, and regret. She gives them, and the reader, the chance to be furious at the common use of death and incapacitation of women as lazy plot points and reminds us that other stories are always possible.

A ruthless but absorbing and provocative reshaping of the idea that the girlfriend dies, again.”

Kirkus Reviews

 “While ‘The Refrigerator Monologues’ depends a great deal on an insider’s knowledge of comic book lore for maximum enjoyment, those readers adventurous enough to parachute into unfamiliar literary territory will be rewarded by Valente’s biting wit, outlandish world-building and well-focused sense of outrage.”

Portland Press Herald

Don’t forget, you can read Chapter 1 and a chunk of Chapter 2 at Tor.com and Entertainment Weekly respectively.

Share your thoughts on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media streams using our official hashtag: #HellHathClub

Cat will be at Pandemonium Books & Games in Cambridge, MA tonight to launch The Refrigerator Monologues and sign your books! If you’re within driving distance of Boston, come on down and say hello – she’ll be glad to see you.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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Where in the world is Catherynne M. Valente? We invite you to imagine that question sung to the tune of that Carmen Sandiego song; we certainly are. Cat has some serious travel lined up this summer, and may be coming to a city near you! Check out the following dates, which include conventions, conferences, and her book tour appearances for The Refrigerator Monologues.

May 31 – June 3
Book Expo America
New York City, NY

June 6
Pandemonium Books & Games
Cambridge, MA

June 16
Campbell Conference and Awards 2017
Lawrence, KS

June 20
Barnes & Noble – Tribeca
New York City, NY

June 21
KGB Bar
New York City, NY

June 23-25
ALA Annual Chicago
Chicago, IL

June 28
Phoenix Books
Burlington, VT

June 30 – July 2
Denver Comic Con
Denver, CO

July 11
Yankee Bookshop
Woodstock, VT

July 13-16
Readercon 28
Quincy, MA

August 4-6
Guest of Honor
MuseCon 7
Chicago, IL

You can also find these and any updated information on her Appearances page, and we’re always sure to feature her immediately upcoming 3 appearances in the sidebar.

Come on out and see Cat where you can – she’ll be delighted to meet you! You can start with her autograph session today at Table 4 at the Book Expo in New York City – Javits Center, 11:30 AM.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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ONE WEEK TO THE REFRIGERATOR MONOLOGUES! Can you tell we’re excited around here? Oh, the caps gave it away? Well, yes. The Refrigerator Monologues will be released on June 6th, and you’ll be able to find it at a bookstore near you – you can even meet Cat herself and get your book signed if you’re Boston-adjacent! Pandemonium Books & Games in Cambridge, MA, is having a launch party for The Refrigerator Monologues, and Cat will be there.

You probably knew all that already, so let’s get to the real reason for this post: instant gratification. You can start reading The Refrigerator Monologues right now, starting with the dedication (for Heath Miller and Gail Simone) and straight through Chapter 2.

Simply start at Tor.com with Chapter 1: “The Hell Hath Club.” “I’m dead. The deadest girl in Deadtown.”

Continue into Chapter 2: “Paige Embry is Dead” over at Entertainment Weekly: “Trouble is, my story is his story. The story of Kid Mercury crowds out everything else, like Christmas landing on the shops in August while Halloween tries to get a bat in edgewise. It’s not his fault. I’m not even mad.

You don’t get to read all of Chapter 2, but you do get a good chunk of it  – enough to whet your appetite for next Tuesday. Go, read, enjoy! And pick up your copy of The Refrigerator Monologues on June 6th.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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We are excited—and Cat is honored—to announce that The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There have won the 2017 Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire for Roman jeunesse étranger (Foreign Youth Novel)!

The Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire awards were established in France in 1973, alongside a national science fiction convention. The first awards were given in 1974, and the Grand Prix now has the distinguished honor of being the longest-running French prize at 43 years and counting.  It is also a juried award, with the jury often consisting of French speculative fiction authors and other professionals.

Cat won’t be able to attend the award ceremony at the Maison de l’Imaginaire during the Saint-Malo Étonnants Voyageurs since she was just in France for the Les Imaginales in Épinal. However, she sends her delight and thanks for this momentous occasion!

 

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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The Refrigerator Monologues will be published and released into the wild on June 6 – just over two weeks from now! To celebrate, Pandemonium Books & Games in Cambridge, MA (just across the Charles River from Boston) is throwing a launch party that Tuesday. Cat will be there to celebrate right alongside you, and admission is free! The event will be in the store’s downstairs space.

Here’s what Pandemonium has to say:

“Catherynne M. Valente’s new collection of connected novellas, The Refrigerator Monologues, with illustrations by Annie Wu, is releasing on June 6! Join the Hell Hath Club, a group of ‘fridged’ (killed off to further the storylines of male superheroes) superheroines, supervillainesses, and superhero girlfriends. Six of them share stories of their deaths, their lives, and their relationships with the male superheroes for whom they were killed.

You don’t have to be a comic book fan to enjoy this book, but comic book fans will pick up on fantastic Easter Eggs as well as connect the characters that Valente has created with their DC and Marvel counterparts.

Join us and help us launch The Refrigerator Monologues into the world! Event is free and open to the public and will be located in our downstairs space.”

If you live around Boston (or are within acceptable driving distance), put The Refrigerator Monologues Launch Party on your calendar! Come on out to Pandemonium Books & Games at 7 PM to meet Cat in person and get your book autographed. She can’t wait to share this book’s release with friends and fans!

Pandemonium has set up a Facebook event page for the launch, where you can indicate your interest and rest assured Facebook will keep you reminded of the date.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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Cat is currently in France, where she’s enjoying fine French carbohydrates and participating in local Eurovision excitement! While fine perks indeed, that’s not why she’s there – she’s attending Les Imaginales in Épinal, France as a Guest of Honor from May 18th – 21st.

She looks forward to meeting friends, fans, and colleagues from France and beyond during the festival! Here’s her official schedule and where you might most easily find her:

THURSDAY, MAY 18

Coup d’envoi des Imaginales (Kickoff)
Magic Mirrors 1 | 10:00 – 11:00

Les personnages d’abord ! (Characters First)
Magic Mirrors 1 | 14:00 – 15:00
comment faire vivre une histoire ?
(How to make a story live?)

FRIDAY, MAY 19

Déjeuner avec Catherynne M. Valente  (Lunch with CMV)
Déjeuner 2 | 12:30
By reservation only.

Entretien avec … Catherynne M. Valente (Interview with CMV)
Magic Mirrors 2 | 15:00 – 16:00

SATURDAY, MAY 20

Auteurs et romans atypiques… (Authors and Atypical Novels)
Magic Mirrors 3 | 18:00-19:00
Ah, les belles découvertes ! (Ah, the beautiful discoveries!)

SUNDAY, MAY 21

Créateurs de mondes… (Creators of Worlds)
Magic Mirrors 1 | 17:00 – 18:00
Monde de créateurs ! (World of creators!)

You can also find a PDF of the full schedule here.

(If there are any mistakes in the English translations, the Lab’s Intermittent Technospirit begs you pardon her French. She did her best!)

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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Today is International Women’s Day. Today, we commemorate the movement for women’s rights and bring awareness to the ongoing struggle for those rights – globally, nationally, personally.

Cat is honored to raise her voice as a part of Tor.com’s Nevertheless She Persisted anthology, an online series of flashfiction written by some of the best writers today in SF/F. Here’s what Tor.com had to say:

“Nevertheless She Persisted” has become a galvanizing cry for people of all genders in recognition of the struggles that women have faced throughout history.

This sci-fi/fantasy flash fiction collection features sharing unique visions of women inventing, playing, loving, surviving, and – of course – dreaming of themselves beyond their circumstances.

In this amazing collection, you will find “The Ordinary Woman and the Unquiet Emperor” by Catherynne M. Valente – and maybe too much reality for comfort. Discomfort is okay. Discomfort reminds us to fight.

Read it now, and then read all the other marvelous tales from Seanan McGuire, Alyssa Wong, Amal El-Mohtar, Nisi Shawl, and more.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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We’re excited to announce that Cat is now a Patreon creator, offering you exclusive content and goodies via Patreon’s flexible crowdfunding platform!

As our resident Mad Fiction Scientist puts it on her landing page, “… I want to put more fiction into the world. And I don’t just mean my own fiction. I want to help you guys write awesome books and stunning stories!”

Cat’s doing this by offering professional writing advice every month – in the form of comedic essays on the craft and business of writing. You’ll learn about characterization, dialogue, how to get a writing agent, and so much more. Beyond signing up to receive these exclusive Cat Valente essays, there are plenty of additional fantastic benefits you can score: sneak peeks at Cat’s works-in-progress, personal Skype calls, virtual writing dates, Tuckerizations, acknowledgements, and – well, see for yourself:

To get involved with Cat’s latest project and to support her work directly, just head over to Patreon: you can sign up for recurring donations, get access to the patron-only stream, interact with the Mad Fiction Scientist herself, and edit your pledge at any time. And remember: your support means the world to Cat, especially in these trying times. You get huge thanks from everyone at the lab, and we promise it’s pathogen-free. (Probably.)

Hurry on over! The Mad Fiction Laboratory awaits!

And, please – do hit the share buttons and spread the Patreon page on Twitter, Facebook, and your other social media platforms of choice. The Laboratory Denizens appreciate all you do!

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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In case you missed it, we’re excited to announce CMV’s forthcoming book, The Refrigerator Monologues. Cat wrote an introductory meditation on the project over at The Mary Sue, which you should absolutely check out for insight into this fierce takedown and ruthless interrogation of the point and place of women in superhero comics:

It all started because The Amazing Spider-Man 2 pissed me off.

Oh, I know it pissed everyone off for one reason or another. But when something pisses me off badly enough, I throw art in its face. And after Spider-Man, I walked out of the theater in actual, real life tears, and not the single tear flowing down a single cheek in mourning for the passing of the elegance of the world or something—big sobs like a big baby.

Let me explain.

Click this link to keep reading “The Refrigerator Strikes Back: The Refrigerator Monologues” at The Mary Sue.

The Refrigerator Monologues owes a particular debt to Gail Simone, who coined the termWomen in Refrigerators.” The book is dedicated to her.

Caught your interest yet? Read on for Saga Press’s description:

The lives of six female superheroes and the girlfriends of superheroes. A ferocious riff on women in superhero comics.

From the New York Times bestselling author Catherynne Valente comes a series of linked stories from the points of view of the wives and girlfriends of superheroes, female heroes, and anyone who’s ever been “refrigerated”: comic book women who are killed, raped, brainwashed, driven mad, disabled, or had their powers taken so that a male superhero’s storyline will progress.

In an entirely new and original superhero universe, Valente subversively explores these ideas and themes in the superhero genre, treating them with the same love, gravity, and humor as her fairy tales. After all, superheroes are our new fairy tales and these six women have their own stories to share.

The Refrigerator Monologues will be released on June 6, 2017. Pre-order it now from your favorite retailer! 

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Powell’s

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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Happy New Year, all, and welcome to Awards Season! It’s that time when every author should share what they’ve written that’s eligible for any of the SFF genre’s awards – there are so many great stories being shared every year, and it can be hard to remember them all. These eligibility posts are welcome reminders, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

For those in the SFWA, Nebula Awards nominations are open until February 15th. The Hugo Award nominations should open soon, any you can nominate if you were or are a member of the 2016, 2017, or 2018 Worldcons. The rules for nominating for the World Fantasy Award should be similar, but you might want to check with the World Fantasy Convention.

Here’s what I wrote that’s eligible this year:

NOVEL

The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home (Feiwel and Friends)

NOVELETTE

The Future Is Blue (in Drowned Worlds: Tales from the Anthropocene and Beyond)

The Limitless Perspective of Master Peek, or, the Luminescence of Debauchery (in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue 200)

Snow Day (in Uncanny Magazine, Issue 11)

SHORT STORY

Badgirl, the Deadman, and the Wheel of Fortune (in The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales)

The Beasts Who Fought for Fairyland Until the Very End and Further Still

Thanks for your consideration! Remember: nominate early, vote often, and read always.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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Ever since the election, people have been telling me to shut up and go back to Fairyland. Be silent. Be good. Accept. Submit. Stop talking about politics. Stick to fairy tales. (As if fairy tales have ever not been about politics.) Go back to Fairyland. Go back to Fairyland.

So I did.

I have struggled since November 8th with everything I thought I understood about the world, and with what I could possibly do to help anyone. I certainly can’t stop talking. I can never do that. But for once, the Internet trolls had the answer.

I have written a new Fairyland short story. It does what fairy tales do, I hope. Explain the awful to the young. Explain the awful to the old. Explain the awful to myself. After all, once you know you’re in a fairy tale, you know how to get out, how to survive, how to stand tall and even dance at the end of it all.

This story may be read, reprinted, excerpted, exchanged, and otherwise disseminated for free, forever.

The Beasts Who Fought for Fairyland Until the Very End and Further Still.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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The mind is a strange thing. I cannot even say if it’s the mind of a writer that I mean, or the mind of a human. I have always had the mind I have; it is impossible to say whether my habits conform to those of any group–writers, women, those of an age neither Generation X nor Millennial, Americans, artists, and so on–or whether it is just the strange little music box of a brain I carry around in the cage of my bones.

When I am writing a story or a book or even a poem, I see the environment I render in words completely, as though on a movie screen. I change what I see internally until it feels right, then describe it on the page. But there is always a Version 1.0, a ground zero, a basic template for various objects and geographies. Often I fight against that entry-level image. Contort it into something better, different, more unusual, more striking. But I find it fascinating what set-pieces are so fully-formed in my mind that I must always consciously jettison them, or else ever house I write would be the same, every road, every forest, every school, every shop.

The example I started writing about on Twitter before deciding that it was absurd to try to say all this in a series of 140 character confetti-cannons is the Kitchen of My Mind.

When I think of a kitchen–and by that I mean any kitchen, simply the idea of “kitchen,” if I require a kitchen as a set for any scene–the image that comes instantly into my head, fully-realized, in Technicolor and 3-D sensory surround, is the kitchen of a house my mother briefly rented in Seattle around (by my math) 1985. The tiles are white with small black diamonds between the squares. The walls are white with black window frames. There is a small kitchen table in the corner where my infant brother and I have breakfast on the weekends when I stay with her instead of my dad. The corner has a bench built into one side where I always sit and is dominated by tall windows with cross-hatch sashes on both sides of the seam. Next to the corner on the rear wall is the back door leading into the yard. In this kitchen Ray Lynch’s album Deep Breakfast is always playing. My mother loved it and loved playing it at the thematically-appropriate time of the day.

Why the kitchen in this house, quickly rented and quickly moved out of, and not the one on Queen Anne Hill where my father and my stepmother and I lived until I was 7? Or the one in the house in Woodinville where I spent almost every morning of my adolescence? Or the one in Davis, California, where I cooked after-school snacks with my brother every day through junior high and high school? Of course I remember these places, but when I think of the pure, ontologically complete idea of a kitchen, it is always this one I return to.

But it gets stranger than that.

I cannot picture the rest of that house. Or even the rest of that kitchen. I see the table, the windows, the back door, the colors; I hear the music. I am there. But if I turn around to glance into the kitchen or the hall, where an oven and a refrigerator and a mother presumably is, the house I see is absolutely not the one that belongs to the cross-hatch windows and the built-in bench and Deep Breakfast. This kitchen does not go with this house. I know it isn’t, because I know that house, and it’s not even my house! It’s the house of my childhood best friend, Jessamyn, where I used to visit and sleep over all the time when we lived on the same street on Queen Anne Hill. I sit in the corner with the black and white cross-hatched windows and turn my head and I look down another narrow kitchen where a woman is standing at the stove who is not my mother but my best friend’s, with her strange German name and so utterly apart from the plain short suburban names of my family, with short slick bobbed hair nothing like my actual mother’s long, long black mop, into the living room to the front door with the chestnut tree growing outside, whose spiky nuts we used to collect for spells and fairy money in case we ever got whisked away like the girls in books.

I can walk through Jessamyn’s house like a virtual reality environment. I know all the nooks and crannies–because it was a great house, full of nooks and crannies and hiding places and dark, dark old wood that was so different than the bright houses both sets of my parents always lived in–in fact, at the time, the only hardwood floors I’d ever seen, since everyone in the mid-eighties was mad for carpet. That house that always seemed magic to me because it had a cellar and an attic, because Jessamyn’s stepfather let us watch tons of horror movies and always asked me a riddle when I first arrived and told me I had to have the answer by the next sleepover, and because Jessamyn’s mother was a professional harpist with the Seattle Orchestra who had told me the first time I came over that she kept her non-concert harps in a storage area under the floors. I used to creep around on tiptoe so as not to disturb the harps. I’m sure there were only one or two spares and they were in some kind of special temperature-safe space in the basement, but in my head, they were right under the floorboards, hundreds of them, each one with carved elaborate golden shoulders like the ones in paintings, crowded up an inch under my toes, sleeping, waiting, dreaming.

When I think about places where I spent time as a child, I remember, as clearly as the colors of the wood and the patterns of the wallpaper, the things I imagined, (quietly, to myself, without telling anyone) the things I believed, about those places while I was there. It’s a kind of synesthesia, which I have in many ways. For me, numbers and letters and months and days and even smells have colors, but places have ideas.

Belief has an architecture.

Dark hardwood floors have harps underneath them. Thin, tall curtains have ghosts (because I used to keep my button collection pinned to my tall, thin bedroom curtains, and my stepmother would add new ones while I was at school without saying anything, so I logically thought ghosts were giving me buttons. One day one appeared that said DON’T PANIC and I knew they were just trying to tell me not to be afraid). Split level houses have hungry bears hiding on their bottom floors (because my aunt had a split-level and in the downstairs living room she had a bearskin rug with teeth and claws and it scared me so bad I thought it was alive and freezing in place to fool me, and everywhere I went upstairs it was crawling along the downstairs ceiling and sniffling for me, lying in wait.)

These imaginings come instantly to mind, sewn into the simpler memories of furniture and house layouts and all those endless spaces of childhood. For my brain, they are inseparable, the way the smell of a turkey roasting is inseparable from the roasting turkey itself. And when I remember them, it’s so strong that, for a moment, the total belief that they were true flares up again before guttering away.

So this is what I see when I imagine a simply, archetypal kitchen: that table, those windows in a house my mother probably doesn’t even remember, attached to another house I never lived in, with another girl’s mother in it, a house of ancient wood and riddles and a tree full of fairy money hundreds upon hundreds of sentient sleeping harps snuggled up underneath it. Where the music my mother loved is always playing. Where my brother is always a baby sitting in a high chair next to me but my childhood friend is not. My brain has made a house that never existed out of remembered houses I only sometimes stayed in, and that, that is what it uses to represent the notion of any kitchen, anywhere.

This can’t be normal.

Do I even remember that kitchen accurately? I have reason to think I do–I have an extraordinarily good memory, and I remember events and places and phrases from my childhood so well it often startles and unsettles people who were adults then. But I can’t know. There is a flaw already embedded–the Two Houses Problem. Maybe the kitchen I think of when I think of kitchens never existed. Maybe the diamonds in the tile were blue. Maybe there were three windows, not two. But it’s scratched in iron in my head and I imagine that, if I somehow went to that house we rented again, and saw that it was different, that I had it wrong, in a day or two I wouldn’t remember the real kitchen anymore. It would go back to this image my brain loves and needs, clearly.

This sort of thing has happened before. I misremember the ending of The Purple Rose of Cairo so profoundly that I recall, and have quoted in company, full scenes of dialogue that do not exist in the film and never did. And every time I watch the real ending, my brain refuses to accept it, re-writes it again, and if you asked me how it ended right now, I could only give you my ending, even though I know it’s wrong.

I don’t know what the purpose of this surgery of associative memory is. I don’t know if anyone else thinks and remembers and imagines this way. I don’t even know the purpose of this little mini-memoir. I only sat down to work on a scene that takes place in a kitchen and the same ancient geography unfolded in my head. That kitchen always wants to be real again, even though it was never real in the first place.

Sometimes I think all of those beloved post-modernist tricks and flares and perhaps even all of non-realist fiction simply tells the factual truth of memory: it is unknowable, it is iterative, it is non-linear, it lies, it skips and jumps, it over-writes and re-writes itself, it has gaps and holes and unexplainable gulfs, it insists upon its own reality even when confronted with contradictory evidence, it lines the drawers of adult action with the magical thinking of childhood beliefs, all the beliefs we have, not because children are more innocent or marvelous, but because we simply did not know what was or was not possible yet in this world, it cobbles itself out of whatever it finds lying around in a vain attempt to create a cohesive narrative which can only ever be fully true to the rememberer, and perhaps not even then, and it strives, at all costs and against all odds, to make themes and motifs and sense and order and logic and certainty out of the utter howling void.

In that void, there is a kitchen. It is always the same kitchen. I am always there, and even though it’s only a story I told myself and remembering it serves no purpose, confers no meaning, and has nothing at all to do with kitchens in the first damn place, I am always going to be eating eggs at that table and waiting for the harps to wake up.

How strange and bright are the things brains do in their dark nests, with all the chestnuts falling.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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Calling all fans in NYC! CMV will be attending the Brooklyn Book Festival next weekend. If you’d like to come out and see her (admission is free!), get the details below:

Brooklyn Book Festival
Sunday, September 18 (10am-6pm)

The location is downtown Brooklyn, and the festival will be held rain or shine. Also, seating at panels is on a first come, first served basis.

Cat will specifically be doing a Bookend Event with the Center for Fiction on Gender in Science Fiction and Fantasy:

This event brings together celebrated voices from science fiction and fantasy whose work explores gender constructs and/or notions of sexuality, to talk about the current state and representation of these themes in the field. Multi-award winner Catherynne M. Valente (The Labyrinth(2004), Deathless (2011), Radiance (2015)) joins Seth Dickinson (The Traitor Baru Cormorant, 2014), 2015 Nebula Award-winner Alyssa Wong, and Whiting Award-winner Alice Sola Kim.

This event will take place at 5:00 PM at the Brooklyn Borough Hall Court Room in downtown Brooklyn.

While you wait for next weekend, check out CMV’s fairy tale noir short story “The Consultant,” now featured at the Center for Fiction’s website!

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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Readercon is nearly here, and Cat Valente is a Guest of Honor at the 2016 con alongside Tim Powers!  The convention takes place in Quincy, Massachusetts, and is running from Thursday, July 7th to Sunday, July 10th. If you plan to be in attendance and wish to find Cat for autographs, readings, or panels – well, this is the post for you! Her schedule is handily provided below:

THURSDAY, JULY 7

8:00 PM / 6 / SF in Classical Tradition.
John Crowley, Haris Durrani, Ada Palmer, Catherynne M. Valente, Jo Walton (leader). Whatever your definition of science fiction, there’s no disputing that there were centuries of proto-science fiction published before the modern stuff began appearing. More than 1600 years before Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, Lucian of Samosata wrote The True History, featuring perhaps the first fictional trip to the moon, the first fictional trip into outer space, and the first fictional space opera. Cicero, in 51 B.C.E. published “The Dream of Scipio,” in which the narrator and his grandfather, Scipio Africanus, take an astral journey through the solar system. Greek mythology, plays, and tragedies have science fictional elements in them as well. Our panelists will discuss the fantastical and science fictional in the classical (Greek and Roman) tradition.

FRIDAY, JULY 8

11:00 AM / C / The Politics of Food.
Liz Gorinsky, Geoff Hart, David Shaw (mod), Vinnie Tesla, Catherynne M. Valente.
The recipe for lembas is a closely guarded secret—it’s made by the elves, we’re told, but which of them, and how? Why are restaurants lauded for meticulously recreating the humblest foods of people who now can’t afford it? And what becomes of authenticity when all our food is replicated, from the database of some culinary streaming service? Armies march on their stomachs, and empires are built as often to seek out new appetites as sate them. How does food shape our stories, and what are the stories we can tell about our food?

2:00 PM / 5 / Reading Works from Long Ago.
Phenderson Clark, Michael Dirda, Delia Sherman (mod), Catherynne M. Valente, Jacob Weisman.
“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” So L.P. Hartley wrote. But they don’t just do things differently there, they believe and feel things differently as well. Human motivations may remain the same, but how those motivations are expressed and felt vary widely. Is it possible for modern readers to understand the motivations and actions of people of different times and places? How effectively can we understand the inhabitants of 16th century Japan, 1810s England, or pre-historic Europe? What tools can writers use to make that understanding easier for readers?

3:00 PM / CL / Kaffeeklatsch.
Ben Francisco, Catherynne M. Valente.

4:00 PM / 6 / Speculative Retellings.
C.S.E. Cooney, Ben Francisco, Gwynne Garfinkle, Kathleen Howard, Catherynne M. Valente.
Speculative elements in fiction are not limited to robots and ghosts and dragons. For ages, the stories that get told have almost always been by told straight white able rich men, and there may be no way of separating those stories from the culture of writing today. In stories like “Travels With the Snow Queen” by Kelly Link, or “Shift” by Nalo Hopkinson, retelling old stories written by white men becomes an inherent challenge to those narratives, and that challenge itself becomes a speculative element. What other elements can we bring to these stories, and will we ever get to a point where challenging the status quo is not seen as speculative?

5:00 PM / E / Autographs.
Catherynne M. Valente, Fran Wilde.

6:00 PM / A / Reading: Catherynne M. Valente.
Catherynne M. Valente.
Catherynne M. Valente reads From The Refrigerator Monologues, a novella out next year from Simon & Schuster.

SATURDAY, JULY 9

1:00 PM / C / My Character Ate What?.
John Chu, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ada Palmer, Lauren Roy, Catherynne M. Valente, Fran Wilde (leader).
“My Character Ate What?,” based loosely on Hollywood Squares, that uses food in SF as the subject matter for questions. You are signing up to be a contestant in Fran Wilde’s game.

4:00 PM / 5 / Catherynne M. Valente Interviewed by John Clute and Elizabeth Hand.
John Clute, Elizabeth Hand, Catherynne M. Valente.

SUNDAY, JULY 10

11:00 AM / 6 / Shirley Jackson Awards.
John Langan, Tim Powers, Catherynne M. Valente.
In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, the Shirley Jackson Awards have been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic. Jackson (1916–1965) wrote classic novels such as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, “The Lottery.” Her work continues to be a major influence on writers of every kind of fiction, from the most traditional genre offerings to the most innovative literary work. The awards given in her name have been voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics, with input from a Board of Advisors, for the best work published in the calendar year of 2014 in the following categories: Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Single-Author Collection, and Edited Anthology.

12:00 PM / 5 / A Dark and Golden Age.
Sioban Krzywicki (leader), Darrell Schweitzer, J.M. Sidorova, Catherynne M. Valente, Walter Williams.
We frequently refer to the Dark Ages, Middle Ages, or Medieval Period to describe the time between the fall of Rome and the beginning of the Renaissance. However, these terms primarily refer to the conditions in Western Europe. The Eastern Roman Empire didn’t fall until 1453. The Muslim world considered this a golden age with many innovations and scientific advances. China, India, Africa, Eastern Europe, and many other regions have their own eras, empires, “rises,” and “declines” that have nothing to do with this demarcation. How can we better use this history in fantasy and historical fiction? How has our obsession with the tiny, western part of Europe colored our writing to this day?

1:00 PM / C / Keytars in Science Fiction!  
John Chu, Yves Meynard, Sarah Pinsker (leader), David Shaw, Catherynne M. Valente. Alien or futuristic music can play a large role in SF, but how is it best conveyed? Music has evolved to encompass a vast array of styles, instrumentation, and sound. How can we make something seem alien or futuristic instead of just “experimental”? Is it unusual instruments, ranges of sound, different scales, some combination of these or something else altogether? On TV and movies new instruments can be shown, like Spock’s lute, but how do we make sure the sound isn’t just ours? How would alien instruments be different? Would we be able to make sense of it? The soundtrack to Forbidden Planet was created with entirely original, electronic instruments to make a seemingly alien sound, but how often can something like this be done before it becomes generic? Are we stuck with making sure the lyrics convey the alienness or futuristicness?

Also, for those interested in all things CMV, there’s a “The Works of Catherynne M. Valente” panel happening on Friday at 12 PM. Here are the details:

FRIDAY, JULY 8
12:00 PM / C / The Works of Catherynne M. Valente.
Jonathan Crowe, Gillian Daniels, Liz Gorinsky (leader), Kathleen Howard.
Catherynne Valente has been a professional fortune teller, telemarketer, private tutor, librarian, waitress, bartender, actress, and statistician, but she is best known as a novelist and poet, having published over two dozen novels and poetry collections. She has been nominated for or won every major award in science fiction and fantasy: the Hugo (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014), the Nebula (2013, 2014), Locus (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014), and the World Fantasy Award (2007, 2009, 2011, 2014). In the Night Garden (2006) won the James Tiptree Jr. Award; The Orphan’s Tales (2006-2007) won the Mythopoeic Award; “The Seven Devils of Central California” won the Rhysling Award (2008); Palimpsest won the Lambda Award (2010). In 2010, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making became the first self-published work to win a major literary award, winning the Andre Norton Award. The sequel, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, was listed by Time Magazine and NPR as one of the ten best books of 2012. The New York Times has called her “an incandescent young star.” Join our panelists in a discussion of her work.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

catvalente: (pic#941394)

This weekend, CMV is at Finncon 2016 in Tampere, Finland! The convention runs from Friday, July 1st, to Sunday, July 3rd. If you are attending, read on – we’ve put together a “Where’s Cat at Finncon?” list of appearances for you. And, remember! If you want to join the Kaffeeklatch with Cat on Sunday, be sure to sign up early – space is limited.

FRIDAY

16:00 at Luentosali A1: On Writing
Guests of Honor Catherynne M. Valente, Jasper Fforde and Anne Leinonen talk about their work, inspiration and methods. Chair: Saara Henriksson.

SATURDAY

10:00 at Juhlasali: Opening Ceremonies
Welcome to Finncon 2016! The convention and our Guests of Honor are introduced.

12:00 at Juhlasali: Guest of Honor interview: Catherynne M. Valente

13:00 at Signeeraukset: Signing
Guest of Honor Catherynne M. Valente signs her works at the main lobby.

16:00 at Luentosali D10a: Sex, drugs and Puss ‘n’ Boots
Beneath the sweet, Disney exterior of fairy tales often lies a roiling underbelly of lust, abuse and unfulfilled desire. Modern reincarnations often put the subtext of the originals out for anyone to see. In a panel moderated by Nina Niskanen, Anne Leinonen and Catherynne M. Valente discuss the topic of sex in the context of fairy tales. CW: may contain discussion of sexual abuse.

SUNDAY

11:00 at Kaffeeklatch: Catherynne M. Valente
Come have a drink and chat with the GoH. Limited number of participants, sign up at the info!

13:00 at Juhlasali: Guest of Honor Reading: Catherynne M. Valente
Cat Valente will read from a new, unpublished work.

14:00 at Luentosali A3: Music in Science Fiction and Fantasy: Bowie & Prince
The music panel is back, and with good reason. 2016 is the year in which David Bowie and Prince left us, and returned to their homes among the stars. Our panel looks back on their work and influence. There may be tears.

Also, for those interested, there’s a paper on Cat’s Fairyland series being presented on Finncon’s academic track. You can see Fodor András present his paper “The Nature of Heroism in Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland Series” at 10:00 in Luentosali D11 on Sunday.

Enjoy Finncon, everyone!

 

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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Last week, the Fairyland series received a wonderful review in the New Yorker Magazine, an absolute dream come true for me! I still can hardly believe it happened. Radiance got a fabulous paragraph all its own as well.

Nothing I can say will be better than reading the review itself, so here it is! I’M A REAL WRITER YOU GUYS!

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

catvalente: (pic#941394)

Last night I was made aware of two things: that the Sad Puppy 4 Recommendation List has been released and that I am on it, for my novella Speak Easy.

Yes, these are the same Sad Puppies that dominated fandom conversation through most of last year, and whose slates resulted in so much ink spilt, and so many No Awards given out. Yes, I am still the evil SJW Queen Bee Persian Cat Who the Hell Does She Think She Is that I was last year in the eyes of this group. I am absolutely not going to re-hash the arguments on Sad or Rabid Puppies right now. You guys know how to Google. I suggest File770 for excellent coverage.

My first reaction–and perhaps not my best reaction–was anger and confusion. I genuinely do apologize for posting my first reaction to the internet–I should know better by now. This is me, a good sleep later, trying to sort it all out logically.

I was upset because I wasn’t asked whether I was okay with being put on this list. I had thought I remembered SP saying they would ask authors for permission in the future, but it’s since been pointed out to me that my memory, as with all human cognition, is faulty, and the truth is the opposite–they, in fact, pledged not to ask permission or remove names on request.

I was immediately attacked on Twitter for this anger and confusion–aren’t I an ungrateful, horrible person for not being happy and honored that people liked my work? Aren’t I insulting my readers? Aren’t I trying to exclude certain opinions because I don’t agree with them politically? Aren’t the Puppies showing good faith by including such obviously SJW authors as myself, John Scalzi, Alyssa Wong, Nnedi Okorafor, and Ann Leckie? Shouldn’t I just sit down and shut up? Aren’t I actually the worst?

And it occurs to me that I would feel far less anger and confusion if one single person had calmly and without rancor said to me: “Hey, last year was a clusterfuck all around. This year we’re trying to put all that behind us and do a straight recommendation list. That’s all that’s going on.” But instead, it was the same instant name-calling and attacks that went down last time.

So I spent the night trying to get my thoughts in order on this. Because, yes, if you strip away all the context of the Sad Puppies campaigns, it’s just a recommendation list, and I was happy enough to be on the Locus List (which doesn’t ask permission), so I should simply be joyful that people liked Speak Easy enough to recommend others take a look at it. A recommendation list, as we have been saying all along, is not a slate.

But you can’t strip away the context. Context is content. Context is everything.

I promised last year not to allow my name on any slate, for any reason, in perpetuity. Which means that if SP4 is, somehow, a slate, it would be hypocritical of me to shrug and say I’m cool with it just because my name happens to be on it. This is where I get stuck, because I feel there is a moral morass here. Call me old-fashioned: when I give my word, it still means something to me. This puts me in an incredibly difficult position, from which there is no easy extrication.

The problem is, I spent a year listening to how the Puppies are Master Strategists. You can’t blame me for doing a Perception Roll and looking for traps. And that is my fear. That, with apologies to Admiral Akbar, it’s a trap.

I don’t want to be anyone’s shield. I want any nomination to be about my work and my work alone. I don’t want to be used to add legitimacy to a slate, I don’t want to be used to whitewash the history of a movement that, at the very minimum, has behaved poorly and rudely toward a large number of people, including me, my loved ones, and my colleagues. I don’t want to be fodder for a “we all know the first five are the real slate” strategy. I don’t want to be used as a gotcha!, forced to withdraw in order to keep my moral house in order and make room for more works along the lines of “Safe Space as Rape Room” and “Sad Puppies Bite Back” or remain on the list and force a conversation about No Awarding so that the Puppies can watch the people they targeted last year get No Awarded or call us all hypocrites at large for not doing it–victory declared at any result.

I don’t want to be used. Hashtag Not Your Shield. I want my work to be my work, and that’s it. If I get nominated, I want to know it happened fairly. That it was only about people liking my work.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s what’s happening. They seem to have done everything people said they should do to make it a recommendation list and not a slate. It’s democratic, it’s open, there are either more or less than five recs for every slot. The Rabid Puppy list has almost nothing in common with the Sad Puppy list.

But it’s absurd to get angry at someone for thinking there might be something more to it. After all the talk about manipulation and strategy, all the insults flung and accusations levied, this is the result. It is hard to trust. And it is impossible to just pull the tablecloth out from under the Sad Puppies and leave the flowers and the silver still standing. The Puppies are a political group. They specifically did what they did last year to make “SJW heads explode.” Members have engaged in racists, homophobic, and sexist rhetoric. They have stated that the last several years of Hugos, during which I won and was nominated, were a lie and a farce, only existing due to affirmative action.

But many members did not engage in that rhetoric. The relationship between Sad and Rabid was always fluid, strange, and half-obscured. Many people simply wanted more populist work on the ballot, and they had every right to want that. Every right to have their voice heard–just not to the exclusion of all other voices. No group is monolithic.

But the Sad Puppy name is inextricably entwined with that history. Remember why the Puppy was Sad in the first place. You can’t just separate that past and say it’s all fine now. You certainly can’t, as some have in messages to me, say there was never anything wrong with it and everyone else was evil. At least in terms of what I’ve seen on social media in the last 24 hours, Puppies still want to fight, still want to accuse, still don’t want to say anything in the ball park of “Hey, it’s not like that” and explain things in a non-inflammatory way. This worries me. This makes me think about Admiral Akbar.

So what do I do? Honestly, I still don’t know. My stomach hurts. At the moment, it really does look like people just liked my book. Anyone could recommend something, after all. Locus doesn’t need my permission and neither does anyone else, so requiring it from the Puppies alone, as long as it is not a slate, would be strange. I’ve been on some WEIRD rec lists in my time, I tell you what. And I will absolutely not dismiss readers because of the URL where their desires are expressed.

It all comes down to whether this recommendation list is a list or a slate.

Right now, it doesn’t look like a slate. Right now, it looks like a list complied by people with extremely wide-ranging tastes and interests. Right now, I’m inclined to try to mend fences across fandom in whatever little way I can by giving them the benefit of the doubt that this is all in good faith–because I want to be given the benefit of the doubt that I act in good faith. So for right now, that’s what I’m going to do. I am going to believe in the better angels of our–and Puppy–nature. I’m going to choose to believe that they looked at the thousand suggestions of ways to recommend books that would not run afoul of the spirit of the Hugos and adjusted their methods accordingly. I’m going to choose to believe that the political rhetoric of the Puppy movement is a thing of the past, and from here on out, it will be about what each and every one of us said it should be about–good books. Nothing else.

If this changes, if all that ugliness comes roaring back and it becomes about something other than the content of books, I will change my mind and very quickly. But for right now, I have to try to believe that things can get better. This is my Pollyanna moment. I sincerely hope I don’t regret it.

If you take anything away from all of this it should be merely that Hugo nominations close on March 31st. Nominate what you love, don’t think about anything else. Love is all that matters, in the end.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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The last book in the Fairyland series, The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home, comes out today.

And I’ll be talking about my book a lot over the next week while I tour the eastern half of the country. Doing the authorial dance, trying to talk people into buying this funny orange thing with a wyvern on the cover. You know the drill by now–if you like the book, tell people about it. Any way you can. That’s really all there is to it.

But I wanted to take a minute out of the publicity waltz to say something with all my heart.

Thank you.

Thank you to everyone who made this book real. Everyone who read Palimpsest and asked where they could find that Fairyland book I mentioned. Everyone who read and linked and donated when Fairyland was just a baby story, posted on this website every Monday. Everyone who fell in love with September and Ell and Saturday and wanted the best for them. Everyone who has ever bought a copy, come to a reading, sent me a note telling me how much the stories meant to them. Everyone who ever brought me coffee or a cross-stitch or a necklace or a hug. My family and my friends and my readers, who are both.

You are my Green Wind and my Leopard of Little Breezes. You took me to Fairyland. Gratitude doesn’t begin to cover it.

 

Fairyland is the real and true piece of magic in my life. It has made everything else possible. I am beyond lucky to have spent these years with September and with you. Nothing is the same as it was before the Green Wind came to that little girl’s window. I owe my whole life to those who have believed in me and my stories, to you.

I say it’s the last book in the series. But I would be shocked if I never return to this world I love so much. This is September’s story finishing–but never really finishing. Nothing ever does, you know. The curtain closes but the play never even slows down. Fairyland doesn’t stop. She just catnaps.

I hope to continue writing for a long time yet, and hopefully I’ll manage to make something else half as wonderful as a Wyverary. I hope to meet every single one of you, somehow. I’ve got a good fifty or sixty years left. It’s doable.

But in the meantime–thank you. Thank you for reading, for caring, for loving, for dreaming along with me. For being the magic in Fairyland.

 

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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