An Irishman in The Best of British Science Fiction

The Miracle Lambs of Minane, first published in Clarkesworld in October of last year, has been selected for inclusion in The Best of British Science Fiction 2018.

Best Of British Science Fiction 2018 cover
Best Of British Science Fiction 2018 cover – image is Les Edwards’ Chasing the Lightship

To say I am pleased would be an understatement. A look at the table of contents over at editor Donna Scott’s website should explain why. To be listed near these writers – such as G.V. Anderson and Natalia Theodoridou, who have written some of my favourite short stories over the past couple of years, and Alastair Reynolds, Lavie Tidhar, and Dave Hutchinson, whose names I can see on my bookshelves – is both daunting and flattering.

As an added bonus, the book, which is published by Newcon Press, is being launched at the 2019 Worldcon in Dublin. So odds are I’ll get to meet at least some of these people in a city where I spent most of my 20s.

Clarkesworld October 2018I’m delighted that such an Irish story will get an outing at the first Irish Worldcon (second one in Cork in 2026, anyone?) and I’m very grateful to Neil Clarke at @clarkesworld for publishing it and the connected Last Boat Builder in Ballyvoloon in the first place.

As a final note, just to assuage the fears of my parents and my friend Marjorie, a place in the Best of British Science Fiction did not mean I had to surrender my passport, nor have I sworn allegiance to Her Maj. They are a fierce inclusive lot, the old SF community.

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So apparently I am eligible to be nominated for a flipping Campbell Award (and my story for a Hugo Award)

(UPDATED UPDATED UPDATE) OK, so Rich Horton didn’t see his way to including my short story, The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon, in his Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy. It would have been nice to go for the trifecta – Gardner Dozois, Neil Clarke and Horton (or the quadfecta of Dozois, Clarke, Horton and Coode Street’s Jonathan Strahan), but, you know, not everybody likes everything and some stuff always gets lost in the edit. I get that, and I am sanguine about the frankly massively unexpected success my one story of 2017 has had. However, Horton has seen fit to recommend me for this year’s Campbell Award. Just to sum up, I had one story published last year, and it got reprinted twice (Dozois and Clarke), recommended in the Locus Reading List and now Rich Horton has recommended me as worthy of consideration for the Campbell. I couldn’t be happier …

(UPDATED UPDATE: The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon has been chosen for the Locus Recommended Reading List.)

(UPDATE: The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon has also been included in Night Shade Books’ Best Science Fiction of The Year Vol 3, edited by Neil Clarke — I couldn’t be happier…)

bsfoty3

In August of last year, I received my first acceptance for a short story, The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon, and it appeared in the October 2017 issue of Clarkesworld. I could not have been happier. Or so I thought.

My family read it and liked it, random people read it online and tweeted me how much they liked it. People even reviewed it. I thought I was chuffed with the electronic version of it (and the podcast) until my buddy Jeff sent me a print copy from Toronto as a gift. I could hold in my hand a printed science fiction magazine that contained something I had spent a long time wringing from my already word-addled brain. I could not have been happier. Or so I thought.

cobh library view

In November, the story was picked to be re-printed in the 35th edition of Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best Science Fiction, a book whose previous editions I checked out of Cobh library and read looking out over the harbour that formed the basis for the one in the story (that’s the view from the library window above – taken from Cork County Library’s twitter page). I could not have been happier. Or so I thought.

In January, after a nudge from Neil Clarke, the editor of Clarkesworld, I checked with the Writertopia website to see if my story could be added to their eligibility list for the John W. Campbell award. And apparently it could. I could not have been happier. Or so I thought.

What I hadn’t appreciated was this:

My story is eligible to be nominated for a Hugo Award. Now, I am familiar with the cliche of it being an honour to just be nominated, and assumed it was just that – something people trot out. But if this is how great it feels to even be eligible to be nominated for something, I have to imagine that it is true.

My story is eligible to be nominated for a Hugo Award. I couldn’t be happier…