6.16.2004

Sturgeon Award Shortlist and Why You Should Attend the Conference If You Can

Finalists for this year's Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, a juried award for best short science fiction of the year, have been announced. The winner will be announced in Lawrence, Kansas, at the Campbell Conference in Lawrence, Kansas, July 8-11, 2004. Last year's winner was Lucius Shepard's "Over Yonder."

SHORTLIST

"Bernardo's House", James Patrick Kelly (Asimov's Jun 2003)
"Dead Worlds", Jack Skillingstead (Asimov's Jun 2003)
"Dry Bones", William Sanders (Asimov's May 2003)
"The Empire of Ice Cream", Jeffrey Ford (Sci Fiction 02.26.03)
"The Empress of Mars", Kage Baker (Asimov's Jul 2003)
"The Fluted Girl", Paolo Bacigalupi (F&SF Jun 2003)
"It's All True", John Kessel (Sci Fiction 11.05.03)
"Looking Through Lace", Ruth Nestvold (Asimov's Sep 2003)
"Off on a Starship", William Barton (Asimov's Sep 2003)
"Only Partly Here", Lucius Shepard (Asimov's Mar 2003)
"The Tale of the Golden Eagle", David D. Levine (F&SF Jun 2003)
"The Tangled Strings of Marionettes", Adam-Troy Castro (F&SF Jul 2003)

***

WHY GO?

This year, especially, the list of guests reads like a World Con convention without the melee: Brian Aldiss, Robin Wayne Bailey, Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, James Gunn, Harry Harrison, Kij Johnson, Jack McDevitt, Frederik Pohl, Pamela Sargent, Donna Shirley, Joan Slonczewski, John Ordover, and George Zebrowski. (The gods of SF convene at Valhalla?)

It's not a regular convention. It's more open and, hence, more conducive to socialibility although the initial hump of breaking the ice is difficult for someone shy, but as Morrissey says, "Shyness is nice and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to."

Friday is the banquet. People used to dress up for it, but it looks like some go rather casually--I think they decide by dressing however Trent does not. The judges hand out both the Campbell and Sturgeon awards saying what made the top three of each stand out. This is also the last year they handle the Hall of Fame inductees, who will be Aldiss and Harrison. Next year, it's shang-haied to Seattle for the new SFX museum.

After the awards, people pile in cars for the party at a local fan's house. Lots of junk food and booze, etc.

Saturday is the conference itself which has no real panels but a round table discussion, which this year is about science and science fiction. Of course, everyone wants to hear what the authors have to say, but you can talk too. Everyone is usually very polite, not hogging the conversation.

Last year, for a conference about history and SF, they played a semi-controversial alternate history movie about the Civil War, which just went to Sundance Film Festival and found a distributor.

Sunday, they have an informal author Q&A about the writers' writing.

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