“The Heat Of Us” is a World Fantasy Award nominee!
This week the ballot for the 2016 World Fantasy Award was released, and I was totally magnificently flabbergasted to see that my story “The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History” is a finalist!
The seed of “The Heat of Us” was planted on the night Donna Summer died. I was walking home from work, feeling pretty blue – I think “Bad Girls” is probably the second-best album of all time – looking across at the sad lonely lights of the city coming on, all those people by themselves, all the separate sadness that a certain group of people would be feeling. And I remembered that the Stonewall Uprising happened on the night that Judy Garland died. And I thought “revolutions are born on nights like this.” But that seed didn’t break into blossom until I attended the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Workshop and I saw how exponentially my writing improved through being part of a community of writers and readers, how I could share their strengths and (hopefully) lend them mine. So this is a story about community – about how people are stronger together than separate, and how when we work together we can achieve things so incredible they’re indistinguishable from magic.
And lest we think of Stonewall as ancient history, the Bad Old Days when Homophobia Ruled the Earth, the recent massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando only serves to underscore the extent to which hatred and patriarchy still rule our world. The day after the mass murder, some people posted and tweeted that my story was helping them process the horror, which is probably the highest compliment I’ve received as an author. I can think of no more important role for an artist than to help people imagine a world where the tables get turned on the monsters who would roll up with guns on a crowd of people just trying to have fun.
Just as exciting as the nomination itself is the fact that I’m up against two of my favorite writers and people, Alyssa Wong and Amal El-Mohtar, both of whom I was up against for the Nebula this year as well, and against whom I FOUGHT AN EPIC SERIES OF MESSY, BLOODY, FIERY MAGICAL BATTLES, captured here for posterity.
Huge love to: Uncanny Magazine for publishing it, and for publishing so many other amazing stories – Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas & Michi Trota are truly doing magnificent work; C.S.E. Cooney for doing such a phenomenal job reading my story for the Uncanny Podcast; Holly Black & Cassandra Clare for critiquing the shit out of this in workshop at Clarion; my fellow Clarion 2012 Awkward Robots, who this story is ACTUALLY ABOUT; all the people who read and reviewed and blogged and tweeted and talked about it, including, but not limited to, A.C. Wise, John Joseph Adams, Sarah Pinsker, Amal El-Mohtar, Charles Payseur, Sunil Patel, Rachel Swirsky, Jose Iriarte, Liz Argall, Wole Talabi, Emma Osborne, K.M. Szpara, Fran Wilde, Deborah Stanish, Shelley Streeby, Joshua Johnson, Bo Bolander, Fred Coppersmith, Tony Quick, K. Tempest Bradford, Magaly Guerrero, Deanna Knippling, Lara Donnelly, Didi Chanoch, Anthony Cardno, @genrebending, Brian at Nerdbrarian.com… [APOLOGIES to anyone I forgot/left off! contact me and I’ll add you]