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February 10th, 2006

St(r)okin'...

This year's Stoker race is coming into the homestretch of lap one right now: Recommendations for works published in 2005 end February 15th; from there, the top works in each category move on to a preliminary ballot, which will be voted on by the HWA's fabulously elite Active members.

In the past, I was vehemently against the idea of officers' work being allowed on a ballot (at least while the officer is a current one). There's been a lot of talk about the Stokers' damaged reputation, and for me that can all be traced back to one major win by a then-current President.

This year, though...I've recommended both Gary Braunbeck's IN THE MIDNIGHT MUSEUM for Long Fiction and his "We Now Pause for Station Identification" for Short Fiction. When I made the recommendations, Gary was still our veep; now he's our prexy. I still think they may be the two best pieces of horror fiction I read in 2005. And...well, okay, it would be a shame if they were ineligible just because Gary is now HWA's President. I also think these two pieces are quite obviously good enough that, should they win (as I think they deserve to), they wouldn't damage the Stokers' tender reputation. At least, they wouldn't damage it any further.

And yes, I'm completely aware of the irony that I also have a story in the running for Short Fiction, and I'm the Treasurer. I'm proud of the story ("Black Mill Cove"), and I'd like to see an award nomination on my resume as much as the next guy/girl...and I guess if I'm going to let the President's fiction in, I have to let the Treasurer's ride, too.

The secret to character research

The cover of a 1914 children's book I stumbled across today:



And now, what I found stamped on the first blank page of this same book:



I leave you to draw your own conclusions.