So, it’s nomination season again, and people are predictably talking about whether one should self-promote or not. I mean, there’s really, really, really been a lot written about it. I could write yet another screed about it, but I think a lot of what needs to be said already has been, and in better words than I could find. Mary Robinette Kowal puts it succinctly and well: ‘Part of your job, as an author, is to promote yourself and your work’. And I agree with Amal El-Mohtar that it is marginalised people and people without mega-platforms who are those that get intimidated out of promoting their work.
At almost exactly this time last year (364 days, in fact) I had few compunctions about about writing a great long post asking people to nominate Speculative Fiction 2012. That was easier for a number of reasons: firstly, the nomination was really for the editors of the volume, Justin and Jared; secondly, in any sense in which it could be said to be about me, it was equally about the 49 other people who had contributed to that volume; and lastly, it was also about promoting Margaret Cavendish, of whom my essay marked a exhortation to remember her contributions to science fiction.
And all those reasons really were important to me. But at the same time it was also a way of cloaking my own self-promotion – I’d much rather have a quote of Virginia Woolf quoting Margaret Cavendish saying ‘All I desire is fame’ than openly say of myself: ‘I worked really hard on this and I think it’s great and makes a real contribution to the genre and I’d like more people to know about that so please nominate me’.
But, so, here goes: I worked really hard on Existentialism and the Terminator. It’s the realisation of a decade’s careful thought and two decades love of the Terminator movies. It’s a clarification of many a night’s drunken monologues with very patient friends. It’s about my love of the field of science fiction and it’s about my belief that the reason we love these things embodies more than simply liking robots and spaceships (although I really do love robots and spaceships). It’s about how philosophy is wedded to our very real and practical lives, and how the exploration of philosophy in popular art is so, so, so important. I think that makes it a real contribution to the genre and I’d like more people to know about it.
So, if you’re elligible to nominate to the Hugos, please consider nominating Existentialism and the Terminator for Best Related Work.
You’re elligible to nominate if you’re a member of the World Science Fiction Society, which is to say if you’re attending World Con this year, or if you buy a supporting membership. Existentialism and the Terminator is elligible for Best Related Work as a work of literary criticism published last year.
I don’t want you to nominate it just because you read this and like me, though (haha). If you haven’t watched/read/listened to it yet, it is available in three formats. As a YouTube video, a written essay, and a podcast. So, you know, if my shoddy camera work and annoying voice are an issue for you, maybe just consider it as an essay?
Anyway, that’s my bit of self-pimpage for today. I promise my next post is not going to be me asking you to do something for me.