I’m writing this as the sun’s coming up here in California, and that’s happening because I’m still profoundly jet-lagged after my return from Worldcon in Dublin. Here’s another thing that happened across the pond, which does not involve my circadian rhythms:
Wayfarers won the Hugo Award for Best Series.
To say that I was in good company in that category is an understatement. I shared the ballot with Yoon Ha Lee (Machineries of Empire), Seanan McGuire (the October Daye series), Charles Stross (The Laundry Files), Aliette de Bodard (The Universe of Xuya), and Malka Older (The Centenal Cycle). All of these folks are incredibly talented, hard-working writers. Some are my friends, a fact I am deeply privileged by. I would have been thrilled to hear any of their names called, because my god, do they deserve it. If you don’t know their work, do yourself a solid and head to the bookstore. Your world will be better for it.
Receiving the rocketship is an experience I’m going to be unpacking for a long time, but the thing I knew well before I got up on that stage was that I did none of this alone. These books never would have happened were it not for Kickstarter saving me from throwing in the towel, and friendly folks at a con party, and every reader who passed a book along to a friend. I’m copy-pasting the speech I gave on Sunday here. If you’re reading it, it’s for you.
This Worldcon is something of an anniversary for me. In 2014, I went to my first Worldcon in London. I was nobody. I was nervous. I'd come to the con with three copies of my self-published novel that I couldn't figure out how to talk about. I watched from the edges as old friends hugged and laughed and caught up.
But people saw me, somehow, and they made space. They bought drinks. They treated me like I belonged there. I left the con with a bunch of warm fuzzies, and those were still present five months later, when some random person I had a beer with at a party reached out, offered a book deal, and became my first editor.
If it had all stopped there, I would have been happy with that. But there were more stories I wanted to tell, and I told them (and the ones I'm still writing) because of you. Because of everyone who wrote me a kind email that happened to arrive on a day when I thought I sucked, everyone who came to subsequent cons and bookshops to share beautiful pieces of themselves, everyone who became a friend that I only see here, where we hug and laugh and catch up.
It may be my name on this thing, but I never forget for a second that this series exists because of the kindness of strangers and this weird, wonderful family that meets once a year. So this one's for you, Worldcon. Thank you for letting me pull up a chair.