Author Archives: Cat Rambo

About Cat Rambo

I am a science fiction and fantasy writer and editor. My three collections of short stories are THE SURGEON'S TALE AND OTHER STORIES (with Jeff VanderMeer), EYES LIKE SKY AND COAL AND MOONLIGHT, and NEAR + FAR (forthcoming this September).

What I’m Looking Forward to about This Year’s Nebula Conference Programming: An Appreciation of Kate Baker

Back when I was VP of SFWA, Executive Director Kate Baker told me she had a dream. “I want to make the Nebula conference -the- premier conference for professional F&SF writers,” she said. “Something that no one wants to miss. A conference so good that if someone has budget for only one convention each year, that’s the one they know they’ll get the most value out of.”

It seemed like a pretty good goal to me. After all, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America is over fifty years old, has close to 2000 members, including some pretty impressive names, has and continues to do major work in the field protecting professional F&SF writers, and gives out one set of the industry’s major awards as well as the recognition of the SFWA Grand Mastership.

It’s five years later, and in my opinion, Kate’s done what she set out to do. She didn’t do it alone, of course. She had the help of a whole lot of amazing SFWA staff and volunteers, including the amazing Terra LeMay and Steven H Silver. Mary Robinette Kowal got turned loose on programming the last couple of years and has been doing a stellar job. And others have made their mark with additions, such as the Nebula Award Alternate Universe Acceptance speeches or the mentoring program led by Sarah Pinsker or (I’d like to think) two I’ve contributed: the volunteer appreciation breakfast as well as the spouses and partners reception that have been regular features (and I hope will continue to do so!) Or the Book Depot, because I don’t know of ANY other con that takes as much care to make sure that its authors — including the indies — can sign and sell their books there.

We’ve only got a small fraction of the schedule so far, with plenty of new stuff getting added every day, but here’s some highlights.
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Round-up of Awards Posts by F&SF Writers, Editors, and Publishers for 2018

I urge my students and coaching clients to get in the habit of an eligibility post at the end of the year, listing what they wrote in the previous year, what they’re particularly proud of and hope people will consider … Continue reading

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CyberMonday Coupons for the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers

If you’re gift-buying, be aware you can gift one of my classes, both live and on-demand ones! Just drop me a line about what you’d like to do and I’m happy to send the gift certificate in virtual or physical … Continue reading

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On Writing: Chekhov’s Gun Store

One of playwright Anton Chekhov’s most quoted maxims is this: If in Act I you have a pistol hanging on the wall, then it must fire in the last act. If you establish an expectation in the reader, particularly a … Continue reading

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Talking About Fireside Fiction’s #BlackSpecFic Reports, Part 1 of 2

A few days ago Steven Barnes, Maurice Broaddus, Tananarive Due, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Tonya Liburd, and Nisi Shawl were kind enough to let me record their conversation about Fireside Fiction’s reports on blacks in speculative fiction. The discussion centered specifically on what SFWA can learn from the report in order to improve/expand existing efforts as well as things it should or shouldn’t be doing.
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SFWA and Independent Writers, Part Four: What Lies Down the Road

This is the final part of a four part series. In this part, I’ll talk about plans down the road and make some predictions for what SFWA will witness over the next few years. Overall, I think it’s going to be nothing but positives and that SFWA will continue its tradition of helping authors.

The series so far:

  1. Part one describes the organization and its history.
  2. Part two talks about the decision to admit independent and small press published writers.
  3. Part three talks about what happened when the independents were first admitted.

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Media Consumed in September

I was on the road for most of September. That photo’s taken in the elevator of the Flatiron Building while I was in NYC, but other places I stayed included Dallas, Texas and Pocatello, Idaho. (More on that to come!) Here’s what I read in September, according to my notes, which always seem to leave out some stuff. Continue reading

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Reading Doc Savage: Land of Always-Night

In packing for a trip, I discovered I’d somehow bypassed some of the earlier Doc Savages, so we backtrack now to book 13: Land of Always-Night. On the cover, Doc, wearing torn shirt and steampunk goggles, looks back and away from a grove of giant mushrooms, not noticing the several odd figures vaguely resembling the Monarch from The Venture Brothers menacing him with raised hands.

This one has to be my favorite beginning yet:

It is somewhat ridiculous to say that a human hand can resemble a butterfly. Yet this particular hand did attain that similarity. Probably it was the way it moved, hovered, moved again, with something about it that was remindful of a slow-motion picture being shown on a screen.

The color had something to do with the impression. The hand was white, unnatural; it might have been fashioned of mother of pearl. There was something serpentine, hideous, about the way it strayed and hovered, yet was never still. It made one think of a venomous white moth.

It made Beery Hosmer think of death. Only the expression on Beery Hosmer’s face told that, for he was not saying anything. But he was trying to. His lips shaped word syllables and the muscle strings in his scrawny throat jerked, but no sounds came out.

The horrible white hand loaded up toward Beery Hosmer’s face. The side street was gloomy, deserted except for Beery Hosmer and the man with the uncanny hand. The hand stood out in the Merck almost as if it were a thing of white paper with a light inside.

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Live Classes for April through June 2017

Here’s the latest roster of live classes for the Rambo Academy of Wayward Writers, with links to descriptions. Info that you may want to know: Logistics: Classes are taught online. You need internet connectivity and a microphone at a minimum; … Continue reading

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Documents of Tabat: An Auction Handbill

A flyer, kept carefully folded, in the top drawer of Bella Kanto’s dresser. Dated some twenty-five years earlier, the paper crumbling and worn, and never looked at since being placed there. VALUABLE GROUP OF ASSORTED BEASTS AND ANIMALS Trained by … Continue reading

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