Tag Archives: Sarah Pinsker

A Song For A New Day

I’ve been writing very slowly lately. 

The excuse for my sluggardly pace? I’m trying to get better at it, rather than just churning out substandard prose that will make me cringe later. 

One of the ways I’m working on improving is by reading more. I’ve read a few enjoyable novels lately—I’m finally reading some Cherie Priest, which I’ve been meaning to get around to for ages. I’ll never actually get around to everything I want to read, but I’m working on it.

Cover image from Penguin Random House website

One novel I’m excited to recommend is A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinsker. Maybe this isn’t a book for everyone, but I’m not the only one who thinks it’s terrific. A bit of praise:

A back cover blurb by Charlie Jane Anders reads, “You’d better keep a copy with you at all times, because this book will help you survive the future.”

The starred Kirkus review calls it: “a gorgeous novel that celebrates what can happen when one person raises her voice.”

For my part, I love the plausible, unsettling near-future feel of the world Sarah Pinsker has created. It feels like it could happen about ten years in the future, or maybe even sooner. I love how the novel eventually feels upbeat. I love its implied call to action.

But will you like this book? You might if:

  • You love music, especially live music
  • You enjoyed her 2016 Nebula Award winning novelette, “Our Lady of the Open Road”
  • You want to know even a few of the 173 ways to wreck a hotel room
  • You like thinking up terrible names for bands
  • You feel hopeless
  • You feel hopeful
  • You crave a feeling of connection
  • You want to change the world

Nebula Awards 2015

Nebula Award, sitting on our table!

I have never been to an Oscar ceremony. I can’t even foresee the time stream in which that might happen.

I might have said the same about the Nebula Awards, except for two things:

  1. You don’t have to be a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to attend. Anyone with $60 to spare can do it. (Though if you want to attend the banquet and have actual Nebula Nominees sitting at your table with you, that’ll run you an extra $80.)
  2. The 2015 Awards (honoring fiction published in 2014) were held in Chicago this year.

I’ve always wanted to go. Cookie, being the excellent sport that she is, came along to provide moral support. We actually went for the whole weekend (a bargain at $90—not including hotel and meals), from Thursday through Sunday, though Cookie didn’t hang around for all the panels. She had things to do, places to go, and people to see. She went to a few, though, and we went to the banquet together.

Cookie with banquet/awards program;
Nick Offerman (toastmaster) in the background

We weren’t nominated for any awards, but we got to sit with people who were.

Nebula-nominees at our table!
  • Carmen Maria Machado  for her novelette “The Husband Stitch”
  • Usman T. Malik  for his short story, “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family”
  • Sam J. Miller  for his novelette “We Are the Cloud”
  • Sarah Pinsker  for her short story “A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide”

They were all wonderful people, so I’m sorry to report that none of them carried Nebula awards home. Please support them! Buy their fiction! If/when you join SFWA, vote for their stories!

Which brings me to another point.


You can have people who really know their stuff pouring their heart into a piece, and they can totally nail it. They then end up nominated for a major award like a Nebula. But out of a field of, say six or seven nominees, only one is going to take the Nebula home. You might think the rest of them would sit around and mope. That is not what I saw. I saw a community of friends cheering for each other. My favorite memory of the evening came after the actual awards ceremony. Many of the nominees who hadn’t won gathered in a vestibule to deliver their Alternate Universe speeches. In each Alternate Universe, the speechifying nominee had won the Nebula. These speeches ranged from humorous to extremely affecting, and each was greeted with sincere appreciation by the other nominees. I came away delighted by this community I’d stumbled into.

The Nebulas return to Chicago in 2016, for one more year. I can’t wait.

For a list of the full 2014 slate, click  here.

To see who won in 2014, click  here.