Issue 79 – April 2013


Editor's Desk: How Did This Happen?

As last month came to a close, the World Science Fiction Association announced the nominees for the 2013 Hugo Awards. If you’ve missed the news, you can find the complete list of nominees at, but I’d like to take a moment to spotlight the Clarkesworld nominees:

  • Best Novelette: “Fade to White” by Catherynne M. Valente
  • Best Short Story: “Immersion” by Aliette de Bodard
  • Best Short Story: “Mantis Wives” by Kij Johnson
  • Best Editor (Short Form): Neil Clarke
  • Best Semiprozine: Clarkesworld Magazine – Edited by Neil Clarke, Sean Wallace, Jason Heller, Podcast directed by Kate Baker

A special congratulations goes out to four-time Clarkesworld cover artist, Julie Dillon, for her nomination in the Best Professional Artist category.

Thank you for your vote of confidence—and, as always, we're extremely grateful for your support. In light of the challenges I've faced in the last year, this news is particularly heart-warming.

If you’ve ever wondered what it is like behind the curtain, the Hugo Administrators contact you in advance of the public announcement to confirm your eligiblity and willingness to be a nominee. This year, that was about a week before the official announcement and during that time you are expected to keep everything confidential. It’s brutal.

I have to admit that I didn’t completely contain myself. I told my parents. Apparently, my announcement got my father thinking. “So how did you end up doing this?” he asked. “Probably all those episodes of Lost in Space you watched as a kid, right?”

The question surprised me, but he was right to ask. I graduated with a computer science degree. I never worked for a school newspaper, journal, or publication. I’ve spent the last twenty-plus years working in educational technology. This was never a course that I expected my life to take.

Lost in Space had its influence. What young boy wouldn’t want to have Will Robinson’s adventures, complete with a faithful Robot and the antics of Dr. Smith? As I grew up, that sense of wonder stayed with me. When I could, I bought the show on DVD and I’ve since rewatched it straight through with my own children. Seeing that wonder through their eyes has added more fond memories to the pile.

But there is more. Lost in Space may have played a role, but it was ultimately my family that set me on this course. My father likes to tell the tale of how he held toddler-me up to the TV so I could see Armstrong walk on the Moon. They read to me—The Lorax comes to mind—and encouraged me to read on my own. I never had to worry about the availability of books. They were always there.

In my tween years, my cousin introduced me to the works of Heinlein and Clarke and gave me a copy of the classic anthology Adventures in Space and Time. Well-read copies of these books still sit on my shelf. I remember our family outing to see Star Wars shortly after its release and looking to the stars as we walked back to our car that night. They set the stage.

As I made my way through college, I met people who shared the same interests. They introduced me to science fiction conventions, but I didn’t feel comfortable with most of them until I was introduced to Readercon by a friend. Ironically enough, the very same place where Clarkesworld Magazine was born and the site of my heart attack years later.

So, Dad, this is how I came to be where I am today. Thanks for making me think about it and thanks for everything you’ve done to get me here. Now, following your lead, off I go to nudge my own children. Can’t wait to see where they go.

Author profile

Neil Clarke is the editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, and several anthologies, including the Best Science Fiction of the Year series. He is a ten-time finalist and current winner of the Hugo Award for Best Editor (Short Form), has won the Chesley Award for Best Art Director three times, and received the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award from SFWA in 2019. His latest anthology, New Voices in Chinese Science Fiction (co-edited with Xia Jia and Regina Kanyu Wang), is now available from Clarkesworld Books. He currently lives in NJ with his wife and two sons.

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