Editor's Desk: Taking Back July 12th
You never know what life is going to throw in your way. This time last year, I was looking forward to a mid-month trip to Readercon. Little did I know that a few hours after arriving, I would be loaded into an ambulance and told I was having a heart attack. Those of you who have been following my story know that I was very lucky to survive. It’s a fact that isn’t lost on me. It’s with me every day.
Events like this change you.
Professionally, I’ve taken it as an inspiration to pursue my dream of earning a living from editing. In the last year, I’ve put a lot of effort into improving Clarkesworld and expanding our subscriber base, a necessity to take us to the next level. The support I’ve received from my family, team, authors and readers has been nothing short of awesome. I still have a long road ahead of me, but it reassuring to know that I don’t have to take it alone.
After my defibrillator surgery back in January, I took a long and hard look at my options. Encouraged by my friends, I spent a few months working out a plan to launch my first non-Clarkesworld related anthology. Having just become part machine, it seemed timely and cosmically appropriate to launch a cyborg-themed project edited by one.
With promises of stories from Elizabeth Bear, Ken Liu, E. Lily Yu, Genevieve Valentine,Yoon Ha Lee and more, I launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the anthology. UPGRADED will include twenty-four original stories and be graced with cover art from Clarkesworld regular and 2013 Hugo nominee, Julie Dillon. The campaign is fatefully scheduled to end on July 12th, the first anniversary of my heart attack. Hey Universe! I’ll take that day back, thank you.
At this moment, I’ve raised 93% of the funds necessary to make UPGRADED a reality. Kickstarter campaigns typically have stretch goals, just in case you raise more than the minimum amount of money you need. In this case, the stretch goals include adding more stories, paying our authors more and an audio edition narrated by Kate Baker. I don’t know about you, but I’m really pulling for that last one.
You can find the campaign at: tinyurl.com/cyborg-neil and should you decide to back the project there are all sorts of nifty rewards like ebooks, story narrations, having your name in a story and various Clarkesworld anthologies.
As the campaign comes to a close, I’ll be completing the circle by returning to Readercon, the scene of the crime. Most of the time, you'll be able to find me at my table in the dealer’s room selling issues of Clarkesworld, old bookstore inventory and launching the latest Clarkesworld anthology. Clarkesworld: Year Four is dedicated to all the doctors and staff at Lahey Clinic that worked so hard to keep me alive last year. I think I’ll drop off a copy while I’m in the neighborhood.
I honestly feel like this has been a great year. I’m so glad I didn’t miss it. I particularly appreciate all the support or authors and staff have received in the form of award nominations.
Just before this issue went out, I was informed that Aliette de Bodard had won the Locus Award for Best Short Story for “Immersion.” I’m so glad to see that people are enjoying the work we’ve done here. This year, I was particularly blown away by the strong showing we had in the Hugo Awards:
- 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
I hope we can continue to enjoy the fruits of our labor with such amazing recognition from both fans and peers within the community.
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.