Romantic Times In Los Angeles

Kage Baker won several awards the year she died. Some of them were undoubtedly subtly influenced by the fact that she was dead – as an historian and an artist, Kage was quite aware that dying always boosts an artist’s sales. It’s a cliche.

Of course, it’s often valid, as well; someone dies unexpectedly and their peers look around and say: Whoops. They’re gone. You mean (fill in the blank) is the last thing we’re going to get from them? Jeez, maybe it’s time they got an award? And Heath Ledger wins the Oscar, which he most certainly deserved but would not ordinarily have been awarded so early in his career. The Academy likes to wait sometimes, as if somehow someone remarkable is going to turn in a performance that invalidates whatever brilliance they have already exhibited …

Kage, luckily, found out about most of her nominations before she died. It made her very happy, too. They were not the only ones she’d gotten over her career, of course; and they all made her exult. Nothing made her dance around the living room like getting a nomination. Yes, it’s cool to win, but it’s also true that even getting nominated is a thrill: and Kage saw no reason not to enjoy that. She cherished every Hugo rocket ship she got just for being nominated.

Mind you, the ones she won were pretty nifty, too. Her Ted Sturgeon Award is faceted lucite. It stood right in front of a west-facing window by her desk; every afternoon it refracted rainbows all over the living room and kitchen, right up to the feet of her Emperor Norton Award (given out for “extraordinary invention and creativity unhindered by the constraints of paltry reason”). The Emperor Norton award is a distinguished bronzoid gentleman with a huge feather cockade (which falls off at intervals), inexplicably as armless as Rodin’s Balzac. Kage loved that one …

Kage’s Locus Award sits beside the computer on my desk. Her Nebula reigns in glorious splendour on the top of the desk, surrounded by candles and lava lamps. And behind me is the Romantic Times Award she won last year for Best Science Fiction Novel, for Empress of Mars. All these were in 2010, when I journeyed from convention to convention to accept her posthumous honors …

Now I’ve just been informed that Kage is nominated once again by Romantic Times, for Best Fantasy Novel. This  time it’s for The Bird of the River, which came out from Tor Publishing last year shortly after Kage died. I intend to go, of course, just in case – especially as the RT Convention this year is being held right here in Los Angeles (check it out here: I can drive there and still sleep in my own bed! And the RT folks are grand people, and the convention will be fun.

It will save me a plane trip, too. The Award I carried home from the 2010 Convention is a gorgeous crystalline trophy shaped like a writhing flame on a base … or like a very large spear head. I guess it depends on what your expectations are. Last year, the TSA’s expectations were that I was carrying a weapon-shaped thingie … although, once they saw it and read it, they were cool about it. Still, if Kage wins again, I’ll be ever so happy to bring her booty home in my PT Cruiser … which, even decorated with chrome and pirate regalia as it is, has never attracted the attention of the TSA.

In the meantime, though, I must go write. Between the good news, the housepets, burning my toast, spilling my coffee and taking the nephew to school, I have yet to write a word today on Who We Did etc. And I need to. Lady Beatrice is being borne in a dark carriage toward a rendezvous with a mad submariner, the other Ladies are converging on Torquay beach in their underwear, and the fate of a French hermaphrodite brig hangs on a folk song …

And the whole thing has to be done by Monday next.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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5 Responses to Romantic Times In Los Angeles

  1. Kathy says:

    I didn’t know brigs had gender. Was I absent the day we covered that in high school? I thought brigs were either ships with 2 masts and a funny gaff rigging, or else the ship’s jail.


  2. Kate says:

    An hermaphrodite brig is another name for the brigantine – a two-masted vessel square rigged on the front mast and fore and aft on the back. I thought the name was much funnier than “brigantine”, all other things being considered. Also, the name has largely fallen out of useage but was in use in the 1840’s. So I guess most brigs don’t have gender, but this one has both!


  3. Luisa Puig Duchaineau says:

    Congratulations on the RT award nomination. I can feel Kage dancing for joy around the stars on this news. Glad, too, that the convention will be in L.A. It’s *always* nice to be able to sleep in one’s own bed (and perhaps also to sleep in without having to deal with packing, check-out, and travel challenges).


  4. Margaret says:

    How fine the reasoning for the Emperor Norton Award. I remember his story from when I lived in San Francisco, but didn’t realize there was an award in his name. What did Kage win it for?
    Very pleasing to hear about the RT award and that you won’t have to travel to collect it.


  5. Kate says:

    Margaret – the Emperor Norton award is given out by Borderlands Bookstore, which is a glorious indie bookstore in San Francisco. They were good, close-friend-supporters of Kage’s. I think she got it for “A Night On The Barbary Coast”, which is one of her Company short stories and is set in San Francisco.


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