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I am pleased and amazed to report that Arabella of Mars, my first novel, has won the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, presented by SFWA as part of the annual Nebula Awards. (Complete list of Nebula winners and nominees.) Previous winners of this award include J. K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Cat Valente, and Nalo Hopkinson. The award was presented by last year's winner Fran Wilde. 

To say that I'm overwhelmed would be an understatement. I barely emerged from my room yesterday and I'm still stunned. Congratulations have been pouring in via every available channel; I have not been able to reply to most of them but please know that I am very appreciative. 

Here's the text of my acceptance speech:
I’d like to thank everyone who read, nominated, and voted for Arabella for this award, whose name honors one of our finest writers, and acknowledge all the other, very worthy, nominees. Special thanks to Moshe Feder, who acquired it; Christopher Morgan, who edited it; Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who provided invaluable support; Paul Lucas, my agent; copyeditor extraordinaire Deanna Hoak; Mary Robinette Kowal, my invaluable guide to all things Regency and navigating the dangerous shoals of publication; Janna Silverstein, my greatest adviser and cheerleader, and most of all my late wife Kate Yule, who never stopped believing in me. Pittsburgh was her home town and she would have been so proud and happy to share this moment. I wish she could be here. I still love you, snookie.

After I sat down Seanan McGuire let me cry on her shoulder for about five minutes. 

Arabella of Mars is currently available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook; the mass market paperback will be released on May 30. Sequel Arabella and the Battle of Venus will be released on July 18. 

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Seriously, think about it. How tall is a horse? The answer -- specifically, the units of measure you use -- says a lot about you, and about your culture, and my goal here today is to get you thinking about how units of measure can be used as a tool for worldbuilding and character development in fiction.

I bet a lot of you would state your answer in terms of feet and inches. Just from knowing that about you, I can tell that you're either a present-day American, or a member of certain European and European-derived cultures from the middle ages to the local introduction of the metric system. But during the earlier part of that period you might have thought in feet and barleycorns rather than inches, or in fractional feet -- five and a half feet rather than five-foot-six. At other times and places the larger unit would be the yard rather than the foot.

Also, you might have to specify whose feet and inches you are using, as they varied from city to city or which monarch you followed. Napoleon's height, for example, was five-foot-two in French feet and inches, which is part of the reason the English thought he was short. But that was actually five-foot-seven in English units... taller than the average Frenchman of the time. Whether in dialog or in a character's internal voice, a character's consideration and specification of exactly which units to use can do a lot to define a character's background and priorities as well as the time and place.

If you state your answer in meters and centimeters, I can tell that you're either a member of certain cultures following the French Revolution, or an American to whom precision and international standards matter more than following the crowd. This offers a clue to your personality, profession, and priorities as well as the time and place in which you exist -- it's a character as well as a worldbuilding item. To completely understand what this choice means you'll need more contextual information, but even knowing that the choice has been made gives the reader important hints about the character.

Many people will state their answer in hands, or hands and inches, and know that it is measured to the withers, or top of the shoulders. This tells me that you are either an equestrian in a modern English-speaking country, or perhaps a resident of the middle ages or ancient Egypt. Again, knowing the context is necessary to understand exactly what this choice says about you. If your answer is "hands or inches, depending on whether it is a full-sized horse or a pony" that tells me still more about you.

Many other units of measure have been used at different times and places, or may be used in future or fictional cultures. An answer stated in cubits, spans, paces, or fathoms suggests that you are a member of certain earlier human cultures. Answers in dhanu, chi, or cabda specify India, China, and the Arabic world. However, if you use units unfamiliar to the reader, you may have to include other clues; if the character thinks of a person as being six chi tall, the reader will not immediately know whether that's particularly tall, particularly short, or of average size (and, furthermore, average human height changes over the course of history).

Getting even further afield, answers stated in simile or metaphor tell us still more about the character and their culture. "Tall as a church-steeple" or "thin as a credit card" or "wide as the Grand Canal of Mars" provide immediate insight into who the character is, what's important to them, and what their economic status is as well as where and when the story takes place.

Entirely made-up units can also be used, and these can tell us even more. "Imperial thornogs" implies an empire, and furthermore an empire in which an earlier, non-Imperial thornog existed. If the thornog is divided into ten squant, that suggests a decimal and hence more scientific culture, but if it's divided into six or twelve squant that suggests a more agrarian one. If it's divided into seven or eleven squant, that implies a non-human, or at least decidedly non-Western, culture. But, again, you'll have to provide additional information to let the reader know whether a horse that's five thornog and two squant high, measured at the antennae, is a particularly fine specimen or a runt. When carefully handled, describing an object in fictional units can inform the reader about the object, the observer, and the setting in just a few words.

Every time a character sees anything, they will seek to comprehend it in terms that make sense to them. Conveying those terms to the reader helps the reader understand the character and their culture, and can be an important tool for both worldbuilding and character... and even plot. Football, after all, is a game of inches.
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 SF in SF PRESENTS
Sunday, May 7, 2017
American Bookbinders Museum
San Francisco, California



ELLEN KLAGES / DAVID D. LEVINE / ROBYN BENNIS
moderated by Terry Bisson



    

Doors and bar open at 5:30PM
** It's Debut Novel Drink Night!**
Help us raise funds for the American Bookbinders Museum by sampling a cocktail concocted just for this event!

Event begins at 6:30PM
$10 at the door benefits the American Bookbinders Museum
no one turned away for lack of funds / cash or Square

All proceeds benefit the American Bookbinders Museum

Each author will read a selection of their work, followed by Q&A with the audience moderated by author Terry Bisson.  Books for sale courtesy of Borderlands Books - please feel free to bring your own books from home.











The American Bookbinders Museum's entrance is located at 366 Clementina Alley, off 5th Street, between Howard and Folsom. Street parking is free; garages are located at 5th & Mission, and 3rd & Folsom. The closest BART station is Powell Street - just turn down 5th Street, cross Mission and Howard, and turn left onto Clementina. NOTE: there is NO access to Clementina from 4th Street due to construction.

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Norwescon 40 is next weekend, April 13-16, and I will be there! Here's where you can find me:

Friday:

10:30-11:00am in Cascade 2: Reading: David D. Levine

2:00-3:00pm in Cascade 11: Raising the Stakes with Mark Teppo (M), PJ Manney, Kat Richardson, and David D. Levine

Saturday:

12:00-1:00pm in Cascade 10: Hand me the Superwrench ConnectorThingy with Spencer Ellsworth (M), Raven Oak, David D. Levine, and Elliott Kay

2:00-3:00pm in Grand 2: Autograph Session 1 with
Ethan Siegel, Ian McDonald, Catska Ench, Cory Ench, Nancy Kress, Marc Gascoigne, Mike Underwood, Carol Berg, Alex Irvine, Annie Bellet, Caroline M. Yoachim, Curtis C. Chen, Dean Wells, Greg Bear, Jack Skillingstead, James C. Glass, Jeff Sturgeon, John Cramer, Kat Richardson, Lee Moyer, Nathan Crowder, Nisi Shawl, Peter Orullian, Randy Henderson, Rhiannon Held, Scott James Magner, Sonia Orin Lyris, Todd Lockwood, Tori Centanni, Wendy N. Wagner, PJ Manney, Julie McGalliard, Crystal Connor, David D. Levine, and Hayley Stone

4:00-6:00pm: Writers' Workshop (closed session)
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I am sorry to say that I will no longer be updating my LiveJournal. You can find me at daviddlevine.com or at davidlevine.dreamwidth.org.
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Klages PassingStrange 2Ellen Klages and I will discuss her new book Passing Strange at Powell s Cedar Hills in Beaverton, Oregon tonight (Monday 2/27) at 7pm!

Also, at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle this weekend, I will be appearing on panel "Kicking Ass in a Corset: An Homage to Fearless Ladies in Fantasy!" with Kristen Britain, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Marie Brennan! Friday 3/3 at 5:15pm in WSCC 603 with autographing to follow.

Hope to see you there!
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IMG 6217Today is my fifty-sixth birthday.

As most of you know, I had a really sucky 2016. In addition to the problems all of us had with that hell-hole of a year, I had my beloved wife Kate's illness and death and some other (not unrelated) personal crises that made me very glad to see it go. So at the beginning of this year I decided that 2017 would be my "Year of Yes."

Yes to fun and excitement. Yes to opportunity and adventure. Yes to new experiences. Yes to love and sex.

It's going well so far. Here's an example: a Facebook post about where to find a new belt led in remarkably short order to a decision to visit Siena, Italy after the Worldcon for the Palio di Siena. I've been doing a lot of other travel on a rather spur-of-the-moment basis, and, closer to home, spending time with friends old and new and seeing a lot of theatre.

Now, I'm not going all Jim Carrey here. I'm still exercising judgement, and I'm still saying "no" some things, including avocados, olives, and cilantro (sorry, avocado fans). But before I say "no," I do try to take a moment to consider whether this is still something I don't want to do. Sometimes I do change my mind -- for example, I had guacamole on my arepas the other day, and they were delicious. (Still hate raw avocado, though.)

"Yes" is not without its costs. For one thing, saying "yes" to some things inevitably means "no" to others. My trip to Siena means that I will be on the other side of the world for the August 21 solar eclipse -- which will likely be the only solar eclipse within driving distance of my home in my lifetime. "Yes" has also put me in situations that push my boundaries, and in some cases have really frightened me. But all human activities have risks, and I'm determined to face them with mindfulness and learn from the experience.

I hope that you will join me in my Year of Yes. Let's not let the bastards wear us down.

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Very, very pleased to report that Arabella of Mars, my first novel, has received the following substantial honors:

Thank you very much to everyone who nominated, recommended, or talked up my book, and please do vote for it if you can!

Arabella cover
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Thank you to everyone who came out for Kate's memorial gathering last weekend! And special thanks to Mark Niemann-Ross, who made all the arrangements, and to everyone who pitched in and set up the tables and chairs when we were let into the building after the event was supposed to start. I'm sorry that I didn't get to spend very much time talking with any one person, but there were lots of good reminiscences and conversation and some people hung around for visits and meals in the following days.

Here are some photos from the event. All are by Alex Wright, except for the last one which is by Karen Schaffer.

Read more... )
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So here it is awards season, and I suppose I ought to summarize what I published in 2016. By comparison with previous years it is a very short list, only two items, but I'm exceptionally proud of both of them.

DDLevine Arabella Cover MedMy first novel, Arabella of Mars, was published in 2016 to considerable acclaim:
  • "Embedded in the chaos of clockwork and space adventure, Arabella is a delightful heroine with more than enough fortitude to traverse the solar system. A fanciful romp through a cosmic 1812, Hugo Award-winning Levine's first novel is a treat for steampunk fantasy fans. Debut of the Month." -- Library Journal, starred review
  • "Arabella is a fully realized character, daring and willing to risk everything to protect the brother she loves and the legacy that her father has left them. Her wits and cleverness save the ship and crew more than once in this rousing swashbuckler." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • "Excellent, entertaining, humorous scenarios make up Levine's latest. His storytelling will keep readers turning the pages with its slight edginess, light-hearted tone and clear, crisp dialogue. Arabella is strong, sassy and clever, and her journey, as she makes her way back to Mars on an airship, makes this story an engaging read." -- RT Book Reviews, four-star review
Arabella of Mars is available in hardcover, ebook, and audio formats at Amazon, Powell's, and everywhere else books are sold.

My only other publication in 2016 was novelette "Discards" at tor.com, a standalone story in George R. R. Martin's Wild Cards universe. You can read the whole thing for free at tor.com.

If you are a SFWA member and believe these works are award-worthy, you can recommend Arabella for the Nebula or Norton Award or "Discards" for the Nebula Award (login required).

Thank you for your consideration.
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An informal memorial gathering to remember and celebrate the life of Kate Yule will be held on January 28, 2017, from 2pm to 5pm, at the Fulton Park Community Center in Portland, Oregon. Bring your memories, photographs, knitted objects, and stories of Kate.

We will be providing hors d'oeuvres from Chef Naoko. It's really important that you RSVP, and do so as soon as possible -- January 22 at the latest -- so we know how much food to order. Please RSVP here: http://evite.me/CvqND1nn1M

If you are coming in from out of town, we've set up a 15% discount at the Embassy Suites Portland Downtown (the BentoCon hotel). Use the hotel website, or call 800-643-7892, and use group code "DLM" and reserve before January 21 to get the discounted rate.

Anyone who knew and loved Kate is welcome to attend; please feel free to forward this invitation to anyone we might have missed.
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Novel words written: 73,735
Short fiction words written: 8,335
Notes, outline, and synopsis words written: 50,057
Blog words written: 13,501 Total words written: 145,628
Novel words edited out: 8,049
Net words written: 137,579

New stories written: 1

Short fiction submissions sent: 1
Responses received: 1
Rejections: 0
Acceptances: 1 (pro)
Other sales: 6 (3 reprint, 3 translation)

Short stories published: 6 (1 pro, 2 reprint, 2 translation, 1 audio)

Nebula nominations: 1
Other award nominations: 1
Awards won: 0

Novels completed: 1
Novel submissions: 1
Rejections: 0
Acceptances: 1
Novels published: 1

Happy new year!
















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There will be an informal memorial gathering to remember and celebrate the life of Kate Yule on January 28, 2017, from 2pm to 5pm, at the Fulton Park Community Center, 68 SW Miles St., Portland, OR 97219 (http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/64917). We will be providing more details and requesting RSVPs soon, but I wanted to let you know as soon as the date was nailed down. Anyone who knew and loved Kate is welcome to attend.

I'm doing okay, mostly. I'm still dealing with grief but I no longer feel like I'm carrying the shattered pieces of myself around in my hands. I'm keeping busy, spending time with friends, traveling (at the moment I'm at the airport, heading for a few days in San Diego with friends who have a condo there, and I also have travel plans for Christmas and New Year's), and seeing a counselor. I am lonely but not alone. Thank you all for your help and support over the last two very difficult years.

OryCon!

Nov. 16th, 2016 10:35 am
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OryCon starts Friday, and I'll be there! Here's where you can find me. I'm also doing NaNoWriMo this year and would be interested in meeting people for writing dates during the convention.

NOVEMBER 18 • FRIDAY

3:00-4:00pm: Steampunk! Explain It! Salon C (LL1)
Stephen Couchman (m), Ann Gimpel, David Levine, Rhiannon Louve
How much Steam is required in Steampunk? Is alternative history a must? Is it fantasy, or SF, and/or a lifestyle?

NOVEMBER 19 • SATURDAY

10:00-10:30am: David Levine Reading Hawthorne (2)
David Levine
I will be reading from Arabella and the Battle of Venus!

11:00am-12:00pm: First Page Idol Douglas Fir (3)
Curtis Chen (m), Annie Bellet, David Levine, Doug Odell
Submit the first page of your novel to our talented author panelists, and listen to them read aloud that first page (keeping the writer's identity anonymous) and give thoughtful reactions. E-mail your first page submission (please omit the author name) to: ww@orycon.org.

2:00-3:00pm Finding Diverse Voices & Characters in SF/F Salon C (LL1)
Jeffrey Cook, David Levine, Deborah Ross, Caroline M. Yoachim
Diversity in the physical, ethnic, cultural, sexual identity, and socioeconomic backgrounds of characters and writers of speculative fiction has become more important to readers and writers in recent years. Where do we go to find these characters and authors? Who are the writers (no matter their background) who are penning accurate and authentic experience? Do we find these books in the SF/F sections or do we need to look to other areas of the bookstore or library?

4:00-5:00pm The Davids discuss how to research alternate history: Mining real history for good fiction Douglas Fir (3)
David Levine (m), David Boop, David Dvorkin, David Weber
What are the methods and sources for researching an alternate history story? Where do you find the information you need to sell your twisting of history to readers?

NOVEMBER 20 • SUNDAY

11:00am-12:00pm Feedback Workshop Douglas Fir (3)
David Levine (m), Curtis Chen, Richard A. Lovett, Susan Matthews, David Weber
A hands-on workshop on how to apply the feedback you get from readers, editors, writer's workshops, critique groups, etc. Bring your questions, manuscripts, critiques, etc.
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At the moment I am at the airport, heading to beautiful Columbus, Ohio for the World Fantasy Convention. I had been waffling about attending, due to some issues with the program and communication by the committee, but I really need to be with my people right now.

At the con I will be appearing on panel "Costume Makes the Character" on Thursday at 5pm in Delware CD (along with Delia Sherman, Madeleine Robins, Cinda Williams Chima, and Mercedes Lackey) and I have a reading on Friday at 1:30pm in Union D. Apart from that I will mostly be in the bar and otherwise hanging out. Kate was always the one who set up dinner dates for us, so please don't be shy about asking me along if you need a lunch or dinner companion.

I've been keeping myself busy, being social and spontaneous. I haven't been alone very much, which is a good thing. Most of the time I am okay, though I get walloped by grief as much as a couple of times a day. Being suddenly without obligations, after nearly two years of increasingly burdensome responsibility, feels like my mainspring has snapped. I have also been making plans for the future: Wordstock, OryCon, and Thanksgving with Kate's folks are coming up soon, and I'm already thinking about next year's travel.

Kate's funeral last weekend was lovely. We had 120 people, who fit comfortably into a chapel with a nominal capacity of 100. Ellen Klages did a fabulous job as officiant, and the funeral director said she had rarely heard so many heartfelt, articulate tributes. I learned a few things too -- many people described Kate as "adventurous," which is not a word I would have used but, upon reflection, she really was.

The eulogy I delivered and a photo of Kate's urn in its mausoleum niche are behind the cut.

Read more... )

Thank you very much for all the support you have offered. It is greatly appreciated and will continue to be needed.
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Just a reminder that Kate's funeral is tomorrow, Sunday 10/16, at 1pm at Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial Funeral & Cremation. All who loved Kate are welcome. There will also be a less formal memorial gathering in January or so, details TBD.

My plan for today is to stay at home and receive visitors. Please txt me at 503-806-7562 before coming over, in case we are out at lunch or some such.

Thank you all so much for your love and support. It is greatly appreciated.
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Kathryn Lynn Yule (nee Barbara) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to William and Marilynn Yule and died of brain cancer at her home in Portland, Oregon at the age of 55. She attended Kennewick High School and Lewis and Clark College, where she majored in foreign languages and spent a year abroad in Munich. After working for the Red Cross as an administrative assistant and then for some years as a clerical temp, she retired early and spent her time knitting, traveling, square dancing, and attending science fiction conventions with her husband, science fiction writer David D. Levine. They were together for thirty-two years and married for twenty-five.

Kate was passionate about travel, languages, and reading. An accomplished speaker of German, French, and Spanish, she also studied Japanese, Italian, Dutch, Czech, Gaelic, Catalan, and American Sign Language. Countries visited included England, Scotland, Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Thailand, Australia, and Singapore. She wrote and edited the science fiction fan magazine Bento with her husband, and several square dance publications with her friend Allan Hurst. Although glioblastoma cruelly stole her ability to speak and write, she kept reading in multiple languages to the end.

Kate was also active in the knitting, gay square dance, and science fiction communities. She founded a neighborhood science fiction book group and the weekly stitch-and-bitch at Happy Knits, and served in various capacities in the Portland Science Fiction Society and Rosetown Ramblers square dance club.

Kate is survived by her husband David D. Levine, sister Susan Yule, nieces Isobel and Alexandra Wright, brother William A. Yule, and parents William D. and Marilynn Yule. Funeral services will be held on Sunday October 16 at 1:00 pm at Wilhelm's Portland Memorial Chapel in Portland, Oregon (wilhelmportlandmemorial.com). Contributions in her name may be sent to the Multnomah County Library Foundation (libraryfoundation.org). She will be greatly missed.

Kate with Wombat
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Kate Yule's funeral will be held on Sunday October 16 at 1:00 pm at Wilhelm's Portland Memorial Funeral & Cremation in Portland, Oregon. Anyone who loved Kate is welcome to attend. The ceremony will be officiated by Ellen Klages, and there will be an opportunity to share your memories of Kate if you wish.

We also plan a memorial gathering in a few months, most likely in January, so if you can't attend the funeral there will be another opportunity to celebrate Kate's memory.

If you would like to make a charitable donation in Kate's honor, please give to the Multnomah County Library Foundation to support the library's literacy programs. Kate volunteered for years with SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) and was always passionate about books and reading. Please mark the gift in memory of Kate Yule and indicate that the acknowledgement should be sent to my address (email me if you don't have it). Your donations are tax-deductible.

I have found myself at the epicenter of an enormous outpouring of condolences and love since Kate's passing. I am just overwhelmed with gratitude and wish I could respond in kind to everyone who has reached out to me and Sue in this very difficult time. Your support is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

DSC 1411
Photo by Janna Silverstein
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Kate passed away at 3:30 this afternoon. I was holding her hand, Sue was on the other side, and my father was with us as well as our friend Teresa E. Her passing was as peaceful as it could be. Thank you all for your thoughts and kind words.
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Kate has basically been asleep for the last couple of days straight. She hasn't been able to eat or drink anything, and can no longer swallow pills. We are now giving her only the most critical medicines, in forms that can be absorbed through the tissues of the mouth. She is resting peacefully and we are adjusting her drugs as appropriate to keep her comfortable.

Visitors are welcome; please txt me before coming over. Kate's parents have gone home, but Sue is still here and my father is with us for a few days. The house can be quite crowded at times (at one point this morning we had ten people, including two friends, a caregiver, a nurse, a home health aide, and a notary). If you do visit, you should not expect Kate to respond to your presence, although she may open her eyes and look at you. She is not quite conscious, but not exactly unconscious either. We think it is soothing to her to have calm voices nearby.

Thanks for your help and support.