The good folks at WOTF have OK’d me to produce an ebook version of my winning story.
Here is the first scene:
“Ash,” Brother Copernicus says.
I rub the substance between the thumb and fingers of my gloves. It’s fine and powdery, and white, unbelievably white.
A thick layer of it covers the field of tree stumps and broken branches, all the way to the wall of rain forest in the distance. Heat shimmers above the brilliant surface.
Yesterday, when arriving from Solaris Station, I saw these tracks from space. They looked like scars, as if a deranged soul has taken a knife to the planet, cutting scores in the cover of forest.
“The Hern burnt these tracks wherever they destroyed the Pari villages.” There is raw hatred in Brother Copernicus’ voice, even when filtered through his rebreather mask. “They stacked up the debris from the houses and the bodies and burnt the lot. Always at night, so we wouldn’t notice.”
I let the powder trickle from my glove, fighting the impulse to rub my hand on my protective robe. I can’t. The action of rubbing might trigger a spark that will lead to all sorts of trouble in this high-oxygen atmosphere. Those warnings played in the cabin of the landing craft have etched themselves in my mind.
“Why is it so white? Has anyone analyzed this?” The color intrigues me, and I wonder why the ground underneath the patch where I’ve picked up the powder is moist and cool.
“I’m sure someone has. Is that important? It’s ash, Envoy, human ash.” Brother Copernicus brandishes the word human like a sword, challenging anyone who dares to disagree. “You’re standing on the biggest murder site in all of humanity.”
Here are some pictures of the big night:
All winners and judges on the stage:
Overview of the hall with the stage:
The moment everyone was nervous for: you have to give a speech in front of all these people and a couple of cameras:
At the book signing afterwards, with Stelios Touchtidis (photo by Marlene Dotterer):
With Greg Benford!
Here are some more photos of things we did during the workshop. I’ve tried to stick to photos that aren’t already on the WOTF blog.
On the Friday morning, we were officially introduced to our illustrators. Scott Hargrave does a lot of work in ink on paper. Strangely enough, I also like doing illustrations in this style, so I thought it was a good fit.
The official blog shows me talking to a young woman, well… that was not the one who ended up being used in my 24-hour story. THESE were the people that were the inspiration for Mauro and Gabriela in my story (they were on honeymoon, from Brazil). Unfortunately, I managed to lose the photographer somewhere on Hollywood Boulevard (not all that hard to do, really) and this is the only photo she got. Darth Vader is an added bonus.
After that, and after having gotten material from the library (photos on WOTF blog), we had 24 hours to write a story, which most of us did in the historic lobby of the hotel (whilst swapping tweets about snow having fallen in Australia, and with people in NZ about names for monsters–are you reading this, @fangbooks?)
And this is us, with Galaxy Press director John Goodwin, being interviewed on Starship Sofa (link to interview).
Some more photos taken during the workshop, because I just can’t get enough of the gorgeous office of Author Services.
The library, which contains books by all past winners as well as judges:
The reception area:
Me in the office:
With fellow OWW-er Marlene Dotterer at breakfast in the hotel, the night after the ceremony. Marlene and her husband came all the way from San Francisco to attend the night. I’m lucky to have friends like this.
Well, you stay at the Roosevelt Hotel:
You have breakfast at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf cafetaria, where the wifi is free:
Then you make your way to the fourth floor of the Author Services building:
And at night you talk with writers and judges in the hotel lobby until mumblemumble o’ clock:
Yesterday was the last day where I’ll probably have any time to do any sightseeing. We’re sitting in the cafe for breakfast. There’s four of us here, and the workshop will start at nine. I don’t expect to have much more time to do much posting.
Yesterday, all the other writers arrived, so any time not spent listening to someone will be spent talking.
Anyway, yesterday morning, I walked around and took a few more pictures.
Hollywood Boulevard. You can see the stars on the sidewalks. The strange thing I find is how suburban and quiet this place gets at night. It’s dead in the mornings. Sunday, too, I was wondering where everyone was.
And then the weirdos in the dress-up suits come out.
View from my window at the fifth floor of the Roosevelt Hotel. You can see the Author Services building where the workshop is held. The road you can see is Hollywood Boulevard.
Here is the proof:
Me and OWW friend Stelios Touchtidis at the Getty Museum.
View from the Museum lookout
The famous painting that once used to hang in Alan Bond’s boardroom.
Crazy LA roads.
Santa Monica, where we had dinner at a lovely Italian place.
Does doesn’t sound like a lot of hard work, you say, and well, it’s not. The hard work begins on Tuesday. Tomorrow the domestic guests arrive.
It’s Sunday night now (I think), but it’s been Sunday since yesterday morning, and I should probablydo the right thing and go to bed. Trouble is, this computer’s clock (and my body) says it’s only 3pm and now I’m not tired anymore.