Unless you’re an established writer with a multi-novel deal – and perhaps even for those blessed folk too – a little recognition can go a long way. So when in early January I read that my short story ‘Insider Art’ had made it onto the longlist for the BSFA Awards (2016) Shorter Fiction category, I was elated, not least because it’s only my second appearance in the fifteen years since my first appearance in print or pixels. Needless to say, I was all over social media faster that you can say “click to post”, announcing my joy to all and sundry (both of you). Then, when I – doubtless unwisely – posted my good news on the Milford Yahoo group, I received congratulations from several of my peers plus an unsubtle hint from Jacey Bedford of this parish that I might consider doing some research to find out which other nominees had attended Milford – and that it might serve as a basis of a Milford blog post. And that’s how the trap was baited…
Purely as an aside – this really isn’t an attempt at self-promotion (honest) – ‘Insider Art’ was given a good seeing-to at the 2013 Milford Conference, where it bore the title ‘Extrusion’. I subsequently revised it…extensively. In November 2015, Wendy Delmater Thies, editor-in-chief of the long-running webzine Abyss & Apex, sent me the magic email. The story was published in April 2016. Anyway, I digress…
Prompted by Jacey, I have scoured the Milford alumni list also the Success Stories page, searching for matches to the BSFA Awards longlists. I’m not going to pretend that this process was perfect – the attendance lists for some of the older Milfords remain to be unearthed, assuming they can ever be found. But in the meantime, these are my findings.
- (Stephen Baxter** &) Alastair Reynolds The Medusa Chronicles
- Chris Beckett Daughter of Eden
- Christopher Priest The Gradual
- Alastair Reynolds Revenger
- Al Robertson Waking Hell
- Charles Stross The Nightmare Stacks
(18% Milford penetration.)
** As far as I know, Stephen Baxter has not attended a Milford.
Best Shorter Fiction
- Ian Creasey No Strangers Any More
- Ian Creasey The Language of Flowers
- Jaine Fenn Liberty Bird (Milford 2013)
- Una McCormack Taking Flight
- Vaughan Stanger Insider Art (Milford 2013)
- Bruce Sterling Pirate Utopia
(23% Milford penetration)
- John Clute Scores column, articles published in 2016
- Paul Kincaid This is Science Fiction?
- Geoff Ryman 100 African Writers of SFF
(25% Milford penetration)
Also, although not nominated directly, it is worth noting that two Milford alumni had books published in 2016 with covers that have been nominated in the Artworks category.
David Clements David Hardy’s cover for ‘Disturbed Universes’ (David tells me that at least two of the stories in his collection survived trial-by-Milford.)
Alastair Reynolds Chris Moore’s cover for ‘The Iron Tactician’
Last but not least, David Langford’s Ansible Editions published Rob Hansen’s ‘THEN: Science Fiction Fandom in the UK 1930-1980’, which is listed in the nonfiction category.
So, what can we conclude from the above?
Well, for a start: Milford works!
Also, 2013 was a good year… eventually.
The Milford legacy lasts for life.
(Rinse and repeat)
So, there you have it. Conclusive proof that… Okay, excessive repetition is a writerly vice, as I’ve been told more than once.
All that remains for me to say is this: if you’re a BSFA member, don’t forget to vote for your (maximum of four) favourites in each category. No, they don’t have to be by Milford alumni. Voting for Round 2, which will determine the shortlists, ends on 31 January. The details and full longlists can be found here: http://www.bsfa.co.uk/bsfa-awards/nominate-for-the-bsfa-awards/
Good luck to all the nominees!
Vaughan Stanger. Briefly an astronomer and more recently a research project manager in an aerospace company, Vaughan Stanger now writes SF and fantasy fiction for a living. His stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Abyss & Apex, Postscripts, Nature Futures and Interzone. He has released two collections, ‘Moondust Memories’ and ‘Sons of the Earth & Other Stories’, both of which available on Amazon. Like many writers, he loves cats; contrarily, he refuses to be owned by one. You can follow his writing adventures at http://www.vaughanstanger.com or on Twitter @VaughanStanger.