Archives for category: Kelsey Sharpe

Okorafor's book is among those being considered for this year's Best Novel Nebula Award.

The Oscars and Grammys may be over, but those of us invested in seeing our favorite art and artists win the recognition they deserve can still look forward to this year’s various literary award ceremonies. Among those ceremonies is the Nebula Awards, which along with the Hugos are some of the most important to be given to works of science-fiction, fantasy and speculative literature.

The Nebulas have been awarded each year since 1965 by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, an organization of authors who’ve published genre fiction in the form of novels, short stories, screenplays and more. The first novel to receive a Nebula? Frank Herbert’s Dune.

Nominees for the 2010 Nebula Awards were announced in an official press release on Feb. 22, and voting officially closed Wednesday. While there are outstanding nominations in six different categories – short story, novelette, novella, novel, dramatic presentation and young adult – here are the novels you might want to check out before the winners are announced on May 21:

The Native Star by M.K. Hobson is a fantasy work with zombies, warlocks and steampunk technology set in Reconstruction-era America.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin is the first book in a trilogy about a young woman who must compete with her cousins’ political machinations for control of her violent homeland.

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal might find fans among devoted readers of Austen. Set in an alternative Regency era, Kowal’s book involves a young woman seeking magical tutelage from a Byronic older gentleman.

Echo by Jack McDevitt is actually the fifth entry in a sci-fi series about an investigation into the truth of Earth’s past and future. Sort of Indiana Jones meets Sherlock Holmes meets spaceships.

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor is truly a work of speculative fiction, with elements of fantasy and the supernatural combining to buttress a coming-of-age story set in post-apocalyptic Africa.

Blackout and All Clear are two novels by Connie Willis published back-to-back, but considered one long work. They follow three historians from 2060 Oxford who travel back in time to study World War II. Of course they are trapped there and must then find their way back home.

All six best novel nominees may be found in local book stores, on Amazon.com and in ebook format. And if you’re going to be in Washington, D.C. from May 19-22, you might consider dropping in on Nebula Awards Weekend to find out which novel will pick up the prize.

Judith Baca

Judith Baca, muralist: just one of the many award-winning faculty members at UCLA.

I work in the UCLA Office of Media Relations, and each morning I spend a couple of hours collecting links to all the media mentions of UCLA staff and faculty from major outlets around the world. Due to this, I think I tend to keep in mind something that many of us bruins lose track of the longer that we’re here – this university has some amazing faculty.

And not just in terms of teaching ability and research, either. They’re also making major contributions to artistic communities as well: we have published authors, artists who’ve shown in museums across the country, composers and directors who are renowned for their virtuosity.

For this post I wanted to highlight a few recent offerings from, and announcements about, some of our very own faculty. Maybe some readers of this esteemed blog have classes with these profs, and if not then maybe this will inspire some to check them out.

Joan Waugh is a professor of history who specializes in Ulysses S. Grant, this country’s 18th president.  In fact, her book U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth traces the rise and fall of the Civil War general’s reputation in the United States. Since being published late last year, the book has received many positive reviews, was named among the best books of 2009 by the Washington Post, and most recently has won Waugh the Jefferson Davis Award from the Museum of the Confederacy.

Next quarter Professor Waugh is teaching History 139A: U.S, Civil War and Reconstruction, and History 246B: Introduction to U.S. History, 1790-1900.

Greg Lynn, UCLA professor of architecture and urban design, has been with the university since 1996 and has received many accolades since. He’s known for his unique “blob architecture,” and has his own design firm in Venice called FORM. Lynn has been called one of the 10 most influential living architects by Time magazine, and on Tuesday United States Artists selected him as one of their 50 fellows for 2010 (see the Los Angeles Times announcement for other fellows).  In addition to being an awesome new addition to his resume, Lynn will also pick up a $50,000 prize. Not too shabby.

Next quarter Professor Lynn will be overseeing sections of Architecture and Urban Design 403B: Research Studio, and Architecture and Urban Design 496: Special Projects in Architecture.

Judith Baca is a professor with UCLA’s César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies. In addition, Baca co-founded the Social and Public Art Resource Center. Baca is a muralist in the tradition of famous Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco. Most recently Baca has been honored by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education with the Outstanding Latino/a—Cultural Arts, Fine and Performing Arts Award.

Next quarter Professor Baca will be teaching Art M186B/Chicano Studies M186B/World Art M125B: Beyond Mexican Mural: Intermediate Muralism and Community Development, as well as that class’s associated lab.

Antonio Lysy is a professor of music with the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music who specializes in the cello. Lysy is very influenced by his Argentine heritage, and much of the folk music and tango of Argentina. On November 11 Lysy won a Latin Grammy award for the song “Pampas,” off of his album Antonio Lysy at the Broad: Music from Argentina. Lysy won in the category of best classical contemporary composition.

Next quarter Professor Lysy will be teaching Music 60CW: Cello, Music 160CW: Advanced Cello, Music C175: Chamber Ensembles, Music C177: Gluck Ensembles, Music 401: New Music Forum, Music 460C: Cello, and a section of Music 375: Teaching Apprentice Practicum.

Lastly, it might not have won any awards (yet), but check out this lovely bit of architecture from UCLA Dining.

1990 WFC Program Cover

The program cover for the 1990 World Fantasy Convention in Schaumburg, Illinois.

For four days next week the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio is going to get a little medieval. Fantasy fans, critics and authors will descend upon the city for the 36th annual World Fantasy Convention, ready to talk about the year’s best offerings in fantasy lore. Also of note is the presentation of the World Fantasy Awards, which will be given to nominated authors, artists, novels, short stories and illustrations.

One thing you probably won’t see at the convention? Costumes.

Conventions the world over — San Diego Comic-con, Wizard Con, Tokyo Game Show — have conditioned us to expect elaborate capes, swords, headdresses, and the occasional storm trooper armor anywhere that a group of more than 20 geeky individuals converge. Yet from its beginnings in 1975 the World Fantasy Convention has focused on the fantasy genre in terms of examining its literary and artistic content.

That in itself can be contentious for many outside of the science-fiction and fantasy niche. The average reading audience has been conditioned by publishers and mega book chains to believe that a book is only “literature” if it has an embossed cover and deckle edge paper, and is nigh impossible to fit in any reasonably sized bag.

Your average English major may have a slightly different opinion — after all, classes have us close read anything and everything, and while there’s certainly pulp in SF/F, the same can be said for any genre. Here at UCLA this consideration manifested in a slightly different form last year when the professors tirelessly debated about how, or even if, they should revamp the major. Budget discussions aside, what it ultimately came down to was a discussion of the canon; should professors force students into well-roundedness by obliging them to read Shakespeare, Chaucer and Milton, or can students be trusted to get a taste of everything while also selecting for themselves what they would most like to study?

Whichever side you come down on, it seems important to bring up those genres — SF/F, romance, mystery, horror — that are so often relegated to the shadows and consider a broader literature that can encompass a variety of interests and experiences.