Congratulations to Jo Walton for winning in the best novel category of the World Fantasy Awards yesterday. I hear that it is an excellent novel, and the win well-deserved.
Below find what would have been my acceptance speech for Veniss Underground, had it won, which I include here more as a "Veniss-as-finalist acceptance speech" because I truly want to thank some people, and this is an appropriate time, what with its recent run of being up for the World Fantasy Award, International Horror Guild Award, Bram Stoker Award, etc., in addition to just being picked up by Bantam Books for reprint.
Thank you for this honor. I'm pleased that the judges have chosen to reward a novel I've always thought of as a short, sharp jab in the spine. And doubly pleased to be in the company of so many other fine novels and writers.
I wrote Veniss Underground under the influence of dual impulses: to examine the nature of cruelty; and, through the looking glass of a Bosch-influenced retelling of the Orpheus myth, examine issues of the environment and bio-engineering. Mostly, though, I must confess that I've always wanted to write scenes featuring a trash-talking severed-but-still-living meerkat head super-glued to a plate and strapped to the arm of a resilient anti-hero…
I'd like to thank the editors who have taken a chance on Veniss—Sean Wallace, Peter Lavery, and Juliet Ulman. I'd also like to thank Brian Evenson and Rick Hautala for their early support of the novel. Thanks to Chris Reed and Manda Thompson for taking me to the Yorkminster Cathedral and thus sparking an epiphany that led to the completion of Veniss. Thanks to Ellen Datlow for asking why the hell I was using the same title for my book as an Edward Whittemore novel, thus prompting a fortuitous title change. Above all else, thanks to my wife, Ann, who, as always, believed in me and this novel even at times when I did not.
Finally, thanks to my honorable (some might say long suffering) agent Howard Morhaim, for consenting to accept this award in my stead and, most importantly, for his friendship, grace under pressure, and his advice and counsel. I value it immensely, but, more importantly, I am most amused by the thought that he may be turning a rather vibrant shade of red right about now.