A Winner is Me (and a small rant, sorry)


I was going to go on a tear regarding this … ahem … inter­esting essay. I already had plenty of back and forth over it on social media, and there’s no need to belabor the point. Okay, one gem I just *must* share: “Tal­ented writing tends to con­tain more infor­ma­tion, sen­tence for sen­tence, clause for clause, than merely good writing. … It also employs rhetor­ical par­al­lels and differences.…”

So, if we simply mea­sure just how much infor­ma­tion a sen­tence con­tains, we can easily and sci­en­tif­i­cally mea­sure its rel­a­tive good­ness. If we com­pare “The cat sat on the mat,” to “The cat sat on the red mat,” it is clear that the 2nd sen­tence is closer to tal­ented, because it con­veys more infor­ma­tion, while the first sen­tence is closer to being merely good.

ARGH. Folks, terms like “good” and “talent” are so amor­phous and unquan­tifi­able that they are essen­tially mean­ing­less. The only thing any person can say is whether or not they liked a piece of art. Beyond that, all judg­ment is com­pletely sub­jec­tive. What wor­ries me about essays like this one is that it per­pet­u­ates the idea that there’s this thing called talent, which aspiring writers can use the lack of as an excuse not to try. I’m also con­cerned that aspiring writers are going to take that essay at face value because it’s written by one of the titans of the field.

There are no rules. Nobody really knows what they’re doing. Even the pros. Espe­cially the pros. Please keep this in mind when you’re sweating over your man­u­script, trying to read the tea leaves in your sen­tences, to deter­mine whether you are “good” or “tal­ented” or *shudder* neither.

Anyway, enough of that. CONTROL POINT won the 2013 Compton Crook Award, and that is not aggra­vating or frus­trating. That is awe­some. Incred­ibly and won­der­fully and fan­tas­ti­cally awe­some for a few reasons:

1.) I have been going to Balticon for years. It is one of my favorite cons, and Bal­ti­more fandom has been a main­stay for me during all my long years in DC. I have seen so many Compton-Crook win­ners win the award and pass it along, and never once dreamed I would be taking the stage. I came from fandom and am anchored in fandom. To be hon­ored by fandom, espe­cially this sub­sec­tion of fandom, is quite lit­er­ally a dream come true.

2.) Two of my lit­erary heroes, Paolo Baci­a­galupi and Naomi Novik, have won the Compton Crook Award. I cannot begin to describe to you how much it means to me to be classed with writers of this cal­iber in any category.

3.) It’s a chance to share some­thing with the huge team of people who make my writing career pos­sible. In the end, the SHADOW OPS series reaches you in the form it does because of scores of people from Ace, Head­line, Fantom Print, Goukr, Piper, Recorded Books, WF Howes, Jab­ber­wocky, Zeno, and a small army of friends and col­leagues who all pro­vide input, sup­port and insights on when to zig and when to zag. It’s a chance for me to turn to the crowd and hand some­thing back. And this is what I love about this par­tic­ular award, Myke Cole isn’t the 2013 Compton Crook winner, CONTROL POINT is. The focus on the work, and not the author, is the best way I know to honor the entire team that made the vic­tory pos­sible. Con­grats all!

4.) It’s a chance for me to honor my ser­vice. Admiral Mullen spoke about the wor­ri­some and growing gap between civil­ians and the mil­i­tary that serves them. I wear my blues at each Nebula and WFC ban­quet. I wore them when I had the honor of pre­senting Neil Gaiman with his Nebula in DC. I’ll wear them when I accept the Compton-Crook. It’s a way of bridging the gap, to show that we are you and you are us. Ser­vice mem­bers are fans. Ser­vice mem­bers are writers. It’s also a way to share the honor with the guard, without whom I could never have done it.

Friday night at Balticon, it’ll kick off. Then I’ll stash the award in my room, change into my civvies and hit the bar. Then the award busi­ness is done, and it’s time to get down to the real busi­ness of the con, of any con.

Hanging out with my tribe, miles deep and eternal.

I’m the luck­iest man alive. Thanks.

  • Paul Weimer

    Again, well deserved con­grat­u­la­tions, Myke!

  • John Zeleznik

    First, con­grats to you. I knew I picked a winner when I called it one of my top 5 from last year.

    Second, writers are des­perate to be patted on the head and told they matter. Sigh, I’m not so con­cerned with being “tal­ented” so long as I’m good enough for someone to pay me to read my stuff.

  • Howard­Tayler

    Con­grat­u­la­tions! It couldn’t happen to a nicer waitaminute… 😉

  • Brian Gefrich

    Con­grat­u­la­tions, Myke. A well-deserved award.

  • J.D. Hal­lowell

    Con­grat­u­la­tions, Myke!

  • http://twitter.com/C_Vanderlinden Colleen Van­der­linden

    Con­grat­u­la­tions, Myke! I read “Con­trol Point” because I saw someone (maybe Peter V. Brett) talking about it on Twitter and I loved it. And I read your blog/follow you on Twitter because of atti­tudes like the ones you dis­play here. Very deserving book, very deserving author, and I’m so happy for you!

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