It must be Awards Season.

At the recent Campbell Conference in Lawrence Kansas, TAU CETI (which consists of a novella by me and a sequel novelette by my Writers of the Future student and long-time friend, Steven Savile) received the inaugural “Lifeboat to the Stars Award,” given “for the best work of science fiction of any length published in 2011 or 2012 contributing to an understanding of the benefits, means, and difficulties of interstellar travel.”  The award came with a nifty (and very heavy) trophy, as well as $1000 prize money—always a good bonus.

Tau Ceti’s competition included works by top authors in the field, including Larry Niven, Gregory Benford, Michael Bishop, Ben Bova, Jack McDevitt , Domingo Santos and Alastair Reynold.

Lifeboat Award Coordinating Judge, Robert J. Sawyer, described the book—

“Tau Ceti tells of a generation ship approaching that nearby sun-like star of the title, and it does so in an unusual manner, combing a novella by Kevin J. Anderson and a sequel novelette by Steven Savile into one fast-paced, character-rich, technologically accurate adventure story.  In the capable hands of both authors, interstellar travel doesn’t just seem possible but inevitable, and they bring real depth to the issues of generation ships, the politics surrounding such voyages, and the danger A.E. van Vogt first alerted us to in the classic ‘Far Centaurus,’ namely that just because you head out first doesn’t mean you’ll arrive first. Tau Ceti is a terrific work of hard science fiction, and the Lifeboat Foundation congratulates the authors and their editor, Mike Resnick.”

The book is available in print and eBook formats from all major retailers.  You may also be interested in the unabridged audio version from audible.com, narrated by me and Gigi Shane.

I flew in to the Campbell Conference, landing at the Kansas City (MO) airport, where I was picked up by CJ Harries, who would be my guide and able assistant throughout the conference.  We drove to Lawrence, where I checked into my hotel and then went to give an opening keynote speech to the group of writer attendees, as well as SF legend James Gunn and visiting writer Andy Duncan, and my long-time writer friend Kij Johnson, after which I sat on a panel with Andy and James.

That night at the banquet, I hung out with other attendees, then waited for the awards ceremonies. The John W. Campbell Awards and the Theodore Sturgeon Award was given, as well as the Lifeboat to the Stars Award. My friend Robert J. Sawyer had been tapped to present me with the award, but could not attend because of the death of his brother, but James Gunn did the duties.

James E. Gunn, Kij Johnson, and Kevin J. Anderson

James E. Gunn presents the Lifeboat to the Stars Award

Receiving the Lifeboat to the Stars Award

Yes, it’s a cool Award

After the awards, I went with CJ, Bryan Thomas Schmidt,Writers of the Future winner Alisa Alering, and other friends to the local Lawrence microbrewery.  The following morning, we all participated in an insightful and invigorating roundtable discussion about interstellar travel.  After I did a book-signing and reading, CJ took me back to the airport for my flight home (where I had the added adventure of experiencing my plane struck by lightning on the way out—I’ve never seen that before, a blinding flash right outside the window…no damage, but exciting nevertheless.)

The following weekend, I drove to Aspen, Colorado because my novel CLOCKWORK ANGELS was nominated for the Colorado Book Award, a prestigious literary award. I had a lovely drive over Independence Pass, through spectacular scenery.

The ceremonies were held on Friday afternoon, a nice reception, and a hang-out and book signing with other Colorado authors.  CLOCKWORK ANGELS was one of three finalists in its category—I didn’t win . . . BUT it was still a wonderful excuse to spend some time up in Aspen, one of the most scenic areas of Colorado. I had rented a great off-season ski condo in the adjacent town of Snowmass.  I holed up to do some editing, and on the long hike the following day (to high-alpine Lost Man Lake) I finished dictating the last chapters in my comedy fantasy THE DRAGON BUSINESS.

So, here was my consolation prize: