Pluralistic: 02 Dec 2020

Today's links

Nalo Hopkinson, Science Fiction Grand Master (permalink)

Every year, the Science Fiction Writers of America declares a new "Grand Master," an honor named for the organization's founder, Damon Knight. The 37th Grand Master has been announced and I was delighted and excited to learn that it is the amazing Nalo Hopkinson.

I've known Nalo for most of my life. When I was a teenager in Toronto, we worked on different floors of the North York Central Library. We attended the Clarion Workshop in successive years (under the tutelage of Damon Knight)!

I drove her and her partner – David Findlay, who went to high-school with me! – to Clarion for its 30th anniversary, and she was immensely patient with my neurotic, frightened driving. Today, we both live in (greater) Los Angeles.




Not only has Nalo written an absolute string of brilliant books with not a dud in the batch, from her 1998 debut Brown Girl in the Ring to her latest, 2013's Sister Mine. Her literary accomplishments are nothing less than towering.

But – as SFWA president Mary Robinette Kowal points out – Nalo's prodigious accomplishments as a writer are rivalled by her accomplishments as a teacher and mentor of writers.

That's especially fitting given that the award's namesake, Damon Knight, had a similar double life as a writer and a shaper of writers. Nalo has trained a generation of writers, just as Damon did.

Not just Damon, either. Science fiction is a craft, and it abounds with generous mentors who pay it forward, not least Judith Merril, our fellow Torontonian, the doyenne of Canadian sf, who created so many enduring institutions to nurture new writers.

Judy even had a hand in the founding of Bakka Books, the science fiction bookstore that Nalo and I both worked at (Judy convinced Charlie McKee to open the store in 1972 – it's still going).

Nalo comes from a family of celebrated artists – playwrights, poets – and so her life weaves in multiple traditions of art, mentorship, authorship. I couldn't be happier for my old friend. What a fantastic choice for SFWA's 37th Grand Master.

This day in history (permalink)

#10yrsago Tea Party Nation President proposes taking vote away from tenants

#5yrsago A profile of America’s killingest cops: the police of Kern County, CA

#5yrsago Rosa Parks was a radical, lifelong black liberation activist, not a “meek seamstress”

#5yrsago Mozilla will let go of Thunderbird

#5yrsago Vtech toy data-breach gets worse: 6.3 million children implicated

#5yrsago Newly discovered WEB Du Bois science fiction story reveals more Afrofuturist history

#5yrsago The word “taser” comes from an old racist science fiction novel

#1yrago A former pharma rep explains how the industry pushes doctors to overprescribe

#1yrago As news outlets were shutting down for Thanksgiving, the University of North Carolina quietly gave white nationalists $2.5m to settle a lawsuit that hadn’t even been filed

#1yrago Veteran Boeing manager was transferred to 787 production; based on he saw there, he won’t fly in a Dreamliner and begs his family not to

#1yrago Podcast: Party Discipline, a Walkaway story (Part 1)

Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources: SFWA (

Currently writing: My next novel, "The Lost Cause," a post-GND novel about truth and reconciliation. Yesterday's progress: 543 words (89454 total).

Currently reading: The City We Became, NK Jemisin

Latest podcast: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (part 24)

Upcoming appearances:

Recent appearances:

Latest book:

This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially, provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link to

Quotations and images are not included in this license; they are included either under a limitation or exception to copyright, or on the basis of a separate license. Please exercise caution.

How to get Pluralistic:

Blog (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):

Newsletter (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):

Mastodon (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):

Twitter (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):

Tumblr (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):

When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla