AWARDS ANNOUNCEMENT: The winners of Critters 2020 Annual Readers’ Poll Awards were announced yesterday. Over 2500 people from around the world voted during three weeks of polling, giving recognition to achievements in 41 publishing related categories. I am happy to announce I won Best Author, Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story, Best Writers’ Workshop, and Best Writers’ Resource of 2020. (If you’re voting in awards like the Nebulas and Hugos, please see my preceding 2020 Awards Eligibility Post to get a FREE copy of “Muzik Man” for your consideration!)
Critters 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards: 2500 people from around the world voted during three weeks of polling. On January 16, 2021, “Muzik Man” won Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Story of 2020! Wulf Moon won Best Author of 2020.
Nebula Awards: Listed on the 2020 Nebula Reading List for Novelettes and receiving preliminary nominations from SFWA members.
Hugo Awards: No official preliminary nomination/reading lists.
Accolades and reviews:
Tangent Online: “Moon shows he can masterfully construct a triumphant feel-good finish. Recommended.”
Goodreads:“Wulf Moon’s “Muzik Man”-I think that story itself might end up being nominated for an award for this year.”-Jeff Wheeler, WSJ bestseller, publisher of Deep Magic.
Posted by a SFWA member: “Muzik Man” by Wulf Moon is without a doubt one of the best stories of the year. Moon weaves pure magic with this heartfelt tale about an android minstrel who wants to help a tone-deaf world. I loved the heck out of the story. It’s quirky, it’s fun, but more importantly, it’s uplifting. After the year we’ve had, it’s exactly what we need.”–Steve Pantazis, award-winning writer
Fan Mail from a Biology Professor:“I found Muzik Man to be as enjoyable as your WOTF winning story….I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Muzik Man will win! I really like how compelling your characters are right away. You breathe such life and voice into them from the first sentence.”–Amy R. Wethington, Professor of Biology at Chowan University and President of Southeastern Writers Association
Critters’ Poll Comments:
Voters’ comments posted for “Muzik Man” in the Critters 2020 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Story Category:
“This story is a delightful reminder of what passion and love for music can do to save your soul. Mr. Wulf is a talented writer with a great musical ear (as we say in Greece). Well done!”
“Beautiful story! This one made me cry—even the second read through. Moon delivers a powerful story that will stick with you long after you finish reading. Well done!”
“This is an awesome story by Wulf Moon. It’s not only a fun story, but it has a unique message. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry…it’s the best short story I’ve read all year!”
“An amazing story about spreading hope to those who don’t realize they need it. With 2020 being the year that it was, this story is a perfect way to cheer you up and make you smile. I highly recommend it!”
“Muzik Man was exceptionally well-written and entertaining. Wulf Moon shows incredible talent.”
“Muzik Man was the most awesome story I’ve ever read! …. Loved this story!”
Posted to a writers’ forum:
“What must it be like to grow up in a world with so many restrictions? ….
Really packed a punch. The big question he asks gets at the core of who we are as people and what is our purpose in the world. What bigger questions are there?
“This part together with all the rest drives the point home: “What is Empathy? Simply this. Your pain . . . in my heart.” Humans are social animals and yet the Earth has been soaked with blood and tears time and again because of our malice but if we could feel each others pain in our hearts? What a world it would be! And what a time to write a story that addresses this given the pandemic. The civil unrest in many countries, etc.”–BlackInk
Thank you so much for reading and considering “Muzik Man” for nomination in the various science fiction awards for works published in 2020!
I suppose I should post something about this on my blog, now that the year is about to end, and a new awards’ season begins. I actually won four readers’ choice awards for 2019. I announced a couple because it’s important to thank the voters and those writers nominated with you who also produced worthy work. However, I never posted how many categories I won. Frankly, I was in shock. It’s not like I’m a famous bestselling writer; I’m not. It’s not like had a huge newsletter fan list; I had none. So I kept quiet. It wasn’t because I was too shy, it was because I was having an “I’m not worthy” moment. Even though I had been writing for over forty years, even though I did accomplish major things in 2019 (like winning the Writers of the Future Contest), I felt that I’m just Wulf Moon, why should anyone care about me and what I did?
And that’s a mistake. We should acknowledge our accomplishments, and when we’ve worked our asses off and dealt with hundreds of rejections and ‘almosts’ and all the other life trials you have to endure to keep believing in your writing, accolades from your peers and fans should be graciously accepted. You did earn them. It’s why people took time from their busy schedules to vote for you and your work. They didn’t have to do it. And they could easily have voted for someone else’s work–there’s a lot of brilliant, beautiful stories and articles being published each year by excellent writers.
So here is what I won in the 2019 Critters Readers’ Choice Awards, where over two thousand readers from around the world voted for their favorites in the various categories in the speculative fiction publishing industry. I am deeply grateful to all those that deemed me worthy.
Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story: “Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler” published by Writers of the Future, Vol. 35. Reprinted in Future Science Fiction Digest, Issue 3.
Best Author: Wulf Moon. This one surprised me the most, until someone told me it’s not just about a writer’s stories, it’s about how you are viewed by the writing community and how you give back.
Best Nonfiction Article: “Never Let Go” in the anthology How I Got Published and What I Learned Along the Way by Camden Park Press.
Best Writing Workshop: Wulf Moon’s Super Secrets Writing Workshop.
Deep Magic magazine knows how to pick ’em! Don’t take my word for it, take critic C.D. Lewis’ word for it in Tangent Online, a top reviewing publication for the SF industry. Here’s what he said:
“Deep Magic’s Fall 2020 issue contains four new short stories. In keeping with its founder’s stated goal of providing clean fantasy, the stories don’t rely on strong language or erotic content for their effect. The editors’ vetting process is to be commended: whereas most collections do well to present some 30% of contents you could recommend with a straight face to a friend, every new piece in this issue of Deep Magic is worth your time. Good clean fun.”–Tangent Online, Nov. 8, 2020.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! Look what he said about my novelette!
“Wulf Moon’s “Muzik Man” presents SF from over the shoulder of a robot who aspires to do more for the Maestro’s expanding galactic task force—to spread music, yes, but to advance his own ambitions. “Muzik Man” demonstrates the knife-edge problem distinguishing in fiction between a trope and an archetype: they’re not so much different in concept as in execution. In this case, Moon cleaves to a well-known outline of Christ planting the seeds of an enormous movement while being criticized, harassed by police, killed by authorities, then resurrected to teach another lesson. (Because this is SF about fighting oppressions, Muzik Man is restored from a trash heap by a teen he’d shown music, who herself was forbidden to enter the engineering guild because she’s a girl.) There can be a lot of emotional energy in this plot arc when properly harnessed: Obiwan returns more powerful than Vader can possibly imagine, once again to guide a believer—and the crowd goes wild. The reader who stays with the protagonist long enough to care about his problems and those of the people he’s trying to reach will find a powerful climax that channels energy from themes that shape the reader’s own life: friendship, ambition, hope, redemption. Even if the open could work faster to attract and keep a reader, Moon shows he can masterfully construct a triumphant feel-good finish. Recommended.”
It’s a wonderful review of my story, but what I’m especially thrilled about is how the review ends. “Recommended.”
When we write, I believe our best comes from capturing our deepest emotional experiences on the page. “Muzik Man” is an important story for me. I have never had a story of mine likened to the power within Star Wars before. But I do know where the emotional power in this story came from. My life. I call this one my thinly disguised autobiography.
One year ago, my story “Weep No More for the Willow” appeared in DEEP MAGIC, Fall 2019. One year later, I return to the pages of Deep Magic! This time with a science fiction novelette, “Muzik Man.”
It’s the story of an android minstrel missionary, sent to save a tone-deaf world. And this time, he won’t screw up! Full of heart, this story will make you laugh, make you cry, and will take you on an adventure across the galaxy to a world where playing music can get you into a lot of trouble! Come dance with this minstrel operative as he does his best to convert the subjugated masses to the wonders of music! If you loved “Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler,” I am certain you will love this story just as much. And the entire issue is only $2.99!
Go ahead, make my day. Trust me, Muzik Man will make yours.
Or don’t trust me. Trust this review by award-winning author Leah Ning:
“Wulf Moon has a story here! Now that I’ve finally gotten to read it, I’ll gush: what an absolute TRIP, in the best way possible. New worlds, new creatures, and a brand spankin’ new robot who was made to play music inside and out. Had some good laughs, had some good feels, and an ending I didn’t expect. Go make friends with Muzik. He’ll charm your socks off! This story has some good, good heart in it.”
More news about “Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler”! I am happy to announce that my hard science fiction story about a disabled girl and her life support rapper robodog won BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY SHORT STORY OF 2019! This was in the Critters Readers’ Choice Awards, where over 2,000 readers from around the world voted for their favorite things in publishing in 2019. With so many great stories published over the course of the year in both of these genres, it is a very difficult honor to win. This is a huge category! I have now won this award two years in a row.
I already did my thank-yous when I won Best Author of 2019 (see blog below), so I won’t belabor this one. But I will thank Alice Wang, that youngest winner in the history of Illustrators of the Future–just fifteen years old!–that did the amazing illustration of Dixie the Moongirl and her spunky Moon Dawdler. I also wish to posthumously thank Mike Resnick. He was one of the four Writers of the Future judges from my quarter that unanimously voted that “Super-Duper Moongirl” was a winner and should be in the Volume 35 anthology. I had so looked forward to meeting Mike and thanking him in person at the awards gala, but that was not to be. So I will thank Mike Resnick here for all the good things he did to use his power to help aspiring writers. It is a great part of his legacy.
Finally, I thank all of the readers that voted and commented on how my story touched their hearts. When Locus magazine reviewed it, they said this story had “a tearjerker of an ending.” Dozens of fans wrote and said, “You made me cry.” Normally, that’s not a good thing.
In writing, that is the greatest compliment.
The awards season continues on, and many writers are casting their ballots for other distinguished awards. If you’re one of them, I hope you will remember this story about a spirited disabled girl that refused to let her circumstances keep her from reaching for the Moon. The comments from the polls are included below. Thank you, my fans, for your belief in this story and sending me comments like these and more! Cheers!
This story was very touching, and well-written. It spoke right to my heart. And made me cry. True literature!
I like that the story is about a disabled child and how she overcomes her disability in order to live on the moon.
An amazing story by Wulf Moon. A must read for all ages.
An amazing, heartwarming tale that will make you cry at the end. You must, MUST read the story to the last page. The emotional payoff is incredible, and you will be talking about this story for years to come. Enjoy!
This story is the best science fiction first-person I’ve read in decades.
This story warmed my heart. The best of SF in the modern era. Kudos!
Wulf Moon’s voice is a consistent and positive reminder that there is good in the world, and ‘Moongirl’ is a heartwarming story.
Moon’s story was and still is breath-taking. It has stayed in my mind for months since reading it. A tear-jerker, a heart-softener, and a courage-revealer, Super-Duper Moongirl is a must-read.
This story put me through the ringer on emotions, I laughed I cried. It also hit many socially important topics, all the high notes of a good story, and of course the dog was the best!
Wulf moons language is awesome and I like the way in which the author weaves the story
I loved this story. It takes an unexpected character and whops a huge emotional punch. The kind of story that sticks with you.
This story is special. My kids haven’t stopped talking about the story since we pulled it out last summer. And it makes me cry. Seriously!
Excellent, top notch story! Highly recommended.
This is a great story, well crafted with no wasted word count. Great characters which draw the reader in and compelling futuristic setting. Smart imaginative science fiction concepts. Most important, this story leaves me wanting more with its characters and narrative style. Can’t wait to read more from this a author.
The super duper moongirl was just such a unique take and so much ‘story’ and emotion was expressed in so few words – a great delight reading it and would love more of this author’s work. It was fun, emotional without being silly – great writing skills.
I am dumbfounded. I’ll tell you why. The Critters Readers’ Choice Awards gives readers from around the world the chance to vote for their favorite things in publishing that occurred in the prior year. For three weeks, readers vote. Over two thousand readers voted in the polls for works published in 2019.
I just won BEST AUTHOR OF 2019! No one is more shocked than I. I watched my name slowly rise in the polls, and the nominees are wonderful authors, many with long-standing careers. I am humbled and honored to be listed among them. I didn’t push this, I pushed for my story, “Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler.” By push, I mean I did what every author does that hopes to win. I told my friends that had read “Super-Duper Moongirl” that it was on the polls along with other great stories, and to vote their conscience. Well, it won BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY SHORT STORY OF 2019! More to come about that. But apparently, in addition to believing I had written a good story, they and others felt I had been a good author as well.
ASK ME ANYTHING! They found me. I don’t know how, but they found me. RUN FOR IT, MARTY!
I’ve been asked to answer the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything at an author event at reddits’ huge online writing group. Alas, I don’t have 7.5 million years to contemplate the answer, but since Deep Thought already has, I will toss you the number 42 and simply answer questions on writing. The announcement is below, and I hope to see you at the event, or answer your pre-posted questions! The question page will come up on Sunday, December 15 at www.reddit.com/r/writing
UPCOMING AMA ANNOUNCEMENT FOR REDDIT: Wulf Moon, Writers of the Future Winner and Podcast Director for Future Science Fiction Digest. Monday, December 16, 6-8pm PST
Wulf Moon is an Olympic Peninsula award-winning writer and podcast director for Future Science Fiction Digest. Moon wrote his first science fiction story when he was fifteen. It won the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards—the same contest that first discovered Stephen King, Peter S. Beagle, Truman Capote, Joyce Carol Oates and a host of iconic names in the arts. The story became his first professional sale at Science World.
Moon’s stories have been published in Third Flatiron anthologies, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2, Writers of the Future Vol. 35, Future Science Fiction Digest, and in Deep Magic. He has won over thirty awards in writing, winning a contest sponsored by Nora Roberts where he wrote the conclusion to her novella “Riley Slade’s Return,” and more recently winning the Critters Annual Readers’ Choice Award for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story of 2018, and in 2019, he was a winner in the international Writers of the Future Contest.
His award-winning story “Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler” is on the current Nebula Recommended Reading List. LOCUS magazine recently published a glowing review on this story about a disabled girl seeking a new life on the moon with her protector–a rapper robodog that serves as her life-support unit. Author Tim Powers said about the tale: “This is the kind of story I hope gets reprinted again and again for years and years to come.” Moon invites you to experience this story for yourself by reading or by listening to his narration at Future-SF for free:
You can enjoy more of Moon’s work at: amazon.com/author/wulfmoon. Follow him on Facebook and sign up for his blog and podcasts at driftweave.com. He looks forward to chatting with you about how to write and narrate captivating stories that will activate powerful emotions within the hearts of your readers. See you soon! Wulf Moon
AMA will be posted on Sunday, December 15, at noon to allow for questions to be posted ahead of the AMA time.
I am happy to announce I have a historical fantasy story appearing in the Fall issue of the beautiful and wondrous DEEP MAGIC magazine. “Weep No More for the Willow” is the tale of the captain of a Spanish galleon facing off with gods, demigods, and a mermaid! If you like high seas adventure with foreboding omens, supernatural creatures, life or death stakes, and a twist on mermaid tales, you’ve come to the right place! Add a dash of romance, a sprinkle of revenge, and you have the perfect recipe for a dish best served…wet. Hey, the story takes place on the water, what do you expect?
Come sail away as I debut my award-winning tales of the Spanish captain Capricho on the pages of DEEP MAGIC. I have been writing Capricho’s stories for twenty-five years, first in live online performances, and now on the pages of professional anthologies and magazines! My tales of Capricho’s young adventures have appeared and continue to appear in Third Flatiron Publishing’s anthologies. In fact, two thousand readers from around the world voted in Critters Readers’ Choice Awards and chose “War Dog”–a young Capricho story–as the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story of 2018! Well, I think Capricho fans will be even more excited with this tale–he’s older and wiser, and he’s got himself a boat!
You have my permission to come aboard. Preorder from Amazon by clicking here, or you can click on the cover image above. I trust you’ll enjoy this story when it releases from the dock on September 10th, 2019. Do check out the other fine authors included in this issue. It’s a special sailing with all hands on deck!
Deep Magic’s Fall 2019 Issue line-up is:
“Pile of Bones”, by NYT bestselling author, Michael J. Sullivan
“Treaty’s Imposter”, by Marjorie King
“Forget-Me-Nots for the Potter’s Field”, by Wendy Nikel
When you look at the tattered edges of old nautical charts, often you’ll find a wicked sea serpent threading through the water. There is even a medieval globe with the inscription: HERE BE DRAGONS. It probably didn’t mean the explorers had run across dragons (although I’d like to think so); it meant they hadn’t explored that location and if you decided to travel there, you would do so at your own risk. You were navigating uncharted waters.
Much of writing is exactly that. No two writers’ journeys are the same because we all have unique circumstances and we are all singularly unique individuals. You can read and study what others did to find their course across the vast oceans of writing and publishing, but in the end, you have to chart your own path, catch the wind in your sails, put your hand to the tiller, and guide your ship to the destination that’s right for you. It’s your journey. You haven’t traversed these waters before. There will be perils. There will be dragons. But if you hold fast and fight to the last, there can also be rich rewards….
So opens my article on the dragons that writers face–especially this writer–while navigating the high seas of writing and publishing. The article appears on the Writers of the Future homepage. Click the link to read my story, a story designed to help you conquer your own dragons and to fortify you to NEVER GIVE UP!