On Voting in the Psi Phi Awards

The Golden Age of science fiction is twelve.

I don’t know who said it. I’ve no doubt a Google search would turn up a dozen claimants to the prize. In the end, it’s not the sentence that matters, it’s the meaning.

The Golden Age of science fiction is what you read when you were twelve, when you picked up your first science fiction story or novel and left behind the mundane world filled with the sensawunder for distant shores unseen by human eyes.

And twelve isn’t a hard-and-fast age. For me, I was seven. And it wasn’t science fiction so much as it was science fact, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos in particular. And then Robert L. Forward’s Dragon’s Egg, a smattering of Heinlein and Clarke and Asimov and Niven, and nearly twenty-five years later here we are.

The sensawunder. Hang tight, we’ll come back to that.

Voting for the 2004 Psi Phi Awards for excellence in Star Trek fiction has opened. Some writers might lobby for votes on their work. I would rather lobby for votes on the cover by Michael Collins to my novella, Ring Around the Sky:

I’ve followed Collins’ artwork for years. In my opinion, this is one of the best pieces I’ve seen from him.

Remember what I said about the sensawunder? When I saw Collins’ preliminary sketch for the cover I had only one reaction–Wow. And I said it over and over and over, because just the rough pencil sketch made me feel like a kid again, reading furtively that science fiction novel that my mother would rather I didn’t, imagining places I would never see.

Months later I saw the full-color piece. Twelve. The Golden Age of Science Fiction.

Whether you read Ring Around the Sky or not, whether you liked Ring Around the Sky or not, Michael Collins’ artwork deserves your vote. Look at the artwork. Look at a world we’ll never see. Look at the longing in Commander Tev’s stance, looking up into the heavens. How can anyone not feel the sensawunder?

That’s why you should vote for Michael Collins’ cover for Ring Around the Sky in the Best Cover category of the 2004 Psi Phi Awards.

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