The Golden Duck and Other Shiny Things

Fantastic new cover art by Stéphanie Hans

Ambassador just won the Eleanor Cameron Award—one of three awards in science fiction kidlit known as the Golden Ducks. Previous winners include M.T. Anderson for Whales on Stilts, Katherine Applegate for The Andalite Chronicles, and Bruce Coville for My Teacher Glows in the Dark, which received an inaugural Golden Duck in 1992.

Worldcon hosted the ceremony. I wasn’t able to attend, but the great K. Tempest Bradford accepted the Duck and delivered this speech on my behalf:

Ambassador is about a kid named Gabe Fuentes who experiences the dangers and possibilities of belonging to more than one world. I’m honored and thrilled to see it win an award named after Eleanor Cameron, an author who also sent kids into space on diplomatic missions of first contact—and who was courageous enough to publicly call out Roald Dahl’s horrible, first-edition descriptions of Oompa Loompas.

I also need to take this opportunity honor the powerful influence and gravitational pull of Sandra Cisneros and Ambassador Carlos Fuentes, whose stories capture the wonders and dangers of borderland life; and of Ursula K. Le Guin, who dramatizes, over and over again, the urgent necessity of communication between our many worlds.

Finally, thanks to K. Tempest Bradford for accepting this award, and for all of the magnificent ways she continues to challenge our community of writers, readers, and fans.

PS – Ambassador ends on a cliffhanger. But the sequel, Nomad, comes out next month and wraps everything up.

Thank you all.



Speaking of Worldcon, I’m proud to have voted in the Hugo Awards. This year the shiny silver rocket celebrated wonderful and astonishing work—and also thwarted the pathetic, flailing rage of irrelevant testosterone. (Long story. Here’s one set of cliff notes.)

And speaking of Nomad, reviews are starting to come in. Kirkus gave it a star and called it “superb.” Publisher’s Weekly said this: “Filled with a Heinleinesque sense of wonder, National Book Award–winner Alexander’s depictions of life in space pave the way for unlimited possibilities in this sequel to Ambassador.”

In other news, the two-year-old has just informed me that she is upset because she is not Robin Hood. Luckily she has Kekla Magoon’s Shadows Over Sherwood to look forward to.