Tag Archives: Hugo Awards

Obligatory Hugo Post

Hey y’all! Long time, no see, huh?

For 2016 I did not have any awards-eligible works appear, but that doesn’t mean I won’t come on here to tell you who I think you should nominate for the final Hugo ballot.

Best Novel

Borderline – Mishell Baker

Is this the best debut novel I’ve ever read? Maybe. Is that question hyperbole? Certainly not! Borderline is the best book I read last year, and thankfully, it also came out in 2016.

If you like urban fantasy, read Borderline. If you don’t usually like urban fantasy, check it out anyway, because our protagonist is a disabled woman with Borderline Personality Disorder who ends up working with faeries.

Ghost Talkers – Mary Robinette Kowal

I was sold on this book the moment I heard the premise at a reading Mary did in SF back in 2015: mediums in the British army gathering battlefield intelligence from fresh ghosts during World War One. This book delivers on that promise in spades. There are lots of things I want to say about this book that are huge spoilers, so instead I’ll say this: I want Mary to write more in this world, and once you read this book, you will too. A Hugo nom can help make that happen.

Best Short Story

“This is Not a Wardrobe Door” – A. Merc Rustad, Fireside

This was the first short story I read in 2016, and the fact that it’s stuck with me these past 12 months should be an indication of how good this post-portal-fantasy story is. Seriously. It’s not that long. Go read it right now. LINK

“Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” – Brooke Bolander, Uncanny Magazine

Short, violent, heartbreaking, triumphant. I love the hell out of this story. It’ll take you just a couple minutes to start loving it, too. Go! LINK

“The Green Knight’s Wife” – Kat Howard, Uncanny Magazine

Holy crap, y’all. This is a late addition, just rescued from my tab-purgatory today, and it’s just. Holy hecking eff, y’all. I love me some fabulism, and this right here hits that spot perfectly. Not your average wintertime story. LINK

Best Editor, Short Form

Lynne and Michael Thomas

The Thomases have done amazing work at Uncanny Magazine, which should be evident from the fact that Uncanny won a Hugo last year in its first year of eligibility. They’re quality folks.

Brian J. White

Brian is at the helm of Fireside, which has published some of the best fiction to come out in the past year. He is quality people.

Best Semiprozine

Uncanny Magazine

Uncanny has been publishing wonderful, vital fiction since issue 1, and this year has been no exception.

Fireside

Fireside has been on a roll the last couple years. They’ve published many of my favorite stories from many of my favorite authors. They also work really hard to make sure that their authors get paid and get paid well.

Best Related Work

The Women of Harry Potter – Sarah Gailey, Tor.com

Sarah’s series of essays is wonderful. You will be filled with feels and reminded that HP is maybe even more relevant today than it was when it was written. LINK

#BlackSpecFic Report, Fireside

This series of essays takes a powerful look at the state of speculative fiction today and the ways that racism is still present and insidious. LINK

Best Professional Artist

Galen Dara

Seriously, look at this cover for Uncanny.

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“Bubbles and Blast Off” – Galen Dara, Uncanny Magazine, Issue 10

Portfolio

John W. Campbell Award for New Writers

Sarah Gailey

Sarah kinda exploded onto the scene a little while ago (I even talked up the first of her stories that I read on here), and she’s just continued to shine since that time. Recommended stories include “Look,” from the post linked above; “Haunted,” Fireside; and “Bargain,” Mothership Zeta.

I’ve undoubtedly left off things that you love and forgotten things that I love, so this post may be followed by addenda. And if there’s something that you love that you think I’d love, please let me know in the comments!

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Ok, Another Hugo Post

Charles Stross pointed out something very important on Twitter:

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Me, I was going to nominate The Shepherd’s Crown already, but I hadn’t thought of nominating All of Discworld. Now, though, I think I will.

Now, as you were.


Yet Another Hugo Post

Jeez, doesn’t the internet have enough of these already?

(It does.)

(I’m writing this one anyway.)

Some months back, I posted about how I wasn’t voting in the 2015 Hugo Awards. At the time, I didn’t think that I had the time or energy to engage with the voter’s packet, and I didn’t think I’d do the process the justice that SFF fandom deserves. But it planted a seed in my head. And the other day, I became a supporting member of the 2016 Worldcon.

Why? Well, partly because even if I agree with my dad’s sentiment about Noah Ward getting five Hugos, I wish that things hadn’t gotten to the point that they did this year. EPH, if it’s ratified next summer, should work to mitigate the gaming of the system that the Puppies did this past year, but the best way to make sure that the Hugos reflect the best things that SFF has to offer next year is to actually nominate and vote.

The other part of it is that, while I’ll probably never be 100% on top of all the good new things that come out in a single year, committing to nominate and vote in the Hugos is a personal challenge to keep an eye on new things and share the things that impress me the most over the next few months. Will I nominate in every category? Probably not, though as other people make recommendations, I’ll probably check some things out in the categories that I’d be leaving empty. Will I vote in every category? Possibly? I’ll do my best to make an informed decision, probably using John Scalzi’s method of Read Every Piece Until it Bores Me or Otherwise Turns Me Off, and base my rankings off that.

Join me (and the 74th World Science Fiction Convention), won’t you?

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Brief Puppy Thoughts from a Trufan

My dad doesn’t own a computer, doesn’t go on the internet, and doesn’t have a particular desire to change either fact. He’s also been a capital “F” Fan for longer than you, dear reader, may have been alive.

He asked me over the phone today if I could give him the main Hugo winners, and when I told him that give categories had been claimed by Mr Noah Ward, he simply responded, “That’ll learn them.”

So, from someone far older than I, a thought on the Hugos and fandom in general: we will survive this like we have survived other problems, and we will learn and become better.

This, too, shall pass.


Obligatory Hugo Post, or Why I’m Not Voting

Background: last year I got mad as hell about the Sad/Rabid Puppy thing.  The Hugos were taken very seriously by both my parents when I was a child: they both nominated and voted for the works, fans, editors, and artists they felt represented the best that the genre had to offer from each year.  This year, when I saw the slate, I mostly just got sad.

I know that the only people really qualified to complain about the Hugo nominations or any eventual winners are those fans who actually vote.

And I’m still not voting.

My reason for not voting is quite simple: I don’t think I’m qualified to judge what works and people best exemplify the genre this year.  If I am perfectly honest, I would say I am only qualified to vote on one or two Hugos this year: Best Dramatic Presentation Long- and Short-Form (and honestly, I’ve only seen the Doctor Who episode, so I wouldn’t exactly say I’m any judge there).  This is the case most years.  The last time I read a novel before it got a Hugo nomination was in 2010, when I was blown away by The City & the City, by China Miéville (I don’t think I actually finished Embassytown before that year’s nominations came out, though I may be wrong on that one).  It’s much the same with short fiction.  The things I read right when they come out, for the most part, are works by my friends or authors I follow closely.  Everything else I put in the pile of “will get to it eventually.”

I’m a slow reader.  And I have a full-time job and a commute that doesn’t allow me much reading time.  I have a huge to-be-read pile, and the only things that get precedence over the stack (or even in some cases over whatever I’m right in the middle of) are very special books.  Pratchett (forever may his name be on our lips and in our hearts) was one such author.  Miéville is another.  Otherwise, you go to the bottom of the stack, and gods help you if you’re behind a tome by Sanderson.

The reason, as so many others have stated, that the Puppy slates were so effective is that it’s very difficult, in the nominating stage at least, to get fans to agree on much of anything.  In past years, the difference between getting a nomination and not often came down to a dozen votes.  Because most fans only vote for things they like.  They usually only vote in categories where they feel qualified to make judgement.  There’s a reason that the Editor categories often get under a thousand votes: fans who don’t feel qualified to make those judgements just don’t vote there.

I’m not voting this year because, if I voted on any of the major categories, I don’t feel that my votes would be much different from the Puppy votes that made the nomination list what it is this year.  I’m not qualified, and, realistically, I’m unlikely to have the time to read the whole packet.

I’m going to vote in the Hugos based on my own informed opinions or not at all.  Voting based on any ideology may work for politics, but it’s no judge of quality in fiction.

EDIT: This is not to say that you shouldn’t vote, just that, realistically, as much as I’d like to vote in the Hugos this year, it doesn’t feel right for me.

Please, if you care about our fandom, vote.  If you can make the time commitment to make an informed decision vote.  If you read a lot of new stuff in the genre and want to nominate next year, vote.  Even if you can’t afford a voting membership, Mary Robinette Kowal and others are giving away voting memberships.

Vote.  Vote.  V O T E .


Please note that, while I normally am pretty permissive in my comment moderation, I do moderate all comments, and I will turn off comments entirely if things start to turn into a shit-show.  My site, my rules.  Be nice or shut up.


Getting Started and Getting Un-Stuck

Sometimes, after finishing a story, it can be difficult to start your next project.  Sometimes it’s a matter of losing momentum, and sometimes you just don’t have any ideas and need a prompt to get you started, even if what you end up writing next has nothing at all to do with whatever the prompt was.  Writing prompts don’t have to dictate what you write–they’re just a mechanism for dislodging whatever idea has been stuck in a dark corner of your brain where you can’t see it.

While browsing Boing Boing the other day, I ran across what I think makes for a great source of inspiration.  Nine-eyes is a blog devoted to striking images from Google Maps Street-View, and it serves up some great inspiration.  In my first undergrad writing class, my first semester of college, my professor had each of us look through a book of photographs of America from mid-nineteen-fifties (or so, my memory’s a little fuzzy on the details now) and use a picture that we selected as the jumping-off point for our fiction piece, and I’ve gotten a fair bit of mileage out of that technique since, so I’m glad to have found a great source of evocative images online that’s always serving up something interesting and new.

That guy, with the pan over his face. He must have a story to tell.

Of course sometimes you’re not stuck on a blank page but stuck in the middle of a story and feeling like you don’t know where to go.  Well, there’s an app for that.

No, seriously, there is.  Actually, there’s a deck of cards which has been transformed into apps and websites.  Oblique Strategies is a deck of cards created by Brian Eno wherein each card contains an aphorism to get us creative types to do a bit of lateral thinking to get around our problems, the idea being that when you get stuck, you draw a card at random, and even if you don’t do what the card says, it helps you get your mind un-stuck.  I had never heard of this magical invention until Jeph Jacques, author and artist of Questionable Content, mentioned it during his recent appearance on the (Hugo Award-winning) Writing Excuses podcast.

You can find one online implementation of the Oblique Strategies here, though it is by no means the only place to go.  There are also a number of app implementations on Android (and probably on iOS, too).

So, go out and start something new or find a new way to look at an old problem.  Create!


Hugo Award Musings

Ah, yes, the Hugo Award nominations were released ages ago.  Why so late to the party, Hilary?

I was going through some back issues of Locus that were lying around my house and, on a whim, took a look through the 2009 in Review issue.  I was somewhat surprised when I saw so many people going on about The City & The City by China Miéville.  When I say surprised, I don’t mean to impugn the quality of the book; more like I was surprised that, for once, I hadn’t been late to the party.  I read The City & The City way back at the start of fall semester when it first came out based solely on the byline on the spine.  I’ve been a Miéville fan for a while, something my father knew, and was pleased when he brought me a copy of his latest book.

The book itself is a strange sort of duck, very unlike anything else you may have read from Miéville.  It’s one of the grandest and most ambitious urban fantasies I have read, but has no magic, no alien worlds, no elves.  What it does have are two cities occupying a space maybe the size of Jerusalem, separated by customs, dress, language, and politics.  The residents have been taught, from birth, to simply ignore the other city, though it may be as close as the house next door, for there is only one official border, and crossing anywhere else is a serious crime.

I would recommend The City & The City to anyone as an enthralling work.  I had a hard time putting it down at night, and a harder time not picking it up when I had homework to do.

Meanwhile, my work continues on a pair of urban phantasies set in my more serious Weird Philadelphia setting (home of Marshall Celan and Project Red).  Time, soon, will be the judge of one of the stories, a piece which is now in final revisions after sitting on the back burner for a year, while the other one is partway through being a first draft.


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