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Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 03:28 am

And there was much rejoicing. Yay.

I’m going to chronicle my reading here on this blog, but I wanted to do a quick rundown of what is in this year’s Hugo Voter’s Package. Sasquan released the package yesterday afternoon, and I’ve been spending a bit of time putting it all on my Kindle.

It’s been an interesting year for the Hugos and I think the voter’s pack reflects that. So, category by category, here’s what’s in the packet and my thoughts on the matter.

I should note, before I get started, that the Hugo Packet is a gift from the participants to the voters to make us more informed voters, and that I am entitled to none of it. Sometimes I make comments that skirt that ground, but I do truly wish to say thank you to the publishers, authors, artists, editors, and other varied participants who make this effort to help us to be informed voters. It is appreciated.

The same goes to the folks back at Sasquan central who are administering the Hugo Awards. This has been a crazy year, and your diligence, patience, and hard work are appreciated by this voter.

With all that said…let’s get to it.


NOVEL
3 complete novels:

  • The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu
  • The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
  • The Dark Between the Stars, Kevin J. Anderson

2 extracts:

  • Skin Game, Jim Butcher
  • Ancillary Sword, Anne Leckie

My thoughts: Orbit continues the practice they did last year of including an excerpt of a novel in the package. Last year, they did it with Ancillary Justice, Neptune’s Brood, and Parasite and those novels went 1-2-3 in the voting, so it didn’t hurt them. Butcher is published by Penguin. The three whole novels are all Tor. It’s interesting that Tor (and Baen) seem to be the publishers that get that this is a goodwill thing. Ah well, I have a copy of the Butcher and I’ve read Ancillary Sword, although I would have loved to get another chance to make it fresh in my memory.


NOVELLA
All works made available.

My thoughts: It’s interesting that they put all five of John C. Wright’s nominations into one ebook, but I guess that saves time. I’m not sure if I’m up to reading all five Wright works back to back to back, so I may have to put in chasers. Luckily, swapping ebooks is not a hard process.


NOVELETTE
All works made available.

My thoughts: A minor quibble that the Flynn is only in PDF, but I can live with that. I’m getting these for free, after all, and my kindle does read them.


SHORT STORY

All works made available.

My thoughts: Wow. Baen included the whole book that one of the short stories was in. That’ll make for some fun non-Hugo reading. (I don’t really have a problem with Baen. They’re sci-fi — yeah, maybe a bit conservative and gun fetishy at times, but they’ve also got some really good authors, like Lois McMaster Bujold and Eric Flint. PS: If you haven’t been reading Eric Flint’s take on the whole Hugo kerfluffle, you really ought to check it out.


RELATED WORK:

4 complete:

  • “The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF”, Ken Burnside
  • Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth, John C. Wright
  • “Why Science is Never Settled”, Tedd Roberts
  • Wisdom from My Internet, Michael Z. Williamson

1 extract:

  • Letters from Gardner, Lou Antonelli

My thoughts: “The Hot Equations” is represented by a complete copy of Riding the Red Horse, which I believe covers entries in Related, Short Story, and Editor Short Form. It also covers the lone fiction credit for ESR in the Campbell, although that’s not stated in the notes attached to the files. “Why Science is Never Settled” is PDF only, as is the extract from Letters from Gardner. I wish there were a way to get a digital copy of Letters From Gardner because I’d like to read it in its entirety and $18.50 is a little steep for my budget at the moment. That said, I know the publisher of the book does good quality stuff (I have a copy of their version of Who Killed Science Fiction? around here.)


GRAPHIC STORY
4 works represented:

  • Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal
  • Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery
  • Saga Volume 3
  • Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick

My thoughts: The press release from Sasquan hints that the missing nominee (Zombie Nation #2) may be coming to the packet at a later date. It was also the only one that the guy who owns my comic book shop had never heard of. These two thoughts may or may not be related.


DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG/SHORT
No representation

My thoughts: This isn’t unusual. The Hugos are not the Oscars, and digital video isn’t quite there yet.


EDITOR SHORT FORM
Contributions from all active members

My thoughts: This is one of two categories affected by late withdrawals, so there is nothing from Edmund R. Schubert. (Of course, he’s put out, independently, what he would have submitted, and I need to go through that.) Day is represented by the aforementioned Riding the Red Horse and the works of John C. Wright elsewhere on the ballot. Schmidt includes the anthology he co-edited with Brozek; Brozek includes another anthology that she edited. Resnick put a list of what he’s edited together.


EDITOR LONG FORM
Editorial bibliography from Anne Sowards, editorial bibliography and sample chapters from Sheila Gilbert, and a link to editorial bibliography by Toni Weisskopf.

My thoughts: Perhaps the most interesting thing here is this note included with the file: “Vox Day has no submission.” I’m sure there’s a reason for it, but it’s hard to judge somebody in this category without a nod towards what they’ve edited. Can Day truly say that he’s been No Awarded because of evil social justice warriors when he can’t even provide an editorial bibliography? I assume that because Weisskopf’s link is to Baen Books, that she edits all the long form stuff coming out of Baen — there’s no easy link on the site to tell. And whatever happened to Jim Minz? (And I thought he was Baen too…) Maybe this is stuff that will get sorted out.


PROFESSIONAL ARTIST
Four artists have sample work in this category.

My thoughts: I glanced through the sample artwork, and by and far, all of it is good stuff. I’ll do closer diligence when I hit this category. The missing artist is Carter Reid, the artist of the missing graphic novel above, so I will have to assume that his delayed submission will cover him here.


SEMIPROZINE
All candidates have sample work.

My thoughts: Nothing to write home about here. Abyss and Apex only has a PDF copy of their semiprozine, whereas the other four included epub and mobi copies, but that, as I have noted before, is a minor quibble.


FANZINE
Three candidates have sample work.

My thoughts: This is the second Hugo category affected by a late withdrawal, and thus only has four members in it. The missing candidate is Elitist Book Reviews. (Again, guys, don’t go blaming your loss on an SJW conspiracy when you don’t get stuff into the packet.)


FANCAST
All fancasts have a sample episode.

My thoughts: I’m not big on podcasts — I read much faster than I listen. But I’m going to give all five of these a try. I need to make sure they get on my phone. All episodes are in the mp3 format — of course, that’s generally the standard on the Internet.


FAN WRITER
All writers have sample work.

My thoughts: Everybody’s present here. Freer, Sanderson, and Green have work in multiple formats, whereas Johnson and Mixon have PDF only, but again, a minor quibble.


FAN ARTIST
All artists have sample work.

My thoughts: Foster, Schoenhuth, and Aalto have a URL to see more of their work elsewhere on the web, but all artists contributed something to the package itself. I flipped through the work in the packet and found much to admire. And I really need to bug both Brad and Steve for fanzine art…


CAMPBELL (not a hugo)
Three writers have submissions in this category.

My thoughts: English, Chu, and Cordova all have something in the packet. I haven’t looked closely to see what those things are. I think Chu is a novel, and Cordova had two items — both may be novels or they may be stories. I think English is primarily a short story author at the moment, but I could be mistaken. Although there is no note, I know Raymond’s only professional sale has been his story in Riding the Red Horse, which we have elsewhere in the packet. I have no idea what’s going on with Nelson.

***

…phew. That took some time to write up.

Mirrored from katster's closet.

katster: (Default)
Sunday, April 5th, 2015 03:23 am

The 2015 Hugo nominations have come out.

Normally this is a great moment of satisfaction for me. I usually have not read all the nominees on the slate, so it’s like getting a Christmas present from my fellow science fiction geeks. Hugo nominations are generally so broad that what percolates up from the mass hive mind are usually stories that I don’t mind giving a bit of time to read and compare against each other. Most of the time, I find something interesting in this.

This process only works if it’s a true random percolation, though. The last few years, though, there has been a campaign called the Sad Puppies that suggests that the Hugo award is too liberal and too invested in identity politics, thus choosing works that are turgid and uninteresting instead of stories full of spaceships and laser guns and manly men, I suppose.

Now the first year of this slate, it fell under the radar. The second year, they managed to get a few works on the ballot — works I read, and in some cases, enjoyed. Were they truly Hugo-worthy? No, not as much as other things on the ballot, but with one exception, I didn’t mind reading them.

This wasn’t enough, I suppose. This year, the Sad Puppies managed to put together a slate. Not just one or two works in a category — that wasn’t enough. This was enough to disrupt the random percolation of works to the point where whole categories of the Hugo awards are dominated by this slate — and I wonder what I’m missing that would have risen to the level of a Hugo nomination in any other year. (I suppose I’ll find out when the long list comes out — it’ll be harder to dig up the works, but I might have to read them.)

I’ll read the works. I take my duty as a Hugo voter seriously, and I will rate the works as I see fit. I may end up ranking No Award above them all if I don’t feel any of the works nominated rises to the level of a Hugo in my opinion. It’s the best I can do in a situation I am obviously not happy about.

But I feel as if something I enjoyed has become a grim, thankless task. Politics is never far from any human endeavor, but this year, it feels like it’s all politics. Because here’s the part I elided around: part of the reason for this slate is that certain folks thought the Hugo wasn’t conservative enough.

Now I’ll freely admit, I’m not exactly conservative in my politics. I went to Berkeley, after all. But everything I was taught both in my deeply conservative home town and in liberal Berkeley is that you treat people with courtesy and respect, no matter where they’re from or what they look like. Do I always live up to this? I’m a human being, I’d be lying if I said I did. But it’s a good yardstick to work from.

There are people nominated this year that seem, from my vantage point, to go against this yardstick. Their words are, at best, ill-conceived, and at worst, vile hatred of anybody not like themselves. Bigotry and misogyny are rampant. Is this truly the best science fiction has to offer? I don’t think so, but apparently I’m wrong.

There’s a saying that when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. And while I’m not going to just toss every work on the Sad Puppies slate out without actually looking at them first — see the above about treating my duty seriously — I can understand why others would be tempted to do just that.

But it means this year’s reading will be done grimly and without joy.

I’ll probably have more to say about this in the future, as I start to read, but this will do for now.

Mirrored from katster's closet.