Hugo Nominations 2017: thoughts part two

The bottom half of the Hugo ballot this year includes Best Series as a special category, as well as the usual:

Best Related Work
Best Graphic Story
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
Best Editor – Short Form
Best Editor – Long Form
Best Professional Artist
Best Semiprozine
Best Fanzine
Best Fancast
Best Fan Writer
Best Fan Artist

Best Series:

I’ll be nominating Lois McMaster Bujold for certain, since Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen means the Vorkosigan series qualifies. Whatever its flaws, that series contains some of the best science fiction of the last thirty years.

I may nominate Charlie Stross for the Laundry Files, which I think qualify.

I’m not entirely sure what else I want to nominate – Max Gladstone writes good books, but I feel like “Best Series” should be more of a keystone to a career, and I can’t think of another series with installments from last year that I’d consider an all-time best.

Best Related Work:

Sarah Gailey’s series around Rowling’s female characters on Tor.com, perhaps. Otherwise I am drawing a blank: I certainly didn’t read any related works in book form last year that’d count.

Best Graphic Story:

Bitch Planet Volume 1.

I didn’t read very widely in the graphic end of things last year. If anyone wants to supply my lack, do let me know.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form):

I think this category is probably going to go to Arrival, which I haven’t seen yet. I’d be happy to nominate all of Supergirl, mind you.

I’ll probably nominate Rogue One, despite my feelings as to its flaws, because it is an admirable piece of spectacle. I need to see Arrival before nominations close. I honestly don’t think I saw a film released last year in the cinema that impressed me at all apart from Rogue One.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):

I have to finish watching Supergirl, but I’m almost certainly going to nominate an episode from that show. (I already have some favourites in mind, but if there’s a particular episode other people are considering, let me know!)

I did not like where The 100 went after episode 3.06 (I ditched the show with 3.07, because hey, why hurt myself, right?), but 3.04, “Watch The Thrones,” is still pretty awesome television. (I have a weakness for fight scenes.) 3.03, “Ye Who Enter Here,” also good.

I don’t know that I watched anything else SFnal under an hour in 2016 that I’d rate all that highly. But I’m pretty bad for watching things vaguely contemporary with their release.

Best Editor – Short Form
Best Editor – Long Form

As usual, I’m going to pass over these categories, because I don’t feel I know enough about what is a “best” in an editor.

Best Professional Artist:

Julie Dillon
Victo Ngai
Richard Anderson

Best Semiprozine:

Tor.com.
Uncanny Magazine.
Lightspeed.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
Strange Horizons.

Best Fanzine:

Lady Business (ladybusiness.dreamwidth.org)

…er. I think the only place that qualifies as a fanzine that I’m still following is Lady Business. Well. That’s me sorted, then.

Best Fancast:

No longer following any podcasts in particular, though have a wistful fondness for Galactic Suburbia – if only I could make time to listen.

Best Fan Writer:

This is a category I am seriously underread in, for 2016. Who is best at saying clever things with incisive analysis and wit? Apart from Abigail Nussbaum, of course.

Best Fan Artist:

likhain, who also I think works under another name, does really good art. But this is another category where I know I don’t know much.

Hugo Nominations 2017: thoughts part one

Hugo nominations are open for the 2017 Worldcon in Helsinki. So I’m thinking that you all could, if you really wanted to, nominate me for Best Fan Writer. (I’d really like another shiny rocket nominee pin.)

 But that’s not why I’m writing this post. (I wasn’t really on fire last year, and I know it.) I’m writing because there was a lot of excellent work published in 2016, and I want to share my thoughts about what I’m — probably — nominating. This post is for the prose fiction categories: I’ll probably make another later for the rest.

Novel:

1. Yoon Ha Lee, NINEFOX GAMBIT. Solaris/Rebellion/Abaddon.

A glittering, compelling and brutal science fiction novel, with an ongoing thematic argument about free will, conformism, and the cost of empire. Everyone should read it. Brilliant in several respects.

2. Foz Meadows, AN ACCIDENT OF STARS. Angry Robot.

A portal fantasy of a different hue. With consequences, and found family. When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole between worlds, she’s not a chosen one, or a hero, or anything other than a girl who ends up in the middle of things she doesn’t understand, and tries to survive them. While making new friends and enemies along the way. It’s a fabulous novel, one of my favourite things.

3. Hillary Monahan, SNAKE EYES. Solaris/Rebellion/Abaddon.

 The most extraordinary fun gruesome touching urban fantasy novel that I’ve read in years. A thriller, a story of family, and a novel about monsters: it’s utterly great.

4. Nisi Shawl, EVERFAIR. Tor.

 A brilliant alternate history of the Congo, liberally dashed with myth and a touch of magic. Deeply invested in interrogating people and systems of power, small compromises and hypocrisies and larger ones, it is a sweeping novel of nation-building and relationships.

Possible contenders for the final slot: Gladstone and Smith et al, THE WITCH WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD (Serial Box); Palmer, TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING (Tor) — but I’m not convinced the first half of a duology that closes no arcs should hit the awards — Isabel Yap’s HURRICANE HEELS (Booksmugglers Publishing) if it qualifies; No Award.

Novella

 All my favourite novellas are out of Tor.com, and Laurie Penny’s Everything Belongs to the Future, Cassandra Khaw’s Hammers on Bone, and Marie Brennan’s Cold-Forged Flame are basically my top three. EDITED: I though Kai Ashante Wilson’s The Taste of Honey was novel-length but I was wrong, so IT IS NOW NUMBER ONE.

I should get Kij Johnson’s The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe read in time to consider it for addition to the list.

Novelette

 Fran Wilde’s The Jewel and Her Lapidary (Tor.com).

All the novelettes in Isabel Yap’s Hurricane Heels – dammit, don’t make me pick just one.

SL Huang’s The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist (Booksmugglers Publishing).

Meredith Debonnaire’s “The Life and Times of Angel Evans.” (Booksmugglers Publishing).

 

 Short Story

Alyssa Wong’s “A Fistful of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers” (Tor.com)

Aliette de Bodard’s “Lullaby for a Lost World” (Tor.com)

But mostly I don’t read short stories. Recommend me some?

James Tiptree Jr. and BSFA Award Winners

Congratulations to award winners!

The winners of the 2014 James Tiptree Jr. Award were recently announced. It’s a joint win for Monica Byrne’s The Girl In The Road and Jo Walton’s My Real Children, with an Honor List that includes Jennifer Marie Brissett’s Elysium, Emmi Itäranta’s Memory of Water, Jacqueline Koyanagi’s Ascension, Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon, Aliya Whiteley’s The Beauty, the anthology Kaleidoscope edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios, and stories by Nghi Vo, Pat MacEwen, Kim Curran, and Seth Chambers.

It’s a list mostly full of stuff I haven’t read yet, and which I now really want to read.

In other recent news, the BSFA Award was announced tonight. The winner for Best Novel was Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (following up last year’s tie with Gareth Powell), with Ruth E.J. Booth taking the prize in Short Fiction, Tessa Farmer leading the field in Art, and Edward James winning Best Nonfiction. (Information sourced from Twitter, since the BSFA website doesn’t seem to have the winners up yet.)

As for the other science fiction award of which so much news has been heard this weekend, I have few thoughts. Last year was an outlier for me in terms of how much interest I had in the Hugo Awards – the Worldcon was taking place in London, which meant I could attend, and the shortlist turned out to include me, among a bunch of people that actually pretty much reflected what I am interested in. Most years, as far as I can tell, the Hugo Awards bear very little relation to Stuff I Am Excited About.

I wasn’t expecting it to be so effectively hacked by people who sympathise with actual hate groups as backlash, mind you, but I have very little emotional investment in the Hugo Awards and Worldcon as a concept. Well done, Puppy Slate and G*m*rg*t*, for successfully applying a party whip to pretty much open-access pay-per-vote award nominations! You’ve dented a toy some other people like to play with, good show all around, your parents and preschool teachers would be very proud of you. How very… tedious.

I read over 200 novels last year, and a good half of them were probably 2014-vintage-new. Remind me to do a weekly post about a thing from last year that excited me, between now and August? I still have things to read from last year, as well. This seems like a good excuse to maybe read them.

And maybe go through the forthcoming Speculative Fiction 2014 for the purposes of finding Things That Excite Me. And talking about them.

Oh, I should probably mention. I have a Patreon now. In case anyone wants to pay me directly for book reviews. (Money is useful for things like lunch. And books.)