Brief Respite

Hello all, this last week was a doozy, including emergency grant proposals, book proposals, a bedbug infestation that my roommate brought back from NYC, all on top of a minor medical procedure. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled posts next week. For now, I’m going to sleep…if I can ever get these phantom itches to go away…

Check out the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival!

The Three Rivers Storytelling Festival is an amazing festival in Pennsylvania that puts on a full weekend event during the summer. They’re currently running an Indiegogo campaign to help raise the last of the funds they need to make this year’s festival a success, so you should totally support their Indiegogo. They have some awesome backer rewards, and any little bit helps! So, if you love storytelling, or live in PA and want to attend the festival, you should totally check them out!

Hugo Awards Summary

So, check out the various posts for the specific review of each piece, but here are the awards categories and how I will be voting. For specifics on how the voting works, check out the rules. Essentially, I’ve numbered them for the order in which I think they are worthy of a Hugo, with the exception of Skip (which means I don’t have enough an opinion to vote in any way) or No Award (I don’t think it should get the Hugo, even if it means not giving any out). Check out my voting stub!

Best Novel

  • #1 – Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
  • Skip – Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross (Ace / Orbit UK)
  • Skip – Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia (Baen Books)
  • No Award – Parasite, Mira Grant (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
  • No Award – The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books / Orbit UK)

Best Novella 

  • #1 – The Butcher of Khardov, Dan Wells (Privateer Press)
  • #2 – Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean Press)
  • #3 – “The Chaplain’s Legacy”, Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jul-Aug 2013)
  • Skip – “Equoid”, Charles Stross (Tor.com, 09-2013)
  • No Award – “Wakulla Springs”, Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages (Tor.com, 10-2013)

Best Novelette (This was by far the strongest category)

  • #1 – “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling”, Ted Chiang (Subterranean, Fall 2013)
  • #2 – “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”, Mary Robinette Kowal (maryrobinettekowal.com/Tor.com, 09-2013)
  • #3 – “The Waiting Stars”, Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky, Candlemark & Gleam)
  • #4 – “Opera Vita Aeterna”, Vox Day (The Last Witchking, Marcher Lord Hinterlands)
  • Skip – “The Exchange Officers”, Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jan-Feb 2013)

Best Short Story 

  • #1 – “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere”, John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)
  • #2 – “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor.com, 04-2013)
  • Skip – “Selkie Stories Are for Losers”, Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons, Jan-2013)
  • No Award – “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”, Rachel Swirsky (Apex Magazine, Mar-2013)

Best Graphic Story

  • #1 – “Time”, Randall Munroe (XKCD)
  • #2 – Saga, Volume 2, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  • #3 – “The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who”, written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Jimmy Broxton (Doctor Who Special 2013, IDW)
  • #4 – Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City, written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
  • No Award – The Meathouse Man, adapted from the story by George R.R. Martin and illustrated by Raya Golden (Jet City Comics)

Best Dramatic Presentation

  • #1 – Frozen,screenplay by Jennifer Lee, directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee (Walt Disney Studios)
  • #2 – Iron Man 3, screenplay by Drew Pearce & Shane Black, directed by Shane Black (Marvel Studios; DMG Entertainment; Paramount Pictures)
  • #3 – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, screenplay by Simon Beaufoy & Michael Arndt, directed by Francis Lawrence (Color Force; Lionsgate)
  • Skip – Gravity, written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films; Warner Bros.)
  • Skip – Pacific Rim, screenplay by Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros., Disney Double Dare You)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • #1 - Doctor Who: “The Name of the Doctor”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Televison)
  • #2 - Doctor Who: “The Day of the Doctor”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Television)
  • #3 – An Adventure in Space and Time, written by Mark Gatiss, directed by Terry McDonough (BBC Television)
  • #4 – The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, written & directed by Peter Davison (BBC Television)
  • Skip – Game of Thrones: “The Rains of Castamere”, written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
  • Skip - Orphan Black: “Variations under Domestication” written by Will Pascoe, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions; Space/BBC America)

Best Professional Artist (624 nominating ballots)

  • #1 – John Harris
  • #2 – Daniel Dos Santos
  • #3 – Julie Dillon
  • #4 – John Picacio
  • #5 – Fiona Staples
  • #6 – Galen Dara

Best Fan Artist 

  • #1 – Sarah Webb
  • #2 – Mandie Manzano
  • #3 – Brad W. Foster
  • #4 – Steve Stiles
  • Skip – Spring Schoenhuth

Unfortunately, there are some categories I just either had no interest in, or had no way to really know how I was voting. Maybe next year when I have more time to dig into these I’ll be able to feel confident in my vote, but there just wasn’t time this year. But here are the nominees in case you were curious.

Best Related Work 

  • Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It, Edited by Sigrid Ellis & Michael Damian Thomas (Mad Norwegian Press)
  • Speculative Fiction 2012: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary, Justin Landon & Jared Shurin (Jurassic London)
  • “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative”, Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)
  • Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, Jeff VanderMeer, with Jeremy Zerfoss (Abrams Image)
  • Writing Excuses Season 8, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Jordan Sanderson

Best Editor, Short Form

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form

  • Ginjer Buchanan
  • Sheila Gilbert
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Lee Harris
  • Toni Weisskopf

Best Semiprozine

  • Apex Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Jason Sizemore, and Michael Damian Thomas
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews
  • Interzone, edited by Andy Cox
  • Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, and Stefan Rudnicki
  • Strange Horizons, edited by Niall Harrison, Brit Mandelo, An Owomoyela, Julia Rios, Sonya Taaffe, Abigail Nussbaum, Rebecca Cross, Anaea Lay, and Shane Gavin

Best Fanzine

  • The Book Smugglers, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James
  • A Dribble of Ink, edited by Aidan Moher
  • Elitist Book Reviews, edited by Steven Diamond
  • Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Lynda E. Rucker, Pete Young, Colin Harris, and Helen J.Montgomery
  • Pornokitsch, edited by Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin

Best Fancast

  • The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch
    (Producer)
  • SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester
  • The Skiffy and Fanty Show, Shaun Duke, Jen Zink, Julia Rios, Paul Weimer, David Annandale, Mike Underwood, and Stina Leicht
  • Tea and Jeopardy, Emma Newman and Peter Newman
  • Verity! Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond

Best Fan Writer

  • Liz Bourke
  • Kameron Hurley
  • Foz Meadows
  • Abigail Nussbaum
  • Mark Oshiro

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  • Wesley Chu
  • Max Gladstone
  • Ramez Naam
  • Sofia Samatar
  • Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Dirty Little Bookers Interviewed Benjamin Grant!

Dirty Little Bookers chose Undeliverable as their first ever Indie Spotlight book, and as such is doing a series of features on the book! This includes a giveaway, and an interview with Benjamin Grant! Check it out, its pretty cool, and keep an eye out for their reviews of the book!

Hugo Awards 2014 (Part 3)

Alright, I finally have my thoughts on the novels up for consideration in some sort of order:

Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie
This was the only book, out of all five up for the novel Hugo, that I felt deserved to be up for nomination, and it was gorgeous. Ann Leckie, I have no idea how you mind could keep that all straight to create it, but kudos. It was flawlessly executed. Its a complex novel with chapters that alternate between a past time line and the current, with a main character who is both a singular part of a ‘hive’ identity, and the overarching whole. Its fascinating and explores the concept of ‘self’ quite beautifully. Its trippy, trying to keep track of things at times, but Leckie accomplished it with very little fuss. Definitely my vote for first.

Neptune’s Brood - Charles Stross
This one had real promise, just like some of the others. But, again, the author failed to deliver. This time it wasn’t a lack of movement, or disinterest, or poor handling of tropes. Nope, this one failed in that trap that a lot of speculative writers fall into: too much world building. The first couple pages are so concerned with making full use of the terminology of their extensive banking system knowledge that I had to read through it four times just to figure out what the plot was about. And it turns out, this whole construction is really not necessary for understanding anything so far. I’m halfway. I don’t think I’ll read anymore because the entire book is like this. I just feel like I’m being pounded over the head with world building again and again, and I just want to yell, “We get it! Your world is wicked different, shut up already and tell the story!” Don’t get me wrong, all the various things he’s built are pretty cool, but most of the time, all the details he layers in are completely unnecessary to the scene/plot and he just needs to calm down. I might give it a shot again after I cool down from being so frustrated with it, but then again, I might not. I’ve got better things to read.

Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles - Larry Correia
This book was a total meh for me. So meh that every time I put it down, I couldn’t remember what had been happening when I next went to pick it up. I’ll probably just leave the area for this one blank on the voters form so people who actually have an opinion about it can weigh in.

The Wheel of Time – Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
I’d never been a big fan of the series, and this is just a compilation of all the novels up for the Hugo. I’m going to vote No Award because I just don’t feel its worthy of it. Plus I think its being sneaky about getting around the publication rules.

Parasite - Mira Grant
No award. NO AWARD. Oh god this was such a…okay, I’m going to try not to give you too many spoilers in my rant about this book. <rant> This book had SO MUCH POTENTIAL. Its an interesting twist on the zombie thriller type story, with a potentially fascinating main character. But, here’s the trouble. You know the rule of chekov’s gun? Well, anybody but the least intelligent readers ever have figured out by approximately 50 pages in that there are four great big f**king Uzis hanging over the fireplace of this story…and then they don’t go off until way late in the story. And in the meantime, this potentially fascinating character sits around twiddling her thumbs and being pathetic and letting things happen to her (she never takes agency in the whole frickign novel), passes out several times, screams a lot, and then at the end of the book FINALLY FIGURES SHIT OUT and sequel set up! That’s it. I wanted to scream and shake the author. Or the editor. If this book even had an editor. There is so much talking in circles and unnecessary interaction/set-up/exposition/dialogue that should have been cut way the hell out, and the character needed to take her life into her own hands and actually DO something about the impending apocalypse. But no. She’s either too dumb or too lazy, but I’m leaning towards dumb. Seriously, all of the signs were there from the VERY BEGINNING and it took her 500 pages…I can’t say this enough NO AWARD. </rant>

I’ve got some other categories to go through, and I’ll have more thoughts next week!