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That’s a cover by the awesome Keliana Tayler (http://kiki-tayler.deviantart.com/). I hope we’ll have more of her awesome work in our pages! All the photos in this issue are from the great Richard Man and, officially are Copyright (C) 2011-2013 Richard Man http:// richardmanphoto.com. There’s also art from Steve Stiles, Galen Dara, and the return of Mr. Teddy Harvia! Woohoo! More on that later... Indeed! It’s the 7th consequetive year that The Drink Tank is on the ballot! This is awesome and there are so many folks to thank! Of course, James Bacon, for coming along and making it so much more fun to do this thing! Bill Burns, of course, who has made it possible to do this thing by providing eFanzines.com! There’s also Taral Wayne, the finest writer and one of the biggest things missing from the ballot this year. Mo Starkey, MO!, who we love and has been great for us at The Drink Tank and whose win last year was a very special moment. Steve Stiles, Ditmar, Taral, Hilary Pearlman, Claire Garcia, Ric Bretschneider, and so many others! And there are the writers. Deb Bretschneider, Jason Wiener, Lloyd Penney, Tangylwyst, and on and on and on. We had a lot of great folks in the pages of the Drink Tank and I am so grateful that we’re on the ballot again! And also for Journey Planet! We’re on the ballot along with Emma King and Helen Montgomery (The Gender Parity issue) and Pete Young (the Blade Runner issue). 2012 was the best year yet for Journey Planet and I’m so glad we can be on the ballot with the three of them, the best trio I could imagine working with! It’s always a good thing.
Now, here’s the annual Handicapping issue. It’s the big one, typically, and I’ve been driving myself crazy trying to get the thing done, but here it is. BAM! It was a tough road to make it this year, so much to go through, but it was also very much worth it! Lots of good stuff on the ballot this year. And lots of great stuff was left off, sadly. Some I’ll beweep in more detail in the various sections. Every year there’s amazing stuff not put on the ballot, but there are some very important stuff to me personally that didn’t end up on the ballot and that makes me personally sad. And maybe that’s a part of my personal attachment to these awards. Between my Dad’s introducing me to them, to my own personal infatuation with the winners over the years, and the road I took to the ballot and to the Rocket, I’ve got a lot of connection with the Hugos as a general concept, and to many of the specific nominees. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a friend on the ballot for the first time (Mo Starkey will attest to this as I nearly killed her with a jumping tackle hug when she first told me), and seeing some left off, especially people whose work I love and admire, makes me sad.
SO, this year, there’s a lot to talk about and I’m lucky enough to be joined by some great folks in this one. There’s James Bacon, with his three nominations, writing on comics, and Best Fancast and Fan Writer nominee Tansy Roberts, has a piece on the Hugo for Best John W. Cambell Award for Best New Writer! There’s more, of course, and as I’ve been swimming through all the categories, my eyes are still a bit crossed from all the work of putting this one together!
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sale, which means it’s a constantly changing ballot, and many of this year’s nominees are on
Photo Copyright (C) 2011-2013 Richard Man http://richardmanphoto.
How Handicapped Are The Hugos? By howeird There has been a lot of discussion in Tweetland, on the Book of Face and even on some journal sites (live and dreamy) about Hugo nominations and even the Hugos themselves being decided by the popularity of the authors rather than by the quality of the work. I think there is some truth to that. But I don’t think it’s necessarily a Bad Thing™. Here’s why: Author popularity is a spiral. An author writes something we enjoy, word gets around, others read and enjoy it. And word gets around some more. Once we read and enjoy, we are now more aware of the author, and make of point of seeking that person’s work – both future and past. I’m pretty sure this is how most of us “collect” our list of favorite authors. If an author continues to produce work we enjoy, we are bound to read it, tell our friends, nominate it for a Hugo, vote for it for a Hugo. Those of us in a club such as BASFA will also nominate and vote for the works of club members – not just because they are our friends, but because they are our very talented friends whose work we enjoy. So yes, Hugo nominations are a popularity contest. A contest where the contestants’ popularity is based on the quality of their work.
Just Because It’s Not a Hugo Doesn’t Mean their final year of eligibility. Sadly, just as one sign of ageing is the way It’s Not Awesome. that dentists, doctors, policemen and The Doctor By Tansy Rayner Roberts all start to look alarmingly young, another is the The John W Campbell award occupies an way that a ballot of Best New Writers is more odd sort of space at the bottom of the Hugo likely every year to be a list of you haven’t got ballot. It’s not a Hugo, people are quick to add, around to reading yet, or have not even heard of. but fewer and fewer each year know why that is That was how it was for me this year, so the case. I set out on an quest to find out who these [Short answer: because it’s funded by New Writers are, and why I should be paying sponsorship from Dell Magazines, not the attention to them. Worldcon, and instead of a Hugo trophy you get a tiara] Previous winners of the Campbell have included C.J. Cherryh, Orson Scott Card, Lucius Shepard, Karen Joy Fowler, Ted Chiang, Mary Doria Russell, Nalo Hopkinson, Cory Doctorow, John Scalzi and Seanan McGuire. Previous nominees who have not in fact won, incidentally, include George RR Martin, Suzy McKee Charnas, Joan D Vinge, Bruce Sterling, Sheri S Tepper, Tad Williams, Lois McMaster Bujold, Delia Sherman, Kage Baker, Tobias S. Buckell, Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie and Gail Carriger. So, just making it as far as the ballot is a pretty big deal, right? Writers are only eligible for this during the two year period after their first professional
Zen Cho (second year of eligibility) A Malaysian living in London, Zen is mostly known for her short stories and novelettes. Her novella “The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo” is on
and as a magical legal thriller) was published in October 2012. Publisher’s Weekly said: “The combination of legal thriller and steam-powered fantasy may Amazon and available free on her website1 - she seem improbable, but Gladstone makes it work describes it as an epistolary romance set in the with an appealing cast and a setting rich with imaginative details, like a priest who shows his 1920’s. I have to say the thing that leaps out at devotion to a fire-god by chain-smoking, junkies me most about Zen during my research is her getting high on vampire bites, cops who become gorgeous talent for naming her stories. Her part of a hive-mind when on duty, and the binding short story titles include “The Earth Spirit’s of divine power by legal contracts.”3 Max was interviewed at Diverse Pages, Favourite Anecdote” (ASIM) and “First National Forum on the Position of Minorities in Malaysia,” talking about the experience of writing a book (Fantastique Unfettered) a story which was a with a woman of colour as the main protagonist, finalist in the Selangor Young Talent Awards 2011 and also how the global financial crisis inspired his novel: and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. “In terms of style, I like what P. G. “This invisible world, populated by Wodehouse says about there being two ways immortal, immaterial entities, was falling apart, to write novels: “One is mine, making a sort of and its destruction had a real effect on how musical comedy without music and ignoring real people lived their lives. It reminded me of life altogether; the other is going right deep down Ragnarok. A twilight of weird gods. It was a short into life and not caring a damn …” My stories jump from there to thinking of the bankruptcy are probably more on the musical comedy side.” process (slice the entity open, chop out the notworkIt was a short jump from there to thinking (Zen Cho)2 of the bankruptcy process (slice the entity open, Zen Cho’s website: http://zencho.org/ chop out the not-working bits, re-wire it back On Twitter: @zenaldehyde together, tell Igor to get cranking on the lightning rods) as a kind of necromancy--and then I had Max Gladstone (first year of eligibility) Max’s debut novel Three Parts Dead the seed of the book.”4 Gladstone’s website: http://www. (described in various places as urban fantasy Max
maxgladstone.com/ On Twitter: @maxgladstone Mur Lafferty (second year of eligibility) A podcaster long before the rest of the spec fic world caught up to the potentials of the form, Mur began using podcasts to discuss her geek interests and share essays with “Geek Fu Action Grip” which launched in December 2004, and then “I Should Be Writing,” which documented her adventures as a developing writer. She also began podcasting her fiction in serial form. Mur’s podcasting cred led to her becoming editor of Escape Pod (from 2010) and running the Angry Robot podcast. Meanwhile, she made her first professional short fiction sale, “1963: The Argument Against Louis Pasteur” to Ann & Jeff VanderMeer’s anthology The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. Her monster travel-guide novel, The Shambling Guide To New York City will be published by Orbit in May 2013, and is the first of a series. “One thing I’ve discovered is a love of writing for many different media. I’d love to be writing books, but also scripts for web series, and still putting out original, episodic podcast fiction. Of course, being a best-seller, Hugo-winner, and “making enough money to live off of” are nice goals too.”5
Mur Lafferty’s Website: http://murverse.com/ On Twitter: @mightymur
very real and living beliefs. I wanted to reflect that in the books. So, all belief systems carry equal weight in my novels. All are equally as Stina Leicht (second year of eligibility) valid and real. The Catholic Church doesn’t Stina’s first novel, Of Blood and Honey, was agree because it flat out doesn’t. In fact, they’ve nominated for the Crawford Award last year as categorized fairies as fallen angels. I didn’t make well as making her eligible for the Campbell. The that up.”7 sequel, And Blue Skies From Pain, was released Stina Leicht’s Website: http://www.csleicht.com/ last year. In an interview with Jim C Hines, she On Twitter: @StinaLeicht describes her work as “historical urban fantasy with an Irish crime edge” and went on to Chuck Wendig (second year of eligibility) discuss the challenges of writing fantasy fiction A games and media writer of longstanding based around the Troubles, a recent era of Irish (his bios usually mention that he has contributed history which had such a devastating effect on over 2 million words to the roleplaying game a whole country, and yet was often ignored by industry), Chuck has only recently moved into the rest of the world: “It meant gathering more prose fiction with novels such as Double Dead, than one account of events — checking and Blackbirds and Mockingbird coming out in 2011 triple checking. It meant having locally written and 2012, and several more due to be published materials shipped to me because I wouldn’t have in 2013. He has also written the short story any other access. It made interviewing at least collection Irregular Creatures and a collection of one person who’d lived through The Troubles essays on the subject of writing, Confessions of a a necessity. Frankly, I had all the problems of a Freelance Penmonkey. non-fiction writer. Also, I knew I had a hard sell Among the Hugo crowd, Chuck is probably on my hands. I had to earn that setting with all best known for his popular blog and in particular my might. Sloppiness just wasn’t an option.”6 his writing about craft and the industry. Stina’s books also draw heavily on Celtic Blackbirds and Mockingbird (Angry mythology, as well as acknowledging the importance of Christianity to the history of how those stories have been told and retold: “These aren’t quaint traditions. They’re Robot) are about Miriam Black, a woman with the talent to see people’s death the first time she touches them. In an interview with SF Signal, Chuck said:“Blackbirds comes from a
personal place wherein I experienced that very unfortunate part of every person’s life where you realize all the people you love are going to die and that you’re gonna join ‘em. In that sense it’s almost a power fantasy about power over death, but that power doesn’t come easy, and being what it is it can’t come without a hard dose of tragedy, too.”8 Chuck Wendig’s Website: http://terribleminds. com/ On Twitter: @ChuckWendig Tansy Rayner Roberts is a podcaster, a blogger and a novelist living in Tasmania,Australia. Check out her blog at http://tansyrr.com/, and her podcasts Galactic Suburbia and Verity! You can find her on Twitter as @tansyrr (Endnotes)
1 http://zencho.org/jade-yeo-free-toread-online/ 2 http://worldsf.wordpress. com/2012/03/19/interview-with-zen-cho/ 3 http://www.publishersweekly.com/9780-7653-3310-0 4 h t t p : / / w w w . d i v e r s e - p a g e s . com/2012/11/author-interview-max-gladstone.html 5 http://www.jimchines.com/2012/05/campbellinterview-lafferty/ 6 http://www.jimchines.com/2012/05/campbellinterview-leicht/ 7 http://www.sfwa.org/2012/04/an-interview-withstina-leicht/ 8 http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2013/02/thesf-signal-podcast-episode-178-interview-with-chuckwendig/
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Convention Art Shows and Dealer’s Rooms Has she had stuff in The Drink Tank? YES! Pros – Great stuff in an area that many folks adore... Cons - ...and others don’t I love Spring! She’s local, she does amazing pieces (and I need to buy The Lovely & Talented Linda a couple of piece!) and I’m happy to see her on the ballot. Still, there are a lot of folks who aren’t fond of having a Jewelry maker on the ballot. I happen to like her up here and I think it shows a nice level of diverse kinda of works. Odds – 12-to-1
Fourth Place – Steve Stiles Number of Previous Nominations – 11 Best Finish – Second, Last year What He’s Known For – Amazing amounts of amazing pieces of art! The cover for Claims Department 15 Has he had stuff in The Drink Tank – Several things, in fact! Pros – One of the all-time greats Cons – None, really. Steve’s a legend. He’s in Cooperstown, has the Rotsler Award, if one of the most beloved of all the Fan Artists. He was even on the first ballot for Best Fan Artist. Other than perhaps
Best Fan Artist
Last Year’s Winner – Mo ‘The Thrill’ Starkey! Most wins in category – Brad W. Foster! Not on the Ballot – TARAL WAYNE! I really don’t get that. DITMAR! In lower-case, Espana Sheriff, Sue Mason, Dephyn, Frank Wu, D West First time on ballot – Galen Dara Fifth Place – Spring Shoenhuth Number of Previous Nominations – One, last year. Best Finish – Fifth, last year What’s She Known For – Jewelry found in Art from Steve Stiles
Stanley Schmidt, there is no one who more deserves a Hugo than Steve Stiles, but I just don’t see it happening this year. Odds – 8-to-1 Third Place – Galen Dara Number of Previous Nominations – First time on the ballot Best Finish – We’ll see What she’s known for – Illustrations for things like Lightspeed and Apex. Has she had things in The Drink Tank – Not until NOW! Pros – A fascinating style in highly visible venues Cons – First time on the ballot. Not the biggest name with Hugo voters, maybe? Hasn’t had anythign in fanzines that I can remember. I hadn’t heard of Galen when I heard about the nominations, but I recognised some of her works when I looked into it. She’s good, I really enjoy her technique and the way she paints is both lovely and disturbing! Still, it’s rare that a straight illustrator for mostly semi-pros has won. Frank Wu didn’t win until after he started to get his art out to fanzines, and I think that may well hold in this case as well. Still, Galen’s awesome and one of the most exciting first time entries onto the ballot this year! Odds - 4-to-1 Second Place – Maurine Starkey Number of Previous Nominations – 2 Best Finish – MO WON LAST YEAR!!!! What she’s known for – Covers for The Drink Tank, acrylic paintings, fun! Has she had stuff in The Drink Tank – LOTS! PROS – WON LAST YEAR! Has done lots of covers. Cons – Won last year, some see her 2012 covers as less exciting than 2011’s I love Mo. You know that. It was the highlight of my year to see her climb that stage in Chicago and accept the award. I think she does wonderful work (my favorite cover of 2012 was her Buckaroo Bonzai cover!) and she’s always out there. Still, of late, repeats are getting rarer. Odds – 3-to1 Art from Galen Dara (originally in Lovecraftzine)
Winner – Brad W. Foster Number of Previous Nominations – Twenty-five Best Previous Finish – He’s won 8 of the things What he’s known for – Fanzine art, especially detailed and awesome fanzine art Has he had stuff in The Drink Tank – Yes, though he’s done more for other Garciazines! Pros – A great, beloved artist from Texas. Cons – None, really. Brad W. Foster is from Texas, he’s won recently (2011) and he’s still doing great stuff that you can find all over the place. His stuff is great, I love it, though it took me years to really come to it. I think he’ll take it, and it’s not a bad thing. Odds – 2-to-1 The big thing to me is the lack of Taral. He’s had less art out there recently, which I understand, but still he’s one of the best artists out there. This is a diverse ballot, and I like that. I especially like that there is tradition, and a new direction. Now, Steve Stiles is the guy who I would love to have surprise me and win it.Yes, it would be great if any of them won, but Stiles is master of his work, he’s been doing amazing work at an amazing rate for ages and ages. That’s not a requirement, but when you’ve got a ballot full of people who deserve recognition for the stuff they’ve been doing, it’s something that I think about. Next year, I’d expect perhaps more Europeans. Might Sue Mason be back on the ballot in the UK? Perhaps D West (whose covers for Banana Wings and Inca are spectacular) or maybe Harry Bell.
Where can you find it – http://www.starshipsofa. com/ Pros – Well-respected and widely listened-to Last Year’s Winner – SF Squeecast podcast. Most wins in category – SF Squeecast Cons – I can’t understand a word that one guy Not on the Ballot – FANBOYPLANET PODCAST! Thirds Place – StarShipSofa says! Geeky Girl Crafts Podcast! Nerdvana Podcast, StarShipSofa is a pretty good podcast, Two Minute Timelord, I Should Be Writing, Radio Previous Nominations – 1, but also up for Best Fanzine Twice despite my inability to parse some of the accents. Free Skaro, Oodcast rd Best Previous Finish – 3 , but it also won Best I think they do some good stuff, but I also think First time on ballot – None. Fanzine once. that where once they were the big dog, they are Fifth Place – Coode Street Podcast Number of Previous Nominations – 1 Best Previous Finish - 4th last year Where can you find it - http://www. jonathanstrahan.com.au/wp/the-coode-streetpodcast/ Pros – A popular podcast by some fine folks. Cons – Bigger names and perhaps larger listenership with some of the others I’m not big on Coode Street myself. Not sure why, it just doesn’t speak to me. I really like Kij Johnson on it, and I like Gary Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan, but it’s just not for me. Go figure. Odds – 10-to1 Fourth Place – Galactic Suburbia Number of Previous Nominations – 1 Best Previous Finish - 5th Where Can you find it - http://galactisuburbia. podbean.com/ Pros – a wonderful podcast that is serious and smart and engaging Cons – Not as widely heard as many of the others I’ve said that Galactic Suburbia is the best podcast in the world. I hold on to that statement!
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It’s fantastic and 2012 was as good as 2011 and I can not say it more clearly – You Should Be Listening To Galactic Suburbia, DAMMIT! Odds – 8-to-1
far less so now. Still, it’s good listening, has a loyal following and will do OK. Odds – 7-to-1
win you a Hugo. Odds – 3-to-2
Best Fan Writer
There was some dissatisfaction with the Second Place – SF Signal list of nominees this year as it was exactly the Previous Nomination – 1 same as last year. I understand that. If you look nd Best Finish - 2 at the stats from last year, you’ll see that there Where can you find it – sfsignal.com was something of a jump between those on the Pros – solid and wide-ranging content. Well- ballot and those left off the ballot. Whereas many produced and entertaining. categories might have a gap of a couplafew, there Cons – Not the big names on the ballot. was something like 10 or so between the lowest SF Signal’s awesome! I enjoy it, I even on the list and the highest off the list. I like this list, appeared on it last year! It’s the kind of podcast and while not all of them are my thing, they’re all that fans enjoy and pros love appearing on! I think pretty darn good, and I especially like the different that it’s one of the top podcasts (and websites) modes and styles and personalities. that folks turn to and I am betting it will do very And I think this category has legs. It’s got a well. The only think that stops it from taking the good list of nominees, has a LOT of possible ‘casts top slot is there’s another on the ballot that has for nomination, and I hope it’ll keep on going. much bigger nae recognition. Odds – 2-to1 Winner – SF Squeecast Previous Nomination – 1, just like everyone else. Best Finish – It won! Where can you find it - http://sfsqueecast.com/ Pros – BIG Names having a lot of fun squeeing about stuff. Cons – Won last year? I’ve always been kinda creeped out by their logo... SO, I loe Squeecast, it’s a bunch of fun from a bunch of writers who I love to listen to. And it’s got a great following. With a line-up that includes Paul Cornell, Cat Valente, Elizabeth Bear, Seanan McGuire, and Lynne Thomas, it’s a great team and they play off each other so very well. I can’t see another podcast competing with it for sheer name value, and often that’s what’ll Art by Teddy Harvia
Last Year’s Winner – Jim C. Hines Most wins in category – Dave Langford with Trillions... Not on the Ballot – TARAL WAYNE!!!, Claire Brialey!!!, Mark Plummer!!!, John Hertz, Mette Hedin, Bruce Gillespie, Niall Harrison, Liz Batty First time on ballot – Tanya Rayner Roberts, Mark Oshiro Fifth Place – James Bacon Previous nominations – 2 Best Finish - 4th in 2011 Has he Appeared in The Drink Tank – He’s the co-editor! What’s my favorite of his 2012 pieces – His stuff in the Before Watchmen issue of The Drink Tank Pros – a nearly tireless writer who shows up all over the place Cons – Is sometimes saddled with a lame editor who doesn’t his work justice... James’ stuff is so good. I love it, and at times I have been guilty of not working with his manuscripts enough for final presentation in both The Drink Tank and Journey Planet. Mea Culpa. Still, James has a voice that is distinctive and smart, opinionated and pointed, at times. HE’s a good writer who is helped out by a good editor. The issue of Challenger from a couple of years ago was a prime example of James at the height of his writing powers. Sadly, I don’t think he’ll win this year, though he may have a shot at it next year. Odds – 12-to-1
Fourth Place – Steven H Silver Previous Nominations – 11 Best Finish – he came in second last year Has he appeared in The Drink Tank - Of course! My favorite of his pieces from last year was a look at the great Rusty Hevelin. My favorite of his 2012 pieces – That Rusty Piece. Pros – A long-time regular on the ballot and a fine writer and human being Cons – maybe not as visible as he was a few years back. Last year was the best shot he’s had at winning. He’s come close more than once, I believe he has the most first place votes once or twice. I was hoping that he’d win last year, but Mr. Hies took the Rocket. He’s a great writer, his stuff is really well-researched and drawn almost perfectly. I hope he gets a Hugo soon. The man deserves it! Odds – 10-to1 Third Place – Christopher J Garcia Previous Nominations – 7 Best Finish - 2nd in 2011 Has he appeared in The Drink Tank – Once in a while. My Favorite of his 2012 pieces – I’m partial to the piece I did for Exhibition Hall on Jack the Ripper. Pros – writes a lot... Cons – ...not particularly well Let’s face it: I’m not the best writer in the world. I like to write, I do it as much as I can, and I love it. I don’t think I’ll ever win one of these, and I’m at least a little surprised to still be on the ballot. Last year, finishing up the 52 Weeks to Science Fiction Film Literacy, I didn’t write as
much different stuff as I’d have liked. Odds – 10-to1 Second – Tansy Rayner Roberts Previous Nomiantions – none. Best Finish – Well, none. Has she appeared in The Drink Tank – Not until this issue! What’s my favorite of her 2012 pieces - http:// tansyrr.com/tansywp/mothers-and-daughtersbattle-embroidery-and-bears/ Pros – She’s a great writer and does really enjoyable pieces Cons – Some don’t like Professional writers on Best Fan Writer ballot I like Tansy’s writing quite a bit. She’s also a part of the Galactic Suburbia team. Yes, she’s a professional writer, but she certainly does do fan writing (and I have proof, in these very pages!) I hope that she’ll write more for zines! I think she’s got a great deal of exposure and that’ll help her end up in the top. Odds – 5-to1
anything about Mark Reads. It’s good stuff, and he’s a great guy in every interaction I’ve had with him. He’s a big name blogger, and a damn fine writer, and I have no doubt that he’ll take him the Rocket.
So, the big criticisms of the Ballot from several bloggers center around Best Fanzine and Best Fan Writer. No one seems to be complaining about Mark, and I certainly won’t. A number of blogs I’ve seen have pointed to me and Steven as having so many nominations and having out-stayed our welcome, our slots being better-used by other folks, most of the names mentioned being Bloggers of various stripes. In a couple of cases, they seem not to be unhappy with us as getting nominated, just that the same people get nominated and we just happen to be those same people. I get that, don’t agree with it, but I get it. Still, I think that this is a list that has some good variety. James writes for many different places, including the Forbidden Planet blog, Steven writes all over the place, I tend to stay within the zines, and Tansy and Mark have Winner – Mark Oshiro their blogs and so forth. Previous Nominations – None I am terrified that Claire falling off the Best Finish – See above. ballot is a harbinger of the future. Claire’s still Has he appeared in The Drink Tank – Not yet easily the Best Fan Writer in the World, with What’s my favorite of his 2012 pieces – His only Taral Wayne approaching her, and he’s not reading of Feed was good stuff! on the ballot either. I hope that Taral will get on Pros – A HUGE following (He’s done a Reading the ballot next year, and I’m pretty sure Claire Tour of the US!) will be on the ballot in London (since it’s her Cons – Some Hugo voters might not have heard hometown) and I hope that folks read Taral’s of him. 100th Drink Tank piece. It’s EXACTLY the kind From what I understand, Mark was of writing that I hope Hugo voters will honor. helped along by a blog post by Seanan McGuire. I’d heard of Mark Watches, but didn’t know
Major Contributors – Claire, Mark, and a lot of other folks. Pros – BRILLIANT fanzine dealing with fannish Last Year’s Winner – SF Signal matters. Most Wins in Category – Locus with 8 Not on the ballot – File 770, Challenger, Chunga, Cons – Not widely distributed Banana Wings is probably the best fanzine Inca,YIPE! in the world that is still primarily distributed on First time on the Ballot – Elitist Book Reviews paper. I think Claire’s writing is the best in the world, which I think is backed up by the fact Fifth Place – The Drink Tank that she’s got one of those rockets for Best Fan Number of Previous Nominations – 6 Writer, and Mark is probably the best fan writer Best Finish – WON in 2011 who has never been nominated. I love the stuff Editors – Chris Garcia & James Bacon Major Contributors – James Bacon, Chris Garcia, they’ve been doing and I would love to say they’ll finish higher, but I just don’t see it happening. Taral Wayne, Mo Starkey Pros – A former winner, did well last year Cons – Folks seem to have tired of it, almost 0 response. The Drink Tank. Oh how mighty ye once were! OK, that’s not true, but I’ve seen many people note that it’s no longer what it was, and even I admit that it’s not particularly consistent. On the other hand, it’s still a fun read, and 2012 was the completion of the 52 Weeks to Science Fiction Film Literacy. We’ve had some great art and writing over the last year, but I don’t expect to make it any higher than 5th on the list. Odds – 20-to1 Fourth Place – Banana Wings Number of Nomination – 7 Best Finish - 2nd a couple of times Editors – Claire Brialey & Mark Plummer
Odds – 12-to1 Third Place – journey Planet Number of Nominations – 1 Best Finish - 5th Editors – James Bacon & Chris Garcia, with Pete Young, Emma King, and Helen Montgomery Major contributors – Chris, James, Pete, Emma, Helen, and a HUGE number of contributors in 2012 Pros – Well-written material by a bunch of writers, both pros and fans, on themes. Cons – Didn’t do well last year. I really think that Journey Planet is one of the best fanzines in the world right now. I know that sounds weird coming from one of the editors, but if you take a look at the issues (http://journeyplanet.weebly.com/) you’ll see what we’re trying to do. The contributor list last year was huge, largely do to the Gender Parity issue where we had nearly 50 contributors. It’s a really good zine, and last year we got more notice than any other year. Still, not gonna be enough. Odds – 10-to1 Second Place – SF Signal Number of Nominations – 1 Best Finish – Won in Chicago Editors – John DeNardo, JP Frantz, & Patrick Hester Major Contributors – Also a ton of contributors Pros – BIG name site Cons – Won last year.
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It’s been a while since we’ve seen a repeat in Best Fanzine, PLOKTA was the last one to manage it back in 2005-06. I like SF Signal, though I don’t read it often. It’s still one of the touchstone sites for SF readers and fandom. It’s not gonna win, but it’ll be close. Odds – 4-to1
what Fanzines allow for can be illustrated by the Gender Parity issue of Journey Planet.There was an outcry about Gender Parity, going in both directions and scattered across blogs and sites around the world. You could go and comment on what was almost always a single opinion of the matter. In Journey Planet, there were more than 30 opinions, many of them echoing one Winner – Elitist Book Reviews another, but they did not look on one side, they Previous nominations – o were spread out across the issue.THAT is where Best Finish – None Zines have it all over blogs. Editor – Steve Diamond Next year will be interesting. I’d suspect Major Contributors – Vanessa, Shawn, Bryce Banana Wings to be on the ballot, and... well, Moore, Nick Sharpe who knows. It’s the UK, so I’m hoping that one Pros – a big ol’ site of reviews with a big following. or more of the impressive English zines right Cons – Some have said they’re turned off by now, like Inca, will make the ballot. the campaigning of Larry Correira for it, I think called the Sad Puppy Campaign or something like that. Elitist Book Reviews is a damn good site, no doubt, and it’s got a strong following and I’m thinking that it’ll take it, though it’ll be close. Odds – 3-to1 The harshest critics on Best Fanzine are pretty loud, including George RR Martin. Some make decent points. Most point to the idea that there are too many of the same names nominated again and againOther complaints are that there are still too many Fanzines when Blogs are obviously the dominant force. My major disagreement there is it’s called Best Fanzine. There was the re-definition movement that culminated in last year’s Business Meeting that appears to have had no effect. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, it’s time for a Best Amateur Blog category. Fanzines ARE still an important part of fandom, and I think the best illustration of
Photo Copyright (C) 2011-2013 Richard Man http://richardmanphoto.
Last Year’s Winner – Locus Most Wins in Category – Locus with 22 Not on the list – Weird Tales, Electric Velocipede, New York Review of Science Fiction, On Spec New to the Ballot – Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies Fifth Place – Beneath Ceaseless Skies Previous Nominations – None Been around since – 2008 How Many 2012 issue - 25 You can find it at - http://www.beneath-ceaselessskies.com/ Pros – Frequently published with some great names Cons – First time on the ballot, Fantasy-focus(?) It’s a good little mag, one that I don’t read every time it comes out, but a few times a year. It did publish The Book of Locked Doors, a story that was one of my faves from last year. One thing that BCS shows is that magazines aren’t just magazines anymore, with Podcasts and the like coming up and about within the magazine itself. Also, there are folks who want more SF content to their Best Semi-Pro mags, so there’s that. Odds – 8-to-1 Fourth Place – Strange Horizons Previous Nominations – 0 Been around since – 2000 How many 2012 issues – 51 You can find it at - http://www.strangehorizons. com/ Pros – Great magazine around for a long time.
Cons – Not the biggest magazine in the world. I’ve enjoyed Strange Horizons off-andon over the years, and Niall Harrison, who SHOULD be on the Best Fan Writer ballot one of these days, is a friend and a fine Editor-inChief. Last year was really good stuff. I know that for sure because I don’t think I read mearly as
many issues any other year I read it. Still, bigger names up above it! Odds – 6-to-1
Cons – Not many I love Apex, and they even lowered their standards enough to publish me last year! I’ve been a big fan for a while, and I’m glad they’re on Third Place – Lightspeed Magazine the ballot. Lynne Thomas, Jason Sizemore, and Previous Nominations – 2 Michael Thomas, are a great team and put out Been around since – 2010 a great product. Still, it’ll come close, but I don’t How many 2012 issues – 12 think it’ll win. You can find it at -http:// Odds – 3-to-1 www.lightspeedmagazine. com/ Winner – Clarkesworld Pros – Great magazine with Previous nominations – 3 a large readership and a fine Around since – 2006 editor! How many 2012 issues – 12 Cons – Not the biggest You can find it at - http://clarkesworldmagazine. magazine in the world. com/ On the ballot for Pros – Previous winner and a great magazine the third time, Llightspeed Cons – None? is a great magazine that gets I gotta give it to Clarkesworld. It’s a great nominations in the fiction magazine, it actually had an article from me WAY and editor categories. I back in the day, and it’s one of the best things to thought 2011 was better go out and read. Wonderful stories, and while than 2012, but it’s still top- not the first, was really the semi-prozine that notch. With the exception broke out and started to get nominations in the of F&SF, I thought it was the Fiction Hugo categories. It’s a wonderful mag, best magazine in SF last year! and I can’t recommend it enough. Odds – 5-to-1 Odds – 2-to-1 Second Place – Apex Magazine Previous Nominations – 1 Been Around since – 2005 How Many issues in 2012 – 12 You can find it at - http:// www.apex-magazine.com/ Pros – Great folks, big name authors and editors Semipro almost went away a few years ago, and now it looks much stronger than ever. Still, it’s not got Locus in the mix anymore, which is sad because I think Locus does great stuff, but these are five very good nominees. I am kinda bummed not to see Interzone on the ballot, or the New York Review of Science Fiction, but this list is really impressive. If I had to name 5 Semi-Prozines, these would all be among the first seven or so that I’d name!
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Last Year’s Winner – JOHN PICACIO!!!!! Most Wins in Category – Michael Whelan has 13 Not on the list – Fiona Staples!!!!! Michael Whelan, Bob Eggleton, Phil Foglio, Vincent Di Fate,Veronica Jones New to the Ballot – JULIE DILLON!!!!! Christian McGrath,Vincent Chong Fifth – Vincent Chong Previous Nominations – 0 Best Finish – None Where can you find his art - http://www. vincentchong-art.co.uk/ Pros – A wonderful artist Cons – who might not have the level of exposure that others on the ballot do I really like Vincent Chong’s work, though before the nominations I had never heard of him. I went to his site, found some great stuff, and spent a fair bit of time enjoying it. Now, I’m not an art expert, though I try to keep my eyes open, and the fact that I hadn’t heard of him does make me think that we’ll not see him finish highly, though is work is top-notch! Odds – 10-to-1
Fourth – Christian McGrath Previous nomination – 0 Best Finish – None. Where can you find his art - http://www. christianmcgrath.com/ Pros – an artist that is highly attached to a popular series Cons – I’m not sure he’s that widely known. Second – Daniel Dos Santos I instantly knew who Christian McGrath Previous Nominations – 4 was because of his attachment to Jim Butcher
Third – Julie Dillon Previous Nominations – 0 Best Finish – None Where can you find her art - http://www.juliedillonart. com/ Pros – an instantly recogniseable style Cons – might not be too well known yet. Julie’s stuff, especially her Steampunk stuff, is amazing. I love it, and the one called Planetary Alignment is the very essence of what Steampunk should look like. She was Artist Guest of Honor at Convolution, and was a favorite at the Art Show at Reno. Her stuff is so great, and I would not be shocked to see her on the ballot and taking home a rocket in the near-ish future! Odds – 6-to-1
Best finish – Second Where can you find his art - http://www. dandossantos.com/ Pros – Often nominated, recogniseable artist Cons – Not many I really enjoy Danny Two Saints’ art. It’s one of those things where I associate an author,
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Best Professional Artist
books. He does great covers, not quite iconic covers, but they’re both easily recogniseable and totally evocative. I’m a big fan his stuff, spent a fair bit of time on his site, but I’m not sure he’ll break through to a win this year. Odds – 8-to-1
in this case Patricia Briggs, with the art of their covers, in this case Dan’s. I love many of his covers, White Trash Zombies for example, and I think he’ll win on of these soon. Odds – 4-to-1 Winner – John Picacio Previous Nominations – 8 Best Finish – He won in Chicago! Where can you find his art - www.johnpicacio. com/ Pros – Great artist, hugely popular, Hometown guy Cons – Won last year. I’ve picked John a few times, and I was RIGHT last year! That made me incredibly happy. Almost Mo-winning happy. His work, including the amazing Game of Thrones calendar, is spectacular. He’s from San Antonio, and in addition to that, he does great work, so I have no doubt that he’ll take it home! Odds – 5-to-4 I love Best Professional Artist, and I am so happy John won last year. I love that there are three new nominees, all of them wonderful stuff. I think that Julie Dillon is a great addition, as are Vincent and Christian, and of course, there’s John and Daniel. I love this ballot! There is one thing that I believe is missing from here, and from all the ballots of recent years, and that’s representation of comic book artists. Fiona Staples, the artist for Saga, is the biggest missing artist I can think of. There hasn’t really been a comics artist since Phil Foglio (2008) and I think that’s something we need to think about.
of the Big Three. Still, this is not his year. Odds – 0 Fourth Place – John Joseph Adams Previous nominations – 2 Best finish – 2nd in Chicago Best known for editing – Lightspeed Pros – A wonderful editor of a well-regarded mag. Cons – Not Stanley Schmidt I love JJAdams (pronounced Jajadams) and I’m hoping he wins one of these in the near future, but this is a special year and one in which I bet he’ll do OK in the voting. Odds – 0 Third Place - Jonathan Strahan Previous nominations – 5 Last Year’s Winner – Sheila Williams Best finish – Second in 2010 Most wins in category – Gardner Dozois when Best known for editing – Anthologies including it was just Best Editor, Best Editor Short Form The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year specifically Ellen Datlow, Sheila, and Gordon Van Pros – does great anthologies Gelder all have 2 wins each. Cons – Not Stanley Schmidt Not on the ballot – David Hartwell, Liza Trombi, Best Science Fiction and Fantasy is a Gordon Van Gelder, Ellen Datlow wonderful series and he’s done a great job with New to the ballot – No one. it. Still, not his year, though I think we may see it the next time we get a WorldCon in OZ, or Fifth – Neil Clarke maybe Japan. Previous Nominations – 1 Odds – 0 Best Finish – 4th Best known for editing – Clarkesworld Second Place – Sheila Williams Pros – Editor of a fine magazine that has multiple Number of Previous nominations – 7 nominations in the fiction category Best Finish – Won in 2011 and 2012 Cons – Not Stanley Schmidt Best know for editing – Asimov’s Clarkesworld is, in many ways, the Pros – the only one of the Big Three to have a posterchild for the current Semi-Prozine world, story nominated in the Fiction Categories this and is one of the best magazines in the world. It year, two-time previous winner has eclipsed at least one (and possibly all three!)
Best Professional Editor – Short Form
Cons – Not Stan Schmidt Sheila Williams is a damn fine editor, though I’ll always have to compare her to Gardner’s run on Asimov’s and there ain’t no one who can stand up to that. Still, she’s won a pair of these, has championed some of the most impressive writers in the field today, and seems to be the only one keeping any of The Big Three relevant these days! Still, not Stan Schmidt. Odds – 4000-to1 Winner – Stanley Schmidt Previous Nominations – 33 Best Finish - 2nd Best known for Editing – Analog for more than 30 years! Pros – He’s deserved a win for decades, has just retired so it’s his last chance, and is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Cons – Maybe the rest of the world isn’t sentimental? Stanley Schmidt is an amazing editor, has the Susan Lucci Award for most nominations without a win, and has finally come to the point where we either have to give him the rocket or he’ll never likely win one. He’s great, and if he hadn’t come up against the Era of Gardner, he’d probably have at least one or two Rockets. He’s gonna win it, and I’m happy. Odds – Mortal Certainty. The sad fact is that The Big Three aren’t nearly as important as they were even a few years ago. Sheila Williams has kept Asimov’s important, and maybe it seems that F&SF has dropped off the radar, and Analog hasn’t been the Big One in at least a decade. Clarkesworld, Lightspeed,
Apex, and the other Semi-Pros have come along and grabbed a larger number of eyeballs than they ever did before. And this is a year where it’s obvious who the winner is. Stan Schmidt has enjoyed a longrun at a top-tier magazine and has always been in the shadow of one Voter favorite or another. He deserves this win, deserved it a long time ago, and I can’t wait to see him walk up on that stage.
Best Editor: Long Form
2012 Winner – Betsy Wollheim Most Wins in Category – both PNH and David Hartwell have 2 Not on the ballot – Beth Meacham, Ginjer Buchanan, Juliet Ulman, Nick Mamatas, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Betsy Wollheim New to the Ballot – Toni Weisskopf!!!, Sheila Gilbert Fifth – Sheila Gilbert Previous Nominations – None Best Finish – None Edits for – DAW Books Pros – A fresh name on the ballot. Cons – Not as widely-known as others on the ballot DAW is a wonderful imprint, and Sheila’s been a big part of their success over recent years. Still, I don’t see her crossing over to a win this year! Odds – 10-to-1 Fourth – Liz Gorinsky Previous Nominations – 3 Best Finish – She’s always finished 4th Edits for – Tor Pros – Is the editor of many of my favorite books. Cons – She always comes in fourth... I love Liz, she’s a wonderful person and a great editor. I’m not 100% certain the rest of Fandom sees the novels she edits as awesome as I do, but she does wonderful things. Still, she comes in fourth, no matter how many nominees there are! Odds – 8-to-1
Art by Teddy Harvia
Third place – Patrick Nielsen Hayden Previous nominations – 7 Best Finish – He’s won twice He edits for – Tor Pros – Long-standing editor and beloved member of fandom. Cons – Has won a couple of these things. I love PNH and he’s deserved his wins. I’ve always thought he was the best known example of a fan skyrocketing through the ranks to becoming one of the biggest names in the genre. Still, I don’t think it’s this year for him to win another. Odds - 4-to-1 Second Place – Lou Anders Previous nominations – 6 Best finish – He won in 2011 He edits for – Pyr Pros – Lou IS Pyr Books! Cons – Won recently and doesn’t have a novel on the ballot this year. I love Pyr, it’s easily my favorite publisher right now. Lou works magic all over the place and I think that he’s the most impressive editor today. Not having a nominee on the ballot is a mark against him. Odds – 3-to-1 Winner – Toni Weisskopf Previous nominations – o Best Finish – None She edits for – Baen Books. Pros – She’s well-known in fandom and has run one of the most important imprints for a good long while Cons - ?
I’ve had Toni on my nomination ballot for a number of years now, and it’s great to see her on the ballot. I’m shocked it took a long while to get onto the ballot. She’s gonna win. Baen has been a successful imprint for a long time and I think this’ll be the first sign that folks really love it. I mean, it’s the publisher that’s given us all those Bujold novels! Odds – 2-to-1 Well, it’s a wonderful ballot, and while it’s missing a couple of folks (I’m going to assume that Betsy Wollheim declined a nomination) and it has a few folks who may not have a novel on the Best Novel ballot, but it’s strong. One thing that I want to see more of is recognition of smaller publishers. I’ve had Jeremy Lassen and Nick Mamatas on my ballot over the last couple of years, and Nick did make it at one time, and I don’t think we’ll see any nominations for Night Shade in the near. Still, Good stuff and I’m thinking next year we’ll see some of the European/English editors on the ballot. I’m really surprised that we haven’t seen many Gollancz editors on the ballot.
Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form
Last Year’s Winner – The Doctor’s Wife from Doctor Who Most Nominations – It’s gotta be Dr. Who with a Whole Bunch! Not on the Ballot – Archer – Space Race, Conversations About Cheating With My Time-Traveling Future Self, Paperman, The Neighbors Pilot First time on the Ballot - Fringe, Game of Thrones Fifth Place – Fringe - Letters of Transit Pros – A popular series that is finally getting a nomination Cons – Fringe ain’t Doctor Who, and I didn’t think it was a great episode. I’ve never been a big fan of Fringe, though there have been some decnet episodes. On the other hand, there was a big reveal at the end... kinda. Odds – 12-to-1 Fourth – Doctor Who – The Angels Take Manhattan Pros – It’s Doctor Who Cons – It’s the weakest of the three nominated I only recently watched it and it wasn’t my favorite episode, but it was OK. Yeah, it was the last Rory and Amy episode, and there was some emotion to it, but it just felt like they were going over old ground. I have to admit, I’m gonna miss Pond and Rory! ON th eother hand, I don’t really have the emotional connection with anyone in Who (save for K-9!) Odds – 6-to-1 Third – Doctor Who - Asylum of the Daleks Pros – DALEKS!
Cons – Second best episode of Who on the ballot. Skaro! This was a lot of fun, though the Rory-Amy stuff was a bit odd. I did enjoy the episode quite a bit, thought that it was among the best I’ve seen, since I never fail to catch the opening episode of every season, though I don’t often see too many of the others. And I think they managed to make the Daleks important and kinda scary again. Odds – 5-to-1 Second – Game of Thrones – Blackwater Pros – Game of Thrones has a lot of fans who vote in these things. Cons – It’s not Dr. Who! I don’t regularly watch Game of Thrones. It’s not my thing, really, but this was a fascinating episode centered around a single battle. If this was the first episode I’ve seen since the secondto-last episode of the first season. Yes, I know I missed a lot of intrigue, and that’s actually part of why I’m not a big fan of the series. Too much going on! I have to say that this was a versy strong episode and if anything’s gonna battle it out with Doctor Who, it’s gonna be Game of Thrones. Odds – 3-to-1 Winner – Doctor Who – The Snowmen Pros – Hugely popular Christmas episode. Cons – There are folks who just don’t want to vote for Doctor Who The Christmas episodes haven’t gotten the love they deserve, and this one was by far my favorite Doctor Who episode of the reboot. Wait, third favorite (After The Wasp & The
Unicorn and the one with Shakespeare) and it’s several short films that deserved nomination. a great episode and I’m hoping that it takes it all! The problem is, they’re harder to get to see Odds – 2-to-1 (save for things like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog and things like Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury that There are folks who complain that this are released via the net. I see several hundred is the Best Doctor Who Episode category, and I short films a year, and at least a hundred of them get that, but on the same note, I don’t think that’s are Science Fiction or Fantasy. Last year, we had a bad thing. Star Trek was dominant at times, Conversations About Cheating with My Timeincluding one year where everything nominated Traveling Future Self (you can read my review was a Star Trek episode. These things happen. at http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2013/01/aIt’s not so much the dominance of Doctor Who conversation-about-cheating-with-my-timethat bothers me (and remember, I lost to a Who traveling-future-self-by-pornsak-pichetshote/) episode last year!) but it’s the lack of non-TV or AutoDrive (http://amazingstoriesmag. episodes on the ballot. com/2013/04/autodrive-by-rory-odonnell/), or Las year, had one of the nominees denied Amelia (http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2013/01/ the nomination,The Fabulous Flying Books of Mr. amelia-by-frank-lucatuorto/) or LIFELESS: Morris Lessmore would have been on the ballot. #beingkindadeadsortasucks or Exoids or That would have been a wonderful nominee, Paperman or any number of other shorts. and it was a beautiful film. This year, there were Because of the way that film distribution works, shorts can appear on the Festival Circuit, but a lot of them if they want to make back the money they put into them, have to avoid being on the web. That’s a shame because it’s in short film that some of the best stuff is happening at the moment. I get it, lots of folks don’t have a chance to see ‘em, so they never get nominated. The answer to that is to get them online, and the problem with that is how do you monetize that without putting up a pay system, which will again limit viewership and that will defeat the purpose. It’s a shame, but it is what it is. Also, no Community, no Archer. Go figure.
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Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form
and it told a very smart story, though it was reliant on a bit of hand-waving, which it did with Last Year’s Winner – Game of Thrones Season 1 Not on the ballot – IRON SKY!!!!!, SHUFFLE!!!!!, class! Still, I don’t think this is a year when the THE GHASTLY LOVE OF JOHNNY X!!!!!Game plucky underdog wins it all against bigger name of Thrones, Chronicle, Spider-man, Dark Knight competition like when Moon won. Odds – 15-to-1 Rises, Chronicle, The Amazing Spider-Man Fifth – Looper Pros – A very smart film with an obvious Philip K. Dick influence Cons – Not as widely popular as the others on the list and had a fair amount of negative reviews So, this was a really good little movie,
though it’s only one part of the three, I thought it was an entertaining movie. Also, you can not go wrong with Singing Dwarves! Odds – 3-to-1
Winner – The Avengers Pros – Biggest movie of the year and a find piece Fourth – The Cabin in the Woods of Joss Whedon storytelling. Pros – It’s got Joss Whedon and was one of the Cons – Some might not want to celebrate a best horror films in years comic book movie. Cons – it’s a horror film on the Hugo ballot I loved The Avengers. It was brilliantly There is no question that The Cabin done, had actual emotional depth, and was one in the Woods was a great film, well-plotted, of the best movies of the year. The acting was brilliantly directed, and super-smart. But it’s a good, the effects awesome, and the story smart horror film, and it’s also not nearly as big a film and moving. It’ll be interesting to see if Marvel as the top three on the ballot. fans can out-distance Tolkien fans. Odds – 10-to-1 Odds – 5-to-2 Third – The Hunger Games Pros – Visually stunning and very well-made adaptation of the book Cons – some didn’t cotton to it as much as I did I think The Hunger Games was the top SF/F film of last year, and it was totally robbed of a nomination in the Oscars for Best Hair/ Makeup. I thought it was a visual feast and an engaging film, but it’s also not one of the two biggest films on the ballot. Odds – 7-to-1 Second – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Pros – A hugely popular franchise and a decent film. Cons – Some didn’t love it, and it’s not a complete story yet. I really enjoyed The Hobbit, thought that it was a good movie, told a smart story, and This is an interesting year, as we’ve got worthy films, including two huge moies that would walk to the Rocket in most other years. I like this ballot, though Iron Sky isn’t on it, which is sad. The funniest, most exciting and different SF film of the year is not on the ballot. And there were a ton of Festival Circuit films that didn’t make it either. Shuffle, by Kurt Kuenne, is one of the most touching, inspiring and beautiful time travel films I’ve ever seen. It’s worth every minute of any search to go and see it. The Ghastly Love of Johnny X is a campy, delightful, and well-made SF Musical that really got me goin’! It’s this that I want to get at in the future. Let’s see more films from outside of the multiplex onto the ballot. Especially Iron Sky II!
Best Graphic Story
of this storyline as well. Still, it’s a good comic, close, but I think if we’re taking Hugo-winning, there’s smart writing, and I really think that the you’ve got Brian K.Vaughn vs. Paul Cornell... Last Year’s Winner – Digger by Ursula Vernon Odds – 3-to-1 art is top-notch. Most Wins in the Category – 3 by Girl Genius Odds – 7-to-1 Not on the Ballot – Dial H! Before Watchmen Silk Winner – Saucer Country Spectre, Before Watchmen Minutemen, Action Fourth – Grandville Bete Noir Pros – A GREAT comic, written by a Hugo Voter Comics, Godzilla, Doctor Who/Star Trek Next Pros – Like the other installments of the favorite Generation, Fables Cons – None? Grandville books, Bete Noir is exceptional. Sadly, Saucer Country was cancelled this Cons – Grandville did not do well last time. Bryan Talbot is a great artist, and year, which sucks because it was my favorite title. Grandville is spectacular stuff. It’s easily the best It was great stuff and I would have loved to have Furry Comic I’ve ever read. That’s right, I said seen so much more of it, but alas, no. Still, this is Furry! OK, maybe Angel & The Ape, but still, it’s the one chance for the Hugo crowd to give Paul amazing, and it’ll be either first or second in my a Hugo for it, and I am betting it’ll happen. Odds – 2-to-1 voting order, but it won’t win. Odds – 6-to-1 There has been a lot of talk about the Best Graphic Story Hugo, and I think it’s starting Third – Schlock Mercenary Random Access to settle out a bit. I am shocked that there is Memorabilia no Fables on the ballot! Easily my favorite issue Pros – Nominators’ favorite and a fun strip of that series was released in 2012, issue 124, Cons – Hasn’t gotten close to winning yet. I like Howard’s stuff, and this year I read which was just spectacular. I wish it was on the more of his work than any year before. Have I ballot. And I do think it should be for a Comic mentioned that we’re both going to be Guests of Honor at Westercon next year? It’s true! title instead of an arc or an issue, but what are Anyhow, I’m sure Schlock Mercenary will win you gonna do? There’s a lot of great comic stuff that one of these days, but it ain’t this day. could be nominated, and we’re seeing some Odds – 5-to-1 more turn-over in titles, but still, Grandville needs to win! Second – Saga Pros – Probably the best reviewed comic of the Fifth Place – Locke & Key Clockworks last year Pros – A good title from IDW. Cons – None realy Cons – Not as widely read as the others? I like Saga a lot, but I LOVE Fiona Staples’ I have to admit that it was hard to jump art more than is reasonable. I really think she in on the middle of the story of Locke & Key last should have been on the Best Professional Artist year, and it ended up hampering my enjoyment ballot. Still, Saga is a great title, and it should be
Photo Copyright (C) 2011-2013 Richard Man http://richardmanphoto.
James Bacon talks about the Hugo Nominations for Best Graphic Story
two continents, from Norwescon in Seatle, to EightSquared in Bradford, the Hugo Nominations for 2012 were announced. Originally at http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/2013/ Joe had already spoken about his own hugo-nominations-for-best-comic-james-bacon- favourites and had called two, while I also reckoned the same two were worthy (in the reports/ latest issue of Drink Tank, pdf here) Hugo nominees for Best Graphic Story James Bacon, reporting for us from London…. are: The Hugo Nominations for Best Comic • Grandville Bête Noire written and illustrated are…. a pretty damn good selection. This by Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse Comics, Jonathan evening at four science fiction conventions on Cape) • Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW) • Saga, Volume One written by Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics) • Schlock Mercenary: Random Access Memorabilia by Howard Tayler, colors by Travis Walton (Hypernode Media) • Saucer Country,Volume 1: Run written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Ryan Kelly, Jimmy Broxton and Goran Sudžuka (Vertigo) Grandville Bête Noire written and illustrated by Bryan Talbot (Jonathon Cape) Grandville Bete Noir is a blindingly beautiful crime adventure comic in which Bryan Talbot manages to satirically reflect many of the modern quandaries that we are faced with, while making art itself an important and fascinating element of the story. The third in the series of a fantasy alternative history world, filled with anthropomorphic characters, we follow the badger, Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard on his latest adventure as he goes to Paris, to help investigate a murder. Talbot is not only skilled with this intelligent story, but his art is brilliant as his his post script that adds so much insight, really all encompassing in his skill at story telling. Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW) This penultimate volume of this wonderful series, about the Locke family, and there incredible home the Keyhouse, has seen some interesting twists and turns.This volume, is where the story pauses in a way, and actually goes backwards, in time to answer so many questions that readers may have been wondering about. Everything from the keys, to the ominous black door, to the house itself and more, is laid open to the reader. Hill’s real skill is his ability to create characters of depth that are convincing and feel real, while Gabrielle Rodriguez’s artistic ability especially in regard to portraying the characters faces, is fantastic, he really brings the words to life.
Saga Volume One written by Brian K adventures of Tagan’s Toughs, the mercenary Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples crew of Captain Kaff Tagon and their intergalactic adventures in the 31st century. The level of (Image Comics) humour is high, and there is an element where This amazing mix of Fantasy in a space setting has it is giving a wry look at the likes of Star Trek been a huge hit with comic fans, and obviously and sometimes the more serious with those who also vote in the Hugos. Brian of space opera, as in too serious. K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have produced a This is volume 12 of the series, clever and delightful comic, as we watch two and includes the reaction of lovers, from either side of a Planet Vs its Moon Commander Andreysan as his war, try to escape, with their newborn child Hazel, subordinate, Sergeant Schlock, an under pursuit by forces.The Landfall Coalition is amorph alien,orders a concoction all technology while its moon, Wreath is about after seeing a Guinness depth magic. The interaction between the two main charge, so I had to laugh. Howard characters, Marko and Alana their dialogue and Tayler is writer and artist on the normal difficulties is at times hilarious, while cartoon, and his style is clean and Hazel’s narration can be very wry. The humour neat in this volume. only adds to this very neat story. Saucer Country, Volume Schlock Mercenary: Random Access 1: Run written by Paul Memorabilia” by Howard Tayler, Cornell, Illustrated by colors by Travis Walton (Hypernode Ryan Kelly (Vertigo) Media) The mythological elements of This is the fifth Hugo Nomination for Schlock Saucer Country, the way that Mercenary, a daily webcomic, that follows the the main protagonist is such an unusual character, in the world of comics and the appreciation that Cornell has for the ‘history’ of the UFO phenomena has meant that this comic has had a serious following. With Arcadia Alvarado, governor of New Mexico running for president, her personal struggle, with political shenanigans, a pretty unfortunate husband and the missing night where she believes she was abducted by aliens, Cornell had quite the character. Ryan Kelly has a very fine line and a wonderful
way with wide exterior views as well as with character movement, the comic felt broad. It is indicative that just as the comic is prematurely ended, as explained by Cornell himself, that it receives this honour.
Best Related Work
librarian to order it from a neighboring library system to get to look at it! Last Year’s Winner – The Encyclopedia of Science Odds – 10-to-1 Fiction Most wins in category – John Clute’s won Four of Third - Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey ‘em Through Every Season of Doctor Who Not on the Ballot – Sword & Laser Podcast, Pros – DR. WHO! The Forrest J Ackerman Oeuvre, Katniss the Cons – Not the best of ‘em on the ballot Cattail: An Unauthorized Guide to Names and I wasn’t as impressed with this one as I Symbols in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, was the other the other Mad Norwegian books, The History of the Universe in 100 Objects, A particularly Chicks Dig Comics. I did like the Steampunk’s Guide to Sex way they went through EVERY season, including, as Abed of Community would say, ‘the worst Fifth Place – I Have An Idea For A Book – The season ever.’ I did enjoy it, it was a fun read, but Bibliography of Martin H. Greenberg I wouldn’t rate it nearly as highly if it weren’t Dr. Pros – A Hugo-voter favorite. Who-related. Cons – Not easy to come by. Odds – 6-to-1 It’s not my thing, and of the Bibliographies I read last year, this was the second best of two. I Second – Chicks Dig Comics think it’s useful, but not nearly as exciting as the Pros – COMICS! LYNNE THOMAS! CHICKS! others on the ballot. COMICS! Odds – 12-to-1 Cons – Folks might not love comics as much as they do Dr. Who. Fourth Place – The Cambridge Companion to I love Chick Dig Comics, and James did Fantasy Fiction a great review of it for Journey Planet 12. It;s a Pros – Edited by a Hugo multi-time Hugo nominee really good read, a lot of fun and really smart, (Farah Mendelsohn) and an exceptionally useful too. Mad Norwegian is an excellent press and piece of work that I know I’ll be referencing the stuff they do is awesome, but I think this year again and again. is gonna be a little different. Cons – Academic work in a category with the Odds – 3-to-1 strongest popular non-fiction books. I love this. I am a big fan of the study of fantasy and SF, and this one will be hugely hopeful to me in my studies and work. Now, the problem is, of course, that it’s not going to be competitive with the really strong popular press pieces largely because of the fact that it’s not nearly as widely available. I had to get my
Let us take a moment for James Bacon to talk about Chicks Dig Comics... Chicks Dig Comics
It’s nice to have books dedicated to Comics. I am one of those comic readers who cherishes Frank Plowright’s Slings and Arrows Guide to Comics, Paul Gravett’s All you need to know about Graphic novels and Alan Moore: Storyteller by Gary Millidge Spencer, so it was a real pleasure when I heard that the Hugo-winning editor Lynne M. Thomas (Chicks Dig Timelords) teamed up with Sigrid Ellis to do this collection. With over thirty pieces, by a variety of contributors, it is a wide range of comic book
readers, but it is also nice to read what people really think. That the contributors are mostly women is an added bonus as it reinforces my belief that women do enjoy reading comics of all sorts, and that women creators exist and want to be part of the business. With so much to choose from, it’s hard to pin point why I devoured this book so quickly, pencilling in notes on the margins as I went. I was interested in every single word, even words that annoyed or confounded me. I secretly wished, I could chat with all these writers, or the ones who wrote essays, in person, in a bar next to a comic shop. Of course, I cannot speak about all the articles, as there are just too many, but I choose some of my favourites. The way pieces were pitched, it was stunning, so when posed with ‘Who do you think Cyclops should end up with? Jean Grey or Emma Frost’ Seanan McGuire goes into explaining with real depth and understanding. The battle that is Jean and Emma both in the hearts and minds of the readers, and within the pages of the comic is lovingly discussed, with passion, and I just was transfixed. I had seen Tara O’Shea, who co-edited the Hugo award winning book, Chicks Dig Timelords, talk about how she is a Wonder Woman fan, but also how big an impact Amanda Waller (Checkmate, Suicide Squad) and Barbara Gordon as Oracle had on her as a comics reader, at C2E2, and her writing on comics, or rather her experience as a comic reader and fan. This was brilliant writing, and as eloquent as she was on stage. Erica McGillivray who is involved with GeekGirlCon, somehow captures the essence of
the commardarie that is cosplay, the feelings of being part of something, the appreciation people give. I love cosplayers and really feel people make a fantastic effort for comic conventions, and Erica somehow justifies my sentiments through her own experience. Amanda Conner is stylishly interviewed and it had considerable insight, which is hard sometimes, but when I read her say that comic art should ‘make the reader understand the story as if it had no words.’ I knew that this was so true. As a teenager, we used to judge the greatest comics by this method, is the story there, with no words, and that is the measure of a great artist. I also really loved her take on Power Girl, a character that I have generally been put off by, mostly by her slightly accentuated physique, but since reading this interview, I have given it a go and it has proven worth it, proving that one should never judge a comic by its cover. In a similar behind-the-scenes way, Dark Horse editor Rachel Ediden spoke marvellously about what her job entails, and I really enjoyed it. Alisa Bendis, Greg Rucka and Louise Simonson all continue the rich vein of unique and considered opinions. I especially enjoyed the interview with Terry Moore. One of the enjoyable elements of the book is how it made me think, and question. Gail Simone for instance wrote strongly of the effect of Batgirl/Barbara Gordon being paralysed. How she felt she was ‘chumped into buying a product made by people who actively loathed me and my gender’ and then she speaks highly of the ‘raft of British writers’ who seemingly heralded in a change.
Of course, Alan Moore wrote the story that saw Gordon paralysed, and although he may have also spearheaded the British Invasion, he himself thought, ‘...I’ve never really liked my story in The Killing Joke. I think it put far too much melodramatic weight upon a character that was never designed to carry it. It was too nasty, it was too physically violent. There were some good things about it, but in terms of my writing, it’s not one of me favourite pieces.’ and I can see that it was a dark story, that lead to a popularity of griminess that has not always had quality, but when one reads the script for the first 12 pages, one can only wonder where Moore was at, as he is one of the greatest writers of female characters in the industry, which is rather ironic in this instance. And Ms. Simone’s opinion is slightly at odds with Tammy Garrison’s experience, where she felt that Barbara Gordon is awesome, but I wondered was that awesomeness somehow attributable to the hated incident that put her in a wheelchair. It’s good reading when it makes me think this much. One thing I wondered about is that I do not have a problem with boyfriends recommending comics to girlfriends. I used to make tapes as a teenager and more recently CD’s, and it was just about sharing an interest. I have recommended Preacher to many women who I have been with or known, as a great comic story, finite in its sixty six issues, and in Tulip a brilliant character, which to my surprise, some have connected with and many girlfriends have shared their interests with me. So I was a bit
perturbed by what is wrong with that, but then perhaps there is a cliché or patronisation that I am missing, as I apply much judicial thought to all comics I recommend to whoever the reader. But on recommendations, I definitely would recommend this book to both well-informed comic readers and perhaps readers new to the media. http://fourcolorheroes.home.insightbb.com/killingjokescript. html Kurt Amacker interview with Alan Moore. Www.mania.com http://madnorwegian.com/424/books/chicks-dig-comics-acelebration-of-comic-books-by-the-women-who-love-them/` Winner – Writing Excuses Season 6 Pros – A great podcast with a bunch of excellent and popular folks. Cons – it’s not Dr. Who? I am calling this the winner. It’s not only got some great names (Joran Sanderson, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, and Mary Robinette Kowal, and did I mention that they’re all Guests of Honor at Westercon next year where I’m the Fan GoH?) and they do great stuff and I think this is the year they break through and win one, which is well-deserved. Odds – 2-to1 OK, this ballot isn’t as diverse as last year, but still we’re looking at a podcast, a pair of fun books, an academic reference guide, a bibliography. While these might not have been on my personal ballot (Well, a couple of them would have been), they’re a good bunch. And that’s something that’s always discussed. This is a catchall, and too often it catches the same kind of things. There are folks who want to have this be a book category, and others who want it to be a not-book category. I like it as a catch-all because it keeps us from going from the Oscars (the perfect number of categories) to the Emmys (WAY TOO MANY categories). I think that Writing Excuses is exactly the kind of thing that should be winning Best Related once in a while. A Podcast could win Best Fanzine, and yet not Best Related? Interesting...
Best Short Story
Last year’s winner – The Paper Managerie by Ken Liu Most Wins in the Category – Harlan’s got four, which I’m sure he’ll remind you of! Not on the ballot – Maxwell’s Demon by Ken Liu, One Breath, One Stroke by Cathryne Valente, If the Stars Reverse Their Courses, If the Rivers Run Back from the Sea by Alter Reiss, Where the Summer Dwells by Lynda A. Rucker, Portrait of Lisane da Patagnia by Rachel Swirsky First time on the ballot – None Third - Mono no Aware by Ken Liu Opening Line - “The world is shaped like the Kanji for umbrella, only written so poorly, like my handwriting, that all the parts are out of proportion.” Pros – Another great story from the winner of Last Year’s Best Short Story Hugo. Cons – A Kinda Hard-to-Find anthology. I love Ken Liu’s stories, and I really think he’s going to become one of the defining writers of this period. He’s awesome, and he’s the kind of writer who makes me wish I had half the writing ability of one-fifth of Ken! That said, while The Future is Japanese is a great anthology, and I probably heard more about it than any other anthology this year (and The Sound of Breaking Up by Felicity Savage was EASILY the best story of the year, and The Indifference Engine by Project Itoh and especially Cat Valente’s One Breath, One Stroke great) but it also wasn’t the story I walked away thinking about, even though it was the opener. Still, it’s really good, and the prose is great, and the opening line is amazing! Odds - 4-to1
Winner – Mantis Women by Kij Johnson Opening Line - “Eventually, the mantis women discovered that killing their husbands was not inseparable from the getting of young.” Pros – GREAT story! Cons – None I love Kij Johnson’s stuff, ever since I read Spar, but this is easily my favorite of all of her works. This one, which reminds me of The Cartographer Wasps and Anarchist Bees, it the kind o fstory that sticks with you, even if there’s not a lot of ‘story’ to it. I love it, and it certainly stuck with me, and I came back to it again and again. Odds – Even money OK, so this year there are only three nominees. It happens. It’s OK, but it does show that there are a LOT of short stories out there that folks are nominating and it goes a little thin. To me, that’s not the big deal here. It’s the lack of any of the Big Three. Yes, the number of nominations for F&SF, Asimov’s, and Analog have been dropping for years, but this year there are Second – Immersion by Aliette de Bodard none in Best Short Story, and only one overall Opening line - “In the morning, you’re no longer in the fiction categories. I think it’s interesting, quite sure who you are.” as there were a lot of great stories (especially in Pros – Great story in a great venue Clarkesworld F&SF), and there are a lot more on-line venues Cons -Not the best story on the ballot now that have largely eclipsed The Big Three While I love Aliette’s work, this one just (and I heard someone at Loscon refer to Apex, didn’t connect as well as several of her other Clarkesworld, and Lightspeed as the Big Three!) works. It’s got a catchy opening, but really, I wasn’t and I’m hoping to see a bit more spread of the in for it. I can see why folks would nominate it. love in future years. I did love the idea of the Artificial Literature Plus, I’m saying next year will see a couple Writer, though! of European outlets getting nominations. Odds – 3-to-1
usually love. It’s a lighter fantasy, and one that involves characters interacting in a way that’s Last Year’s Winner – Charlie Jane Anders’ Six neither showy nor too plain. The story has Months, Three Days a minimalist feel to it at points. I love the way Most wins in Category – Poul Anderson and Heuveldt comes to the reader naturally, and at Harlan both have three. no point did it feel forced as often happens with Not on the ballot – Holmes Sherlock: A Hwarhath stories about characters talking to an audience. Mystery by Eleanor Arnason, The Telling by While I did wander a bit from the story in the Gregory Norman Bossert, The Ghosts of middle, I found it pretty damn touching! Christmas by Paul Cornell, Ninety Thousand Odds – 6-to-1 Horses by Sean McMullen, Electrica by Sean McMullen, Crooks by Paul Carlson Fifth Place – Rat-Catcher by Seanan McGuire Opening Line - “London is burning.” Pros – It’s Seanan and a story about a cat! Cons – Just about the only thing I had a hard time finding. It’s a shame that this one wasn’t in an anthology that had wider distribution. It was not easy for me to get ahold of. I think that it was as good a story as you’ll find in the world today, and a part of a series that people apparently love! Tybalt is pretty awesome and it’s told in such a way that anyone can come to it and it works. Odds - 8-to-1 Fourth Place – The Boy Who Cast No Shadow by Thomas Olde Heuveldt Opening line – My name is Look. Pros – an amazingly smart and digestible story that reminds me of a couple of different stories from the Dangerous Visions anthology. Cons – Perhaps not a widely-known writer This is the kind of story that I
Third place – Seanan McGuire’s In Sea-Salt Tears Opening Line – “These are the things every Selkie-child knows; these are the things we’re taught long before we learn whether or not we’ll ever be chosen to receive a skin, before we know whether our aching need for the tides will ever be answered.” Pros – AWESOME story, widely available on her website. Cons – Just over-shadowed by two other stories on the ballot In many years, this would have been a winner. The fact that it’s selfpublished, something that has never made the ballot in the fiction section, is amazing. What was that about Pixelstained technopeasants? The fact is, I had a harder time with this one than I thought I would. It’s a exceptional story, told with all the hallmarks of a Seanan McGuire story, and she powers through intelligent content, but when it slows a bit, it ties me up. Still, highly popular and most years this would be my pick to win. Odds – 4-to-1 Second – The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi by Pat Cadigan Opening Line - “Nine DECs into her second hitch, Fry hit a berg in the main ring and broke her leg.” Pros – An exeptional story by a favorite writer of a lot of folks Cons – Not many Pat Cadigan is a writer I’ve not read nearly enough of, but what I’ve encountered has been exceptional,
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and I think this might be my favorite of her pieces I’ve read. Where Cadigan goes terribly, terribly right is in the foreign ways and talk she manages to make us accept. I had a few portions I had to re-read to get it right, but it did reward me for it. The story draws one in, and the characters weren’t the kind that you fall in love with, but the kind you get on a level that is deep. It reminded me, in a way, of China Mieville’s Embassytown, but that might just be me... Odds - 3-to-1 Winner – Fade to White by Catherynne M. Valente Opening Line - “ZOOM IN on a bright-eyed Betty in a crisp green dress, maybe pick up the shade of the spinach in the lower left frame.” Pros – AMAZING story by a hugely popular writer! Cons – It does take a certain bit of mental gymnastics! This is the kind of story I really enjoy. It made me think, and re-read, and then think some more. It opens so simply, with so much promise, but moves beyond what I thought would be the initial concept and goes so much further and smarter. In fact, I can point to an exact phrase that made me give in all the way and accept Fade to White as the greatest story ever - “Better safe than assign a Husband to a woman as barren as California.” That one made me stop and think. This one flows and is beautiful and wonderful, and I think it’s gonna walk with the Rocket. Odds - 2-to-1
Novelette is the hardest length as far as I’m concerned. It takes a special kind of story to fill the length and not go any further. I think these all manage it, even if they’re not all the kind of thing I dig. Again, these are five very different stories from very different sources and you’ll notice that there’s not a lot spread between fifth and first. Maybe I’m hedging my bets. I do that, you know?
“...the sad fact is that I’m terrible at predicting these sorts of things” – John DeNardo
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I’ve never been able to put my finger on why, it might be that she has a bit of that sense of prose Winner Last Year – The Man Who Bridged the not mattering as much as the story, but I could be wrong. Mist by Kij Johnson It might also be aliens... Most wins in the category – Connie Willis with Here, she tells a strong story about Four! exceptions; you now, those characters that are Not on the ballot – Katabasis by Robert Reed,The Weight of History, the Lightness of the Future somehow apart from the rest of the world. Here, by Jay Lake, The Moon Belongs to Everyone by there’s six of ‘em and they’re OK characters, but overall, it didn’t connect with me. I think it’ll do Michael Alexander & K.C. Ball OK with the voters, but it’s not my cup of tea. Fifth Place – The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Odds – 6-to-1 Sanderson Opening Line - “Gaotona ran his fingers across Third – On A Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de the thick canvas, inspecting one of the greatest Bodard works of art he had ever seen. Unfortunately, it Opening Line (of the Excerpt) - “Linh arrived on Prosper Station blown by the winds of war, was a lie.” Pros – a good little story from a very popular amidst a ship full of refugees who huddled together, speaking earfully of the invading armies: writer in the year of his biggest release. the war between the rebel lords and the Empire Cons – It’s good, but not great. Brandon Sanderson is a GREAT WRITER had escalated, and their war-kites had laid waste (and did I mention he’s one of the Guests of to entire planets.” Honor at Westercon in 2014 in Salt Lake City Pros – What I read of it was really really where I’ll be the Fan GoH?) and this isn’t my interesting, and may be some of my favorite of favorite of his stories, but it’s good. I read it her writing. pretty fast, which is a very good sign, and it had Cons – Well, you see, I ran out of money so I couldn’t buy it, it didn’t have an eBook, but it a couple of sections that I really loved. might not have the widest of distribution. Odds – 7-to-1 I really enjoyed the excerpt (http:// Fourth – After the Fall, Before the Fall, During aliettedebodard.com/2012/12/18/preordersopen-for-on-a-red-station-drifting/) and it was the Fall: A Novel Opening Line - “It wasn’t dark and it wasn’t light. so good and made me want to read the rest of it, but alas, it’s not cheap buying all these books It wasn’t anything except cold.” Pros – A Nominator favorite and a damned fine at once! What I enjoyed was not just the rewriter. branding of the future, but the way that she Cons – Well, I wasn’t a fan.. Nancy Kress isn’t my favorite of writers. wrote the reactions to the actions of her
characters. I especially loved the cadence of her characters dialogue. More than anything, that set up the universe for me. Odds - 5-to-1 Second - San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats by Seanan McGuire Opening Line - “Lorelei Tutt is a harshly attractive woman in her forties, tall and lean, with scars from her combat gear on her hands and elbows.” Pros – A lot of fun and a great writer writing great! Cons – Well, it’s not exactly the biggest story of Seanan’s on the ballot. It’s a story about COMICON! Well, not exactly, but it’s so big a deal and it’s so good and it’s so wisely paced. PLUS the word ‘Browncoats’ appears in the title, so that’s gotta help. What I really wanted from this story I got: it was a look at what happens after. Seanan’s great at the After, and this story really proves that. Odds – 2-to-1 Winner – The Stars Do Not Lie by Jay Lake Opening line - “Morgan Abutti; B.Sc. Bio.; M.Sc. Arch.; Ph.D. Astr. & Nat, Sci.; 4th degree Thalassocrete; Member, Planetary Society; and Associate Fellow of the New Garaden Institute, stared at the map that covered the interior wall of his tiny office in the Institute’s substantial brownstone in downtown Highpassage.” Pros – A great story, Jay is one of the most respected writers of SF/F out there today, and the only story from one of the Big Three, or a Magazine at all!
Cons – Larry Correia I think said it... Jay’s got cancer. Everyone knows that, everyone has heard, and he’s fighting a good fight and sharing that. As Larry Corriea has pointed out on his blog, Jay’s going to win. His reasoning: Jay’s got cancer and everyone knows. In fact, his exact phrasing was - “Mira Grant would normally win this one because of how many WorldCon fans she’s got, but Jay Lake will win this category easily. Sure he’s very talented, but he’ll win because he’s fighting cancer, and the votes aren’t decided on the actual books. Once again, I’ll be surprised if half the voters actually read the stories.” First off, that’s some view of the voters he’s got, no? Back in the day, before the internet gave away many of the stories for free on writer’s blogs or magazines websites, before the Voters’ Packet or any of those things, he may well have been right, and that number of Half would probably have been generous. Now, I’d say the number is greatly increasing. The thing about awards like the Hugo is that it don’t take too much to get on the ballot, but you at least have got to get the stuff seen. How many people have already read it? Well, it was in Asimov’s, and it was also on-line before, I think, so there’s a possibility of a lot of folks. Just getting a nomination and being available on-line bumps things up. Hell, Journey Planet’s website has gone from 1-or-2 hits a day to 20-to-30 a day since the announcements, and that’s without even being mentioned as having a link on The Mary Sue! Jay’s a friend, but I’ve slagged on my friends’ chances before, and in a funny way Larry was doing exactly what I do with the Handicapping
The Hugos issues. How many times have I said “...would normally win this one?” in these pages? Never, well at least exactly if the Command-F is to be believed, but you get my point. The fact is, Jay has cancer, and I’m betting this will play with some voters (the fact that Jay’s never won a Hugo will likely add to that vote at least a little), but let’s look at the record of the last few years for outside situations. Kage Baker. She wrote a helluva story in The Women of Nell Gwynne’s, and it was nominated in the Best Novella category after her death. It ran third. I deserved better, I’d say. On the other hand, I’ve always thought at least a bit of Peter Watts’ win for The Island was largely based on the fact of his run-in with the border folks.You could probably find more, but those two pretty much show what I wanna impress here: it can go either way. There are a lot of factors that enter into what wins an award. Personal factors, general popularity, a feeling of ‘It’s been long enough’ or the Hometown Favorite factor (which I know personally) and it all boils down to one thing: what will people be made to feel like voting for? Let me say this here and loud: This is a Hugo-Worthy story (though, oddly, not my favorite Jay Lake novella of the year!) and I really wanna join the Planetary Society. What always gets me about Jay’s prose is that it rides exactly between showiness and simplicity. It makes for exceptional reading, and that’s why he’s gonna win the Rocket. Odds – 3-to-2 Again, a great category, I’d say it was the most fun reading these nominees. It’s interesting to see that maybe it’s not only the Internet-
based publications that are doing it! If you look at 2008, for example, every one of the nominated Novellas were from one of the Big Three. Now, these are four published by various houses, and there’s one from Asimov’s. Asimov’s won five of the last seven, so there’s that... Next year, I’ve got a favorite already, Cathrynne Valente’s Six-Gun Snow White!
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And now... THE MAIN EVENT!
Odds – 5-to-1 Last Year’s Winner – Among Others by Jo Walton Most Wins in Category – Robert Heinlein... meh. Not on the ballot – THE GIRL WHO FELL BENEATH FAIRYLAND AND LED THE REVELS THERE BY CATHERYNNE VALENTE!!!!! Cuttlefish by David Freer, Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds, The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fford, The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemesin Fourth Place – Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold Opening Line - “Ivan’s door buzzer sounded at close to Komarran midnight, just when he was unwinding enough from lingering jetlag, his screwed-up diurnal rhythm, and the day’s laors, to consider sleep.” How long did it take me – I gave up after two reading sessions. Fifth Place – Throne of the Crescent Moon by Pros – Bujold. Saladin Ahmed Cons – Meh. Opening Line - “Nine days. Beneficient God, I I tried. I really did. I could have tried beg you, let this be the day I die.” harder, maybe, but I had so much more pressing How long did it take me – 3 or so weeks, back material to get through. I just don’t cotton in September. to Bujold’s writing and I especially HATE the Pros – A great novel by one of the best novelists Vorkasian Cycle. Still, she’s a big time writer and working in the field. folks seem to love her stuff, so she’s going to do Cons – Not the biggest name on the ballot. pretty well. I got a copy of this through the SF Odds - 3-to-1 Outreach stuff at ChiCon and it’s a really good novel. The magic that Ahmed created for the Third Place – Blackout by Mira Grant novel is great, and his timing in how to use it had Opening Line - “People say things like ‘it wasn’t a Bret Hart-type of precision. Older characters supposed to go this way” and “this isn’t what I used wisely, a world that is every bit as rich wanted.”” as anything a fantasy author of any generation How Long did it take me – I started in September, would create, and all together a spectacular I think, but really didn’t charge into it until novel. December, and finished just before the Hugo The only reason it’s fifth is that someone announcements. has to be, and the others on this list have Pro – The very good finale in a very popular circumstances that place them slightly higher. series from an exceptionally popular author. Cons – Perhaps there’ll be a Seanan backlash? The Newsflesh series was great stuff, which is a bit exciting considering that I didn’t feel it so much with the first novel, FEED. Here, Mira/Seanan works some real magic, especially with Georgia Idaho. OK, that was a bit of a stretch (and a gift to my Dune-reader friends!) Any character who has memory of her own death is a challenge and she totally makes it work. She passes between points of view and gives us the best finish I think we could have asked for. There are people who want ed Mira to go back to the FEED feeling of the series, the heavy exposition, which is what bugged me, so this is much more what I’m looking for. Odds - 2-to-1 Second Place – 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson Opening Line - (I gave it back to Chuck before I wrote it down!) How Long did it take me – I got through about 150 pages and skipped around a bit later. Pros – A Hugo favorite author writing a book that is hyper-post-modernist Cons – A bit difficult for some. I love KSR, and think that TheYears of Rice and Salt was robbed (as was Gallileo’s Dream) and this was a fascinating construction of a book and one that feels so much more impressive when you look at the range of stories that are up for Hugos this year. I think it’s distinction is
the strange ways in which KSR sees the world in which his stories exist. He picks tiny bits out and they stand for much, much bigger things.You are drawn into the world partly by being forced to drag things out for yourself. Odds - 3-to-2
separate out YA novels from the Best Novel Hugo (or perhaps it’s Novels and Novellas...) and put them into their own category. It’s a thought, I’m not for it too heavy because it doesn’t take into account that the target YA audience should be the ones voting on a thing like that and it’s not what the Hugos are good for. Still, there’s no Winner – Redshirts by John Scalzi YA on the ballot, and it’s interesting to think of Opening Line - “From the top of the large what could have, or possibly should have, made boulder he sat on, Ensign Tom Davis looked it up there. I would like to see more YA-type across the expanse of the cave towards Capt. stuff up for the Hugo, and once in a while it does Lucius Abernathy, Science Officer Q’eeng and sneak on, but the one that bothers me the most CHief Engineer Paul West perched on a second, this year is Valente’s The Girl Who Fell Beneath larger boulder and thought well, this sucks.” Fairyland and Led the Revels There.A really really How long did it take me to read – a week strong novel (as was the first book of the series) Pros – A fun and funny novel that appeals to and it would be nice to see it with the Hugo, but fandom in a similar way to Among Others (even alas, it’s not meant to be. A specific award for if they are VERY different novels) YA administered by the Hugo Team but using a Cons – It’s a lighter novel than often wins. system for young voters to vote would be ideal. Scalzi’s been circling closer and closer to The fact that Bujold ends up nominated winning the Big One, and here I think he takes every time there’s a new Vork novel kinda bugs it. Is this his best novel? Not at all. It’s not nearly me, just because I can not get into them at all, as good as Old Man’s War, and I even preferred but I get that people love her. It would be like me Agent to the Stars, but it’s so much fun, so very not nominating an Ian McDonald novel. funny, that I think it’s exactly the kind of thing a And that’s that. I’ve only done 50% the lot of folks will latch on to. last couple of years, so if even half of these are It’s very different from 2312, or Blackout, right, I’m doin’ OK! or the Bujold. It’s gonna win, but it’ll be tight. Odds – 5-to-4 A good set of novels! I heard a lot of folks saying that it was a weak slate, but I like the variation, the breadth, the styles represented. Yes, there were several books I’d have loved to have seen on the ballot, but alas, it was not to be. The one thing this does bring up is the whole YA Hugo discussion. The idea is to
Photo Copyright (C) 2011-2013 Richard Man http://richardmanphoto.
And now, James’ Thoughts on the Ballot!
What a Hugo list. Isn’t it somewhat mind blowing. 22 of the nominees are on the ballot for the first time. Now there is freshness. I think the novels are a good slate. I would have liked to have seen Railsea in there, by China Mieville, but it is not bad and very close to call. I think Bujoid, Scalzi and Stanely Robinson are all very strong contenders, while Mira Grant is on a roll with nominations, so it is tricky. Is Saladin Ahmed the first Arab-American to get nominated? Novella – Despite Brandon Sandersons popularity and that I really like Aliette de Bodard’s novella, I think Mira Grant or Jay Lake may get this one. Aliette de Bodard, French Vietnamese, I understand, again, the Hugo’s reaching out to places, or is it the publishers. Novellette “The Boy Who Cast No Shadow” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt was lauded as the first Hugo nomination for someone from The Netherlands, but of course Paul Verhoeven has 3 nominations for RoboCop, Total Recall, and Starship Troopers, so the first netherlands author nominee, which is still great going. Ken Liu, is amazing, if so much for his translation as for his work, and I was pleased to see him nominated in Best Short Story. Dissapointed that Lynda E.Rucker,“Where the Summer Dwells.” (F&SF Sept/Oct 2012) or “Red at the End of the World,” which was a very interesting mash of SF and fairy tale (Daily SF http://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/fairy-tales/ lynda-e-rucker/red-at-the-end-of-the-world )
didn’t make it. But then, how many things didn’t make it here, and to the detriment of each other. For me there is a rule, and it can be changed, BUT I do think the three stories that are nominated have the imprimatur as required. Despite this stoic approach, I am still lamenting the lack of,Yoon Ha Lee’s “The Battle of Candle Arc”( http://clarkesworldmagazine. com/lee_10_12/) Lavie Tidhar’s“A Lexicon of Steam Literature of the Third Reich” http://lavietidhar.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/ fascism-for-nice-people/ and China Mieville’s “3 moments of an explosion http://chinamieville.net/post/31360742827/3moments-of-an-explosion all missed the cut and that was again disappointing. They are bloody brilliant stories. I really liked Chicks Dig Comics: A Celebration of Comic Books by the Women Who Love Them, Edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Sigrid Ellis (Mad Norwegian Press) and you can see that elsewhere, I supposse I am not that big a non fiction fan,, but I would hve to say the Medlesohn/James team will be very popular and The Chicks Dig Comics and Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who, Edited by Deborah Stanish & L.M. Myles (Mad Norwegian Press) will probably slug it out in a way, or perhaps not. No disrespect to The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature but Chicks Dig Comics really caught me. Campbell Award, recognising emerging writers, has author Zen Cho as a nominee – the first time a Malaysian author is so recognised. If Saga or Grandville do not win the BEST
Comic Hugo, then something must be wrong. Really. I am afraid I do feel they stand apart from the rest of the worthy nominees. But my opinion is not a Hugo winning one. SO hard to know. I am sorry that The Boys, Peter Panzerfaust, Captain America, Manhattan Projects, Hawkeye, Stormdogs all missed the cut. If I pulled anyone in particular, Hawkeye would have to be the shock beauty of the year. Hey Chris, does Anna have a Hugo Nominee section? If so she should have a ‘should have been’ a Hugo Nominee. (Note - I don’t think Illusive Comics & Games does, but I’ll recommend it!) I enjoyed The Hunger Games,The Hobbit and The Avengers. But Looper, now Looper really got me thinking.You are in Kansas now. I had not expected Looper to be an enjoyable dark story of a cold killer and also a really neat time travel story. It is a lovely concept, well thought out and of course then the story unfolds of a Looper. You know, I wondered as I watched this movie if it was written by Philip K. Dick. I know, that sounds really odd, but the movie had the skill and style of his writing, of his brilliance, of his ability to make one wonder what is real and what isn’t real, what could be going on, to question and there was an incredible level of depth to the characters that is unusual in movies. And I loved that the Time Travel part has been explained in straws. Then again, I watched Avengers a number of times.And loved it. I have only watched limited amounts of Joss Whedon’s work, but really loved Firefly (was disappointed in Serenity) like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog but was never a Buffy
fan. But you know, he got Avengers so good. Like really so good. Hard to call. Since Looper made it, the biggest disappointment was avoided. Pleased to see Strange Horizons and Apex Magazine in the mix. I enjoyed a number of items that featued in Clarkesworld, so have to give Kudos there too. Well, so grateful to the fans who voted in Best Fan Writer, and I think that Chris actually had a stunning year last year, and so did Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer and disappointed they are not on the list. Pleased to see Mark and Tansy there, as well as Steven, although I would have thought Mike Glyer and his output on his File 770 Blog would have been present as well. Super pleased to see Journey Plane and Drink Tank nominated. I have to say I am terribly proud of what we did last year, and genuinely feel that only people who have not actually read JP would feel the ability to criticise it. It is a hugely collaborative work, and it is the amazing array of contributors, who need to be looked at. Again very grateful to fans. Pleased Banana Wings is in there, thought File 770 would have got in. Steve Stiles, Brad Foster and Mo Starkey are amazing artists in my mind, and I must say Mo, is just incredible to work with, as an editor. Her montage of various female comic characters last year for a JP was stunning in its ability to do what I needed and it is that can do attitude that makes Mo such a generous and kind fan artist.