Hugo Award

4 Reasons Why You (Yeah, You) Are Qualified To Nominate for the Hugos

The Hugo Award nomination period closes in just a few days. You’ve seen my recs, and over the weekend the #hugoeligible hashtag showcased so many more. But I know some of you are still thinking that you aren’t qualified to nominate because:

  1. You haven’t read/watched/listened widely enough (according to you).
  2. You don’t have enough nominations in every category to fill ever slot you’re allotted.
  3. You don’t have time to read all the cool stuff recommended here and elsewhere and on the tag.
  4. You’re “just a fan” and not anyone fancy.

I’m here to tell you that none of those things disqualifies you from nominating for the Hugos. None. Zip. Let’s break it down.

I Haven’t Read/Watched/Listened Widely Enough

Have you read/watched/listened to eligible media at all? Then you’ve done so widely enough. I’m serious. No one can read, watch, or listen to every single thing, and very few people can even consume all the stuff that gets floated as good by reviewers, friends, and the folks you follow on social media. Even as a person whose job it is to read and review short fiction I have not read every single piece of short fiction out there.

How do you know what stuff is best, then? It’s all relative. If you read just 4 novels last year and one of them wowed or moved you, then you nominate that one. It was the best of what you read.

I Don’t Have Enough Nominations To Fill Every Slot

This is fine as well. Like I said, if of the novels you read you only loved one, then you nominate one. Only two good movies, only one podcast, and no particular thoughts on Fan Writer? That is all fine. You are not required to fill out all the slots in every category nor are you required to nominate in every category.

I Saw All The Recs But Didn’t Have Time To Assess Them All

That’s fine. You’re not a bad person for not having gone through every single recommendation.

Do you know what you can do? Keep track of the people who made all those recs, because they probably share a lot of stuff they love throughout the year, not just at award nominating time. That way, you’ll have more time to check out stuff you might like for next year.

I’m Not Anyone Fancy, Why Should I Nominate When Better Read/More Engaged/Highly Connected People Are More Qualified To Do So?

I’m going to loop back to: did you read, watch, and listen to things? You are eminently qualified. Also, the Hugo is a fan award, driven by fans and what they like. It is absolutely not a requirement to be anything other than a person who loves SFF stuff and wants to see the stuff they like recognized for its awesomeness. That is all.

Your voice matters. What you love matters. It matters to the award even if the stuff you nominate doesn’t get on the ballot. After all, the people who create the fiction and movies and TV shows and podcasts and fan writing and art you love look at the list of what was nominated but didn’t make the final and go: oh hey, this many people thought my story was award-worthy! That’s the best.

In Summary

Nominate what you think is best of what you’ve read, watched, and listened to, no matter the number of overall things. Don’t worry about filling every slot if you can’t. Don’t worry about not getting to every recommendation. Your voice matters.

Got it? Excellent. Go fill out your ballot.

Awards Season Is Upon Us #3: My Not-Fiction Hugo Reccommendations

awards

Hugo nominations are due in 10 days! And I have some more recs for you, this time in the categories that aren’t fiction. You can find my fiction recs here and after that you should check out which Hugo nomination categories I’m eligible for and hopefully you will deem me worthy of your nomination nod.

I don’t have a rec for every not-fiction Hugo category. I don’t have a good sense of the field for some, and the others I don’t care about as much (dramatic presentation, for ex). So I’m happy to read other people’s recs or just wait for the final ballot before consuming everything and making a decision.

Best Related Work

A Critical Review of Laura J. Mixon’s Essay” by Édouard Brière-Allard

I know my listing this will be interpreted as some pro-Requires Hate move and more proof that I am her specialest best friend[1]. Sorry y’all: No. My strong recommendation for this essay is about my strong conviction that if a person is going to publish a call out post with a long list of receipts, it needs to adhere to some strict standards evidence, labelling, and truth. Mixon’s post about Benjanun did not, and this essay is, in part, about explaining that. It points out the huge problems with that post and is an important part of the conversation about the fallout from the post. It’s long. Longity-long. It’s well worth reading.

Invisible 2, edited by Jim C Hines

This anthology series about representation in SFF is so important. The essays cover all the big questions when it comes to representation–why it’s necessary and needed, the effects of bad representation on individuals and culture, the effects of good representation, getting beyond false binaries of choice, and much more. This is an anthology that’s just as important for fans and readers to have as it is for genre writers.

A Wiki of Ice and Fire

There are a ton of fan-maintained wikis around, and I know many of them are great. This is one of the best I’ve ever come across. It’s well organized and edited, kept up to date consistently, and contains a breadth and depth of information that astounds me. Even George RR Martin uses this wiki to look up details of character and history (or so I hear). This wiki is why I can have conversations with people about Game of Thrones even though I haven’t read any of the books or watched much of the show.

The Call of the Sad Whelkfins: The Continued Relevance of How to Suppress Women’s Writing” by Natalie Luhrs and Annalee Flower Horne 

Bad Life Decisions: In Which Natalie Luhrs Reads a Theodore Beale Book for Charity 

Sad Puppies Review Books: Children’s Books Reviewed By Childish Men by John Z. Upjohn

This book collects all the excellent SP review posts, hilarious send-ups by the ever funny Alexandra Erin. Stuff like this is why she’s also on my Best Fan Writer list.

Best Editor (Long Form)

Devi Pillai, Orbit Books

Devi is the editor at Orbit that acquired N. K. Jemisin’s books and for that she should have won a Hugo long ago. Nora agrees with me: “Devi has done a lot to help change the face of the genre. It’s in large part thanks to her influence that Orbit Books has consistently cranked out some really edgy, different, high-quality fiction in its relatively short lifetime. The books she likes are anything but the same-old same old; there’s no formula in her fantasy, no tiresome adherence to tradition at the expense of a good story.”

Her authors also include Kate Elliott, Gail Carriger, Lilith Saintcrow, Joe Abercrombie, and Kate Locke among many others. If you loved The Fifth Season or any other book Devi edited, then she should be on your list of nomintees.

Miriam Weinberg, Tor Books

Miriam edited Fran Wilde’s Updraft and V. E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic.

Best Editor (Short Form)

Nisi Shawl

Co-editor of Stories for Chip

Ann VanderMeer

For me, this is based mainly on her editorial work for Tor.com. She consistently acquires outstanding stories by amazing authors.

Ellen Datlow

Similar story here. I’m not that into horror. But the stories Ellen acquires for Tor.com are always worth reading and often surprise me with how much I like them even if they’re horror or dark fantasy.

C.C. Finlay

Charlie turned F&SF into a magazine I wanted to read on a regular basis instead of something I threw across the room on a regular basis.

Best Semiprozine

Luna Station Quarterly

Strange Horizons

Uncanny Magazine

Best Fancast

Fresh Out of Tokens

Less Than Or Equal

A podcast dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of geeks facing inequality in their industries, hosted by the awesome Aleen Simms.

Best Fan Writer

Mark Oshiro

Alexandra Erin

Natalie Luhrs

Tanya DePass

Édouard Brière-Allard

Please share your recs in the comments!

Footnotes

  1. I still have a long essay of my own in me about that and why that’s very much not the case, and one day I’m sure I’ll have the emotional fortitude to write it.[]
table full of hugos

Awards Season Is Upon Us #2: My Fiction Reccomendations

table full of hugos

At some point I’m going to write a post about why it’s important to nominate for the Hugo Awards if you can and why you don’t need to have read everything or even widely to nominate. That’s a long post, though, and it’s Friday. What’s good for Fridays is giving you a list of things to read that will give you pleasure. i.e. My recommendations for Hugo nomination-worthy fiction.

Novel

The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin

A book that tells the brutal truth about oppression and marginalization. And it’s just damn good.

The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu

I’m not a huge epic fantasy person and this book still managed to hook me. The combination of a book set in a China-influenced fantasy world that isn’t white-gaze-Orientalist nonsense, a fantasy world that isn’t mindlessly patriarchal by default, and a grand story that encompasses gods and mortals without being as tiring as Homer made me a fan of this book.

Uprooted, Naomi Novik

One of the most well-crafted books I’ve read in a long time.

 

Novella

 

The New Mother by E. J. Fischer | Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine [Read It Here]

This novella takes place in a very near future. So near that the issues it tackles are barely removed from their current counterparts. Reproductive rights, personhood, our culture’s puritanical views on sex, religion, cloning, and so many of the other conversations connected to these topics. Fisher avoids preachiness (well, I say that because I happen to be the choir) and instead uses all of this to explore what it means to be human.

The Bone Swans of Amandale, C.S.E. Cooney [In This Collection]

It’s beautiful. I mean… I don’t even know what else to say except this is just beautiful and moved me deeply.

Trixter – The Trix Adventures, Volume 1, Alethea Kontis [Standalone]

If you’re a fan of mixed up and remixed fairy tales then you need to read all of Alethea’s middle grade books. Though this is part of that whole series/world, you can start with this short novel as an entry drug to the rest. Trix is a lot of fun.

Novelette

Entanglements by David Gerrold | The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction [Read It Here] (this was originally listed as a novella. Sorry!)

Reading this story was like wandering into a party at a big con and somehow stumbling on the corner where some giant of the field is quietly holding court, and only those lucky enough to have torn themselves away from (or escaped) some less interesting blowhard get to be witness to it. This giant of the field is telling you a story, and that story probably has a straightforward version, but he keeps veering off into these tangents, and you don’t care because these tangents include tidbits about that time Gene Roddenberry bought his first computer and Majel Barrett freaked out because the simplistic AI was just complex enough to make it seem like it was carrying on a conversation and so on…

But then, oh then, you get to the meat of the story this guy has been trying to tell for an hour and you are stunned, just stunned, because he just blew your mind with insight and you’re wiping tears from your face because you see yourself in bits of that story (especially that bit about still owning a Zune because it was better than the iPod and shut up) and now you’re contemplating the meaning of your life and he’s got up to go to the bathroom and… wait… what was that about killing a man?

Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma | Tor.com

This story is very dark and very engaging. The voice just sucks you in and holds you down as the story slowly builds and builds to the justified, disturbing end. This is the kind of horror I tend to gravitate to even though horror as a whole isn’t my favorite genre. The way it mixes the real and the supernatural and the woman’s tight point of view both contribute to why I highly recommend this story.

And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead by Brooke Bolander | Lightspeed Magazine

I immediately resonated with this piece based on my own history, and throughout the author plucked all the right strings in me to make me love this. It’s about the things one will do out of grief and love and pressing down sadness, wonderfully rendered and woven.

Sacred Cows: Death and Squalor on the Rio Grande by A.S. Diev | Giganotosaurus

This novelette is worth settling in to read and spend some time to think about. The imagery of a herd of cows flying through the sky is somewhat comical, though that aspect quickly dissipates as the narrative goes on. It’s a story about corruption, corporations, and rich men who get away with far too much because they are rich. That concept is hardly futuristic, I know. But so many people fail to question the doctrine of “because we can” that permeates so much of everyday people’s lives.

Something one of the characters says toward the end really sums up everything about this story: “It’s not that they are bigger and stronger. It’s not that they win every contest, and have more of everything, even while some of us truly don’t have enough. It’s that they still want more. They have to be above you, and step on you, and defecate on you. They have to rub it in your face.”

Folding Beijing by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu | Uncanny Magazine

Short Story

When Your Child Strays From God by Sam J. Miller | Clarkesworld Magazine

Snuck into this story about an evangelical Christian pastor’s wife dealing with the sinful rebelliousness of her teenage son is a really cool made up drug that sounds absolutely transformative and I want to try it (along with a few close friends… very close). Miller excels at blending cool speculative ideas with characters and situations very much grounded in our world.

These Eyes Are Not My Own by Jennifer Nestojko | Crossed Genres Magazine

Those of you who’ve ever been in a relationship with a person with different privilege or experience of marginalization than you will recognize the personal dynamics in this story. It’s very tense and sad and you’ll find yourself all tangled up in the main character’s emotions almost immediately.

Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong | Nightmare Magazine

This story is so visceral and it doesn’t hold back on all that’s implied in this opening bit. Wong has a talent for creating horrific situations that nonetheless feel right and even righteous. It’s not easy to make a reader identify or empathize with a narrator of this nature, and yet the author manages to do so (for me, at least).

Liminal Grid By Jaymee Goh | Strange Horizons

I love everything about this story. The voice, the tone, the dialogue, the characters, the story itself. I love the core of the story, summed up here: “Tyrants must be told somehow that they will be left in the morass of their own corruption. Everyone has the right to live, grow, dream, build at their own pace. Leaving, too, is resistance.”

Catcall by Delilah S. Dawson | Uncanny Magazine

If you’ve been reading my column for a while you know my fondness for revenge and They Got What Was Coming To Them stories. That’s exactly why I like this one. It’s for every girl and woman who is sick of the neverending cavalcade of unwanted touches and roaming eyes and disgusting words and everything else that comes with rape culture and wishes she had the power to do something about all of it.

If I believed in misandry, I could call this story MISANDRY MISANDRY MISANDRY without fear or shame.

Madeleine by Amal El-Mohtar | Lightspeed Magazine

Falling into memories the way we fall into dreams—with that same hyper-real yet not real tension and thrill/terror of not always being able to escape—sounds like a thing that could be fun at first but would quickly devolve into a terrifying way to live. What if, in these memories, you found the exact thing you needed to make you feel like you should continue existing? El-Mohtar explores this and more in this gorgeous story.

The Great Silence by Ted Chiang | e-flux journal

Chiang collaborated with visual artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla to create a story based on their video piece “The Great Silence.” Not having seen the original video I can’t comment on how well each piece compliments each other. Even without that background, the story is moving, heart-breaking and beautiful — and is made up of at least 60% lines that will be quoted forever.

With the exception of the short story category, I still have room for a few other nominations. I want to what everyone else has on their short list. List ’em in the comments, use the #HugoNoms hashtag on Twitter, poke me on Facebook!

I’ll put up my recs for the not-fiction categories next week. And, of course, I am eligible for some of those categories.

 

A Proposal, Re: The Hugo Awards

A Proposal, Re: The Hugo Awards

A couple of months ago Cheryl Morgan posted an editorial in Clarkesworld about how “you” can change the Hugos. I complained at the time that she dismissed the issue of money far too easily, and I still feel that way.

$50 to become a non-attending member of WorldCon grants you voting rights, but who pays that much to not attend a convention or to just vote on an award? Only people who have $50 to spend on not much at all.

Obviously the Hugos are something, yes, but they’re not worth $50 to most people. Even when you’re talking people who care.

So I have two ideas on how this aspect of the problem might be solved. One I think is more likely to be implemented because it’s easy, but I think both are viable.

Idea #1: Lower the non-attending membership price to $20 or $25.

$20 is better. More people are willing to drop $20 on things than $50. Obviously there will be plenty of people who will still say no way, but I think a lot more people would consider it at that price.

Idea #2: Allow members of other SF cons to be eligible to vote.

This is a bit more complicated, so bear with me. I totally understand that the Hugos are WorldCon’s award, and with good reason. But WorldCon is not the nexus of the SF world it once was as far as conventions go. And not everyone can get to or afford WorldCon but can get to a big con near them or one with a lower membership/hotel rate. What if the Hugo committee extended eligibility to the members of select conventions. They’d have a size minimum, or a base number of years the con has to be in existence, or has to include certain kinds of programming tracks, or some combination of that. Members could opt to pay an extra $10 over the registration price to vote for the Hugos.

Logistically, this could be difficult. This is why I think my first idea has more chance of being implemented.

I could be completely off base with all of this, but I think these are fairly good ideas. What do you all think? Any better ideas? Because looking at the list of nominees it’s clear that something needs to change before the Hugos themselves will.

Hugo, Hugo, Who’s Got The Hugo?

Hugo, Hugo, Who's Got The Hugo?

It’s Hugo Award nomination time, kids. This is when folks who attended last year’s WorldCon and those who have already signed up for this year’s can nominate stories, books, people and magazines for awards. Exciting!  I have not been to WorldCon in a number of years and that isn’t likely to change soon.  I’ll have to settle for recommending things for you folks to nominate.

Weird Tales has helpfully put together this Year In Review, which highlights some of their more awesome endeavors.  i think they’re angling for that Best Semiprozine nom, and I personally feel they deserve it.  Seriously, when was the last time you read something cool and entertaining and weird in Locus?  When was the last time Locus held a spam fiction contest?  Hmm?  Weird Tales is where it’s at.  And while you’re at it, perhaps you should consider nominating some of their excellent fiction for an award, too.

As I mentioned last week, Fantasy has a Best Story of 2008 poll going on (and contest… did I mention contest?  Go enter the contest!) which provides a helpful list of all our 2008 fiction with links.  We’re going to announce the winner next week along with some of the editor’s picks for top stories.  Nominating people might want to read those stories for consideration.

On the Best Editor front, there are, of course, many fine editors out there.  Ann Vandermeer of Weird Tales and various anthologies, Cat Rambo of Fantasy Magazine, Susan Groppi, Jed Hartman, and Karen Meisner of Strange Horizons, Rachel Swirsky of PodCastle… really, you have many good choices.  But if I were nominating, the people I just mentioned would be it.

There’s one last category that I think most people who read this blog don’t pay much attention to: Best Fan Writer.  This is anyone who has published stuff in fanzines/semipro zines/on the internet relating to SF/F fandom, etcetc.  That includes the non-fiction writers who have appeared in Fantasy.  Last week I put up our Best of 2008: Columns post and I still have the Best of Interviews & Articles to do.  But may I recommend the following writers to nominate for this category:

And in non-Fantasy noms, I think miss Cleolinda deserves some credit and recognition for enduring the Twilight series so we didn’t have to.

I’m sure I will think of more Best Fan Writer people in the next few days.

And finally (you knew this was coming, right?) I would like to point out that I had a story published in 2008 and I am totally eligible for the Fan Writer award, not just for Fantasy stuff, but also for the ABW.  So keep that in mind ;D