Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Thoughts on the 2015 Hugo Award Nominees, Part Two

What follows below is the second part of my "Thoughts on the 2015 Hugo Awards" series, which in previously year is usually just a single post and is typically this post. This year I have more thoughts than usual. Find Part One here.  These are my thoughts on the specific nominees and what I think about each category, such as I have thoughts on each category.

As a bit of house cleaning, I will note that 8 of my nominees made it onto the final ballot.

Best Novel (1827 ballots) 
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos
Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

I nominated both Ancillary Sword and The Goblin Emperor and am very happy to see them included on this year's ballot. I am sad to report that I have never read any of the Butcher's Dresden Files novels, and though Skin Game is the 15th in the series, I am looking forward to reading it. Hopefully it's a series you can mostly pick up and run at any point. I've been eyeballing Lines of Departure as something to read for a while now, though my library doesn't have a copy. I had heard nothing about Kevin Anderson's book prior to the nomination. I've read his Star Wars novels and enjoyed them, and the first three Dune prequels (the House books) were pretty good, but the one book in his own setting I've read was The Edge of the World and I was very disappointed by it and was not inclined to seek out anything else Anderson wrote. The Dark Between the Stars is in a different setting and is the first in a new trilogy, so we'll see how this one takes.

Best Novella (1083 ballots)
Big Boys Don’t Cry by Tom Kratman (Castalia House)
“Flow” by Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, Nov 2014)
One Bright Star to Guide Them by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
“Pale Realms of Shade” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
“The Plural of Helen of Troy” by John C. Wright (City Beyond Time: Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis, Castalia House)

Three novellas from from John C Wright, huh?  I'm not familiar with Wright's work, though I've been aware of his name for years. I just haven't picked up one of his novels (or been aware of his shorter fiction). I have no idea who Kratman or Andrews is. So, no real opinion on this category.

Best Novelette (1031 ballots)
“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” by Gray Rinehart (Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, May 2014)
“Championship B’tok” by Edward M Lerner (Analog, Sept 2014)
“The Journeyman: In the Stone House” by Michael F. Flynn (Analog, June 2014)
“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra (Analog, Jul/Aug 2014)
“Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)

I am not familiar with any of the nominees in the Novelette category, though I think there's a chance I've previously read stories from Lerner or Flynn. I'm not sure, though.

Best Short Story (1174 ballots)
“Goodnight Stars” by Annie Bellet (The End is Now (Apocalypse Triptych Book 2), Broad Reach Publishing)
“On A Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, Nov 2014)
“The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
“Totaled” by Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge magazine, July 2014)
“Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)

Like Novelette, I am not familiar with the nominees in the Short Story category, but I do have The End is Now on my reading list (and on my Nook waiting to be read). I don't remember Bellet's "Goodnight Moon" from The End is Nigh, but I'm looking forward to reading all of the stories in The End is Now. I like a good apocalyptic story.

Best Related Work (1150 ballots)“The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF” by Ken Burnside (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)
Letters from Gardner by Lou Antonelli (The Merry Blacksmith Press)
Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
“Why Science is Never Settled” by Tedd Roberts (Baen.com)
Wisdom from my Internet by Michael Z. Williamson (Patriarchy Press)

No thoughts.  

Best Graphic Story (785 ballots)
Ms. Marvel Vol 1: No Normal written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch)
Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate by Carter Reid
Saga, Volume 3 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples
Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky

Saga Volume 3 was one of my nominees and I've been gradually working my way through Marvel Comics (I'm currently in the middle of the Dark Reign era), but I think I'll get to Ms Marvel much, much sooner. It's been recommended to me multiple times. Rat Queens and Sex Criminals were on my radar, I was just waiting for more collections to be published so I don't catch up to the series with one book.  I know nothing about Zombie Nation.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) (1285 ballots)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Edge of Tomorrow
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Lego Movie

Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Interstellar were on my nomination ballot.  I just recorded Edge of Tomorrow on my DVR, and unlike most people, I wasn't a big fan of The Lego Movie despite my now near constant references to Mr. Business at my child.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) (938 ballots)
Doctor Who: “Listen”
The Flash: “Pilot”
Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper”
Grimm: “Once We Were Gods”
Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”

I am rather happy that this category is no longer "Best Doctor Who". I'm only familiar with the Game of Thrones episode, which was quite excellent. I'm so behind on Orphan Black that I want to watch it and I'm not sure if it is fair to watch the one episode so far out of sequence. We'll see.  

Best Editor (Short Form) (870 ballots)
Jennifer Brozek
Vox Day
Mike Resnick
Edmund R. Schubert
Bryan Thomas Schmidt

The editor list here does not include what each editor has worked on for Short Form editing, so I'll have to look them up. I am not familiar with the current editing work from the nominees.

Best Editor (Long Form) (712 ballots)
Vox Day
Sheila Gilbert
Jim Minz
Anne Sowards
Toni Weisskopf

Publishing houses represented here are Roc, DAW, Baen, and Castalia House. What I've wished for years is to have easy access to which specific books published that year the editors worked on. I still don't have it.

Best Professional Artist (753 ballots)
Julie Dillon
Jon Eno
Nick Greenwood
Alan Pollack
Carter Reid

Julie Dillon was on my nominating ballot. I am unfamiliar with the work of the rest.

Best Semiprozine (660 ballots)
Abyss & Apex, Wendy Delmater editor and publisher
Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Association Incorporated, 2014 editors David Kernot and Sue Bursztynski
Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews
Strange Horizons, Niall Harrison Editor-in-Chief

Generally, I have enjoyed Lightspeed and Strange Horizons. I always meant to read Beneath Ceaseless Skies, but have not. I am aware of Andromeda and Abyss & Apex, but have not read either.

Best Fanzine (576 ballots)
Black Gate edited by John O’Neill
Elitist Book Reviews edited by Steve Diamond
Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Alissa McKersie, Colin Harris and Helen Montgomery
The Revenge of Hump Day edited by Tim Bolgeo
Tangent SF Online edited by Dave Truesdale

Years ago I read Tangent for its short fiction reviews, this is the only nominee I am familiar with, but I have heard of three of the other four. I have no idea what The Revenge of Hump Day is.

Best Fancast (668 ballots)
Adventures in SF Publishing Brent Bower (Executive Producer), Kristi Charish, Timothy C. Ward & Moses Siregar III (Co-Hosts, Interviewers and Producers)
Dungeon Crawlers Radio Daniel Swenson (Producer/Host), Travis Alexander & Scott Tomlin (Hosts), Dale Newton (Host/Tech), Damien Swenson (Audio/Video Tech)
Galactic Suburbia Podcast Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
The Sci Phi Show Jason Rennie
Tea and Jeopardy Emma Newman & Peter Newman

I seldom listen to podcasts. 

Best Fan Writer (777 ballots)
Dave Freer
Amanda S. Green
Jeffro Johnson
Laura J. Mixon
Cedar Sanderson

No Thoughts.

Best Fan Artist (296 ballots)
Ninni Aalto
Brad Foster
Elizabeth Leggett
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles

Stiles and Foster are long time nominees. Schoenhuth was nominated last year. Leggett was on my ballot this year, I thought she did fantastic work.

Campbell Award for Best New Writer (851 ballots)
Wesley Chu *
Jason Cordova
Kary English *
Rolf Nelson
Eric. S. Raymond

I know, I know, this isn't a Hugo. I don't care, it's a damn Hugo. Wes Chu was on my ballot for his excellent Tao novels (I've read the first two). I am unfamiliar with the remaining nominees.

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