Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Fanzine

Black Gate declined its nomination after the Hugo Committee of Worldcon had locked the ballot, so they remain on the ballot for Best Fanzine. However, to respect the wishes of John O'Neil at Black Gate, I will leave it off my ballot.

While I don't normally read Elitist Book Reviews, or most other book blogs these days, it is the sort of fanzine I most appreciate. I have long enjoyed a good book blog, one that actually reviews books. There seem to be fewer of them around these days, or at least the old guard (and the older guard) are producing fewer reviews and have ventured off to new things and less bloggy things. Heck, if you've been following along here you'll see a relative lack of reviews, so as older guard as I am - I'm not reviewing much either. Regardless, I've enjoyed what I've read of Elitist Book Reviews.

Journey Planet, on the other hand, is a very traditional fanzine compiled in discrete issues with various writers and artists contributing. The issue in the voter's packet was a Doctor Who themed issue. Overall, a well constructed and well written fanzine. I think I'd enjoy it more in a blog format, but that has more to do how I prefer to consume media than it is about what Journey Planet is. While good, I'm not inspired to go seek out additional issues or follow what the zine does.

Tangent Online is a long running short fiction review website, and if you're looking for coverage of the short fiction market one of the best options you have (that I'm aware of) is Tangent. It's....fine. While I am happy that Tangent exists and that there are occasional sources and reviewers who cover short fiction, the reviewing at Tangent has never grabbed me.

The less said about The Revenge of Hump Day, the better. I don't understand the nomination. It does not get my vote.

My Vote:
1. Elitist Book Reviews
2. Journey Planet
3. Tangent Online
4. No Award

Standard 2015 Hugo Disclaimer:
In a typical year, I just jump right into whichever category I'm writing about and let my thoughts sort out the whole mess. This is not a typical year, so I'd like to start by talking a little bit about how I'm going to work through the various Hugo Award categories and how I am going to vote. Simply put, I am going to read everything. If I feel the work is strong enough to merit a ranked vote, I will vote for it in whatever order feels most appropriate. If I feel the work is not strong enough to merit ranking it above No Award, I will not do so.  But at no point am I making a blanket statement about Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies or that I've heard Thomas Heuvelt may have been campaigning for a nomination or anything else that I am not aware of.  The ballot is what the ballot is and I will treat it as such.

I am also working with the same methodology as I have in the past, which is to say that there are frequently works and writers on the ballot that I simply and strongly disagree with. In most cases, I have still ranked those works above No Award. I don't believe I have always done this, and I know if I had participated last year, one novel would have been below No Award because I bounced so hard off of the first book in that series that I really can't understand how the second also managed a nomination - and that writer is a Hugo favorite. Most stories compare to works that have previously been on the ballot, so those works that meet my low-bar criteria will secure my vote. 

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

Thanks, Joe, for the love. Myself (Vanessa) and the other reviewers at Elitist Book Reviews take what we do seriously--plus we love doing it.