Monday, August 29, 2016

Tell me about the good SFF you've read/watched in 2016!

I'm working on a Worldcon trip report, but in the meantime, let's start looking towards next year's Hugo Awards season!

What science fiction and fantasy have you read or watched, and loved, this year? I'm specifically looking for works that were first published or aired in 2016 and are eligible for nomination for the 2017 Hugo Awards. I'm especially hungry for recommendations of good shorter-than-novel-length fiction since I have a hard time finding good shorter works. I want recommendations of novels, too, though, please.

It's been an exhausting year with really long work hours, so I haven't read much. As a result, my 2017 "Things I Might Nominate" list is *EMPTY*! My work schedule may finally be evening out, and I'm starting to read again, so I'm eager for your recommendations!

Here's my to-read list so far:


Note: I know a lot of lists of eligible fiction are being put together. Please feel free to link to more, but... Obviously can't read it all! And maybe YOUR favorite isn't on those lists yet at all!

Tell me about the new SFF you're loving! I want to read it! Also, please tell me what you love about it, if you can without spoilers!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

2016 Final Hugo Award Nominees - With Links to Free Fiction!

The ballot is out for the 2016 Hugo Awards.

You too can join Worldcon and vote! It's fun! YOU TOO can shape the Hugo Awards going forward! You need only buy a supporting membership in this year's World Science Fiction Convention and you get to vote in the Hugos this year, AND nominate next year! The best way to make the awards better is for more of us to play! That means YOU, friend!

Sick of hearing about puppies and smelly ballots? There is a lot of talk about rules changes, and that will be good, but the BEST way to make the Hugo Awards better is always going to be numbers. More sci-fi/fantasy fans need to be involved in the awards process. You! YOU need to be involved in the awards process!

We only had a couple of withdrawals this year after the ballot was announced. Changes are noted below.

After the two withdrawn works, 74% of the ballot is now claimed by the Rabid Puppies block vote slate (compare to 65% last year, after all the withdrawals);  70% of the written fiction ballot (first four categories) is claimed by the Rabid Puppies block vote (compare to 75% last year).

88% of the overall ballot is claimed by Puppies of one or both type (compare to 69% last year); 95% of the written fiction ballot is Puppy (compare to 80% last year). 10 categories are pure Puppy (compare to 5 categories last year).

Nearly half of the nominees on the ballot (41 out of 85) were on the Sad Puppies list. Rabids have better numbers, or better lockstep, or both.

Also, here is a nice blog post compiling the reactions (or lack thereof) of the nominees who were on the Rabid Puppies slate.

I am adding links to free versions of these nominees' works as I find them. Please comment if you find others, and I'll add them! Thanks.

Legend:
[1] Rabid Puppies block vote only
[2] Sad Puppies block vote only (# means it was top 5 on the Sad Puppies list)
[3] common to both block vote ballots (# means it was top 5 on the Sad Puppies list)
[4] everything else

BEST NOVEL (3695 ballots)

BEST NOVELLA (2416 ballots)

BEST NOVELETTE (1975 ballots)

BEST SHORT STORY (2451 ballots)

  • “Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015) # - Available FREE here!
  • The Commuter by Thomas A. Mays (Stealth) (WITHDREW)
  • “Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015) # (ADDED) - Available FREE here!
  • “If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and S. Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015)
  • “Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  • Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)

BEST RELATED WORK (2080 ballots)

  • Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 by Marc Aramini (Castalia House)
  • “The First Draft of My Appendix N Book” by Jeffro Johnson (jeffro.wordpress.com) #
  • “Safe Space as Rape Room” by Daniel Eness (castaliahouse.com) #
  • SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police by Vox Day (Castalia House)
  • “The Story of Moira Greyland” by Moira Greyland (askthebigot.com)

BEST GRAPHIC STORY (1838 ballots)

  • The Divine written by Boaz Lavie, art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka (First Second)
  • Erin Dies Alone written by Grey Carter, art by Cory Rydell (dyingalone.net)
  • Full Frontal Nerdity by Aaron Williams (ffn.nodwick.com)
  • Invisible Republic Vol 1 written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, art by Gabriel Hardman (Image Comics)
  • The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (LONG FORM) (2904 ballots)

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron written and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Ex Machina written and directed by Alex Garland (Film4; DNA Films; Universal Pictures)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller (Village Roadshow Pictures; Kennedy Miller Mitchell; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures) #
  • The Martian screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox) #
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens written by Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt, directed by J.J. Abrams (Lucasfilm Ltd.; Bad Robot Productions; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures) #

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (SHORT FORM) (2219 ballots)

  • Doctor Who: “Heaven Sent” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Television)
  • Grimm: “Headache” written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, directed by Jim Kouf(Universal Television; GK Productions; Hazy Mills Productions; Open 4 Business Productions; NBCUniversal Television Distribution)
  • Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile” written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions;Netflix)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: “The Cutie Map” Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media/Vancouver; Hasbro Studios) #
  • Supernatural: “Just My Imagination” written by Jenny Klein, directed by Richard Speight Jr. (Kripke Enterprises; Wonderland Sound and Vision; Warner Bros. Television)

BEST EDITOR – SHORT FORM (1891 ballots)

  • John Joseph Adams #
  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Jerry Pournelle #
  • Sheila Williams

BEST EDITOR – LONG FORM (1764 ballots)

  • Vox Day
  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Jim Minz #
  • Toni Weisskopf #

BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST (1481 ballots)

  • Lars Braad Andersen
  • Larry Elmore #
  • Abigail Larson #
  • Michal Karcz
  • Larry Rostant

BEST SEMIPROZINE (1457 ballots)

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
  • Daily Science Fiction edited by Michele-Lee Barasso and Jonathan Laden
  • Sci Phi Journal edited by Jason Rennie #
  • Strange Horizons edited by Catherine Krahe, Julia Rios, A. J. Odasso, Vanessa Rose Phin,Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons staff
  • Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky

BEST FANZINE (1455 ballots)

  • Black Gate edited by John O’Neill - (WITHDREW)
  • Castalia House Blog edited by Jeffro Johnson
  • File 770 edited by Mike Glyer #
  • Lady Business edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan (ADDED)
  • Superversive SF edited by Jason Rennie #
  • Tangent Online edited by Dave Truesdale #

BEST FANCAST (1267 ballots)

  • 8-4 Play, Mark MacDonald, John Ricciardi, Hiroko Minamoto, and Justin Epperson
  • Cane and Rinse, Cane and Rinse
  • HelloGreedo, HelloGreedo #
  • The Rageaholic, RazörFist
  • Tales to Terrify, Stephen Kilpatrick

BEST FAN WRITER (1568 ballots)

  • Douglas Ernst
  • Mike Glyer+ #
  • Morgan Holmes
  • Jeffro Johnson #
  • Shamus Young

BEST FAN ARTIST (1073 ballots)

  • Matthew Callahan #
  • disse86
  • Kukuruyo
  • Christian Quinot
  • Steve Stiles

JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER (1922 ballots)

  • Pierce Brown *
  • Sebastien de Castell *
  • Brian Niemeier #
  • Andy Weir * #
  • Alyssa Wong * #
* Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.
 + Yes, I did also nominate this myself. Also, to be totally fair, I did post a few things on the Sad Puppies recommendation threads, just to see if they were really going to count ALL suggestions posted.

Don't like all that red and yellow? Join! Join us!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Review: The Aeronaut's Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1) by Jim Butcher

Let the 2016 Hugo nominee reading begin!

I'm starting with The Aeronaut's Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1) by Jim Butcher.

This book was on both the Rabid Puppy slate and the Sad Puppies list (where it was in the top 5 books listed).

I attempted to read this book when it was new, well before the nomination period opened. I was annoyed, and bored, and I put it down. It made the nominee list, so I've given it a second chance. I'm not going to give the plot synopsis here - you can click the link above for the Goodreads page.

Spoilery thoughts behind the cut.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2016 Hugo Nominees - Is it just me or does it smell like dogs in here?

Wellp. The ballot is out for the 2016 Hugo Awards.

You too can join Worldcon and vote!

76% of the ballot is now claimed by the Rabid Puppies block vote slate (compare to 65% last year, after all the withdrawals);  75% of the written fiction ballot (first four categories) is claimed by the Rabid Puppies block vote (compare to 75% last year).

89% of the overall ballot is claimed by Puppies of one or both type (compare to 69% last year); 95% of the written fiction ballot is Puppy (compare to 80% last year). 11 categories are pure Puppy (compare to 5 categories last year).

ETA: 83% of Sad Puppy 'reading list' nominees that made the ballot were in the top 5 of the Sad Puppy listings for that category. Could be evidence that the top 5 of each Sad Puppies list are just vastly more popular, or could be evidence that a lot of folks voted the top 5 of each Sad Puppies list as a slate. Of the seven Sad Puppies nominees that were not in the top 5 of their 'reading lists,' many are hugely popular with a history of making Hugo ballots and probably would have made it anyway (Ann Leckie, Doctor Who, Neal Stephenson). Nearly half of the nominees on the ballot (40 out of 85) were on the Sad Puppies list. Rabids have better numbers, or better lockstep, or both.

ETA 2: Nice blog post compiling the reactions (or lack thereof) of the nominees who were on the Rabid Puppies slate.

I'll add links to free versions of these nominees' works as I find them. Please comment if you find others, and I'll add them! Thanks.


Legend:
[1] Rabid Puppies block vote only
[2] Sad Puppies block vote only (# means it was top 5 on the Sad Puppies list)
[3] common to both block vote ballots (# means it was top 5 on the Sad Puppies list)
[4] everything else

BEST NOVEL (3695 ballots)

  • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc) #
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)+ #

BEST NOVELLA (2416 ballots)

  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com) #
  • The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com)
  • Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum)+ #
  • Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment) #
  • Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon) #

BEST NOVELETTE (1975 ballots)

  • “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed, Feb2015) #
  • “Flashpoint: Titan” by CHEAH Kai Wai (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  • “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015) #
  • “Obits” by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner) #
  • “What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)

BEST SHORT STORY (2451 ballots)

  • “Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015) #
  • The Commuter by Thomas A. Mays (Stealth)
  • “If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and S. Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015)
  • “Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  • Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)

BEST RELATED WORK (2080 ballots)

  • Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 by Marc Aramini (Castalia House)
  • “The First Draft of My Appendix N Book” by Jeffro Johnson (jeffro.wordpress.com) #
  • “Safe Space as Rape Room” by Daniel Eness (castaliahouse.com) #
  • SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police by Vox Day (Castalia House)
  • “The Story of Moira Greyland” by Moira Greyland (askthebigot.com)

BEST GRAPHIC STORY (1838 ballots)

  • The Divine written by Boaz Lavie, art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka (First Second)
  • Erin Dies Alone written by Grey Carter, art by Cory Rydell (dyingalone.net)
  • Full Frontal Nerdity by Aaron Williams (ffn.nodwick.com)
  • Invisible Republic Vol 1 written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, art by Gabriel Hardman (Image Comics)
  • The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (LONG FORM) (2904 ballots)

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron written and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Ex Machina written and directed by Alex Garland (Film4; DNA Films; Universal Pictures)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller (Village Roadshow Pictures; Kennedy Miller Mitchell; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures) #
  • The Martian screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox) #
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens written by Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt, directed by J.J. Abrams (Lucasfilm Ltd.; Bad Robot Productions; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures) #

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (SHORT FORM) (2219 ballots)

  • Doctor Who: “Heaven Sent” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Television)
  • Grimm: “Headache” written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, directed by Jim Kouf(Universal Television; GK Productions; Hazy Mills Productions; Open 4 Business Productions; NBCUniversal Television Distribution)
  • Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile” written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions;Netflix)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: “The Cutie Map” Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media/Vancouver; Hasbro Studios) #
  • Supernatural: “Just My Imagination” written by Jenny Klein, directed by Richard Speight Jr. (Kripke Enterprises; Wonderland Sound and Vision; Warner Bros. Television)

BEST EDITOR – SHORT FORM (1891 ballots)

  • John Joseph Adams #
  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Jerry Pournelle #
  • Sheila Williams

BEST EDITOR – LONG FORM (1764 ballots)

  • Vox Day
  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Jim Minz #
  • Toni Weisskopf #

BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST (1481 ballots)

  • Lars Braad Andersen
  • Larry Elmore #
  • Abigail Larson #
  • Michal Karcz
  • Larry Rostant

BEST SEMIPROZINE (1457 ballots)

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
  • Daily Science Fiction edited by Michele-Lee Barasso and Jonathan Laden
  • Sci Phi Journal edited by Jason Rennie #
  • Strange Horizons edited by Catherine Krahe, Julia Rios, A. J. Odasso, Vanessa Rose Phin,Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons staff
  • Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky

BEST FANZINE (1455 ballots)

  • Black Gate edited by John O’Neill
  • Castalia House Blog edited by Jeffro Johnson
  • File 770 edited by Mike Glyer #
  • Superversive SF edited by Jason Rennie #
  • Tangent Online edited by Dave Truesdale #

BEST FANCAST (1267 ballots)

  • 8-4 Play, Mark MacDonald, John Ricciardi, Hiroko Minamoto, and Justin Epperson
  • Cane and Rinse, Cane and Rinse
  • HelloGreedo, HelloGreedo #
  • The Rageaholic, RazörFist
  • Tales to Terrify, Stephen Kilpatrick

BEST FAN WRITER (1568 ballots)

  • Douglas Ernst
  • Mike Glyer+ #
  • Morgan Holmes
  • Jeffro Johnson #
  • Shamus Young

BEST FAN ARTIST (1073 ballots)

  • Matthew Callahan #
  • disse86
  • Kukuruyo
  • Christian Quinot
  • Steve Stiles

JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER (1922 ballots)

  • Pierce Brown *
  • Sebastien de Castell *
  • Brian Niemeier #
  • Andy Weir * #
  • Alyssa Wong * #
* Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.
 + Yes, I did also nominate this myself. Also, to be totally fair, I did post a few things on the Sad Puppies recommendation threads, just to see if they were really going to count ALL suggestions posted.

Still, look at all that red and orange. It's pretty clear who's determined and voting in lock-step. Can I just say. I'm really sick of trolls trying to damage our award.

Best Novel looks interesting at least. I've already read two and would love to read them again. One was high on my list of want-to-read before noms were over, but I didn't make it. I've tried to read the other two nominees but didn't finish, out of boredom with both, even though I like both authors. I'll give them another try.

Luckily, the 1941 Retros ballot (will post later) looks a little more interesting. Until I get my replacement in for my old job, I'm kinda trying to do two jobs at once, and I don't have time or energy to read. Hopefully that will change in the next few months. Then, I'll start with the more interesting. And I'll get as far as I get.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Nominations are Open for the 2016 Hugo Awards!

Nominations are open for the 2016 Hugo Awards! Science fiction and fantasy first published in 2015 is eligible - full rules here.

You can nominate for the 2016 Hugo Awards if ONE of the following applies to you:
Nominations will close March 31, 2016. So there's still lots of time to get in a little more reading/watching/listening!


Note: nominating PINS are unique and are being sent out now. It will take about a week to send out all the nominating PINS, so please be patient.


Nominations are also being accepted for the 1941 Retro Hugos.

Supporting memberships at MidAmeriCon II cost $50 this year. This gives you all the MidAmeriCon II publications, voting rights for the 2016 Hugo Awards, voting rights for the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards, and nominating rights for the 1941, 2016, and 2017 Hugo Awards. A supporting membership will also get you the Voter's Packet which usually contains a lot of the nominated materials - this is not guaranteed, and depends on this year's Worldcon having the bandwidth to put a packet together and on publishers' willingness to allow their materials' inclusion.

I've been reading as much as work and life allow. Which hasn't been nearly as much as I'd like.  I did get through some new SFF though!

I really appreciate all the suggestions y'all have made in my comments sections! I haven't yet made it through all the suggestions, but I made a pretty good dent. There are two months left before nominations close! That said, I have kindof switched to catching up on some older things. If there was something published in 2015 that you feel REALLY passionate about, please tell me what it is and why and I'll take another look at it.

Here's my tentative nomination list so far (in no particular order); I expect I'll add to it before March 31:

Best Novel:
  • The Just City, by Jo Walton
    • I wrote a little about this story. Never did get around to posting again with trigger warnings - I kindof glossed over those bits with "because humans and Greek gods are imperfect creatures, there are flaws in the experiment"
  • Aurora, by Kim Stanley Robinson
    •  Another solid story in his space colonization universe. Generation ship traveling to a nearby star system. Artificial intelligence. Some interesting stuff to think about, and as always, he sciences the shit out of it. I loved this one even though it made me angry. I also love how he updates this universe to take into account new scientific discoveries in the real world.
  • Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
    • A really excellent story - fantasy with a dose of fairy tale. I've heard people compare this story to Goblin Emperor, and I really don't know why - the world in Uprooted is really compelling, there is a lot of awesome magic, and it's just a really good tale. I wanted to hurry through it so I could find out what happened, but then I was really sad because there was no more. I had trouble picking up another book for awhile after I finished, I was so deep into the world.
Best Related Work
Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form:
  • Ex Machina 
    • Maybe - I'm still pretty conflicted about this one. 
  • Tomorrowland
    • If you haven't seen it, stop rolling your eyes. I know the previews made it appear to be fluff. It was actually surprisingly good. Very good. We need more optimistic SFF.
  • The Martian
    • Because obviously.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    • Because, again, obviously.
Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form:
  •  Doctor Who - "The Zygon Invasion / The Zygon Inversion" - Season 9 eps 7-8
    • I'm not loving this Doctor as much as the last few. Not sure whether it's his character this go-round, or whether it's the stories he's given. This two-parter is the only story this season that moved me.
Best Fan Writer:
What are you thinking about nominating this year? If you're also talking about Hugos and don't see your blog mentioned in the column to the right, please leave me a comment! 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Tell me which 2015 SFF is knocking your socks off! - Updated 8/31/15

I've been getting a lot of interesting recommendations, so time for an updated list! I'll post more updates periodically, as I receive more good recommendations and as I finish reading things that *I* love!

What science fiction and fantasy have you read or watched, and loved, this year? I'm specifically looking for works that were first published or aired in 2015 and are eligible for nomination for the 2016 Hugo Awards. I'm especially hungry for recommendations of good shorter-than-novel-length fiction since I have a hard time finding good shorter works. I want recommendations of novels, too, though, please.

Here are the things on my "I might nominate this!" list so far (in no particular order):

Best Novel:
Best Related Work
Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form:
Best Fan Writer:
Here are a list of things that have been recommended to me so far, or that I'm just really looking forward to reading anyway. I'm going to read through as many of them as I can!

(Disclaimer: I'm only listing things here I think I might be interested in. There are many more extensive general lists of recommendations, and many more comprehensive lists of eligible works - please link me to more of these too!)

Novels:
Dramatic Presentation - Long Form:
Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form:
John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo):

Tell me about the new SFF you're loving! I want to read it! Also, please tell me what you love about it, if you can without too much spoiler!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Review: The Just City - Jo Walton

The Just City, by Jo Walton

This story is delightful. The goddess Athene decides to run an experiment - a real-life city based on Plato's The Republic. Athene brings 300+ adults, all intellectuals, from different times spanning thousands of years to help set up and run the city. 10,000+ children, including an incarnate Apollo, are brought to the city to learn and become their Best Selves. Robots. Time travel. Impending doom - the Just City is situated at the feet of the rumbling volcano on Kallisti. And of course, because humans and Greek gods are imperfect creatures, there are flaws in the experiment.

More thoughts, with spoilers, behind the cut. If you're at all interested in reading the book, I'd suggest reading it before being spoiled further!

Also, don't forget to tell me what 2015 SFF has been blowing your socks off! OK, on to The Just City spoilery thoughts:


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tell me about the good SFF you've read/watched in 2015!

So, now that a record number of fans have shown up to prove that the group barking "You are a tiny clique trying to block us completely out of the Hugo Awards" were, in fact, the tiny clique who themselves were trying to block everybody else out of the awards.... Let's move on to what new SFF has been coming out!

What science fiction and fantasy have you read or watched, and loved, this year? I'm specifically looking for works that were first published or aired in 2015 and are eligible for nomination for the 2016 Hugo Awards. I'm especially hungry for recommendations of good shorter-than-novel-length fiction since I have a hard time finding good shorter works. I want recommendations of novels, too, though, please.

Here are the things on my "I might nominate this!" list so far (in no particular order):

Best Novel:
Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form:
Best Fan Writer:
Here are a list of things that have been recommended to me so far, or that I'm just really looking forward to reading anyway. I'm going to read through as many of them as I can!

(Disclaimer: I'm only listing things here I think I might be interested in. There are many more extensive general lists of recommendations, and many more comprehensive lists of eligible works - please link me to more of these too!)

Novels:
Novelettes:
Short Stories:
Dramatic Presentation - Long Form:

Tell me about the new SFF you're loving! I want to read it!

I'll posted updated lists periodically.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

My Hugo predictions

Which will probably be mostly wrong :)

Campbell: Wesley Chu

Best Fan Artist: don't know enough to guess

Best Fan Writer: don't know enough to guess

Best Fancast: Galactic Suburbia

Best Fanzine: No Award

Best Semiprozine: Lightspeed

Best Related Work: No Award

Best Graphic Story: Ms. Marvel

Best Editor - Short Form: Mike Resnick

Best Editor - Long Form: Sheila Gilbert

Best Professional Artist: don't know enough to make a guess

Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form: Game of Thrones 

Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form: Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Short Story: Totaled by Kary English

Best Novelette: No Award

Best Novella: No Award

Best Novel: The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin  

ETA: Click through here for the winners! I was partly right, but I was also partly wrong. I did not think fandom would reject the people gaming the system with slates so completely; I should have known better!
http://www.thehugoawards.org

Friday, July 31, 2015

2015 Hugo Awards - My Final Ballot

I've just made a few last additions and changes to my ballot, checked it, and decided that I'm finished! Probably.

If you are voting, please log in and make one last check of your ballot! Deadline is 11:59 pm PDT tonight!

Best Novel:
  1. Ancillary Sword Ann Leckie (Orbit US, Orbit UK)
  2. Three-Body Problem Liu Cixin, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books)
  3. No Award
  4. The Goblin Emperor Katherine Addison (Tor Books)
  5.  Skin Game Jim Butcher (Roc Books)
  6.  The Dark Between the Stars Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books)
Changed my #1 and #2 spots. I've gone back and forth. I loved them both a LOT. Couldn't hardly put either down on the second read-through. A little harder to put Three-Body Problem down, so I initially ranked it first. On further reflection, though, Ancillary Sword didn't have a Big Gaping Problem With Suspension of Disbelief like Three-Body Problem did (with the scientists thinking unusual results mean physics is broken and therefore they must die, instead of thinking perhaps something outside our current ability to measure is acting on their experiment and causing the (for now) inexplicable results just like has happened many many many many many many many many many times in the history of science). So many wonderful ideas though. Ugh .. there's a chance I might switch them again before midnight. We'll see!

Best Novella:
  1.  No Award

Best Novelette:
  1. No Award
  2. "The Day the World Turned Upside Down" Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed, April 2014)
  3. "The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale" Rajnar Vajra (Analog, Jul/Aug 2014)
  4.  "Championship B'tok" Edward M Lerner (Analog, Sept 2014)
  5.  "The Journeyman: In the Stone House" Michael F. Flynn (Analog, June 2014)
  6.  "Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium" Gray Rinehart (Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show, May 2014)

Best Short Story:
  1. No Award
  2. “A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond
  3. “On A Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli
  4. “Totaled” by Kary English
  5. “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa
  6. “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C. Wright

Best Related Work (may rank some of these under No Award; still deciding):
  1. No Award

Best Graphic Story:

  1. Ms. Marvel
  2. Saga
  3. No Award
  4. Sex Criminals
  5. Rat Queens
  6. Zombie Nation


Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form):

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy
  2. Interstellar
  3. The Lego Movie
  4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  5. Edge of Tomorrow


Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):
  1.  The Flash: "Pilot"
  2.  Doctor Who: "Listen"
  3.  Orphan Black: "By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried"
  4. No Award
  5.  Game of Thrones: "The Mountain and the Viper"
  6.  Grimm: "Once We Were Gods"

Best Professional Editor (Short Form):
  1. No Award

Best Professional Editor (Long Form):

  1. Anne Sowards 
  2. No Award




Best Professional Artist:
No Vote

There's a lot of cool looking stuff in the Hugo packet, but I can't tell who most of it belongs to! Future Nominated Professional Artists - please label your files or your art with your name when you send it in for the Hugo packet! :)


Best Semiprozine:
No Vote - ran out of time


Best Fanzine:
No Vote - ran out of time


Best Fancast:
  1. Tea and Jeopardy
  2. Galactic Suburbia
  3. No Award

Best Fan Writer:
  1. Laura J. Mixon
  2. No Award

Best Fan Artist:
No Vote

There's a lot of cool looking stuff in the Hugo packet, but I can't tell who most of it belongs to! Future Nominated Fan Artists - please label your files or your art with your name when you send it in for the Hugo packet! :)


The John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo):
  1. No Award 

A couple of gems, but mostly pretty bleak this year. :(