Thursday, June 12, 2014

A word about Hugo 2014 slate reviews

So I broke down and purchased a WorldCon  supporting membership. Which means that I get to vote for Hugos!   And I might as well try to share as I work through the ballot.

(Lots more Hugo related nathering below the cut.)

I’m going to do this as much as I can with various demands on my time.  I will try to cover an entire category at once.  I do not promise to give equal time and attention to every category. I will leave novels until last because a) HUGE b) I already know I’m not ready any more WOT and c) lots of other places are doing novel reviews and discussions. I am going to try to hit on the low-volume categories as I can, because of Hugo-specific rules that call for ‘no award’ if the number of ballots for a category fall below a certain percentage of the total ballots. (See WorldCon constitution here)

Note 18 June 2014: The low volume categories (total ballots for that category around 25-30% of total nomination ballots) are Fan Artist, Fan Writer, Fanzine, Fancast, Semiprozine, and Graphic Story. None of these has had an award dropped lately. end edit)

This is my first time either trying to read all a year’s noms or voting.

My intent is to talk some about what I like/don’t about every nom, and to id (where possible) which I’m putting in the top spot.  If I find something that I don’t think is worth rating above No Award, I might mention that.  Haven’t made up my mind yet for each category.

If I see other posts considering a category as a whole, I’ll try to link to them.

A hat tip to Larry Correia, without whose Sad Puppy Campaign  I would not have bought the membership nor read these works this summer.

Additional hat tip to the people at WorldCon who wrangled the Hugo voter’s packet into shape.  It is really appreciated.  If I had to buy or borrow all those works individually, a) I’d be exposed to a lot less quality SFF and b) I wouldn’t have voted where I didn’t read at least half the works.

Speaking of the voter’s packet, and the various ways that it is incomplete…

I am torn.  Really. 

First off, artists should be paid for their work, if they want to be charged for it.  Given the baseline talent of humans, the vast number of things we can be talented in, the amazing ability of modern tech to allow us to share work, and the even more amazing ability modern tech to facilitate so many of us spending time on passion instead of weeding squash and beans, talent is cheap.  The poorest person in the USA can own a medieval king’s ransom in beauty (no, not gold or diamonds, but beautiful art.)  So the market price for art is…not that high.  Which makes it even more important, imo, to not steal from artists.

Secondly, art belongs to everyone.  It’s part of what makes us a people rather than just the mass of individuals that we are most days.  Shared experiences make us unified.

Thirdly…I have limited hours.  And so limited dollars. (Not very limited, just not infinite.)

This year, Orbit books chose to not include the full text of Ancillary Justice, Parasite and Neptune’s Brood (see here).  Note that it was the decision of Orbit, not the authors.

I’m sorry, I won’t (can’t?) judge a novel off freaking exerpts.  I need the whole thing.  Or until I get bored, whichever comes first.

And I don’t mind supporting authors.

But what I do mind is supporting Orbit – and not Baen (Warbound) and Tor (The Wheel of Time) who published the other two books in the novel category.  Those two publishers supported the awards by offering those works to all the WorldCon voters.  Heck, Baen threw in the first two books of the Warbound trilogy. And Tor delivered the entire freaking WoT series.

Those are the publishers who have earned my respect and support, not Orbit.  But I don’t want the bean-counters at a publishing company to rule my vote.

So here is what I’m doing. 

My local library has Parasite and Ancillary Justice, but not Neptune’s Brood.  I’m going to check those out (and return them as fast as I can, so another fan can do the same thing.)  If I can find a used copy of Neptune’s Brood, I will buy it.  (And then donate it to my library.)

But I’m not going to sling dollars at Orbit that I’m not also going to sling at the other publishers.  This is not a perfect solution, but it’s the best one I can see clear to take.

(Know what would be cool?  I’ll tell you what would be cool – if the various PTB could figure out how to get Amazon to host copies of the works so that people who already had an Amazon account could download to readers for no cost. That would be cool.  I becha Amazon would jump at the chance, just to have the opportunity to point at non-free copies of all the other works by that author, and the ‘recommended for you’s.)

And so. Onto the reading.

Specific notes on judging art work here.


Anonymous said...

Also check out what the library can do for you regarding interlibrary loan. I got _Ancillary Justice_ *and* _Neptune's Brood_ that way. But I advise doing it soon, because ILL sometimes takes a while.

Kerani said...

Excellent suggestion, thank you.