Friday, August 1, 2014

Things I learned this year re: Hugos

Hugo ballots are all in.  Hugo awards are to be announced 17 August 2014, in Lundin, UK.

This was my first year voting for Hugos.  Over all I am quite pleased, but also a tad humbled.

Things I have learnt, or re-learnt...

1) omg there is a lot of good sf out there.

The $40 for a World Con supporting membership was an *awesome* deal, in terms of fiction per dollar.  Getting to vote for top stories? A great bonus.  Plus, I was exposed to a lot of sff I would not have explored otherwise.

2) The so-called problems with divisions & cliches and dilution of "real sff" or "righteous sff" or "sff of the people" are, imo, not as great as some think.

The stories that I read were all of decent-to-good quality.  Further more, the future of the genre is neither doomed to devolve into endless rounds of needlepoint nor of hopeless gazing into the round black barrel of violence-philic facism.  My people can still encompass all possibilities.

3) There are, however, significant issues with repetative themes, narrative styles, and foci among SFF as a whole.

This was most noticable to me in the Short Story and the Novel category, where female first person natitives and an strong hint of persecution flavored a majority of stories.  I don't want to exclude stories that rely on these tools from SFF.  Nor do I want every. single. story. to use them.  Specialization is for insects.  Nichification is for extinction-philes.

4) There was more out there than I could read (or watch) comfortably in two months.

I ended up not voting at all in several categories.  I still have a lot of the mid-length fiction to read.  I essentially gave up on the podcasts, the fanzines, the prozines, and the related writing. I never seriously considered voting for editor, on the grounds of not knowing what to use to judge the candidates.

Other thoughts:

I am still really, *really* annoyed at Orbitz for not including their works in the package.  This was a serious issue in not allowing an even look at all candidates for the awards in question.

Correia, et al, have a point about the "sameness" and narrow scope of the "non-Sad Puppies" ballot entries.  While I do not agree that all Sad Puppy Ballot nominations were better than the "traditional" ones - I do think that the SP ballot entries represented quality fiction of a type that wasn't being represented elsewise.  As a fan, I like to think that all SFF fans are welcome to put their favorites forward.

Speaking of that...

I was very, very tempted to use "no award" liberally through one particular categoy - that of Fan Writer.  So many of the writers listed were narrow minded, bigoted, and actively supported bias against particular works based on the gender, race, and/or political opinions of the author.  Not. On.  Seriously, kids, grow up.  In the end, the thought of dealing with that kind of anger - theirs and mine - turned me off voting for that category all together.

Specifically regarding serials: 

Short dramatic works: Dr Who, WTF?  One, yes, of course. Two, okay, I'm not going to insist that one outstanding episode mean that no others from that work be considered.  But four DW works?

Okay, fine, just take that as a long drawn out wail that I am never going to get caught up.

And if DW had gathered in fewer noms, then I would have had even more series to never get caught up with.  But. Still.

Graphic Novels: The inclusion of Saga was not a great burden on me, as I already had the first two volumes.  That another entry was at episode 13? aaaaggggg

Novel: On the one hand, each of the non-initial serials involved was included in the Hugo packet. On the other hand...WoT? As one novel?  Give over already, man.

Fifth and finally:

I really miss the Gardner Dozois Year's Best Science Fiction collections.  And by "miss" I mean "need to get back into the habit of reading".

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