Monthly Archives: March 2016

15 Days Left

Holy terror, Batman! Only 15 days left to send in the Hugo nomination ballot.

In the previous post, I mentioned a couple of rec lists fans can look at if they want to know what other people feel are the best things around. Here are few more. These are especially helpful with short fiction — there’s so much of it that trying to make sense of the field is quite overwhelming and there’s not much critical discussion around to help the readers find what they might like.

Still, there’s 15 days left and anybody can easily read two or three short fiction pieces every day. That’s thirty or forty stories by the end of the month, maybe even fifty, so there’s plenty of time to get a good taste of what’s going on in the scene.

Here they are (did I forget something?):

Rocket Stack Rank Super Hyper Meta-list tells you which novellas, novelettes and short stories are recommended by heavyweight editors/reviewers such as Lois Tilton, Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan.

2015 Locus Recommended Reading List is a consensus effort by Locus (=SFF genre’s most prestigious magazine) editors and reviewers “with input from outside reviewers, other professional critics, other lists, etc.”.

Rocket Stack Rank’s Annotated 2015 Locus Reading List sort of combines the two and tells you which Locus list items are recommended elsewhere as well.

The 2016 Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together Hugo Award Longlist is like the Locus list but put together by people who are running the tremendously interesting online fanzine Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together.

Tangent Online 2015 Recommended Reading List offers another long, long list of short fiction recs. That is in case you can make it through a painful Sad Puppy wall of text apologia — behind that, you’ll find recommendations for the same social justice stories by Aliette de Bodard, so no problem. Tangent Online is an SFF short fiction review zine.

NESFA 2015 Hugo Recommendations are, as the name suggests, Hugo recommendations by NESFA, New England Science Fiction Association.

The all-new and democratic Sad Puppies list hasn’t been put out yet, but from their website (where everybody can vote for anything on the comments) we see that this year’s gloomy canine picks will include, for example, the Nnedi Okorafor novella Binti.

Last but not least, there is the Rabid Puppies endeavour by SFF genre’s sole Trump-supporting former disco musician who vowed to burn the awards down after losing hard last year. His list is not yet finalized but so far he is suggesting we vote for Alastair Reynolds, File770 and Strange Horizons (which is what I just might do).

What a lovefest!


Hugo Season!

The annual SFF self-loathing theme weeks are here again — I feel (as I feel every year) like a total loser for not having read enough new science fiction and fantasy to make informed nominations for the Hugo award. I haven’t read Seveneves, haven’t seen Ant-Man, haven’t had the time for Jessica Jones, haven’t waded through a lot of short fiction.

Damn damn damn.

Then again, you’re always going to feel that way, no matter what. And it’s not football (which means “soccer”, in case you’re American), so whining doesn’t help.


There’s still two and a half weeks to do some catching up. That’s not going to be enough for Seveneves, though, but there’s shorter stuff I want to take a look at. At any rate, #Hugogeddon2015 demonstrated that every fan should do their part and read and nominate something so that nobody can hijack the award and turn it into a political football (at least not so easily). If that happens again, there’s even more whining than in real football.

So: please nominate. I’ll try to do that as well. We don’t have to have read everything to have a say (nobody can do that, after all, and we all have our real-world obligations). And you don’t have to fill up the whole ballot — just putting in one or two things is fine.

Myself, I’m probably going to nominate five different episodes of Sense8 and a bunch of short stories from Stories for Chip anthology. Ancillary Mercy and Speculative Fiction 2014 are the only eligible things for novel and related work categories that I have read, and I liked them, so they’re going to be in there too. Speaking of movies, I have seen The Martian and The Force Awakens and I sort of enjoyed them both, but right now I’m considering about only writing Mad Max on the ballot. That was so mind-blowing that it’s hard for anything else to really compete.

Probably I manage to cough up some more things to nominate during the last couple of weeks. We’ll see. There are some good resources out there for people in my situation, such as Locus Recommended Reading List, Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together Hugo Award Longlist and others. Selecting a couple random stories and giving them a go is a fun exercise (and everybody has time for that).

So far, the one category that’s really going to be crowded is the best graphic story, aka comics. On that department, I’ve done my homework slightly better, and there are at least 10 things I’d like to nominate.

The three greatest living comics writers have all published a major piece of work last year (or it was collected last year). Neil Gaiman returns to Sandman in Sandman: Overture (with J.H. Williams III), Alan Moore completes the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen spin-off trilogy with Nemo: River of Ghosts (with Kevin O’Neill) and Grant Morrison’s Multiversity stories were collected in a single volume in The Multiversity Deluxe Edition (with practically everybody).

In addition, there’s The Sculptor by Scott McCloud, Bitch Planet: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro and the next collection of Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. And two Zero TPBs: Tenderness of Wolves and Who by Fire. And two Astro City TPBs: Private Lives and Lovers Quarrel. And three Ms. Marvel TPBs: Generation WhyCrushed and Last Days.

Damn damn damn.