It looks like I forgot to actually name this week’s category last week, so let’s do a fairly easy one, at least in terms of this site’s readership: Best Graphic Story.
This is the category I’ve got the most locks in already – with the publishing calendar pretty much set for the year, I’ll be nominating The Wicked + The Divine, Bitch Planet, Crossed +100, and Questionable Content for sure. I’m still not sure about the fifth slot. The frontrunner is probably Trees, but I mean to go actively looking for work by people who aren’t white before I commit to that.
Here’s the Hugo Nominees 2015 Wikia’s list of eligible stuff. So, what are you thinking you’ll nominate?
And tune in tomorrow for another batch of reviews, including one from me of Brian Catling’s The Vorrh. Still room in that batch, so feel free to lob something to snowspinner at gmail.
Next week, let’s discuss… Best Professional Artist. That’s a fun one.
Oh, and there’s apparently some TV show about a magician and his apprentice on tonight? I dunno. Check back later today I guess. …
Weird Kitties Reviews, Batch Two (Frankenstein, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Full Disclosure, The Race for Space)
Frankenstein, by the Mechanisms
Reviewed by William Shaw
This is a song which has clearly had a lot of thought put into it, as well as an awful lot of effort and talent And it’s that sense of passion which makes this song such a worthwhile piece of storytelling. These a clearly a group of people who care deeply about what they do, and long may they continue to do it.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, by Eliezer Yudkowsky
Reviewed by James Wylder
Eligible in Best Novel, and available here.
Fanfiction as a genre is barely appreciated as an art form, so its hard to go too far stating exactly how Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality needs to be read and appreciated, as it has opened up the genre in a bold new way. Eliezar Yudkowsky has crafted a massive work that redefines the relationship of fanfiction to the work it stems off from in exceedingly fascinating ways.
The premise: that Harry Potter is not raised by the abusive Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, but by Petunia and a different man she married: an educated man well versed in science, who does not mistreat Harry, but provides for him as well as instilling the scientific method deep into his worldview.…
Got an interesting batch of reviews up for you tomorrow, including a number of candidates in Best Dramatic Presentation.
- Ken Liu’s The Grace of Kings
- N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season
- Terry Pratchett’s The Shepherd’s Crown
- Jo Walton’s The Just City and/or The Philosopher Kings
- Naomi Novik’s Uprooted
- Cixin Liu’s The Dark Forest
- Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora
- Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant
- Aliette de Bodard’s The House of Shattered Wings
- Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory
- Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown
- Max Gladstone’s Last First Snow
- Joanne Harris’s Gospel of Loki
Weird Kitties Reviews, Batch One (Elektrograd: Rusted Blood, The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Just City, and Strong Female Protagonist)
Here’s the first batch of reviews. I’m still taking submissions for the next batch, to go up next Sunday. Send them to snowspinner at gmail.com. Short fiction reviews especially wanted.
Elektrograd: Rusted Blood, by Warren Ellis
Reviewed by Philip Sandifer
Eligible for Best Novelette, and available here.
The second of Warren Ellis’s current experiments in self-published shorts, this is a police procedural set in a now-crumbling early 20th century city of the future. It’s impossible not to compare it to Miéville’s The City and the City, especially given the way in which Ellis uses iconography of Soviet Russia to signify “failed 20th century utopia.” Which is a good angle, treating it, robotics, and AI as essentially interchangeable images of abandoned futures.
Stitching it together is a capable and unflashy cop drama. Ellis is good at these, having written both mysteries and police procedurals (two subtly different categories) several times. This isn’t where the story earns its wings, as it were; its purpose is to let Ellis work efficiently with the plot, getting in and out of his strange world. This makes for a story that spends less time dwelling in the particulars of its ideas than many of Ellis’s stories; those who love his knack for Stephenson-esque exposition about ideas will not find this to be their favorite thing he’s done. But it’s a tight-knit aesthetic experiment. Ellis talks in the postscript about wanting to write about architecture, and it’s an effective way to bind the iconography together.
Basically, a murder mystery about a rusting old future. Lovely stuff.
The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Sam Maggs
Reviewed by John Seavey
Eligible for Best Related Work, and available here.
I was going to start this review off with a satirical rant about this book being a perfect example of the way the SJWs “get you”–they start out with shipping and OTP and fanfiction, and then when you’re hooked, they start in on the feminism! But then I remembered Poe’s Law and decided to truncate that part significantly.
It is true, though, that Sam Maggs uses this book to walk women from the very basic points of fandom, such as identifying the things you love and finding other women who love it just as much as you do, up through to the point of having a social conscience about the things that you enjoy and critiquing them as items of cultural significance with potentially problematic subtexts. Most impressively, she does it without ever losing the casual tone, the warm-hearted atmosphere of acceptance and welcoming, and the inspirational message that embracing the things you love is unconditionally good and you should never feel ashamed of being excited and enthusiastic about them.
Along the way, the book takes in topics like, “What is a convention and how do I have a good time at one?”, “How do I deal with online trolls?”, and “How do I, too, write smutty fanfiction featuring my favorite characters?” It also has a few short interviews with various female creators, which was one thing I thought could have been expanded greatly, but the book does have a lot to take in, after all.…
These’ll be replacing Saturday Waffling for a while.
Right, so, the party continues. I’ll sort this into a landing page and a self-contained website eventually; there’s a whole site redesign coming, and Weird Kitties will get a clear place within it. Until then, you can track this tag. For now, let’s get this show on the road.
Some of the Hugo categories are easier than others. Lots of people read enough new sci-fi/fantasy novels in a year to fill out a ballot. Best Novel was one of the few categories where the Puppies failed to get things on the ballot as opposed to leaving open slots; two, and ultimately three actual candidates made it all on their own last year.
So far, for my part, I’ve gotten through Seveneves, which I thought a good but not great Neal Stephenson novel, and am about a third of the way through The Vorrh, which is very much the sort of novel you’d expect Alan Moore to call “the current century’s first landmark work of fantasy and ranking amongst the best pieces ever written in that genre.” The latter will almost certainly make my ballot; the former could be knocked off without too much trouble. I’ll probably not get to The Shepherd’s Crown, since I’ve not read a Discworld novel in decades, but may well nominate it just because a Hugo ballot without it would just feel wrong somehow.
So what novels have you read so far this year, and what did you think? Anything you’ve already pencilled in for your ballot? Any you’ve already penned in?
Next week’s category for discussion will be short story, by the way. There was a Twitter hashtag a few days ago that listed several things one might have a glance at before then. I’ve got Charlie Jane Anders’s latest in an open tab, personally.
And I’ll be back tomorrow with the first bevy of reviews people have submitted, including one from me about Warren Ellis’s eligible Novelette Elektrograd: Rusted Blood. It’s not too late to send me one. Ones you’ve already posted elsewhere are fine; I’m happy to run them with links back to the originals.…