Here’s a great, and also weird and interesting, thing about science fiction and fantasy: anyone (with a little money) can vote on the Hugo award, the flagship award in genre. I’ve written before about why I think that’s incredibly cool, and the old logic still applies: it gives final responsibility for what we want the genre to look like to the people who read books and watch TV and play games.
Now, it’s not free to vote in the Hugo Awards, which sucks because there are plenty of folk who want to vote but can’t afford it. Still, the franchise is cheaper this year than it was last year—for about US $40, you can buy a supporting membership to this year’s WorldCon, which happens to be LonCon 3 in London. The supporting membership doesn’t let you actually attend the con, but it does let you nominate works, and vote. As an added bonus, all supporting members receive the Hugo Voter’s Packet: electronic copies of every nominated work. In practice, this means five or six novels, novellas, short stories, and graphic novels, and that’s just to start. Even if you’re thinking of this as a purely financial transaction (which you shouldn’t, because authors don’t get paid for the works they submit to the Hugo Voters’ Packet, but still), you come out well ahead on the deal. It’s a great way to discover new writers, and to encounter works you might have missed. I discovered Kim Stanley Robinson through last year’s packet, and now he’s one of my favorite writers in genre. (Seriously, 2312 is absurdly great why aren’t you reading it RIGHT NOW?)
Anyway, if this sounds good to you, follow the directions below!
1. Before January 31, 2014 buy a “supporting membership” to this year’s WorldCon. Here’s the relevant page!
2. You will receive a Hugo Voter PIN. This is what you’ll use to nominate folks for awards! Be careful, though—sometimes the PIN email gets caught in spam filters.
3. Once you have your PIN, and Before March 31, 2014, go to this page, enter your name, your voter PIN, and click “next.” Then fill out the form, click submit, and you’re done!
Stuff That’s Good and You Should Totally Vote For It
Let me start with the Blatant Self Promotion and get that out of the way—this list counts for the Nebula awards too, by the way, if you happen to be a member of SFWA:
- This is my second, and final, year of eligibility for the John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award. I was nominated for it last year, and that was a huge honor.
- Two Serpents Rise is eligible in the Best Novel category.
- My short story Drona’s Death is eligible for Best Short Story.
- My game, Choice of the Deathless, may theoretically be eligible for Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form. Maybe.
Obviously I’d be pleased if y’all thought I was worth a nomination in one of these categories. That said, there was a ton of great work published this year.
For novels, this year saw the publication of The Shattered Pillars (second in Elizabeth Bear’s awesome Central Asian-rooted fantasy series), and Republic of Thieves (the Gentlemen Bastards return!), and Ancillary Justice (The Left Hand of Darkness meets Dune, sort of, and it’s great), and Bleeding Edge which, well, it’s only sort of science fiction and Thomas Pynchon really doesn’t need the help but I’d be tickled to bridge the genre gap by nominating Pynchon of all people for a Hugo award. Not to mention the books I desperately need to catch up on: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, MaddAddam, Something More than Night, The Golem and the Jinni, The Accursed, The Lives of Tao, the most recent James SA Corey book, etc. etc. etc.
Comics (or Best Graphic Story): I’m in love with Hawkeye, Saga, and Chew at the moment. There are certainly other projects out there that merit attention, but I’m putting those three on the nomination ballot without a second thought.
As for Best Dramatic Presentation: basically you should just go read Andrea Phillips’ post on the subject, because she nails it. If you don’t want to click on the link (and why do you hate links, really? Meditate on that.): she argues that this is the time to nominate a game for Best Dramatic Presentation. I wholeheartedly agree. An immense amount of creative genre work is being done, today, in interactive media. Ignoring that is just silly. This was a great year for games with speculative elements, everything from The Last of Us all the way to the mad mad mad-fest of Saints Row IV.
And on a completely unrelated note: Arisia!
I’m on… um. A staggering number of events at Arisia next weekend. If you’re in the Boston area, drop by!
Friday, Jan 17, 7:oo PM—Autograph: Gladstone, Grant, Linzner — Writing, Signing — 1hr 15min — Autograph Space (1E)
Autograph session with Max Gladstone, April Grant, and Gordon Linzner.
- Saturday, Jan 18, 5:00 PM—Rebuild of Evangelion — Anime, Panel — 1hr 15min — Revere (2)
- [COME SEE ME BE A TOTAL ANIME GEEK GUYS IT WILL BE SO MUCH FUN / I AM GOING TO GET MYSELF IN SO MUCH TROUBLE]
- 3 out of 4 of the Rebuild of Evangelion movies have come out in Japan. It is a very unusual remake that starts veering away more and more from the beloved series that it comes from. Are they improvements on the originals or a confusing money grab? What do people expect from the anticipated conclusion?
- Max Gladstone, James T Henderson Jr, PJ Letersky, Richard Ralston (m)
Sunday, Jan 19, 10:00 AM – Interactivity in Fiction — Literature, Panel — 1hr 15min — Faneuil (3W)
[I TALK ABOUT CHOICE OF THE DEATHLESS AND GAMES AND STUFF]
Fiction has never been a static experience, but we’ve recently gained whole new vocabulary for talking about its interactive aspects, and a generation of readers are coming of age who have never not known explicitly interaction-centered entertainment in addition to more traditional fiction. What are some of the techniques creators in other media are using to put more and better narrative into their interactive works and what, if anything, can authors learn from their attempts and techniques?Heather Albano, Erik Amundsen (m), Max Gladstone, Forest Handford, Carolyn VanEseltine
1:00 PM – Reading: Garrott, Gladstone, Grant, Odasso — Writing, Reading — 1hr 15min — Hale (3W)
- Authors Lila Garrott, Max Gladstone, April Grant, and Adrienne J. Odasso and will read selections from their works.
- Lila Garrott, Max Gladstone, April Grant, Adrienne J. Odasso
4:00 PM – Why Root for Monarchies? Class and Fantasy Lit — Literature, Panel — 1hr 15min — Faneuil (3W)
- Most of us come from democratic nations and don’t have a fancy title. As history classes taught us, most of our ancestors fought the tyranny of monarchs and aristocrats. But when it comes to fantasy literature, people seem to love protagonists who hold titles or become queens and kings. Why do we root for the aristocrats? Why aren’t more fantasy protagonists truly from the lower classes and stay there? Where are the fantasy revolutionaries?
- Mark L Amidon, Stephen R Balzac, Max Gladstone, Tanya Huff, Vanessa Layne (m)
5:30 PM – Spirituality in Fantasy and Science Fiction — Literature, Panel — 1hr 15min — Faneuil (3W)
- The Chronicles of Narnia are famous for, among other things, incorporating many of C.S. Lewis’s Christian beliefs. But did it inspire its readers to be more religious? Are there fans of fantasy and science fiction who look to their favorite works in times of crisis or to inspire their faith (or, possibly, lack there of)? What works of literature have people in fandom, whether Christian, Wiccan, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, agnostic, or none (or all) of the above, found formative to their beliefs?
- Erik Amundsen (m), Max Gladstone, Kate Kaynak, Daniel JosÃ© Older, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert
7:00 PM – So You Think You Can Write a Fight? — Literature, Panel — 1hr 15min — Griffin (3E)
- Come find out how viable your fight scene really is. An experienced panel of talented authors, martial artists, and maybe one hapless would-be victim will take your quick fight scene and act it out while our esteemed panelists help you work out the physical and literary kinks. Please no epic wave battles.
- Stephen R Balzac, Keith R. A. DeCandido, Genevieve Iseult Eldredge (m), Max Gladstone, Nicole L. Mann, Michael McAfee, Mark Millman
Monday, Jan 20, 10:00 AM — This Book Looks Nothing Like My Ren Faire! — Literature, Panel — 1hr 15min — Adams (3W)
- Especially since the success of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, a large number of secondary world fantasy series have been set in worlds that greatly resemble pre-industrial Western Europe. Many fantasy novelists are now creating worlds that draw inspiration from other global cultures. This panel will discuss works by writers such as Nnedi Okorafor, Saladin Ahmed, N.K. Jemisin, and David Anthony Durham and why these non-Western settings are so important.
- Vikki Ciaffone (m), Max Gladstone, Nisi Shawl, Brian Staveley
11:30 AM — Stick with It! Complex, Rewarding Literature — Literature, Panel — 1hr 15min — Burroughs (3E)
- Most of the time, the SF we read is easy enough to get through; however, at times, we’ve picked up or been recommended a work of SF only to find it more than we bargained for. Not a tedious read, but rather an epic journey, fraught with trials and tribulations yet eminently Worth It. What favorite works of the panelists’ are difficult to get through, but ultimately worth the read? How does one make the reading of one of these diamonds more feasible without losing any of the effect?
- Lila Garrott (m), Greer Gilman, Max Gladstone, Dennis McCunney, Sonya Taaffe
Whereupon I then collapse in a heap of jelly. But it should be fun!