Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Hugos

Wow, but these were a heaping load of controversy this year, weren't they?

Wired had one of the better-balanced articles I've read about the whole situation here.

A bit of background on my voting: I read as much of these as I could stomach. I am a subscriber to both Asimov's and Analog, so I read a fair number of Novellas, Novelettes, and Short Stories every year.

And, to my regret, I didn't get involved in the nomination process this year. That will change next year.

It's worth noting: You can look at how the votes (and nominations) broke down here (PDF link).

I thought I'd share how I voted, on the off chance anyone cares.

Best Novel
1) Ancillary Sword
2) The Goblin Emperor
3) The Three Body Problem
4) Skin Game
5) No Award
6) Dark Between The Stars

I really like Ancillary Sword. And the preceding book. I've pre-ordered the third book and fully expect to be nominating it for next year's Hugos. Unless it's a huge let-down.

I got through The Goblin Emperor.  There were long stretches of what felt like infodump that annoyed me, but not enough that I didn't find it worth reading.

The Three Body Problem was this year's winner. It was good, but slow. The author wasn't comfortable writing actions scenes, and it showed.

Skin Game is book 600 in the Dresden Files series.  Butcher is a solid writer (and is improving with every book), but I've stopped reading the series because of the Invulnerable Protagonist issue. It's the same reason I gave up on the Honor Harrington books.  And yes, I know.

I couldn't get through Dark Between the Stars. Which is odd, because normally I enjoy Kevin J. Anderson's writing.  I think this review nailed part of it:
Because the book had so many different plot threads and so many different narrators, I felt as though none of the characters reached their full potential. Every time I found myself getting interested in an individual’s narrative arc, I’d be swept away from them to spend half a dozen chapters on other plotlines I wasn’t as invested in.
 Best Novella
1) No Award

Yeah. I read these. I read all of them. And I didn't like a one of them. And it wasn't just as "It wasn't for me," situation. I actively disliked every one of these.

Best Novelette
1) No Award

Interestingly, I think "The Day The World Turned Upside Down" is the only non-Puppy book I voted below No Award. Because, much like the Best Novella category above, I hated these. I hated every one of these.

Best Short Story
1) No Award

See comments for the preceding two categories.  Bleah.  To be fair, there weren't any Short Stories that I read this year that made me really sit up and take notice.

Best Related Work
No Award

I did my damnedest to read these. I really did. I almost voted for Hot Equations because I've dealt with the author separately from the Hugos and he's a good guy. Not the sort to voluntarily and knowingly throw his lot in with a group trying to game a system for no clear personal gain. But I realized that this was not a good reason to vote for someone.

And I couldn't read most of these.  They were either terrible or impenetrable.

Best Graphic Story
1) Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery
2) Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal
3) No Award

Of the other three candidates, here, I found Saga ... okay.  Mediocre at best. Definitely not award-worthy.  I actively disliked Sex Criminals and The Zombie Nation.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
1) Captain America: the Winter Soldier
2) Edge of Tomorrow
3) The Lego Movie
4) Guardians of the Galaxy

I haven't seen Interstellar, so I can't comment on its quality (or lack thereof). This category is the only one where a Puppy nominee won - but the Puppies only had about 200 nominators. Guardians had 769 nominations. Even if you remove 200 from its nominations, it still would have been the most-nominated item in the category.  Second place (Interstellar) had 489 nominations.  So the Puppies didn't really have an impact in this category.

All that aside, I didn't really enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy as much as the rest of you seem to have. But Captain America: The Winter Soldier was fantastic.  Probably the best film I've seen in ... a long while.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
1) Orphan Black: "By Means Which Have Never Been Tried"
2) The Flash: "Pilot"
3) Doctor Who: "Listen"

This is the first year in a very long time that Doctor Who didn't win, and Orphan Black totally deserved it. I've always been a huge fan of the Flash, so when he got another TV series, I geeked out. And I've really loved the series.

Best Editor, Short Form
Did not vote. I'm not qualified to judge good editing vs. bad editing. Unless there are truly egregious errors in a work - but that's more a "worst editor" than a "best editor" thing.

Best Editor, Long Form
See previous category.

Professional Artist
1) Julie Dillon
2) Nick Greenwood
3) No Award

Carter Reid didn't put anything in the Hugo Packet, so I had nothing to judge his work on. I didn't like Kirk DouPonce's or Alan Pollack's art. They were too generic and same/same.

Best Semiprozine
Did not vote.  I didn't read any of them.

Best Fanzine
Did not vote. I didn't read any of them.

Best Fancast
I'm not a podcast listener.  Did not vote.

Best Fan Writer
Did not vote. I didn't read any of them.

Best Fan Artist
1) Elizabeth Leggett
2) No Award

It was almost No Award. I'm just not a fan of cartoony art, and most of this category was cartoony. Elizabeth Leggett's art was ... eh. But my standards are different for Fan Art than they are for Professional Art, so she squeaked by.

John W. Campbell Award
Wesley Chu

He's the only one I read, so he's the one I voted for. Because I really liked his writing. Note that I didn't vote No Award for the others. Not having read them, I can't judge their relative quality.

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