Tuesday, April 7, 2015

UPDATED - Congratulations to John C. Wright and Michael Flynn for Their Hugo Nominations!

Imagine my delight in seeing two of my favorite science fiction/fantasy authors among the 2015 Hugo Award nominations. I like their writing just that little bit more because they're Catholic. So sue me.


I hadn't made my April book purchase yet so dropped John C. Wright's  The Book of Feasts and Seasons into my Kindle. Several of the stories he's nominated for are from that book. What sf reading Catholic wouldn't love this concept?
... a beautifully mind-bending stroll with a grandmaster of science fiction through the annual Catholic calendar. Over the course of the year, from January to December, the author takes his inspiration from ten different holidays and explores their meanings in a series of stories of marvelous imagination.
I also really enjoyed One Bright Star to Guide Them, another story for which Wright received a nomination. (My review here ... scroll down for it.) He really was popular ... six nominations in all!

In recent years there have been fewer and fewer authors and books I enjoy nominated for Hugos. I just put it down to my personal taste diverging from the general science fiction readers who participate in the nominations. (Not that I haven't enjoyed some of them. Ancillary Justice was a book I couldn't put down and still can't stop thinking about.)

It turns out there may have actually been a reason for that lack of connection. I was completely unaware that a group of authors have been promoting their own slate of suggested nominations. They've been fairly successful so it seems and they must like a different sort of fiction than I do. So no wonder I was paying less and less attention to the Hugos, which used to be a touchstone for informing me about new interesting books.

(Sounds like the Oscars in a way. Which is why I largely tend to ignore them too. I never dreamed that science fiction readers would stoop to the level of the general Hollywood studio. But there I am, proven wrong again.)

This year a different group promoted their own slate of suggested nominations. They must have done a good job because not only were many of their selections nominated but this year the Hugos had about 2000 nominating ballots, which is a record. There are some things that have gotten on the ballot in the past with 30 votes. Maybe I'm not the only one who didn't love those other authors' favorites? (Just a passing thought...)

I frankly was stunned to see all this kerfluffle going on behind the scenes.

If you want to know more, here's a sympathetic piece, here's an upset piece.

I ain't here to fight. I'm here to read.

The broader the variety "allowed" in the nominations, the likelier my chances of finding books that I enjoy and make me think, possibly simultaneously.

I hear the Locus Awards may be a good alternative to the Hugos. Scott Danielson has been following the Hugo folderol for a while and tells me:
The Locus Awards may actually be a more accurate reflection of the history of science fiction than the Hugos. I spent some time yesterday browsing the award history and found myself nodding quite a bit. They compile a list of nominees from various sources (more or less a jury) then the Locus subscribers vote on the list, which includes a write-in slot. The last few years have made me realize that the Hugos are given by a very small group of people.
Uh yeah we've been emailing about this. Have you seen how much science fiction we read and watch at A Good Story is Hard to Find? This is like a soap opera about something I am interested in!

Jeff Miller at The Curt Jester has a good post, Political Correctness Ruins Everything, about his love of science fiction and the way he's observed political ideology taking over science fiction, which led to this head-to-head battle over Hugo nominations. It is definitely worth reading.

Jagi Lamplighter (a.k.a. Mrs. John C. Wright) has a good post, First They Came for the Oscars: My Take on the Hugos. She has an interesting comparison to how the Oscar winners have changed over the years from popular to insular. And then looks at the Hugos through that lens.


  1. Like you I didn't realize why I had lost interest in the Hugos. I would occasionally go through the short story collection they released for nominations and didn't much care for them. Figured part of it was that short stories often left me wanting in general.

    Though in the last couple of years have seen places like the blog for tor.com increasingly have a specific politically correct agenda. Same for other publishing sites where pushing beyond "binary gender" was a goal, where storytelling takes a back seat to being the right kind of story. Politically correctness pretty much ruins everything.

    It is only in the last year I have seen how bad it has gotten. I remember when John C. Wright resigned from the SFWA, Instead of a professional organization to help serve members, became one that actively attacked some of the members.

    The reporting on the sad puppies campaign is quite typical of narrative journalism. No effort at accuracy along with no effort at contacting members of the campaign. Multiple articles from Salon to Slashdot have portrayed the effort as racist, misogynist, and homophobic - the typical slate of characterizations. So frustrating but typical.

    I totally loved Larry Correia post yesterday on the subject. How he addressed criticism, spoke about the goal and what was broken. Addressing his own shortcomings and opening up for areas of discussion where good people can disagree. No doubt in all these stories published on the subject, none will mention he turned down the Hugo nomination when called by the committee, Just doesn't fit their narrative.


    1. I actually really liked Correia's post explaining why he turned down his nomination. John Scalzi had a very nice post which I liked. Unfortunately when I went to link to it he'd ruined that effect by doing a very long, explanatory post which devolved into insults. Everyone's writing long posts back and forth at each other. Which I have stopped reading because I know the basic arguments from each side.

      Nonetheless I'm still very pleased for Michael Flynn and John C. Wright. In 50 years (probably much less) no one will remember these arguments and their nominations will still be there to point people to their work. Plus the other nominees, of course. :-)

      I'm really gonna take a look at those Locus Awards.

  2. I'm happy that more attention is being given to the Hugos and a wider selection of nominees have been allowed in. Can you believe this is the first time Jim Butcher has been nominated for a Hugo? Incredible.

    Anything that fights against Political Correctness is fine in my book.

    1. Agreed on both points. When I think that the Barsoom series and the Lensman series were both nominated for best SF series ever ... those are definitely in the same category as Jim Butcher's books. It's about time. :-)