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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
04/25/14 -- Vol. 32, No. 43, Whole Number 1803
Table of Contents
The Hugo nominations and Retro Hugo nominations are included in this MT VOID, but *after* all the other articles, including after Evelyn's book column, which discusses the nominees.
Asking for Organ Donation (comments by Mark R. Leeper):
The Division of Motor Vehicles asks people if they want upon their death in a traffic mishap to donate their organs to living people who need organ transplants. This program has had its ups and downs. I think that approach is wrong. People do not want to be asked for a donation. Some want to get more than just a warm feeling they are doing a good thing. People should be told that they may not have to die entirely. As a new service there are now programs to find foster bodies to support their organs so that those organs can painlessly live on. Part of the donor may be able to live on. [-mrl]
Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Filmes, Lectures, etc. (NJ):
May 1: PATHS OF GLORY (film), Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 6:30PM May 8: NEVER LET ME GO (film) and NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro (book), Middletown (NJ) Public Library, 5:30PM May 22: BLINDNESS by Jose Saramago, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM June 12: BLINDNESS (film) and BLINDNESS by Jose Saramago (book), Middletown (NJ) Public Library, 5:30PM June 26: TBD, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM July 24: THE DEMOLISHED MAN by Alfred Bester, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM August 28: TBD, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM September 25: IN THE OCEAN OF NIGHT by Gregory Benford, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM October 23: TBD, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM November 18: ROADSIDE PICNIC by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM December 18: TBD, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM Speculative Fiction Lectures: May 3: Danielle Ackley-McPhail & Neal Levin, "Promoting Your Work", Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 12N June 7: Laura Anne Gilman, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 12N Northern New Jersey events are listed at: http://www.sfsnnj.com/news.html
My Picks for Turner Classic Movies for May (comments by Mark R. Leeper):
It's spring and this was one tough winter we are done with. May looks like a decent month on Turner. They are showing a lesser-known horror film produced by Mel Brooks of all people though the film is done quite seriously. It is directed by Freddie Francis and the screenplay is by a popular Welsh poet. That is an odd combination to be behind a film. It is both a historical drama, based on truth, and a sort of tribute to Hammer-style horror. The film is THE DOCTOR AND THE DEVILS (1985).
Several years ago (maybe even a few decades) I worked with one Terry Burke. She was on the Bell Labs clerical staff so I had run into her several times, but I did not know her well. One day I was in the same office as she was and she was talking to someone about the origins of common surnames. Terry happened to mention that her surname, Burke, is actually a verb in the dictionary. Does anyone know what "Burke" meant, she asked. The word rang no bells with me. Nobody in the room knew. To burke, she explained, meant to strangle someone in a way that left no sign of violence. That rang a bell with me. "Of course. That must be from Burke and Hare. This was her turn to look at me blankly. She had never heard of Burke and Hare. I was able to tell her about various films about the Burke and Hare Murders. It was the odd start to a good friendship. I told her about Burke and Hare and would lend her films and we would discuss them.
So who were Burke and Hare? In the 1820s Burke and Hare were two men in the "biological supply business." There was a school of medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland. One of the teachers was Dr. Robert Knox. The law had made it very difficult for Knox to do his job. If a man was to be executed for a crime his body could go to the medical school as a cadaver to be dissected. That was the only way the school could get cadavers for dissection and the school needed many more cadavers. There were too few people being executed to meet the needs of the school. The demand for corpses was much higher than the supply. Burke and Hare had sources for corpses to sell Knox so Knox could buy what he needed on the Black Market, no questions asked. Burke and Hare initially found newly dug graves and would dig up bodies and sell them to Dr. Knox. This became an industry in Edinburgh. Grave robbers would steal the unguarded bodies of the recently dead. Also other men of no greater moral stature would hire on as guards of graves of the recently dead to thwart grave robbers. Common slang called the grave robbers in this business "resurrectionists." Robert Louis Stevenson to wrote about the ghoulish situation in his a short story "The Body Snatcher," about grave-robbing resurrectionists. (If the title is familiar, Val Lewton based one of his better horror films on the Stevenson story.)
Burke and Hare soon found the competition in Edinburgh getting too stiff, and the job was too dangerous for them. They changed over their Modus operandi. Rather than trying to dig up cadavers with all the risk that entailed, they discovered it was safer to make brand new cadavers out of materials they just found on the street. So Burke and Hare went into the business of murder, "burking" the riff-raff on the street and selling the bodies to Dr. Knox. The story of Burke and Hare became very popular folklore in Edinburgh.
The film THE DOCTOR AND THE DEVILS was one of several films about or referring to Burke and Hare. This one is based on a screenplay by no less a writer than Dylan Thomas. Thomas wrote a screenplay in 1951 and eventually it was made under the direction of Freddie Francis who has a very strong eye for horror imagery. The executive producer of the film was Mel Brooks, but his name was not much mentioned in the publicity so people would not think this gruesome tale was a comedy. The film was, however, produced by Brooksfilm, Mel Brooks' production company. [Tuesday May 20, at midnight.]
This film was a follow-up to another Brooksfilm gruesome account of a historical event, the better-known THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980). It is also being shown in May. [Tuesday May 20, 8:00 PM]
Following THE ELEPHANT MAN will be two Brooksfilm comedies, MY FAVORITE YEAR and TO BE OR NOT TO BE.
But my choice for the best film of the month would be William Wyler's THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946), about the new world soldiers faced after serving in World War II. [Monday, May 26, 10:30 PM]
How Is This Night Different from All Other Nights? (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):
How is this night different from all other nights? Or, the Seder from hell...
Why on all other nights are my pans are fine, but on this night my roasting pan develops a pinhole and leaks all over the oven?
Why on all other nights does my baster baste, but on this night the rubber bulb cracks, making it useless?
Why on all other nights can I serve soup with no problem, but on this night I manage to splash boiling soup on my hand?
Why on all other nights can I cook with no problems, but on this night my matzoh balls completely fall apart, resulting not so much in matzoh ball soup as matzoh porridge?
TRANSCENDENCE (film review by Dale L. Skran, Jr.):
There really aren't that many good hard SF films these days. GRAVITY and EUROPA report certainly count, but GRAVITY is more a thrill ride and EUROPA REPORT a "no one gets out alive" horror story than tales of ideas. When a film packed with ideas like TRANSCENDENCE comes along, it is predictably trashed by the critics (20% or so on rottentomatoes.com), most of whom seem to have little understanding of what the film is about. This is not to say that TRANSCENDENCE is without flaws, but it does a better job than any previous film I've seen of setting up the issues surrounding the Singularity and uploading.
Audiences may have trouble understanding who the "good guys" are in TRANSCENDENCE, and that's a large part of what is well done in the film. Is Bree (Kata Mara), the leader of RIFT (Revolutionary Independence From Technology), who leads the battle against an uploaded Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp), the heroine, or a loathsome terrorist? Is Evelyn Caster (Rebecca Hall), Will's wife, who uploads his mind to a quantum computer the heroine, or a Dr. Frankenstein? Is Caster's best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), a slightly disguised version of the real-life Bill Joy, who first assists with the upload, but eventually helps RIFT in their attacks on the uploaded Caster a hero or a misguided traitor?
The initial two-thirds of the film focus on RIFT's attempts to kill scientists involved in AI, Caster suffering radiation poisoning from a polonium bullet (a KGB favorite), and the subsequent project to upload Caster, flows smoothly and logically along. There is a certain irony in that RIFT, which is willing to kill to prevent AI/uploading from happening, creates the situation that motivates Evelyn to upload Will's mind.
Neither RIFT nor the uploaded Will come off unscathed in their portrayal in the film. RIFT is violent, willing to torture and murder to prevent technology from advancing. Once uploaded, Will operates with a kind of naïve creepiness; creating human puppets that he ought to know won't be well received by anyone. This is not the canonical story of transcendence, but it does have all the key elements:
TRANSCENDENCE reminds us, that, as I have written previously, the Singularity will be SINGULAR--it will occur at one moment of time for one "person." The film appears to wander on the point of whether Upload Will is really the same as Flesh Will, but in the end we are asked to believe that Upload Will is human enough to apparently prefer dying in Evelyn's arms to living forever as an upload.
A review in the Wall Street Journal focused on the confusing plot of TRANSCENDENCE, but with the exception of the final scene, I thought it was pretty clear. This is not to say that the plot is flawless. There are a couple of things (SPOILERS) that don't make much sense:
The final scene of the film is more than a bit ambiguous. It seems to imply that Will and Evelyn have survived their apparent deaths and are living as a nanotech film in the garden of their former home under a big copper net that blocks E&M and protected the nanotech from the virus attack that "killed" Upload Will. This is done rather ambiguously for no good reason, although from the Wiki page it appears that we are supposed to believe, as I suspected, that both Will and Evelyn survived within the nanotech in the garden.
The least likely outcome of a confrontation between an FBI strike team allied with a group of terrorists and an uploaded mind that has had years to prepare is the death of the uploaded mind. There are just too many escape hatches that you can imagine Uploaded Will putting into place, including the nanotech one implied by the end of the film. A more satisfying end to my taste would have been a more plausible "death" of both Uploaded Will and Evelyn as the Air Force fires off dozens of EMP nukes that send the world into darkness, followed by multiple scenes that make it clear that versions of Will/Evelyn survive in many locations--on the Moon, deep in the ocean, far underground, and so on, but that they will grow in secret and watch over humanity as a new kind of benign planetary god.
TRANSCENDENCE is far from perfect, although the acting and direction are excellent. I'm rating it a very high +1, but with the recommendation that any serious SF fan ought to see it. There are some creepy needle scenes, but generally okay for tweens and up, although many teenagers and not a few adults may have difficulty grasping all the issues involved in TRANSCENDENCE. [-dls]
SPHERICAL HARMONIC by Catherine Asaro (copyright 2001, Tor, audiobook copyright 2008, Audible Inc. 14 hours, 7 minutes, narrated by Liza Caplan) (audiobook review by Joe Karpierz):
SPHERICAL HARMONIC is one of four novels that deal with the aftermath of the Radiance War. Each novel in the group (ASCENDANT SUN, THE QUANTOM ROSE, SPHERICAL HARMONIC, and THE MOON'S SHADOW, overlaps with the other three, each with a different main character. The character we follow in SPHERICAL HARMONIC is Dyhianna Selei, the current Ruby Pharoah, titular head of the Ruby Dynasty, but really just a figurehead when it comes to ruling the Skolian Empire.
When last we saw her, Dyhianna had escaped the war by stepping into one of the Locks that the three Keys--you remember those, don't you?--use to enter an alternate dimension/universe (Quite frankly, the details get fuzzy at this point. You would think that after 9 or so books in the series, each of which contains information on not only what has gone before but the whole setup of everything, I would remember. I don't. So it goes.). The book begins with Dyhianna beginning to, for lack of a better term, coalesce into the "real" world, fading in and out of reality, on the moon Opalite. She is found by a local, who believes she is one of the Traders, and thus takes her prisoner. Over time, she convinces him that she is, in fact, who she says she is.
In fact, Opalite is one of the locations where she has some secret security protocols set up for situations not unlike this one. She manages to get the protocol activated and gets in touch with some folks in the Skolian fleet, one of whom is her sister-in-law Vaz Majda (As a side note, there is another woman of the Majda clan who is currently acting as the Pharoah. Keep that in mind as we go through all this.). As the novel progresses, Dyhianna (At this point I'm taking up as a challenge the ability to type that name. Typing her last name is the easy way out. I should have taken that.) recovers more of her memory and realizes the state that the Ruby Dynasty and Skolian Empire is in, and sets about going to fix it.
In an interesting parallel, Dyhianna wants to reunite her family as well as reunite the Ruby Dynasty and return it to its rightful place as the ruling family of the Skolian Empire. This, of course, is easier said than done. First, of course, there's the argument that "well, we've been doing it this way a long time, it works, why should we change it now?". "This way" refers to the fact that there is an Assembly that rules the Empire. As I said earlier, the Pharaoh is the titular head of the empire--she has no real power. Then there's the necessity of basically leading a mutiny on the ship she is on, taking over so she can go to Earth and get her family, which is essentially imprisoned there by the Allieds. And then there is the issue of having to convince her people that this is really the right way to go about doing things. Certainly not an easy path to follow.
There are of course other things to set into action in terms of the plot--just what about all those kids that were left on Earth with her ex-husband, and especially the one that apparently is now sitting on the Carnelian throne? Yeah, there's a lot of stuff going on here.
This is a nice entry in the Saga of the Skolian Empire. I believe, and I could be wrong, this is the first book in the series to be told from first person perspective (I expect many of you to correct me if I'm wrong). And while a bit jarring at first, I eventually slid into the narrative without much trouble.
What was even more jarring was yet another new narrator. I'd just gotten used to Anna Fields, and now we have Liza Caplan. My wife, who has also listened to these books, said Caplan sounded like a whiny teenager. While I don't know about that, I will say that Caplan's voice being in a different register certainly unnerved me for a while, and she pronounces many of the words differently than Fields did. YOu would think they'd have a pronunciation guide for these things.
All in all, I enjoyed SPHERICAL HARMONIC. I've long since comfortably settled into the Skolian Empire universe, and I'm okay with that. [-jak]
BEYOND THE RIFT by Peter Watts (copyright 2013, Tachyon, $14.95, 230pp, ISBN 978-161696-125-1) (book review by Joe Karpierz):
The one and only work I've read by Peter Watts was BLINDSIGHT, his Hugo nominated novel of about eight years ago. I needed to refresh my memory, so I reread my review of that book in preparation for writing this review. There are a couple of things from that review that stood out for me:
1) BLINDSIGHT is a first contact novel, and it's one of the most original I've ever read. It's dark, tough, and gritty; as I think about it, it reminds me of the atmosphere of the movie Alien. The thing is, with Alien there was at least one character that the audience could like. I'm not sure there's one likeable character in the bunch in BLINDSIGHT.
2) I normally look at reading Hugo nominees as a way in which to read authors that are new to me, and many times I start picking up other books by that author based on the nominee. I'm not convinced I'll do it this time.
So, let me step away from both those remarks for a bit, but we will get back to them. BEYOND THE RIFT is a collection of Watts' shorter work. I will come right out and say that this is one of the best short story collections I have ever read. Every story is engaging, interesting, and thought provoking. And pretty much every story is dark, tough, and gritty, as I stated in the first point from my review of BLINDSIGHT. I have a lot on my plate these days, and reading time is at a premium. This is one book that I did not want to put down. I wanted to get from one story to the next right away, and I was unable to do that due to other commitments. As far as I was concerned, I was discovering a new writer, and I was having a field day.
The book starts out with two award winners. The very first story is "The Things", which won the Shirley Jackson Award in 2010. The Shirley Jackson Award is given to works "...for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic" (See www.shirleyjacksonawards.org for more information). It was also a 2011 Hugo Nominee (a shame it didn't win), a 2010 BSFA Award Finalist, a 2011 Theodore Sturgeon Award Nominee, and a 2011 Finalist for the Locus Award for Best Short Story (information from the Clarkesworld website--no, I don't know all this stuff in my head). And it deserved more than just the one award. "The Things is, essentially, the story of the movie The Thing told from the point of view of the invading creature. Once the story is over, you don't feel sorry for the creature, but you don't think too much of the humans involved either. I don't know that I've ever read a story in which the point of view character was the invading alien.
The second story is "The Island", the 2010 Hugo Winner for Best Novelette. It is the distant future, and our protagonist, for lack of a better term, is part of a crew that essentially builds stargates so that the human race--we presume it's the human race, and even if it is, the beings are probably no longer human anyway--can travel throughout space to reach new places. Sure, it's a way around the FTL problem, but really, that's not the point. The point is that the latest place chosen for a gate is on the wrong side of an intelligent, planet enveloping life form. Combine that with the fact that it seems that there was a man-machine conflict in the distant past, and now the machine in charge of the ship doesn't care that there's a life form around the planet, and you have one heck of a conflict. True to form, while you admire our "hero's" drive to learn about the life form and save it, you just can't like him. He's been through a lot and its affected him.
Nearly every story here is, in my opinion, a gem. "Nimbus" gives us the story of what appears to be an intelligent cloud/storm formation that seems to be out to destroy humanity; "Ambassador" is a story of First Contact gone horribly, horribly wrong, and how the human who makes this contact is driven to a decision that will affect all of humanity, and not in a good way; "Flesh Made Word", about a scientist who studies death, programs his home system to sound like his dead wife, and the consequences that result when the next woman went a little too far; "The Eyes of God", which on the surface is a story about child molestation, but in reality is about something much more disturbing than that (if you can believe that); "A Word for Heathens", in which Watts explores the nature of faith and belief in God, only not in a way you'd expect, and "Mayfly" (written with Derryl Murphy), about a four year old girl who lives two lives--one for her flesh and blood parents, and one for the scientist who made her life possible--and which life she really prefers.
There are also a couple of Rift stories here, "Home" and "Niche", which are tales that fit into the greater scheme of Watts' Rift novels. "Niche" certainly doesn't paint humanity in a friendly light. The weakest stories, in my opinion, are "Hillcrest V. Veliskosky" and "Repeating the Past". Don't get me wrong. They're not bad stories--they're just not as good as the rest. The one thing they do have in common with the rest of the stories in the collection--"Repeating..." in particular, is that they are not happy stories.
I can't sugarcoat this at all--if you're looking for a light, happy read, something you might want to take to the beach on a relaxing summer day, BEYOND THE RIFT isn't it. On the other hand, if you want a book that will keep you engrossed for its entirety--this is one you CAN take to the beach if you want to get sunburned, because you'll stop paying attention to everything else. Don't expect characters you're going to love (well you might, I suppose, depending on the type of person you are)--these aren't those. These stories are dark, very dark. Read them with the lights on.
Go back to my earlier second point about not picking up any more Watts because I didn't think I would like him. I was wrong. Way wrong. I've got a lot more reading to catch up on now. [-jak]
This Week's Reading (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):
Last Saturday the Hugo nominations (and Retro Hugo nominations) were announced. My reaction to the Retro Hugos was, "Well, They were not all my first choices, but they're all worthy selections." My reaction to the current Hugos was, "Who *are* these people?!"
So let's talk about the current Hugo nominations first.
First of all, almost 1600 nominating ballots for novel is amazing. Gone are the days of a couple of hundred nominating ballots. Even semiprozine got 411 ballots--and no one can figure out what a semiprozine really is. (A total of 1923 nominating ballots were received.)
But of the nominees for novel, I have heard of three of the five authors. It used to be inconceivable that something would make the ballot that I would not at least have heard of.
I am glad I am not voting this year, though, because Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" is one of the nominees. Not the final book of "The Wheel of Time", but the whole fourteen-volume (or is it fifteen-volume?) series, with each volume approaching a thousand pages long, and totaling well over 4 million words. It seems to me that the series is indeed eligible under the "serialization" rule, though having a single "novel" that is fifteen volumes published over a twenty-two-year period is not quite what the framers of the rule had in mind. And in answer to the first question that came to everyone's mind, Tor has posted, "In answer to many inquiries, we're happy to be able to say that the entire 'Wheel of Time' *will* be made available in the Hugo Voters' Packet." If that doesn't send the Supporting Membership count for Loncon 3 soaring, nothing will. Some argue that the "Wheel of Time" fans already have it, but they probably don't have it in electronic form. Of course, if the electronic form is PDF, then they may not be as eager...
Anyway, a few more moments' thought leads me to conclude that "Wheel of Time" will almost definitely win the Hugo.
Well, I'm sure all the "Wheel of Time" fan sites, blogs, etc., will mention (nay, trumpet) the fact that for a $40 Supporting Membership, you can get an electronic copy of the entire "Wheel of Time" series *plus* all sorts of other stuff.
Therefore, a whole slew (how big is a slew, anyway?) of "Wheel of Time" fans will purchase Supporting Memberships.
And since they bought the memberships to get "Wheel of Time", it is not unreasonable to assume that they will vote for "Wheel of Time" for the Hugo.
At the end of the day (or the Hugo voting period, anyway), I would be curious to know how many ballots that gave "Wheel of Time" a first-place vote were Supporting Memberships purchased after, say, today, and how many of those had no other votes marked.
Moving along, in the novella category, there will undoubtedly be some discussion over whether "Wakulla Springs" by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages is science fiction/fantasy at all.
In the short fiction in general, I have heard of many of the nominees, and it was not unusual for a few unfamiliar names to show up even years ago. I have not done a precise count, but there seems to be more gender balance, and more diversity in general, than way back when. Certainly the entries in "Related Work" would support this, with nominees such as QUEERS DIG TIME LORDS: A CELEBRATION OF DOCTOR WHO BY THE LGBTQ FANS WHO LOVE IT and WE HAVE ALWAYS FOUGHT: CHALLENGING THE WOMEN, CATTLE AND SLAVES NARRATIVE.
Once again, the "Short Story" category is only four entries because of the "5% rule" (a work must get nominated on 5% of the ballots cast in that category to make the short list). This is a problem with the "long tail", and this is caused by the vast number of short stories being published these days. (Someone said that the stats that flashed briefly on the screen at the announcement indicated that there were 865 ballots in this category containing 578 distinct entries!)
The category I feel most qualified to comment on is "Dramatic Presentation, Long Form". This had almost a thousand ballots, so it is not surprising that blockbusters such as IRON MAN 3, PACIFIC RIM, and CATCHING FIRE were on the ballot, but they were not my choices. My picks of FROZEN and GRAVITY did make the ballot, but my first reaction was, "Where, oh where, is HER?", clearly (to me, anyway) one of the best of last year's films? The answer is that thought it had a minimal release for Oscar eligibility (one week in one theater in Los Angeles and one in New York), it was ruled a 2014 film by the Administrators. My other two choices, JUG FACE and LIFE TRACKER, had miniscule releases, so I am not surprised that they are not there.
On the other hand, I am completely out of touch with "Dramatic Presentation, Short Form" (and "Graphic Story" as well), but the fact that there are four "Doctor Who"-related pieces and an episode of "Game of Thrones" is hardly unpredictable.
In fact, "Doctor Who" seems to be taking over the entire ballot, sort of like the Hugo equivalent of kudzu: four nominees in "Dramatic Presentation, Short Form" plus one each in "Graphic Story" and "Related Work".
Oddly, I find the editors' names more familiar than the authors', though it has been observed that this is the first time *ever* that ASTOUNDING, ANALOG, or its editor was not on the nominations ballot. In 1953-1956 and 1958, there was no short list, just a winner, and it won in 1953, 1955, and 1956, so that is really only 1954 and 1958 that it did not appear on the ballot. (Note: women are in the majority in the editor categories.)
Of the six professional artists, I recognized one name. Of the five fanzines, none. Of the seven fancasts, three. Of the five fan writers, none. Of the five fan artists, two.
At this point, Mark is sitting on the couch serenading me with the title song from THE LAST DINOSAUR. And he may be right, because, boy, do I feel more comfortable in the Retro Hugo area.
Here the numbers are more traditional: 208 ballots for novel, 50 for fan writer, and so on, with 233 ballots total.
I have heard of all the novels. I have not read them all; I am not sure on some of them whether I read them back in college or not. For all the fiction categories, some of what I nominated made it and some did not, but I recognize all the authors' names. I am not going to make detailed comments here, since I will probably try to read all the Retro nominees, even though I am not eligible to vote this year. However, some have had very limited or no reprints, so I may not be able to hit them all.
Several categories are missing. For example, there is no "Dramatic Presentation, Long Form"--this is probably because there were only a half-dozen or so presentations that were even eligible in this category. Also missing were categories such as "Graphic Novel" (though comic strips might have qualified), "Semiprozine", and "Editor, Long Form".
Not surprisingly, "Dramatic Presentation, Short Form" consisted mostly of radio shows: three Mercury Theaters, a Campbell Playhouse (Mercury Theater under a different name), and one lone television show. Yes, they had rudimentary television in 1938. But the nominee, "R.U.R." is a BBC production that aired once 75 years ago and has been lost, leading one to wonder on what basis the nominators chose it. (By the way, Orson Welles got four of the five nominations, quite possibly a record for most nominations for one person in a single category in a single year.) Alas, this meant that no episodes from "The Shadow" or "Lights Out" made the ballot. If "Treasure Island" had made the ballot instead of "R.U.R." it would have been a clean sweep for Welles. (For those who ask whether "Treasure Island" is even science fiction or fantasy, I would classify it as horror. And come to that, how is "Around the World in Eighty Days" any more eligible?)
In the "Editor, Short Form" category I recognize three of the names and will predict that John W. Campbell will win this category easily. In the "Professional Artist" again, I recognize three names and predict either Virgil Finlay or Frank R. Paul will win.
I am unfamiliar with all of the fanzines, and in the "Fan Writer" category I suspect that name recognition will count for much more than the actual fan writing of these people (though they are all bona fide fans who did fan writing at the time).
[After I wrote this, I read a few columns and comments that
indicate that seven of the nominees had been promoted in an on-line
campaigns (see Hugo Nominations:
Go to our home page
2014 HUGO AWARDS
Best Novel (1595 nominating ballots)
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie
Neptune's Brood, Charles Stross
Parasite, Mira Grant
Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia
The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Best Novella (847 nominating ballots)
The Butcher of Khardov, Dan Wells (Privateer Press)
"The Chaplain's Legacy", Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jul-Aug 2013)
"Equoid", Charles Stross (Tor.com, 09-2013)
Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean Press)
"Wakulla Springs", Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages
Best Novelette (728 nominating ballots)
"Opera Vita Aeterna", Vox Day (The Last Witchking,
Marcher Lord Hinterlands)
"The Exchange Officers", Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jan-Feb 2013)
"The Lady Astronaut of Mars", Mary Robinette Kowal
"The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling", Ted Chiang
(Subterranean, Fall 2013)
"The Waiting Stars", Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the
Best Short Story (865 nominating ballots)
"If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love", Rachel Swirsky
(Apex Magazine, Mar-2013)
"The Ink Readers of Doi Saket", Thomas Olde Heuvelt
"Selkie Stories Are for Losers", Sofia Samatar
(Strange Horizons, Jan-2013)
"The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere", John Chu
Note: Category had only 4 nominees due to the minimum 5%
requirement of Section 3.8.5 of the WSFS constitution.
Best Related Work (752 nominating ballots)
Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ
Fans Who Love It, Edited by Sigrid Ellis & Michael Damian
Thomas (Mad Norwegian Press)
Speculative Fiction 2012: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and
Commentary, Justin Landon & Jared Shurin (Jurassic London)
"We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and
Slaves Narrative", Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)
Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative
Fiction, Jeff VanderMeer, with Jeremy Zerfoss (Abrams Image)
Writing Excuses Season 8, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary
Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Jordan Sanderson
Best Graphic Story (552 nominating ballots)
Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City,
written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors
by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
"The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who", written by Paul Cornell,
illustrated by Jimmy Broxton (Doctor Who Special 2013, IDW)
The Meathouse Man, adapted from the story by George R.R. Martin
and illustrated by Raya Golden (Jet City Comics)
Saga, Volume 2, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by
Fiona Staples (Image Comics )
"Time", Randall Munroe (XKCD)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (995 nominating ballots)
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
IRON MAN 3
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (760 nominating ballots)
An Adventure in Space and Time, written by Mark Gatiss,
directed by Terry McDonough (BBC Television)
Doctor Who: "The Day of the Doctor", written by Steven Moffat,
directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Television)
Doctor Who: "The Name of the Doctor", written by Steven Moffat,
directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Televison)
The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, written & directed by Peter
Davison (BBC Television)
Game of Thrones: "The Rains of Castamere", written by David
Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO
Entertainment et al)
Orphan Black: "Variations under Domestication" written by Will
Pascoe, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions;
Note: Category has six nominees due to a tie for the final
Best Editor, Short Form (656 nominating ballots)
John Joseph Adams
Best Editor, Long Form (632 nominating ballots)
Best Professional Artist (624 nominating ballots)
Daniel Dos Santos
Note: Category has six nominees due to a tie for the final
Best Semiprozine (411 nominating ballots)
Apex Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Jason Sizemore, and
Michael Damian Thomas
Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews
Interzone, edited by Andy Cox
Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton,
and Stefan Rudnicki
Strange Horizons, edited by Niall Harrison, Brit Mandelo, An
Owomoyela, Julia Rios, Sonya Taaffe, Abigail Nussbaum, Rebecca
Cross, Anaea Lay, and Shane Gavin
Best Fanzine (478 nominating ballots)
The Book Smugglers, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James
A Dribble of Ink, edited by Aidan Moher
Elitist Book Reviews, edited by Steven Diamond
Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia,
Lynda E. Rucker, Pete Young, Colin Harris, and Helen J.Montgomery
Pornokitsch, edited by Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin
Best Fancast (396 nominating ballots)
The Coode Street Podcast
Galactic Suburbia Podcast
SF Signal Podcast
The Skiffy and Fanty Show
The Writer and the Critic
Note: Category has seven nominees due to a tie for the final
Best Fan Writer (521 nominating ballots)
Best Fan Artist (316 nominating ballots)
Brad W. Foster Mandie Manzano
The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (767 nominating
Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy
writer of 2012 or 2013, sponsored by Dell Magazines. (Not a Hugo
Award, but administered along with the Hugo Awards.)
*Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.
1923 valid nominating ballots (1889 electronic and 34 paper) were
received and counted from the members of LoneStarCon 3, Loncon 3
and Sasquan, the 2013, 2014, and 2015 World Science Fiction
2014 RETRO HUGO AWARDS
[For the short fiction not published in book form, I will give the
reprint that seems the easiest to find.
Quote of the Week:
It seems that jazz is more cerebral and more
mathematical in a sense.
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