Tag Archives: hugos

Some Hugo thoughts

I’ve been doing reading towards voting in the Hugo Awards, so these are some thoughts on what I’ve read recently – all in the shorter fiction categories:

Novelettes

“Fade to White,” Catherynne M Valente (Clarkesworld, August 2012) – DAMN, man. This novelette is astonishing. Non-linear structure, with advertising copy complete with snarky editorial commentary interspersed throughout the stories of two adolescents living in a post-WW2 alternative America: alternative because things have clearly gone from defeating Germany straight to Hot War with Russia, and that war has come to American soil. Not only is this a fascinating and chilling look at the repercussions for adolescents growing up in such a world, it’s also a frightening and perceptive look at how gender and race issues might play out, too, in an America so threatened. A bit like Handmaid’s Tale in that respect. I should have talked about this one last because much as I liked Pat Cadigan’s “The Girl-Thing who Went out for Sushi” (Edge of Infinity), I think this gets my vote.

“The Boy Who Cast No Shadow”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Postscripts: Unfit For Eden, PS Publications) – a really lovely story. One of those stories that uses a fantastical idea but makes it normal (well, ish) in the society: in this case, a boy made of glass. The eponymous character is regarded as a freak for having no shadow; the two form a friendship based on their bizarreness. This is poignant and lovely; I’m very happy I got to read it

“In Sea-Salt Tears”, Seanan McGuire (Self-published) – I read the first October Daye book and was completely unimpressed. I had no idea that this was connected to that series until I saw someone mention it on Goodreads. So, with no background at all, I actually really liked this story. Selkie stories are so hot right now (and it’s pretty funny reading this after recently reading Sofia Samatar’s “Selkie Stories are for Losers,” which I adored) – this one felt like it did something a bit new with the mythology, which I enjoyed.

“Rat-Catcher”, Seanan McGuire ( A Fantasy Medley 2, Subterranean). Meh. Cat-fae in 1660s London.

Novellas

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications) – totally my pick. Again with the non-linear structure, as the title suggests. Bits of the story happen in a world recognisably our own where one of the main characters is trying to figure out a series of kidnappings. Bits of it happen in a very weird future world where some cataclysm has occurred and a small remnant population is trying to get on with. And there’s a bit during the fall as well, of course… and by that stage everything has started to come together, and both of the main characters really make sense and are utterly captivating. Very, very nice.

The Emperor’s Soul, Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications) – haven’t managed to finish it yet. Possibly shouldn’t therefore comment.

On a Red Station, Drifting, Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press) – I don’t know anything about this universe of de Bodard’s, so I have no idea whether I’ve missed important character references or whatever. Nonetheless the story was highly engaging, and made basic sense – war isn’t hard to understand, and the repercussions for refugees are of course familiar. The intricacies of family entanglements are taking to an extreme and fine degree, but again the basic notion isn’t hard to grasp. It’s beautifully written and very absorbing.

San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, Mira Grant (Orbit) – have not read, won’t bother because I haven’t read the Newsflesh series (and don’t like zombies).

“The Stars Do Not Lie”, Jay Lake (Asimov’s, Oct-Nov 2012) – interesting idea. Would have been a whole lot better if it wasn’t transparently a Galileo/scientists in general vs Catholic Church story, with little effort to develop an interesting take on the religion.

So, for what it’s worth – those are some of my thoughts!

Galactic Suburbia 78

cheers sweetieIn which awards are dissected into itty bitty bits and eaten with relish. Tasty tomato relish.
You can get us from iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.

HUUUUGGGOOOOOOS!

Ditmars

Solstice Awards

This looks like a short podcast, but it isn’t. No culture consumed for you! Which does mean that Alex will have read ALL THE BOOKS by the time we join you again.

(Well, that’s what Tansy thinks anyway… we’ll see how much reading vs how much knitting gets done!)

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Saga: a graphic novel

Unknown

Look, I’ll be honest: when Tansy wrote her blog post with some recommendations for the Hugo graphic novels category, and mentioned this one, and then made a rather pointed comment about me having to read it, I kinda skimmed the post because I don’t NEED another graphic novel to be reading! This is meant to be my year of reading books I already OWN! So, you know, I was just going to… not pay much attention… 😀

Then, Tansy discussed said graphic novel on Galactic Suburbia, and made it sound even more compelling – comparing it very favourably to the Deathstalker series, which she just KNOWS is bound to pique my interest.

I went and downloaded the first instalment. (I know there’s controversy around paper vs electronic comics, but I don’t want to start buying hard copy comics – I already struggle to find space for my books, this would just be another imposition. Plus, convenience.) And then I downloaded the next one. And then… yeh. So now I am as addicted as that nasty Tansy KNEW I would be. Maybe I should send her the bill. I do, though, disagree slightly with her comparison – I think the relationship is closer to that of Hawk and Fisher than Deathstalker.

Look closely at the cover and you’ll see why Tansy was smitten so quickly. That’s a mixed race (species) couple, with the woman breastfeeding a baby. And this image was on the very first issue. Remarkable, no? The story itself is actually told from the point of view of the baby herself, which is a clever little quirk and – as Tansy pointed out with some relief – it means you know that THE BABY SURVIVES. This is a good thing. The couple themselves are soldiers from opposite sides of a galaxy-spanning war, which has been going on for more years than people care to remember. She’s got wings; he’s got horns; they’re both soldiers. Their relationship – once discovered – is naturally one that does not bring joy to their respective authorities. Especially after the revelation of the abomination that is their mixed-species child.

I am still coming to terms with the idea that I have to genuinely consider the art when I read graphic novels. First, I don’t have an instinctive love of the visual medium; second, I don’t always feel that the art is… integral?… to the comics I read. It is vital in Girl Genius but seems less so in the new Captain Marvel or Hawkeye. Maybe that just makes me a bad comic-book reader. At any rate, Fiona Staples’ art is wonderful and rich and nuanced and definitely adds to the story overall. Alana and Marko – the couple – are drawn with great expression and realism. Maybe the art works here because there’s such a range of characters and species and settings – which is more like Girl Genius and less like Captain Marvel and Hawkeye. Eh; that’s probably an indefensible proposition. Probably I just need to pay more attention to the art in those stories, like I do with Saga.

There have been 9 issues as I write. Brian K Vaughan has said that there’s a definite arc he has in mind for the story, but it’s not clear how long that will take. This could be a long term commitment, TANSY. So far, there have been mercenaries;  ghost-girl nannies; subversive romance novels; attempted assassinations; robot-headed folks; in-laws; magic; blasters; secrets revealed; rocketship forests; space travel; and the sorts of domestic interludes that we’ve been complaining don’t turn up often enough in science fiction and fantasy but that clearly MUST if these people are to be believed and their relationships to function. It’s a science fiction and fantasy heroic domestic adventure. It’s Mad About You meets Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. In space. With magic.

I second the nomination of this as a nominee for Best Graphic Novel  🙂

You can buy Saga Vol 1 here; it collects issues #1-6.

Galactic Suburbia 69

In which we admire our Hugo pins, discuss the narrative around bestseller authors like JK Rowling, and take on the idea of what a Best Of anthology actually means. You can get us from iTunes or from Galactic Suburbia.

News

HUGO PINS

Trifle Club

The Casual Vacancy released – are you going to read it?

Giveaway from ages ago – copy of Showtime goes to Terry Frost for Joshua York from George R R Martin’s Fevre Dream

New Giveaway for Kaaron Warren’s Through Splintered Walls. Tweet, comment, email or Facebook us about your favourite Australian ghost story OR your favourite female vampire.

Paul Kincaid in the LA Review of Books suggests that SF is tired. Reviewer, heal thyself? He also talks on this subject at the Coode Street Podcast.

Aurealis Awards reminder: submit your books and stories now.

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alisa: Soft Apocalypse, Will McIntosh, SportsNight (& Newsroom)

Tansy: Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan; Marvel Heralds; Outer Alliance Episode 24 Changing the Conversation with Julia Rios, Nnedi Okorafor, Jim C Hines & Sofia Samatar.

Alex: Battleship; The Forever War, Joe Haldemann; City of Illusions, Ursula le Guin; The Shapes of their Hearts, Melissa Scott; Nova, Samuel Delaney

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Galactic Suburbia 68!

The post-Hugo edition! In which stats are chewed and swallowed, rebels become the government, the secret (true) history of Wonder Woman is revealed and Alisa joins another cult. You can get us from iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.

News

Hugo Awards: The Winners, the Ustream and the Stats (you can download the stats pdf at the bottom of the page that links to)

Caroline Symcox on coming out as Christian to SF Fans & coming out as SF fan as a curate.

Another Wonder Woman TV show in development – this one may contain some Wonder Woman.

Further discussion on conventions, creepers & safe spaces
Genreville
We Don’t Do That Anymore
And the SF Signal Podcast

Science books written for girls, or possibly “girls”.

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alisa: Newsroom; Getting Things Done podcast, David Allen

Alex: Outcasts; Heir to the Empire, Timothy Zahn; Midnight Lamp, Gwyneth Jones

Tansy: How to Train Your Dragon audiobook; To Spin a Darker Stair (Fablecroft); The Twelve Labors of Wonder Woman;

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Among Others: not a review

A friend asked me about this book the other day. She knows that I am into the Hugos, and she had heard people on Triple J – a radio station branding itself as the ‘youth station’ – talking about this as having won Best Novel. She said they described it as basically Harry Potter.

I imagine my reaction looked pretty funny, because I just. I can’t even. What?

Yes, there is a boarding school involved in both; yes, there is magic (…maybe?) involved in both.

But still. What?

Anyway. I loved this book. I read it so long ago that it seems a bit pointless writing anything that pretends to be a review, so I won’t – I just want to note down a few thoughts.

For all that I loved it, I did not love it as much as others. I know it resonated strongly for a lot of people because it reflected their own experiences, of The Discovery of Science Fiction especially. Mine it does not. Partly this is an age thing: Morwenna, the narrator, who tells this book via diary entries, is doing stuff on my birthday. I mean my actual birth day. So there’s that. More significantly though, it does not record my experience of discovering science fiction. In specific terms, I haven’t read most of the authors and titles Morwenna reports discovering (and there are a few I hadn’t even heard of) – I had to promise myself that I will read the novel a second time with pen in hand, to stop myself from feeling bad about not keeping a list of books to read as I read it the first time. In more general terms, this isn’t how I came to it. I started more with fantasy, and I was also reading a broader range of stuff, in my teens. I can remember one kid at my school with whom I shared an interest in speculative fiction, and we never talked about it. So… yeh. For me this reads as a fantasy both in magical terms (which I still think might not necessarily be real) but perhaps even more in the finding-of-like-minds aspects. Outside of cons (and sometimes even there, let’s be honest) I’ve rarely had the sort of experience Walton describes for Morwenna. It’d be nice though.

I really enjoyed Morwenna’s voice, and the novel worked especially well as a diary. She often sounds a bit older than she is, but I think the diary format explains that (as well as her somewhat precocious nature, and her voracious reading lending her an excellent vocabulary): it makes sense for someone like her to be experimenting with language in a private forum, and giving herself permission to push her imagination and storytelling to its fullest extent. I liked her ambiguity – about herself and in her attitudes towards her parents, friends, and school. She has very sensible reasons to be concerned on some of those fronts, especially about her mother, that do not translate to ‘real life’ – but the general feelings can, and do.

I admit that I am surprised that it won the Hugo, given its competition. Everyone seemed to think that GRRM had it sown up; in a year without that, I would have thought Mieville would win hands down, but then I adored Embassytown immensely so possibly I’m biased. But no: a book with a smattering of magic that is all about the discovery of SF and SF fandom won. I think that’s rather lovely, actually, and obviously also reflects the voters themselves… although what it says about them, I’m not willing to speculate.

Galactic Suburbia 63

In which we look at the politics of female author portraits, why you shouldn’t tweet celebrities about their alleged irrelevance, and start thinking about what we’re going to vote for in the Hugos. You can get us at iTunes or from Galactic Suburbia.

News

Women in SF & Fantasy in Australian media
– the article is a month old, but still relevant!

WA Premier’s Book Awards Shortlist announced and Penni Russon is on it!

Top 10 list of the greatest female SF/fantasy authors ‘of all time’ – do you agree?

Tansy’s Pinterest board of portraits of “Lady Novelists”

It’s Not Wise to Be A Jerk to Felicia Day

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alex: Schismatrix Plus, Bruce Sterling; Embassytown, China Mieville; Snow White and the Huntsman; Bitter Greens, Kate Forsyth; Diamond Eyes, AA Bell

Tansy: Salvage, by Jason Nahrung; Medea, Kerry Greenwood; Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold; Ame-Comi Wonder Woman & Batgirl; Silk Spectre #1 by Darwyn Cook & Amanda Conner; The Invincible Iron Man, Matt Fraction

Alisa: Blackout, Mira Grant

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

[photo: Stella Miles Franklin, older and more characterful than we usually see her in images]

Galactic Suburbia 57: now with extra Hugo nominations

In which this Hugo nominated podcast is Hugo nominated and discusses the Hugo nominations while being Hugo nominated. Also, the internet is full of things. Some of those things discuss gender, feminism and equality, some have wide ranging implications for the future of SF awards, and some of them are nominated for Hugos. You can download us from iTunes or get us from Galactic Suburbia.

HUUUUUUUUUGO SHORTLIST

Hunger Games: Build up to make a hit
The reviews are in:
Topless Robot
Forbes
Our Alisa
“But in the real world, the character Katniss Everdeen faces an even greater challenge: Proving that pop culture will embrace a heroine capable of holding her own with the big boys. It’s a battle fought on two fronts. First, The Hunger Games must bring in the kind of box office numbers that prove to Hollywood that a film led by a young female heroine who’s not cast as a sex symbol can bring in audiences. And second, for Katniss to truly triumph, she must embody the type of female heroine — smart, tough, compassionate — that has been sorely lacking in the popular culture landscape for so very long.”

The Clarke Award Shortlist:
Christopher Priest’s original post
Cat Valente responds:
“Because let’s be honest, I couldn’t get away with it. If I posted that shit? I’d never hear the end of what a bitch I am”; and further response

Outer Alliance discussion on Gay YA Dystopia & Paolo Bacigalupi

Qld Premier cancels Premiers Literary Award
“Before the election, the LNP pledged to cut government “waste” as part of its efforts to offer cost-of-living relief to Queenslanders.”
Response of Queensland Writers Centre

The Fake Geek Girl at the Mary Sue

Eisner Award shortlist

Kate Elliott on the portrayal of women in pain & fear

Ashley Judd on the media’s attitude to women and their bodies

Valente on the war against women in the real world

Philip K Dick Award

Chronos Award Ballot

Tehani on Aurealis Awards stats, gender

BSFA stuff – Actual winners
The first post that raised the problems with the ceremony.
A response (there for historical sake, though I think since at least partly recanted)
how the Tweets saw it
Cheryl’s take
**The BSFA issued an apology right about when we were recording**

Jim Hines works through his privileged dumbassery
Kirstyn McDermott works through whether her feminism is good enough

Vote for Sean the Blogonaut for NAFF

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alex: Monstrous Regiment, Terry Pratchett; Showtime, Narrelle M Harris, Woman on the Edge of Time, Marge Piercy; 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson; The State of the Art, Iain M Banks

Tansy: So Silver Bright, Lisa Mantchev; Kat, Incorrigible, by Stephanie Burgis; Cold Magic, Kate Elliott

Alisa: The Hunger Games (movie and books), The Readers (podcast)

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs,, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Galactic Suburbia: now half a century old

In which we leap happily back and forth (with occasional ranting) over those fine lines between feminist critique and anti-female assumptions, plus share our bumper collection of holiday culture consumed. Happy New Year from the Galactic Suburbia crew!

NEWS AND LINKS

Hugo nominations open and we’re gonna have our say

Aqueduct Press will be publishing Brit Mandelo’s thesis, “WE WUZ PUSHED: On Joanna Russ & Radical Truth-telling”!

Islamic superhero comic turned animated series The 99 to screen in Australia (ABC3)

Amanda Palmer’s wedding post

Great piece on how the very idea of ‘Mary Sue’ is sexist, ties into this episode’s theme about the criticism of female characters.

The wealth of powerful girl heroes in today’s YA

WHAT CULTURE HAVE WE CONSUMED?

Alisa: Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal; The Freedom Maze, Delia Sherman (with cover art by Kathleen Jennings); The Vampire Diaries; Primeval; The 99; Planetary; Homeland and Boxcutters.

Alex: The Double Life of Alice Sheldon, Julie Phillips; Changing Planes, Ursula le Guin; Perchance to Dream, Lisa Mantchev; Twilight Robbery, Frances Hardinge; Chronicles of Chrestomanci vol 1, Diana Wynne Jones. DOA and Going Postal.

Tansy: The Freedom Maze, Delia Sherman; Beauty Queens, Libba Bray; Snuff by Terry Pratchett, Going Postal (TV) – Batman (animated) & My First Batman Book by David Katz, David Tennant & Catherine Tate in Much Ado About Nothing (DIGITAL THEATRE DOWNLOAD AWW YEAH).

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Galactic Suburbia 40!!

In which we hug the Hugos, plug the Stella, lament the loss of the Weird Tales team, and contemplate (briefly) our podcasterly mid-life crisis. Alex delves into the wonderful world of classic cyberpunk, and Tansy demands to know why on earth Alisa is  still watching Doctor Who if she doesn’t actually like it? We can be heard via iTunes or Galactic Suburbia.News

Weird Tales sold

Strange Horizons Fundraising Drive

The Stella

Galactic Chat: Kelley Armstrong and Ben Peek

Tansy’s win !

What Culture Have we Consumed?
Alisa: Doctor Who Season 2, Outer Alliance Podcast
Alex: Trouble and her Friends, Melissa Scott; Only Ever Always, Penni Russon; Synners, Pat Cadigan; Blake’s 7.
Tansy: SF Squeecast #3, Panel2Panel (http://panel2panel.podbean.com/), Among Others by Jo Walton, Alcestis by Katherine Beukner, Stormlord’s Exile by Glenda Larke, KINDLED

Pet Subject: Hugoriffic!
Were you there for the Hugo Twitter party? Or did you have to resort to sitting in the live audience?
The stats
The results
Hugos commentary round up.

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!