Sunday, August 21, 2011

Worldcon: The Hugos

Novel: Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis. I haven't read any of the nominees, but those I've talked to who've read all are bitterly disappointed with this win. They say it's bloated and wordy and full of egregious research flubs. Grumblings that it won because Willis is a Big Name, but aren't Bujold and Ian McDonald too?

Novella: The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang. I found this tale of software engineers making pets out of their AIs to be fascinating, despite my strong distaste for Pullmanian daemons of any sort. But I didn't rank it highest, because it didn't seem to be making any points about the disconcerting ability of the AIs to learn from their environment (perhaps I'm used to more didactic SF than this), and because the story had no ending, it just ... stopped. My top vote went to Geoffrey Landis's clever "The Sultan of the Clouds".

Novelette: "The Emperor of Mars" by Allen M. Steele. Hurrah, one I voted for. I had a special weakness for this story because it's SF about SF (so, more sneakily, is Peter Watts' "The Things" in Short Story), and I expect others felt similarly. The echo of Emperor Norton didn't hurt either.

Short Story: "For Want of a Nail" by Mary Robinette Kowal. Not a bad story, but not particularly memorable, and I couldn't figure out the relevance of the titular proverb to the plot. I voted (first place, which from now on will be assumed) for Carrie Vaughn's "Amaryllis".

Related Work: Chicks Dig Time Lords, ed L. Thomas & T. O'Shea. I'm not putting down the concept - I actually have the similar Whedonistas book - but I found this fluffy. Even the podcasts had more weight. I voted for Bill Patterson's Heinlein biography, the only professional-writing nominee I'd read on my own initiative before the ballot came out.

Graphic Story: Girl Genius Vol. 10 by the Foglios. I like the art style, but I've never been able to follow what's going on in any Girl Genius that I've read, or tried to. I voted for Schlock Mercenary, which I'd never heard of before, and which I found delightfully funny. However, I didn't find the writing in any of the nominees to be even a patch on the quality of the nominated short fiction. There's a huge gap here.

Long Drama: Inception. I was very impressed by this movie, not so much for the SF plot, which was reasonably adequate, but for the brilliance of the moviemaking. A complex and intricate story was told with absolute straightforward clarity, subtly put across. I was all ready to vote for this even though I hadn't seen any of the other nominees, but then I realized I had no idea whether the others might have been even better, so I left the category blank.

Short Drama: Doctor Who, one episode or another. I've never gotten into Dr. Who - too much of it to grasp - but what little I've seen of the revived version looks good. Someone at the con was wearing a t-shirt reading "You never forget your first Doctor," referring to the actors playing the character. My first Doctor was Peter Cushing, so what does that make me?

Short Form Editor: Sheila Williams. I voted for her too, after realizing how much fiction Asimov's had published ranked high in my voting.

Long Form Editor: Lou Anders. At first I had him confused with Lou Aronica. Never heard of him, or the publisher he works for. I know some of the other nominees, even personally, but I had to leave this blank.

Pro Artist: Shaun Tan. Good. If he couldn't win Short Drama for The Lost Thing, at least he could win this. The only nominee whose work doesn't look exactly like the work of all the other nominees. I found this a tough choice, and voted for Picacio, who seemed to have the most imaginative ideas.

Semiprozine: Clarkesworld. Again, tough choice, and they're all good. I voted for Interzone, which I consider the classiest.

Fanzine: The Drink Tank. You have never seen a man accept a Hugo like Chris Garcia accepted a Hugo. Made me almost sorry I picked Banana Wings top, but they're all good.

Fan Writer: Claire Brialey. My choice, but again a tough field.

Fan Artist: Brad Foster. My choice: for me, the most pleasing draftsman of the field. (Though it's hard to use that as a criterion in a field with Randall Munroe in it.)

Campbell: Lev Grossman. Aargh, they're all novelists, so I didn't have time to read any. But I'm reading Grossman's The Magicians, from the voters' packet, right now. Impression so far: Harry Potter for American slackers. But much better written.

Total: 4 of my 1st-place votes won, 2 of my 3rd-place, 4 of my 4th-place, and 2 of my 5th place.

Review of the ceremony: Hugo ceremony hosts should be one of two things: either 1) funny or 2) aware that they aren't funny. Being neither is not on.

No comments:

Post a Comment