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February 02, 2009


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Susan, I will proffer two of my own works for consideration: "I Remember the Future" and "Empty Spaces." If anyone wishes electronic copies of either, please check my "Stories Offered" post at http://mabfan.livejournal.com/415788.html.

As for other works...wow. Lots of good stuff out there in may categories. Film/TV was a strong year, with WALL-E, Dark Knight, Iron Man, Benjamin Button, just to name a few for long form. In short form, lots of good Doctor Who, Torchwood, Stargate Atlantis episodes.

In prose fiction, I think I'll wait to see what others said, but the Catherine Asaro novella "The Spacetime Pool" impressed me.

Michael -
I'll take the PDFs you offered in your LJ post, since I don't yet have your book. I do plan to remedy that, but given the timeframe, it's probably safer if I get the stories electronically.

I really need to rewatch the Torchwood season. I did not like it as much as the first one, but episode by episode there was some good stuff.

Iron Man is definitely on my DP-LF list, which probably surprises no one here. I'm also debating Bolt. I haven't seen any of those others and suspect I won't get to. I don't do much nominating in the DP categories.

I'm about to go thru my stack of magazines and see what I should nominate. In the media category, I'll probably include TV series Eureka and Fringe.

We have a bunch of recommendations available at SF Awards Watch and are always happy to receive more.

The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu is eligible, I think. And it definitely belongs on the ballot.

Interesting; it's listed as YA. That won't stop me from reading it (or nominating it if I like it) but I wonder how many people will overlook it for that reason.

My library doesn't seem to have it, but let me see what I can do.

Oooh, looking more carefully: not eligible. Hardcover edition was dated 10/2/07. Too bad.

I'll still look for it!

I'm not up for watching any new TV series. No way I'll have the time (I'm teaching every single weekend from now until mid-March, gah!) I might be game to watch a new movie if it's out on DVD. Otherwise DP nominations are going to be limited to stuff I've already seen.

Susan... I know you don't watch new TV series, but I figured there'd be no harm in bringing them up. Besides, it might remind your visitors about stuff that might otherwise be ignored.

I recommend Sean Williams's superduper space opera Astropolis. Book One, Saturn Returns came out in 2007, but Book Two, Earth Ascendant, was published last year. I'm looking forward to Book Three, The Grand Conjunction, on April 28.

I don't think I'll nominate because I'm so far behind in reading. I haven't seen any recent movies, either. I suppose I could nominate for the person categories. I got a supporting membership so I could vote on site selection.

Marilee... I could vote on site selection

Seattle in 2011.
Hint, hint.

As for the other categories, the only one where I'll have trouble finding enough nominees are novels. That's because I usually go for novels in paperback and, since most of them seem to originally come our in hardcover, their paperback is released the year after their eligibility is over.

I'm open to suggestions in the person categories as well.

I almost never manage five nominations in any of the categories; I'm lucky if I can think of one or two books some years.

Yes, I got the membership to vote for Seattle. If I can save a bit every week, maybe I'll have the money to go by then.

Ok, I know you haven't seen it yet but really, it's so deserves a nom...Repo! The Genetic Opera for DP-LF.

I haven't read much this year written past 1900, so I can't contribute much else.

Nothing past 1900?
How old are you again, Raven?

("I tell you, when that young upstart Hugo Gernsback started his magazine, I knew that scientific romance would go down the latrine.")

Hey, the two books I've been poring over the last week are both dated 1900. Not unusual for me, either. The exciting one I just received in the mail is c1898-1900.

Susan... Not unusual for me, either

What? We have two immortals hanging around Rixo?

Two immortals? There can be only one!

Hmm... interest in old words, historical dance, vampires... I begin to see a pattern emerging.

I had a swift look at the Locus best of 2008 list and discovered I had read nothing on it (been reading paperbacks mostly), so I probably have nothing to add to the actual topic in hand.

What about short fiction, Neil?

As for Carol and Susan... If I ever see both of them with swords in the same room, I'll quickly leave the premises.

Not immortals, just scholarly types. We feed upon the vapors emitted by the musty verbosity of previous centuries.

(Actually, a lot of old books make me sneeze. It's unfortunate.)

Serge, what about short fiction? If you've got all your categories filled, you could give me some suggestions to direct my random readerly flailing, you know!

I'm not certain this is a recommendation yet, but Jennifer Pelland, whose work I admire, has a story out for which she is hoping to lose a Hugo. I have not yet decided whether I am nominating it, but I certainly found it well worth reading.

Does Earth Ascendant stand alone? I'm not going to read a trilogy in the time available.


Earth Ascendant could be read by itself, but I think it'd be extremely confusing. In other words, it's not a standalone - says the person who read Asimov's 2nd Foundation book first.

One novel I'm planning to nominate even though it doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell to make it to the final list is Allen Steele's Galaxy Blues. I liked it. It was a fun romp about alien contact, where the main character, one Jules Truffaut is part of a starship's trade mission to an alien federation. In the process, he gets so high on hemp cookies that, when he meets the aliens's frog-like pope, he makes jokes about eating frog legs. Oh, and to make up for that insult, he has to go drop a probe on a planet just before it's to be swallowed by a black hole.

Humor is one of those things where either it works or not at all. It worked for me, but that's me.

As for short-story recommendations... I am planning to go thru my 2008 issues of Realms of Fantasy and Asimov's. I should post about it by no later than this weekend.

I'm 18, but studying 18th century lit. Hopefully this semester my reading will be a little more balanced.

Also not a vampire...yet...

Mmm, old books. My brother and sister-in-law gave me a 1933 reprint of the Gaelic Psalms, 1694 for my birthday. They were horrified to realize that I had taken Welsh, not Gaelic, for school. I said I'd just have to take it as well. My husband tried to convince them that yes, I really did think this was cool, but I'm not sure it worked.

Serge: Will you feel better if I tell you that I don't own a sword?

Carol... But do you instead own a battleax, or maybe a hallberd?

Serge, Allen has two Hugos and has been nominated plenty of times before, so I don't know why Galaxy Blues wouldn't have a chance.

Marilee... It's not that I don't think Galaxy Blues doesn't deserve to be nominated. Au contraire. Others though might feel that a mixture of drama and humor (huma or dramor?) disqualifies it as worthy of Serious Consideration. I may be speaking thru my hat, but how often does humor get much recognition, at novel length anyway?

(This reminds me of something about actor Cary Grant. He never ever won an Oscar, not in all the decades of his career. The problem is that he was so good at comedy that he made it look easy and so as undeserving of the highest recognition. As Edmund Gwen supposedly said, "Tragedy is easy, Comedy is hard.")

I got Repo last night and will watch it soon!

I'm not inclined to nominate books that don't stand alone unless they're the final book in a trilogy/series and the idea is more to honor the entire thing. And if it doesn't stand alone then reading it alone will give me a negative opinion of it!

Susan... I wonder how well trilogy segments have fared with the Hugo in the past. That being said, I recommend reading the whole trilogy, Hugos or no Hugos.

Well PHOOEY. Seattle in 2011 has withdrawn its worldcon bid due to facilities issues. That leaves Reno unopposed. Guess we're stuck with going to the utterly dull and hard-to-get-to Reno. Oh, joy.

Susan... Oh, this is grand. Not.

On second thought... Reno is at the foothill of the Sierras. Also, it's only 160 miles (3 hours) south-east of Mount Lassen, which has sources of volcanic hot water. Also, Reno is only 200 miles (3.5 hours) from the Bay Area.

Neither of these makes me particularly anxious to visit. There aren't even direct flights to Reno from most places!

My newest acquisition is a little dance manual (most dance manuals are little) from the 1898-1900 era. I got it from England, where the antiquarian bookstore had mis-dated it as c1910. I was pleased that it was only about $30 and came in three days!

I'm bidding on eBay on a piece of quadrille music from 1860. I'm the only bidder so far, and it ends in about six hours, so I feel optimistic.

Susan... There being no direct flight can be a hassle, true. Every time I fly east from Albuquerque, I have to go thru that, and will probably have a long stopover in Denver on my way to Montreal in August. (Note to self... Buy your ticket now.) Of course, you could also fly on to the Bay Area, spend some time there with friends, and drive from there to Reno. Or hitch a ride to Reno with fans who are going to the worldcon. Well, the whole thing is more than 2 years away.


Oops. You did say that the Bay Area's proximity. I blame the absence of coffee in my bloodstream. As for myself, like Tony Bennett, I left my heart there. I mean, In San Francisco, not in my bloodstream.

My best wishes, re the quadrille bid.

As for myself, like Tony Bennett, I left my heart there. I mean, In San Francisco, not in my bloodstream.

Quite so. Your bloodstream should go through your heart. Otherwise you're doing it wrong.

But wait, you left your heart in San Francisco? Isn't that something people do in folktales* to become immortals? And not the usual sort of immortals (or gazebos) that decapitation deals with, but annoying ones that you have to track down the heart of? Not San Francisco usually, but the general taking out your heart and hiding it in a box.

If so, you probably shouldn't tell anyone where it is.

* Spoiler! Also in Cvengrf bs gur Pnevoorna.

I don't rememebr that episode of Highlander where an immortal decapitates someone with a gazebo. Maybe that was in last year's SciFi Channel movie.

My project this weekend... Go thru my 2008 magazines (and story collections) and dig up some nominations. I presume that the eligibility is based on the month on the magazine's cover. For example, a mag's January 2008 issue might have come out in December 2007. Maybe the Hugo site clarifies that.

Cover date rules.

Serge: That would be saying too much.

Susan: Nifty! Did you win the auction?

No! The only reason I could justify Seattle was all the family and places to see again!

So, no Marilee at the 2011 worldcon?

Carol... That would be saying too much

In other words, I'd better not axe questions.

Yes, I did! A bit overpriced but under $20 total including shipping.

I just took a look at the Locus list myself, and I've read exactly one book on it, and have two of the anthologies sitting around partly-read. I didn't go through the short fiction. It's clear that I don't keep up with the field!

Susan... I don't keep up with the field

Unless one is paid to do it, I don't think anybody can. And that's just for novels. Magazines may be barely hanging on, but that doesn't mean there isn't a huge amount of short fiction out there.

No, Serge, it's amazingly painful and exhausting for me and I was willing to do it to go back to Seattle and see family and some places I used to go, but not for Reno.

Susan, I've read a fair number of the shorts, and three of the books (plus have one in the to-read pile). I have the anthologies in the to-read pile, too.

I submitted my Hugo Preliminary nominees tonight. The gory details can be found here.

I wonder how well trilogy segments have fared with the Hugo in the past.

I can't think of a trilogy-segment that's won right off the top of my head, but series books have not done too badly within my memory of the Hugos. Several of Bujold's Vorkosigan books have won, and her second Chalion book won. But those are both larger series. One of the middle Harry Potter books (Goblet of Fire) won; that's more comparable, since that was known to be part of a fixed-length (seven books) series. (The Chalion book is second in a projected five-book series, but they're very much standalone stories that don't necessarily even have continuing characters.)

My Hugo nominee's post has received comments from Michael Burstein, and also what looks like an automated thank-you from SP Somtow. I also got a comment from Richard Parks, author of On the Bank of the River of Heaven, which, according to his blog, had until my post been received with thundering silence. If you can get hold of the April issue of Realms of Fantasy, you too will be perplexed by that lack of reaction from readers.

Don't you love AutoGoogling authors? :)

I have that RoF issue somewhere around, though I wouldn't put high odds on my finding it easily.

Susan... I take it that your submitting your own Hugo nominees before the end of the month will be a highly arduous task because of your having so little free time, not just because of the difficulties in locating the books and magazines. Ah well. I guess you'll have to wait until the Hugo Committee releases the finalists. Even if Parks's story doesn't make it that far, I highly recommend it.

I'll get my nominations in. I just probably won't have very many. That's not unusual for me. Whether I read something in time depends on how easy it is for me to locate it (library or purchase) quickly. Finding a single issue of a magazine somewhere in my house is harder than going to the library, but I'll look around briefly for it.

My only free day for February is 2/22; after that, my next day off is 3/14, though I'm probably going to schedule a dance workshop that day and leave 3/15 as my only free day for March. This is an unusually exciting February for me with gigs every weekend and one weekday. I'm looking forward to April, where I am holding the line on Easter/Pesach weekend so I can have three full days off in a row.

Susan... I can have three full days off in a row

Be careful that your well-known slothful tendencies don't plant roots so deep that your life will be unable to resume its normal state of hecticness(hecticity?).

Be careful that your well-known slothful tendencies don't plant roots so deep...

Do sloths have roots? I know that algae grows in their fur, but algae doesn't have roots. Does it? I'm not really doing a lot of research for this comment.

All those fantasy characters with green hair - maybe that's algae? I may be on to something. Next time I write bad fanfic with a Mary Sue with green hair, I'll make them really lazy and not groom their hair at all. It can even have it's own magic micro-ecosystem!

(I would expound my theory that Star Trek III would have been The Sloth of Khan if they weren't too lazy to write the script* but I need to finish some other things and get some sleep if I'm going to force some kids to learn how to calculate volumes in the morning)

*Also, if any sin leads to Khan's downfall in the film, it's not his wrath so much as his pride.

Neil... All those fantasy characters with green hair

...while mutants tend to be blue-skinned.

By the way, Neil, what would you nominate if you were eligible to nominate? The question is also aimed to Rixo's other visitors.

Hmm... I notice that Alistair Reynold's The Prefect is eligible (although it was published in the UK in 2007) and I've read it. He's gone a bit Iain-Banks-with-harder-science, but I like Iain Banks and hard science, so I'd probably nominate.

I note there's a special Graphic Story* category and I'd put down Warren Ellis and Gianluca Pagliarani's Aetheric Mechanics (It's what Ellis calls a "Graphic Novella" - a 48 page self-contained story). I've been meaning to review it for ages; partly I've had no time and partly I can't decide whether to describe it as a steampunk story or a steampunk-inspired and -flavoured but otherwise straight SF story. I could imagine it easily being an SF short story - in fact with it's focus on Edwardian Britain, Time Travel and the Informational Structure of the Universe, I could easily imagine it being a Stephen Baxter story.

I can't remember which Dr Who I would plump for, but if I were actually nominating one would come to mind. Some website or other suggests Life on Mars would be eligible, so if it were I'd have got back season 2 from a friend who borrowed it and pick one - off the top of my head #5.

Serge, only MAB had commented when I read yesterday, I'll have to be sure to look at that post today. I've been skimming LJ because I'm having a lot of trouble sleeping and am quite dizzy. I think the one is causing the other, but it's hard to be sure. I see the rheumatologist tomorrow so she may give me an idea.

Marilee... Let us know what the doc says.

Neil... Thanks for the two recommendations. The Warren Ellis comic-book... yes, comic-book... none of that highfalutin' graphic story stuff for me, nosirree... Where was I?... Aetheric Mechanics sounds especially interesting. I'm going to the comics store tomorrow so I'll ask them.

In the short-length media category... I was disappointed with the latest season of Doctor Who, the one with Rhonda as the Companion. I liked her as a Companion. It's Tennant's Doctor that seemed off. What I especially liked about his version of the Doctor was his over-the-top goshwow curiosity about the whole frigging Universe. That was missing this last season. Maybe it's just me.

In that category, there was also Eureka, and Fringe, but I'd take each series as a whole, no specific episode, not like Eureka's 2nd season, especially the story where Jack may have to leave the town. I haven't yet watched the Star Trek - New Voyages episode that focused on Sulu, but it's too late for me to write it into my ballot. I wonder if there'll be the same stink this year that happened when Susan and others nominated another episode in the professional category.

You couldn't have nominated that episode anyway; it was 2007. That was the one that was on the ballot last year. You make it sound like I was leading a movement there; not the case.

(Also note that there is no "professional" category in DP and no restriction on what can be nominated. Our masquerade presentation was just as eligible as a Doctor Who episode.)

Thanks for the graphic story suggestion! Steampunk, time travel...sounds like something I want to read anyway!

Donna, not Rhonda.

I hope your doctor can change your meds or otherwise help. Let us know how it goes.

Also note that there is no "professional" category in DP and no restriction on what can be nominated. Our masquerade presentation was just as eligible as a Doctor Who episode.

One memorable example of this is that one of the nominees for Short Dramatic Presentation Hugo in 2006 was the previous year's Hugo Award ceremony. (And while I wouldn't try to claim that it was better than the Doctor Who episode that beat it, it certainly deserved the nomination.)

Susan... I stand corrected on all those points. There is a New Voyage episode that could be nominated. It was originally a NextGen script written by David Gerrold, but I think they had chickened out because it was about something like AIDS. If I'm not mistaken, it was even shown at the worldcon last year. Or am I full of beans again?

Susan... Yes, Donna, not Rhonda. I must have slopped a cog when I wrote thst. By the way, am I the only person who felt that the Doctor's insatiable curiosity was missing in that latest season?

Paul A... Isn't it in 2004 that one of the Hugo nominees in the dramatic presentation was Gollum's acceptance speech at some movie/music awards ceremony? I'm not sure if it was won by Good Gollum or Bad Gollum though.

The Gollum acceptance speech (2004 DP-SF winner) was from the MTV Movie Awards show. The Hugo ceremony nomination was for the "Pris Victor Hugo" introductory remarks, which were really quite good. It was competing against "Lucas Back in Anger," among others, though neither won.

Serge, I don't know if a NV ep was shown at Denver. I was a little busy there!

Serge, I just finished watching last season's Doctor Who on DVD. I agree that it was rather disappointing, although I did like Donna (after hating her in that Christmas special). That said, however, I'm planning to nominate Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead.

I haven't been terribly thrilled with the new incarnation of Doctor Who overall, athough there've been some terrific episodes. It's missing the campy fun of the old version. More importantly, I don't like the emphasis on the Companion's specialness and on their family lives. And it's sticking to close to Earth too much of the time. (Don't mind me, I'm just an old curmudgeon. *Wheezes, shakes cane*)

Susan... You were busy at the Denver worldcon? Doing what? I remember my first full day of the con when I went by your hotel to drop off the banner backings. Your roommates took those for me because you were taking a shower. I asked them to make sure you weren't in there curled up in a ball thinking this-presentation-is-doomed thoughts.


Mary Aileen... Yes, "Silence in the Library" was nice. My favorite episode of the revived series was an early Eccleston one, when he and Rose go 5,000,000,000 years into the future, just when all the intelligent species that Earth gave birth to are there to sy one last goodbye to her.

Paul A... Is that Doctor Who 'episode' on YouTube?

Susan... I had heard of that Prix Victor Hugo and it did sound interesting. I wonder if that's on YouTube. (Stepping away to look.) It's not.

Serge, there's links to a video and a transcript on the convention's web site.

I think if I were going to nominate an episode from Doctor Who, it would probably be "Midnight" for the awesome interaction between David Tennant and Lesley Sharp.* "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" were pretty good too.

I enjoyed Donna, but I think my frustration with the season was because of [*] rather than the Doctor's behaviour.

Torchwood... I have no idea what I would nominate. I keep watching and waiting to enjoy it.

On the other hand, almost all of the episodes of Pushing Daisies filled me with joy. I have no idea what I would nominate -- I assume it would qualify? -- because I can't narrow it down to just one or a few.

The only movie I saw that would qualify is WALL-E. I'd nominate it based on the first half.

Little Brother is the only thing I can think of that I read that would qualify. It was okay, but I'm not sure I would nominate it.

* And despite the brief cameo by the wretched Billie Piper. JUST STAY OFF OF MY TV!!

Paul A... Thanks for the link to the Prix Hugo. What about your Doctor Who presentation?

F/SF movies that came out in 2008... Wall-E... Hulk... Iron Man... HellBoy 2... The Dark Knight... Probably a few other things that just slipped my mind. Still, in spite of all those movies having come out, the only one I liked was Iron Man. Everything else either disappointed me or I outright disliked them.

I hope that 2009 fares better, with Watchmen, Wolverine and Star Trek, but I'm not holding my breath.

Hmm, I liked "Midnight" and "Turn Left" and the Library pair. I wonder which category the latter is eligible in - the two episodes were a single story, and must be right on the cusp of the 90-minute cutoff for Short vs. Long Form. I bet that's going to be an admin judgment call.

Torchwood...hmmm. I liked "From Out of the Rain" and "Fragments" but overall this was a much less appealing season than the first one.

I'm going to have to think about my DP-SF nominations for a while.

Note, everyone, that you can go to SF Awards Watch (linked by Cheryl in the third comment on this thread) to make recommendations for nominations. If you feel strongly about a work, it's probably worth the time to do so.

I just went to Cheryl Morgan, but I don't see where I could pass on my own recommendations. I need coffee, it's true.

I just downloaded Le Prix Hugo movie to my laptop and watched the whole thing. Their French is atrocious and ungrammatical, but the whole thing is hilarious, I especially liked the part about Jules's Three Laws of automata.

Gerrold's "Blood and Fire" only became available for download just before Christmas. Rather, Part One is available, while Part Two is in post-production. Susan... From which of the New Voyages sites do you usually download the episodes?

I think if you go to each individual category on the Awards Watch website you can make nominations there.

I don't have a "usual" site for the NV stuff; Ben Yalow gave me the first few on DVD, so I haven't really needed to download them. I didn't know a new one was up!

Thanks, Susan. I'll see if I can get the bittorrent version. I seem to remember that's what you usually go for thenm I can make a DVD of it for you if you want.

I only use bittorrents for stuff that can't be, um, officially downloaded. I'll download the NV episode myself when I have time to watch it (and I'll probably wait for Part II to be available first, since I hate cliffhangers).

Good idea to wait for the whole thing to be available. I've now downloaded the teaser and all 4 acts as mp4 files which I can now watch, thanks to your recommendation to use the VLC software. I wonder if there's a way to make everything into one seamless file.

the general taking out your heart and hiding it in a box.

Heart-in-a-box is used in one of Rowling's short HP-universe stories (The Tales of Beedle the Bard) too, though with slightly different motives.

There was a Sinbad movie in the early Sixties where the Bad Guy couldn't be killed because he had his heart tucked away at the top of a tall stairless tower that stood in the middle of a land filled with monsters.

I just came back from watching Coraline. It was all right, but no more, although it was technically impressive CGI and the 3D glasses weren't a pain. I preferred the coming attraction for another CGI movie Monsters and Aliens. Basically, aliens have landed with the intention of taking over. Earth's only hope are its own monsters, which include a fishguy, a gelatinous one-eyed blob. And a girl. She looks perfectly normal except that she's 200 feet tall. The one-eyed guy ask her what people say when they see her coming.

"Oh my God! Here comes ... Susan!"

There was a Sinbad movie...he had his heart tucked away at the top of a tall stairless tower

Look, a feral trope in its natural habitat! Run away!

I don't remember if there was a feral trope, but there was a rope. A very thick rope connected to a gong that went bong when Sinbad started climbing it with the hook taken from the arm of one of his sailors,

The movie was 1965's Captain Sindbad, starring Lost in Space's Guy Williams.

The rheumatologist increased the pain med for my arthritis and gout. I slept only five hours last night again and emailed both the neuro and the psych. The neuro has answered saying she doesn't think the dosage of the med is enough to cause this. So I dunno. I'm sufficiently off that I won't be reading LJ and ML until I'm better.

My best wishes that they'll find a solution, Marilee.

Susan: There's a solid precedent for Doctor Who two-parters being "short form" - there's been one nominated in that category every year since the series came back. "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" even won (it was the Doctor Who story that beat Prix Victor Hugo to the award in 2006).

I'm glad you dropped back in to update us - I was about to go check your LJ to make sure you were okay (for minimal values of okay like "not dead"). Take care of yourself and come back when you can!

Ah, then short form it is. I've never paid all that much attention to the category.

There is precedent for a multi-episode story arc being nominated in DP-LF, with the first season of Heroes, though that's not exactly a borderline case on total running time. A Who three-parter could end up in LF someday.

Not Hugo-eligible, but I got my copy of The Shadow Speaker (suggested above by David Bellamy) yesterday. Not sure when I'll have time to read it.

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