Category Archives: Books

Favorite Books

Reading Goal February, 2020 Update

I’ve been having trouble finishing books recently. I have quite a few half-read books sitting around that I think I’d like if I’d just finish them. However, T. Kingfisher’s newest book, Paladin’s Grace, was released a couple of weeks ago and it was the perfect book at the perfect time. I still like Swordheart a little better but Paladin’s Grace is my favorite for 2020 so far. I bought the ebook and will definitely buy the physical version also when it comes out.

We took a vacation last week during Calvin’s winter break. I started out with another great book, How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse1 by K. Eason, but the others I had pre-downloaded didn’t speak to me. Fortunately, I found a couple of more that were good and even filled in a couple of my goal categories.

Books I’ve finished recently:

  • Bestseller: Nine Perfect Strangers, Liane Moriarty – This one was a lot of fun. There were several lines I particularly enjoyed in it including:
    Before her booking was “accepted” she had to answer a very long, rather invasive online questionnaire about her relationship status, diet, medical history, alcohol consumption in the previous weeks, and so on. She cheerfully lied her way through it. It was really none of their business.

    This is something I feel we should do more often on the internet.

  • Memoir: Whiskey in A Teacup: What Growing up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits, by Reese Witherspoon – When first envisioned this category I had meant to read/listen to hefty serious biographies. However, it turns out that’s not what I’m in the mood for these days. I have enough serious stuff going on in real life at the moment and don’t need more in my reading life. Like the James memoir, this was nice and chatty. However, it took me a long time to finish, even though it’s a fairly short audiobook.
  • Informational: Ditch the City and Go Country: How to Master the Art of Rural Life From A Former City Dweller, by Alissa Hessler – I have a dream of someday living somewhere my neighbors aren’t right next to me. This book goes a bit deeper into some areas that I’m not particularly interested in, such as raising animals. However, the first section on picking a location had lots of really good things to consider.
  • Juvenile Books: Estranged, by Ethan M. Aldridge – This is a juvenile graphic novel that I brought home for Calvin. I read it after he finished.
  • YA Books: vN, by Madeline Ashby – I found this one via a tor.com list. It was definitely gripping and I sped right through it.
  • YA Books: Girls with Sharp Sticks, by Suzanne Young – I ran across this one via The Book Smuggler’s blog. It’s been sitting on my virtual to be read pile for a while and I finally downloaded it while on vacation. This was another quick engrossing read with a twist that I feel I should have seen coming.
  • Short Story Anthology: The Trans Space Octopus Congregation, by Bogi Takács – I still have an incredibly hard time reading short stories. Each story end takes me out of the world and it’s really hard for me to go back into another world, particularly if they’re completely unrelated. However, there were several stories in this collection I found intriguing and would have liked longer versions.
  • Short Story Anthology: A Very Scalzi Christmas, by John Scalzi – Jaeger got this for me for Christmas, so it’s a really good thing I didn’t end up getting it for him . . . This one generally is a lot more lighthearted than the Takács anthology. As I mentioned, I don’t tend to like short stories. However, I read this while around Jaeger’s family so I wasn’t in an environment where I could really concentrate on a full-length novel anyway.

Current Goal Counts:

Category Goal Number Read
Best Sellers 2 2
Biography, Autobiography, Memoir 2 2
Librarian Recommended 2
Written by an author from another country 2
Graphic Novels 2 2
Historical Fiction 2
Informational 2 1
Juvenile Books 6 3
YA Books2 26 3
Literature 2
Mystery 2
Poetry Anthologies 2 1
General Fiction 2
Short Story Anthologies 2 2
Total 36 16
  1. This feels like a YA book to me. However, SPL didn’t put it in the YA section. Nor does K. Eason, as far as I can tell, consider it YA. So, it doesn’t get to go in that category. I might see if my son might like to listen to the audiobook though . . .
  2. Ok . . . I forgot I had such an ambitious goal in this category. Obviously I need to be reading more YA.

Reading in 2019

2019 isn’t quite over yet and it’s possible I’ll still get through another book or two before the year ends1. However, I think we’re close enough I can safely list the books I read.

In 2019 I read 80 books2:

  • 1 Anthology (though I’m partway through another)
  • 3 Graphic Novels
  • 3 Non-Fiction Books 3
  • 45 Novels
  • 13 Novellas
  • 1 Novelette4
  • 2 Juvenile (one novel and one novella)
  • 1 Poetry book
  • 11 YA Novels

Favorites:
Overall, I feel like most of the books I read were excellent. However, there were two I particularly loved. They aren’t necessary the “best” of the bunch but these are the ones that completely sucked me in while I was reading:

Swordheart by T. Kingfisher
This is my favorite book of the year. It has so many things I love in it: middle-aged woman, snark, practical outlook in life mixed with optimism and a dash of naivete, and a magic sword. I bought the physical book and then bought the ebook. I’ve already re-read it. I desperately want there to be an audiobook version so I can add it to the books I use to help me fall back to sleep. This book makes me happy just thinking about it.

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
This was my favorite book published in 2019. I really enjoy mysteries that are set in a science fiction universe.

Books read in 2019:
The Outside by Ada Hoffman
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard
The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard
This is How you Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar
The Princess Saves Herself by Amanda Lovelace
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
Shadowblade by Anna Kashina
Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander
Witchmark by C.L. Palk
Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Rule of Capture by Christopher Brown
Once & Future by Cori McCarthy
Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson
Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson
Killer Pancakes by Diane Mott Davidson
Lark! The Herald Angels Sing by Donna Andrews
Wilde in Love by Eloisa James
Fair Play by Eve Rodsky
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee
Cruel Prince by Holly Black
The Wicked King by Holly Black
One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg
Early Riser by Jasper Fforde
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
Small Favor by Jim Butcher
Turn Coat by Jim Butcher
White Night by Jim Butcher
Giant Days by John Allison
A Very Scalzi Christmas by John Scalzi
After the Crown by K.B Wagers
Beyond the Empire by K.B Wagers
The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards
The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley
Gods Monsters and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson
China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather
Paris in Love by Lisa Kleypas
Penric’s Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold
Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan
The Late Show by Michael Connoly
Spaceside by Michael Mammay
Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant
The Armored Saint Myke Cole
Catfishing on Catnet by Naomi Kritzer
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
I Moved to Los Angeles and Worked in Animation by Natalie Nourigat
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Escaping Exodus: A Novel by Nicky Drayden
The Black God’s Drum by P. Djèlí Clark
Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
Spousonomics by Paula Szuchman and Jenn Anderson
The Invasion by Peadar O’Guilin
The Library of Lost and Found: A Novel by Phaedra Patrick
The Poppy War by R. F Kuang
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas
Star Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall
Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang
Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire
The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire
The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire
Ebony in Onyx by Sharon Shinn
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev
Minor Mage by T. Kingfisher
Swordheart by T. Kingfisher
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Children of Blood and Bone my Tomi Adeyemi

  1. Especially since my kids will be with their grandparents.
  2. Assuming I haven’t forgotten any books . .
  3. These are books I’ve read all the way through, not books I’ve referenced specifically sections.
  4. I read all the 2019 Hugo Nominee Novelettes but I’m only considering one for this count because it’s the one read as a hard copy, which I admit is a weirdly arbitrary distinction.

Reading Goal December, 2019 Update

Right after I made my goal I read several books within my goal categories. Then December got stressful and I reverted to comfort books and re-reads.

Books I’ve finished recently:

  • Bestseller: The Late Show, by Michael Connelly
  • Graphic Novel: I Moved to Los Angeles and Worked in Animation, by Natalie Nourigat – I’ve never wanted to work in animation (fortunately) but this was an interesting read and it was particularly fascinating to read the bits about adjusting to moving to LA.
  • Juvenile: The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen – This book was a fun, fast read.
  • YA: Catfishing on Catnet, Naomi Kritzer – This was delightful. It was uplifting and funny even while discussing scary topics.
  • Juvenile: Minor Mage, by T. Kingfisher – I bought this one on a whim because it’s by T. Kingfisher and I enjoyed the first paragraph. In the acknowledgements T. Kingfisher says she thinks it’s a juvenile novel and I agree so that’s how I’m categorizing it.
  • Memoir: Paris in Love, by Eloisa James – This book has a nice and chatty tone that I listened to while making suppers.
  • Graphic Novel: Giant Days, by John Allison – This was the start of a series and, if I remember, I’ll read more in the series.
  • Poetry: The Princess Saves Herself in This One, by Amanda Lovelace – Poetry isn’t something I naturally pick up. However, I really enjoyed this one and ended up buying a physical copy.

I’m currently in the middle of reading two short story anthologies so I might be able to cross that goal off soon. However, it’s slow reading because even if I like the individual stories, the lack of an ongoing plot means I don’t feel any urgency to continue after I finish each chapter.

Current Goal Counts:

Category Goal Number Read
Best Sellers 2 1
Biography, Autobiography, Memoir 2 1
Librarian Recommended 2
Written by an author from another country 2
Graphic Novels 2 2
Historical Fiction 2
Informational 2
Juvenile Books 6 2
YA Books 26 1
Literature 2
Mystery 2
Poetry Anthologies 2 1
General Fiction 2
Short Story Anthologies 2
Total 36

Reading Goal 2019/2020

For the past couple of years I have loved nominating and voting for The Hugo Awards. While I enjoy it, I also feel like it has consumed my reading life. Particularly in the months right before nominations open I felt like I was trying to cram the best science fiction and fantasy books of the past year. In 2019 I have already read a fair amount of excellent science fiction and fantasy. However, I’m going to take a break and branch out more. I’m still planning on nominating the books I happen to have read and loved but won’t try to be as systematic about it.

Back in 2013 I had a goal to read 36 books across a range of genres1. I’m going to something similar this year, though with minor tweaks in the categories. Here’s my current goal:

Best Sellers 2
Biography, Autobiography, Memoir 2
Librarian Recommended 2
Written by an author from another country 2
Graphic Novels 2
Historical Fiction 2
Informational 2
Juvenile Books 6
YA Books 6
Literature 2
Mystery 2
Poetry Anthologies 2
General Fiction2 2
Short Story Anthologies 2
  1. I just realized this was when Calvin was turning 4 and Julian turned 4 this year. I doubt this is coincidence.
  2. Not romance, mystery, science fiction/fantasy, etc

Reading in 2017

I have read more books this year than any past year in recent memory1. My long commute is a mixed blessing and the upside is definitely my evening reading time.

At my library we have two staff members who are known for reading voraciously. One of the adult librarians thought it would be fun to have a competition with the entire adult departmentment pitted against these two individuals2. To assure victory3, the librarian conscripted every librarian scheduled to sit on the reference desk for the adult team. I do one Sunday shift every 8 weeks and thus was considered eligible to join the adult librarian group. The competition started in April and goes till the end of the year. To count, a “book” must be at least 100 pages long.

I finished one last book today so it looks like I’m going to be at 66 books since April. It’ll be interesting to see what the final numbers for the two teams will be 4. Regardless, I’m happy with the number of books I managed.

I read a lot more novellas than usually which is one reason my numbers are so high. For some reason I’ve always had trouble getting into shorter fiction. The Hugo Awards contain many contegories and I always felt bad that I wasn’t well read enough to contribute to the shorter categories. I’m still lacking in the Best Novelette and Best Short Story categories. However, I’ve read 13 novella length stories5, published in 2017, which is significantly better than normal.

Here’s my favorite 2017 stories so far (in random order):

Novels

Novellas

For 2018 . . .
I stumbled across the website for the Sirens conference. It sounds really fun. I need to figure out logistics but am hoping I can make it there by myself, no kids attached. We’ll see. However, even if that doesn’t work out, I think I’m going to try their 2018 Reading Challege. In addition, I’ll be reading all the Hugo nominees for this coming year as well as trying to keep tabs on the 2018 interesting science fiction and fantasy. Hopefully 2018 will be another year full of good books6.

  1. Probably more than any year since I started working and certainly than any year since I had children.
  2. Contrary to certain stereotypes, not all librarians love to read. Librarianship is really more about information finding than reading skills.
  3. Because yes, there was definite doubt whether the entire department could read more than 2 people.
  4. For comparison, one of the librarians in the other team was at 264 books so victory is definitely not assured for the adult team.
  5. I think they’re novella length based on pages but I don’t know what the word count for each one is.
  6. And while we’re handing out wishes, let’s hope 2018 is a happier year for our country . . .

Hugo Nominations 2016

The 2016 Hugo nominations are in. I don’t have the time or eloquence to say all the things that could be said about them. I am glad that my first year to vote in the Hugos was back in 2014, prior to the successful rabid puppy hijackings. I think fondly of the quality of most of those nominations. The one exception for me is the current novel nominations which I’m pretty happy with this year.

Novel Nominations
I nominated two of the novels that ended up in the best novel category: Ancillary Mercy and The Fifth Season.

Ancillary Mercy was a really fun read. In addition to being fun, it holds up well to being reread and has made it into my night-time reading rotation. 1.

The Fifth Season was a more complicated book for me. At the time I read The Fifth Season I had both a new baby and a 6-year-old child. This made many of the scenes within the book hit especially hard. However, as always, Jemisin’s writing is brilliant and the book is very good.

I have also already listened to/read Uprooted. I’ve enjoyed Naomi Novik’s books in the past but Uprooted didn’t work for me. I suspect I would have had a better experience if I had not started out by listening to it.

I have not read The Aeronauts Windlass but I have enjoyed all of Butcher’s books I’ve read in the past so I suspect I’ll at least be able to get through this new book. I downloaded it yesterday and started listening to it. I loved the prologue but am not as excited by the first chapter. Steampunk isn’t my favorite genre and I’m not particularly into the equivalent of naval warfare. We’ll see how it goes.

This leaves Seveneves which is going to be a problem. Cryptonomicon was the last Stephenson book I managed to finish. I was very, very close to finishing Anathem when I was in the hospital on bedrest for two weeks but didn’t quite make it. However, I really like the premise of Seveneves and I suspected it was going to get nominated this year, by Jaeger if no one else, so I started listening to it back in August. As of today, I’m 49% of the way through. Seveneves getting nominated is putting more pressure on me to actually finish it. Yesterday I stopped listening to it and instead picked up the hardcover that Jaeger left. I put in a solid 30 min of reading last night and made significant progress2.

Novella Nominations
The two novellas I nominated also made it to the ballot: Penric’s Demon and Perfect State. Bujold is one of my favorite authors. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve listened to Barrayar, A Civil Campaign, and The Curse of Chalion 3. I was not surprised that I enjoyed Penric’s Demon.

Perfect State was a more recent read for me. I don’t remember how I stumbled across it, I thought it was via the 2015 Locus Recommended Reading List but apparently I misremembered. In any case, I’ve enjoyed the Sanderson books I’ve read in the past. Though, I suspect Elantris will always be my favorite.

I’m definitely going to read Binti and Slow Bullets. I am not certain about The Builders. Among other things, Publishers Weekly review says, “it’s as though Brian Jacques and Quentin Tarantino went drinking one night”. I don’t like Redwall and adding more violence to Redwall wouldn’t make it more interesting for me. If I have time, I’ll probably give it a shot but given its competition I sincerely doubt it has a chance.

Everything Else
Yes, there are probably a couple of good nominations in the remaining categories. Sifting out the dross is going to be annoying. However, like last year, I’m not going to “No Award” solely on principle. Potentially Hugo-worthy nominations will be rated as such and all else will go below No Award.

  1. I listen to audiobooks while falling asleep, and waking up in the middle of the night, to prevent my brain from keeping me awake. This means I can miss significant parts of books when I fall asleep without stopping the audio book first. Because of this, my night time audiobooks are only books I’ve read or listened to in their entirety before. My nighttime reading rotation mostly consists of Pratchett, Bujold, Shinn, and now Leckie.
  2. I know, 30 min of reading doesn’t sound like much but it’s a miracle with my current life of wrangling two kids while prepping to move to San Francisco. This is why I originally tried the audiobook route even though I knew that was a bad idea with Stephenson.
  3. iTunes claims I’ve listened to each 8 times but since these are some of my night books I don’t actually hear the whole thing each time.

Hugo Reading Update

I am almost done with the Hugos. I have decided not to try to read everything this year. However, here are my quick thoughts on what I have read and how I will vote:


Best Novel
1) Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie – This was by far my favorite of the nominated novels. I read it as soon as it came out and really enjoyed. Second novels always make me nervous but this one did not disappoint. I really enjoyed seeing Breq’s interactions with her subordinates and her ship.

2) Skin Game by Jim Butcher – I had a really hard time deciding whether to rank this one or The Goblin Emperor second. Eventually, I decided on this one because I enjoyed it more. While I have read Butcher’s Codex Alera series, I had never read any books in the Dresden Files and was prepared to dislike it as I’m not a huge fan of paranormal fantasy. I listened to the audio version of Skin Game which is narrated by James Marsters. It did a good job of distracting me when I was feeding Julian which I am quite grateful for. It took me several hours to get into the book but by the end I was hooked. I always love an implausible but fun finish.

3) The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison -I didn’t like this book nearly as much as many other people did. There were interesting elements and I did finish it fairly quickly. However, I had a hard time connecting with the protagonist.

No Rank) Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu – I read about half of this book and found many things about it fascinating. I’ve been dabbling with learning Chinese characters and it was quite interesting examining the English sentence structure and word choices in the context of what I’ve learned about Chinese so far. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into the plot.

No Rank) The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson – I started out listening to the audio book, gave up, switched to the physical book, gave up and quit. It’s a massive book. At this particular time in my life, there has to be a huge payoff for me to be willing to commit to a very long book. Unfortunately, I didn’t get hooked enough to commit to The Dark Between the Stars. I think I got about 1/3 of the way through before giving up. I don’t particularly like reading books where you have lots of different viewpoints represented. In general, I prefer one strong viewpoint with occasional forays allowed into other people’s minds if it’s absolutely necessary. There were some viewpoints I found interesting but not enough to keep reading about everyone else.

I did not use “No Award” in this category because I felt most of these books had something in them that made them reasonable Hugo potential.


Best Short Story
1) “Totaled” by Kary English – This was the only short story that I really liked. It had a fairly interesting premise.

2) No Award – I did not feel like the other short stories should win.

No Rank) “On A Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli – I liked how ghosts were created in this story but other than that it didn’t really interest me.

No Rank) “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C. Wright – I had to read the opening paragraph of “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” several times before it started to make sense to me. I’ve read a lot of Christian fiction and the style felt fairly familiar to me. At first I thought it was a terrible story. Then, I ran across someone on the internet claiming this wasn’t Christian allegory, it was horror. I’m not entirely sure if the reviewer was being serious or not but all of a sudden it clicked and I agreed. However, I don’t like horror and since this is my ballot, I don’t have to vote for it.

No Rank) “A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond – Meh.

No Rank) “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa – This one almost made it above the No Award fold. It could be the setup for an interesting novel. However, I didn’t feel the story was particularly interesting in isolation.


Graphic Novel
1) Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt – I really enjoyed this graphic novel. It was a lot of fun and I the appreciated trial and error process Kamala went through both with her super powers and figuring out who she wanted to be.

2) Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch – Another fun story.

3) Saga Volume 3 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples – I feel a bit guilty putting this at #3 as it’s still a great graphic novel. However, it feels mid-arc and as such was more depressing than I was interested in dealing with when I read it.

4) No Award

No Rank) Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky – This graphic novel had an interesting premise and made some good points about sex in our culture. However, overall the plot bored me.

No Rank) The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate by Carter Reid – I did not read the actual book. However, I went to the author’s website and read quite a few of the comics to get a feel for the style and content. Basically, I didn’t find any redeeming aspect to get me over my dislike of zombies.


I’m still planning to vote for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form). I’ve watched all the movies except Interstellar. I just need to find a night where A) Julian goes to bed quickly B) There’s nothing else urgent I need to do and C) I haven’t fallen asleep.


I was originally planning to read the “Best Novella” and possibly some of the The John W. Campbell Award nominees. However, I downloaded the Hugo packet, looked at the files, and couldn’t summon any enthusiasm. Instead, I’ve decided to focus on doing more due diligence prior to nominating stories for the Hugos next year. I’m going to try to broaden my short fiction horizons ahead of time. In addition, there’s several novels I’m looking forward to that will be coming out in the next couple of months. I’m especially looking forward to N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season.

This has certainly been an interesting year for the Hugos but I’m hoping next year can get back to normal.

Discworld Audio Goal

Even though I’ve been very lax recording my progress listening to the Discworld books, I have been making progress. I haven’t been reading them strictly in order since some are proving harder to borrow than others. Books since my last update:

Moving Pictures
Not my favorite. I couldn’t really connect with any of the main characters nor did I particularly care about the plot.

Reaper Man
This one was fun. I think I prefer Death more as a side character but still the story was pretty amusing.

Witches Abroad
I’ve listened to this one before but again really enjoyed it.

Small Gods
Another one that I didn’t really like though it was amusing for a Discworld god to be stuck in the shape of a turtle.

Men At Arms
The City Watch books are among my favorite in the Discworld series. This one did not disappoint.

Interesting Times
Ugh. Rincewind. Not my favorite character. However, it was interesting to see a reappearance of one of the other original Discworld characters.

Maskerade
I really liked most of this one. The Phantom of the Opera spoof was very amusing. The only thing I didn’t particularly like was Agnes’s ending. I’m hoping that she reappears in another book.

The Last Continent
Another Rincewind one . . . Bits were amusing but not something I’d listen to again.

Thief of Time
I liked this one quite a bit. I’m not sure I’ll listen to it again but it was good the first time. I particularly liked Susan. Her ultra-sensibleness appeals to me.

Night Watch
For some reason I thought I had listened to this one before but obviously I hadn’t. This was a really good book to follow Thief of Time. As always, it’s interesting to listen to Sam Vimes talk to himself. I particularly liked learning a bit more about where Vetinari came from.

UPDATED: Hugo 2015 Best Novelette

2nd UPDATE 5/2/2015 – My infant has stopped crying long enough for me to add an official comment policy.

UPDATED 5/2/2015 – Comment policy:
I have never had any aspirations to have a “popular” blog. The purpose of this blog is mainly to keep family and friends informed about my life and interests as well as to double as a personal journal (albeit one the entire world can read). As such, it has never been important to have any policy on allowed comments. Comments were either obviously legit or spam. However, given the controversy around the Hugo nominations this year and my discussion of them, some comments may stray into a gray area.

For those who are new to my blog please be aware that I will not allow comments I feel are abusive, upsetting, or off-topic and I am the sole decider of what constitutes abusive, upsetting, or off-topic. The internet is a lovely place that allows many forums for self-expression including setting up your own blog to disseminate your opinions if they are not allowed elsewhere. That being said, I do enjoy hearing a variety of opinions assuming the opinions can be expressed in a respectful manner.

Because my blog is not popular and most “comments” are spam, all users who have not previously commented go to moderation. This does not mean your comment will not appear, it just means that I have to find the time to manually approve them. These days I have a screaming infant so it may not be instantaneous but usually comments will be approved within 24 hrs.

Now back to the original post . . .


Well . . . I’m still conflicted about what to do with Hugo voting. I’ve read all of the current novelette nominees. If there weren’t any shenanigans in play, this is how I would vote:

  1. “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra (Analog, Jul/Aug 2014)
  2. The Day the World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014)
  3. No Award

“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” and “Championship B’tok” were the first two novelettes I read and they bored me.

“The Day the World Turned Upside Down” was the third story and, as a story, I thought it was much better than the first two I read. The writing was good and compelling. I personally didn’t find the physics a problem because I just put the story in the fantasy category and assumed magic was responsible for the gravity issues. However, the protagonist really rubbed me the wrong way. It’s really hard when a serious relationship ends but I found his level of narcissism very off-putting.

“The Journeyman: In the Stone House” was the fourth novelette that I attempted to read. I say attempted because I didn’t get more than two pages in before giving up. The writing style was way too flowery and contrived for my tastes.

Up to this point, I was feeling really good about the novelette category. I could, without any reservations place the three slate stories below no award because I didn’t feel they were good. However, then I came to “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”. I felt this was a really good story. It is by far my favorite of the five options. The story pulled me in from the first paragraph. I got bogged down a tad during the journey to the alien world. However, once they landed it picked up again and had a great ending.

So . . . I’m still not sure how I’ll actually vote. I’ll probably vote in the order I’ve listed above. However, any stupidity that appears between now and when I place my vote may change my opinion.

UPDATED Hugo Nominations 2015

2nd UPDATE 5/2/2015 – My infant has stopped crying long enough for me to add an official comment policy.

UPDATED 5/2/2015 – Comment policy:
I have never had any aspirations to have a “popular” blog. The purpose of this blog is mainly to keep family and friends informed about my life and interests as well as to double as a personal journal (albeit one the entire world can read). As such, it has never been important to have any policy on allowed comments. Comments were either obviously legit or spam. However, given the controversy around the Hugo nominations this year and my discussion of them, some comments may stray into a gray area.

For those who are new to my blog please be aware that I will not allow comments I feel are abusive, upsetting, or off-topic and I am the sole decider of what constitutes abusive, upsetting, or off-topic. The internet is a lovely place that allows many forums for self-expression including setting up your own blog to disseminate your opinions if they are not allowed elsewhere. That being said, I do enjoy hearing a variety of opinions assuming the opinions can be expressed in a respectful manner.

Because my blog is not popular and most “comments” are spam, all users who have not previously commented go to moderation. This does not mean your comment will not appear, it just means that I have to find the time to manually approve them. These days I have a screaming infant so it may not be instantaneous but usually comments will be approved within 24 hrs.

Now back to the original post . . .


I am groggily looking up from postpartum land to consider the Hugo nominations. I have no intelligent commentary on them that hasn’t already been said better by someone else. Last year was my first year nominating and voting for the Hugos (via a supporting membership). It was a very interesting experience and I was exposed to a lot of material I would never have read otherwise.

This year my husband and I are contemplating going to Sasquan. However, we’re not entirely sure how well this will work out towing along a 6-year-old and an infant. Plus, the Hugos are obviously going to be weird this year which is very annoying. Regardless of whether or not we actually attend, I’m sure we’ll at least get supporting memberships again.

As far as voting, I’m going to read as much as I have time for and can easily get. I’ll certainly read all the novels and probably work my way down similar to last year. At least this time I don’t have any pressure to try to read an entire fourteen book series 🙂 As far as using “No Award”, it’s a slippery slope. At this point I think I’m going to try to judge the works on their own merit and use No Award to signal when I don’t believe a particular work should get a Hugo. Probably not the perfect choice but I’m not sure there is a perfect choice this year.

I’m really hoping that the Hugo packet this year is fairly comprehensive as a lot of the shorter fiction isn’t easily available. With very rare exceptions, I only buy books after I’ve read and loved them so I won’t be buying anything simply to be able to read it before voting. For my reference, I’m linking to where I can borrow the various works that are available via the public library system.

Best Novel (1827 nominating ballots)

Best Novella (1083 nominating ballots)

  • Big Boys Don’t Cry by Tom Kratman (Castalia House)
  • “Flow” by Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, Nov 2014)
  • One Bright Star to Guide Them by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
  • “Pale Realms of Shade” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
  • “The Plural of Helen of Troy” by John C. Wright (City Beyond Time: Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis, Castalia House)

Best Novelette (1031 nominating ballots)

  • “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” by Gray Rinehart (Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, May 2014)
  • “Championship B’tok” by Edward M. Lerner (Analog, Sept 2014)
  • The Day the World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014)
  • “The Journeyman: In the Stone House” by Michael F. Flynn (Analog, June 2014)
  • “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra (Analog, Jul/Aug 2014)

Best Short Story (1174 nominating ballots)

  • “Goodnight Stars” by Annie Bellet (The End is Now (Apocalypse Triptych Book 2), Broad Reach Publishing)
  • “On A Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, Nov 2014)
  • “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
  • “Totaled” by Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, July 2014)
  • “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)
  • “A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond (The Baen Big Book of Monsters, Baen Books) – Worldcat

Best Related Work (1150 nominating ballots)

  • “The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF” by Ken Burnside (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)
  • Letters from Gardner by Lou Antonelli (The Merry Blacksmith Press) – Worldcat
  • Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
  • “Why Science is Never Settled” by Tedd Roberts (Baen.com) – Part 1 and Part 2
  • Wisdom from My Internet by Michael Z. Williamson (Patriarchy Press)

Best Graphic Story (785 nominating ballots)

Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) (1285 nominating ballots)

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, concept and story by Ed Brubaker, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Entertainment, Perception, Sony Pictures Imageworks) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • Edge of Tomorrow screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • Guardians of the Galaxy written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • Interstellar screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, directed by Christopher Nolan (Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Lynda Obst Productions, Syncopy) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • The Lego Movie written by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, story by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, LEGO Systems A/S Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, Warner Bros. Animation (as Warner Animation Group)) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) (938 nominating ballots)

    • Doctor Who: “Listen” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Television) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Worldcat
    • The Flash: “Pilot” teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, story by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, directed by David Nutter (The CW) (Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television)
    • Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper” written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by Alex Graves (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
    • Grimm: “Once We Were Gods”, written by Alan DiFiore, directed by Steven DePaul (NBC) (GK Productions, Hazy Mills Productions, Universal TV) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
    • Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions; Space/BBC America) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat

    The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (851 nominating ballots)
    Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2013 or 2014, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).