Category Archives: 2014 Hugo Nominations

Hugo Voting, 2014

Well, I’ve gotten through as many of the Hugo nominees as I’m going to. I’ve decided to vote as follows:

Best Novel

  1. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
  2. Neptune’s Brood by Charles Stross
  3. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson1
  4. Parasite by Mira Grant
  5. No Award

Best Novella

  1. “The Chaplain’s Legacy” by Brad Torgersen 2
  2. Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente 3
  3. “Equoid” by Charles Stross
  4. “Wakulla Springs” by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages4
  5. No Award

Best Novelette

  1. “The Waiting Stars” by Aliette de Bodard
  2. “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal
  3. “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang
  4. “The Exchange Officers” by Brad Torgersen
  5. No Award

Best Short Story
Short stories aren’t my thing but I felt this was a particularly strong category.

  1. “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky
  2. “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu
  3. “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
  4. “Selkie Stories Are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar

Best Graphic Story
I’m not positive I should be voting in this category as I’m not a huge graphic novel fan. I did read all of them but with the exception of Saga I haven’t read any others in the series. As a result I’m voting for 2 but not including No Award anywhere.

  1. Saga, Volume 2 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples
  2. “Time” by Randall Munroe

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
Tricky category I enjoyed watching all the movies but I wouldn’t say all, or even most, I’d consider Hugo worthy. Maybe I’m a snob . . .

  1. Gravity
  2. Iron Man 3
  3. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  4. Pacific Rim
  5. Frozen5

Best Professional Artist

  1. Julie Dillon
  2. Fiona Staples
  3. John Harris
  4. John Picacio
  5. Daniel Dos Santos
  6. Galen Dara

The John W. Campbell Award
I was only able to finish a book by one of these author’s so I’m voting for only one but not using No Award.

  1. Max Gladstone

  1. I’m moderately conflicted over this one as I did not read the entire series. I read several books many, many years ago and started listening to the audio of the first Brandon Sanderson one.
  2. Based on the other blogs I’ve read, I feel like I’m the only person who like this one :)
  3. Not my favorite but the most literary. Ending didn’t quite work . . .
  4. Good story but if we’re including magical realism there’s others I might have expected to see nominated before.
  5. Ok, it’s probably the best Disney kid’s film I’ve seen in a while. The setup with the two love interests was wonderful to see in a princess movie. But still . . .

2014 Hugo Goal Update – Short Stories

I’ve finished the Hugo nominations for short stories. Actually, I finished them about a week ago and just forgot to post.

“If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”, by Rachel Swirsky – This was my favorite short story. For such a short story, it took me a while to get into it. In the beginning of the story, in my mind, I kept seeing flashes of artwork in the style of How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?. However, the end caught and held me.

“The Ink Readers of Doi Saket”, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt – This one was ok. I felt like I should like it more than I did. I’m not sure why it didn’t click for me.

“Selkie Stories Are for Losers”, by Sofia Samatar – This was my least favorite. It wasn’t a bad story, just not one I could relate to.

“The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere”, by John Chu – Originally, I thought this was going to be my favorite short story. For me, it’s a tough choice between this one and “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”. I particularly love how Matt is so very bad at dealing with his emotions. I always find it comforting when reading about someone more stunted than I am when it comes to talking about stuff that matters. I am trying to imagine living in Matt’s universe and I suspect I would just stop talking.

Other Hugo-related stuff
I watched Hunger Games in prep for watching the movie that was nominated for this year, Catching Fire. I thought the movie did a good job of following the book. Perhaps too good in that there’s a huge amount of stuff I don’t think you’d catch without reading the book first. Given that, I decided I should read the second book before watching the movie. I borrowed an ebook from the library and finished it the same day. I have the movie checked out and am going to try to convince Jaeger to watch it with me tomorrow night1

In some ways, reading Catching Fire was an excuse to avoid the other books I’m trying to read. Right now I’m in the middle of both The Lives of Tao and Nexus. Neither are my usual type of book and I’m finding it hard to concentrate. I was planning on leaving The Wheel of Time till last but if this keeps up, I might change my mind and start on it instead of finishing these two.

Regarding the Wheel of Time, I’m still waffling over my approach. I’m currently leaning toward reading summaries of most of them and actually reading the last three. Many, many years ago I did start the Wheel of Time series but gave up after several books when there didn’t appear to be an end in sight and I didn’t trust the series to ever be finished. So, I assume some of it may come back to me when I read the summaries.

  1. Usually Jaeger doesn’t watch TV/Movies but he has been working through the Hugo nominations so I think I have a decent chance. He has not read (and is not planning to read) the first book or watched the movie so I’m dubious he’s going to get much out of the 2nd movie.

2014 Hugo Goal Update

It’s been a very long time since I posted reading updates. I have been reading but haven’t had the time to post any updates. I’ve pretty much abandoned my children’s book goal for the moment but I do plan to get back to it eventually. Right now I’m focused on the Hugos and I’ve made pretty decent progress.

Jaeger will probably want to skip this post since he hasn’t read most of the works I’m going to talk about (he procrastinated by reading Quicksilver1 allegedly as research for Scotland).

Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie – This was my nomination and I didn’t re-read it. However, it’s still my favorite of the books I read.

Neptune’s Brood, by Charles Stross – This was amusing but more Jaeger’s thing than mine. It’s based in the same universe as Saturn’s Children which I read several years ago2.

Parasite, by Mira Grant – This was a well written book with a subject that doesn’t really interest me. I don’t want the time I spent reading it back but it just didn’t click for me. This is definitely not a fault of the book but more about the type of stuff I personally want to read.

Warbound, by Larry Correia – I consider this the most frivolous book of the bunch. Since it’s the 3rd in the series I was planning to read the first two before the third. However, something about the first one was rubbing me the wrong way so I skipped almost immediately to the third book. I think reading a couple of chapters of the first book gave me enough info to enjoy the third book. And I did enjoy the book. It’s very Baen: rah-rah humans, we can beat anything. I don’t think it’s Hugo material but I’ve had that opinion about other books that have won in the past.

The only hugo nominated “novel” I haven’t read yet is the (ENTIRE) Wheel of Time series. I do not have that much time. My plan at the moment is to read all the other categories and then circle back to The Wheel of Time. At that point, I’m not sure if I’ll just start at the beginning and read till my time is up or selectively pick what others consider the “good bits.”

Best Novella
The Butcher of Khardov, by Dan Wells – I did not like this one. The writing is fine but plot itself is too violent and tragic for my tastes. I saw multiple reviews noting that the protogonist wasn’t a likable character. I actually didn’t have any problem with the character. I had a problem with the world he was in where he isn’t provided the help that he so obviously needs. It turns out that this novella is based on a game which perhaps explains why it had to turn out the way it did.

The Chaplain’s Legacy, by Brad Torgersen – This was my favorite. It has a nice mix of everything that makes me enjoy science fiction.

Equoid3, by Charles Stross – This is another one that is more Jaeger’s style than mine. I haven’t read any novels in the Laundry universe but the basic idea is pretty easy to pick up. I enjoyed the story even though it’s not my preferred setting.

Six-Gun Snow White, by Catherynne M. Valente – I would consider this literary fantasy. It would easily fit into a college literature class’s required reading. Objectively, I have to say this is a really good story. However, I (fortunately) couldn’t relate to any of the women in the story which I think made it harder for me to enjoy.

Wakulla Springs 4, by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages – This was a good multi-generational story. However, I spent most of the story wondering why it was nominated for a Hugo. Finally, towards the end, I found the fantastical element. I would put this story in the “magical realism” category.

Best Novelette
Opera Vita Aeterna, by Vox Day – This one was a hard one for me to read due to the author, not the story 5. The story itself was fine. Parts were interesting and parts weren’t.

The Exchange Officers, by Brad Torgersen – This story didn’t do much for me which surprised me a bit considering how much I liked The Chaplain’s Legacy. I liked many of the ideas but perhaps the format was just too short for me to get into it.

The Lady Astronaut of Mars, by Mary Robinette Kowal – After reading the first two in this category I read this one and thought, “whew, something I can vote for.” It’s an excellent story and does a good job of discussing choices people have to make between family and careers.

The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling, by Ted Chiang – Another really good story. It talks about the social aspects of technology. Specifically, the written word and a future where everything we ever do could be recorded.

The Waiting Stars, by Aliette de Bodard – This was my favorite Novelette. I would love to read a novel-length story set in this universe. I see the author has a novella that appears in the same universe which I might get once I work through my reading backlog.

Categories I haven’t completely yet: The World of Time series (which seems big enough it should be its own category), Best Short Story, Best Graphic Story, Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, and the nominated authors for John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

I’m making progress . . .

  1. On the off chance you now have the burning desire to go out and read/buy this book you should be aware that there are a couple of different editions depending on whether you buy hardcover or paperback. What Jaeger read is the original hardcover Quicksilver which contains three books that were published individual as paperbacks. See Wikipedia for a better breakdown. I believe the main reason this was done was to mess up library collections. I had to write a special email to our cataloging department to explain the situation.
  2. You’ll note this is an example of dubious cover art. Charles Stross discusses his options on cover art here. He also mentions that some people are so appalled by the US cover art that they import the UK edition at great expense. If you are inclined this way, let me point out that the Book Depository has the UK edition available and does free shipping to the US.
  3. Currently, on June 10, 2014, this is free from Barnes and Noble and Amazon
  4. Currently, on June 10, 2014, this is free from Barnes and Noble and Amazon
  5. The author appears, at least on the internet, to be racist and misogynistic. Some quotes I see sound too weird to be true but then I go to the source and they haven’t been taken out of context.

Reading Goal Housekeeping Note

Because my reading goals seem to have gotten out of hand, I’ve created specialized categories for each one in addition to the generic books category.

Many Reading Updates

No, it’s not your imagination, I’m not checking off my goal books particularly fast. However, I am making progress. I think one reason I like having goal books is because it provides handy reading material when I want to read but am not in the mood for any particular book. Also, it’s working well as a way to scout new books and audio books for Calvin. We recently finished listening to The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs, mentioned in my previous reading goal post, and Calvin seemed to like it.

At the beginning of the year I didn’t have any book goals but now I seem to be acquiring new ones monthly. I’ve recently decided to listen to all of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. Up to this point, I’ve listened to about half of the Discworld books. There are some, such as Monstrous Regiment that I seem to listen to at least once a year. I decided to make sure that I haven’t missed other equally good Discworld books by listening to them all in published order. This is a bit tricky because most of the unabridged1 Discworld audio books appear to be out of print or are really, really expensive2. However, Interlibrary Loan is coming to my rescue. I searched and it appears I should be able to get the whole series one ILL at a time.

So far I’ve listened to The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic. When we went to London, many years ago, we took public transportation for everything. This was before the days of the Kindle and I quickly ran out of books to read while transiting to and from places. As a result, Jaeger and I expanded our must-see attractions to include a bookstore. I was aghast at how much the books cost (like everything else, it helped to pretend I was paying in dollars) but picked up UK editions of The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic. Unfortunately, they didn’t speak to me. At all. After listening to them, they’re still not my favorites in the series but I like them a lot better. I’d give them a solid 3 stars. I’m not sure why I have such different reaction to reading versus listening. As a side note, I also watched The Color of Magic miniseries. It’s not the highest quality but gives a very good flavor of the Discworld series in terms of laughing at stereotypes, etc. What I found weird though was that even though the miniseries was called The Color of Magic, it contained a lot more plot elements from The Light Fantastic. It obviously was meant to cover both books but I felt a lot more of the second book ended up in it.

Listening to the Discworld series is more of an unofficial goal. However, I do have one other official goal I’ll be working on: the 2014 Hugo Nominations. This year Jaeger and I decided we really, really should take part in the Hugo nominations instead of just watching from the sidelines so we both bought “supporting memberships”3. I only submitted nominations for “Best Novel” as that’s the form that I’m most familiar with. However, I’m going to try to commit to reading all nominations for Best Novel, Best Novella, Best Novelette, Best Short Story, Best Graphic Story, Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, and the nominated authors for John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Committing to read all the nominations for Best Novel seemed relatively easy until I saw that the entire Wheel of Time series has been nominated. I hadn’t even realized entire series could be nominated but apparently there’s a clause in the WSFS constitution that makes this possible. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that. I think I’ve read the first three books in the series and then gave up with plans to reconsider if it was ever finished. Well, Robert Jordan died before he finished the series. However, Brandon Sanderson, working from Jordan’s notes, has finished it. That being said, I don’t think I’m willing to commit to reading 15 books in one series in the next couple of months. So, I’m contemplating reading the last three that Brandon Sanderson wrote. I’ve liked every Sanderson book I’ve read so hopefully I can get through these three. I imagine ardent fans will say I can’t possible get the scope of the series with just reading the last three books. That’s probably fair but being a long-time library user, I’m pretty good and figuring out what happens in prior books without reading them. Also, given I gave up after the first three books implies I wasn’t invested enough to be interested in voting for it anyway.

My nomination for Best Novel was Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie. It’s an excellent book but I’m worried it’s against really tough competition this year. However, it’s nice that there are worthwhile books to be nominated this year. I was really not impressed with the options a couple of years ago. I suppose it’s better to have too many good choices than no good choices.

And at long last, my progress on my children’s books . . .

Children’s Goal Books I’ve Read Since the Last Update

Shakespeare’s Secret, by Elise Broach (Shakespeare, new school, friends)

Hero, named after Hero in Much Ado About Nothing, is having to adapt to yet another school. Hero is hoping that her new classmates will ignore her but she ends up the butt of a joke her very first day and it goes downhill from there. Fortunately, an elderly lady next door provides a mystery that helps Hero forget her socialization troubles.

Good juvenile book. I always like reading interesting female characters.

Bearwalker, by Joseph Bruchac (contemporary Native American, stereotypes, adventure, life lessons, new school, horror)

Baron has moved to yet another new school and has been dealing with bullies. His class goes on the annual eighth-grade bonding experience to “Camp Chuckamuck.” Baron senses that something is wrong at Camp Chuckamuck. Things get particularly strange when it seems like a Native American folk tale is coming to life.

This is a book that I would have never picked up on my own. After all, it has a male protagonist. However, it was really good. It’s way too old for Calvin at this point but I’ll put it on my list to introduce it to him when Calvin is older.

The Dark Pond, by Joseph Bruchac (contemporary Native American, loner, adventure, horror)

There are a lot of similarities between this book and Bearwalker. Both deal with boys that are having a hard time making friends and both deal with nature and Native American legends. However, in this one Armie, the protogonist, is going to school in an area surrounded by nature instead of just taking a trip there.

Again, another really good book that I’ll keep in mind for Calvin later.

The Fairy Tale Detectives, by Michael Buckley (fairy tales, sisters, self-reliance)

Two sisters are shipped of to live with a woman claiming to be their grandmother after their parents mysteriously disappear. The girls have always been told their grandmother is dead so they are deeply suspicious of the old women. The old women is very strange, has a strange man that appears to live with her, and lives in a strange house. However, eventually the girls realize that they come from a long line of Grimms whose job it is to protect normal people from real fairy-tale characters.

I expected to love this book. I usually adore fairy tale retellings and similar stories. However, I never really got into this one. I don’t know if it’s because it was too young an audience or something else. I won’t bother saving this one for Calvin. However, if I happen to end up with a girl at some point, I might introduce it to her. Maybe she’ll like it better than I did.

Keeper of the Doves, by Betsy Byars (girls, words, prejudice)

Amen McBee is the youngest of five sisters. She loves words and writes poetry. Her older twin sisters are both her mentors and tormentors. The twins willfully misunderstand Mr. Tominski, an old recluse who lives on their lands, which ends in tragedy.

This was a short book which also felt very reflective. Amen spends a lot of time thinking and trying to figure out things which is in stark contrast to her twin sisters who appear to enjoy jumping to conclusions. It’s a good book. I might request the audio book for Calvin to listen to. It deals with some heavy situations but I think it could provide some good conversations about judging people without understanding them.

Reading Goal: 23 of 180

  1. And who would condescend to listen to abridged audio books (though I sometimes make an exception for non-fiction).
  2. Audio books are naturally more expensive than printed books due to the narrator, who can make or break an audio book, and all the additional production requirements audio requires. I understand why audio books are expensive. I’m just personally unwilling to spend more than $40 for any audio book.
  3. We contemplated actually going to Loncon 3. I’ve never been to a Worldcon before and would really like to try the experience. However, the timing was really bad. We might try to hit the 2015 “Sasquan” which will be located in Spokane Washington(state).