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Today I'm over at Earl Grey Editing with an update on YA award process and little bit about my experience with WSFS.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
So Hugo nomination season is open. I've been ordering holds from the library and even bought a couple of books so I can read lots of 2016 work before nominations close in March. Anyways during this process I've also decided to not read a couple of things that are probably really good and well done, but aren't what I want to be reading.

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle (Novella) This a retelling of a Lovecraft story that a bunch of my friends loved. I'm not reading it because I don't like Lovecraft, and I find retelling generally lose a lot if you are not familiar with the original.

Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw (Novella) I've really enjoyed a bunch of Khaw's short fiction, but this one is described as dark, lovecraftan and noir and none of those things are for me.

The Obelisk Gate by by N.K. Jemisin (Novel) This the second book in Jemisin's new trilogy, and I've had a copy of the 1st book since it came out. However I've been told that there is some really awful child injury in that book, and I can't bring myself to read it, so I won't be reading the second either.

Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction by André M. Carrington (best related work) This sounds awesome! It's academic history/criticism about race and science fiction. But I want to finish watching DS9 before I read this and I've been watching it pretty slowly and doubt I will finish before March.

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley (best related work)I really admire Kameron Hurley, but every time I read one of her pep talks I feel bad about myself for not working hard enough. I'm really good at beating myself up without any extra help so I'm going to skip this book, and try to work on self compassion instead.

Anyways if you are not me these might be great books that you will love. Consider checking them out.
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Today I'm over at Lady Business talking about the worldcon YA award process and our on going servey to help decide the name of the award. Read more here.
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So the World Science Fiction Society is the governing body of WorldCons and thus also the Hugo Awards. They have one town hall style legislative session every year, known as the Business Meeting which takes place at worldcon every year. The agenda for this years meeting can be found here (warning long pdf). I'm not going to worldcon this year so I can't attend the business meeting and vote on any changes, but I have lot of thoughts and feelings so you'll have to bare with me.

YA award: Yay! I served on the YA committee this last year and I'm happy to say that we were able to get a proposal for an award together. It is for a Campbell-like "not a Hugo" award. I don't think this solution is prefect but I think it has good chance of being a comprise that everyone can accept. I'd really like to see WSFS honor more YA so I hope that this passes. If you have questions or feedback about this proposal please let me know.

Nomination Rights Grab The motions "B.2.2 Short Title: December is Good Enough" and "B.2.3 Short Title: Two Years are Good Enough" would reduced the number of people who are eligible to nominate work for the Hugo awards. Currently all members of this year's, last year's, and next year's worldcon before Jan 31 can be Hugo nominators. One of these measures would put the deadline to register back to December 31, and the other measure would restrict nomination to members of last year's and this years (or if amended just this year's) con. The reasons stated for this are the administrative burden of dealing with large numbers of nominators and coordinating between cons. I have some sympathy for the administrators here, but really feel that this an unwelcoming move. For years Hugo admins have been trying to get more people to nominate, and WSFS has been making it so more people could, and now that more people have, some admins seem to be saying that having lots nominators is just too much trouble. It feels like going backwards to me.

Best Series Hugo I don't really care whether or not this award passes but I'm very amused by the committee report which features, not one, not two but three minority reports.

Nominating Systems So there are a lot of potential changes to how the finalist are selected which are supposed to reduced the impact of slate voting. I'm kind of skeptical of all them. I fell down the rabbit hole and read a lot about EPH and EPH+ including skimming the academic paper about it, and still don't understand the difference between the two. Three stage voting which allows people to vote yes or no on the long list seems kind of mean spirited, plus it seems like people might reject less traditional work, or works but marginalized authors. Additional Finalist, which would let admins add works to the ballot seems very heavy handed. So I want the slate voters to stop winning but I'm not very convinced that any of the solutions proposed are good ideas. Basically democracy is very hard to protect from trolls.

Non-transferability of Voting Rights I don't understand the point of this one either. It is the only proposal without any commentary, and I think it could really use some. Anyone understand this?

That's all for now. If you are going to WorldCon consider going to the business meeting and having your vote count in these issues.
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Hugo Nominations are now open, and PINs are going out via email! I wrote a bit about why you might want (or not-want) to nominate for the Hugo awards here. If nominating for the Hugos is something you want to do remember you need to buy your membership by January 31, which is coming right up.

Anyways if you are nominating it can be confusing to figure out what is eligible and in what category, so I’ve put together a list of links that I hope will help people.

I know this is lot, but remember you don’t have to know everything about a category to nominate in it. If you read or watched one work in a category and you think it is award worthy you should nominate it!

General

The official site has a list of categories here

A. C. Wise’s collection of eligibility posts and recommendation posts

Cat Rambo’s eligibility post with links to many other eligibility posts

Renay’s Hugo spread sheet with rec’s for all categories Renay has been organizing this resource for several years. I find it very useful.

Hugo Eligbity Wiki A similar project that is new this year. Looks like it should be helpful.

Other Awards
These are resources to help people nominate for other related awards. Note categories don't always overlap perfectly.

British Science Fiction Association (BSFA)Awards Long list

Ditmar Eligibility List The Ditmar is an award for Australian SFF, the site list things that were published in Australia in 2015.

Reading list for the Nebula Awards

Eligibility Lists for Specific Categories

Lady Business quarterly short fiction recs (Q1, Q2, Q3) The editors over at Lady Business have been running a quarterly poll on the best SFF short fiction. The 1st three quarters are up.

Semiprozine directory A list of things that qualify as semiprozines

John W. Campbell Award for best new writer eligibility page

Hugo Eligible Art 2015 tumblr for the both pro and fan art categories, includes eligible work.

Magazines' Lists of What They Published in 2015
Most of these either include word count or list the stories by Hugo Category

Apex

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Book Smugglers Publishing

Clarkesworld

Escape Artists (Note podcast of stories are eligible as stories (for the writing) and as dramatic presentations (for the performance.))

Giganotosurus

Strange Horizons

Tor.com

Uncanny

Technical Stuff
These won’t help you nominate but if you want really geek out about the Hugos here are a couple of super detailed links.

Chaos Horizon A blog that uses stats and data to try and predict the novel category of the Hugos and Nebulas.

[livejournal.com profile] kevin_standlee A former (and possibly future) Hugo admin who posts about technical aspects of the awards along with stuff about his daily life.

The WSFS Page at MidAmericon II WSFS, the World Science Fiction Society is the umbrella organization of worldcons. The WSFS constitution contains the governing rules for the Hugo Awards. This has links to constitutional changes from last year that if ratified will become the rules for next year. (Under “business passed on”) This is also were proposals for new constitutional changes will appear as they are submitted.

Know of other resources that should be here? Let me know and I will add them.
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So Worldcon was this last weekend and the Hugo Awards results were announced. The World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) which sets the rules for worldcons and the Hugos also had a meeting to discus changes to how things are done. So I spent a lot of the last few days paying attention to the con.

One of the things that was decided is that the 2017 con will be held in Helsinki. It looks like it will be a great con. I'm having fantasies of attending and visit UK friends on the same trip. But I don't really know what my life will be like in 2017 so just fantasies for now.

Mostly I'm feeling meh about the Hugo results. The voters declined to vote for slate works but that gave us very little to celebrate. I'm seeing a fair number of people putting a positive spin on events, but I want to celebrate great works of SFF not the defeat of internal factions. So I'm left just hoping that more people will nominate next year. In the meantime I'm going to continue recommending awesome short fiction.

The WSFS society declined to ratify Popular Representation a constitutional amendment that would have let supporting members of worldcon (like me) have more say in the governance of WSFS. I'm very disappointed with this. WSFS people keep saying that the cost of Hugo voting is expense because we are buying a society membership not just voting rights but if that is the case I want a say in how the society is run. Plus I'm discouraged by some of the unpleasant things people at the meeting said about supporting members.

Two potential changes to nominating procedures were passed this year. (To go into effect they will also have to pass next year.) I think I'm in favor of “E Pluribus Hugo” which is like an instant runoff system for nominations, and opposed to "4 and 6" because I don't want few nomination slots. I'm please to note that WSFS is making progress getting rid if the 5% rule.
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I bought my first Worldcon supporting membership a few years ago so that I could nominate for and vote on the Hugo Awards. For years I had been reading blog posts about how disproportionately few women and people of color showed up on awards lists. The writers of these post talked about how the Hugos in particular were given out by a relatively small and not very diverse group of fans. These activists urged people like me to join Worldcon and nominate the works (often by women and people of color) that we loved.

I wasn’t sure that my vote could make a difference and or that it would be worth the money. What finally convinced me to go for it was Renay, of [community profile] ladybusiness writing enthusiastically about her experience voting. She made it sound fun. So I joined LoneStarCon3, and starting thinking about what to nominate. At the time I knew online short fiction existed but I didn’t read much of it. I read several end of the year recommendation lists and was able to find and nominate some stories that I loved. That year only a few things that I nominated were on the final ballot and I don’t believe any of them won. Still I enjoyed reading for nomination and voting and talking about the works so the next year I bought another supporting membership and did it again.

I don’t think my nominations were any more successful last year, but watching the awards ceremony at home on my computer I felt elated. Seeing so many powerful speeches about the value of inclusion made me feel hopeful about the genre and the state of the world.

My participation in the Hugos is political. The personal is political, and what I read and love is very personal. However I want to make clear that no one has ever told me what to vote for. Lots of people have recommend things for me to read, but I’ve only nominated works that I loved and thought were worthy of the award.

Anyways I’m uncomfortable with how some fans are valorizing Worldcon. I’m glad so many people have found it welcoming, but I also hear many stories form people who felt unwelcome at Worldcon and in Fandom in general. Diversity fandom has been saying for a long time that Worldcon and the Hugo Awards could and should be more inclusive. I don’t think we should ignore these problems just because people we disagree with politically are now also saying that they feel excluded.

Yet, I don’t think the problems of inclusion in Worldcon and SFF fandom are unfixable. In fact many of us have been working to fix them. We’ve been encouraging our friends to vote. We have been reading things we loved and telling people about them. In the last year especially there has been an explosion of projects to increase the visibility and discoverabilty of short fiction. I’ve been trying to help in my small way by blogging about short fiction that I liked and recommend.

I’m angry that after diversity fandom has been working for a more inclusive fandom for years and years, white men are attacking the Hugo Awards process because they don’t feel included. Many of us have felt excluded, but we haven’t tried to attack the awards. Yet instead of trying to build communities and create change these people are throwing tantrums and breaking things. I wish they would destroy less and build more. They could do many things to build community instead of breaking what others have built. For example: start their own projects to recognize and review short fiction they think is great; create spaces for the voices they want to see more of; recommend that people vote and tell them about things they should consider voting for; or even make their own award! That’s what diversity fans have been doing.

Still despite the current mess I am grateful to the fans who have reached out to me and encouraged me to participate. Sometimes the process has made me sad or angry, but overall participating in the awards has been a positive experience. I’ve read great things I might not have read otherwise. I’ve talked to new people. So I plan to do it again next year.
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Here are my recommendations for nomination for the Best Related Work Hugo. This category is a bit of catch all for non-fiction related to SFF. As such a lot of different types of things are eligible. My first year voting I found the category overwhelming and didn’t vote. But last year I quite enjoyed reading my way through the category. Anyways I have few things to suggest people consider for this category.

Invisible: Personal Essays on Representation in SF/F ed. Jim C. Hines
This is collection of essays by people form underrepresented groups writing about their experiences not seeing people like themselves in fiction. I found this really moving – some of the essays made me cry. I think it really important work and I want everyone in the SFF community to read this.

Lightspeed Magazine, June 2014: Women Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue ed. Christie Yant
This was an awesome project to make women in Science Fiction more visible. And I really enjoyed all the stories and essays. There is some debate over the eligibility of this work since collections of fiction are eligible only if “noteworthy primarily for aspects other than the fictional text.” I feel this qualifies because it a noteworthy feminist project that is creating dialog about women SFF writers. However it is possible that the Hugo administrators will disagree with me. If I had a lot of things I wanted to nominate I might skip this because of the eligibility issues, but since I don’t I’m going to nominate and let someone else decide.

What Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton
So I own a signed copy of this book, but I have not technically read it. However I have read all of the blog post collected here on tor.com were they originally appeared. In these essays Walton re-reads books and talks about them. After reading her thoughts on a book I generally have good idea if I want to read it or not. And if I’ve read the book before reading her review it generally gives me new things to think about. I’ve read a bunch of books I don’t think I would have otherwise found with her recommendation. The book also contains some more meta essays like thoughts on different types of series and the meaning of “mainstream.” What Makes This Book So Great is lovely way to learn more about speculative fiction—either by finding new books to read or encouraging interesting thoughts about books already read.

Hugo Links

Jan. 29th, 2015 08:06 am
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I just got back from two weeks’ vacation. I had good time but I’m happy to be home again. While I was gone my Hugo Pin showed up in my inbox, which is exciting. That reminded me that I have some resources for Hugo nomination that I wanted to share with you. These are mostly things that will help you figure out what’s eligible and it what category.

(If you aren’t member of world con you can still nominate if you join by the 31st, also known as next Saturday. As reminder here is why I think you might want to participate)

The official Hugo Awards site Contains news and history. Useful in for nominating because it contains a list of categories which can be helpful.

Hugo Eligible Art(ists) Tumblr Now showing art form 2014. Posts showcases of artists work form the last year. Good for finding out about new artist and what they published in 2014.

Semiprozine Directory A list of things that are eligible for smeiprozine. Very helpful as this category is hard to figure out.

Campbell Award Eligibility Page Lists writers eligible for the Campbell award. This award is technically not a Hugo but is nominated and voted on like a Hugo. Writers are eligible in the two years after their first pro sale.

Lady Business Spread Sheet An open source list of works people liked, by category maintained by the Lady Business editors. Lots and lots of recs. Handy for when you are wondering what novellas (for example) were published in 2014 and if you should read any of them.

Choas Horizon. This blog tries to use data to predict the hugo and nebula nominees. Not very helpful for making your own nominations, especially since it only really covers the novel category, but interesting if you enjoy data driven speculation about awards and the state of the genre.
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So this year will be my 3rd year as participating in the Hugo process, so far I’ve really enjoyed it and I think you might enjoy participating too.

First let me offer a quick summary of the awards and how to vote. The Hugo awards are probably the most widely recognized speculative fiction awards. They are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention or WorldCon. But you don’t have to go to WorldCon to vote, you can buy a supporting membership for $40 which comes with Hugo voting rights. If you become a supporting member before January 31 then you can nominate for the 2015 Hugo awards (for works published in 2014). Nominating is one of my favorite parts of the process so if you want to vote you should think about buying your membership in the next couple months.

The first reason you should consider voting is because it is fun. I enjoy the process because it encourages me to read books and stories as they come out. If wasn’t for the Hugos I would not read and recommend nearly as much short fiction. For me nominating is about reading things then telling people about the works you loved. Voting is fun too, and gets me to read stuff I might not otherwise read and find new writers and new stories.

Really one of the most fun things about the Hugo Awards is talking about them on the internet. Lots of people write about works they recommend, how they feel about the ballot and how they feel about the results. I read lot things which I don’t have many people to talk to about, but I love talking about what I’m reading. So having a lot people reading for the Hugos helps to create a community of readers all reading the same works, which is awesome.

Another reason to participate is because of the Hugo Voters Packet. For the last decade or so WorldCon Members have received a voting packet consisting of electronic copies of the works on the short list, and examples of the finalists in categories were the award goes to a person rather than an work. This doesn’t always include everything. Last year it only included samples for three of the novels (out of five). But it does generally include all the hard to find short works, a good bit of non-fiction and quite a few novels, and also art. Many people think the voter packet is worth the $40 by itself.

The final reason I think you should consider becoming a Hugo voter is to represent your taste. There are a lot of groups that have historically been under-represented as Hugo voters for example women, people of color, and people from outside the US. Those voices are especially needed, to help the Hugos reflect the boarder SFF community. Even if you aren’t part of one of those groups you have unique taste and perspective on science fiction. So I strongly encourage you to consider voting. Don’t be shy.

If you read (or watch) Science Fiction and Fantasy and have options about what you read (or watch) then the Hugos are great place to express those opinions. You don’t have to have read all the things to nomittate. No one can read all the things. But if you read something that you loved that was published this year you could nominate it. It doesn’t take that many nominations to get on the ballot. Last year the novel with the fewest nominations that qualified as a finalist got less than 100 nominations. And short story with the most nomination had only 79. So your one vote really can matter in nomination.

And of course you vote will also matter in choosing among the finalist. The Hugo Awards are ranked choice voting, which means your relative option of each work matters. Some people find the system a bit confusing, but I like that it means more than just your first choice matters.

So voting for the hugos is fun, you’ll get some reading material and you can represent your unique taste. I know not every budget had $40 to spare, but if yours does I hope you’ll consider voting. Participating in the process has given me a lot pleasure and helped build my online community.
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So it's only November, but people have started posting their awards eligibility, which making me feel a bit panic-y about all the reading I haven't done. So I'm making a plan... not to get it all done, I'll never get it all done, but to get some of it done.

Novels:
Read Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith, The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin and Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie by the end of the year. All of which I have copies of. (Hopefully I will get my enough brain back for this -- I've had Ancillary Sword since it came out but somehow I've never felt focused enough to read it.)

Sometime in January look at SFF books published in 2014 on my to-read list and see if the library has them. If so put hold on said books.

Short Fiction:
Try to keep reading one short work every day.

I've committed to several anthologies: Long Hidden, which I am in the middle of; Kaleidoscope; Solaris Rising 3; and Upgraded. All of which I have bought, or in the case of Upgraded expect to get as kickstarer reward. I'm not going to commit to any more.

There are currently 7 works in my short fiction to-read bookmark folder, but I expect the list to grow.

Right so that's a lot, so I'm going with the plan trying to read one work a day, and stressing less. (Hopefully.)


Everything Else:
I'm just not going to worry about it.
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So this Sunday afternoon in my time zone, I watched the live broadcast of the hugo awards. I had all the feels. The ceremony was well done, and the broadcast worked the whole time. (Well it started cutting out towards the end, but I'm pretty sure the problem was on my end.) I'm so pleased with this years winners. Sofia Samatar! Kameron Hurley! Julie Dillon! Ann Leckie! (Full list here)

I'm also continuing to work on my thesis. It is going well. I was really overwhelmed went I opened it at it was full of red comments, but now most them are gone. I'm going to have to go over the footnotes with fine toothed comb still, and work on better including secondary sources.

Ruby is starting to explore the house and meet the other cats. She spent a good chuck of this morning upstairs with other people.

Yesterday afternoon I hung out with my niece, my mother's friend, and her two grand daughters. We played clue (know as Cludo in other parts of the world), bocce ball, and sorry, and ate cookies and ran around outside. Playing boardgames with kids is different form playing with adults. Afterwards I took my niece back to my mom's house. Some how we ended up looking at all the sweaters and dresses my mom made for me as child. My mom made some awesome sweaters. I picked the patterns for the dresses, and had at the time a taste for frills.

Today I had lunch with my mother. Generally she has Wednesdays off, but she had to work today. So we ended up having a late lunch. We had pizza with figs, blue cheese and arugula (rocket). It was so good! Afterwards we went cheese shopping.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
I've been doing a lot Hugo reading lately and I feel like telling people about it.

I've read all the novels I'm going to read. Only two of them, unless you count the fact that I did read a two three volumes of the Wheel of Time when they 1st came out. Ancillary Justice is my clear favorite.

I've read all the novellas as well. (Well except for The Butcher of Khardov, which I started but couldn't finish, because ick.) I don't think I like this years finalist as much as last year. “Equoid” by Charles Stross was surprisingly good considering it was full of things I dislike. (H. P. Lovecraft, secret government agencies dealing with magic, British in-jokes.) I think "Wakulla Springs" was my favorite though.

I have not finished reading in the other short fiction categories. I read a few before the finalist were announced, but haven't gone back and read the rest yet.

I'm currently working on best related work, and reading Queers Dig Time Lords. I just finished Speculative Fiction 2012 which was like reading the internet on my e-reader.

Not reading but I've also been working my way through the Best Fancast. Most of the podcast are some people rambling about things they like for for a long time. I'm not really a fan of the format. So my favorite Fancast so far is Tea and Jeopardy which has different and very cool format. Each episode is only half an hour, and Emma Newman interview a different person each time, in an ever changing tea lair. She has Butler and a different kind of cake to serve every episode.
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I should probably be napping like a responsible sick person. Instead I'm online looking at the Hugo Awards Finalists which were announced today.

I have lots of feelings:

Very happy to see both Benjanun Sriduangkaew and Sofia Samatar on the Campbell ballot. The best fan writer ballot is amazing 4 women and 1 queer man of color. (They are all also great writers!) Also this may be the 1st year that best professional artist has gender parity. All three women on the ballot are great!

In fiction land I'm sad very few of my favorite short fiction pieces were nominated. Oh well, the I've read few of the other things and they are also good. “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” is just far too dark for my tastes. (Oh well, the voters tend to like things grimmer than I do.)

Some people who have behaved in disgusting ways online* had their fiction nominated. No way I could read it and give a fair judgment. Lots of other people seem to feel the same way. I suspect that the No Award rules are going to get a work out. (These are complex, but I think if more people rank No Award higher than a finalist then that finalist won't win. I tried reading the WSFS constitution, but I'm sick and it was confusing. I believe articulates 3.11.3 and 6.5 are the ones that mater here.)

I'm not sure how I feel about the Wheel of Time being nominated as a novel. Not sure it is really fair to compare with a shorter work. (To either WoT or the other novels.) Sets an interesting precedent anyways.

*This is an understatement, but I don't want to get into it.

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