So, this year, for the first time, I forked over forty dollars for a supporting membership to Worldcon so, yes, I could vote in the 2015 Hugo Awards but also to have a say in next year’s nomination round. Usually, I’m too busy catching up on a growing backlog of previous years’ award winners to actually keep current with newly released material, but the Puppy debacle, for better or worse, inspired me to take a more active role.
I’d like to think I usually have a good handle on the big categories, like the Best Novel, Graphic Story, and Dramatic Presentation (Long Form), but the shorter fiction and fan categories, in particular, haven’t been on my radar. So this year, I intend to be a little more intentional about my reading, broaden my SFF horizons, and share anything interesting I find with … um… the two or three people who actually read this blog.
So far, I’ve caught up on this year’s issues of Uncanny Magazine, which began publishing last year but didn’t have the requisite four issues in 2015 to qualify for the Best Semiprozine category. They’re eligible this year, however, and thus far, I’ve been very impressed with the overall quality.
Two stories in particular, Sam J. Miller’s alternative history of the Stonewall uprising, “The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History,” and Elizabeth Bear’s charming story of research in a magical library, “In Libres,” stood out enough for me that I put them on my list of potential nominees in the Best Short Story category. They’ve also featured some great art, like the gorgeous cover by Tran Nguyen for their May/June issue.
On the short-story front, I’ve also been reading through the anthology Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements, which I originally encountered via BoingBoing. The majority of the featured authors hadn’t been published before in the genre and yet managed to produce some real quality speculative fiction. My favorite short stories included Bao Phi’s clever take on the zombie genre, “Revolution Shuffle,” and Morrigan Phillips’ dystopian tale about state power and the control of history, “The Long Memory.”
In miscellaneous other categories, Tea & Jeopardy, one of this year’s nominees for Best Fancast, has continued to produce some great episodes in 2015, including recent interviews with Kameron Hurley and Patrick Rothfuss. Mike Glyer’s File 770 has my nomination for Best Fanzine (and, apparently, George R.R. Martin’s as well) for its excellent ongoing coverage of the Puppy controversy. And, Alexandra Erin, hands down, is my front-runner for Best Fan Writer for her pitch-perfect “Sad Puppies Review Books” series. Also, I’m pretty confident Mad Max: Fury Road will be on my final list for Dramatic Presentation (Long Form).
So far, those are the highlights. If you happen to stumble on this blog and have recommendations of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments.