In the couple weeks since my last update I haven’t had the time to read a whole lot of short fiction, but I did start adding some items to the Hugo Nominees 2016 wiki to signal boost a few of my favorites. I’ve been working my way through a few novels, namely Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves. I’m enjoying them both, but the latter has been particularly engaging, and honestly, with my attention span, it’s going to have to be equally good throughout to hold my interest for nearly nine-hundred pages, but I’m hopeful.
I also recently finished Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey, an entertaining and accessible introduction to the past and future of space exploration. I had to look through past nominees in the Best Related Work category to see if popular science books ever made it among the final nominees, and there is some precedent: Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, for one, which won in 1981. Plus, Chris Impey drops more than a few references to works of science fiction and integrates into the book his own original SF short story, a fragment of which introduces each section. The Best Related Work category is a bit of a grab bag anyway, so Beyond is at least on my mental short list of potential nominees.
I’ve managed to fit in a little movie watching, too, and there were three that stood out: I thought Spring, an indie horror from Drafthouse Films, was particularly good. I might otherwise have thought the central trope – a beautiful woman with a dark secret – a bit lazy, but the film subverts the trope in some ways that really elevate it within the body horror genre. Some handwavey scientific-ish explanations make it narrowly SF, but the focus on character make it stand out in a year that’s likely to be otherwise dominated by a lot of bam-whizz-pow superhero films.
The other two that I think are particularly worth watching include Ex Machina, a refreshingly cerebral film about artificial intelligence, and What We Do In The Shadows, a hilarious send up of the vampire genre, with Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame. The latter of the two films, by the way, is short enough to be nominated for the Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) award if you’re a cord cutter, like me, who’s typically a year behind on broadcast television.
Next update, I’ll hopefully have a bit more to say about potential nominees for the short-fiction categories (and likely something about the art categories, which, frankly, seem to be an ungainly mess to figure out for anyone who isn’t an industry insider, but I shall try). Anyway, there’s plenty more good stuff over at the Hugo Nominees 2016 wiki. If you’ve read or watched or listened to anything this year that you consider Hugo-worthy, please do consider adding it.