I Was about to write “I watched the Hugo Award Ceremony the other day”, but then realised almost two weeks had gone past. Whew, that went quick. I almost decided I didn’t need to really write anything and could go back to binge watching season 7 of The Amazing Race Canada, but I think it might be good to be somewhat productive today.
Just in case there is anyone else out there that is into both the Hugo Awards and The Amazing Race Canada, oh my god David and Irina are the absolute worst. I just finished the episode with the butter clams and the Goats on the Roof, and I so want to see those two go down. I knew about 25 minutes into the first episode that I would hate watching this team, and it seems every episode they get worse. Love Aarthy and Thinesh though.
So yeah, I suppose that shows how easily distracted I’ve been lately. Now onto the Hugo Awards. The full results, as well as a breakdown of the voting, can be found here.
Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars won the award for Best Novel and I am so happy. I’m loving this series, and I’m loving how Kowal focuses on people who may have been written out of history. In her acceptance speech, she mention the Mercury 13; thirteen women who in 1959 underwent and passed the same tests as the male astronauts selected by NASA. None of them made it to space. Learning more about the real world inspiration behind this book makes me appreciate it so much more.
Martha Wells’s Artificial Condition won the award for Best Novella. Artificial Condition is the second novella in the Murderbot Diaries series, and probably my favourite of the four. Books three and four of the series, Rogue Protocol and Exit Strategy also received enough nominations to make it on the final ballot, but Wells declined nominations for both of them, allowing Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor and The Black God’s Drums by P. Djѐlí Clark to make the ballot. Shows how much people love Murderbot, myself included. There’ll be a Murderbot novel next year, Titled Network Effect. I’m sure I read somewhere that ART, the Arsehole Research Transport from Artificial Condition, will be reappearing, but now I can’t find a source for that. Either I suck at research today, or it was just wishful thinking on my part.
With the Novelettes I loved them all and would have been happy to see any of the nominees win. The winner ended up being If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try Try Again by Zen Cho, which beat Tina Conolly’s The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections by just nine votes. See, your vote matters people. In everything. Zen Cho has published a sweet little sequel to If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try Try Again on her blog, titled Head of a Snake, Tail of a Dragon.
Alix E. Harrow’s A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies won the Best Short Story Award. I’ve never read anything by Harrow before and this story doesn’t seem to have grabbed me the way it did other people. Still, her debut novel, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, sounds interesting. It’s about a young girl in the early 1900s who feels ignored and out of place, who finds a magic book that sets her off on a ‘fantastical journey of self-discovery’. Due out on the 10th September, I’ll probably get around to reading it some time this year.
There were plenty of other highlights from the ceremony. Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse won the Best Long Form Dramatic Performance Award, which surprised me considering all the hype around Avengers. But I like that Spiderman won. I think I voted it first: can’t remember anymore. Of course, I’d be surprised if Avengers: Endgame doesn’t win any nerd culture/SFF related awards it comes into contact with next year. I was going to type out more, but then realised I was setting myself up to retype the list I’ve linked to above, so let’s just move on.
Turns out that this was the last time the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer was awarded. From now on, it’ll be the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. I like this. I was torn, because whilst I admire all Campbell has done to take science fiction from poorly written pulp stories to what we have today, and his part in introducing new writers published, he was – as John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer Jeanette Ng put it – A racist and a fascist. And also responsible for ingraining a lot of the problems of the genre. An award that anyone can win should not invoke something that could denigrate potential winners. Besides, I love Astounding/Analog. Of course, this is a potential big rant on a man I have very mixed feelings about, and I wanted this to be a small post, so I’ll stop here.
Before I go, I should mention the Retro Hugo Awards. I read most of the novels and a few of the novellas, but again didn’t have the time to read everything there I wanted. Glad I got to read the two Fritz Lieber novels, Conjure Wife and Gather, Darkness!. Conjure Wife won the Best Novel Award, and whilst Gather, Darkness! was my favourite of the bunch, Conjure Wife was still a really fun, character driven story with a cool magic system and an interesting window into life in the 40s. I have got to read more Fritz Lieber. I think my next stop is The Big Time. Not only is it a Hugo Winner, but the premise involves a small handful of characters from rival time travelling factions (and from different time periods and planets) all interacting within a rather small bubble of isolated space time. Sounds really fun.
Alright, time to go back to watching Amazing Race. Until next time,