Category Archives: Hugo Awards

“Philtered Power” by Malcolm Jameson

Unknown March 1940“Philtered Power”
Malcolm Jameson
First published in Unknown, March 1940
Available free in Amazing Future Tales From the Past, Vol. 5

As a follow up from yesterday’s post about the Retro-Hugos, here’s a look at one of the stories that’s eligible.  It’s a fun fantasy romp about the misuse of a potion, one that’s misused with the best of intentions.  There will be spoilers, just in case you care.

Afterwards I’ll have a few things to say about Malcom Jameson, whose career was tragically cut short by cancer. Continue reading

Some Thoughts on the Retro-Hugos

No, I’m not going to talk about the Hugo Awards and all the drama associated with them in recent years.  I want to address a particular category that was introduced in the 1990s and has been on the ballot sporadically since then.

A bit of background first.  The Hugo Awards were named Hugo Gernsback, who was the editor of the first pulp devoted solely to science fiction, Amazing Stories.  The Hugos were first presented at the 1953 Worldcon.  There were none awarded in 1954, but they have been awarded annually every year since 1955.

In the mid-1990s, the Retroactive Hugos, commonly referred to as the Retro-Hugos were added to the list of categories which may be considered for an award.  They can be given 50, 75, or 100 years after a Worldcon in which no Hugos were awarded. These years are 1939-1941, 1946-1952, and 1954.  It is up the Worldcon of any given year as to whether a Retro-Hugo will be awarded.  They have been given in 1996 (1946), 2001 (1951), 2004 (1954), and 2014 (1939).  They will be given this year for 1941, meaning that stories published in 1940 are eligible.

I see both positive and negative aspects of this.   Continue reading

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See what I did with the title of this post?  No, it’s not a typo.  Nor have I been drinking.  It’s called disemvoweling.  Clever, isn’t it?

No.  No, it’s not clever at all.  In fact, it’s pretty juvenile.  But it’s a favorite tactic of some people when they don’t agree with comments on their blog posts.  I guess it’s supposed to make the person doing the disemvoweling look smart or something.  Mostly it makes them look they’re afraid to engage in a conversation.

Many of the same people who engage in this practice are some of the same ones who’ve been having a hissy fit for the last six months over the Hugo Awards.  Which should tell you all you need to know about the maturity level of disemvoweling.

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, just fell off a turnip truck, or have a life, here’s a quick recap.  This is of course my interpretation.  It’s going to be long, so consider yourself warned. Continue reading

An Open Letter to Toni Weisskopf

Hi, Toni.

You don’t know me.  We’ve only met a few times at conventions, and not in the last few years.  I’ve always enjoyed a convention where you were in attendance.  And not just because of the free books you handed out.  You were never anything less than open, friendly, encouraging, and generous with your time.

I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy since the 1970s and Baen Books since the company was founded. Continue reading

It’s Time to Vote on the Awards Shortlist

The awards I’m talking about, of course, are the David Gemmell Awards.  As I’m sure you know, there are three.  The Legend Award for the best novel of the year.  The Morningstar Award for best fantasy debut novel.  And the Ravenheart Award for best fantasy book cover.

abercrombie-half-a-king-203x300I’ll post the short lists below after a few comments.  I’m going to read as many of these as I can, especially among the Morningstar candidates (with one exception, which I’m not going to touch).

The Legend Award is another matter.  The reason is that most of the Legend nominees are parts of series, and they’re not the first installment.  The exception is Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King, which I started reading last night.  I intend to read some of the others, but I may not make it by the deadline as I haven’t read the books that precede them.

And regarding the other award that’s generating some attention, I’ll try to read as many of the nominees for that one as possible.  I’ll read all of the short fiction nominees (that I haven’t already read) and will blog about some of them.  The same is true for Best Related Work.  Again, with one exception, I’ll try to get to as many of the novel nominees as I can, although as soon as my attention starts to drift, I’ll move on.

Here are the Gemmell nominees.  Voting closes on July 17. Continue reading

Gemmell vs. Gernsback, Round II

Once again, it’s that time of the year.  Award season.

And there’s one award that stands out above all the others.

It’s voted on by the fans.  And not just fans in the US, either.  Fans from all over the world can vote on it, making it an international award.

All fans are welcome.

The award comes with a gorgeous trophy.

It seeks to recognize the best writing and artistry in the field. Continue reading

Reading Other People’s Mail

GardnerLettersCovMedLetters From Gardner
Lou Antonelli
The Merry Blacksmith Press
Trade Paper, 238 p., $14.95

Full disclosure time. I’ve known Lou Antonelli for nearly a decade. I met him because his wife was one of my students, although we had both attended a nearby convention a few months before but hadn’t met. I’m sure we would have eventually.

Lou was kind enough to give me a copy of his latest collection for review. (Thanks, Lou.) So far he’s only written short stories, but he claims he’s writing a novel. He tells lies for a living, so I’ll believe it when I see it. (Don’t tell him I said that.)

Anyway, this is an interesting collection. Lou shows us how his writing career got started. Each of the stories in this volume was submitted to Gardner Dozois during his last couple of years as editor of Asimov’s. In fact, the final story in the book is the last one Gardner bought. Immediately after buying it, Gardner left for vacation. When he came back, he announced his retirement. (Draw your own conclusions.) Continue reading

Last Day to Join Sasquan if You Want to Nominate for the Hugos

Today (January 31) is the deadline to get a membership (attending or supporting) to Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention if you wish to nominate works for the Hugo Award.  You don’t have to nominate today, but your membership must be purchased by today in order to do so.  Supporting memberships are $40 US.  Information about costs for citizens of other countries is on the website.

Keep in mind this is nominating for the Hugos, which will establish the final ballot.  The membership deadline for voting on the final ballot is later in the year.

Why I Will Not Vote “No Award” for the Hugos

There’s been a great deal of noise about this year’s Hugo nominees.  Larry Correia suggested a slate of candidates, writers who were conservative, and all of them made the ballot.  The howls of outrage reached nigh unto Heaven.  The howls coming, of course, from those who are anything but conservative.

Both sides have been talking about voting for their preferred candidates and then “No Award” ahead of the other side’s nominees.

SIX_TWC_TheButcherofKhardov_CoverIn order to vote, one must buy a membership to the World Science Fiction Convention, either attending or supporting.  This year’s convention is in London, with the cost of a supporting membership being about $42, give or take a little depending on the exchange rate.

For the last several year’s I’ve bought a supporting membership.  Well, last year I didn’t because Worldcon was (barely) within driving distance, so I actually attended.  (Con report here and here.)  In the last few years, part of what you get for your membership is copies of the written nominees, plus samples of the editorial nominees’ work, and at least some of the graphic nominees.  This year Orbit refused to release the full text of three of the novels, providing only excerpts.

Looking at the slate of this year’s nominees, here’s what I see.  Continue reading