The Hugo Awards, writing and the shifting world

As soon as the Nebula Awards wrapped up, I reluctantly looked at the Hugo nominees, hoping there might be a few new glittering titles worth reading. Now that’s a pisspoor attitude to have toward one of the few popular award programs for my preferred genres of good writing, but there we are. After several years of small-minded snipes and scandals, I was not excited about the Hugos. I must admit, however, the 2017 nominees look pretty good on the surface. Will 2017 be the year that we stop trying to make science fiction great again and simply try to produce good writing and tolerate our unique talents and differences?

The full list of nominees is here. You will see  a lot of overlap with the Nebulas in several categories and a smattering of titles that bellow their continued alignment with a particular contrariness purporting to be authentic, bold and politically incorrect. They may be any or all those things to some readers. I just find them boring and/or childish, but this is not another critique of the Sad Puppies, or whatever they are calling themselves now. It’s a musing on how our polarized literary landscape mirrors the polarized political landscape. It seems that the reactionary protests among some authors about “real” science fiction, fantasy and horror and their disgust with writers and works that don’t follow the traditional scripts and genre features were just foreshadowing of what we see happening today in many different parts of society and political expressions.

I hope the writerly community is on an upward trajectory, but even if it is questions and considerations remain. Where, in the continuum of motivations, does this reactionary surge come from? Is it more fear- or hate-based? Can that even be quantified or does it simply depend on the individual? While we go on arguing nature versus nurture, my experience in the world of public health makes me wonder if perhaps fear/hate is caught like a virus. If it is the latter, how do we inoculate ourselves? The well-known public health preventive measure of social distancing seems exactly what we should not do, so maybe that metaphor doesn’t hold up.  Continue reading

Art award helps, but it can’t make the tarnished 2015 Hugo Awards shine

I tried to read the short story nominees for this year’s Hugo Awards. I really did. I went to the list blind–meaning that I did not know whether or not the nominees I read were on the Sad/Rabid Puppies slate or not. However, after the first two nominees I picked up seriously disappointed me (and I shall not tell you which ones), I gave up. Of course, I know that I won’t appreciate every worthy piece of writing that is out there, so if you did find one or all of this year’s short story nominees inspiring, then great! I hope your favorite story wins.

My second attempt to look into what the Hugo Awards 2015 might bring to speculative fiction/science fiction/fantasy/horror was to look at the nominees for the Best Professional Artist category. The nominees are

*Big shout out to Rachel Neumeier for her post, and the links to these artists’ work. Continue reading