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Hugo time! Your packet is available! 2018

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2 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Oh Blade Runner should have won, full stop.

I'd have gone with The Shape of Water over it. I do believe I put it on my nominating ballot, though.

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Yeah, I would have wanted BR2049 to win, and would have agreed if Get Out had won, too.

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

Looking at winners from 2011 on, there's a pretty simple flow chart:

Is it a decent adaptation of an SF/F work by an established writer within the community? If yes, it wins. If no,

Is it a comic book film with a big box office? If yes, it wins.

Pre-2011 was a lot more interesting, and winners were less obvious in advance.

This is my take as well. The other movies were interesting (and some definitely deserved the win more), but they're never going to overcome a big box office spectacle unless it's actual garbage that everyone hated. 

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1 hour ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

This is my take as well. The other movies were interesting (and some definitely deserved the win more), but they're never going to overcome a big box office spectacle unless it's actual garbage that everyone hated. 

Yep. Personally I was very disappointed by the Wonder Woman win, which (in my mind) was not a ground-breaking, creative, layered, or artistic film that represented the best that SFF can do in film. 

I thought Get Out was fantastic, with subtle and symbolic layers tied to the long tradition of body-snatching SF lit/films. 

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8 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Did anyone accept for The Good Place?

I JUST finished Season 2 a few weeks ago and am still king of fanboying over it, my god I love that show)

Nope, the committee head accepted it. Really a shame that we have the awards presented in California and literally no one from Hollywood shows up for the award.

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34 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Well you had Felicia Day show up at least!

Maybe there were some nominees who sent people, but anyways, yeah. The winners didn't have anyone to accept. 

Looking over 2018 current and forthcoming releases, there's no really strong SF/F adaptation that fits the caveat of "in the community" (i.e. Ernest Cline isn't really embedded, and RPO did well in the box office but has largely vanished off the radar, and HBO's Farenheit 451 was mediocre, A Wrinkle in Time bombed and was poorly reviewed) so I'm going to call Black Panther as the winner next year.

Edited by Ran

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On 8/21/2018 at 1:57 PM, Ran said:

She's also an NYT Bestseller and has received very positive reviews among a broad swath of reviewers, in and outside the genre. None of these things necessarily prove she is not overrated, but if she is, it's not just the WSFS membership doing so. Alternatively, it might just be your tastes that are at issue.

 

Goodkind is also a NYT bestseller Ran. Thousands and thousands of other books are NYT bestsellers. It indicates nothing at all. Carry on.

On 8/21/2018 at 6:52 PM, Errant Bard said:

Jemisin is totally in the zeitgeist with the Broken Earth, it's really unsurprising that many people love the series.

I mean, it's very well written but beyond that, it's written by an African American woman, it's about radical climate change, about racism, about slavery, about women seizing power, and about family in times of oppression. How many boxes does it check for an US readership?

Having said that, I am curious about its popularity outside the US, and I am not convinced it will have a great staying power, it feels really tied to the current times.

Touche. This is precisely why it is being overrated. In terms of quality it is fairly midlevel I would say, but there is a lot of boxes being checked, lots of people finding their pet topics being covered, stuff they love to go on and on about. It helps hugely that it's written by an African American woman, if an award is utterly dominated by women despite their being no lack of output from male SF/Fantasy authors then we should not ignore that there are other elements and agenda's at play in the mindset of voters. 

As for her popularity in Europe, far less popular than in the US apparently. For instance in my country her work has been translated but there's not even any reviews for it. She is not a big name here by any means.

On 8/21/2018 at 9:46 PM, Xray the Enforcer said:

Sums up how I feel about the whingers in this thread. Your tears are delicious to me. Overall I thought the winners were pretty solid. 

Of course you did, 90% of the winners were women. 

What is odd is that you would find it deeply damaging and ever so horribly problematic if the reverse were the case. As it was, and then you complained bitterly about it.

Speaking for myself I have never cared one whit for the Hugo award and have said so in previous years.

But my oh my it is a delight to see revealed the false faces of those who have been claiming gender equality and "equal playing field for all" was  their object of desire. No, that is not the objective and many people see through that facade. And that is what has so many people on blogs and forums in debate. There is this feeling that gender equality in these author awards is not actually what those keep advocating for it really want, and that is where some take issue.

I would bet with confidence that if this award is likewise won in 80/90% of the categories by women in the next 5 years, even though there is no diminished output from male writers, you would still love it, cheer for it, and deride those who say "wait a minute, this sort of shit sucks". You and those like you love it. 

Edited by Calibandar

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I pointed out the NYT thing merely to show that there's a wide readership. I also pointed a wide range of positive reviews, in and outside of the genre, which I don't think Goodkind is likely to have ever had. But as I said, popularity and being well-reviewed does not mean something is actually good -- it's easy to see that things like group-think exist, that maybe something just pushes the right buttons at a specific time and then later on people wonder what they were thinking to have been taken in by it. There's pablum that was widely popular a century ago that did not stand the test of time, and there's great literature that was poorly reviewed by contemporaries that has since been re-examined.

But my main point, in any case, is that Jemisin being well-regarded and popular in and out of the genre means that it's not just the Hugo Awards. If she is over-rated, there's a _lot_ of people over-rating it, and it can't just be dismissed as "Well, that's the Hugo's for you." 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, in the end. A hundred years from now, it may well be, "Jemisin who?" But it may not be. 

And on a moderation note, I've permitted some incivility, and it seemed only fair to let it run for a bit, but that's enough now.  Further rudeness will be deleted and bans issued if necessary.

Edited by Ran

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It's pretty obvious that politics played a significant role this year. Look at the Campbell Award winner - she had literally one short story published during the eligibility period and no other fiction whatsoever and it wasn't even that good of a story. Yes, I know that the story (Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience) won a bunch of awards, it goes to show that the other awards are political to some degree too. All the talk on Twitter is how awesome that a It was only chosen for one of the 7-8 current best of the year anthologies. And putting subjective taste aside, selecting for best new writer someone with only one story published in total is pretty ridiculous given how many really good writers have debuted lately in SFF, unless that story is something as good as Flowers for Algernon or The Man Who Lost the Sea, which this one certainly isn't.

The current complete dominance of women in both the Nebula and the Hugos for several years in a row right after the whole Puppy debacle is extremely unlikely a coincidence. Sure, there are a lot of excellent female writers currently in the field, but this kind of domination in the fiction categories is just too much. look at the short fiction nominees this year. There are so many excellent male writers of short fiction currently yet of the 18 nominees in the short fiction category 14 were by women, 2 by trans men and 2 by a non-binary persons. Compare that to any Best of the Year anthology or the distribution at the top venues in the field.

The Broken Earth trilogy is really good, so I have no problem with it winning (plus this year the third volume of it prevented Scalzi's novel from winning which is a major plus in my book), but it certainly got a boost from both the fact that Jemisin was one of the most attacked author by the Puppies and her minority status.

Edited by David Selig

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@Calibandar This is what Jemisin was talking about in her acceptance speech: "...when they win it's meritocracy, when we win it's identy politics".

She was right to point at the hypocrisy: it's always politics, how the work inserts itself in its time, how it meets its public, and what the public is receptive to at that point in time.

Following that I flat out reject your implicit suggestion that there are works that "don't tick boxes". Any book checks boxes, why the heck is this bad? When I brought up that subject it was to point that her series was obviously in sync with the spirit of the time in the US. It is way better to check anti-slavery, feminist boxes than the contrary as far as I am concerned, if I have to take a stand on this, too.

Having said that, I was surprised to feel a significant fatigue of reading books that militantly tick US hot topics. Noticed when I went to pick River Solomons' Unkindness of Ghosts, read the summary, and thought "not again" (got the red threads  of fortune by JY Yang instead, it's nice, for the record). I mean, I don't doubt it's good, and I'm sympathetic with black slaves with a sexuality outside the norm, but it feels very US based, and about the present, and there's been a lot of that in my pile, and maybe I will enjoy something no less diverse but with different themes next time. River of Gods will maybe help.

ETA: regarding politics, look at Valente, whose absence of nominations to award has obviously nothing to do with what is written in her books. I see her latest being labelled... was it "inconsequential and frothy"? Yet Novik won a bloody Nebula with Uprooted.

Edited by Errant Bard

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I wonder if Roanhorse's novel was widely distributed as an ARC before publication, which would then have swayed voters. Otherwise, I've got nothing to explain how someone has best new writer on the strength of a single piece of short fiction other than a great amount of enthusiasm for the story or a great amount of enthusiasm for the person.

Speaking of Campbells, has anyone read Jeannette Ng's book, Under the Pendulum Sun? The premise sounds interesting.

Edited by Ran

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Call me cynical, but for me the most likely explanation for that enthusiasm is that Roanhorse is a Native American and her story is about Native American issues. 

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2 hours ago, Calibandar said:

In terms of quality it is fairly midlevel I would say, but there is a lot of boxes being checked, lots of people finding their pet topics being covered, stuff they love to go on and on about.

I disagree. If you were talking about her previous output I would have been with you, but the "Broken Earth" trilogy is, IMHO, legitimately great and what is even more rare, stuck the landing. That being said, I would have preferred if something else won the novel Hugo, just because I would like to see more worthy work by different authors being recognized. For instance, I feel that "Raven Stratagem" was the highpoint of that trilogy and it was Lee's chance for a win. 

Neither "Collapsing Empire", nor "Provenance" were strong finalists, even though I liked both, and I didn't read the other 2 yet, but who should have been up there instead, in your opinion? Well, I personally would have liked to see Bennett's "City of Miracles" and Ian MacDonald's "New Moon" come up for consideration, but what else? I found Weir's "Artemis" to be disappointing and justly left out...

Quote

 

I would bet with confidence that if this award is likewise won in 80/90% of the categories by women in the next 5 years, even though there is no diminished output from male writers, you would still love it, cheer for it, and deride those who say "wait a minute, this sort of shit sucks". You and those like you love it. 

Oh, please. It has been just the 2 years as opposed to how long the thigs were going the other way and you are already in a snit? I do think that this is a reaction to the "Puppies" and some of the other shit going on and an over-correction, so to speak, combined with genuinely strong output by certain female authors and the fact that Hugo voters always had a certain amount of inertia and tendency  to favor familiar names - which is how lots of minor works by Asimov, Heinlein, etc. used to win over the much better stuff published in a given year. I very much hope that things do level out eventually, provided that the quality continues to be consistent.

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3 hours ago, Calibandar said:

Touche. This is precisely why it is being overrated. In terms of quality it is fairly midlevel I would say, but there is a lot of boxes being checked, lots of people finding their pet topics being covered, stuff they love to go on and on about.

Goodkind checks a lot of boxes for some people. Eddings does too. Bakker, for sure. Any author 'checks boxes': some check the boxes marked 'Tolkienesque', some the boxes marked 'grimdark', some the boxes marked 'battles' and some the boxes marked 'historical allegory'. There are as many boxes as there are books. 

It's all about which boxes are being checked, whose pet topics are being covered, and what stuff you love to go on about. You have a particular set of tastes and topics which don't overlap with Jemisin's writing, and that is not a criticism of Jemisin. At best it's an observation.  

3 hours ago, Calibandar said:

It helps hugely that it's written by an African American woman, if an award is utterly dominated by women despite their being no lack of output from male SF/Fantasy authors then we should not ignore that there are other elements and agenda's at play in the mindset of voters. 

Many of which are perfectly legitimate. If writing by women of colour has historically been ignored and underappreciated, bringing such work to public attention is a legitimate goal.

3 hours ago, Calibandar said:

What is odd is that you would find it deeply damaging and ever so horribly problematic if the reverse were the case. As it was, and then you complained bitterly about it.

Well, yeah. Is this supposed to be some sort of zinger? 

Apples are not oranges. Minorities receiving overdue attention for a couple of years is not the same as the same old dominant voices continuing to crowd others out as they have done for decades. So why do you imagine people are required to react the same to both?

1 hour ago, David Selig said:

IThe current complete dominance of women in both the Nebula and the Hugos for several years in a row right after the whole Puppy debacle is extremely unlikely a coincidence. Sure, there are a lot of excellent female writers currently in the field, but this kind of domination in the fiction categories is just too much.

Too much for what?

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30 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

Neither "Collapsing Empire", nor "Provenance" were strong finalists, even though I liked both, and I didn't read the other 2 yet, but who should have been up there instead, in your opinion? Well, I personally would have liked to see Bennett's "City of Miracles" and Ian MacDonald's "New Moon" come up for consideration, but what else? I found Weir's "Artemis" to be disappointing and justly left out...

 

Who else? I'd replace all 6

Is it open to all 2017 Fantasy and SF releases?

I'd bring in Robin Hobb's Assassin's Fate, Bakker's The Unholy Consult for sure.

Tad Williams' The Witchwood Crown perhaps. City of Miracles perhaps.

Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikowsky was a great 2017 SF release.

In Calabria by Peter Beagle. Norse mythology by Gaiman. All better than any of the 6 nominees IMO.

The River Bank by Kij Johnson was also good.

 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, mormont said:

Too much for what? 

To be even remotely likely that there wasn't a significant political component in the voting in favor of minority writers.

If all 18 nominated works in the short fiction categories were by white cis men there would have been a massive outrage on Twitter, even if all the works were really well written.

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16 minutes ago, David Selig said:

To be even remotely likely that there wasn't a significant political component in the voting in favor of minority writers.

 If all 18 nominated works in the short fiction categories were by white cis men there would have been a massive outrage on Twitter, even if all the works were really well written.

See above. That there may have been a political component does not invalidate the worth of the ballot: nor is the scenario you suggest the same as, or even equivalent to, the scenario that actually happened. 

Implicit in your post is the idea of an 'ideal ballot' that actually represents the best stories that were published that year, irrespective of the gender or race or sexuality or other status of the writers who wrote them. But we both know that never existed, not even close. 

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