Saturday, July 25, 2020

Pandemic Journal, Part 11

My Pandemic Journal continues with Part 11, which covers most of July 2020 until the 25th. You can see Part 10 here. And as has become tradition, there are lots of random memes. I have an even larger than usual store of memes saved for this post. I may have gotten a little carried away. Enjoy!

Monday, July 20, 2020

2020 Hugo Ballot, Part Two: Related Work, Dramatic Presentations, and Fan Writer

As I mentioned in Part One (which covered novels, novellas, novelettes, and short stories), with the pandemic and everything, I didn't manage to vote in as many categories for this year's Hugo Awards as usual. But that's okay. I think I did pretty well, all things considered. 

Also in my defense, that's a loooooot of categories. I'm sure there are people who carefully consider every nominee in every category, but it's hard for me to imagine. I feel like I had an extra part-time job the last month (a fun part-time job for sure, but it does take time). Maybe for some Hugo voters it's a full-time job? Or maybe some voters sensibly start earlier than June? Not procrastinating? Shudder the thought!

Without further ado, here's how I voted for Best Related Work, Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form), Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), and Best Fan Writer.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

2020 Hugo Ballot, Part One: Novel, Novella, Novelette, and Short Story

I started voting for the Hugos in 2016 for two main reasons. I wanted to take more part in science fiction fandom, and I found the Sad and Rabid Puppies to be really obnoxious. Luckily the Puppies have since taken their pack elsewhere, but I'm still excited about taking part in fandom and being part of science fiction history and all that.

Militarism and Metaphysics: The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

I wasn't sure what I'd think of this book when I saw that it was a Hugo nominee this year. I'm not a huge fan of military science fiction (I don't even like Heinlein's Starship Troopers), but having read Hurley's bizarre/cool novel The Stars Are Legion, I was interested to see what she'd come up with.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Portals and Puppies: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Alix E. Harrow's The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a beautifully written portal fantasy with some interesting ideas, but it's light on world building for my tastes (don't expect to learn much about the worlds to which those portals lead). I picked this up because it's a Hugo nominee for Best Novel. So far Arkady Martine's A Memory Called Empire is by a pretty wide margin my #1 pick, but this one might be a distant second.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Necromancers in Space: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Most people seem to either love or hate Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth, but I can't quite bring myself to do either. I guess I've been out of the loop, because it's apparently getting a lot of buzz but I hadn't heard of it before the Hugo nominees were announced

The basic premise sounded cool. Necromancers! Someone labeled it "science fantasy"! I'm almost always a fan of genre-blending/obliterating. So that's what I was excited about going in.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Hugo Reading 2020: Short Stories

Luckily the deadline for Hugo voting has been extended to July 22. I'm still working on the novels, but I have read the short stories! You can see what I thought about the novellas here and the novelettes here.

Here are this year's nominees for Best Short Story (defined as a story under 7,500 words).

Monday, July 13, 2020

Dark Tower Re-Read, Book 3: The Waste Lands

Reading The Waste Lands in Panama City Beach, FL

I'm continuing my re-read of Stephen King's Dark Tower series, which has improbably become one of my favorites in recent years. I started with The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three. Technically it was my third time reading those, since I first read them back in the early 90's and somehow never kept up with the series. For whatever reason they didn't grab me the first time, but the second time I read them in 2017-18 I was hooked to become, in the common terms of palaver, a Tower junkie. Why? Maybe I wasn't ready as a teenager. Maybe it takes a while for King's genius to come through. Maybe ka works slowly yet persistently.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Hugo Reading 2020: Novelettes

Let's start with your first question: What is a novelette? Is that like Smurfette?

The short answer: It's a long-ish short story. Not much like Smurfette, except maybe in being short but not as short as some others. According to The Hugo Awards for purposes of their Best Novelette category, a novelette is a story between 7,500 and 17,500 words. You can see what I thought about the Novella category here (novellas are between 17,500 and 40,000 words).

Friday, July 3, 2020

Independence Day for Conflicted Americans

Janelle Monáe and friends performing "Americans"

Here's something I shared on social media:


Spending part of July 3 bringing lunches to poor people in the projects and homeless people in tent cities in the wealthiest country on Earth in the middle of a grossly mismanaged response to a pandemic makes me really excited about Independence Day this year.


(Just in case you missed it, yes, that is sarcasm.) Don’t get me wrong, I’m really, really glad to help, and I'm thankful for my friend who got me involved in the team. If people are suffering, one should help them. But it’s hard to get excited about a country that has the wealth to totally eliminate poverty, but has continued to choose not to do so year after year while the problems are in some cases actually getting worse. MLK made this point in the 1960’s. Others made it before him. There is no excuse.