Pemmi-Con – Day 2

Yesterday I was scheduled to give my talk on the Pre-History of Robotics. As per yesterday’s report, it had to be moved because I’d been put in a room with no screen or projector. I ended up in York 2 in the 5:30pm program slot.

This was progress in that I knew that room did have the necessary kit, but that’s only half the problem. Should I be sending my slides to someone, or could I use my own laptop? And what about the online part of the convention? I figured I should check the room out early. It turned out that the tech kit in the room was an Apple laptop that didn’t have PowerPoint, so I’d have to use my own machine. To do that I needed to be able to log in to Zoom as a panelist. I should have an email with a link, right? Er, no.

Apparently the links for the day were not send out until 1:00pm. Once I had the email, it all went fairly smoothly at my end. Sadly the same was not true for the online participants who had problems with the sound throughout. I don’t blame the tech guy in the room for this. Like many of the con staff, he was a very late recruit. And having to do set-up on a different machine for each program item is far from ideal, especially with only 15 minutes between panels. The Eastercon system of allowing 30 minutes between panels because the tech for a hybrid con needs that much time is sounding more and more sensible.

Anyway, I had a reasonable-sized audience and they seemed to enjoy the talk. My apologies again to the online audience.

The rest of my day was taken up with being photographed. There’s a Bay Area fan photographer called Richard Man who has a project to take high quality photos of prominent people in the field using a lovely old camera. It is one of those things where you have to slide a plate in for each shot, which puts a tremendous amount of pressure on getting each take right. My official photo was taken by Lou Abercrombie using a digital camera and she must have taken at least 300 shots. Richard told me he can only afford two per subject.

As it turned out, I ended up being done twice. Richard, having not been involved with Bay Area fandom when I lived there, hadn’t been entirely sure who I was. After the initial shot he did a bit more research as asked me if I’d come back for a photo using a Hugo trophy. There are three on display in the Exhibits area, one of which is Kevin’s which he got for being co-chair of ConJosé so there was no problem borrowing one.

It will be a while before I see the results as the plates need to be developed, but you can see some of Richard’s work here, and there is more available in this year’s Hugo packet as he is a finalist for Best Fan Artist. Y’all should vote for him ‘cos he’s lovely.

ESFS Awards

I missed the award ceremony yesterday as I was off communing with dead Vikings. The full list of ESFS Award winners can be found here. Special congratulations to my winner friends Sara Bergmark Elfgren (Best Written Work for Grim) and John-Henri Holmberg (European Grand Master).

Talking of John-Henri, I told him about the Sky documentary about Stig Larsson. He knew Stig well (and has written about Stig’s contribition to science fiction fandom). He’s not seen the documentary himself, but he said it sounds like mostly nonsense.

Eastercon Saturday

Well that was a good day. I sold lots of books, and caught up with a bunch of old friends, many of whom I’d not seen since before the pandemic. Last year’s Eastercon felt a bit small and strained. This year feels like a proper convention again. Progress, I hope.

Also there were a bunch of good award winners, from some very strong fields. Most importantly, Aliette won the short fiction, so Asmodeus will not feel that he has to murder us.

Lammy Finalists

I’m trying to post here a bit more regularly. The announcement of this year’s Lammy finalists is a good excuse.

I’m absolutely delighted to see Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo on the list for LGBTQ+ Speculative Fiction. Spear isn’t there, but maybe it wasn’t submitted, or maybe Nicola thinks she has won enough Lammys.

I’m also delighted to see Wrath Goddess Sing, Maya Deane in the list for Transgender Fiction.

You may have seen both of those reported by Locus and other genre outlets, but what you may not have seen is that Before We Were Trans: A New History of Gender, by my friend Kit Heyam, is a finalist in Transgender Nonfiction. I cite this book in many of the trans history talks I give now, because it provides an excellent framework for demolishing the nonsense “we can’t call them trans because trans people hadn’t been invented” excuse.

A full list of finalists is available here.

The Nebula Finalists

Award season is in full swing now. The announcement of the BSFA Award winners is only a few weeks away. Hugo and World Fantasy nominating is open. And last night SFWA announced the finalists for this year’s Nebula Awards. There are some fabulous books on the list, and a number I’m now looking forward to reading. I’m particularly pleased for my Trini pal, Rhonda Garcia, who has had a pretty rough time of life recently and very much deserves a bit of happiness. You can find the full lists here.

But that’s not why I am writing this post. In the most recent issue of Salon Futura I commented on Hugo eligibility and noted that the Locus Recommended Reading List was sadly literal when it came to category boundaries. I don’t blame Locus for that, because it has always been their policy. The Hugos allow more flexibility, and I’d hoped that the Nebulas would as well. However, they have Spear by Nicola Griffith listed in the Novel category.

From one point of view I’m delighted that Spear got onto the ballot despite having to compete with novels. But I still think it has been disadvantaged. Let me explain why.

The category boundaries do not, no matter what award-haters say, exist solely to increase the number of prizes given out. They exist to try to avoid voters having to compare appples with oranges. I’m not convinced about the distinction between short stories and novelettes, but short stories, novellas and novels are quite different things.

A good way to think about it is to compare it with car classes in motor racing. If you were to send Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton out in a Grand Prix in a Formula 2 car, they could come last. That’s because a Formula 2 car doesn’t have the same power as a Formula 1 car. It simply cannot drive as fast. In the same way, in fiction, if you are limited in the number of words you have, then you are limited in the complexity of the story you can tell.

From a reader’s point of view, the difference between a novella and a novel is that the former generally has a single point of view and single narrative strand. Novels are much more complex. To me, Spear reads very much like a novella, though Nicola has very cleverly relied on the fact that her readers will all be familiar with the Arthurian cannon to make the story seem much bigger than it is.

As far as awards are concerned, it is probably unreasonable to expect voters to distinguish between categories based on such distinctions. A word count limit is much simpler to understand. But word counts can and do result in works potentially being put into a catgeory that doesn’t suit them. Which is why the Hugos allow some flexibility. By Hugo rules, Spear could be categorised as a novella.

Sadly, with Spear now having been categorised as a novel by both Locus and SFWA, I suspect that Hugo voters will mostly consider it as such. And I suspect it will fail to make the final ballot because voters will see it as much less sophisticated than the many other fine works in that category. If they vote based on the quality of the writing (which I suspect SFWA members generally do) then there’s no question it should be a finalist, but Hugo voters tend to have a wider set of criteria on which they base their choices.

I’ve already got 12 books I’m trying to whittle down to five for my Novel nominations. I’m grumpy about having to add Spear to that list. But add it I will, because it is one of the best books of last year.

Ah well, at least next year we’ll have an honest-to-goodness Nicola Griffith novel to vote for. Menewood is coming, and you can now feast your eyes on the cover.

Thank You, BSFA

The BSFA Awards were given out at Eastercon this evening. The winners are as follows:

  • Best Novel: Shards of Earth, by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tor
  • Best Shorter Fiction: Fireheart Tiger, by Aliette de Bodard,
  • Best Book for Younger Readers: Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao, Rock the Boat
  • Best Non-Fiction: Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Francesca T. Barbini, Luna Press Publishing
  • Best Artwork: Glasgow Green Woman, by Iain Clark, Glasgow2024

As you may recall, The Green Man’s Challenge by Juliet McKenna was a finalist in Best Novel. We are not disappointed. It was an incredibly strong field and we both loved Adrian’s book. Seeing the cover of one of my books up there on the screen list of best novels was a tremendous buzz.

You may not be aware that I had an essay in the Luna Press book that won the Non-Fiction catergory. I was one of only two contribuitors present at the ceremony (the other was Allen Stroud) so Francesca kindly made a fuss of us in her speech. All of the other contributors are awesome too, and we are sad that you could not be there. My essay was the one on queer animals, which grew out of my keynote address at the University Of Graz worldbuilding conference back in 2019. So in addition to thanking Francesca, my fellow contributors, and the voters, I should also thank the folks in Graz who first inspired me to do this work.

Here is my tip for the day. If you are going to win an award, do so in the company of someone who gets as excited about it as Francesa. She’s wonderful, and thoroughly deserves all of the success that her litle company is getting.

Trans at the Hugos

The Finalists for the 2022 Hugo Awards were announced today. Given the amount of shit being heaped upon the trans communities in the UK and USA right now, I figured a post about how well we have done (again) is appropriate.

Best Novel – Ryka Aoki’s wonderful Light from Uncommon Stars is a finalist, which makes me very happy indeed. Shelley Parker-Chan lists she/they pronouns on their website. I note also that Arkady Martine and Becky Chambers are married to women.

Best Short Story – José Pablo Iriarte is non-binary and Cuban. I know nothing about Blue Neustifter, but they have a story in an anthology of trans SF&F so… [confirmed as per comment below]

Best Graphic StoryOnce & Future, vol. 3 is coloured by Tamra Bonvillain.

Best Related Work – Charlie Jane adding to her collection.

Best Semiprozine – There are probably several trans folks on the Strange Horizons team, because they are good like that.

Best Fancast – Charlie Jane & Annalee both.

Best Fan Writer – Alex Brown is non-binary. Bitter Karella’s Twitter bio says, “Genderfluid transvestite goblin”.

Lodestar – Charlie Jane again.

Astounding – Shelley Parker-Chan again.

And there are probably a few I have missed because I don’t know everyone in fandom these days. It is a far cry from 2003 when there was just me.

Oh, and Jesi Lipp, who is one of the Hugo Administrators this year, is non-binary.

It’s Nominatin’ Time

The deadline for noinating ballots for the 2022 Hugo Awards is the end of tomorrow (US East West Coast time, and be aware that they’ve just put their clocks forward an hour). This is therefore the point where people will be searching around for something to fill a few slots on their ballot. Here are some suggestions.

I’m eligible in Fan Writer and Salon Futura is eligible in Fanzine. You knew that, right?

More importantly, Ben Baldwin is eligible in Professional Artist, and the Green Man series by Juliet E McKenna is eligible in Series. Both of these, IMHO, are very worthy nominees. Of the four Green Man books, one has been a finalist for the Rob Holdstock Award for Best Fantasy Novel from the British Fantasy Society, and two have been finalists for the Best Novel award from the British Science Fiction Association. That’s a pretty impressive record. They all have Ben Baldwin covers.

And finally, Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction, is eligible in Related Work. It is already a BSFA finalist, and I’d love to see it on the Hugo ballot too. (I won’t get any recognition, I’m just a contributor, but Francesca is doing amazing work and I’d love to see her rewarded for it again.)

The BSFA Awards

The finalists for this year’s BSFA Awards have been announced, and I am pleased to see that The Green Man’s Challenge is on the list for Best Novel. That’s the second time one of the Green Man books has had this honour. The Green Man’s Foe was also a finalist. And of course The Green Man’s Heir was a finalist for the Rob Holdstock Award from the British Fantasy Society. That’s award nominations for three out of the four books in the series, which is pretty spectacular. Go Juliet!

I’m also pleased to see Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction on the short list for Non-Fiction. That’s the latest Academia Lunare book, and it contains my essay on worldbuilding with sex and gender, a.k.a. the queer animals essay.

It seems unlikley that either book will win, given the nature of the competition, but it always an honour to be on these short lists and it gives one an excuse to wear a pretty frock to an award ceremony, which I haven’t done in a while.

The full lists, which also include a fiction for younger readers category, and an artwork category, can be found here.

And talking of The Green Man’s Heir, Amazon UK has decided to put the Kindle edition on sale for the whole of March. That will hopefully net Juliet a nice chunk of cash. The book has already sold over 17,000 copies, which is absurdly successful for a small company like Wziard’s Tower. I have dreams of getting past 20,000. To help with that I will be reducing the ebook prices to match (as best I can) on other platforms and other Amazon sites. It takes a while for all of this to go live, and I can’t queue it up in advance because you never quite know whether Amazon will do what they say they will when it comes to special offers. But we have the whole month so hopefully tomorrow all will be in place. If you know of anyone who doesn’t yet have a copy of the book, do let them know.

New Locus – Contains Me

A new issue of Locus was published yesterday, and it is probably the one that people most look forward to each year because it is the one that contains the Recommended Reading List. As usual, I had a part in choosing the books in some of the categories. There are a lot of other people involved, and nothing gets on the list just because I say so. Equally there are books I recommended that didn’t make it. No one is going to think the final list is perfect, but it contains a lot of very good books and stories. You can find the full list here.

This issue also contains an article by me. This coincidence is an artefact of the December Worldcon. I generally write them something about the WSFS Business Meeting, so if you have the magazine you can read that too. Liza and the team have my deepest sympathy for having to do a Worldcon report and the Recommended Reading List in the same issue.

Hugo Nominating Period Opens

We are barely a month since the last lot of Hugo Awards were handed out, and it is nominating time again already. Hopefully we are back to the traditional calendar for Worldcon now, and that sort of thing won’t happen again for a while.

Anyway, you can now nominate. If you are not yet a WSFS member for 2022, you have until the end of January to buy at least a Supporting Membership to Chicon 8.

And if you are a WSFS member, voting details can be found here.

As with last year, Salon Futura is eligible in the Fanzine category, and I’m eligible in Fan Writer. Rather more importantly, Salon Futura contains lots of reviews of wonderful stuff that you might want to consider when it comes to filling in your nominating ballot. The nominating stage of the process will end on March 15th, and Finalists are likely to be announced sometime in April.

If y’all don’t get Ryka Aoki on the ballot this year I shall be deeply disappointed in you.

Hugos Happened

Last night, while I was asleep. There ceremony was delayed by a couple of hours, apparently due to an electrical fire in the hall where it was due to take place.

Anyway, the full results, including all of the usual statistics, are available here. Let’s take a quick tour through the numbers.

In Novel, Network Effect by led throughout, proving that Nora Jemisin is not invincible. I see the Mexican Gothic was only 8 nominations short of reaching the final ballot.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo eventually won after a titanic battle with Come Tumbling Down. I do love Seanan, but Empress was magnificent and I’m delighted to see it win. There were a whole bunch of great books in the also rans too. It was a very tough year.

In Novellette Isabel Fall’s “Helicopter Story” got the most first preferences but finished 5th, which is the sort of thing I had expected. I hope that Fall is hearted by seeing how many people loved her story. I liked Sarah Pinsker’s winning story, so I’m not unduly upset.

As usual, I found the short stories fairly forgettable.

Series was dominated by Murderbot.

I did not win Related Work. In fact CoNZealand Fringe came last. I am not surprised, though I am sad for my fellow finalists. We did manage to finish ahead of No Award, which I hope will upset Mike Glyer. I’m and surprised and delighted to see that we almost topped the nominations, losing out narrowly to FIYAHCON after the EPH thing, which is definitely worth celebrating. I’m also delighted that Beowulf won because it is an amazing piece of work.

I’m afraid I know almost nothing about graphic novels this year.

Dramatic Presentation: Long was won fairly easily by The Old Guard, so yay for Amazons. I see that Season 2 of The Mandalorian had enough nominations to make the ballot but, “As two episodes of The Mandalorian also qualified for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, the administrators removed the full Season 2 from the ballot for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.” Because you can’t be a finalist twice for the same piece of work.

Not that this helped the helmeted one, because The Good Place won DP: Short very easily. Those of you who failed to vote for She-Ra are terrible people and will doubtless suffer horribly in lives to come.

Ellen Datlow won Editor: Short (again), but it was a tough tussle with Lafferty & Divya. Lee Harris was unlucky not to make the final ballot.

Editor: Long was an exciting three-way fight between Navah Wolfe, Sheila E Gilbert and Diana M Pho, which Pho eventually won despite having finished 3rd in the first round. This is the voting system showing its power. Poor Lee Harris was the first runner-up in the nominations again. Vote for him next year, folks.

It has definitely been Rovina Cai’s year. She won the World Fantasy Award for Artist last month, and added the Hugo yesterday. I must say that I love the work she has done for Nicola Griffith’s Spear (out next April), but I really wanted Maurizio Manzieri to win. The work he has done for Aliette de Bodard is amazing.

Uncanny has finally been unseated in Semiprozine after four consecutive wins. Well done FIYAH, and hopefully this makes up for FIYAHCON not winning Related Work.

Fanzine was a close run thing between Journey Planet and nerds of a feather, which the latter finally won. I’m all in favour of seeing new names on the list of winners (and very happy for my pal Adri). I see that Salon Futura featured on the long list. 20 of you lovely people nominated me, though I seem to have lost a lot of votes in the EPH system, so next year please get your enemies to vote for me as well as your friends. Not that I actually need any more Hugos, but the SF Award Database people have decided that this year doesn’t count as a real finalist credit, so now I’m offically annoyed enough to want another one in my own name.

Gary and Jonathan have finally won Fancast for Coode Street. I’m delighted for them both, particularly Jonathan as he’s been a finalist 17 times before without a win.

Fan Writer was also very tight, with Elsa Sjunneson and Cora Buhlert being neck and neck through several rounds. I’m sure that Cora will win one day. She easily topped the nominations.

Fan Artist saw another first time winner in Sara Felix, who led throughout. The Long List notes that Tithi Luadthong was removed from the final ballot as he, “informed the Administrators that he had produced no eligible art in 2020.” Hopefully he’ll get another chance because honesty like that should be rewarded.

I know nothing about video games, but Hades seems to be a very popular winner having crushed the oppostion.

Ursula Vernon dominated the Lodestar, which is unsurprsing as she’s already a fan favourite.

And finally the Astounding was a close race between Micaiah Johnson and Eily Tesh, which Tesh finally won.

Luna Press News

The latest volume in the Luna Press Academia Lunare series is now available. This one is called Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction. As always, it is filled with fascinating essays on the titular theme, and an essay by me. This time I have written something about worldbuilding with sex and gender. Yes, it is a paper version of the funny animals talk. There are a few new creatures in the mix this time, and of course you’ll have the text to refer to rather than having to listen to me. I’ll talk a bit about the other essays in the next Salon Futura.

But that’s not all, because the short lists for this year’s British Fantasy Awards have been announced, and last year’s Academia Lunare book is honoured in the non-fiction category. That’s Ties that Bind: Love in Fantasy and Science Fiction, which features my essay, “Robot Love is Queer”.

The BFS Awards contain lots of other great works and people as well, many of them in that non-fiction category. I’d like to make particular mention of two of our Bristol people: Stark Holborn and Pete Sutton. Well done folks, great to see you getting honoured.

Translation Awards Shortists Announced

The lovely people at the Futre Affairs Adminstration have announced the shortlists for the SFF Rosetta Awards. You can find them here.

I’m on the jury for the long-form award. We are busy discussing the candidates.

There will also be an award to an individual for services to SF&F translation, but that’s not the sort of thing you announce shortlists for.

Into The Sun

Another year, another outbreak of fannish outrage over the Hugo Finalists. This one affects me personally, because it is about an attempt to have one of the finalists thrown off the ballot. Hence a blog post.

Many years ago, when I first started getting to be a Finalist, fans were outraged. I was the Wrong Sort of Fan. Emerald City was the Wrong Sort of Fanzine. It published book reviews! It was published electronically rather than on paper! The Horror!!!

So certain persons got their knickers in a twist and demanded that the Hugo Administrators of the day exclude me from the ballot. The Hugo Administrators did nothing of the sort. The voters had put me on the final ballot, so it was my right to be there.

Of course we didn’t have social media in those days, so the experience wasn’t so intense for me as it is these days. No one was likely to doxx or SWAT me. But when I won my first Hugo, fans on the Worldcon committee posted a rant denouncing me to the convention website. Kudos to Con Chair, Deb Geisler, for ordering it to be taken down.

Anyway, the point is that once a work gets onto the final ballot, it stays there, regardless of how much some fans might hate it. If you don’t like a work, you vote it below No Award. That’s what we did with the Puppies. It is a tried and tested, and well-known procedure.

It is worth noting that some of the Puppy works that were allowed on the Final Ballot were a good deal more offensive than the Natalie Luhrs piece.

It is also worth noting that many of the people complaining about Luhrs being on the ballot have been around fandom a long time and are well aware of how the Hugos work. They know that the Hugo Administrators can’t remove her without discrediting the entire process.

One response to that is to argue that, while the work cannot be removed by DC3, Luhrs herself should withdraw it. That brings us to a short history lesson.

Back in 1986 Worldcon awarded Best Professional Editor to the late Judy-Lynn Del Rey. She was a fascinating person. Check her out.

At the Hugo ceremony, Judy-Lynn’s husband, Lester, declined to accept the award on the grounds that Judy would not have wanted to win just because she’d died. Worldcon fandom does have a very bad habit of only recognising people’s achievements posthumously. But the award stood.

Since then, Worldcons have always asked Finalists to confirm their willingness to be on the ballot before announcing it. Even so, you can withdraw if you want. A couple of people did, having realised that they had been made use of by the Puppies.

However, there is a big difference between withdrawing in protest because you feel that the contest has been unfairly influenced, and withdrawing because you have been bullied into it by a social media campaign. I’m sure that back in my day there were people who hope that if they were nasty enough to me then I would go away. That wasn’t acceptable then, and it is not acceptable now.

Of course, the whole thing is being framed as an issue under the Code of Conduct. This is depressingly familiar. We are all now very used to the tone-policing line of argument which holds that polite racism is perfectly acceptable, but merely calling someone a racist is an unforgivable offence.

Exactly the same sort of thing happens in trans rights discourse. It is apparently OK for people to tell the most outrageous porkies about trans people, and to call for us to be eliminated, but calling someone transphobic is the worst possible insult ever #ClutchPearls #AttackOfTheVapours

However, Codes of Conduct are tricky things. A legal case about an alleged CoC violation was brought against the 2018 Worldcon. That case is still ongoing. It is not clear how it will be decided, but either way it is likely to cost that Worldcon an eye-watering sum of money.

That is money that could, and should, have been passed on to successor Worldcons, and been used to support other fannish projects.

Which brings us back to the Natalie Luhrs case. The people attacking her should know that, by WSFS rules, she can’t be removed from that ballot. Nevertheless, by invoking the CoC, they seem to be using the potential threat of a massively damaging lawsuit to frighten DC3 into doing what they want.

This would put DC3 in a very difficult position. If they kick Luhrs off the ballot in contravention of WSFS rules then they destroy public confidence in the Hugos. If they don’t then they risk a protracted and very expensive lawsuit.

Which brings me back to my article in the latest Salon Futura, where I suggest that running a Worldcon is now too complicated to be left to a one-off group of enthusiastic volunteers.

Either way, this affair risks doing a huge amount of damage to Worldcon, the Hugos and fandom in general. And given the people involved I have to assume that some of them know exactly what they are doing.

Cheryl’s Laws of Fandom

Every year, without fail, the announcement of the Hugo finalists is followed by outrage from various corners of fandom who think that there is something fundamentally wrong with the Awards, and the process, and the “Hugo Committee” who allegedly make all of the decisions. One of the most common complaints is that the finalists are once again The Usual Suspects.

Quite often they are, of course. People like NK Jemisin, Martha Wells, John Scalzi and Mary Robinette Kowal are very popular, and justifiably so. In other cases the charge is less justified. I saw Cora Buhlert defending herself on Twitter against a charge of being one of The Usual Suspects by pointing out that this is only her second nomination. Fan Writer has been won by a different person for each of the last 13 years, and none of this year’s finalists have ever won. Before that it was won by Dave Langford for 18 years on the trot (1989-2007). That’s quite a change.

Of course there are legitimate concerns. While other parts of the ballot have begun to show pleasing diversty, the fan categories have remained largely white, which does suggest that the voters are not casting their nets very widely. It is something that we should look to change.

But Cora also linked to a thread by Seanan McGuire in which Seanan noted that she got her first nomination in 2010, and in 2011 was immediately attacked as one of The Usual Suspects. At which point is occured to me that this was a form of Cheryl’s Second Law of Fandom in action.

Cheryl’s what? Well, back in 2008 I took a stab at explaining fannish outrage by channelling Isaac Asimov. My Three Laws of Fandom weren’t exactly intended to be taken seriously, but they do represent the odd ways in which fannish discourse tends to happen. Indeed, the advent of social media has made them all the more obvious. So I thought it was about time I re-posted them for the youngsters to see. Here they are:

  1. Never accept accident or incompetence as an explanation when a bizarre and complex conspiracy can also be advanced to explain the known facts.
  2. One data point indicates a dangerous trend that must be resisted; two data points indicate a sacred and holy tradition that must be preserved.
  3. If a tree falls in Central Park, New York, is seen to fall by 100 New Yorkers, is captured on film by CNN and the video of the fall is broadcast around the world, but I wasn’t there to see it, then it didn’t fall.

The thing with Hugo nominations is a sort of Reverse Second Law, in that you are new with one nomination, but one of The Usual Suspects with two.

Hugo Follow-Up

No, not an analysis of the ballot. Patience, dear reader. Just a few things I didn’t know yesterday.

First up I posted on Twitter this morning that there are 9 trans people on the ballot in 8 different categories. I speculated that there might be more, and I’ve since found another one so we are up to 10 in 8. I’m not going to name them, because frankly these days it isn’t safe being openly trans. But you may know some of them, and hopefully one or two will actually win.

Second, I have done a book list of the finalists (including the initial volume in Series finalists) on I wasn’t able to include all of them, because they aren’t all available, but if you are, in the UK, are interested in buying, and would like to help both independent bookstores and Wizard’s Tower, you can find the list here.

And finally, there is a useful list of where to find various of the finalists online over on File 770. The link to CoNZealand Fringe is to our YouTube Channel rather than our website. Apparently Mike is having a sulk and refusing to link to our actual site because one of our people has blocked him on Twitter. This is making me feel quite nostalgic for the days when I was allegedly the most hated person in fandom.

Hugo Finalist (Again)

Somewhat to my surprise, I find my name on the Hugo Award ballot again this year. I am one of the team that is a finalist in Best Related Work for the ConZealand Fringe programme of events.

I’d like to thank and congratulate the rest of the team: Claire, Adri, C, Alasdair, Marguerite and Cassie. I note that Claire, Adri, Alasdair and Marguerite are all on the ballot in other categories as well, so they are very much worth checking out. Also Iori Kusano, who was on the panel that I curated and chaired for CZ Fringe, is on the Related Work ballot for her work running a similar Fringe programme for FIYAHCON. Having all of this virtual convention work on the ballot makes me very happy.

I should also thank Kelly Buehler, co-chair of CoNZealand, for her support of our work. It would have been great to integrate more closely with the main convention, but as with so many things to do with CoNZealand, time was against us.

Finally I should thank Mike Glyer, because there’s nothing quite like being denounced on File 770 to bring you to the attention of fandom at large.

Update: Duh! I should also thank everyone who nominated us. You can tell that it is 10 years since I’ve had to do this, can’t you. One the plus side, no one has yet come into my social media to complain about how I am the Wrong Sort of Fan, possibly because this is not a fan category.

The rest of the ballot for Related Work is very strong. I don’t expect us to win. There are lots of other interesting things on the ballot that I’d like to talk about, but that will have to wait for the next Salon Futura. Here’s the full list of finalists for Related Work.

And yes, I did notice that DisCon 3 has decided not to use the official Hugo Award logo. Thumbing their noses at WSFS seems to have become a habit for them. And they did manage to mis-spell Beowulf, though it is correct on the press release.

Crawford Award Announced

The winner and runners up of this year’s Crawford Award have been announced. I’m delighted to see that the winner is one of my favourite books of the year: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo.

The Crawford doesn’t have a jury as such. Instead a group of people make recommendations to Gary K Wolfe and he decides on a winner based on what the group says, and on his own reading. What that means is that no one has to read every debut fantasy novel for the year. Many of them are very long. That way lies madness.

Usually I am one of the group of advisors, and that was the case this year. I have linked to my reviews of the winners and runners up below. I hope to catch up with the others soon. I have also provided links for UK readers to buy via (they might work in the US as well). I have no idea why the Jennings isn’t available.

Winner: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo (buy)

Runners up:

  • Night Roll, Michael DeLuca (buy)
  • Everyone on the Moon is Essential Personnel, Julian Jarboe (buy)
  • Flyaway, Kathleen Jennings
  • In Veritas, C.J. LaVigne (buy)
  • Beneath the Rising, Premee Mohamed (buy)

Purchases through help to support independent bookstores and, if made via my links, Wizard’s Tower Press.

The List is Live

It being February, the Locus Recommended Reading List has been published. As usual, I had a part in selecting which long-form works appear on it. Also as usual, I am only one of a large number of people involved, so I am not solely to blame for anything you don’t like about it.

On the other hand if there are things that you think are missing, I’d be happy to hear from you. Liza guested on Coode Street the other day and they had an interesting conversation about known biases of the List. I think that things like the Nth volume on an ongoing series are always going to be at a disadvantage, because reviewers tend to shy away from such things. Getting people to notice books that are not easily available in the USA is also hard. But hopefully the list is getting more diverse.