Hugo Awards 2012

Last year I went to China, spending about 4 weeks on the trip – some of them will appear in my “A-Photo-a-Week” project. This left very little time to read the Hugo nominees.

This year I have stayed home – well gone to a few conventions, so I had a bit more time to read.
So – I took the supporting membership to the Chicon 7/Worldcon 2012, so I could vote.

I got a limited amount of reading done, but voted what I could :
Best Novel :
A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
Best Novellette :
The Copenhagen Interpretation by Paul Cornell
Best Short Story :
The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu
Best Dramatic presentation, long form :
A Game of Thrones TV series
Best Dramatic presentation, short form :
Doctor Who : The Doctor’s Wife written by Neil Gaiman.

After the Hugo’s, some updates

After reading what I could before the voting for the Hugo Awards I have been a bit away from the blog.

However, the scifi has not been dormant. This is the harvest of the last few months :

Been to a small Convention in Copenhagen, the “Fantasticon”

– reading a few of Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” books, good fun, but I think it is time for a break after the first three.

– on some long trips I have been listening to audio .
A. The Leviathan Chronicles (podcast audio play)
B. The audio books of the 6 “main series” books of Anne McCaffreys Dragonriders of Pern. I started reading the series when a friend recommended it some 7 years ago, and found them solid pieces of storytelling on an epic scale. The 6 books are :
1. Dragonflight
2. Dragonquest
3. The White Dragon (won the Hugo Award for best novel)
4. Renegades of Pern
5. All the Weyrs of Pern
6. The Skies of Pern
C. Lots of podcasts , Babylon Podcast, Slice of SciFi, Dragonpage cover to cover, Starship Sofa, Escape Pod, and several others.

– watching this years Hugo Award winner for best dramatic presentation, long form : The film “Moon”, very good

– watching the first season of Eureka : Quite enjoyable, not in the heavy weight category

– watching the second season of Fringe : I enjoyed it quite a bit, even if the mid season was a bit light on the story arc. This seems to conform my idea that shorter seasons generally work better than the +20 episode seasons.

– watching the mini series from Steven Moffat : “Sherlock” very enjoyable

I will be writing a bit more on some of the above stuff, so watch this space.

Hugo Awards Novellette : “It takes Two” by Nicola Griffith

A very well chosen title for a cautionary tale. Nicely ambiguous. Are we talking about Richard and Cody, or about Cody and Susana.

Going deep into the question of how reliable our memories are, and how we could be influenced to do things we would not otherwise do.

While the idea could be said to be lifted from the “Red Pill/Blue Pill” choice in “The Matrix”, this story has a quite different take on the concepts of memory and reality.

8/10

Hugo Awards Novellette : “Eros, Phillia, Agape” by Rachel Swirsky

Interesting take on the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence evolving into consciousness. In this case involving a robot, or should I say android.

I found the story a bit longer than I would prefer for this relatively simple plot, on the other hand I found the writing itself interesting and somewhat captivating.

Also the relationship between robots/androids takes an interesting turn when the robot is set free to evolve. Maybe a good example why most robot stories abide Asimov’s rules.

8/10

Hugo2010 : Novellette : “Sinner, ….” by Eugie Foster

Full title :
“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest : Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast”

I listened to that one last year on the Escape Pod podcast.

The question is wether this is science Fiction, Fantasy or what . Genre really does not matter .

This is one of those wonderful small stories that I like.
The choices and consequences of people. Which mask should I wear today, in essence which identity do I choose for today, and the consequences of those choices.

On top of that, the question of your true identity (the “Who are You” question to which there is, it seems, no right answer.

This story has a chilling end when the protagonist reveals his true nature.

8/10

Hugo Awards 2010 Novellette : “The Island” by Peter Watts

A massive ship building Wormholes (Stargates ?) for billions of years. People who are in suspended animation for most of their lives. An AI that wants full control.

Finally, they meet an intelligence massively more intelligent than humans. Truly alien. I am, in a small amount reminded of Fred Hoyle’s novel “The Black Cloud” from the 1950’s, but the twist at the end of the story is good. Maybe not quite as alien as first thought.

This is clearly better than any of the short stories I have read for this year.

Lurker’s rating : 8/10

Hugo Reading : Short Story : “Bridesicle” by Will McIntosh

A story on the possibility of being preserved at death with the possibility of revival.

The combination with a “dating service” may seem a bit macabre, but the story actually works better than the other Hugo nominated short stories this year – at least for me.

This one will get my preferred vote for setting more thoughts in motion than the others.

7/10

Hugo Nominee, Short Story : “Non-Zero Probabilities” by N.K. Jemisin

A bit of an odd story, about very improbable things happening much more often than they should – or concentrated in one place, but not in others.

This one has an unusual take on probability and superstition. I generally liked it, even if is not something exceptional.

N.K. Jemisin was another complete unknown to me, so good to see a new author.

6/10

Hugo Awards 2010 Short Story : “Spar” by Kij Johnson

Hmmm

A short story on the theme of “Sex with an Alien”.

The whole story has one single scene , the alien is certainly non humanoid.

Unfortunately the most often asked question during reading the story was “when is it over” I found it repetitive and boring. Sorry I could not give a better review. The story must have been found good by someone, since it was nominated.

This may be an experimental story, but to me it failed.

2/10