The Hugo Awards, Voting Has Started.

The voting for the Hugo awards (for those few who might not know: The annual fan award for the World Convention for Science Fiction) has started.
Also, I have a ton of Hugo Award material to go through before I can vote on – well – some of it. The Voter Package was made available today, and I downloaded it. Several GB, including graphic stories, images and podcasts. I am sure I cannot read/see all of it, but I will see/read some and vote accordingly.

Anne McCaffrey, a Prolific Writer, also known as The Dragon Lady.

Anne McCaffrey (1926-2011) is one of the more prolific writers I know of.
I am mostly familiar with the “Dragonriders of Pern” series, and a part of the Acorna series.
At the Eurocon covention in Copenhagen, 2007, she was the main Guest of Honour, and the main reason I went to my first larger convention. At the reading she read from her story “The Ship Who Sang”, and that was a great convention experience. I still have to read more of the Brain Ship series, but there is so much to read/watch/listen to.
There is simply too much material to mention here, so I recommend visiting the Wiki page to get to know more about her work, but here are a few facts.
She was the first woman to win the Hugo award, voted by World Science Fiction Convention in 1968. This was with a novella of the Pern series, “Weyr Search”, later incorporated in the first Pern novel “Dragonflight”.
She was also the first woman to win the Nebula award in 1969, by the Science Fiction Writers of America. This was for her second Novella in the Pern series, “Dragonrider”, also later incorporated into the Dragonflight novel.
At the Eurocon she humorously told how she found having trouble handling the rocket shaped Hugo Award, because she found that it resembled a phallus symbol. Interesting how things have changed since then.

Also, at the convention she was very approachable at the table, and at the signing, where I got my hard cover copy of “The White Dragon” signed.

Anne McCaffrey CPH

Anne McCaffrey at Eurocon, Copenhagen 2007

This was Anne McCaffrey’s last convention, ever, and I consider myself lucky to have met the author of one of my favourite book series, before she passed beyond the Rim.
Later I will tell more of my own experience with her work, a bit about the Acorna series, and in more detail, about the Pern series.


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.


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.


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.


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.