August 17th, 2015


Let The Stories Do The Talking

A bunch of :words: about the Hugo nominations follows. You is been warned.
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Seth Breidbart over on Facebook questioned whether any of the nominees on the SP deserved a Hugo. "Did it demonstrate wonderful ideas? Brilliant writing?" he asked. Setting aside whether any of the winners in the last few years could meet that standard (especially in the shameful "Best Related Works" category), the question makes we wonder whether Breidbart even bothered to read any of the works in question. Pick any one of John C. Wright's works. I defy you to find any of them that is less than brilliantly written, or that doesn't at the very least ring new changes on old tropes.

Let's start with the novels. Lines of Departure was an excellent combat SF novel with great characters, Monster Hunter Nemesis combined esoteric theology and the finest ultra-violence in a tale of how even fallen angels might find redemption, Skin Game was another excellent urban fantasy by Jim Butcher, and Trial By Fire combined technothriller with space opera with strange & wonderful alien cultures. I was sorry it didn't make the cut.

In novellas, well, we already talked about John C. Wright. Tom Kratman's Big Boys Don't Cry took the familiar tropes of the Bolo Combat Units, Keith Laumer's legendary cybertanks, and flipped them in a very unpleasant but very hard-hitting story. Arlan Andrews' "Flow" was a very pleasant read - a voyage of discovery on a planet very unlike Earth, but oddly familiar.

The novelettes were probably the weakest category. To me, only Michael Flynn's "Journeyman" and Gray Rinehart's "Ashes to Ashes..." stood out as being self-contained stories of quality; the others felt to me like the opening chapters of longer works.

In short stories, while I liked Wright's "The Parliament of Beasts and Birds", Kary English's "Totaled" was clearly a better story - just as well written, but with more emotional punch to it. Rzasa's "Turncoat" was one of the few stories I've read talking about the possible conflict between transhumans and AIs and regular humans, and how the AIs might not necessarily be on the side of the transhumans. I didn't find a copy of Antonelli's story and overlooked Steve Diamond's story. Oops.

Of course, this is just my opinion (as it is equally just my opinion that a lot of people howling about the SP/RP slates and the people supporting them are stuck-up, cliquish shitbags) but considering that most of what I've read since second grade (way back in 1968) has been SF and (less often) fantasy, I think it's an informed opinion. You're entitled to your own, of course, but I went to the trouble of ponying up money this year to pay the Worldcon poll tax, and for the first time since I attended my first Worldcon in 1974, actually voted for the Hugos. Think I might do it again next year, if only for the pure pleasure of annoying a bunch of CHORFs who ought to be a little more mature about these things.