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More Hugo Musings

Speaking of awards, nominations for the 2016 Hugo Awards will be opening soon... so maybe I should post a few more thoughts about some works I think worthy of consideration.

I talked about the two Dramatic Presentation categories in previous posts, and also mentioned NEMESIS GAMES by James S.A. Corey as a possible contender in Best Novel. Tonight I want to draw your attention to a couple of possibilities for Best Related Work.

Now, I will freely admit that Best Related Work is not my favorite Hugo category. It is kind of a grab bag category, the place fandom puts stuff that it likes that doesn't fit anywhere else. Nobody really seems to have a clear idea what a "related work" is... but past nominees have included biographies, autobiographies, essays, critical works, encyclopedias, science books, graphic novels (before there was a graphic novel category), and other, stranger things.

This year, I think there a couple of strong 'related works' worthy of attention.

THE WHEEL OF TIME COMPANION was a mammoth concordance of facts about the universe and characters of the late Robert Jordan's epic fantasy series, edited and assembled by Harriet McDougal, Alan Romanczuk, and Maria Simons. It's a labor of love, and everything one could possibly want to know about Jordan's universe is in there.

Robert Jordan was a giant in the history of modern fantasy, but during his lifetime he was never nominated for a Hugo, for a Nebula, for a World Fantasy Award (the entire WOT series was nominated at Loncon after his death, but lost). The COMPANION is worthy of consideration in its own right, I think... and a Hugo for Harriet, Jim's widow and Jim's editor, would be a splendid way to acknowledge his contribution to the genre he loved so much.

Biographies and memoirs have often contended and won in this category before: Jack Vance's memoir was a recent winner, as was a brilliant biography of Alice Sheldon. The first volume of William Patterson's Heinlein biography was nominated (though it lost).

This year we have something different: Felicia Day's delightful look at her life, YOU'RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (Almost).

No, Felicia's not an SF writer like Vance or Heinlein or Pohl... but she's certainly an SF person, the queen of the geek girls, an actress, a gamer, a producer. Her whole life has been lived in and around the worlds of SF and fantasy, and her credits include EUREKA and THE GUILD and DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG and SUPERNATURAL and... Her book is a lot of fun, witty and wise and insightful... and besides, if she was nominated, maybe she'd come to Kansas City, and it would be a hoot and a half to have Felicia at MidAmericon.

So there you are. Two books to consider when nominating for Best Related Work. I am sure there's other good stuff out there as well... let's get some of it on the ballot this year.


Dec. 12th, 2015 07:37 am (UTC)
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Dec. 12th, 2015 02:38 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen Felicia Day in anything but a video game called FALLOUT NEW VEGAS. But in that game, she provided voice acting for (possibly) my favorite companion, Veronica Santangelo.

Veronica is snarky and funny and rarely takes much seriously, but at the same time is a tragic character trying to preserve the group she was born and raised in even as their refusal to change their ways brings them closer and closer to extinction every year. These games sometimes have a 'golden ending' for groups and characters, the best possible outcome in which everything turns out perfectly. She has no such ending: every possible outcome for her has some level of bittersweetness. All of that would have fallen flat without a good voice actress, but Felicia pulls it off.

I don't know Felicia Day from anything but that, but her making that character come alive is enough to make me a fan.
Dec. 12th, 2015 03:28 pm (UTC)
I was hoping THE WHEEL OF TIME COMPANION would be more akin to THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE. The COMPANION was actually a bit of a let down.
Dec. 12th, 2015 09:03 pm (UTC)
Different kinds of book.

The COMPANION is a concordance. WORLD OF ICE & FIRE contained hundreds of thousands of words of new (fiction) fake history, and a ton of artwork.
Andreas Oja
Dec. 12th, 2015 03:56 pm (UTC)
She was also on Buffy! You can't leave out Buffy the Vampire Slayer if You list someone's work. It's just wrong.

And I also think that her proper title is Geek Goddess.
Dec. 12th, 2015 03:58 pm (UTC)
Mr Martin (or George, whichever you prefer)
I know your opinion on fan fiction, and messing with other peoples worlds, so can you share your thoughts on Brandon Sanderson's contribution to the Wheel of Time series? Do you approve, or would you prefer that the books were left as they were?
Dec. 12th, 2015 09:04 pm (UTC)
That was Harriet's choice, and Jim's.
Rajat Bhat
Dec. 12th, 2015 04:34 pm (UTC)
Novel suggestion
This is my first comment on this blog and I don't know if you respond or not. It would be great if you did. So I wanted to tell you about an Indian epic called Mahabharata, which which was written many, I mean really long time ago. Here in India we have a huge number of fans of both the ASOIAF and yours. And they have(including me) have drawn huge comparisons between your series and the epic regarding the themes and characters. I don't know if you have read or heard about this epic, but please do check it out. Because it also says a lot about futility of war, and has morally grey characters and even a bitter sweet ending. But please keep in mind that its the longest epic in the world. And, sorry for any grammatical mistakes or typos
Dec. 12th, 2015 05:22 pm (UTC)
very interesting
Dec. 12th, 2015 08:19 pm (UTC)
Consider World of Ice and Fire plz!
Dec. 12th, 2015 09:05 pm (UTC)
Re: TeamWoIaF
No, don't. It's not eligible. It was published in 2014, not 2015.

I am not sure it would have been eligible in 'Related Work' in any case, and so much of it was essentially new fiction, in the guise of fake history.
Dec. 12th, 2015 09:40 pm (UTC)
Felicia Day is also going to star in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 reboot, which I'm super excited for. I've never read the Wheel of Time, but I plan to try it after I'm done Frank Herbert's Dune series (not sure whether to try Brian Herbert's contributions but might consider it). Also hoping for another certain book to possibly win the 2017 Hugo's. :P
Dec. 13th, 2015 07:12 am (UTC)
Hugos 2016!
Thanks for doing this GRRM! This year was the first time I voted in the Hugos, and it was all because of you. I am very exited to participate again this year.
Nathan Cheek
Dec. 13th, 2015 08:38 am (UTC)
Hey George,
My apologies for going off topic a bit, but I wonder if you would be so kind as to answer a quick ASOIAF question I've been pondering. I have read quite a lot of your other stories (they are wonderful by the way), and I think Danelle Lothston is one of the most interesting characters you have created thus far. Might we be learning more someday soon about the crazy skinchanger that may be Mad Danelle?

Many thanks
To a true Master of his Craft.
Dec. 13th, 2015 10:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Hello
Possibly... in future Dunk & Egg stories. But no promises.
Dec. 13th, 2015 10:28 am (UTC)
Something I really would like to see on the ballot is Gary McGath's filk history: Tomorrow's Songs Today. It's available as a free ebook after a successful crowdfunding.
Dec. 18th, 2015 01:09 am (UTC)
Thanks for the recommendation
Dec. 13th, 2015 05:38 pm (UTC)
It's strange that out of the million Hugo categories, there's no award for poetry, even though quite a few SFF mags publish it.

BTW, the two books you recommend here seem interesting.
Dec. 14th, 2015 07:34 am (UTC)
Can we talk about our nominees for other categories here?
I haven't read a lot of this year's possible contenders, but my word, THE CHIMES by Anna Smail. A dystopia unlike any other. It's gotten very little word reception around fandom, though the mainstream longlisted it for the Man Booker Prize. A great, sweeping tribute to the power of music and memory. It had me in tears.

NEMESIS GAMES was pretty kickass, too. It's a shame Dan Abraham didn't publish THE SPIDER'S WAR this year; I'd have liked to vote for the entire series. Maybe next year.
Dec. 14th, 2015 07:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Can we talk about our nominees for other categories here?
I would rather focus the discussion on the category in the original post.

There are other posts -- some past, some coming -- where comments on other categories would be welcome.
Robert P
Dec. 14th, 2015 04:54 pm (UTC)
Related Work Suggestion
Marc Aramini's Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 (part 1 with part 2 in the works) is a wonderful related work that analyzes and celebrates Grand Master Wolfe's short stories with wonderful wit and erudition. It is a pure labor of love and one that deserves more attention if you are a fan of Wolfe or short SF. Check it out!
Dec. 14th, 2015 08:48 pm (UTC)
I didn't know about Felicia Day's book, but now I'm looking forward to getting it & reading it! :) Glad you shared this.

Just wanted to add for those that are new to her work, she starred/directed in a comedy web series called The Guild. If you're an MMORPG fan, I'd recommend checking it out. She also voices the character Tallis in the DLC Dragon Age: Redemption (and does a web series along side it). :)

Edited at 2015-12-14 08:54 pm (UTC)
Dec. 15th, 2015 07:25 pm (UTC)
Hi, George! I've been a fan of your blogging since I read your balanced and (corny as it sounds) wise thoughts and suggestions regarding the Hugos of 2015.

Regarding other shows that are out of the orbital view of the Hugos: there are some cartoons that have really broken the mold of the Saturday morning kiddie shows. Anime and manga aside (like pushing an 800lb gorilla: anime is the source of some of the most amazing science fiction and fantasy works today), there are three animated shows that both entertain and stretch the bounds of science fiction:

Gravity Falls: Cryptids, weirdness and some mind-boggling cryptology hidden in the program. There is a passionate following of cryptologists to this show, as a casual Googling will attest.

Steven Universe: Outwardly a simple, charming show about a sensitive nitwit; regular viewing will reveal an epic sub-plot that intrigues and amazes. There is some very sensitive, intimate writing here too (including some of the most subtle gender explorations on the air).

Rick and Morty: This show baffles me. The art style and base body-humor make it appear as a run-of-the-mill teenage boy gross-out cartoon. And yet...the creators are undoubtedly science fiction readers and movie fans. R&M is a science fiction satire on the scale of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe or, a grosser, edgier version of Futurama (itself rife with wonderful sf/f references). Getting beyond the gross-out humor is hard, but once you do, you'll find that the stories have complex science fictional plots and twists. I will admit, though, that getting past that to inspire people to nominate this will be difficult!

Thanks again, George!
Marco Sartore
Dec. 21st, 2015 12:46 pm (UTC)
John Gwynne's series
Hello George! Since this post is about books... I was wondering, have you read by any chance any of the books in the Faithful and the Fallen series by British author John Gwynne? If yes, waht do you think about it? I bought the first book in England last summer but since I met your Song of Ice and Fire I haven't been able to look at fantasy series as before. You gave real literary relevance to the genre, and I don't think I could read fantasy books filled with cliches, not anymore. Can you help? :D
BTW, wish you and your family happy holidays, hoping to hear about the Son of Kong soon!
Dec. 21st, 2015 10:02 pm (UTC)
Re: John Gwynne's series
Sorry, I'm not familiar with that series.

Happy holidays to you as well.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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