30 April 2018 ~ 0 Comments

HUGO REVIEW: Novelette Finalists

Science fiction award season is here again, and the Hugo final ballot was announced for WorldCon 76 in San Jose.

On to the novelette category, my favorite category of all the Hugo categories, covering stories between 7500 and 17500 words.  This review covers all six finalists.

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17 June 2016 ~ 2 Comments

Hugo Short Story Review: “Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer

“Cat Pictures Please” is one of the Hugo Finalists for the short story category this year. It was published by Clarkesworld Magazine, and you can read it here in its entirety or listen to it in audio.

The protagonist of “Cat Pictures Please” is an AI written as the core of a search engine algorithm. As the story points out, an AI isn’t needed to find things that people search for, but it is needed to find what people need. The search engine knows a lot about people, including things they will not share with each other.

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09 May 2016 ~ 0 Comments

The Best of Clarkesworld 2015

Clarkesworld Magazine has had an incredible year. As I write these lists I am considering my own Nebula and Hugo nomination ballots and I think that no less than 3 of my 5 picks might come from Clarkesworld. This year they’ve been publishing a monthly story translated from Chinese as part of an ongoing initiative to share more Chinese author’s works with the English reading fandom. These stories have been a wonderful change of pace, different in some ways from what I’m used to in works written in English, something new and fresh.

The magazine continues to be edited by Neil Clarke, published by Sean Wallace, and the podcast is hosted and most-often narrated by Kate Baker of the excellent voice.

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30 March 2015 ~ 1 Comment

My Nebula Ballot 2015

The Nebula awards are nominated and voted by members of SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. I have been a member of SFWA in the past, but have chosen not to maintain my membership dues so I am not currently a member. So I can’t actually vote. But I do still follow the Nebula awards, and so I thought it worth posting my ballot as if I had the right to vote. The Nebula ballot has only 5 categories, four of them for lengths of written fiction and one for the Ray Bradbury Award for film. Unlike the Hugos, its voting system only allows you to vote for one thing, rather than rank-ordering all of them and doing instant runoff votes like the Hugos, so I will structure my post accordingly. You can find the full list of nominees here.

Because I don’t tend to read many novellas, because the Nebula voting period is so short, and because I was spent some of the Nebula voting period reading books for short-term review deadlines, I didn’t read any of the novella nominees this year.

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11 June 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Using SF Podcasts to teach Business and Economics

Who wouldn’t have liked to have studied their university subject using their favorite science fiction or fantasy stories? I missed a crossover between my favorite genre fiction and the subject he was studying, so when I became a PhD student and lecturer at a German university, I decided to take matters into my own hands and asked my professor if I could teach a business course using Escape Pod as the main source. I might have understated the fact that Escape Pod is a science fiction podcast though…

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21 April 2014 ~ 2 Comments

The Best of Clarkesworld 2013

written by David Steffen

Clarkesworld has expanded since I did the last list! Now they provide two reprint stories per month on top of the three originals that they were already publishing. And they’re in the middle of a subscription drive and if they meet their goal they’ll add another original to the mix. All of their stories are podcasted (most read by the very talented and extremely personable Kate Baker).

So, with this increase in publication rate, they put out a whopping 55 stories in the year of 2013.

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20 May 2013 ~ 0 Comments

The Best of Clarkesworld 2012+

Clarkesworld Magazine has been growing! Some time after my last Best of Clarkesworld post, they did a subscription drive where they promised to go from providing two stories per month to providing three stories per month. That drive was a success, and so they’ve been providing stories at the new rate for more than a year.

And now they’re working on yet another expansion. If they can get another push of subscribers in the near future, they’ll go up to 4 stories per month, which includes a podcast for each one. If you like the stories you read here, consider getting a subscription to help them produce even more! And, on top of that, they’ve brought in Gardner Dozois for a reprint division, which will be yet another story every month.

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22 April 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Review: Hugo Semiprozine Nominees 2013

Semiprozine is one of those Hugo categories that’s a little hard to understand. They can’t be professional magazines, where professional means that either the magazine provides more than 1/4 the income of any person or is owned/published by an entity that provides more than 1/4 the income to any one person. And it has to pay its contributors or staff in something other than copies of the magazine, or is only available for paid purchase.

As it happens, all five of the semiprozine nominees are magazines that I’ve read before.

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11 January 2013 ~ 0 Comments

My Hugo/Nebula Picks 2012

I’m a bit of an odd duck in my reading habits, in that I ready only a small niche of the types of stuff out there, but I read that very deeply. Almost all of my fiction intake comes from fiction podcasts, which are all Short Story categories, but are often reprints from previous years which are not eligible. I do read novels, but have not read any written in 2012 yet, because I am a slow read and because I re-read the entire Wheel of Time series that pretty much took all year, in preparation for the 2013 release of the final book.

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09 May 2011 ~ 0 Comments

The Best of Clarkesworld Podcast

Clarkesworld has published some amazing stories. Like all markets, I don’t like every one of their stories, but when they do publish a story that I like, the story’s not just good, it’s great. It was not hard to fill this list. It was so hard that the entire top 5 are equally worthy of 1st place in my opinion. But ranking them a 5-way tie for first place would be rather wishy-washy and would sort of undermine the point of having a list. So I thought about it long and hard to decide on particular aspects of each story that I liked more than the others to come up with this final ranking.

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