Review: Hugo Novella Nominees 2013

written by David Steffen

And here’s the last of the short (ish) prose fiction categories, the almost-a-novel aka Novella, which covers fiction from 17,500-40,000 words. This was a tough category to pick my favorite in, so for this one I’m glad that the Hugo awards use an instant runoff voting system so that if your favorite doesn’t win your lower votes can count towards the result.

Hugo Award for Best Novella

1. The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)
The Emperor’s wife has been killed and the Emperor has been injured in an attack by assassins, via a crossbow bolt to the head. The best magic of the legal variety can heal his flesh, but cannot heal his mind, leaving him catatonic. The Emperor’s highest ranking officials are the only ones who know of the outcome of the attack. The official mourning period for the Emperor’s wife is one hundred days, at which the Emperor will be expected to speak in public. If he cannot, the Empire will be thrown into chaos. They have but one chance to salvage the situation with the recent capture of the criminal Forger Wan ShaiLu. Various legal branches of the art of Forgery, which can rewrite the history of an object, can be practiced in the Empire. Shai, however, practices the forbidden branch of art which allows even a person’s soul to be Forged into something else. This criminal, this blasphemer, is their only hope, if she can reforge the Emperor’s soul using only journal entries and interviews with his counsel.

Brandon Sanderson is great at inventing new magic systems. I enjoyed Warbreaker, and I enjoyed this. The details are intricate, but logical, so that the magic is more of an alternate-world-science, something which appeals to my engineer mind. Shai is an expert in certain areas of her craft, and she goes at the work with the zeal and skill of an expert craftsman, all while contemplating how to escape before she is inevitably killed to silence her. The situation maintains constant tension while maintaining intellectual curiosity and emotional depth. The art of Forging depends upon understanding the history of a person or thing completely and then creating a manmade branching point to change that history, so to pull of this most difficult of all Forgeries she has to exercise her powers of empathy like she never has before.

Great story, well written. One of my new favorites. Well done!

 

2. After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications)
An apocalypse hits the Earth in 2014, killing most people and rendering most of the planet unliveable. Very few people survived, and those were saved from certain death by boxlike tentacled figures (nicknamed Tesslies) that would appear in a shower of golden sparks, grab the person, and take them somewhere else. These survivors wake up in a building with no doors to the outside, with machinery meant to serve their basic food and sanitation needs. The Tesslies never told them what was happening, but their best interpretation is that aliens have attacked earth and kept some humans as specimens. Many years later a new piece of machinery they call the Grab machine appears in the Shell which periodically makes a window through time to the years before the apocalypse. Whoever goes through, the Grab machine yanks them back to the future with whatever they’re touching, so they use it to grab supplies and to grab children to help repopulate the future (adults die when they pass through). This part of the story follows Pete, a fifteen year old boy who is a child of some of the original survivors.

Meanwhile, back in 2013, mathematician Julie Kahn is working with a police task force trying to determine a pattern to the robberies and kidnappings.

I related completely to both Pete and Julie, even when they did things I didn’t agree with or when their actions were in direct opposition to each other. This story had me interested from beginning to end and it felt neither too long nor too short. Well done, Ms Kress, well done. Unfortunately, I hadn’t finished reading this before the Nebula voting period ended, and Sanderson’s story squeaked past this one for my top vote, but with the instant-runoff system I can still show my love.

 

3. San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats by Mira Grant (Orbit)
The first outbreak of the zombie epidemic happens during the overcrowded opening night of San Diego Comic-Con 2014. This story is the chronicle of that chilling event, told as a 30-year retrospective.

This story is well-written with believable characters and a strong emotional core. The main reason why this didn’t rank higher on my list is that I didn’t feel that it trod any new ground. Zompocalypse stories have been too common in recent years, probably only second to sexy vampires as overused tropes. I’d rather see an original speculative element, an original setting, or both. This story didn’t vary from the familiar zompocalypse rules, at least not in any significant way, so it’s not an original speculative element. I don’t recall seeing a zombie story set at a convention before, and I suspect that’s why it’s been popular enough to get nominated. But, personally, it just strikes me as lazy, trying to keep the writing in a comfort zone rather than trying something different. Kind of like a Stephen King story about a writer that takes place in a sleepy town in Maine.

Also, the story is formatted as though it’s a documentary, but the story itself admits that much of it is conjecture based on known facts. This in itself wouldn’t be problematic, except that by my reckoning, probably 80% or more of the events have to be either pure speculation on the part of the media because the deathtoll was high enough to make after-the-fact compilation of stories problematic. The story would’ve been better if it had just discarded the idea of using a framing story and just told it as a standard narrative.

 

4. The Stars Do Not Lie by Jay Lake (Asimov’s, Oct-Nov 2012)
Morgan Abutti, 4th degree Thalassocrete, member of the Planetary Society, has discovered something new in the stars that violates the truths taught by both the Lateran and the Thalassojustity belief systems that rule the world. He has arranged for a public discussion of his findings, which could shake the world. Bilious Quinx, master of the Consistatory Office (aka Inquisition) must find Abutti before he makes his heresy public. Eraster Goins, head Thalossocrete, has very different motives for finding Abutti.

As you might be able to tell from this brief explanation, there are several religious factions which at least to my mind were never clearly differentiated. Maybe that’s an intentional statement about religious schisms, maybe it could’ve been made clearer, or maybe I just don’t get it. I generally liked the Morgan Abutti character who did not consider his findings a heresy but only wanted to share his findings of the universe to expand their understanding of it, a scientist trying to work within a religious government system. But I just didn’t find the stakes all that riveting. Whether or not Abutti’s announcement becomes public, some other scientist will discover the truth anyway (as the story itself points out), so the events of the story feel pretty moot to me. It doesn’t help that the grand discovery has implications for major future changes, which don’t make it into the space of this story. Those major future changes are what I’m really interested in. If Jay writes a story about the events after this story I will read it eagerly.

 

5. On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
Cousin Linh has arrived on Prosper Station, seeking refuge from the Emperor, whom she has rebelled against in a token fashion. Quyen, magistrate of the station, allows her refuge grudgingly. Linh’s visit causes no end of trouble.

The world of the story takes traditional beliefs and uses futuristic technology to reinforce them. In particular, people in this society are not only expected to honor their ancestors, they also have memchips implanted in their brains that allow their ancestors to give them advice on everything that is happening around them. Very cool idea. The station’s systems are run by the Honoured Ancestress, a being that is sort of a metahuman, with an altered version of a human mind that allows it to run all of the day-to-day affairs of Prosper, and allowing residents of the station to interact with this mind by entering the trance. There’s something wrong with the Honoured Ancestress of Prosper.

I loved the worldbuilding in the story, but I just wasn’t that interested in the main events that took up the bulk of the story. Linh and Quyen’s conflicts didn’t really interest me. I didn’t particularly relate to either one, and it didn’t matter to me which one succeeded or failed in their goals. The state of the Honoured Ancestress was, to me, my biggest interest in terms of plot, but it did not have as much text devoted to it as I would’ve liked, and the solution to the problem was presented without a lot of interesting development to get there.

So this story just wasn’t for me. It was just too long to justify the parts of it I was actually interested in. It didn’t help that the length was such, and my free time segmented enough, that it took a dozen sittings to get through it.

 

Review: Hugo Novelette Nominees 2013

written by David Steffen

And on to the Novelette, the awkward older sibling of the Short Story category. Stories from 7,500-17,500 and voted by fans. A decent batch of stories here! And unlike the Short Story category this year, we got a nice round 5 of them (which means it might’ve been less contested than that category, no doubt in part due to the difficulty of getting longer short stories published).

 

Hugo Award for Best Novelette

1. In Sea-Salt Tears by Seanan McGuire (Self-published)
Selkies live a life that is both blessed and cursed. They love the ocean, but each Selkie is born without the Selkie skin that allows them to turn to seals. This is their blessing, for with a skin they can swim in the ocean as naturally as if they were born there, and be one with the tide and the current. This is their curse, because there are a limited number of Selkie-skins, much more than there are Selkies. You can only have a skin if you are given one by someone else who wishes to give it up. So Selkies are doomed to live a life of longing, wishing for something which they can’t have unless they are given it. This is the story of a Selkie named Liz who has been passed over for Skin inheritance time and time again, and who falls in love with the sea witch.

As the writers of 500 Days of Summer so aptly put it “This is not a love story. This is a story about love.” Which is to say, this is no rom-com where happiness is inevitable after some madcap hijinx involving a last-minute reunion at an airport. This feels like the real thing, because it is not idealized or idolized, it is what it is.

Well done, Seanan McGuire.

 

2. The Boy Who Cast No Shadow by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Postscripts: Unfit For Eden, PS Publications)
“Look” is the titular boy who casts no shadow. He does not even cast shadows upon himself, so he lacks the shading that gives our face their visual depth. He also does not appear in reflections or video recordings, and he’s become a celebrity due to unphotogenic nature. But overall he’s still just a normal teenager. He makes friends with Splinter, a boy who’s made of glass who is nothing but reflection where Look has no reflection. Splinter’s parents, understandably, are very protective of their boy, because he is so fragile.

It took me a little while to get into the story, while Look monologues about the nature of his condition. But it hooked me a little while later when the focus becomes his bond with Splinter. Really, I thought Splinter the much more interesting character and I thought he should’ve been the one the story was named after. Splinter wants so badly to experience life fully but his parents don’t allow it. Together with Look, he tries to expand his horizons. In a way this reminded me of the type of movie/book (and I’ve seen a few) where a person discovers they have terminal cancer and try to live their life to fullest because they know they don’t have long. This was a little different in that Splinter could live a long life if he’s careful, but he wants to really experience things. This story is about him making that choice for himself.

 

3. Rat-Catcher by Seanan McGuire (A Fantasy Medley 2, Subterranean)
The year is 1666 and Rand is a prince of the Cait Sidhe (a type of Fae who can shift into cats) who does his best to avoid confrontation with his father and others. But when he hears a prophecy of the simultaneous destruction of London and Londinium (the Fae counterpart to the English city), he must leave his comfort zone and do everything he can to save his family and his people.

This story was entertaining enough, with plot and character and stakes that I could root for. The details of the Fae in this particular universe were interesting and made me want to know more. It seemed like this story was barely get started when everything resolved very quickly in the end. I would like to read a longer story about this character and this place. It’s a good sign when a story leaves me wanting more, but I would’ve like if this story had been a little meaty as well.

 

4. The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi by Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity, Solaris)
Humankind is spread across the solar system, but it doesn’t all look like it used to. The natural human form is not well-suited to long occupancy in space or other planets, so we have developed the technology to make drastic and irreversible body modifications to bodies better suited to the environment. The story takes place around Jupiter. The “Girl-Thing” of the title is an old-fashioned human working among the “sushi” that are body-modded people. She has made the decision to “go out for sushi” meaning that she has decided that she will go through the body mods.

This one definitely kept me paying attention from the beginning because it dives right into future lingo head first. It doesn’t ease you into it, but neither does it go at a pace so fast that it’s incomprehensible. As a linguistic puzzle, it’s very entertaining. By the end I could understand the lingo for the most part.

But, perhaps due to the careful pacing chosen to allow the lingo to be understood, when I think back on the story the events themselves aren’t all that compelling to me. Things happened, for sure, but those things seemed to happen in a rush at the end as if Cadigan were running out of space and just tried to cram them in. I think this one could’ve used a little more room to expand so that there would still be space for the lingo to be explored, but then could go through the events themselves at a pace that let them have more impact. So, while it wasn’t a bad story, it wasn’t spectacular either. Fair-to-middlin’, I’d say.

 

5. Fade to White by Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld, August 2012)
Joseph McCarthy has become President of the United States and life is good for everyone. Yes it is good, as defined by the goodness measures laid down by President McCarthy, everything from the war effort to the structure of the family unit. Never mind the radiation and the widespread impotence or the government choosing your occupation. The story is told as alternating propoganda videos by the McCarthy administration and two children who are trying to find their place in this world.

I felt like I should like this story. For those who may not know, Joseph McCarthy was the US Senator who singlehandedly started the Red Scare, lying his ass off to convince people that Communists were infiltrating us, thousands of spies acting as normal American families. Anyone could be a Communist spy, and you had to keep vigilant and report the slightest odd behavior. But McCarthy never showed any evidence of this in our world, and eventually was disgraced because everyone came to the conclusion he was lying.

McCarthy as President is a great premise for a dystopian future. Even I (who generally doesn’t have interest in politics) can’t help but extrapolate from that basic premise to something really terrible.

I generally liked the sections of this story that were told as editing notes on propoganda tapes. I’ve always liked stories that felt like “found” documents, and this had that feel. The propoganda feel gives an uneasy overpatriotic ring to this part of the story, very creepy.

But the “honestly” told parts of the story bothered me. I mean, bothered me in a way that meant I didn’t like it rather than the seat-squirming involvement in the propoganda sections. I’m having trouble putting my finger on exactly why, but it meant that I didn’t like the story in the end. The closest I’m able to put it to words at this moment is that the “honestly” told parts of the story felt somehow even less genuine than the things that were clearly meant as propoganda. The over-the-top propoganda videos seemed to have been meant as a cautionary tale, and these other sections were meant to show the real life behind the propoganda, a life that isn’t so great. But to me these other sections didn’t ring true, to the point that they feel like propoganda directed at me and authored by Valente, using the obvious propoganda to try to drive me toward believing the other part is authentic when it really just felt like a more subtle propoganda to me. And, I mean, the main message I can detect there isn’t a bad one, that McCarthyism is a scary thing and that it’s a good thing that it didn’t sweep the American mindset and stay there. But the way that it’s told makes me want to distrust every part of the story as more propoganda, and that means that everything is so disingenuous to my gut feelings that there’s nothing of meaning here to me. In the end, this story just ended up just leaving me irritated.

The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies Podcast 2012+

written by David Steffen

Beneath Ceaseless Skies continues to be a great source of fiction set in a secondary world. This list encompasses all of their podcasted stories since my last list in March of 2011, about 38 episodes. Keep in mind that they only podcast about half of their stories, so check out their text if you want to get the full backlog.

On to the list!

 

1. The Three Feats of Agani by Christie Yant
My favorite short story for several years, my definite #1 pick for award season. The story of a girl going through rites of passage of her culture’s religion while coping with the death of her father. Great philosophy, and a good story well told.

2. Mr. Morrow Becomes Acquainted with the Delicate Art of Squidkeeping by Geoffrey Maloney
So much fun, this reminded me of a Drabblecast episode. Interacting with alien squid creatures in Victorian period.

3. Worth of Crows by Seth Dickinson

4. The Ascent of Reason by Marie Brennan
Another story set in Driftwood, where dying worlds go as they disappear.

5. A Place to Stand by Grace Seybold

 

Honorable Mention

Cursed Motives by Marissa Lingen

My Hugo/Nebula Picks 2012

written by David Steffen

In the previous post I suggested my own Hugo/Nebula nominated work. This post has the purpose of sharing my picks for these categories other than our own work. I welcome any and all to post in the comments with their own suggestions.

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.

Which is to say, most of the categories that I’ve voted for I am very well read in, but I just left off those categories in which I have not read at all, or haven’t read enough to have some solid picks.

Best Short Story Hugo and Nebula

This is the category I’m most interested in, covering SF/Fantasy/Horror fiction of 7500 words or less.

1. The Three Feats of Agani by Christie Yant (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

2. Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain by Cat Rambo (Near + Far)

3. All the Painted Stars by Gwendolyn Clare (Clarkesworld)

4. Devour by Ferrett Steinmetz (Escape Pod)

5. Worth of Crows by Seth Dickinson (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

 

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) Hugo

Best dramatic presentation of 90 minutes or longer

1. The Hunger Games

2. Game of Thrones Season 2

3. True Blood Season 5

4. The Avengers

5. Wreck-It Ralph

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) Hugo

Best dramatic presentation of less than 90 minutes.

1. “Digital Estate Planning” –episode of Community

2. Devour–Escape Pod

3. The Dead of Tetra Manna–Dunesteef

4. The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward–Drabblecast

5. The Music of Erich Zann–Drabblecast

 

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation (Not a Nebula)

Related to the Nebulas, but not a Nebula itself, this seems to combine the long and short dramatic forms used in the Hugo.

1. The Hunger Games

2. Game of Thrones Season 2

3. True Blood Season 5

4. Wreck-It Ralph

5. “Digital Estate Planning” — Community

 

Best Editor (Short Form) Hugo

Editor of short fiction.

1. Norm Sherman (Drabblecast)

2. Scott H. Andrews (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

3. Neil Clarke (Clarkesworld)

4. John Joseph Adams (Lightspeed, various anthologies)

5. Bruce Bethke (Stupefying Stories)

 

Best Profession Artist Hugo

1. Michael Whelan (especially this Analog cover)

 

Best Semiprozine Hugo

This is the most complicated category to define. It is not a professional market, which means that neither of the following are true: (1) provided at least a quarter the income of any one person or, (2) was owned or published by any entity which provided at least a quarter the income of any of its staff and/or owner. In addition, it generally has to pay contributors in something other than copies of the magazine, or only be available for paid purchase.

I’m not totally sure that all of the ones that I’ve picked here are eligible. There might be others that I’m ruling out as not being eligible that are. This category confuses me. but these are my best shot at nominations for it.

1. Drabblecast

2. Escape Pod

3. Beneath Ceaseless Skies

4. Pseudopod

5. Stupefying Stories

 

Best Fancast Hugo

This is a new experimental Hugo that might get voted in as a permanent one. It is split off from the Best Fanzine Hugo, but must be an audio or video presentation. I’m not totally sure that Toasted Cake qualifies, since they do pay a few dollars per story, but I thought it was low enough that it might be considered as more of an honorarium and let me nominate it.

1. Journey Into…
see my Best Of Journey Into… list for examples.

2. Toasted Cake

3. Beam Me Up
A science fiction radio show and podcast–how cool is that?

 

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (Not a Hugo)

1. Jake Kerr
I very much enjoyed his Old Equations on Lightspeed, for one.

2. Mur Lafferty

 

Our Hugo/Nebula Eligible Work 2012

written by David Steffen

The SF award nomination season is here. The Nebulas (the writer-voted award) have been open for a while and close in February. The Hugos (the fan-voted award) opened on January first. Both sets cover works published in the 2012 calendar year. About this time of year, every writer and their dog posts a list of their eligible works.

I won’t tell you to nominate these works. I haven’t heard of anyone nominating us in the past and I don’t expect that to change. Of course it’s all of phenomenal quality, because we wrote it and stuff. 🙂

And don’t worry, I’ll write up a separate post in the near future to make recommendations of what I’d like to see win the awards. I figured it would make sense to separate them so that I wouldn’t have to try to objectively compare my own work to theirs. In THAT post I’ll also ask for nomination suggestions from people, but we’ll keep those out of this post.

 

Best Short Story (Nebula and Hugo)

Marley and Cratchit by David Steffen at Escape Pod (free)

This Is Your Problem, Right Here at Daily Science Fiction (free)

Constant Companion at Drabblecast (free)

Door in the Darkness at Stupefying Stories

Never Idle at Specutopia

Mysterious Ways at Uncle John’s Flush Fiction Anthology

 

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)

Marley and Cratchit at Escape Pod, read by Emma Newman

Constant Companion at Drabblecast

The Quest Unusual at Cast of Wonders

Turning Back the Clock at Beam Me Up

 

Best Fanzine Hugo

Diabolical Plots by David Steffen, Anthony W. Sullivan, Frank Dutkiewicz

 

Best Fan Writer Hugo (follow links for examples)

David Steffen

Especially notable are the “Best of” podcast lists.

Frank Dutkiewicz

Especially notable are the “Daily Science Fiction” reviews; we’re the only ones who regularly review them.

Carl Slaughter

Quite a few notable interviews.

 

Best Fan Artist Hugo

Anthony W. Sullivan, for Canny Valley comics

 

Best Related Work Hugo

The Priceless Value of that Story You Hate by David Steffen

 

Go! Nominate!

Daily Science Fiction: October 2012 Review

written by Frank Dutkiewicz

It is, at the time of this writing, the weekend after Thanksgiving. This is the first time I’ve managed to complete my monthly review of Daily SF in under a month of the last story’s debut. Hooray for being current! But enough of my self-congratulatory back-patting, let’s look at something that deserves real praiseâ€

 

Darcy believes in her men in “Mama’s Science” by Shane D. Rhinewald (debut 10/1 and reviewed by Frank D), but Mama warns her not to misplace her faith in such an unreliable creature. Darcy’s father leaves for the stars when she is just five. Bitter, she blames her cynical mother for driving him away. Thus begins a lifetime of head-banging between the two as Darcy builds and shatters relationships.

“Mama’s Science” is a tale of a girl who can’t pick a good man to save her life. Her mother is the pessimistic one, predicting failure and disappointment whenever a man springs on the scene. The story is a commentary that Darcy was in search of support when she needn’t look no further than her mother. But to me, Darcy’s mom hardly comes off as a supportive parent. In the real world, cynical views of the opposite sex from a parent will have a negative effect on a child’s future relationships and I can’t help but to wonder if this was one of the reasons why Darcy couldn’t keep (and pick) a good man.

 

A woman falls for a merman in “What the Sea Wants” by P. Djeli Clark (debut 10/2 and reviewed by Frank D). The protagonist is greeted by a young boy with deep black eyes, once again. He is beckoning her to rejoin him in the sea, a request she was unable to deny several times before. But she is now an old woman, and memories of the people she hurt before, steel her from his charms.

“What the Sea Wants” is a tale of time and evolving legend. The protagonist first met the merman when she was a child, diving into the deep blue off her father’s boat when she became mesmerized by the boy’s dark eyes. She is drawn back to shore where she learns much time has passed and a legend of her disappearance has a risen. The merman returns after many years, pleading for the protagonist to return with his alluring eyes.

I found “What the Sea Wants” to be an enchanting tale. The conflict of desire versus obligation plagues the stories heroine. Each time she returns to the shore, a fresh legend of her disappearance, and knowledge of the broken lives she shattered when she left, is there to greet her. The merman always comes back, years later, to reclaim her. The story is sound and gripping but the ending is a dark one. Well worth the time for a quick read.

 

“Not the Destination” by Richard E. Gropp (debut 10/3 and reviewed by Frank D). Protagonist embarks on trip in space and takes the slow route.

“Not the Destination” is very brief and left me full of questions. It is not known if his motives are for solitude or scenery. Not knowing made the story unsatisfying for me.

 

Kelley accepts the only thing her mother wanted to protect in “Scraps” by Michael Haynes (debut 10/4 and reviewed by Frank D). Her chain smoking mother has passed away, not done in by cigarettes as Kelley predicted but in the horrible fashion of a house fire. She is handed a small fireproof safe, the only thing to survive the blaze. Inside is an item that was a bone of contention in their relationship, a dollar store scrapbook her mother gave her for a Christmas gift. Inside the pages are mementos of heartbreaking events in their relationship , programs to a school concert Kelley played in, a cast list to spelling bee her mother never made it too, and such. The book revives bitter memories Kelley would just as soon forgot but these little scraps have memories of their own.

“Scraps” is a tear jerker of a tale. Kelley remembers a mother who was rarely there for her. Kelley believed her mother threw the book away after her fit when Kelley opened the gift. Other bitter memories surface as she thumbs through it, but when her hand brushes against one of the items a new vantage point of an event flashes in her head; memories that belong to her mother.

The first half of “Scraps” is of Kelley’s recollection of her relationship with her mother. In her eyes, mom was an irresponsible parent. The author does an excellent job of getting the reader to sympathize with Kelley, but as in most contentious relationships, there is another side, and we get to see it. The story is a reflection that many people who have lost a loved one who were difficult to love can identify with.

I found “Scraps” to be a wonderful story. The only gripe I had with it was the disconnected perspective the author used. The 2nd person perspective gave the story an extra layer of distance when the premise deserved a close and personal one. It dulled some of its emotional impact. It robbed a very good story from becoming a rare jewel of the ages. Nevertheless, “Scraps” is a must read.

Recommended.

 

Jiao needs to know more about a nerd’s magic coat in “Nathan and the Amazing TechnoPocket NerdCoat” by K J Kabza (debut 10/5 and reviewed by Frank D). Attractive, she has been propositioned by geeks before, but when Nathan pulls out a teapot too big to hide in his coat, out of a pocket, she agrees to meet him after work.

“Nathan” is a tale of a curious waitress and man who is hiding more than storage closet’s worth of items in his coat. Jiao is sure the Ichabod Crane-ish man isn’t being honest with her when he claims his teapot trick was just a sleight-of-hand ruse. She isn’t buying his denials as his story keeps changing and the amount of things coming out of his coat keep growing. Her curiosity becomes horror when a hand reaches out of one of the pockets.

I found the story long in development but with a satisfying twist in the last half of the tale. I hesitate to write more so as not to spoil the story for those who haven’t read it but I will say the ending had a nice poetic justice finish to it.

 

An alien is losing her mother again in “Blue Sand” by Caroline M Yoachim (debut 10/8 and reviewed by Frank D). The protagonist is a squid-like creature. She has just pushed her mother’s corpse into the sea where it can live a happy afterlife and visit her when the tide is low. She becomes concerned when the blue sand covering the beach is showing signs of change. The aliens from Earth have come to take the sand , as souvenirs and to use as glass , and now her mother and the other ghosts are beginning to fade.

The aliens of “Blue Sand” have a unique connection to their ancestors. The blue sand that lines the beaches are the broken down remnants of the departed. The protagonist can visit her mother skittering on the surf and talk to her. Strange pebbles of green slivers first begin to appear then the blue sand slowly begins to be replaced by white. Her mother is disappearing, and this time for good.

“Blue Sand” is an environmental message wrapped within a Far Eastern mythological theme. The unseen humans cannot see the ghosts and have no idea what they are doing to the life on this world. The protagonist is powerless to stop them but has a connection too strong to allow it to be abandoned. Well told. I liked the ending.

 

Renan paints for his master in “Caput Mortuum” by Andrew Kaye (debut 10/9 and reviewed by Frank D). He is a dim man who can see colors outside ordinary people’s viewable spectrum. He paints what he can see for his master, a trait that aids his master’s experiment.

“Caput Mortuum” is told from the perspective of a mentally challenged man. He can see the remnants of magic. His talent is crucial to his employer , Esteban Soliente , as he works to develop an armor to protect ordinary men against magical weapons.

The author of this tale did a wonderful job writing from the perspective of a clueless protagonist. Esteban is working on a revolutionary protective gear that could tip the balance of power, which makes him dangerous to many. The reader is in the unique position of knowing more than what the protagonist can grasp. Difficult to do, masterfully done.

 

Each day the postman delivers a piece of life lost along the way to an old man in “Lost and Found” by Jamie Todd Rubin (debut 10/10 and reviewed by James Hanzelka). The young caregiver watches as each is delivered and relished as the old man comes to remember things long forgotten. It is the week in a life of all of us at some point in time. A week that will end on a Sunday sometime in the future.

This was very well written. It took a while to get into it, required an investment from me, but the payoff was well worth it. The author did a good job of pulling me into the life of the main character and showing me a bit of his life. As the story moves to its inevitable end, I came to know the man and feel what he felt. Well done.

 

Commander Thero watches the destruction of the planet from his bridge. In “This is the Way the World Begins” by C. L. Holland (debut 10/11 and reviewed by James Hanzelka), they will need to destroy all life before they can begin reshaping it for their purposes. The Prefector wants his own planet and it’s the commander’s job to give it to him. In spite of some problems with enslaved beings they use to wipe out the world’s population everything is proceeding as planned, or is it?

This is a nice little morality tale. The author set it up nicely, but the plot was a little too obvious. It is still nice to get a little reminder that absolute power, or the illusion of such, can ultimately lead to our own demise. Nicely written and the point is well made. Give this one a read if you’re in the mood for a little twist of fate.

 

The protagonist is keeping it real in “Shimmer” by Amanda C. Davis (debut 10/12 and reviewed by Frank D). She is an artist in high school. Too many of her other classmates are caught up in the latest craze, shimmer. It is the ability to turn perception into reality. Do you want to be tall and beautiful? Improve your image and your peers will perceive you as so. Trying to become something you are not does not sit well with the protagonist, but a successful artist in this altered-percption world requires a good front for the admirers of art. She must decide if her desire to showcase her vision worth her self-respect.

The protagonist is appalled by shimmering so she becomes disappointed with her good friend, Benjie, when he pastes a photo-shopped image of himself , taller and handsome – in the form of a poster on the walls in school. She wishes everyone could simply be themselves and not the false faÃ’ ade that shade people in their lives. An invitation to present her art gets her to compromise her principles. Benjie is put off by her hypocrisy, forcing her to reflect on her decisions.

“Shimmer” is an odd premise. The constant changing perceptions of others morphs the features of people from moment to moment. Why such a technology would be desired is lost on me. The heroine of this tale wins an opportunity to present her work in an art exhibit , a one in ten thousand chance. She wants to look her best for the exhibit (an understandable reaction) but her friend Benjie can’t help but to shove her own words back at her.

“Shimmer” is a tale featuring a deep protagonist in a sea of shallow characters. The story is a commentary on society’s constant need for improvement of self-image at the expense of our own self-respect. An odd set of circumstances brings the protagonist’s love of art at odds with own values, setting up a finale fitting for an artist eager to make a statement. I found the story to be heavy on message, and thought the storyline was stretch. Perhaps readers who remember high school as a cruel place can appreciate the message in “Shimmer”. I for one would sooner forget it.

 

Gar-gag is out for another conquest in “Trophy Wife” by Samantha Murray (debut 10/15 and reviewed by Frank D). He is after his seventh alien life-giving organ trophy. This new world has a different form of contest, and is out to master the art of the battle the call ‘dating’.

This short tale is a tongue-in-cheek look at the hazards of internet dating. Cute but with a predictable outcome.

 

“The Chosen One” by Huston Lowell (debut 10/16 and reviewed by Dustin Adams) is a complex tale that debates the contrast of blind faith and scientific analysis. Two men, in their search for the Chosen One, watch a little boy playing and while one man sees signs in everything the boy does, the other suggests caution and further study.

I found myself confused when one man accused the other of being the Chosen One, especially after they’d described the specific conditions the Chosen One need be born under, but I believe that was immaterial to the true purpose of the story, which was the debate mentioned above.

 

“The New Kid Is No Angel” by James Valvis (debut 10/17 and reviewed by Frank D). The protagonist is having a hard time getting along with a new friend. The two can’t come to an agreement on which superpower is better.

A tongue-in-cheek flash tale of a geeky comic book loving pair. Mildly amusing.

 

The protagonist attempts to get in touch with her mother in “My Mother’s Body” by Christie Yant (debut 10/18 and reviewed by Frank D). Her mother has succumbed to a horrible but unidentifiable disease. She has the same illness and is taking the action her mother sought.

I confess, I didn’t fully grasp the premise of this piece. The images of what her mother went through are disturbing but I am quite lost at what she is doing to counteract it. It appeared a healthy human being had sacrificed herself for reasons that are unclear to me.

 

Mark finds his special someone in “Phone Booth” by Holli Mintzer (debut 10/19 and reviewed by Frank D). In a city full of superheroes, an occasional detour in your day from a villain can be expected. Mark’s train is diverted where he meets the girl of dreams, Lisa. The two hit it off and a budding relationship soon follows. She is a guarded woman, often gone on business trips and errands but spends every available moment she has with him. When the world is full of ‘capes’, and villains to keep them busy, disruption in a relationship can be expected, can’t they?

“Phone Booth” is the tale of an everyday man within a world rich in superheroes. Lisa is just the type of girl he has been in search of his entire life; lovely, thoughtful, caring, and with a bit of mystery about her. Their relationship is a slow developing one. Lisa’s friends are wary of Mark and protective of her. Of course, on this world, disaster can strike in any moment.

“Phone Booth” has a premise that is pretty transparent. It isn’t hard to see where the story is headed. It is (spoiler alert) very much like the movie “My Super Ex-girlfriend”, minus the corny and dark humorous component. This story examined what it would be like when you live in a battlefield of good versus evil on grand scale. The author wanted to keep a story with an out-of-this-world premise grounded. Nice tale of a sweet romance set in the most extraordinary settings.

 

Losing your memory at 30,000 feet can be an experience. In “Don’t Look Down” by Anatoly Belilovsky (debut 10/22 and reviewed by Frank D) the protagonist is a man suffering from dementia. Sky diving is his idea of treatment. Nothing like seeing your life flash before your eyes to spur those old memories into action.

I had to read the author’s comments to understand the concept for this story. I was confused on why he was suddenly hit with amnesia. “Don’t Look” is a tale with a very slight speculative element. It seems to me, he is suicidal and his daughter is irresponsible for allowing him to flirt with death like this.

 

An introvert enjoys a cup of coffee in a diner. “The Number Two Rule” by Lesley L. Smith (debut 10/23 and reviewed by Frank D) is the tale of a woman who is lost. She spends her time watching an especially cute little girl play in the park every day. She must never interact with anyone. She should be invoking rule # 2, but it is a very difficult rule to follow.

“Number Two Rule” is a story set for a twist. For me to reveal anymore would be revealing too much. I rather liked this tale.

 

Sam needs to say his final goodbye to his departed wife in “Over There” by Dany G. Zuwen (debut 10/24 and reviewed by Frank D), but is not sure he can face her to do it. Ellen, his wife, died years before but had her essence downloaded. He can see her holo-image in the Room where they can talk but not touch. A depressed Sam met Naomi six years before when he last visited the Room. He plans on visiting Ellen one last time to let her know he found someone new, but discovers old feelings are a hard thing to dismiss.

“Over There” is set in a future where the afterlife is real, made possible with technology. Sam is racked with guilt, and his departed wife’s understanding words only makes it worse for him. She is willing for him to move on.

This tale has quite a poetic ending. Because of her ability to traverse the electronic net, Ellen has kept tabs on her husband. Sam comes off as man who should have invested in on grief counseling. Interesting story. I’m glad I read it.

 

An origami artist competes without his hands in “Susumu Must Fold” by Tony Pi (debut 10/25 and reviewed by Frank D). Susumu is an origami master who lost his hands in a tragic accident. Cyberneticists were unable to attach arms that would return the digital dexterity he needs for his craft. Entering the hall with one arm and hand covered in a glove, Susumu is out to demonstrate that hope is never lost.

“Susumu” is a tale of perseverance. The origami master must overcome his own limitations and the taunting words of a rival. In his corner are miniscule robots he is mentally connected too. The method of folding is different but art is something that comes from the heart.

I read an earlier version of “Susumu” when it appeared in the writer’s group contest the author referred to in his comments after the story. I thought then that the protagonist had an unfair advantage over his opponents then, just as I do now, but the issue of what is fair play is not the point of this tale. The competition Susumu is not against his fellow competitors but rather against the disability thrust upon him. I feel the message in “Susumu” would have had more meaning if the protagonist had been a painter instead. A story of microbots folding paper just seems too much like cheating to me.

 

Mia fights the Empty. “A Handful of Glass, a Sky without Stars” by Damien Walters Grintalis (debut 10/26 and reviewed by Frank D) follows a week in the life of a young woman surviving in a post-apocalyptic world. Toxic fumes have poisoned the air, a result of a war fought a generation before. The citizens are devoid of feelings , the Empty. An inhalant combats the condition but its effects fade over the course of a few days. Many chose to end it all before Saturday , the day to regenerate against the Empty. TGIF is now a matter of life and death.

The world of “A Handful” is a depressing lot. The city of which Mia lives is an island of refuge in a sea of devastation. Much of the world is dead. Protestors insist the rest of humanity should follow suit. Mia clings to her fleeting feelings and dreams of the stars her father claimed beyond the dark, polluted sky.

I found it difficult to believe a city like the one in “A Handful” could exist. It is a faÃ’ ade; its citizens operating as if their world is still functional, inconceivable when the very air and soil is toxic. The story is an examination on how civilization could continue when hope itself is gone. I am unsure how the drug Mia took could counteract it, or how the government could feed the masses. Viability of the storie’s premise left me with too many questions to give the tale’s message a fair shot.

 

Caroline is her father’s daughter in “My Mother’s Shadow” by Henry Lu (debut 10/29 and reviewed by Frank D). She is a little girl, one of the cursed born without a shadow. Her mother married a man without one and the trait has been passed down. Shadowless people have been condemned by god and are shunned. Caroline wishes she could be more like her mother, but is too full of resentment to know it isn’t her shadow that makes her mother so special.

“My Mother’s Shadow” is a tale of prejudice. The shadowless people are treated as harshly as the Jewish people were under the Nazis. Caroline misses her father but resents others like her, feeling as if they’re responsible for her misery. The tale is told well in the eyes of a small child who is discriminated for no reason other than sharing a lineage with a cursed race. Her anger is misplaced as she attempts to make sense of the hatred towards her.

Nice but sad story. The ending may have been too open ended for some but I rather liked how it was concluded.

 

The protagonist has a best friend who is always watching over her in Just Today by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (debut 10/30 and reviewed by Frank D). Ben is a ghost, killed in a hit-and-run accident while they were trick and treating. Usually, he is watching out for her but fails to warn her when the neighborhood bully corners her. It’s too bad Ben can’t help her, but he keeps trying anyway.

“Just Today” takes place while the protagonist as on her way to school. Several images from different movies (A Christmas Story, Ghost, Sixth Sense) came to mind while I was reading this, making it feel as if the author borrowed heavily with the premise as she wrote it. The story drifted and the plot had trouble remaining grounded. Cute idea but the incomplete ending and jumbled storyline lessened the enjoyment of the story for me.

 

Little Red Riding Hood boards the bus to Grandma’s house in “Red at the End of the World” by Lynda E. Rucker (debut 10/31 and reviewed by Frank D). This darker version of a famous fairy tale begins very un-fairy tale-ish. The famous Red’s attempts to remain low key are foiled by a blabby bus driver. A cute young man , Snow White , attaches himself to her and the pair embark on the journey to granny’s together.

“Red” is a strange retelling of the legendary Grimm classic. It took a good third of this tale for me to realize who the protagonist was. Red takes an instant liking to Snow White (how SW became a he is beyond me) and is expecting the grisly scene when she arrives at Grandma’s.

I confess, I have no idea what point the author was trying to make in this story. I found the needless sub-plots , the Snow White character, unexplained references to anarchistic events, grisly scenes of violence , to be distracting and head-scratching to their relationship to the rest of the story. Particularly puzzling was the ending. It alluded to a larger backstory. Instead of a creepy ominous feeling of dread I think the author was after, it left me shrugging my shoulders in indifference.

 

Helping to fertilize a grass roots movementâ€

If there is a person who has the capability to generate a buzz via the web in the closed universe of speculative fiction writing, that person would be John Scalzi. If you don’t know who he is, then you don’t read enough science fiction. His acclaimed novel, Old Man’s War has been in every Best Science Fiction Novel list I have taken the time to read. His latest novel, Redshirts, debuted at number 15 on the New York Times hardcover fiction best sellers list. To list all his accomplishments would likely force Dave to get out his scissors and preform a rare edit for one of my reviews. So to summarize, John Scalzi is one popular guy.

His blog, Whatever, gets a lot of web traffic (as Diabolical Plots once discovered a couple of years back in a redirected link from Mr Scalzi, thank you very much, sir). With a daily visitor rate in the neighborhood of 50,000, John has been all too willing to share his vast network of followers for the up and coming writers. One way he has done that is with an Award Awareness Post. For two years running, he has given authors and editors the opportunity to promote their works for consideration for the Hugo’s. The thread is very long (205 comments) but I was delighted to find a good 7 or more authors mentioning their Daily SF stories as candidates (some of them I felt were worthy). At the tail end of the long lists of posts, you will find DSF editor Jon Laden’s own list of stories he felt were deserving.

Did any of them get nominated? Sadly, no, however, making the long list for Hugo’s Best Semipro Magazine, was Daily Science Fiction. Although it only garnered 5% of the vote, it beat out several publications that made the short list in the past. Not bad for an often ignored , but innovative , email publication.

Thanks to the voting members who wrote in the magazine. Hopefully, they’ll get DSF to crack the top five next year (not an easy feat when you see who they’re up against). And hopefully, Jon and Michele will make the editor’s category next year.

Have you ever watched an old Star Trek episode and thought it would suck to be the guy wearing a redshirt on an away mission?

John Scalzi’s Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas is a novel for you. This New York Times bestselling ‘soon to be classic’ is a tale of a young redshirted ensign assigned to the Intrepid, where wearing the redshirt on an away mission is a death sentence. To learn more, visit macmillan.com

Hugo Picks 2012 (Part 1)

written by David Steffen

This is the first year that I’ve chosen to pay for a supporting membership to Worldcon. This is where the Hugo awards, the fan-based major award of the science fiction community, are presented. Paying for a supporting membership not only gives you the right to nominate and to vote, but also gives you the Hugo packet, a package containing most of the individual Hugo nominated works and examples of work from Hugo nominated individuals and magazines. That’s a load of bargain-priced brand-new fiction at $50.

Now, I should mention that I don’t think that the Hugos are generally indicative of the best science fiction and fantasy out there. Many of the nominees and winners I just find perplexing, often dull or unimaginative, and some authors get nominated every year even when it seems entirely clear to me that they are just “phoning it in” and the fans somehow feel that they are obligated to vote for this person.

Another thing I should add is that I only ended up getting registered on July 19th, a relative latecomer to the registration. The Hugo voting deadline was on July 31st, and I had only read a few of the entries. So to fully vote, I had more reading to do than I had time to do it. So for this first installment I’ll only be covering those categories in which I had a chance to absorb enough of the content that I feel comfortable making an informed vote. For each category I’ll list my first choice as well as any others that I was close to voting for.

 

Best Novella

1. The Man Who Bridged the Mist by Kij Johnson
An Imperial engineer travels to a small town on the banks of a mist-river to connect two halves of the empire. Novellas in general tend to be too slow for my tastes. This one is as slow as most, but I felt like it really used the space effectively. I really felt like I knew the characters by the end and I wanted them to be happy.
2. Kiss Me Twice by Mary Robinette Kowal
This one was a close contender for my top pick. It’s an effective science fiction mystery story, which uses the SF effectively as more than just a backdrop. Mystery generally isn’t my favorite genre or I might’ve picked this as the top instead.

 

Best Novelette

1. Ray of Light by Brad R. Torgerson
Brad’s a friend, but I didn’t pick his story because of that. I truly thought that this was the best of the group. It made me care about the characters. This takes place in a future Earth where inexplicable aliens have come and put up a shield between Earth and the sun so that the earth freezes over. The only humans who lived are those who fled deep below the ocean’s surface to live in underwater colonies. Nobody expects the surface to be thawed for several more lifetimes, but when a group of teenagers goes missing, a father goes to investigate.
2. Six Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane Anders
A story about a romance between a man who can see the future and a woman who can see a variety of possible futures. I enjoyed reading this one as well, though its appeal was more of a thought experiment than the emotional connection I am more typically looking for.

Best Short Story

1. The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu
The story of the son of a Chinese mail-order bride and the emotional connection she tries to make with him. Heartbreaking on several levels, this story really made me watch for more Ken Liu stories.
2. Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book 1: The Dead City: Prologue by John Scalzi
This story was posted as an April Fool’s joke last year on Tor.com, formatted as an excerpt from an upcoming Scalzi novel. It was based on a previous blog post analyzing the most common words used in fantasy novel titles. John Scalzi took this as a challenge, and wrote this beast of a title, and the story itself is just as funny, making fun of all the common epic fantasy cliches. I heard Scalzi read this live at MiniCon 2011, and the live performance made it even better.
3. Movement by Nancy Fulda
The story of a child with “temporal autism”, although the story says explicitly that it is not actually autism but is has some common symptoms. The girl does not think on the same timescale as everyone around her, this story is about her efforts to understand the world around her on her own terms.

 

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)

1. Hugo
Awesome Martin Scorsese movie adapted from the children’s book titled The Invention of Hugo Cabret.ÂÂFollows an orphan boy living in the mechanical depths of a train station in Paris in 1931. The main storyline itself is really great, but it was very effective at showing the magical appeal of early cinema in the few decades before that.
2. Game of Thrones Season 1
I haven’t read any of George R. R. Martin’s books in this series, so this was my first exposure to them. The casting is amazing across the board, the special effects are great, great characters, great plot. Not a lot of fantasy in it, though there are a few select key places of fantasy, as the name implies much of it revolves around political maneuvering to rule countries. Great stuff, and it makes me want to read the books. Now if Martin would only ever finish writing them.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)

1. Remedial Chaos Theory (Community)

This is one of the best shows on TV right now anyway, but this episode was above and beyond. It begins with a simple enough premise. The study group that the show centers around is at one of their apartments, and have ordered in some pizza. The apartment building’s door buzzer is broken, so when the pizza man arrives, someone has to go down to retrieve it. Nobody wants to, so they roll a die to decide. From there the episode splits into 6 timelines, each one with a different person going down to get the pizza. It doesn’t sound that interesting, but a lot of small variations add up to major and differing consequences between each timeline. I’m hoping for another Hugo nomination next year for the Community episode “Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne”, in which Pierce and the rest of the study group have to play a very complex 8-bit video game to earn Pierce’s inheritance. Brilliant. I wanted to play that game so much!

 

Best Editor (Short Form)

1. Neil Clarke
2. John Joseph Adams
3. Sheila Williams
4. Stanley Schmidt

 

Best Artist

1. Dan Dos Santos

I just think that Dos Santos’s artwork is the best out there today. I have a signed print of his illustration of Moiraine that was published in ebook rerelease of the Wheel of Time series.

 

Best Magazine

1. Apex
2. Lightspeed

 

Best Fan Artist

1. Maurine Starkey

 

Best Fancast

1. SF Signal Podcast
I like the SF Signal site anyway, but I really liked the discussion in the example episode with a lot of recognizable names about the future of the publishing industry
2. SF Squeecast
A Christmas themed episode that was a lot of fun. All of the members of the group are clearly having fun while they tape, and they really comes across.
3. Galactic Suburbia Podcast

 

Best New Writer

1. Mur Lafferty

Strange to think that she counts as a new writer because I’ve been listening to her stuff for years on the Escape Artists podcasts, and hearing about her self-published books. I really like her style though, some of my favorite EA episodes have been written by her.

 

As the year rolls on I’ll be reading the rest of the Hugo packet just for fun, at which point I might have more posts to pick out my favorites. And this is also the first year that I’ve been eligible for SFWA membership, which means that I can now nominate and vote for the Nebula award–so I may have something about that as well.

Award Eligibility 2011

written by David Steffen

Hey everybody, just a quick post to talk about voting eligibility for my work for the Hugo (and John W. Campbell). Now, I am not crazy enough to think I have any real chance at either, but I figure there’s even less chance if I don’t tell people what I’m eligible for. So, here’s a quick breakdown of everything that I might be eligible for. If anyone feels inclined to nominate me, you are my personal hero!

If you don’t know what the Hugo or Campbell awards are, or if you just want to know more details about how you can vote and so on, go here to find out more.

John W. Campbell Award

This is my last year of eligibility for the John W. Campbell new writer award. This year I had four stories that make me eligible, the same four short stories eligible for the Hugo.

Best Fanzine Hugo

Diabolical Plots itself for the Best Fanzine Hugo.

 

Best Short Story Hugo

Fruitful at Digital Science Fiction

The Infinite Onion at AE

Helpers at One Buck Horror

The Quest Unusual at Daily Science Fiction

Noms: John W. Campbell (and Hugo)

written by David Steffen

Hello, everyone! I wanted to bring to your attention that this is the first year that I am eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. My eligibility opened up because of publication of my story “Turning Back the Clock” in Bull Spec #3, so I figured I’d pander a bit for nominations, and while I’m at it, Hugo noms.

How can I vote?

Nominations–You can vote any time between now and March 26th. You are eligible to vote if you had an attending/supporting membership to last year’s World SF convention (AussieCon) or this year’s World SF convention (Renovation). You don’t actually have to attend to be able to vote–you can buy a “supporting” membership for $50. When you’re ready to vote the online or print ballots are available here. You can nominate 0-5 entries for each category. A list of categories is also available at that link.

Voting–Some time after the nomination round votes are counted, they’ll open up for the main voting. You’re eligible for this only if you’re an attending supporting member of this year’s World SF convention (Renovation)–not the difference in eligibility rules from the nomination round. There’s no link yet, but presumably it will be in a similar place to the nomination voting ballot.

What Categories?

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

I (David Steffen) am eligible for this one because of my qualifying sale to Bull Spec, for “Turning Back the Clock”. I think that any of my stories can be taken into consideration for this. If you want to read some of my work, most is available for free in some format, linked from my biblio page.

Best Short Story

I have two stories this year eligible for nomination:

“What Makes You Tick” in War of the Worlds:Â Frontlines. This was also reprinted in Brain Harvest where you can read it for free.

“Turning Back the Clock” in Bull Spec. You can get a PDF of the issue here for an optional donation.

Best Professional Artist/Best Fan Artist

Our resident artist Joey Jordan can be nominated for either of these categories. Her Bull Spec work qualifies for professional work, but she may also have other things eligible for fan art category. You can also check out her own web page.

Best Fan Writer

This could apply to anyone who has written nonfiction for Diabolical Plots in the last year, especially me (David Steffen) and Frank Dutkiewicz.

Best Fanzine

Diabolical Plots itself should be eligible for this.