I’m not going to write another obituary. I’m just not. Instead, I’m going to link to this essay by Charlie Jane Anders, about a comic book that starred Prince as a superhero. And what was his super-power? Music.
The Hugo short list has been announced, to much discussion.
Best Novel Finalists are: Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie; The Cinder Spires (The Aeronaut’s Windlass) by Jim Butler; The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin, Seveneves by Neil Stephenson, Uprooted by Naomi Novik. A very interesting list; it includes “hard SF” (I’m looking at Seveneves), space opera, environmental SF (The Fifth Season) and fantasy. This is going to be a difficult choice!
Best Novella Finalists are: “Binti” by Nnedi Okorafor, “The Builders” by Daniel Polansky, “Penric’s Demon” by Lois McMaster Bujold, “Perfect State” by Brandon Sanderson, and “Slow Bullets” by Alistair Reynolds.
John C Campbell Best New Artist nominees are Pierce Brown, Sebastien de Castell, Brian Niemeier, Andy Weir and Alyssa Wong.
Thanks to all of you who voted for us for best fanzine. We did not make the final list, but I have already told Kat that I volunteer to go to Helsinki next year to pick up our award.
This is the link MidAmeriCon II provided for the entire list.
UPDATE: Thomas A May has withdrawn his story “The Commuter” from consideration.
The 1941 Retro Hugo short-list includes Ray Bradbury, Forrest Ackerman and H.P. Lovecraft.
Here is the full list for the Retro Hugos.
Books and Writing
N.K. Jemisin shares some of her favorite new reads in her NYT column.
Jemisin also used to blog to capture her thoughts about Hamilton, the hottest musical around these days (have you heard the soundtrack? You haven’t? Why haven’t you?). This is a brilliant examination of the musical itself, the mythology of America, and the uses of fantasy.
The Smithsonian has an interview with Andy Weir, which includes a tease of his newest book. It also uses the unfortunate phrase “lady lead,” (because at the Smithsonian, it’s 1972!) but we’ll let that go. (Courtesy of File 770).
Charles E Gannon hosted an “ask me anything” session at Reddit.
Big changes are coming at DC, with the “change in direction” of Vertigo, in order to “keep competitive and stay relevant.” I guess Vertigo’s trailblazing, set-the-standard days were over. While Executive Editor Shelly Bond will be leaving and her position eliminated, other key Vertigo players will remain on board “during the transition.” I think we all know what that means. (It doesn’t mean they’re staying, in other words.)
Here is an article about Shelly Bond from 2014. When Bond stepped into the Executive Editor position she took over from Karen Berger, who brought some of the following artists and writers to Vertigo: Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore and Brian K. Vaughan. Bond herself is noted for publishing Coffin Hill by Caitlin Kittredge and Inaki Miranda as well as works by Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez and of course Neil Gaiman again (and Fables). Comicsbeat sees the decision as financially inspired (if wrong); in spite of the fact that many of Vertigo’s projects have made it to the small screen (Lucifer and iZombie as examples) sales were dropping. The article also suggests that the internet will “overflow” with opinions, and they were correct.
LitHub provided a free short story by Joan Aiken, from her collection The People in the Castle. And Clarkesworld has put up “The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees” by E. Lily Yu, here. This is a really strange story that snares the imagination. If I were critiquing this in my writing group, I think I’d be saying, “This is fascinating, but I want to know more. Are you sure this isn’t part of a novel?”
Scott Barry Kaufman writes an interesting article on creativity at the Scientific American blog. Some of these seemed intuitive to me, but the mapping of “failures” after big successes, and the idea that quality is not a linear progression for a creative person was an insight.
What is it about Twitter in particular, social media in general, and our delight in frothing storms of outrage? Vox.com has an idea. This article shares some theories about Twitter, third-party attack mentality and moral outrage.
Whenever humans come up with something new, other humans figure out a way to scam it. In this case, it’s Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, a program that is a boon to indie writers… and is now getting scammed. This scam, by the way, doesn’t hurt Amazon at all right now, since its payment pool for KU authors is a flat rate set each month. It only hurts writers and readers.
John Scalzi has a few words on the subject, too, mostly a gentle (okay, not so gentle) reminder that publishing, whether conventional or independent, is a business, and that it’s never about fairness, it’s about what you agreed to in your contract.
In the gaming world, a little homage to Star Wars, the Force Awakens.
Movies and TV
It’s official: Doctor Who’s new companion will be played by Pearl Mackie, and her name is Bill.
BBC provides some information on the actor. There isn’t so much about the character (except we know she’s never seen a Dalek before) but a couple of commenters have noted that she seems to have a 1980s vibe. That could be fun.
Can this be real? A Farscape movie? I would love for it to be real.
Huntsman; the Winter War, or as Charlie Jane Anders calls it, The Contractual Obligation Movie, opened last week. Anders reviews it here. This is another brilliant review by Anders.
This abandoned Vietnamese water park has become the latest cool spot for extreme tourism.
Ooh such a diverse Hugo list this year!
Especially Novel and Novella. Some of the choices in visual media are good and some are perplexing to me, but that’s the nature of awards.
A friend of mine referred to the Hunstman movie as “creepy head-canon Elsa and Anna,” which seems as accurate as anything else I’ve seen.
Charlie Jane agrees with you.