Jim Butcher

Hugo Nominees announcement and commentary (with associated Sad Puppies drama).

Edit: Someone associated with Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (awesome name) has contacted me to let me know that they weren’t even aware of the existence of Sad Puppy until AFTER their nomination, and are less than pleased about it. More on that later.

In many categories, I actually had to list off the rare selections that weren’t from the Sad Puppy slate, the Hugo Award’s first ever official political party. I should note that they’re unlikely to win many of them, since they don’t actually possess a majority- they instead exploited the fact that nominees seldom get more than a relatively small number of the votes, since there are a huge number of nominees to start with- people have different tastes, so it isn’t uncommon for there to be dozens of nominated best novels, for instance. It didn’t take that many votes for them to sweep the nominations. They claim that they’re doing it entirely on artistic merit, but since they also claim they’re doing it to fight supposed SJW conspiracies even more frequently, have a clearly organized structure, and are dedicated to voting as a bloc, I can confidently say that yes, it is political. The Hugos have always been political- it’s an award ceremony. They’re ALWAYS political. Sad Puppy, however, is the first of its kind. Frankly, I think it’s a terrible thing. I’ve tried to give them a fair shake, and I’m going to continue to do my best to do so, but I’m going to be very up front about the fact that I consider them to be both violating the spirit of the Hugos and associating with some frankly terrible people. (Well, mostly just Vox Day/Theodore Beale, professional racist/sexist/homophobe/transphobe/internet troll/pickup artist/Gamergate spokesman/ writer, and the only person ever kicked out of the SFWA. He highjacked their official Twitter feed to relay racist comments directed at another author.) My roommate remarked that this whole situation is very reminiscent of much of the current American political scene- his exact description was that it was a microcosm of the macrocosm, which I found rather apt. This piece outlines a course of action that I agree with pretty strongly- simply vote No Award above any piece on a political slate.

BEST NOVEL (1827 ballots)

  • Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books)
  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
  • Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos (47North)
  • Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Roc Books)

There are three Sad Puppies entries here- only Ancillary Sword and The Goblin Emperor are not on the list. I’m personally rooting for The Goblin Emperor- I’d be okay with Ancillary Sword winning, even though I thought that it wasn’t quite as good as Ancillary Justice (still great, though.) Skin Game was good, too- it’s a Dresden Files novel, though, and I’m a bit of a fanboy for Jim Butcher. I will, of course, read Lines of Departure and The Dark Before the Stars before making any firm decision. None of the nominated best novel authors listed on the Sad Puppy slate are a part of it, or have even provided any public commentary. Marko Kloos, however, retweeted a link to a blog post by John Scalzi that is distinctly and pointedly critical of Sad Puppies. That being said, none of the three appear to have repudiated Sad Puppies, either. In addition, Larry Correia reports to have declined a slot as a Hugo nominee, for the stated purpose of not having it be about him, and not distracting from the actual issues. Whether you think it is a classy move or a politically savvy one, it is certainly an intelligent move.

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Weekly Reading List: 1/11/15- 1/17/15

I know, I know, it’s late- but this weekend was my birthday weekend, so… yeah. 9 books isn’t a bad week at all, these days.

Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera, Book 1-6

Epic Fantasy, Reread

I’m not going to do an individual entry for each book in the series. Nope. Not happening. I’m way too tired for that. Anyhow, Furies of Calderon was my first introduction to Jim Butcher, well before I ever encountered the Dresden Files, and I honestly like the Codex Alera a lot more, which is really saying something, since I love me some Dresden Files. At six books, it’s much more manageable of a read than the Wheel of Time, or even A Song of Ice and Fire. (Which, although it has fewer books, has much, much longer individual entries. The Codex Alera books cap out around 700 pages.) Roman themed fantasy, while it definitely exists, is much, much rarer than “medieval European” themed fantasy, which is unfortunately dominant in the world of fantasy fiction today. About once a year, I get a hankering to reread the entire series. It happened pretty early this time around.

Adam Roberts’ Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea

Science Fiction

Oh, hey look, I did a review.

Clifford Simak’s Way Station

Science Fiction

Hey, look, a Hugo winner. Hmm. Maybe I’m reading Hugo winners for a reason, like I’m actually restarting my readthrough. (Yep.) Anyhow, more on this one later.

Brandon Sanderson’s The Alloy of Law

Fantasy, Reread

Brandon Sanderson probably gets more rereads from me than any other author. I don’t know if that necessarily makes him my favorite author, but it definitely says something good about him. The Alloy of Law is a followup to Sanderson’s bestselling Mistborn trilogy, but is set centuries later, in Scadrial’s equivalent of the Wild West. Magic-filled gunfights, hurrah! The seqeul and third book are coming out around the end of this year, so that’s something fun to look forwards to.

Plot Devices: If Geese is the plural of goose, what’s the plural of geas?

Magical compulsions are bread and butter in fantasy and folklore- the noble hero swearing a binding oath, or bewitched with a slave collar, or given a geas- it happens all the time. It’s honestly a little unusual to see a work of fantasy without anything like it.

It’s also one of the most dangerous plot devices to use without damaging the plausibility and internal consistency of your worldbuilding. Why? Because power seems more power, almost without fail. If a tool of magical compulsion exists, a government, dark lord, powerful wizard, or someone would logically try to use it on as many people as possible, barring constraints. (Plus magical compulsion itself is kinda disgusting.)
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