Reading the Hugos (2018) Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™

I’ll use this story as an example of the dilemma any prospective writer who aspires to a reputation among the Noble People will encounter. You can write a good story, one that will stand on its own merits, capable of being read by people from all around the world, but at the cost of (probably) being ignored, or you can add a layer of fashionable dogma that will impoverish your story, restrict its appeal, and reduce its longevity, but with the possible reward of social approval or a nomination.

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Reading the Hugos (2018) Sun, Moon, Dust

Ursula Vernon has been nominated a few times for the Hugos, and I have read some of her stories (Jackalope’s Wife and The Tomato Thief.) I didn’t dislike or like them. I know I’m not their audience but, unlike what happens when I read other Hugo finalists, I didn’t get the feeling someone was trying to insult me. They had a personal touch and a bit of humor here and there, plus some of the elements that any Hugo finalists needs, but aside from that, I found them generally unexciting. Tepid.

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Reading the Hugos (2018) Fandom for Robots

Fandom for Robots, by Vina Jie-Min Prasad, is a 3530-word short story. It’s about fan fiction and fandoms, but I’m not sure it’s trully about robots. Some things happen, the robot-protagonist watches anime, fan fictions is described and ¿satirized? and the story ends with the (human) protagonist becoming Internet-popular.

These preceding sentences stood alone, in the draft version of this post, for a few days before I managed to write the rest (800 words,) which I have just deleted. Reading this short story was like a sort of reverse writer’s block, for although I had thousands of things to say about it, there’s was no point in doing so. This short story is harmless, annoyingly so. Even if you shaped it like a knife and tried to stab someone in the eyes with it, not even the UK government would consider it a dangerous weapon. Continue reading “Reading the Hugos (2018) Fandom for Robots”

Reading the Hugos (2018) “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand”

This is a tough one. When I read the, what at first seemed like a wonderfully nonsensical first sentence, of this story “There’s a ticket booth on my tongue” I felt that this was it, the Hugo story of this year, and if you have read my 2017 Hugo reviews, you know that’s not a compliment. But then I read the story, and I was seriously confused, first because it is, indeed, quite confusing, but also because it wasn’t what I was expecting. My fault, really; my PSTD from reading some other Hugo finalists, encountering this story’s jumpy, fragmented style and narrative, and the use of (oh-my-god) second-person narrator  (and the title! I mean, come on!) made me think that this was one of those artsy literary experiments (and it may be, to some extent.) And with that in mind, that’s how I read it… and I understood nothing. Then I read it again, without expecting anything, and I understood it a bit better. Finally, I read it a third time, and ah, then I got it (I think.)

tisamystery

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Reading the Hugos (2018) Carnival Nine

I regret to inform you, dear reader, that after reading the first Short Story nominee for this year’s Hugo Awards, I have come to the conclusion that Carnival Nine, for that is its name, is Not Awful. That may seem an uninformative score, but… not really, at least for me, as it is quite significant since what I usually expect is Awful.

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Reading the Hugos (2018): Introductory remarks

The 2018 Hugo nominees have been announced. Ahh,  the most prestigious Award in the most marvelous genres of fiction! Science, Fantasy, the marvel of cutting-edge technology, future societies, mystery, wonder, and… No, not really. This is the Hugos we are talking about. You won’t find much of that there.

Going in somewhat blind and not knowing what to expect, a year ago I reviewed the 2017 short-story finalists, and with one or two exceptions, they were all pretty bad, and hardly science fiction or fantasy at all. I don’t expect much of a difference this year, but I have skimmed the stories and, well, there may be a glimmer of hope, but, really, don’t get your hopes up — the bar was set too low anyway.

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These foking fockers focking focked language again: on swearing and fiction.

Today is the Lord’s Day so I won’t engage in any posting of wicked and evil news [edit: that was from when I used to post crazy daily news as part of my DISUM] for it is known that all journalists are servants of one devil or another, and reading their shrieking incantations for too long is a sure path to damnation and mental retardation. Instead, I’ll write about swearing in writing and the use of the word fuck.

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Sad and Rabid Cachorros, Spanish Commentariat Edition.

Yesterday, the Spanish online newspaper Crónica Global published an opinion piece about, of all the things, the Sad-Rabid Puppies Saga. It is an – interesting article, to say the least. It’s what you’d expect, really, but I was shocked by its vitriol. Although I guess that’s inevitable because, being something written for an audience that has probably never heard about the SP-RPs, one can get away with being ramblingly vicious or not bothering to source your claims. Lack of opposition, I guess.

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Reading Nebulas (2017) Things with Beards, by Sam J. Miller

By focusing on the Hugo Awards I may have given the impression that the problems with fashionable science fiction and fantasy are a “Hugo” problem. The Hugos have become a bit of a battlefield and an arena for various trollish antics (the only interesting thing about the Hugo Awards, if you ask me,) so that’s a reasonable misunderstanding. But it’s not a Hugo-only problem because the same symptoms can be seen in the other two big SFF Awards: Nebula and World Fantasy Award. And when I say the same I mean it because this year’s Nebula and Hugo short story nominees are almost the same:

Hugo Nebula WFA comparison

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Reading the Hugos: Super Secret Easter Egg short story finalist.

You might think that just because the Hugo awards have only six finalists, that means I should only review those six short stories. Bah! I’m a rebel, and I bow to no Law, no matter how clearly logical and sensical it may be. If I see a “No spitting here” sign, I spit on it, and if I see a list of six nominees, I metaphorically spit on it as well and then review the seventh story that wasn’t even nominated. That’s especially apt if that story is a kind of a review of some of the other stories. How more meta can you get? And isn’t that what Hugos are all about?

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