End is Near! Send me Recs!

Hugo recommendation season is winding down, and thankfully many people are talking about recommendations. Last time I opened it up to everything, which, unfortunately, meant I didn’t get much of anything. 🙂

A few recommendations came through, but let’s try to push this through to the end and hit every category. So today and tomorrow (Tuesday and Wednesday) submit recommendations for Best Related Work and Best Editor (Long Form). Then I will do a couple days of the next, etc.

To get you started, I know George R.R. Martin had several good posts on Editor (Long Form):


And one on Related Work:


Sad Puppies 4 has been getting some ink lately (and not necessarily in a good way), but their comment threads do have some good starting points to look for works to consider:

Best Editor (Long Form) and Best Related Work

The Bay Area Science Fiction Association has a site listing their recommendations including for our current purposes:

Best Editor (Long Form) and Best Related Work

[If you know of other recommendation round-ups, let me know! These are ones I just happened to already have seen, but certainly far from thorough.]

Unfortunately, many of these are just lists with little to no information. So, they are useful starting points to consider recommendations, but I am most interested in hearing WHY they should be recommended. At least a paragraph, please. So, do some considering today and tomorrow and then, please, post some recommendations and then submit the links! (I will also leave this open for comments if you want to post recommendations here rather than in your own blogs/Facebook/Goodreads/other spaces. Just please tell us why the work or person should be recommended, not just listing a name or title. Thanks!!


All Other Fiction

Life has been even more difficult and time consuming lately and time is running out. So how about we take recs for all other prose fiction categories – short story through novella this week. Was hoping to keep things spread out, but I’d rather not miss anything.

So send in your recs (someone already did, which prompted this – thank you!, I will start posting them somewhere in Monday to Wednesday depending on my schedule and how many come in. Then I will figure out how to lump together the other remaining categories, but we might just be getting to a free-for-all any and all categories soon. 🙂

Thank you all!

Submit Best Fan Artist Recommendations

Alrighty, 2016 is off to a very rocky start with my family (it’s not a good week that starts with your teenage daughter attending the funeral of one of her friends), but to be grandiose for a moment, there are still amazing things out there that make being a human being experiencing the universe at this point in history a grand and wonderful thing, and art is very high among them.

So let’s get some Best Fan Artist recommendations in, and share the amazing work that has been created this past year. I’m eager to be entertained, distracted, awed, touched, and inspired and I hope the rest of you are as well.

So post recommendations on your blogs or Facebook, or if you don’t have a place, SP4 has their open threads, and then please submit links to the recommendations with our form. I will also leave this post open for recommendation comments.

I know some artists aren’t always clear on what year their work is from, or sometimes whether it is professional or fan work, but just use your best guess and when in doubt, recommend anyway! Just note you aren’t sure about eligibility and maybe someone else more familiar (or the artists themselves) can clarify.

Lastly, it looks like nominations are opening any day now, and we are still well behind schedule. So I may group a few items up (like novella and novelette perhaps since both are rarer and sometime people are unsure of which category a work belongs), but we will see. I don’t want to shortchange any category, but this first year is working out the kinks and seeing what works and what doesn’t. I can rethink things for next year.

However, next week I will be on point with posting for one of the biggies – Best Novel. So get ready to start recommending those!

Thank you and take care.

Submit Best Dramatic Presentations recommendations!

Here are the submission form and some general guidelines for all submissions.

This week(ish) I am collecting links to recommendations for Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form and up next is Long Form. So feel free to start submitting both if you like!

Although I’m sure the (well-deserved) perennial recommendations for Doctor Who and Game of Thrones will appear (and please do recommend your favorites from each of those – don’t assume just because they are popular, you don’t need to speak up for them!), I am interested in seeing what other recommendations there are. Sci Fi television is growing nicely especially with Amazon and Netflix getting into the game, and SyFy making a turn back towards the SciFi (beyond MegaBearricane vs. SnailSuperStorm).

What is award-worthy this year and, most importantly, why is it award worthy?

It seems with TV and film, people are far more spoiler-worried, so I humbly request (but don’t require) if you want to include spoilers in your recommendation, please start with the spoiler-free stuff and then warn before hitting spoilers. It’s the polite thing to do. Plus, since that vast majority (if not all) of these will be episodes in an on-going series, it would be extra nice if you included some background info in case someone who has never watched/listened to the series wants to drop in on that one episode you recommend.

Also, TV series seem to always dominate this category, but audio productions qualify as well. So professional podcasts are included (why, oh why hasn’t Welcome to Night Vale not been nominated?!), as well as Radio Dramas common to the BBC (trying to track down if Good Omens was all in December of 2014 or if it lasted into early 2015, as well as what they definitely aired this year).

There is also the occasional series/season-as-a-whole for Long Form debate as well. At a glance, it seems only Heroes Season 1 was nominated and lost, and Game of Thrones Season 1 was nominated and won. So it’s rare, but with more and more of these shows having a much stronger central storyline across an entire season, I can easily seeing it become more common. Netflix is certainly moving in that direction with Daredevil and Sense8 and such (and I’m sure others, Amazon’s Man in the High Castle maybe?, but I’m behind in my watching). Add in mini-series and radio dramas, and I can see motion pictures getting some strong competition – although there are several strong movie contenders as well. Either way, submit your dramatic presentation recommendations of any length, and just make a best guess for category.

I’m sliding into being biased, so I will save that for my own recommendations I will write up in the next few days. If you don’t have a blog or other space of you own, Long Form dramatic presentation has an open thread at Weird Kitties if you like, and Sad Puppies 4 has open threads for Short Form and Long Form. Or I will leave comments open on this message for people to post recommendations if necessary. Remember, I prefer at least a paragraph saying why you loved it.

Thank you for your submissions, and let’s share the love for some great sci fi and fantasy presentations!

Best Editor (Short Form) this week!

After a little break last week, now it is time to focus on Best Editor (Short Form). From the Hugo website, the eligibility is described as “To be eligible the person must have edited at least four anthologies, collections or magazine issues devoted to science fiction and/or fantasy, at least one of which must have been published in the year of eligibility.” I know there is definitely a storied history here, as well as many seeing this award as the pseudo-best professional magazine or anthology sorta kinda wink wink category.

However, leaving that aside for the moment, I think there is an important clarification necessary. I have heard many fans in the past talk about how it is impossible for fans to know who is good at editing, and asking for voting packets to include unedited material so that the fans can judge their editing skills.

This misses much of the point. For one thing, strict copyediting of cleaning up actual text is a very small part of an editor’s job (and might be even be someone else’s job in some cases with large publishers). A large part of an editor’s job – especially for anthologies, collections, and magazines – is deciding what should or should not be in there. They set the direction and focus of those publications. Yes, they also quite often work to improve the story itself either with high level notes about plot and theme, or at the level of direct copyediting. But something fans can see without side by side comparisons of edited and unedited works is the choices made to create the anthology or magazine.

Were the selected stories and articles interesting, insightful, fun, whatever? Were the stories uneven – some gems and a lot of mediocre? Were they all well-chosen and solid stories?

If there was a topic, how original and interesting was the topic? How well did the stories fit it?

I can see how thinking along these lines can lead the category towards being a kinda sorta best anthology/pro-mag award, and that doesn’t seem to be a bad thing. People often assume from the job title of “editor” that it simply involves editing – fixing grammar, and so on. Although that is an important part of the publishing process, in my mind, at least, that level of work is on par with Best Typesetting and Best Binding – a minimum standard that takes skill but should be present in all publications, and not especially award-worthy. Maybe the level up from that of tightening a storyline, or removing unnecessary droning explanations, takes more finesse, but again is probably more apparent in its absence than its presence.

However, the aspects of an editor’s job that involves story selection, theme setting, deciding on the overall direction and style of a publication, and so on are most certainly award-worthy. With something like Best Editor (Short Form), it is actually even easier to judge that than it is with Best Editor (Long Form) – for one thing, it is much clearer who the editors are, which is handy.

Judge and recommend as you will. Even feel free to disagree with my assessment of the category. Other than the eligibility standards, fans are welcome to nominate and vote based on whatever criteria they like. But, please take some time this week to look over the pro-magazines, anthologies, and collections published this past year and see what strikes you as award-worthy work and submit a recommendation. With the growth of anthologies recently (especially through Kickstarter), this is a very exciting category and I can’t wait to read what people think.

Best Professional Artist Recommendations

This week is Best Professional Artist which I have definitely been looking forward to! With that I add an option to the submission form for a preview image if there is one particular image you think stands out. Also, we can see about using it when we get to things like Novels and other works that have definite covers. Either way, it’s optional right now.

If you are unsure if the work is eligible for Best Professional Artist or Best Fan Artist, just take your best guess (Best Fan Artist is in January to mix it up some). It is based on whether the artwork appeared in a professional publication, not on whether the artist is a full time artist or paid for their work. So a general rule of thumb is if it is a book cover or interior illustration of a book or professional magazine, it is professional work. Other stuff including semiprozine art or art on websites (personal, Deviant Art, etc.) is probably fan art – even if the artist is a full time artist living off of t-shirts and other merchandising.

A great place to start looking – and to possibly post recommendations – is on Tumblr, and the Hugo Eligible Art 2015 tumblr blog.  I have discovered several new artists there. It includes both Professional and Fan art, but they are usually tagged whether they are fan or pro art.

Comments are open for those who don’t have another place to post, but I don’t know yet how well images will embed – and this is a week where images would be really handy. But I also heartily recommend posting to the Hugo Eligible Art 2015 tumblr blog mentioned above to help them have as wide of a repository as possible. The more who see recommendations and are informed this Hugo season, the better!

Please submit links to recommendations with this form (or as a comment below if you don’t have anywhere to post a rec).

Now let’s see some artwork!!

Best Fan Writer – submit your recommendations!

That you all for some great recommendations last week for Best Semiprozine. Yet again, I’m a little late this week with getting Best Fan Writer going, which is unfortunate since it is a category that definitely deserves more attention than it normally gets! This is also the first of the award categories in the season devoted to a person rather than a work or series of works.

However, I do have some recommendations that have been submitted and will start posting them tomorrow. Additionally, I highly encourage everyone to consider Best Fan Writer recommendations. On the one hand, this is a category that is always on the low end of nominations, but on the other hand, it’s to a large extent it’s currently dominated by bloggers – which makes up a large chunk of the reading many of us do!

Mind you, Best Fan Writer doesn’t have to be blog writing, although that tends to be the majority. Basically, it is any SFF-related writing that does not appear in a professional publication. So semiprozine, fanzine, blog, whatever.

Furthermore, it seems that quite often professional writers are nominated and win the award as well. An interesting discussion about professionals winning Best Fan Writer occurred about a year and a half ago between Mike Glyer and John Scalzi. Definitely an interesting set of reads.

So please submit your recommendations over the next couple days – preferably through the online form in order to link to a blog, Facebook post, etc. or if you do not have any other decent options, as a comment in reply to this post. Just please make sure to take the time and explain WHY you liked that person’s work so much. If it is available online writing (such as a blog) a link would be useful as well.

Thank you!

Semiprozine Recommendation Thread

In response to a comment by CJ, I think I will try allowing people to post recommendations as comments to this post. I have been hesitant to have open threads like this and instead focus on linking to recommendations on other sites because I don’t have the time to devote to moderating comments, and comment threads succeed or crash and burn in large part due to moderation.

I still prefer linking to recommendations you post elsewhere, but, ultimately, I am more interested in as many recommendations as possible.

So feel free to recommend any semiprozines in a comment below (again, preferably 150 words or more – something more substantial than “Hey this one is great!”). Thanks!