Discussion will resume next week

My apologies for the silence. There was an unexpected death in my family. But life is settling back into some sense of normalcy, so next week I do want to get this rolling again in what time we have left. Obviously there will be some compression and I am certainly behind in my reading. But any of you who want to chime in and discuss these works, I wanted to give you warning that we will get things moving again in a few days, but it will be moving quite quickly.

Thank you.

Next Week – Best Movie! (2016)

I have a schedule worked out and will get it posted hopefully later today once I pretty it up some. We will start on May 9 with 2016 Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) since:

  • I would be astounded if those finalists were included in the voter packet,
  • most of us are probably already familiar with the finalists, and should be able to access them easily if not,
  • I don’t see a problem discussing these on their merits alone,
  • it’s an exciting category with some really fun finalists, and
  • I didn’t get to it during nomination season.

The plan is every weekday to open a thread on each of the finalists in order listed on the Hugo site. Then just comment away and discuss them!! I will leave all comment threads open for the duration of the voting period. So, even though we will focus on particular categories each week, you can comment on them from that point on.

My main restriction is that on this site, we will only discuss the finalists on their merits as award worthy or not. Discussions of how they were nominated, larger cultural issues, etc. are all very important, but, those discussions are taking place in dozens upon dozens of other locations. Here we will only talk about the finalist works themselves.

Then on May 16, we will move on to:

  • 1941 Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) to give some time for people to watch them since many of us haven’t seen most of these
  • 2016 Best Related Work & John W. Campbell Award for New Writer since we need to double up some, and with something like the Campbell where there is the possibility of a body of multiple works, it would be useful to early on discuss what might be most award worthy (by those who are familiar with the writer) and then those of us who aren’t can have time to become familiar.



I managed to track down general availability of the movies and listed that below. If anyone has other commonly available sources, let me know.

2016 Finalist Thread opens Netflix Hulu iTunes Amazon YouTube
Avengers: Age of Ultron May 9 no no Yes Yes (no rent?, free with Starz sub) Purchase
Ex Machina May 10 no no Yes Yes, free rent with Amazon Prime Rent or purchase
Mad Max: Fury Road May 11 no no Yes, no rent Yes, no rent Purchase
The Martian May 12 no no Yes Yes Rent or purchase
Star Wars: The Force Awakens May 13 no no Yes Yes Rent or purchase

And for the following wee, here is what I could find for the 1941 Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form). When looking for these, make sure to watch out for other versions from different years. Look for the 1940 version.

1941 Finalist Thread opens Netflix Hulu iTunes Amazon YouTube
Dr. Cyclops May 16 No no no DVD/VHS Yes
Fantasia May 17 Yes Yes no DVD/Blu-Ray no
Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe May 18 no no no Rent, Free with CONtv? (free trial), DVD Yes
One Million B.C.  May 19 no no no used VHS Yes
The Thief of Bagdad May 20 no Yes no DVD/Blu-Ray no

Getting ready to talk about the Hugo Finalists!

I’m sure you all have seen it, but if not, the 2016 Hugo Finalists have been announced as well as the 1941 Retro Hugo Finalists. So, in my hopes to find a least one space on the intertubes where it is 100% about the works, I’m open to having discussion of them here if people are interested.

I’m sure you all have seen it, but if not, the 2016 Hugo Finalists have been announced as well as the 1941 Retro Hugo Finalists.

There will be inevitable debate and rancor over slating and such, but this year, personally, that doesn’t matter to me. Like I commented over at File770 (in before crash!), the “slate” was such a mixed bag to begin with, that slated or not doesn’t seem like a big deal when deciding on how to vote. (May be a very big deal when it comes to approving EPH, but that’s a discussion for elsewhere – an important one, but not the focus here).

So, in my hopes to find a least one space  on the intertubes where it is 100% about the works, I’m open to having discussion of them here if people are interested. (Any comments that even use the word “slate” will probably be moderated. There’s plenty of other places to discuss that aspect of the Hugos.) 🙂 There was a small crowd that was following the recommendations here by the end and I am no longer working two full time jobs, so I might actually be able to stay on top of this! I especially like the idea of having Focus Weeks since many categories often get overlooked.

There are 11 Retro categories and 17 non-Retro. Considering how few of my nominations made it to the final ballot, I know I need to track down a lot of these works. Some stuff is easily accessible to look at now, some stuff the Voting Packet will help with (if there is one, remember, nothing is promised with that!). I don’t see a deadline for voting yet, but last year it closed on July 31. So, assuming something similar, there is about 3 months. So we will have to double up some, but not unreasonable.

If you know of any of the nominated works that are available online for free (or behind common subscription walls – like how many of the Dramatic Presentations are available on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or other major subscription packages for example), please comment below. I will compile a list and post it later this week. If works are only available for payment, I will include those as well (because authors deserve to get paid, of course). Thank you!

Best Fancast focus week postponed

Sorry, it’s been a crazy week for me with some unexpected stuff that came up. Plus us Americans have this holiday thing. 🙂 So, we can do fancast later. I would like to fit it in soon since someone suggested it would be great to spend time during holiday travels listening.

But for the moment, let’s plan on moving to Best Editor (short form) next week and go from there. I will update the schedule soon with how we can work it out.

So, for those celebrating and traveling for Thanksgiving – try finding some fancasts that look interesting. We will try to get some people recommending some a bit later.

Thank you!

Submit your recommendations!

I’m a bit behind (lousy day job), but I figured this might be a slow start anyway. Hopefully it will grow over time,

However, I have created the submission form and the basic guidelines of what I am looking for.

Please submit recommendation links here.

And please, definitely spread the word and the link. The more people we get talking about the works, the better this Hugo season will be.

Links to recommendations for any category are being accepted, but especially need Best Semiprozine and Best Fan Writer recommendations ASAP.

Thank you!

Revised Schedule

Based on feedback I have received and general ponderings on my own, here is my (possibly final) proposed schedule for the focus weeks:
Nov 1 – Best Semiprozine
Nov 8 – Best Fan Writer

Based on feedback I have received and general ponderings on my own, here is my (possibly final) proposed schedule for the focus weeks:

Nov 1 – Best Semiprozine
Nov 8 – Best Fan Writer
Nov 15 – Best Professional Artist
Nov 22 – Best Fancast
Nov 29 – Best Editor (Short Form)
Dec 6 – Best Fanzine
Dec 13 – Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
Dec 20 – Break
Dec 27 – Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
Jan 3 – Best Fan Artist
Jan 10 – Best Novel
Jan 17 – Best Short Story
Jan 24 – Best Related Work
Jan 31 – Best Editor (Long Form)
Feb 7 – Best Novella
Feb 14 – Best Graphic Story
Feb 21 – Best Novelette
Feb 28 – The John W. Campbell Award
Mar 6 – Late Arrivals

I would have link round-up posts Monday through Friday. On the weekends we could possibly have posts for the Retro Hugos. Or if they announce the categories sooner rather than later, we could start early with the Retros, but we will see.

Further thoughts and opinions?

Tentative Schedule

Here is my first pass at a schedule for the focus weeks during Recommendation Season.

Focus Week Schedule (tentative)

Oct 18 – Best Novel
Oct 25 – The John W. Campbell Award
Nov 1 –  Best Related Work
Nov 8 –  Best Editor (Long Form)
Nov 15 – Best Fan Writer
Nov 22 – Best Novella
Nov 29 – Best Semiprozine
Dec 6 – Best Novelette
Dec 13 – Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
Dec 20 – Break
Dec 27 – Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
Jan 3 – Best Editor (Short Form)
Jan 10 – Best Short Story
Jan 17 – Best Graphic Story
Jan 24 – Best Fancast
Jan 31 – Best Fanzine
Feb 7 – Best Professional Artist
Feb 14 – Best Fan Artist
Feb 21 – Late Arrivals
Feb 28 – Late Arrivals Week 2?

My thinking was as follows:

  • Lead with Best Novel. Good to start with a big one (many would argue *the* big one) to get as much interest as early as possible.
  • Related to that, have categories that might be more time consuming nearer the front to give more time for reading recommendations you like. So novel, definitely early. The (non-Hugo) Campbell Award for New Writer have early since it’s about people who may have several works, including novels. Same for Best Editor Long Form.
  • Mix it up some. This is my randomly just kind of adding things to dates by feel, ineffable guide.
  • Not have all of the fan awards at the end – although I’m not sure I satisfied that one well. I worried that with things like Best Novel, Campbell, and various prose categories at the beginning, it might fizzle more at the end with less interest. However, there is also the fact that the later half will be during actual nomination season. So there might be more interest overall during January and February than November and December, so it might be a wash.
  • I did add both artist categories at the end. The only reason for this is that, unlike, say novels, zines, or even short stories, evaluating what artists’ works you like and don’t can be pretty quick. We can be such visual creatures, we can seem to judge visual creative works faster than written. So leave the quickest for the end, I figured.
  • I left a break for Christmas/other December holidays, both because I will personally be traveling to visit family quite a bit then and because I’m a firm believer in breaks to rest and recharge.
  • Finally, I added a week or two at the end for works that come out in November or December after their focus weeks and things people simply thought of later. Might do “focus days” or something here and combine some categories. We will see.
  • Edited to add: Also, I went for mid-October to end of February because I wanted to finish before March so that there was time to check out things that caught your eye during recommendations, plus 1 week per category including the (not a Hugo) Campbell. So that pushed it to mid-October. We could shift it a couple weeks and have the Late Arrivals week or two in March and start November 1 (which was my original intent until I did the math).

Thoughts? Opinions? This seem workable? What should be moved where?

Moving Forward

I am suggesting to the wider SFF community that we have a Hugo Recommendation Season. Let’s talk about what works and creators we think are great from this year and share our enthusiasm with everyone. I’m still working out the details, but my idea is to use this blog to collect links to recommendation posts.

An invitation all fans to take part in the 2016 Hugo Recommendation Season.

The 2015 Hugo Awards are over and it certainly wasn’t pretty. However, it is what it is, and many of us are looking towards 2016 and moving forward. There seems to be even more anger and deeper divides now that the awards are over and that is not healthy for fans or the Hugos. Don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in listening to the same arguments that have been regurgitated for the next year.

Personally, I’m interested in the works and know I’m not alone in that. Also, this year many more eyes will be on the nominating process, but like other fans, I have rarely nominated anything. I tend to be a slow reader, and usually far, far behind in my To-Be-Read pile. Embarrassingly behind, in fact. It’s somehow even worse than my To-Be-Watched pile (speaking of which, I *really* need to get watching Orphan Black!).

On top of that, I am one the newer arrivals to the Hugos having only followed them closely for the past few years, and I will admit that I wouldn’t recognize a “semiprozine” without a prescription (#DadJokes). I’m also glad I’m not the only one with no idea on how to pick Best Editor nominees without a lot of research or following the herd.

I am suggesting to the wider SFF community that we have a Hugo Recommendation Season. Let’s talk about what works and creators we think are great from this year and share our enthusiasm with everyone. Most everyone seems to agree that the Hugo Awards should be about great work even if we disagree on what makes it great. So let’s make this year be about great work.

I’m sure there will still be plenty of accusations and name-calling flying around, but it’s gotten so nasty, I no longer care about that. I want to help make a space for EVERYONE to be able to talk about what works they enjoy and why – for ALL categories. I see some people already listing off some novels they like, a short story or two, maybe some TV episodes. But I also want to know which artists are doing great work this year. I want to hear people talk about their favorite ‘zines – both fan and semipro. And, please, tell us what editors are doing great work this year and why! And so on.

There are already a wiki and a spreadsheet with people listing eligible works – which will certainly be useful – but I want more. Plus, there are countless comments buried in forum posts where people mention “Hey, this is cool”, but it’s not easy finding all of those, and they are usually little more than statements of “I liked this.” I want someone who loves a work tell us why they love it. I want to read a fan geeking out over something that excites them.

I’m still working out the details over the next couple weeks, but my idea is to use this blog to collect links to recommendation posts. I will post links to anyone’s recommendations. Anyone. As long as they are talking about why they enjoyed a story or ‘zine or admire an artist or editor, I will include it. As long as it’s not an attack disguised as a recommendation (e.g. “This book is great because it’s not the usual garbage [fill in the blank with some derisive name for some other group] likes!”), I will include it. Sad Puppy, non-Puppy, whatever. Tor, Baen, self-published indie, it’s all good. I don’t care about affiliations, or campaigns, or whatever. I just want posts from individual fans being fans.

Since the nomination window will be from early January to late March, I was thinking in October or early November starting the 2016 Hugo Recommendation Season with a focus category every week. We can lead off with Best Novel and work back, both because that gives people more time to read longer recommended works (or ask for them during one of the gift giving holidays) and to gather interest at the beginning with one of the most popular categories.

Each week, people could post on blogs, Facebook, or whatever, the works they enjoyed in that category and most importantly WHY they enjoyed it. Send me the links (in a form I will make to help coordinate this) and I will post collections of them during that week. At the end of the Recommendation Season we would include additional focus days for works that came out at the end of the year or other late additions.

Let people have their arguments and their mocking and their accusations. I’m tired of it. I want to spend this Hugo Recommendation Season reading positive articles about what people love. How about you?

-Ken Marable

P.S. Checking the MidAmeriCon II site, I just noticed this is also a Retro Hugo year! They will “be soliciting and publishing articles by members of the SF community to provide an overview of the works from 1940 that are eligible for nominations,” so hopefully that should inform us well. I will certainly be keeping a close eye on that and signal boosting as much as possible!