Sun
Jun 12 2011 10:16am

Hugo Nominees: 1987

1987 Hugo Award trophy

The 1987 Hugo Awards were awarded at Conspiracy, in Brighton. The best novel award went to Orson Scott Card for Speaker for the Dead — the sequel to the 1986 winner Ender’s Game. It’s unusual for a sequel to win, and this is the first time it happened two years in a row like this. And it’s another good winner, and another book about which I am conflicted.

I remember buying Speaker for the Dead. I can often remember reading a book for the first time, but it’s not often I remember buying one. It was in Forbidden Planet in London, and I didn’t know it existed but of course the title told me it was connected to Ender’s Game, and I can still remember that shock of joy when I found it. And I did love it—even more than Ender’s Game. It has aliens and spaceships and an intelligent computer. It has distance between the stars measured not in kilometers but in years. It had the fascinating comparison of human, ramen, and varelse. I wish I still loved it, I really do. But you can’t unsee the man behind the curtain. It’s so very manipulative. It pushed my buttons then and now it doesn’t.

It’s in print, it’s in the Grande Bibliotheque (hereafter “the library”) in French only. It’s definitely still being read and talked about. I would absolutely have voted for it in 1987.

There are four other nominees of which I have read two—the lowest for some time.

Let’s start with the ones I haven’t read. I haven’t read L. Ron Hubbard’s Black Genesis because it didn’t look like my kind of thing. It’s not in print and it’s in the library in English only. There was some controversy about the nomination and the role of the publishers at the con, and it came last in the voting below No Award.

I haven’t read William Gibson’s Count Zero because I hated Neuromancer.  It’s in print, and it’s in the library in English. It came third in the voting.

I have read, and written about, Vernor Vinge’s Marooned in Realtime (post). I loved it in 1987, I continue to love it. It’s a post-singularity story about a murder investigation in geological time. It’s in print, but it’s not in the library. It’s a sequel to The Peace War, but it stands alone. This is what I’d vote for if I had to vote on this list now. It came fourth in the voting, perhaps because this was a British worldcon and there was not yet a UK edition, so many of the voters wouldn’t have had the chance to read it.

Bob Shaw’s The Ragged Astronauts is a romp about two planets close enough to share an atmosphere and traveling between them in a balloon. It was a lot of fun, but not really Hugo worthy. It’s not in print and it’s not in the library and I don’t think it has lasted. However, it won the BSFA Award and came second in the Hugo voting, so clearly other people liked it more than I did.

So. all men, four American and one British, all SF. One with aliens and spaceships, one cyberpunk, one novel of ideas, one romp, and I have no idea how to categorise the Hubbard.

An odd year. What else might they have chosen?

SFWA’s Nebula Award also went to Card. Eligible non-overlapping nominees were Leigh Kennedy’s The Journal of Nicholas the American, and James Morrow’s brilliant and chilling This is the Way the World Ends, which I think would have made a good addition to the Hugo ballot.,

Patrick Suskind’s Perfume won the World Fantasy Award. Other nominees were Stephen King’s It, Charles L. Grant’s The Pet, Gene Wolfe’s Soldier of the Mist, Dean R, Koontz’s Strangers, Terry Bisson’s Talking Man (post), and Margaret Mahy’s The Tricksters.

The John W. Campbell Memorial Award went to Joan Slonczewski’s Door Into Ocean, a book that really should have been a Hugo nominee. Second place went to Morrow and third to Card.

The Philip K. Dick Award went to James Blaylock’s Homunculus, with a special citation to Jack McDevitt’s The Hercules Text. Other nominees were Artificial Things, Karen Joy Fowler and A Hidden Place, Robert Charles Wilson.

The Locus SF Award went to Card. Other nominees not already mentioned: Heart of the Comet, Gregory Benford & David Brin, The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood, Foundation and Earth, Isaac Asimov, Chanur’s Homecoming, C. J. Cherryh, The Songs of Distant Earth, Arthur C. Clarke, The Coming of the Quantum Cats, Frederik Pohl, Santiago, Mike Resnick, Enigma, Michael P. Kube-McDowell, When Gravity Fails, George Alec Effinger (post), Lear’s Daughters, M. Bradley Kellogg with William Rossow (post), Star of Gypsies, Robert Silverberg, Nerilka’s Story, Anne McCaffrey, The Warrior’s Apprentice, Lois McMaster Bujold (post). The Moon Goddess and the Son, Donald Kingsbury, Hardwired, Walter Jon Williams, The Architect of Sleep, Steven R. Boyett, Venus of Dreams, Pamela Sargent, The Nimrod Hunt, Charles Sheffield, The Forever Man, Gordon R. Dickson, Rebels’ Seed, F. M. Busby.

A lot of good stuff there, but the standout is the Effinger, which absolutely should have been Hugo nominated.

The Locus Fantasy Award went to Soldier in the Mist. Other nominees not yet mentioned: Blood of Amber, Roger Zelazny, Godbody, Theodore Sturgeon, Twisting the Rope, R. A. MacAvoy, The Folk of the Air, Peter S. Beagle, The Serpent Mage, Greg Bear, Wizard of the Pigeons, Megan Lindholm (post), The Quest for Saint Camber, Katherine Kurtz, A Darkness at Sethanon, Raymond E. Feist, The Mirror of Her Dreams, Stephen R. Donaldson, The Darkest Road, Guy Gavriel Kay, Magic Kingdom For Sale—Sold!, Terry Brooks, Wielding a Red Sword, Piers Anthony, The Falling Woman, Pat Murphy, The Dragon in the Sword, Michael Moorcock, Jinian Star-Eye, Sheri S. Tepper, New York by Knight, Esther M. Friesner, The King of Ys: Roma Mater, Poul Anderson & Karen Anderson, The Hounds of God, Judith Tarr, The Unconquered Country, Geoff Ryman, Yarrow, Charles de Lint, The Hungry Moon, Ramsey Campbell, Dragonsbane, Barbara Hambly, A Voice for Princess, John Morressy, Talking Man, Terry Bisson.

Peter Beagle’s The Folk of the Air won the Mythopoeic Award, Marooned in Realtime won the Prometheus Award.

So the Hugo list missed When Gravity Fails and The Warrior’s Apprentice and The Door Into Ocean and This is the Way the World Ends—a lot of really excellent stuff that wasn’t on the ballot. So I’d say this wasn’t a good year.

Other categories

NOVELLA

  • “Gilgamesh in the Outback” by Robert Silverberg [Asimov’s Jul 1986; Rebels in Hell, 1986]
  • “Escape from Kathmandu” by Kim Stanley Robinson [Asimov’s Sep 1986]
  • “R & R” by Lucius Shepard [Asimov’s Apr 1986]
  • “Spice Pogrom” by Connie Willis [Asimov’s Oct 1986]
  • “Eifelheim” by Michael F. Flynn [Analog Nov 1986]

For the first time, these are in order of how they ranked in the voting.

NOVELETTE

  • “Permafrost” by Roger Zelazny [Omni Apr 1986]
  • “Thor Meets Captain America” by David Brin [F&SF Jul 1986]
  • “The Winter Market” by William Gibson [Stardate Mar/Apr 1986; Interzone #15 Spr 1986]
  • “Hatrack River” by Orson Scott Card [Asimov’s Aug 1986]
  • “The Barbarian Princess” by Vernor Vinge [Analog Sep 1986]

I’d have voted for the Card, for sure. British voters would not have seen it. I remember when I got hold of the Asimov’s with that in, and it was June of 1987—I was reading it when I moved into my house in Lancaster—I sat down on the kitchen counter to finish it because the furniture hadn’t been delivered yet. And I’d have bought the magazine as soon as I saw it. Omni, on the other hand, was easily available, and Interzone of course.

SHORT STORY

  • “Tangents” by Greg Bear [Omni Jan 1986]
  • “Robot Dreams” by Isaac Asimov [Robot Dreams, 1986; Asimov’s mid-Dec 1986]
  • “The Boy Who Plaited Manes” by Nancy Springer [F&SF Oct 1986]
  • “Still Life” by David S. Garnett [F&SF Mar 1986]
  • “Rat” by James Patrick Kelly [F&SF Jun 1986]

BEST RELATED NON-FICTION

  • Trillion Year Spree by Brian W. Aldiss and David Wingrove [Gollancz, 1986; Atheneum, 1986]
  • The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, Klaus Jenson and Lynn Varley [DC/Warner, 1986]
  • Industrial Light and Magic: The Art of Special Effects by Thomas G. Smith [Ballantine Del Rey, 1986]
  • Science Fiction in Print: 1985 by Charles N. Brown and William G. Contento [Locus Press, 1986]
  • Only Apparently Real: The World of Philip K. Dick by Paul Williams [Arbor House, 1986]

DRAMATIC PRESENTATION

  • Aliens
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  • The Fly
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • Labyrinth

BEST PROFESSIONAL EDITOR

  • Terry Carr
  • Gardner Dozois
  • David G. Hartwell
  • Edward L. Ferman
  • Stanley Schmidt

BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST

  • Jim Burns
  • Frank Kelly Freas
  • Don Maitz
  • Barclay Shaw
  • Tom Kidd
  • J. K. Potter

SEMIPROZINE

  • Locus ed. by Charles N. Brown
  • Interzone ed. by Simon Ounsley and David Pringle
  • Science Fiction Chronicle ed. by Andrew I. Porter
  • Science Fiction Review ed. by Richard E. Geis
  • Fantasy Review ed. by Robert A. Collins

FANZINE

  • Ansible ed. by Dave Langford
  • File 770 ed. by Mike Glyer
  • No Award
  • Lan’s Lantern ed. by George “Lan” Laskowski
  • Texas SF Enquirer ed. by Pat Mueller
  • Trap Door ed. by Robert Lichtman

That’s harsh. Ansible 1987—so good I’m still linking to it.

BEST FAN WRITER

  • Dave Langford
  • Patrick Nielsen Hayden
  • Simon Ounsley
  • Mike Glyer
  • No Award
  • D. West
  • Arthur D. Hlavaty
  • Withdrawn - Nomination Declined: Owen Whiteoak

BEST FAN ARTIST

  • Brad W. Foster
  • Arthur “ATom” Thomson
  • Stu Shiffman
  • Taral Wayne
  • Steve Fox

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (Sponsored by Dell Magazines and administered on their behalf by WSFS)

  • Karen Joy Fowler
  • Lois McMaster Bujold
  • No Award
  • Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
  • Rebecca Ore
  • Leo Frankowski
  • Robert Reed

Wow. Well, Fowler was a very good winner on past productions, and a perfectly good winner on what she has done since—she’s a major writer but most of her work is interstitial, on the borders of genre.

But really Bujold is the standout major writer on this list—and she had three novels out in 1986. I wonder if she was hurt by the vote being in Britain, where she didn’t have anything out until 1988? She is of course one of the most significant writers working today, the winner of five Hugos and three Nebulas, and on this year’s Hugo ballot again.

I’m astonished at how high No Award placed, as we have three more major writers below the line.

I’m not familiar with Kimbriel—Locus tells me she had a first novel out in 1986 which must have impressed some nominators.

Rebecca Ore has gone on to write a pile of award nominated SF novels over the next couple of decades.

Robert Reed has written a number of novels and an incredible number of wonderful short things. He’s one of my favourite writers at short length—I’ll buy a magazine if he’s in it, and this keeps me buying magazines because he’s prolific. He won a Hugo in 2006 with “A Billion Eves.” He was right at the beginning of his career, but I see this as just the kind of Campbell nomination one would wish to see.


Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published two poetry collections and nine novels, most recently Among Others, and if you liked this post you will like it. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.

55 comments
Drfuzz
1. Drfuzz
Maybe not a great year for the Hugos, but an awesome year for SF. I remember reading a lot of these books when they came out, but had forgotten they all came out in the same time frame - I must have had my nose in a book all year long from the looks of it. My introduction to Bujold, Walter Jon Williams, and Effinger is enough to have made it a worthy year.
Drfuzz
2. James Davis Nicoll
Leo Frankowski: he must have been nominated on the strength of his A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Courtesque The Cross-Time Engineer. I don't recall if it was as rapey and misogynistic as the series later became, but Conrad is definitely Captain Marty Stu right from word one.

I seem to recall that rather than admit the Mongols smashed Poland because the Mongols were extremely good at what they did for a living , he fell back on a Vast Asiatic Horde model, to the tune of millions of Mongols. If I recall correctly, the Mongol incursions never numbered more than two tumens (about 20,000 soldiers) and sometimes less than one.

He's also noteworthy for having been dumped by Baen not because his sales sagged but because, and I quote

Jim then rejected book 7 of the Conrad series (Conrad’s Crusade) as being bad writing, and canceled all of our other contracts.

Who knew that it was even possible to be rejected by Baen for writing that was as being bad writing?

Anyway, him being on that list is a big "what were they thinking?" for the Campbells.


1: Google his "Why I Came to Russia" for a hilarious example of pouty male entitlement.

2: Don't get me wrong: if I could drop a deadly strain of equine influenza across Central Asia in the 12th and 13th century, I would.
Drfuzz
3. James Davis Nicoll
the Mongol incursions

Into Poland, I mean.
jon meltzer
4. jmeltzer
It would be interesting to mention (if known) what novel finished sixth in the nomination order, so that it could get the credit it should have received.
Drfuzz
5. James Davis Nicoll
Heart of the Comet, Gregory Benford & David Brin

Although they've long since squandered their sfnal capital, the Killer Bs were at one time significant SF authors. I know all three took part in the "Let's ruin Isaac's Foundation" series but did all three ever directly collaborate on a novel together or is this as close as we get?

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

No rockets or squid: how can this be SF?

Anyway, her upcoming book on Science Fiction touches on what the ending is what it is; people might want to take a look at it.

Foundation and Earth, Isaac Asimov

Of course, before the Killer Bs were hip-checking Foundation into the boards, Asimov got there first.

Chanur’s Homecoming, C. J. Cherryh

I've never been able to finish any Chanur book and I have no idea why this might be.


The Songs of Distant Earth, Arthur C. Clarke

I have a terrible fondness for islands and archipelagos and for quiet stories in which nothing much happens. As you can imagine, I was quite happy to encounter the works of Kozue Amano and Hitoshi Ashinano.

The Coming of the Quantum Cats, Frederik Pohl

Don't recall enough to comment.

Santiago, Mike Resnick

Bat Durston, Space Legend!

Enigma, Michael P. Kube-McDowell

Second in the Trigon Disunity. I don't think we ever found out what a trigon was or what it would look like if it was unified but we do get some answers about how it is near interstellar space was settled by humans in the distant past. Unfortunately I don't believe his handwaving about how a past civilization could leave no traces but I enjoyed this a lot more than the first book.


When Gravity Fails, George Alec Effinger

Great little book,

Lear’s Daughters, M. Bradley Kellogg with William Rossow

Mortality tale unburdened by any particular plausibility.


Star of Gypsies, Robert Silverberg
Nerilka’s Story, Anne McCaffrey


Didn't read.

The Warrior’s Apprentice, Lois McMaster Bujold

Is that the one with "The Mountains of Mourning"? That's what got me reading Bujold.


The Moon Goddess and the Son, Donald Kingsbury

Middle-aged engineers/Elderly billionaires and the barely post-pubescent girls who love them! Also, space stuff and the burning question of how to deal with the Soviet Union without a full-blown Atomigeddon.

Hardwired, Walter Jon Williams

Next to his Privateers and Gentlemen books (1) the book of his I reread least frequently.

1: Which focuses on a minor group of objectively-pro Napoleon slave-owning villains, whose efforts to take advantage of the Empire's distraction to attempt a quick land grab ultimately failed, in part because the people whose hearts and minds the bad guys were trying to win over didn't find having their homes burned endearing.

The Architect of Sleep, Steven R. Boyett

Set in an alternate world of talking raccoons, this is a book that demands a sequel but sadly doesn't seem any closer to getting one that it was back 1987.

Venus of Dreams, Pamela Sargent

Gloomy first entry in a gloomy series about terraforming Venus. Earth is, if I recall, dominated by a Muslim civilization but this doesn't come across as it might if it was being written today by, oh, Dan Simmons or Tom Kratman.

The Nimrod Hunt, Charles Sheffield

Don't recall.

The Forever Man, Gordon R. Dickson

Never heard of it and I thought I was still a Dickson fanboy at this point.


Rebels’ Seed, F. M. Busby

Sequel to the Rissa Kerguelen trilogy, I think, featuring Rissa's kid.
Drfuzz
6. James Davis Nicoll
What had Ore written at this point, aside from "The Tyrant That I Serve" and "Projectile Weapons and Wild Alien Water"? I thought I'd get to plug her Becoming Alien trilogy but the first one, Becoming Alien, didn't see print until 1988.
Drfuzz
7. James Davis Nicoll
Venus of Dreams, Pamela Sargent

As I recall, Spectra did the first two pretty much back-to-back but then Lou Aronica, someone whose name is enough to make me pick up pretty much anything he's had contact with, was let go and the series was effectively orphaned . Aronica went on to create Eos (replacing Avonova, I think) and in 2001, the third and final book in the series was finally published, 13 years after the second one. By the time it came out, though, Aronica had been let go yet again. This is the only series I know of where it lost the same editor twice.


1: For an example of the fun inherent in losing an editor, I strongly recommend Donald Westlake's A Likely Story, which is set around this period in the 1980s. It's a mainstream novel about an editor but it features appearances by people who would be familiar to people here: there's a whole Magician's Apprentice subplot involving Isaac Asimov, for example.
Michal Jakuszewski
8. Lfex
I still like Speaker for the Dead a lot, far more than Ender's Game, and I think it was a worthy winner, especially considering scarcity of good books in that year. The rest of the list looks rather poor. Marooned in Realtime was decent, but not equal to later Vinge novels. I did read Count Zero, but Gibson's writing just doesn't work to me.

As for other novels, I really liked The Darkest Road, but it was third part of a high fantasy trilogy and didn't have much chance to be nominated back then. When Gravity Fails was nominated next year for some reason. Warrior's Apprentice would be a good nominee, but Bujold's great popularity was still in the future. Heart of the Comet and Venus of Dreams also were decent, and I wouldn't mind to see them nominated. Martin's Tuf Voyaging is another possibility, but it was a fix-up novel and probably considered not eligible.

Novella ballot was very strong and any story on it would make a good winner. In novelette category I would probably vote for Brin or Card. Bear was OK winner in short story.
Drfuzz
9. Doug M.
Dramatic presentation: none of these movies are deathless classics, but I'd say two of them are very good and the other three are all acceptable. Not a bad year.

This was one of the last years when "dramatic presentation" meant five movies, BTW -- starting next year, TV episodes and such would start popping up. This would get more and more confusing until around the turn of the century, when they'd finally split the award into short- and long-form.


Doug M.
Drfuzz
10. Doug M.
_Hardwired_ had a sequel, the novella "Solip:system". It was okay to good, and dealt honestly with the obvious problem left at that book's resolution.

Peter Beagle's _The Folk of the Air_ was not a very good book, and it
was made even worse by being his first MMPB fantasy after _The Last
Unicorn_. It's basically a love letter to SCA (sigh).

Speaking of SCA, Poul Anderson's _King of Ys_ series was actually kinda interesting, once you got past, hm, certain aspects of the setup. It was 2/3 of a book too long, mind. But it does have Anderson's first sympathetic gay character, even if he's (1) closeted, (2) desperately in unrequited love with the hero, and (3) doomed, DOOMED to be killed by the monster. At least he got to be right about a bunch of stuff -- he's by far the smartest character in the series -- even if people suddenly lose the ability to hear what he's saying when the plot demands it. In 1987 this was, if not exactly groundbreaking, a lot less cliched than it would be today.

If you're an Anderson fan, the series is also fun for trying to pick out what Karen Anderson's contributions were. Poul clearly did most or all of the writing, but there are some very un-Poul-like aspects to the setup and the plot.


Doug M.
David Levinson
11. DemetriosX
For me this is one of the worst novel ballots I've seen. With Card, I'd already seen the man behind the curtain. I read it, but I was pretty unhappy with it. For Hubbard, all I can say is WTF!?!? I actually tried to read the whole 10 volume thing it was a part of (from the library, so that none of my money went to the Scientologists) and it was terrible. I made it through volume 4 or so. Once upon a time Hubbard was a decent writer; then he deliberately injected braineaters into his head. Sad.

I felt like Count Zero was just Neuromancer slightly stirred. It wasn't terrible, but I started wondering if Gibson was something of a one-trick pony. Marooned in Realtime was interesting, I suppose, but I expressed my problems with singularity stuff last week. The Effinger definitely should have been on the ballot and I would have liked to see Santiago there (not that Resnick has lacked for nominations or awards since; as of this year, he has the most Hugo nominations of any author).

The novellas are all good, though I probably would have gone for R&R or maybe Eifelheim (which is another much better as a novella than the later novel book). What I find interesting is that there are 2 comedies on the list (KSR and Willis). It's rare to see comedy making the awards lists and for two to hit in the same category in the same year is very unusual.

For the novellas, the winner is fine, though I would probably have gone for Card or Brin. None of the short stories stands out in my memory.

The dramatic presentation list is pretty good this time. There are no real clunkers and I've seen all of them more than once. I'd say the right movie won.

Two new artists this time. Jim Burns probably benefited from the con being in the UK, but he certainly deserved it. I especially like his women, but he is overall very good. The other newcomer was JK Potter. He does interesting things, blending photography and drawing/painting. He mostly does horror illustration and his style is probably best suited to that.

I'm pretty much in tune with Jo on the Campbell, though I've never really been able to get into Bujold for some reason. From hindsight, I'd give it to Reed, but based on what was available then Fowler was a good choice.
Drfuzz
12. Tamara k
My, what a fine piece of crack "Why I Moved to Russia" is. Thanks for the link!

I still have a possibly irrational fondness for both Santiago and Songs of Distant Earth. The same can't be said of Speaker for the Dead.
Drfuzz
13. Evan H.
I'm sorry The Folk of the Air didn't get more recognition, as (contra Doug M. @ 10) I think it's Beagle's best work: I love nearly everything the man's written, but that's the novel I go back to oftenest, and the one I took an elderely battered copy of to ask him to sign once. (Ah well, at least the Mythopoeic Society liked it.)
Drfuzz
14. James Davis Nicoll
Thanks for the link!

I serve to live.

In retrospect, it's not at all surprising that someone who felt the need to lie outrageously about the historical record to avoid confronting his ancestor's manifest inadequacies would also moan about being forced to make an effort to meet minimal standards to win an SO.
Drfuzz
15. seth e.
I said last week that I preferred Count Zero to Neuromancer; I still haven't reread either one, so I'm going on vague memories, but I believe the difference for me was that, in Count Zero, Gibson had started to widen his attention to how people of other classes and situations were negotiating the same setting. The characters from the fading-but-oblivious middle class, engaged in what are basically boutique occupations, and Bobby Wilson as just some guy who got caught up in stuff, made the action plot much more grounded and compelling.

I liked Speaker for the Dead at the time, mostly because it was one of the most interesting takes on miscommunication between aliens and humans that I'd read. Card was very good at aliens, I thought back then. I was starting to be aware of his manipulation, though; I'd love to say that I had already noticed the man behind the curtain, but I think I probably just saw Card's shoes sticking out underneath.
Drfuzz
16. CarlosSkullsplitter
Speaker For The Dead, if I am not hallucinating, had a small but exceedingly painful revision to Ender's relationship with the Brazilian mother in later printings, presumably because Card had a better different idea regarding their matrimonial harmony &/or wanted a story hook for sequels. (I assume that he's become rather well-off as a result of the Ender series, unless he squandered it all on Laetrile or penny stocks or some other malady of the stone gullible.)

Both versions of course are as manipulative as hell. The family melodrama especially is derivative of the popular drama of Card's formative years -- solid stuff, like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf or A Lion In Winter, although even then Card feared that people might mistake him for being 'elitist' -- but people often don't realize that Card started as a playwright, and they tend to get bowled over by some rather simple dramatic techniques that aren't otherwise common in SF.
Drfuzz
17. James Davis Nicoll
Wasn't Card somewhat prone to revising his works in this period?
Drfuzz
18. Doug M.
In addition to being v. v. manipulative, that book also required a fairly whopping suspension of disbelief: it's a miscommunication-with-aliens book where the humans are really, really stupid. (I had the McGuffin pegged by page 40 or so, and I'm not actually that hard to fool.)

Also, "creepy relationship with a weirdly idealized Brazilian woman" is something Card has done more than once.

(See, this is where the biographical approach comes in handy: Card did his LDS missionary term in Brazil. If you think that the colonists in _Speaker_ are plausibly based on real Brazilians, that tells you something about Card's powers of observation and/or his skill as a writer. If you think they're a collection of stereotypes salted with a handful of naive observations... well, that too that tells you something. Either way, you've gained a useful insight that will serve you well in further reading.)

I'm a little surprised that we're 2/3 of the way into the trilogy and (1) nobody has quoted the John Kessel essay (which is excellent); and, (2) nobody has even mentioned the Elaine Redford "Ender Wiggins and Hitler" essay. Here's the Kessel link again:

http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tenshi/Killer_000.htm


Seriously, even if you disagree with Kessel, it's a well-written and thoughtful essay. Check it out.


Doug M.
Drfuzz
19. Doug M.
Seth, "fading but oblivious middle class" is good. And Bobby Wilson is a very plausible character -- he'd be graduating from 4Chan to Anonymous about now. It's an impressive bit of accurate speculation on Gibson's part. (And then people get snarky because he didn't predict the disappearance of pay phones. Sigh.)

Gibson started playing games with narrative in this, then even more so in the final book -- they're increasingly harder to follow, as compared to the (relatively) straightforward action-plot of _Neuromancer_. In retrospect, this looks entirely deliberate on Gibson's part.


Doug M.
Clark Myers
20. ClarkEMyers
#18 - Agreed, if I read you correctly, that the miscommunication depends on stupidity to the point of wilful ignorance. At the time I thought Speaker.... more fantasy than SF because the given level of technology implied more facts on tap - the then and there equivalent of Google Earth / any question of fact has a prompt answer - than the plot allowed.
Drfuzz
21. James Davis Nicoll
it's a miscommunication-with-aliens book where the humans are really, really stupid.

Foreshadowing of Stupid Scientists are Stupid essays by Card, maybe? It's easier to reject research whose conclusions are unacceptable if one thinks the process is inherently flawed.
Drfuzz
22. seth e.
Jeez, now I feel sheepish for not working out the aliens earlier. I was a teenager! What did I know?

If you need me, I'll be patting my sixteen-year-old self on the shoulder.
Alayne McGregor
23. alaynem
@2: I see James has not yet read the revisionist histories of Genghis Khan by Jack Weatherford (the one I read, The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, primarily argued that GK had some moral standards, whereas his male descendents had none.)

So Robert Charles Wilson has been writing since the 1980s? So why was he not nominated for the Campbell Award? It seems an odd oversight.

Ditto Charles deLint.

For some reason, I bought Speaker for the Dead, and then never read it. Should I bother now?

I think The Warrior's Apprentice, The Handmaid's Tale, When Gravity Fails, and Wizard of the Pigeons would have made better Hugo ballot choices. Besides I would have loved to have seen Margaret Atwood's reaction on being presented with a Hugo -- and even more the reaction of the "guardians" of CanLit!
Clark Myers
24. ClarkEMyers
I'm pretty sure different readings of Orson Scott Card depend more on what the reader brings to the book than different readings of many other writers - and that the differences with reading Card tend to be more different. This includes folks who I think prejudge the writings in the years since the Double/double.

FREX Card's Secular Humanist Revival (didn't Card pretty much stop doing it and do what he could to restrict the then circulating tapes?) has provoked quite different reactions in different audiences as I've seen it over the years.

My favorite story of reading Card involves a conversation between a couple in fandom - she had been a Molly Mormon through the Y but not much after; he had no connection and they lived far from Mormon country.

About the time of Card's double/double he picked up a book by Card and was quite excited to tell his wife the story of a great book by a great new to him writer whose name he hadn't noted before starting expecting nothing remarkable - initially without mentioning author or title - after a few minutes of exposition along the lines of - let me tell you about this great book - she interrupted her husband to say in effect now let me tell you all about the rest of the story - quite correctly - she was not much impressed then or later. I don't remember what the book was. It may have been something so obvious as Seventh Son or Red Prophet. My point is the difference in appeal to two people with otherwise much in common.

Myself I've enjoyed Card's shorter works but I would never have supported any of the longer works for much at all. Then and now my vote would be Vinge.

I haven't noticed any stick jocks who really liked Folk of the Air - I'm inclined to think the story that the author wrote of the SCA as he imagined it or wanted it to be has a good deal of truth.
Andrew Love
25. Andy Love
James

The Warrior’s Apprentice, Lois McMaster Bujold Is that the one with "The Mountains of Mourning"? That's what got me reading Bujold.


The Warrior’s Apprentice is the first novel about Miles - "The Mountains of Mourning" is in the collection called The Borders of Infinity.


The Nimrod Hunt, Charles Sheffield Don't recall.

It's about multi-species teams hunting for artificial lifeforms created by a paranoid human security chief (the aliens include a motile plant-like creature, and a distributed intelligence); Sheffield rewrote the novel eventually calling the new version The Mindpool (note - authors have the right to rewrite their old stuff, but I really prefer that they don't - I'd rather read New Work by Author X than Here's How I Should Have Handled Those Characters Years Ago).

@Doug


In addition to being v. v. manipulative, that book also required a fairly whopping suspension of disbelief: it's a
miscommunication-with-aliens book where the humans are really, reallystupid. (I had the McGuffin pegged by page 40 or so, and I'm not actually that hard to fool.)


The non-scientists aren't much brighter - they're thoroughly puzzled at how the fellow with the disease that always causes infertility could have a bunch of children.
Andrew Mason
26. AnotherAndrew
Doug M@18

In addition to being v. v. manipulative, that book also required a fairly whopping suspension of disbelief: it's a miscommunication-with-aliens book where the humans are really, really stupid. (I had the McGuffin pegged by page 40 or so, and I'm not actually that hard to fool.)

Yes, but you know you're reading science fiction. The scientists don't know they are characters in science fiction. If you were told that in real life there were beings on a newly-discovered planet who lived like that, would you accept it so readily?
David Goldfarb
27. David_Goldfarb
I might not accept it readily, but I think I would at least have a sufficiently open mind to take steps to check on whether the aliens are actually correct about the details of their own life cycle. It's been a while since I read the book, but my recollection is that the brightest minds in the galaxy had been working on the problem of the piggies for decades, and until Ender came along nobody even thought of that, they all just assumed that they were engaging in primitive ancestor worship.
Rich Horton
28. ecbatan
Detailed comments will have to wait a couple of days -- I'm moving my daughter into her new apartment -- but I'll make a quick note or too,

First, Leo Frankowski's first novel was pleasant enough. It didn't really show signs of the truly appalling sexism that became a major feature later in the series. I enjoyed it, then disliked the next book, and truly hated the next couple before I quit reading him. (Perhaps the very worst of his novels is the one non-Conrad one, Copernik's Revolution.)

I think Karen Joy Fowler is clearly the right choice for the Campbell at this time, and her subsequent career has reinforced that. So what if she's only some of the time an SF writer -- she's still a wonderful writer.

Which is to take nothing away from Robert Reed and Lois McMaster Bujold, who are also wonderful. Three writers this year who would have been very worthy winners indeed.

As for Robert Charles Wilson, his first story actually appeared, if memory serves, in Analog in 1975, under the name Bob Chuck Wilson. Then nothing for years. But that was enough to eliminate his eligibility.
E M
29. herewiss13
For some reason I thought 'Heart of the Comet' had gotten more props. It's been a while since I re-read it, but I'd still rate it in the top quarter of my 100 best SF novels list. This is getting fun, as we're starting to move into the first SF novels I ever read (didn't hit Card until the early 90s).

And while Frankowski is awful, I hate to admit he's also a guilty pleasure.
j p
30. sps49
The only Card I've ever read is Ender's Games (short & long versions) and Wyrms. Had no idea what the author was like then, and I don't think it would affect me reading them or other works of his.

Same with The Dark Knight Returns. Miller has become a bit odd lately, but this still-influential work remains excellent, and would've been a good winner here (or anywhere genre outside of "just comics").

Donaldson's The Mirror of Her Dreams was also very good, and had a different take on magic and magicians.

ETA: I also read the ten-part maxi-novel. The later books hadn't been checked out much.
john mullen
31. johntheirishmongol
I have to say, there's an awful lot of discussion about people and personalities and politics in these comments, and I don't really consider those things when I read a book. I read the material in front of me and only consider that when I decide if it's worthwhile or not. That being said, I would have voted for Marooned back then too.

I personally would have added Venus of Dreams, which I thought was fascinating.

I might not have voted for Mirror of Her Dreams for a Hugo, but it is the best Donaldson book.

Any Bujold is good, and I am amazed she didn't win the Campbell.

As for movies, Aliens is a very worthy winner of the Hugo.
Drfuzz
32. Doug M.
It just struck me: "The Dark Knight Returns" was nominated for Best Related Non-Fiction? Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot?

Novelette: the Zelazny was another 'minor work by a major author' win. "Permafrost" is a decent enough story, but nothing more. (And it's so topheavy with Zelazny's particular tics that it's dangerously close to self-parody.) The Gibson is the shoulda-won here.

Campbell: _The Warrior's Apprentice_ is a very good book, and quite a lot more structured than would appear at first glance. (Full disclosure: I wrote the introduction for the 2000 NESFA edition. If you didn't catch it then, it got reprinted in the omnibus a couple of years ago.) But I have the impression that when it first came out, a lot of people read it as MilSF. You wouldn't know it from reading about the Hugos, but this was the golden age of MilSF, with a dozen titles a year from Baen alone. So, I think it may have taken Bujold a while to distinguish herself out of that subgenre.

Also: If memory serves (and it may not -- I welcome correction), Bujold sold her first three books to Baen almost simultaneously -- but they were published over the course of a year and a half or so. Thus, I suspect that _The Warrior's Apprentice_ was her only work under consideration for the Campbell; _Ethan of Athos_ and _Falling Free_ came out too late. If I'm right, then the voters made a reasonable choice -- TWA is a very good book, but it's just one book. On the other hand, if all three books /were/ out in time for the voting, then the voters were for sure asleep at the whell that year; all three of those books are good-to-excellent. Does anyone remember?

Doug M.
Tim Maughan
33. TimMaughan
Wow. That link about the controversy over the L Ron Hubbard book you posted Jo shows you don't need the internet for nerds to take drama *way* too seriously.
Nancy Lebovitz
34. NancyLebovitz
Why did you hate Neuromancer? I remember disliking it for the emotionally blank viewpoint character, maybe something a little stronger because I don't like noir, and being surprised that it was such a big deal to so many people. It seemed like pretty ordinary science fiction to me.

On the other hand, speaking as a Singularity fan, Marooned in Real Time was a huge deal for me, even though I've come to think that most science fiction about the Singularity is piling wonders on wonders to a point where they aren't interesting. Sorry, specific examples don't come to mind, and perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that fiction about the indescribable is difficult. Speaking of, is there any Lovecraftian Singulariania?

I remember reading Night Calls by Kimbriel, and liking it for having an unusally dignified approach-- I think it was magic in New England, but that's all I remember. It's on my reread someday list.

/http://www.ke-kimbriel.com/

Sample from Night Calls-- the prose reminds me of McKillip.
Jo Walton
35. bluejo
I hated Neuromancer because none of the characters felt real, and noir posturing has never done much for me, not even with added computer magic.

I hate the Singularity too -- or at least, I like it in MiR, I don't like what it has done to SF. One of the first things I wrote on this site was a post about this called "The Singularity problem and non-problem".
Drfuzz
36. James Davis Nicoll
Heh. I had to explain what the Singularity was to my exgf after predicting it as the outcome of crossing Angry Birds with Rayman Raving Rabbids. Not being an SF reader, her life had never been blighted with the concept before.

1: Of course, the information Singularity is as nothing to the Textile Singularity, caused by the runaway effectiveness of investment in textile production. Just as a for example:

Looms in Britain
Year...1803...1820....1829....1833.....1857
Looms..2400..14650...55500..100000...250000

sorry about the dots: I don't know how to format tables here.

Simple extrapolation proves that there must be 140 billion looms in Britain alone and since the UK is something like a 20th of the global economy, 2.8 trillion looms worldwide.

My models suggest most organic matter on Earth was converted to some form of cloth in the early 20th century.
Drfuzz
37. michael f flynn
A looming crisis.
Drfuzz
38. James Davis Nicoll
I have to say, there's an awful lot of discussion about people and personalities and politics in these comments, and I don't really consider those things when I read a book.

Some authors make really hard to not speculate about that sort of thing. It's not entirely dependent on what kind of politics they have: Jack Vance is a pretty conservative fellow but aside from the territory thing , generally his politics isn't the aspect of his fiction people talk about.

1: All chains of ownership, at least for land, involve some group taking the land away from someone else (first-in immigrants of course avoid this but are rare cases). This means it would be OK for me to take Jack Vance's stuff or at least consistent with historical practice.
Nancy Lebovitz
39. NancyLebovitz
The habit of thinking about the politics and other premises behind fiction can be catching, and I, at least, at least find it hard to shut off.
Marcus W
40. toryx
Seeing the man behind the curtain...that's really a very effective way of describing my own issue with reading Card's books.

I was able to read both Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead before I started seeing the man behind the curtain. Xenocide is when that started to happen and I never did finish it or start the fourth book of the series (not to mention all the Shadow books).

As sps49 @ 30 said, The Mirror of her Dreams was quite good (or so I thought at the time); the sequel, A Man Rides Through was even better. I say that as a reader who has never been able to read the Unbeliever novels although I've tried repeatedly over the years.

I discovered Robert Charles Wilson this year, I think. I had no idea he started publishing back in the 70's.
john mullen
41. johntheirishmongol
There are writers who represent all points of the spectrum, politically, religiously and philosophically. I think if you get involved with trying to decipher that sort of thing you can miss out on some awfully good material, just because you don't agree with a point of view. Plus, writers can fool you. They can write a story about things they don't necessarily agree with...get involved with their characters and write them sympathetically even though that was not their point.

I am always looking for good material to read. As long as the writer is not trying to hammer me with something with which I disagree, I am open to trying new.
Drfuzz
42. James Davis Nicoll
As long as the writer is not trying to hammer me with something with which I disagree

A sufficiently skilled author can alienate readers by hammering them with ideas the reader would usually agree with. Norman Spinrad, for example, managed to get me to cheer for a large evil record company by pitting them against particularly annoying protagonists.

.
Drfuzz
43. Rob T.
At first the dramatic presentation nominees for 1987 look like genre business as usual--two sequels, two remakes, and one original with a Big Name attached. Only the sequels are among the best in their respective series, the remakes put distinctive and idiosyncratic spins on their sources, and the Big Name associated with Labyrinth is Jim Henson rather than Spielberg or Lucas (or Clarke or Herbert). (OK, two Big Names counting David Bowie. Jennifer Connelly, 16 years old and 16 years away from her Oscar, wasn't a Big Name just yet.)

Beyond that I don't have much to say about the category this year, other than while none of the nominees are in the same league as Brazil, none are as merely acceptable as The Last Starfighter (much less as flat-out bad as Dune), and all have devoted followings to this day; no excuses need be made for any of these films. (Well, maybe, Little Shop of Horrors.)

The only film I can imagine displacing any of the nominees is Highlander, which to my mind would not be a decisive improvement. At the time I was fond of the time-travel fantasy Peggy Sue Got Married, but I'm not sure it would hold up today. The Argentinian film Man Facing Southeast, about a mental patient who may be an alien, might have livened up the ballot if more people had seen it.

For me, much of the most interesting action in 1986 movies was in animation, as the field was gearing up to seize the attention of an adult audience in a few years. The Great Mouse Detective captures the Disney company at a turning point, with the younger crowd of animators mostly hired in the late '70s and early '80s (including co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker) chafing against the restrictions imposed by the older guys they were working under, but in hindsight it's the first Disney film to show off what those younger guys could really do. (It also got at least one genre award nomination--the Mystery Writers of America's "Edgar".)

Meanwhile, Don Bluth's An American Tail, Will Vinton's The Adventures of Mark Twain and Raymond Briggs's (and Jimmy Murakami's) When the Wind Blows all challenged Disney's domination of animation with varying degrees of artistic and commercial success (though the most Disney-esque of the three made the most money, and the most sf-nal was also the most depressing). Another potential Disney challenger was Hayao Miyazaki's Laputa: Castle in the Sky, which wouldn't reach non-Japanese viewers in great numbers for a few years yet.

(I suppose I ought to also mention the animated "Transformers" movie, nobody's idea of great cinema but remembered nostalgically by enough people to make it worth somebody's while to make live-action "Transformers" films a generation later.)

Pixar's first short film Luxo Jr. is one of the most popular pieces of 1986 animation today, primarily for what it represents than what it's about (though it's still a pretty cute film), but another animated short that genuinely deserved a shot at a Hugo--I'd have put it at the top of my ballot--is Richard Condie's The Big Snit, about a husband and wife who become so preoccupied with an argument over a Scrabble game that they don't notice global thermonuclear war has broken out. It has one of my favorite "shots" in any animated short, the one which begins with the husband putting his hand on the doorknob to let the cat out. I'd love to see The Big Snit here at tor.com as a "Saturday Morning Cartoon", but it can also be viewed at the National FIlm Board of Canada's website (www.nfb.ca).
Drfuzz
44. Doug M.
Rob, you've identified the first rumblings of the Second Golden Age of American Animation, which began in 1989 with "The Little Mermaid" and -- as of this writing -- is still going on.

To oversimplify: various people, most notably Don Bluth, started challenging and provoking Disney in the middle 1980s. The "American Tail" movies and the early Pixar shorts would be followed next year by "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", which would finally provoke Disney into making "The Little Mermaid" -- its first non-mediocre feature-length animated film in a generation. (When TLM came out, there was an interview in which someone at Disney more or less admitted that "yeah, we haven't made anything better than 'meh' since 'Robin Hood'.") This, in turn, would provoke a virtuous circle of commercial and artistic competition that would give us an impressive string of good-to-awesome animated movies over the next decade. The renaissance in American TV animation would track this by a few years -- the period 1992-1995 would see Batman: The Animated Series and Gargoyles for younger viewers, Beavis and Butt-Head, Dr. Katz, and the first wave of MTV animation for their older siblings.

-- One casualty: Don Bluth. For a couple of years he was the guy everyone was talking about. Before the rise of Pixar, he was Disney's biggest worry . "The Secret of Nimh", "An American Tail", "The Land Before Time", "All Dogs Go To Heaven" -- these were major challenges to a studio that hadn't produced much animation worth watching since the Nixon administration. But then Disney started knocking them out of the park (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King) and Bluth foolishly parted ways with Spielberg and then produced a string of flops (Rock-A-Doodle, Thumbelina, A Troll in Central Park). He closed his studio after "Titan A.E." (2000).

Anyway. "The Great Mouse Detective" is certainly an improvement on the last couple of animated Disney films before it ("The Black Cauldron", "The Fox and the Hound", and "The Rescuers". Wander Disney World as long as you like; you will not find the Fox and the Hound ride, nor the Black Cauldron gift shop.) It's uneven, but there are brilliant bits. As you say, it was the younger guys chafing at the bits -- and the challenges from Bluth and, a bit later, Pixar would finally cause Disney brass to turn them loose. Michael Eisner certainly didn't cause the Disney renaissance (though he'd later try to claim so), but he does get partial credit for allowing it to happen.

The Second Golden age is going to start popping up in the awards shortly. Roger Rabbit would win the Hugo in 1989; Disney, Pixar, Miyazaki, Aardman and other animators will start making appearances on Hugo ballots soon thereafter. Hugo nominees from the 1990s and 2000s include Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Toy Story, the Incredibles, Chicken Run, The Iron Giant, Monsters, Inc., the Incredibles, Spirited Away, Finding Nemo... the list goes on and on. (For the record, I have no problem with this. Animation has been part of SF since day one.)


Doug M.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
45. tnh
Tim Maughan @33, I was there, and it was a serious issue. I suggest you take a closer look at that list of names, maybe do a little Googling, before you dismiss them as "nerds."
Drfuzz
46. Rob T.
Aw Doug, you spoiled the surprise! ;) I was going to get into the "new golden age" of animation slowly over the next few Hugo posts. Key events in this renaissance include the releases of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Little Mermaid as well as the TV debut of "The Simpsons" and the international release of Akira; it also helped that the spread of home video and cable TV created new markets for both new and re-released animation. I would argue that this "second golden age" has lost steam in the last decade, but even after the post-renaissance contraction the animation field is still bigger, more varied and more interesting than it was 25 years ago.
Andrew Love
47. Andy Love
Wander Disney World as long as you like; you will not find the Fox and the Hound ride, nor the Black Cauldron gift shop.


There was a "Black Cauldron"-themed snack shoppe at one point
http://www.wdwhistory.com/wiki/Gurgi%27s_Munchies_%26_Crunches (but not any more)
Rich Horton
48. ecbatan
I'll discuss the short fiction awards this year, because 1986 was a pretty strong year for short fiction, but the awards kind of let me down.

In novella, a fine Robert Silverberg story won, but to be honest it was probably last of the Hugo nominess for me. "R&R" is early intense Shepard, a very strong story, if just a bit cliche by now. "Spice Pogrom" and "Escape from Kathmandu" are both comedies, as noted, but wonderful comdies. And "Eifelheim" is a really neat mysterious story -- as someone said, the novel wasn't as good, but it's not bad either! (A bit too long, too dry, probably.) Of those nominees, I think KSR's "Escape From Kathmandu" gets my vote.

I also really liked Greg Benford's "As Big as the Ritz", F. Paul Wilson's "Dydeetown Girl", and the late Ronald Anthony Cross's "Hotel Mind Slaves". Plus another excellent John Varley story, "Tango Charlie and Foxtrot Romeo". Add another Benford story, "Newton Sleep", and you've got a second shortlist pretty much the equal of the Hugo list.

I'd say that's a ten deep shortlist you could throw a blanket over and pick any one as a pretty worthy winner. (The Nebula shortlist, by the way, included "Dydeetown Girl" and Benford's "Newton Sleep" in addition to "R&R" (which won), "Escape from Kathmandu", and "Gilgamesh in the Outback".)

As for novelette, both shortlists are disappointing to me. "Permafrost" is, as someone said, a case of revered writer winning with a just decent story. Card's "Hatrack River" is very good (though it spawned a series that started strong and went downhill ... sigh, like so many). Gibson's "The Winter Market" is brilliant, but technically not eligible, having first been published (outside the field) in 1985. It'd have been a worthy winner, though. The Nebula winner is very fine, Kate Wilhelm's "The Girl Who Fell Into the Sky".

But my personal favorite 1986 novelette seemed all but ignored. Maybe it just spoke to me -- but I loved John M. Ford's "Walkaway Clause". And there were two more quite brilliant 1986 novelettes -- John Kessel's searing "The Pure Product" (which reminded me to an extent of "Vintage Season"), and Bruce Sterling's "The Beautiful and the Sublime", which is, well, beautiful and sublime. Any of those three are better than any story on either the Hugo or Nebula shortlist, in my opinion (except maybe the 1985 story, "The Winter Market".) A bad miss by the nominators to include NONE of those.

There was great stuff in Short Story as well. To begin with, "Tangents" is great, and I have no real problem with it winning. But my favorite 1986 short story is James Patrick Kelly's "Rat", that famous "humanist" SF writer doing cyberpunk, and doing it very well. I also love Pat Cadigan's "Pretty Boy Crossover". So -- "Tangents" is a good choice, but either the Kelly or Cadigan would have been just as good.

Other good short stories: "A Cup of Worrynot Tea", by Ford; "A Transect", by KSR; "Freezeframe", by Benford; "Down and Out in the Year 2000", by KSR; "Senses Three and Six", by David Brin; and perhaps most overlooked, Michael Blumlein's "The Brains of Rats".

--
Rich Horton
Drfuzz
49. Gardner Dozois
The same arguments in favor of COUNT ZERO can be made as were made for NEUROMANCER, with a little less steam behind them, since, as a follow-up, it wasn't breaking as much new ground as the first book had. That being said, I actually like COUNT ZERO a bit better than NEUROMANCER; thought it had more complex and more human characters. Seth hit it right on the head in his #15--COUNT ZERO shows Gibson beginning to widen his attention to see how other kinds of people are reacting to his future. Instead of skinny, intense, twenty-something hacker/cowboys in latex suits, we get Blue Collar Cyberpunk instead, even Redneck Cyberpunk. There's still a lot that could be done with that that remains undone.

Think it was kind of a weak novel ballot overall. My favorite here is probably Wolfe's SOLDIER OF THE MIST--although it suffers from being the first book in a sequence that still isn't completed more than twenty years later, leaving a lot of questions hanging. It's probably not Hugo material, but Leigh Kennedy's THE JOURNAL OF NICHOLAS THE AMERICAN is also a good read, with some interesting similarities to Wilson's recent JULIAN.

It probably is a bit dated now, but Shepard's R&R remains a powerful story, and probably was the best choice at the time. Robinson's "Escape From Kathmandu" is also good, although much more light-hearted. Flynn's "Eifelheim" is good too, better than the later novel version.

Agree that Zelazny's "Permafrost," although solid, is relatively minor Zelazny. We discussed "The Winter Market" last time; it may be Gibson's best story, and would be a worthy winner. Also playing in the same class is Kessel's "The Pure Product," one of Kessel's best stories, and the choice between them would be a hard one. Sterling's little-known "The Beautiful and the Sublime" is also good, as is Connie Willis's "Chance" and Tanith Lee's "Into Gold." The appearance of Judith Moffett's first story, "Surviving," should probably be noted.

(For the sake of Full Disclosure, it should probably be mentioned that a lot of the stories from here on our will have been bought and published by me--including "The Pure Product," "The Beautiful and the Sublime," "R&R," "Escape from Kathmandu," "Chance," "Into Gold," and several of the short stories, so I may be prejudiced in their favor.)

Never warmed to "Rat." I'm okay with "Tangents" winning in short story, although Cadigan's "Pretty Boy Crossover" and a late Damon Knight story, "Strangers On Paradise," are also good.

Didn't like ALIENS nearly as much as ALIEN. I actually did really like the musical LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, though, and STAR TREK IV was probably the best of the early STAR TREK movies.

Fowler is a reasonable Campbell choice, based on her work to that date, as Lois McMaster Bujold would have been. Robert Reed would later become one of the best short story writers in the genre, but his work to that point wasn't all that impressive.
Michael Burke
50. Ludon
@ RobT #43

The Big Snit. Thank you. (Shakes eyes) I had been trying to remember that title the other day after trying to shake some raindrops off my glasses. A great short from when the National Film Board of Canada was a reliable source of entertaining shorts.
Drfuzz
51. Doug M.
Rob T., I'd say that the Second Golden Age is gradually declining to silver, but I wouldn't say it's run out of steam yet -- there's just a ridiculous amount of good animation out there, even if you restrict yourself to mass-market movies and TV. The First Golden Age lasted a single generation, roughly from the middle 1930s to 1961 or so, if that helps.

-- You can get serious nerdgassing on this, since there was some interesting stuff done as far back as the late 1920s, and a declining trickle of Golden Age-like productions well into the 1960s -- the very last being Chuck Jones' "How The Grinch Stole Christmas", which came out in 1966. But these were popping embers after the fire had gone out. I'd put the end date after the 1959 commercial failure of "Sleeping Beauty" (which caused massive layoffs and budget cuts at Disney, kneecapping their animation for decades) but certainly no later than the death of Sy Kneitel and Chuck Jones' last _Tom and Jerry_ cartoons (1964).

Ahem. Anyway, I would disagree with the importance of The Simpsons /as animation/. I love the show and agree that it was hugely important, but its only significant innovation trom an animation POV was that it was the first to recognize the spread of recording and playback technology (VCRs, back then) and so to include large numbers of high-speed gags and easter eggs. Otherwise, it was just another cel animation show using ink-paint-and-camera. The style was distinctive, and Gracie Films did solid and competent production, but if you turned the sound off there was nothing groundbreaking. (In fact, the animation in the Ullman shorts was not that great, and in Season One was no better than workmanlike.)

It is a little odd that no Simpsons episode has ever been nominated for a short-form Hugo. I can think of half a dozen that could have qualified, and I'm sure anyone who's read this far can too. Go figure.


Doug M.
Rich Horton
52. ecbatan
I suppose I'll post something about Novel, though I have relatively little to add. My favorite novel of 1986 is probably Marooned in Realtime, but it's an odd year for novels, with some good stuff but nothing overwhelming.

Even the novels that Jo mentions as "should have been nominees" -- When Gravity Fails, The Door Into Ocean, This is the Way the World Ends, The Warrior's Apprentice -- all strike me as fine work, but hardly stuff about which you say "How could the fans have failed to give that a Hugo!". Good, even very good, but not great.

One novel that ought to have been mentioned is Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle, which is a delight, though not Jones's very best work, and not really a Hugo candidate.

One might also mention Pamela Dean's The Hidden Land, and Eleanor Arnason's To the Resurrection Station.

And I should note that the ISFDB lists The Fisher King, by Anthony Powell, as a genre novel. As I recall it, it's not, really, though it skirts the edges of the fantastic perhaps. It's Powell's last novel (he was 80 when it came out), and it's fine work, though not close to the brilliance of his major novels (the 12-volume sequence A Dance to the Music of Time). But not really genre. Still -- well worth reading. And I'll take any chance I can to mention my favorite 20th Century writer.

--
Rich Horton
Drfuzz
53. Tom Scudder
This is a bit late of an addition, but on the animation front, my recollection is that DuckTales was head and shoulders above every other cartoon on TV when it came out in 1987.
John Adams
54. JohnArkansawyer
Lawrence Thornton's Imagining Argentina came out in 1987 and would have been a worthy nominee in the fantasy awards.

Doug M. @ 32: Ethan of Athos is an early work? I liked it a lot. Maybe I ought to read another of her books.
Drfuzz
55. Alan Heuer
Here is how I voted in 1987:

Best Novel
1. The Ragged Astronauts Bob Shaw
2. Speaker for the Dead Orson Scott Card
3. Count Zero William Gibson
4. Marooned in Realtime Vernor Vinge
5. Black Genesis L. Ron Hubbard

Best Novella
1. "Eifelheim" Michael F. Flynn
2. "R&R" Lucius Shepard
3. "Escape from Kathmandu" Kim Stanley Robinson
4. "Gilgamesh in the Outback" Robert Silverberg
5. "Spice Pogram" Connie Willis

Best Novelette
1. "Hatrack River" Orson Scott Card
2. "The Winter Market" William Gibson
3. "Permafrost" Roger Zelazny
4. "Thor Meets Captain America" David Brin
5. "The Barbarian Princess" Vernor Vinge

Best Short Story
1. "The Boy Who Plaited Manes" Nancy Springer
2. "Rat" James Patrick Kelly
3. "Tangents" Greg Bear
4. "Still Life" David S. Garnett
5. "Robot Dreams" Isaac Asimov

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