Apr 22 2014 11:00am

Rocket Talk, Episode 5: The Hugo Awards

Rocket Talk: Tor.com podcast

Tune in for this Very Special Episode of Rocket Talk, in which Tor.com’s Associate Publisher Irene Gallo, Editorial Assistant Carl Engle-Laird, and Hugo-nominated Tor.com columnist Liz Bourke talk with Justin Landon about this weekend’s announcement of the Hugo Awards finalists. Newsiness and reactions abound!


Rocket Talk, Episode 5: The Hugo Awards (1:26:03)

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Special note: Rocket Talk will be back in its usual time slot tomorrow with Joe Monti! What a week!

Also! If you have an idea for an episode of Rocket Talk or would like to come on as a guest, reach out to Justin Landon at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Obviously, we can’t accommodate everyone, but we’re always looking for new ideas and fresh perspectives.

You can find all of the episodes on Tor.com here.

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Liz Bourke
1. hawkwing-lb
It's really odd to be introduced as "of Tor.com." I mean, not that it's not accurate - but I'm rather in a different category of "of Tor.com" to Irene Gallo and Carl Engle-Laird.

(Mark this down as me being a pedant who finds language and its different meanings and connotations and implications fascinating. *g*)
Justin Landon
2. jdiddyesquire
Yes, I actually edited that out at first, but then had a critical failure and had to start all over. And ran out of time to edit all the foibles out given the time sensitive nature of the topic.
Liz Bourke
3. hawkwing-lb
You did do a very fast turn-around on that editing. *g*
TW Grace
4. TWGrace
1- be wary of the unintended consequences of actions like lowering the cost...someone with a large and action oriented fanbase, ala sad puppies, could have effects that you do not like.

2- A minor critique, whoever was doing paperwork...shouldnt.
Deana Whitney
5. Braid_Tug
Like @4, not sure that lowering the price is the right solution. There have to be massive cost incurred in:
1) Administering the nomination & voting process
2) The voter package
3) The award statues
So while I don't think the $40.00 fee covers all that right now, I know a $10 fee could not cover the costs.

Thank you for the rest of the cast. I learned much I did not know about in regards to the other categories (ie, not the novel).

And yes, in a genre so driven by series, maybe a “Best Series” category should be created. But voted on only every 5 years. So any series completed in that given allotment could be eligible. Since series take longer to complete.
So from 2015 – 2020 would be the first voting group. Any series completed between 2015 to 2020 could be voted on as the first Best Series Hugo. This could give people a grace period of warning to read any series that could potentially be nominated. If it’s completed in 2016, they know they have until 2020 to read it and decide if they think it is worthy.

The biggest hazard of that would be the short memory of fans. They might forget about the ones finished in 2015 by the time the 2018 ones are done. Then again, if it’s forgotten about, it was not worth a nomination to begin with. Award winners should linger with you.

Nominations I would love to see in 2020 would be:
1) The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
2) ASoIaF by GRR Martin
Ty Margheim
6. alSeen
@5 Braid_Tug

It's so cute that you think there is any chance of ASoIaF being done by 2020.

It wouldn't surprise me if the Stormlight Archive is finished before ASoIaF is.
Aidan Moher
7. aidan
Oh goodness. Thanks for the kind words, all.

8. bookworm1398
A best series sounds like a good idea, but the rules need to include a clear definition of series. ie are the Miles Vorkosigan books a series? (I would say not, even though we follow the same character over the years - each is a different story) What about cases like Robin Hobb - are the Farseer Trilogy and Tawny Man trilogy part of the same series or seperate series? I forsee a lot of argument.
Justin Landon
9. jdiddyesquire
@4 -- Yes, we had some irrelgular podcasters on! Easy to forget how ambient nose gets picked up. I was also recording in my office and the air conditioner kept coming off. ANNOYING.

My recording rig at home makes me a happy panda.
Deana Whitney
10. Braid_Tug
@6, I know the chances are remote.

From what I now understand about Patrick’s work, event that hope might be remote.
The man is a “chronic reviser”, per his own words. Over 300 revisions for one book. And now that the pressure is on for him to create the “perfect” end, he may never stop revising Day 3.

@8: Yes, the rules would have to be clear about what “series” means.
I agree that the Vorkosigan books would not be a series in this since, for the reasons you stated.

But even items like the Stormlight Archives would have to be qualified. Sanderson has said it will be a set of two, five book groupings. With a major shift between the first and second set of books.
So, it sounds like it could be judged as two separate series.
11. BigJim
Honestly I am kind of disapointed with this podcast, specifically the discussion over the best novel category. I understand that most if not everyone does not like or even agree with Correia's beliefs and ideas, but that should not invalidate his work, which seems to be the case. Nor should a author's politics affect what a reader feels about an author's works, though it does all to often, and especially in the case of this pod cast group. Honestly I am a fan of Correia's work and think that it definitely qualifies to be on the Hugo on the quality of the story. I am not someone that whole heartedly agrees with Larry Corriea on what he thinks and says, but as a writer I think he is one of the better ones out there in the market place as a whole.

As for the other authors and their books on the best novel category, I hope to read most of them for the story, plain and simple. I am not looking to be inspired or to have a discussion about binary gender issues or any other random topic. I am first and foremost concerened about the story, and whether it is good or not. If I begin to question ideas and issues due an authors writtings all the better, but the story comes first. From everything I have heard and read I am looking forward to reading Ancillary Justice, and am hoping that it first and foremost entertains me. The Hugos are about stories in the specific Genre of science fiction and fantasy not politics that are explored by a writer using the genre! So honestly if this pod cast wants to talk about sci-fi stories, in particular those up for Hugos, then please do, and leave the politics behind, whether you agree with an author's views or not these awards are about stories, and those who have worked to make the best ones not their political beleifs.

As far as Correia's petitioning his fan base to vote for him, does it really matter? There are pod casts and writers beside him who have done the same thing, for example Patrick Hester of the Functional Nerds and the SF signal pod casts, has petioned his listners to vote for his work, but never have I heard anyone complain about his actions, why? I really would like to know. I think that He deserved to win the Hugo for his work on the SF signal pod cast, and believe he deserves to win for the Functional nerds pod cast as well, but when he has hinted at getting votes before, no one raised an eyebrow at it.

My apologies for my long windedness, I am going to wrap up in just a minute, I promise. I agree with the idea of having a "best series" catrgory, and I agree with @Brad_Tug that it should be every five years or so, to allow a series to get completed, though I doubt Martin will finish his series by 2020, and same goes for Rothfuss. Though I don't agree about the fact that lowering the cost of the Hugo ballot would allow more "action oriented fanbases" to be an issue, but instead could help more people who are hesitant to pay, join up and make up the difference of the cost to those who are in charge of the Hugos. Besides isn't having an "large and action oriented fanbase" what all authors, well at least most authors, want since that sort of fan base usually tends to be willing to spend money on an author's works and helps to keep an author inspired? Unless of course having a small and inactive fan base is a good thing, and I just didn't realize it.

Again I am sorry about the length, but I just feel that the Hugos should be about the stories that the authors have told and not their personal politics and beliefs. But from what it sounds like the members of the show could not seperate for whatever reason when it came to the category of the best novel. Besides if any author or person who wants to be nominated for a Hugo and is able to get ther fan base to take action and get them on the short list, they had better have a damb good story to deserve such support!
12. Alan Heuer 2.0
@4: TWGrace:

I agree with your first point 100%. I wouldn't at all mind seeing them RAISE the price of supporting memberships.
Deana Whitney
13. Braid_Tug
Okay, I can't go to LonCon3 and their Business meeting.
(Hello massive cost factor.)

But I did send in my idea for the Best Series idea with some more reasons behind it.

Because, that's all I can do. Send my idea and opinion to the people that make those decisions.
Steven Halter
14. stevenhalter
Braid_Tug@13:Good idea. I would be interested in any reply you get. (Where did you send it exactly?)
I am going to LonCon 3 and think I will go to a Business meeting this time.
15. Michael Damian Thomas
I just wanted to make a quick correction/clarification to the Best Semiprozine discussion about Apex Magazine. Apex publishes nonfiction every month, usually an essay and an interview. Our nonfiction writers last year included Sarah Kuhn, Sarah Monette, Kelly McCullough, Amal El-Mohtar, Sigrid Ellis, Caroline Symcox, last year's Best Fan Writer Hugo Award winner Tansy Rayner Roberts, Deborah Stanish, Douglas Hulick, and Daniel José Older. Apex covered many topics including fangirl backlash, swordplay in literature, Christianity in fandom, and Anti-Oppressive SFF.


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