An Informal History of the Hugos

Yes, Mike, but things take time, and his death is so recent that he was still with us when this book went through the process.

Indeed, I sent him a query email when I was in the last stages of proofing, and his response says how much he was looking forward to the book. This makes the eventual publication sad for me in a way, because he contributed to much to it and now he'll never see it. 

It was bad enough when it was just David.

Death sucks.

An Informal History of the Hugos

James -- If it's time, then I propose Rich Horton for the job. Not only is his knowledge of short fiction is far better than mine (as this book demonstrates) but also he has experience at putting together an anthology.

Godzilla Sonnets, Brought to You by Jo Walton

By the way, if anyone wants this in codex or ebook form, The Godzilla Sonnets are in my new collection Starlings.

Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning Is A Future Worth Having

Alee: Yes, parents raise their own children, but in a context where the parents are living in a group of four to twenty friends, and they all raise their children together.

You say "why are humans like that" in a way that makes me wonder whether I am human, as I have a child but no interest in geneaology or Facebook, or being connected especially with my family of origin even the ones I know, let alone more of them, whereas I am very close to my friends. Therefore, as in fact I am human, I don't see it as an invariant thing -- it's common, yes, but not ubiquitous.

Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning Is A Future Worth Having

You may also be interested in the Crooked Timber seminar on the books, which happened when Seven Surrenders came out. and which includes a piece by me and a brilliant piece by Max Gladstone.

Shared History: Revisiting Long Book Series

OM -- What to me seems conclusive is that the FTL works differently. The AU/Chanur universe has Jump and you need drugs to go through it. Phoenix doesn't work that way. Bren writes in his diary and Cajeiri watches movies while in FTL mode. Also, it's more interesting if it's a different universe.

I am super excited for a new Alliance Union book. Thank you everyone for letting me know it was on its way, so I have something to look forward to.

Shared History: Revisiting Long Book Series

Chris -- I have recently only been re-reading the last four or five when there is a new Atevi book.

What is Alliance Rising?

Shared History: Revisiting Long Book Series

Nine! Nine! There are now 18 Atevi books and book 17 is so great, really, so amazingly wonderful, but you have to have read all the others and how can I tell people they want to invest that much time?

Worth every minute, but...

(I wrote this post a long time ago. I wrote it on a train.)

Pastoral Apocalypse: Leigh Brackett’s The Long Tomorrow

Station Eleven is an interesting case. I really liked it except for the way it didn't make sense -- it had that quality that SF books written by mainstream authors often have of being brilliantly written but inadequately worldbuilt. I kept almost loving it and then being annoyed at things that were stupid and not thought through. But anyway, it's not quite in this subgenre, because it doesn't have that Twainlike voice, and also because it's Canada and not the US. I think there's a particular flavour to this genre of the world having gone back to a 1950's imagination of the Twain flavoured nineteenth centiry US, of course with everyone being white. Station Eleven is more a disaster novel or cosy catastrophe -- we see people living through the disaster as well as the world of afterwards. 

I haven't read Earth Abides or Alas Babylon, I'm afraid, so I don't know. If you can still smell the oranges, I'll take your word for it. (I have not read everything. A bunch of stuff, but not everything.)

Pastoral Apocalypse: Leigh Brackett’s The Long Tomorrow

HP -- no problem with that, and I wasn't at all compleining about the kind of thing she wanted to write. You'd just expect (or I expected anyway) her female characters to be a bit less cliched. 

Revisiting the Recently Rediscovered 1956 Hugo Awards Ballot

Oh! Three to Conquer I have read. Thank you. I agree about Russell, though I've re-read a couple and enjoyed them and written about them here, Wasp and Next of Kin which were the ones I liked best when I was a kid.

The Power of Princesses: Robin McKinley’s The Door in the Hedge

PrincessRoxana -- so download everything right now while you have wifi, hey? Then they are on your device forever. I don't know about the Nook, but with the Kindle, once they're downloaded, they're still there always unless you tell it to remove them from the device. I have literally never used mine any other way -- nothing is "in the cloud", I buy the book, or I download it from Gutenberg, and then I put it on and there is is, always, whenever I want it. I connect to wifi for 30 seconds at a time to download stuff and then turn it off again. When I got the new one, it took me a few hours to download the 1000 books I already had and resort them into their collections. But anything I've bought since March 2014 when I bought it, I have right there, whether there's wifi or not. I bought the thing for travel in the first place. It's the infinite "library in your pocket" nature of the thing that makes it great. Just download them. There is no downside.

The Power of Princesses: Robin McKinley’s The Door in the Hedge

Um, the limit on an old one is 1000, and after 4 years I had filled my old one up and bought a new one where the limit seems to be about 5000. That is indeed "a" limit, but it's not much of one!

The Merry World of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit

Right. But that was a choice on Tolkien's part, and a choice that was a departure from the norms and expectations of his own society. 

The Merry World of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit

Ajay -- I didn't say he understood logistics etc, (though I wouldn't be able to tell the difference whether he did or not) I said he made the journey bits fun to read and seem real and interesting. I can imagine a book written by somebody who understood all those things perfectly and got them utterly correct but who should instead have written "Ten days later when we arrived in X" because making journeys effective for the reader is hard. Though in fact I think Tolkien, who regularly went off for long hikes in England and the Welsh borders, understood walking pace and walking and weather but maybe not carrying provisions because he was never more than five miles from a pub!

The Merry World of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit

Tolkien totally does talk down to his readers. He doesn't do it all the time, but The Hobbit is full of direct asides. Tolkien himself later in a letter repudiates this and wishes he hadn't done it, they get fewer as the book goes on and LOTR doesn't have any of it.

I agree that writing a children's book is a worthy and excellent thing to do, but it's inherently going to be less satisfying for adults than an equally excellent adult book. And an adult book is going to be less satisfying for children. 

Why is Genre Fiction Obsessed with Belisarius?

David Drake: Oh, how fascinating that it was Jim Baen and Liddell-Hart. Thank you for your comment.

And I have either not read The Clocks of Iraz or have blotted it from memory. De Camp could be very variable. When he was good he was splendid.

As for the attitude to Islam in the books, I assumed it was coming from Stirling, as it's very similar to what I've seen from him elsewhere. 

Jo Walton’s Next Book is a Big Space Adventure: Announcing Poor Relations

Zvi: Oh, that's easy. I was having a conversation with a group of friends, and the question came up of Varley-style easy gender changes, and whether we'd do it if it was that easy. ALL the women said yes, and ALL the men said yes... as long as they were sure they could change back later. And I suddenly saw future gender choices as economic, and of course many people would hate this in many different ways, which I do explore in the book. 

As for "we" have gay marriage, for one thing, we for values of "the West" do, being gay is still illegal in many parts of this planet right now. And we, same valuies of we, have a tendency to declare a battle won and forget about it and move on to the next battle. The US STILL does not have an Equal Rights Amendment, in 2017, the glass ceiling is very real, and the work of older women falls out of the canon in a depressingly frequent way. It's better than 1917! But I wouldn't say feminism is over and we can stop examining this stuff.

Anyway, this is a book that has main characters who we would identify as gay and trans, but that isn't quite how they identify, in the same way as you have very different identifications of those things historically.

You may well really hate what I've done with gender stuff in this book, but it's not a thing I did without thinking about it.

Crane: Thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt. Appreciated.

Everyone else: Yay!

A Burden Shared

Thank you to the people who like it!

I had the idea for this story when a friend and I were both experiencing chronic pain and I thought how much easier it would be to swap -- because then it would be for something, not pointless. 

For any SF idea there's a way of writing it that's simple, obvious, and boring. For this one, that would be the story of paying people to bear pain, oh look, rich people exploiting poor people, outsourcing literal pain, as much an allegory as a woman sitting on a lion with snakes and mirrors in her hands. This seemed to me a much more interesting approach.

One thing I do want to say in response to the negative remarks here -- a life with chronic pain is not a life without value, and saying and implying that it is directly disparages not just my own lived experience but that of others. Please don't do that.

The Tremendous Continuity of Science Fiction in Conversation With Itself

Cambias -- it's all very well Viewing With Alarm, but there's ZERO evidence of that.

I just cited a whole bunch of specific examples of new exciting SF that's doing new exciting things, but growing out of the history of the genre. No reinventing the wheel. No regurgitation. No getting stale, and no disappearing up own navel. Those are indeed theoretical problems that could one day arise, but right now there's absolutely no evidence that this is happening, and massive evidence that people are writing exciting new shiny things that build on what has gone before.

Next Year’s Words: Science Fiction, Innovation, and Continuity

Joel -- I don't personally see much Banks in Leckie, but McCaffrey's Ship Who Sang is a very good catch, and really obvious now that you mention it. Well done.

Thessaly: The Platonic Inspiration

DemetriosX -- You know what they say about liberals being conservatives who have been arrested and conservatives being liberals who've been mugged? Similarly, coming from a position of privilege and being enslaved even for the length of a voyage between Syracuse and Aegina made Plato really think about slavery.

A Future Worth Having: Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning

Nan -- she's been doing a blog tour, on which she has written some very interesting stuff about how she did it. There are links on her blog Ex Urbe.

(We were just at Balticon, where all the dealers sold out of it on Friday.)

First Look at Tor’s New Logo, Celebrating 35 Amazing Years!

I feel so proud to have two milestones worthy of being listed here

Celebrate Jo Walton’s Tiptree Award at Borderlands!

Doesn't Elise's tiara look amazing on my blue hat? I kept it on all of Balticon, and people kept commenting on it!

I'm really looking forward to the Borderlands Tiptree event. And in addition to singing, Ada's going to be reading from her novel, forthcoming from Tor next summer, Servants of the World. If you're in the Bay Area and you can make it, do come, it'll be fun.

Alike in Dignity: Feuding Houses in Romeo and Juliet
The aliens and the humans were equal in power and status, in the way I've never seen it done when it's changed so the Montagues are Native Americans or Bengalis in British India or whatever.
Shakespeare’s King: Some Thoughts on Henry V, Part 2
Mary Beth -- don't encourage me! I wrote both the original sonnet and this post as ways of staving off my desire to write not a novel, which would be comparatively sensible, but the actual play.
Nancy @27 - In some cases, they've been quite open about it, in others they're still quite secretive, and there's also disinformation and lost data.
Sir Terry Pratchett, 1948-2015, a Reminiscence
Kate, you're right, he was GoH in Boston, but everything else there happened in Glasgow, because, my aunt. I'll change it. Thanks. Also, I just realised, the two people who made my aunt stop thinking that the internet and fandom, and therefore everyone I met through the internet and fandom, were weird and creepy, are you and Terry. A great way to change people's opinions just by being awesome.
Genre Fiction Honored by the Alex and Stonewall Book Awards and the RUSA Reading List
Because it was midwinter, and snowy, the librarians clearly went for books with white covers.
Eight Books From the Last Decade that Made Me Excited About SF
RobM -- I find it very hard to imagine a miniseries of Spin. But they wouldn't need many special effects!
Eight Books From the Last Decade that Made Me Excited About Fantasy
Yagiz: The covers are really really awful, and yes, very much. There's also the "Well, this clearly isn't aimed at *me*..." cover, which that Melusine definitely has. I'm actually very fortunate that I was sent it for a quote and so read that first in manuscript before seeing the cover, or I might have hesitated too. It's crazy really, it's the words inside that matter. But covers are full of semiotics and information, and sometimes they're just flat out trying to attract the wrong people and putting off the people who would like it. And then sometimes a book is lucky enough to get a cover like that Stranger in Olondria cover. Just as a point of information for those who might not know, authors generally has zero input into their covers.
Philosophilia: The Just City by Jo Walton
Delong: Yes, The Philosopher Kings is a sequel, and I am working on a third one.
A Library In Your Pocket: How Having an E-reader Has Changed My Reading Habits
Hoopmanjh: Indeed, how does this even happen? I wish I'd noticed that Chanur's Homecoming wasn't available before I'd bought the first three. Infuriating. Though that brings up the interesting question of buying cheap (second hand equivalent pricing) e-copies of things I already totally own. I do this, but the price has to be right.
A Library In Your Pocket: How Having an E-reader Has Changed My Reading Habits
JReynolds -- I have a kindle. I really didn't want a touchscreen, and the kindle's page turning is just superior to Indigo's Kobo. (The Nook is B&N's, which isn't available in Canada, so sadly not at option.) But the situation is different now from the way it was two years ago -- everything is touchscreen, whether you want it or not. This will make me very reluctant to "upgrade". The way I can hold the kindle normally and turn the page, instead of having to swipe at the page in an unnatural way is a huge plus for me -- I was worried about the page turning affecting my reading speed, which this system doesn't, but anything that involves touching the screen would. Ewww.
A Library In Your Pocket: How Having an E-reader Has Changed My Reading Habits
Prince Justin: Why yes there is! Rich: I have written about Kathleen Norris before, under the title "The Weirdest Book in the World". I like her work a lot because while her books make sense, I cannot for the life of me predict what will happen in them. I complain that in mainstream you're not going to get an alien invasion -- an alien invasion wouldn't be impossible in Norris. You'll be reading about the Depression and then a character will invent something that ends it! How did she get so forgotten?
The Just City (Excerpt)
Everyone who read this and wants more -- yay! If you like this, you'll like the rest of it. Conversely, if you didn't like this, spend your money on something else! RobMRobM -- I usually post on my LJ ( when I've finished a book and want test readers. Steven Halter -- the book is now way better than when you read it, with extra Maia chapters! Stefan -- So glad you liked it. I just finished the copyedit on the sequel, sent it back today, and so I can't imagine why anyone would want to read it. (I almost always hate a book at this stage.)
The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare’s Histories in the Age of Netflix
Ursula @37, Ada @38 -- and crowns. Apart from Richard's crown in Hollow Crown, the physical crowns, which are lingered over in all three TV productions, get noticeably plainer and more masculine over time.
The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare’s Histories in the Age of Netflix
The RSC production makes the psychologically valid choice to have the moment at the end of Part 1, where Falstaff falsely claims to have killed Hotspur, and Hal's acceptance of that, be total absolute and utter payment for all debt Hal owes Falstaff such that anything he asks for after that is underserved. And that completely worked for me without making me dislike Hal for his repudiation at the end of Part 2. Age of Kings's tricky manipulative Hal also works for me -- he's not necessarily likeable, but he's real and consistent across all three plays, from tricking people into thinking he's worse than he is, to disguising himself and tricking people into glove-trades on the night before Agincourt.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 6
Nicholas Winter: 1833 is the shamefully late abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire. What Stephen says about the air of England (and what he thinks and does not say) was precisely true and the legal status as of 1806, in this world as well as that one. British people owned slaves abroad, but any slaves brought to Britain were instantly considered to be free, from 1772 onwards.
Announcing the 2014 World Fantasy Winners!
Congratulations to all the winners and especially Irene! And it's great to see such a great set of winners. I'm delighted to see Samatar winning for the beautiful A Stranger in Olondria. I love that book.
Awesome Aliens: Jim Cambias’s A Darkling Sea
Prince Justin: Yeah, but there are so many books about humans!
After Paris: Meta, Irony, Narrative, Frames, and The Princess Bride
Kip: Sadly, The Silent Goldoliers is not set in the same world but is a kind of parable of Venice. It has an introduction by "Morganstern" in which he says he isn't dead -- well, he would say that, wouldn't he! It's an odd book. But then everything Goldman wrote is odd, especially The Color of Light, which is about how writers will do anything, and I mean anything, for their muse. It's like a horror story especially for writers. It should be a double feature with Donald Westlake's The Hook.
After Paris: Meta, Irony, Narrative, Frames, and The Princess Bride
DrPlokta: I believe you, because you are always right, but interlibrary loan, that would get me anything, couldn't get it for me and informed me that it didn't exist and I believed them. It's such a pity we didn't know each other in 1981!
Love as Contest in the Work of Mary Renault
RushThatSpeaks: PoL and RtN female loses, FYL is weird as noted. _North Face_ is weirdly interesting because the man has lost before -- he's getting divorced from a woman where he was the lover and then she went to the bad when he was away in the war, and he has also lost his (male) best friend and climbing partner, and the new relationship is with a woman who climbs. And the whole book is in terms of rock climbing and partnership and I think she's honestly trying really hard to write a love relationship that isn't an agon and it doesn't quite work. It's also interesting to look at Theseus/Hippolyta in this light. She takes his death. And looking outwards to other romances of that period, consider Rebecca, where Max de Winter has lost and been the lover to Rebecca, but now wins and is the beloved of the unnamed protagonist. It's such a weird way of arranging things.
Love as Contest in the Work of Mary Renault
Kate: You're welcome! I tend to consider the axioms of romance in genre romance as part of the worldbuilding too...
Ecbatan -- Through. No tuition and a small stipend to live on while studying.
Harry: Universal free education to university level was part of the post-war settlement in the UK. It has recently been almost entirely dismantled and its now similar to the US, where all post-18 education requires payment.
Rothfuss Reread: What Can We Learn From The Name of the Wind Playing Cards? (Part 3)
Quintas11 -- I'm doing a post on it, but it's slow, because there's a lot there and I've been away. I'll try to get it done for next Thursday.
“The Litany of Earth” and a New Generation Doing Wonderful Things
Ay-leen -- you are absolutely part of it! Neuromancer with Bloodchild rising...
“The Litany of Earth” and a New Generation Doing Wonderful Things
PatrickM -- Lovecraft did some wonderful things despite his racism, but his racism makes them hard to swallow now, and the way Ruthanna has written this story seems both clearly. I don't see how acknowledging his racism makes him an unperson. Pam -- yes, it really does make a difference.
Rothfuss Reread: What Can We Learn From The Name of the Wind Playing Cards? (Part 2)
Aesculpius -- yes, you're right, we should be wary of folly. Everyone -- I just read the Bast novella, and wow. So I will be writing about it in the kind of insane detail to which we have become accustomed.
Rothfuss Reread: What Can We Learn From The Name of the Wind Playing Cards? (Part 1)
Valyrian -- don't worry about it. All alchemists sound like that, it's an occupational hazard.
Rothfuss Reread: What Can We Learn From The Name of the Wind Playing Cards? (Part 2)
Landofnowhere: Yes, good point. No Chronicler, no Abenthy, no Scarpi, no Trapis...
Rothfuss Reread: What Can We Learn From The Name of the Wind Playing Cards? (Part 1)
I said the leaf was representing Kvothe, and I wonder if all the leaves in this picture do, as in the swirling leaves in the courtyard. Or if not him, and if they are intended to be ash leaves, whether they represent the hidden presence of Master Ash, watching.
Rothfuss Reread: What Can We Learn From The Name of the Wind Playing Cards? (Part 1)
An ash leaf, hmm? Interesting. Thanks, Angela B. Seeing it big and flat really shows how it wraps, which is cool. And seeing all the leaves. I wish I'd found that when I was writing this, but I only had the box and my own lying eyes... It's really clear there are clouds here both in front of and behind the slice of moon. So cool! Also, I see the cart beside the building, and I more and more think it's the Waystone, symbolically anyway, because in reality Tarbean isn't next to the University, though of course a waystone is... the one where they sat when they had the conversation about sleeping under the wagon. Valyrian, great call on the box being like the unfolding house. That's a really insightful thought, and I think you should be promoted to Re'lar.
Rothfuss Reread: What Can We Learn From The Name of the Wind Playing Cards? (Part 1)
Naupathia -- I want him to get "that" right. If you want fast sloppy work, there's a lot of it available. I think that's just fine. But I also think it's wonderful that there's meticulous craftsmanship available too, and that when we look at every use of the word "that" we know that we can trust that. (Disclosure, I do this with the word "very" which would otherwise appear several times on every page. I have a special day in revision of every book for very-checking, in which every use of the word "very" gets examined -- sometimes left, sometimes cut, and sometimes changed to "red and gold with an intricate design of owls". And that's the one that needs it.)
Rothfuss Reread: Making a Mask for Patrick Rothfuss, Part 2
And if that was angels, are they also perhaps the Sithe? Skarpi's second story is about a split between "angels" and Amyr, but both of them are opposed to new evil being done. If the "angels" are the Sithe, working against the CTH and the Chandrian and evil generally, that fits.
Rothfuss Reread: Making a Mask for Patrick Rothfuss, Part 2
You only get the posts I can write, not the ones I can't. Also, Yllest, I just realised I don't have you written down in my list of members of the Arcanum, so if I didn't already promote you, you are E'lir. And, if you want to write a nice long quotable comment on Old Holly to spark a thread, I'll see what I can do. (But it won't be until after the card posts, the first of which should go up Thursday.)
Rothfuss Reread: Making a Mask for Patrick Rothfuss, Part 2
Ryan: I can't do a post saying "Old Holly: Huh?" There may be a fair amount of me scratching my head and looking stupid and relying on the brilliance of other people around here, but not quite that much!
Rothfuss Reread: Making a Mask for Patrick Rothfuss, Part 2
3 posts on the cards written and lined up for the next 3 weeks. The first is the box -- no seriously, I wrote an entire post about the box -- and the others are two suits each. I'll write about the "The Lightning Tree" if there's anything to say... I haven't been able to write about "Old Holly" despite being asked to (and buying it specuially) because there wasn't anything to say other than "that was a long poem and you took the line breaks out" and "Huh?" It left me compltely baffled. So I've promised to write about "The Lightning Tree" if I can, and fairly soon. And the same goes for the Auri story. And my desire for D3 is not growing any less.

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