Jul 232012
 

Here are my picks for the 2012 Hugo awards. You can follow the links where I have posted individual awards. In each category, you can rank your preferences (1 being best). They encourage you not to vote for categories in which you have no experience (don’t just guess in other words). I’ve read (or watched or seen as appropriate) everything that I voted on. I didn’t individually review everything.

Best Novel

I haven’t read A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin as I am doing the reread on Tor.com as a non-read ahead person. So, I can’t really list this one.

Best Novella

  • Countdown, Mira Grant (Orbit)
  • Silently and Very Fast, Catherynne M. Valente (WSFA)
  • “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary”, Ken Liu (Panverse 3)
  • Kiss Me Twice”, Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s)
  • “The Man Who Bridged the Mist”, Kij Johnson (Asimov’s)
  • “The Ice Owl”, Carolyn Ives Gilman (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)

Best Novelette

  • “Six Months, Three Days”, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com)
  • “What We Found”, Geoff Ryman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
  • “Fields of Gold”, Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse Four)
  • “The Copenhagen Interpretation”, Paul Cornell (Asimov’s)
  • “Ray of Light”, Brad R. Torgersen (Analog)

Best Short Story: I thought the short story category was quite strong this year. I enjoyed all of the stories and ranking them was a fairly difficult task.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • Doctor Who, ”The Doctor’s Wife”, written by Neil Gaiman; directed by Richard Clark (BBC Wales)
  • Doctor Who, ”The Girl Who Waited”, written by Tom MacRae; directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)
  • Doctor Who, ”A Good Man Goes to War”, written by Steven Moffat; directed by Peter Hoar (BBC Wales)

Best Editor, Long Form

  • Betsy Wollheim
  • Patrick Nielsen Hayden
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Lou Anders
  • Anne Lesley Groell

Best Professional Artist

  • Dan dos Santos

Best Fan Artist

  • Randall Munroe

Best Fan Writer

  • Jim C. Hines

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  • E. Lily Yu
 Posted by at 11:14 am
Jul 162012
 

Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente is another fine novella nominated for the 2012 Hugo Award. Like Kiss Me Twice, it is concerned with AI’s but the similarities go no further as they are about 180 degrees apart in tone. Silently and Very Fast is written about the development of an AI from the perspective of the AI as it evolves though a number of lifecycles. All of this is told through highly allegorical (and quite lovely) writing.
I thought there was maybe a bit too much emphasis on the original coder of the AI and how their originality and eccentricities influenced and indeed, enabled the AI. I enjoyed this novella and its use of allegory to paint a picture of what is essentially an alien point of view. However, I didn’t see anything very startling about the subject and it seemed that part of the story was attempting to be startling in its portrayal of the AI. Definitely worth reading though.
By the way, the title is the last line from the W. H. Auden poem, The Fall of Rome:

Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.

 Posted by at 3:40 pm
Jul 122012
 

Kiss Me Twice by Mary Robinette Kowal is a novella nominated for the 2012 Hugo Award. It is essentially a police procedural set in a reasonably near future. It is told from the perspective of police detective Scott Huang. Scott and his AI partner Metta are investigating a murder. Metta appears to Scott (via VR glasses) as a version of Mae West.
This is all set up to be exactly the sort of story I like. Detective and partner sharing wisecracks and info, some nice forays into some i=of the philosophical issues with AI’s and a nice twist to the story. This was all well done and structured nicely. However, there was a certain flatness to the story, for me, that kept me from becoming immersed in the storyline.
So, while I enjoyed the story, I kept breaking out of the story at the same time.

 Posted by at 2:58 pm
Jul 102012
 

Here are some visitors that have wandered through our backyard. This first picture is Woody. He (or she–we don’t know) is a woodchuck who lives in the woods somewhere and likes to come down and munch out of the squirrel feeder occasionally. The squirrel feeder was originally a bird feeder, but we gave up pretending as to who gets the most use out of it. In this case, Woody is the alpha rodent of our backyard.

Woody

There are a number of whitetail deer that live in the woods (about 5 acres worth behind the neighbor’s yard). We don’t generally give them names as they pretty much all look alike. We didn’t see fawns this year, but for historical reasons we tend to name all of the fawns, Godzilla.

Here is a shot of some of the young turkeys. Three turkey hens led their spring brood up the other day. As near as I could count there were 25 of the young ones. Each is roughly softball sized. They make interesting high pitched whistling noises as they hop about.

 Posted by at 10:52 am
Jul 052012
 

It occurred to me that I haven’t ever done an interview here. So, today I will remedy that by interviewing author Ian Tregillis. This July is a busy month for Ian as he has several books arriving. The Orbit edition of his first novel, Bitter Seeds will be out in the UK/Commonwealth on July 12.


Even more exciting is that The Coldest War, the sequel to Bitter Seeds, is due out in hardcover/eBook form on July 17 in the US from Tor. For various reasons there was a bit of a pause between these volumes, but The Coldest War is well worth the wait. If you haven’t yet read Bitter Seeds, then hurry up and read it as you will want to read The Coldest War as soon as it is out. In fact, if you can’t wait (as I couldn’t), you can already hear it in audiobook form from Audible.com. You can read excerpts from The Coldest War here and here.


And, to make July even more event packed, Ian will be handing in a new novel, Something More Than Night, to his editor at almost the same time. Ian has said that Something More Than Night will be a Chandler inspired murder mystery set in Heaven.

I thought it might be nice for Ian to talk about some of these things and so, without further ado, let us proceed to the interview:

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 2:36 pm
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