Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Musical Monday - A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow by Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara


So, this week's Musical Monday is late. I do, however, have an excuse: Yesterday I spent thirteen hours driving home with the redhead from the wedding of our friends P.J. and Savannah, who used this song for their adorably nerdy first dance. The redhead and I did a lot of driving over the weekend, logging fifteen hours on Friday, several more hours on Sunday, and then the aforementioned drive home on Monday. Some observations from this weekend, in no particular order:

1. Pennsylvania is Mordor. Seriously. No matter what the weather is outside of Pennsylvania, it always seems to be darker and drearier there than anywhere else. On Monday we drove through a wet and overcast Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, leading me to remark to the redhead that at least Pennsylvania couldn't be worse. I was wrong. Pennsylvania also seems to have more road construction going on than anywhere also in the world.

2. We can't trust the redhead's GPS. On the way to Indiana, it took us fifteen hours to get there (as opposed to thirteen on the return), because the GPS routed us there by way of Rhûn and Far Harad. I swear I saw hordes of Easterlings along our route.

3. Applebee's has really good cherry limeade. I haven't been to an Applebee's in a long time, but I may go back more often just for the cherry limeade.

4. Our postman has a hard time finding our address when packages need to be delivered. At least half of our wedding present for the happy couple made it in time. Fortunately, it was the cooler half.

5. There are very few couples in the world who can out-nerd me and the redhead. P.J. and Savannah accomplished this feat at their wedding. Their processional was "Concerning Hobbits". Their wedding vows referenced, among other things, He-Man, My Little Pony, Star Wars, Star Trek, the Lord of the Rings, and Battlestar Galactica. Among the offerings on the wedding buffet were leaf wrapped pieces of lembas bread. I made sure to eat four.

6. There are a lot of soundtracks that I've been meaning to get that I should actually acquire. There's good music out there that I haven't been listening to because it isn't on my iPod.

7. The redhead is a better driver than I am. Much better.

Previous Musical Monday: Code Monkey by Jonathan Coulton
Subsequent Musical Monday: The Imperial March

Eugene Levy     Catherine O'Hara     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Book Blogger Hop April 25th - May 1st: Hawaii Was the Fiftieth State to Join the United States

Book Blogger Hop

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews asks (via Billy): Do you answer the Book Blogger Hop questions in advance and have them scheduled or do you write your post the night before or the day of the Book Blogger Hop?

I never write my Book Blogger Hop answers in advance. My answers are usually written on Saturday (because that's when I aim to get my Book Blogger Hop posts up), but sometimes I'm swamped on Saturday and I don't get my answer written until Sunday. The brutal truth is that I don't write much in advance on this blog. Most of the material I post on this blog is written at most a day or two in advance of when it goes live, and a fair amount is written mere moments before it gets published for public consumption. I just don't have the time or organizational capacity right now to get ahead, which means I'm always playing catch up.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Friday, April 25, 2014

Follow Friday - The Romantic Opera Ivanhoe Ran for 155 Performances in the 1890s


It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and two Follow Friday Features Bloggers each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the Featured Blogger of the week - Literary Escapism.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: Have any pets? Tell us or show us.

I don't have any pets. I used to have a dog and two cats, but I don't have any right now. That may change in the future. Or it might not.


Follow Friday     Home

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Review - Realms of Fantasy (October 2011) edited by Douglas Cohen and Shawna McCarthy


Stories included:
Return to Paraiso by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
The Man Who Made No Mistakes by Scott William Carter
Second Childhood by Jerry Oltion
Sweeping the Hearthstone by Betsy James
Barbie Marries the Jolly Fat Baker by Nick DiChario

Full review: The October 2011 issue of Realms of Fantasy was the last for the publication. After being left for dead twice, and revived at the last minute by new ownership twice, the magazine finally gave up the ghost with this issue. From a certain perspective, this issue doesn't feel like the final issue of a magazine - there is no indication on the cover or anywhere else that this issue would be the last, there is no farewell editorial, there are no sad letters lamenting the end of an era, or any other overt signs that this was the end of the line. On the other hand, it seems like the magazine staff knew that their time was running out and they needed to make sure that they finished any projects they had been holding back on doing. So in this issue, Theodora Goss pulled out all of the stops with a Folkroots article about the mythology of Narnia, Elizabeth Bear was brought in to write an informative piece about the history and definition of urban fantasy, and the fiction in the issue all revolved around themes of wish fulfillment fantasies.

The first story in the volume is Return to Paraiso by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, which tells the tale of an oppressed group of native villagers in what seems to be a Central American country ruled by a tyrannical dictator called the Regent. The Regent's occupying forces have superior numbers, guns, trucks, and even tanks, but the villagers have an ace up their sleeve: the waif-like Esme, a young woman held in a cage by the government troops. But the villagers believe Esme is responsible for any good fortune experienced by the village, and invest their hopes in her. Esme strikes up an odd friendship with Captain Lagera, the man assigned to serve as her jailor (and as time passes, her baby's jailor as well), eventually persuading him to her cause, although not before the detachment under his command mysteriously vanishes. Esme seems to bring the village peace and prosperity until Lagera's commanding officer comes to take Esme away for execution. During his brusque interrogation, the commander threatens Esme's child, causing Lagera to take heroic action and unleashing Esme's anger. The way the story plays out is a wish fantasy for everyone who is oppressed by a more powerful enemy - essentially turning the tables on the cruel invaders with magic.

The Man Who Made No Mistakes by Scott William Carter deals with both the ultimate in wish fulfillment and intractable moral quandaries. A mysterious stranger pays a visit to a broken down priest who has lost his faith and tells the incredulous man of the cloth of his strange ability to turn back time and erase his own mistakes. Calling this ability "switch backing", the visitor describes how he used this ability to save his mother's life, get superior grades in high school and college, repeat his way to a career as a running back at Notre Dame, and finally, seduce the daughter of a prominent politician. Well, not really finally, because in an alternate timeline, he kills her instead. And these two divergent timelines provide the dilemma of the story: Can a small but definitively evil act be justified in order to prevent a more horrific, but morally ambiguous consequence down the road? The story resolutely refuses to answer the question, but it raises it in such a stark and pointed manner that either answer is unsettling.

A classic yearning is for the children of deceased parents to see them again, and Second Childhood by Jerry Oltion is a wish fulfillment fantasy built on exactly this premise. Mazie is working in the kitchen when her mother Genevieve shows up, which would not be surprising except that Mazie's mother had been dead for the previous ten years. After the initial shock, Mazie seizes the opportunity to make up for lost time, introducing Genevieve to the granddaughter she never met and trying to spend as much time with her as possible. Mazie's husband Ted is somewhat unhappy about the visit from beyond the grave, but begrudgingly accepts Genevieve's renewed presence in their lives. The mystery of the story is that no one, Genevieve included, knows how or why she returned to life after a decade of being dead. The story wends along for a while, and then a backhanded compliment from Ted sends Genevieve back to wherever she had come from. The story deals with the almost ubiquitous desire of people to see their departed loved ones just one more time, and does so in a light-hearted and humorous manner that gives it an airy and joyous feel.

Another story about returning from the dead, Sweeping the Hearthstone by Betsy James touches on the subject of wish fulfillment from a different angle - that of a young woman who is seeking love, or more likely given the tenor of the story, lust. Corrie is a young woman who had been abandoned by her mother at birth, taken in and raised by the Roadsouls, and then deposited in a job at a tavern under the care of a tough old woman named Neely. And although Corrie seems to like her situation well enough, what she really wants is to experience love and more bluntly, sex. Corries has brief dalliances with some of the boys and men who frequent the inn, but she finds them either unsuitable or unsatisfying, and Neely regards them all with a disapproving glare. Fortunately for Corrie, the solution to her problem is (literally) under her feet, although not necessarily as freshly alive as one might hope. The story ends just as it reaches the point where it could either turn into a delightful fairy tale or lurch into a horrifying nightmare. After all, the question of where the girls who lived with Neely before Corrie arrived was never really answered, leaving open both benevolent and malevolent readings of the story, an ambiguity that makes it that much better.

The final story in the issue, and thus the final story of the publication, is Barbie Marries the Jolly Fat Baker by Nick DiChario. Set in a universe reminiscent of that of Toy Story where toys come to life when humans are not present, the Paladin is the courtly protector of Barbie. Unfortunately for Paladin, Barbie has something of a lusty side and decides to take up with the somewhat lecherous Baker, who can satisfy her needs in a way that the Paladin, by his very nature, cannot. Unwilling to stand by while Barbie takes the Baker as her husband, the Paladin decides to strike out on a quest. After enlisting the family dog to help him, Paladin makes his way out of the "castle", and in the final scene, ventures into the unknown to find a new purpose in his toy life.

And in some ways, this is a fitting finale for Realms of Fantasy itself. After a couple of tumultuous years that included two ownership changes, this issue proved to be the swan song for the publication. There is, however, no explicit reference in the entire issue that this is the terminal installment of the magazine. But it is filled with subtle hints that the staff knew that the end was near, from the expansive Folkroots article to the tenor the the various pieces of fiction included in its pages. And the final metaphor, of a knight riding into the mist, worn and weary, is how I think Realms of Fantasy should be remembered.

Previous issue reviewed: August 2011

Realms of Fantasy     Douglas Cohen     Shawna McCarthy     Magazine Reviews

Home

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2014 Hugo Award Finalists

Location: Loncon 3 in London, England.

Comments: The 2014 Hugo Award nominee list is the subject of some controversy. Both Larry Correia and Theodore Beale put together identical "suggested ballots" which they published on their respective blogs and encouraged their readers to vote for - whether those readers had read the recommended works in question or not. These lists were dominated by Baen affiliated writers, including nominations for some of their own works. The end result is that by mobilizing their fan bases, Correia and Beale managed to get some of their chosen works onto the Hugo ballot.

There is nothing about this that contravenes any of the rules concerning Hugo nominations, but there are several people who find this kind of politicking unseemly. Writers have, in the past, reminded voters of their eligible works via blog posts, but crafting a sample ballot and suggesting people vote for that ballot is simply "not done". It seems that Correia and Beale did this as a means of making some sort of obscure political point. Alternatively, they may have done it as a means of promoting their works and as part of an effort to get readers to read their works. If so, that seems like putting the cart before the horse: Normally people read one's work, like it, and that is what pushes them to nominate the story for an award. Getting your name on a nominating list as a means of getting people to read your work seems to be the province of amateurs who pay to get their work an award and then try to market their book that way - and while one might expect such juvenile actions from a desperate mediocrity like Beale, Correia is an established professional author who shouldn't be resorting to such gimmicky stunts.

More to the point, I suspect that this stunt will backfire on Correia (and to a lesser extent Beale, although Beale is such a nonentity as an author and a such a failure as a human that there is very little that could damage his standing at this point). To put it simply, there is no scenario that I can think of in which Correia (and the other individuals he suggested be nominated) will benefit from their appearance on the Hugo ballot, and several scenarios in which their reputations will suffer. Basically, at this point, there are two outcomes for the nominees in question - either they will win, or they will not.

If Correia's novel Warbound does not win, then everyone who says that it should not have been on the ballot will feel vindicated. If, as I suspect, that people read Correia's work and it suffers in comparison to the other works that appear on the ballot (a suspicion supported by the fact that Warbound is the third book in a series that has had no volumes appear on any other award ballot, ever), then not only will those who say it should not have been on the ballot feel vindicated, but Correia will forever be the writer who unjustifiably got his crappy book on the ballot via somewhat underhanded means. Rather than enhancing his standing, this maneuver will forever taint him and his work.

If Warbound wins the Hugo Award, I believe that Correia's reputation will suffer even more. If the book wins and it is seen as being markedly worse than its competition, then, fairly or not, Correia will always be seen as the guy who rigged the voting so a sub par work could win a Hugo. His book will be mentioned in the same breath as They'd Rather Be Right as undeserving Hugo winners that readers should avoid. On the other hand, if Warbound wins and it is seen as a worthy winner, this victory will forever be tainted by the way it got onto the ballot. If Warbound was good enough to win a Hugo, the thinking will go, then why did Correia feel it necessary to pull this stunt to get on the ballot? And did he then have to pull the same stunt to win? There is simply no result Correia can achieve that will enhance his reputation rather than tarnish it.

And the "sample ballot" is likely to cause unnecessary headache for some of the other authors mentioned on it who made it on the the Hugo ballot. Both Brad Torgersen and Toni Weisskopf have shown in the past that they were capable of getting on previous Hugo ballots without being the beneficiaries of a voting drive. But the actions of Correia and Beale this year will serve to cast a pallor over the presence of Torgersen and Weisskopf on the ballot. We will never know if they are "deserving" nominees or not this year, because no matter what happens their presence will be tainted by their presence on the suggested "sample ballots" and the related campaign. Although Correia and Beale no doubt thought they were doing something nice for their allies, the reality is that they did them no favors, and probably damaged their friends' reputations by association.

Note: I have written a post assessing the changes that the E Pluribus Hugo nomination system would have made to the ballot titled The 2014 "E Pluribus Hugo" Revised Hugo Finalists.

Best Novel

Winner:
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Other Finalists:
Neptune’s Brood by Charles Stross
Parasite by Mira Grant
Warbound by Larry Correia
The Wheel of Time (The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, Lord of Chaos, A Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers, Winter's Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams, The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, A Memory of Light) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Best Novella

Winner:
Equoid by Charles Stross

Other Finalists:
The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells
The Chaplain’s Legacy by Brad R. Torgersen
Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
Wakulla Springs by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages

Best Novelette
(My Votes)

Winner:
The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Novelette)

Other Finalists:
The Exchange Officers by Brad R. Torgersen (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Novelette)
Opera Vita Aeterna by Theodore Beale (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Novelette)
The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Novelette)
The Waiting Stars by Aliette de Bodard (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Novelette)

Best Short Story
(My Votes)

Winner:
The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Short Story)

Other Finalists:
If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love by Rachel Swirsky (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Short Story)
The Ink Readers of Doi Saket by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Short Story)
Selkie Stories Are for Losers by Sofia Samatar (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Short Story)

Best Nonfiction, Related, or Reference Work

Winner:
We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative by Kameron Hurley

Other Finalists:
Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It edited by Sigrid Ellis and Michael Damian Thomas
Speculative Fiction 2012: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary edited by Justin Landon and Jared Shurin
Writing Excuses, Season 8 by Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Jordan Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells
Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer with Jeremy Zerfoss

Best Graphic Story

Winner:
Time by Randall Munroe

Other Finalists:
Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City by Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio
The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who by Paul Cornell, art by Jimmy Broxton
The Meathouse Man adapted and illustrated by Raya Golden from the story by George R.R. Martin
Saga, Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples

Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form

Winner:
Gravity

Other Finalists:
Frozen
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

Winner:
Game of Thrones: The Rains of Castamere

Other Finalists:
An Adventure in Space and Time
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor
Doctor Who: The Name of the Doctor
The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot
Orphan Black: Variations Under Domestication

Best Professional Editor: Short Form

Winner:
Ellen Datlow

Other Finalists:
John Joseph Adams
Neil Clarke
Jonathan Strahan
Sheila Williams

Best Professional Editor: Long Form

Winner;
Ginjer Buchanan

Other Finalists:
Sheila Gilbert
Liz Gorinsky
Lee Harris
Toni Weisskopf

Best Professional Artist

Winner:
Julie Dillon

Other Finalists:
Galen Dara
Daniel Dos Santos
John Harris
John Picacio
Fiona Staples

Best Semi-Prozine

Winner:
Lightspeed John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, and Stefan Rudnicki

Other Finalists:
Apex Magazine edited by Jason Sizemore, Lynne M. Thomas, and Michael Damian Thomas
Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
Interzone edited by Andy Cox
Strange Horizons edited by Rebecca Cross, Shane Gavin, Niall Harrison, Anaea Lay, Brit Mandelo, Abigail Nussbaum, An Owomoyela, Julia Rios, and Sonya Taaffe

Best Fanzine

Winner:
A Dribble of Ink edited by Aidan Moher

Other Finalists:
The Book Smugglers edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James
Elitist Book Reviews edited by Steven Diamond
Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Christopher J. Garcia, Colin Harris, Helen J. Montgomery, Lynda E. Rucker, and Pete Young
Pornokitsch edited by Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin

Best Fan Writer

Winner:

Other Finalists:
Liz Bourke
Foz Meadows
Abigail Nussbaum
Mark Oshiro

Best Fan Artist

Winner:
Sarah Webb

Other Finalists:
Brad W. Foster
Mandie Manzano
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles

Best Fancast
(My Votes)

Winner:
SF Signal Podcast by Patrick Hester

Other Finalists:
The Coode Street Podcast by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
Doctor Who: Verity! by Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Deborah Stanish, and Lynne M. Thomas
Galactic Suburbia Podcast by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts; produced by Andrew Finch
The Skiffy and Fanty Show by David Annadale, Shaun Duke, Stina Leicht, Julia Rios, Mike Underwood, Paul Weimer, and Jen Zink
Tea and Jeopardy by Emma Newman and Peter Newman
The Writer and the Critic by Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Winner:
Sofia Samatar

Other Finalists:
Wesley Chu
Max Gladstone
Ramez Naam
Benjanun Sriduangaew

What Are the Hugo Awards?

Go to previous year's finalists: 2013
Go to subsequent year's finalists: 2015

2014 Hugo Longlist     Book Award Reviews     Home

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

1939 Hugo Award Finalists (awarded in 2014)

Location: Loncon 3 in London, England.

Comments: The "1939" Hugo Awards will be handed out at the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention held in London, England. This is allowed under a provision of the Hugo rules that permit a Worldcon to give "Retro" Hugos for works that were eligible in a year 50, 75, or 100 years prior to the current Worldcon in which a Worldcon was held but no Hugos were awarded. Although there is an element of fond nostalgia wrapped up in these sorts of throwback awards, I consider the practice of handing out these sorts of "Retro Hugos" to be problematic at best.

The first problem with handing out retroactive awards like this is the lack of familiarity of the voters with the nominees. For nominees in categories like Best Novel or Best Short Story, a voter can rectify this somewhat by simply reading the nominated works. This doesn't fully inform a voter - they are still missing some context for the works that could only come from reading a spectrum of works published in 1938 - but it does ameliorate the problem. But for nominees in categories like Best Professional Editor or Best Fanzine the lack of familiarity seems to be an entirely intractable problem. Unless one could go back and read their entire annual runs, how is one to determine whether, for example, Fantasy News or Novae Terrae was the superior fanzine? How many voters even recognize any of the names nominated for Best Professional Editor other than John W. Campbell? How many voters could evaluate, or even identify, their respective editing contributions for 1938?

The other problem is that when one looks back decades later, the tendency is to honor works that have endured, rather than works that were regarded as notable at the time. To use an example from the world of music, consider the top five songs from the billboard charts of 1963:

1. Sugar Shack by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs
2. Surfin' U.S.A. by the Beach Boys
3. The End of the World by Skeeter Davis
4. Rhythm of the Rain by the Cascades
5. He's So Fine by the Chiffons

These were the five most popular songs of 1963 (one can quibble over whether popularity and quality are correlated, but since the Hugos are determined by a popular vote, this issue is, I think, moot). But looking back at the music produced in 1963, would we come up with a list even resembling this? Would anyone now identify Sugar Shack as the best song of 1963? How many people under the age of sixty would recognize The End of the World or Rhythm of the Rain without looking them up? And then there are the songs that were far less popular in 1963, but which have stayed in the public consciousness over the last several decades: Blowin' in the Wind, Puff the Magic Dragon, Wipe Out, If I Had a Hammer, Walk Like a Man, Candy Girl, Ring of Fire, and so on and so forth. This is not to say that the "best" songs of 1963 are necessarily the ones that were at the top of the annual billboard chart, but rather to point out that the songs that we would pick as the "best" now are likely to be radically different from the songs that people in 1963 would have selected. This dichotomy is, I believe, one of the things that makes the idea of "Retro" Hugo awards suspect at best.

Best Novel

Winner:
The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White

Other Finalists:
Carson of Venus by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Galactic Patrol by E.E. "Doc" Smith
The Legion of Time by Jack Williamson
Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

Best Novella

Winner:
Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr. (writing as Don A. Stuart)

Other Finalists:
Anthem by Ayn Rand
A Matter of Form by H.L. Gold
Sleepers of Mars by John Wyndham (writing as John Beynon)
The Time Trap by Henry Kuttner

Best Novelette

Winner:
Rule 18 by Clifford D. Simak

Other Finalists:
Dead Knowledge by John W. Campbell, Jr. (writing as Don A. Stuart)
Hollywood on the Moon by Henry Kuttner
Pigeons From Hell by Robert E. Howard
Werewoman by C.L. Moore

Best Short Story

Winner:
How We Went to Mars by Arthur C. Clarke

Other Finalists:
The Faithful by Lester del Rey
Hollerbochen’s Dilemma by Ray Bradbury
Hyperpilosity by L. Sprague de Camp

Best Dramatic Presentation

Winner:
The War of the Worlds

Other Finalists:
Around the World in Eighty Days
A Christmas Carol
Dracula
R.U.R.

Best Professional Editor, Short Form

Winner:
John W. Campbell, Jr.

Other Finalists:
Walter H. Gillings
Raymond A. Palmer
Mort Weisinger
Farnsworth Wright

Best Professional Artist

Winner:
Virgil Finlay

Other Finalists:
Margaret Brundage
Frank R. Paul
Alex Schomburg
H.W. Wesso

Best Fanzine

Winner:
Imagination!

Other Finalists:
Fantascience Digest
Fantasy News
Novae Terrae
Tomorrow

Best Fan Writer

Winner:
Ray Bradbury

Other Finalists:
Forrest J. Ackerman
Arthur Wilson "Bob" Tucker
Harry Warner, Jr.
Donald A. Wollheim

Go to subsequent year's finalists: 1941 (awarded in 2016)

What Are the Hugo Awards?

1939 Retro Hugo Award Longlist     Book Award Reviews     Home

Monday, April 21, 2014

Musical Monday - Code Monkey by Jonathan Coulton


A somewhat autobiographical tale, this look into the travails of the life of a computer programmer is probably Jonathan Coulton's signature song. The lyrics tell the story of the titular character as he goes to work, deals with a demanding and obnoxious boss, pines for the beautiful receptionist, and daydreams about how much better his life will be someday. The song was originally musically very upbeat, which contrasted with the somewhat depressed and wistful lyrics, but Coulton held a remix contest for the song which was won by Kristen Shirts, who plays ukulele in this video. In her version, the song is slowed down and the sadness and ennui that had previously been hidden in the song was brought to the fore in a brilliant manner.

The somewhat ironic thing about this song (at least from my perspective) is that the life that Coulton left behind to pursue his music career is the life that my son desperately wants to get to. More specifically, he wants to write computer games, which I think is the aspiration for vast numbers of high school aged boys. Right now he has a goal, almost no skills, and a lot of work ahead of him. I'm rooting for him and hope he makes it.

Previous Musical Monday: I'm Yours by Jason Mraz

Jonathan Coulton     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Book Blogger Hop April 18th - April 24th: Members of the Manhattan Project Referred to Plutonium as "49"

Book Blogger Hop

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews asks (via Billy): Are your reviews more of a rehash of the story or do you comment on writing style, characters, and reflection?

My primary goal when writing a review is always the same: To convey to the reader whether I thought the story was good or not, and why. To accomplish this, I often have to provide at least a partial summary of what was in the story in order to give my commentary the necessary context for the reader to understand what I am saying. There is no hard and fast rule regarding how much of a synopsis of a story that I include in a review, but I try to limit my discussion of the events in the story to only as much as is required to support my discussion of the other elements of the book. I suppose one could say that I try to touch on all of the elements of a book if it is needed for a review, including writing style, character, plot, and themes, as well as (for science fiction) how the science in the book is presented, and for all books, what I think the author is trying to say, whether it is a theme or message I think is worth reading about, and whether the author conveys that message effectively. My reviews are intended to tell the reader whether I think a book was worth picking up and devoting my reading time to, and more importantly why I think it is or not so the reader can make an evaluation as to whether the book will be worth their reading time. Everything I write in a review is in pursuit of that goal.

Go to previous Book Blogger Hop: '48 Is an Alternate History Novel by James Herbert

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Friday, April 18, 2014

Follow Friday - Virginia Route 154 Is a State Highway in Covington, Virginia


It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and two Follow Friday Features Bloggers each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the two Featured Bloggers of the week - Not Yet Read and The Sarcastic Palmtree.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: Spring Break. Where would be your favorite destination spot if you could join the Spring Break festivities?

I would like to go somewhere warm. I would also like to meet all of the members of the cast of Firefly. If I were somehow independently wealthy and had the funds and free time to do so, that would mean that I could go to the upcoming Dallas Comicon in May and fulfill both desires. This, of course, would be a destination pretty much for this year only. In future years I'd probably go somewhere else, since there's not really much reason for me to go to Dallas if Mal, Wash, Zoe, Kaylee, Summer, Simon, Inara, Book, and Jayne aren't going to be there. But since they will be there this year, that's where I would go for Spring Break if I could. In an alternate dimension, I invested my allowance money in Microsoft and Apple in the late 1970s and am now a multi-millionaire with loads of free time on my hands and I can travel from convention to convention whenever I want to, and would be looking forward to attending the Dallas Comicon in three weeks.

But in this reality I have to actually work for a living and have neither the time nor the money to go. So all of the cast members of Firefly will have to do without me. Even the ones whose characters died and might need some consoling. Even Nathan Fillion, who is the most not over the cancellation of Firefly that any person could be. Instead, I'll be here, where it is cold and dull. This is not the first time that reality has let me down, and I am sure it will not be the last.


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review - Realms of Fantasy (April 2011) edited by Douglas Cohen and Shawna McCarthy


Stories included:
A Witch's Heart by Randy Henderson
The Sacrifice by Michelle M. Welch
Little Vampires by Lisa Goldstein
By Shackle and Lash by Euan Harvey
The Strange Case of Madeleine H. Marsh (Aged 14 ¼) by Von Carr

Full review: The April 2011 issue of Realms of Fantasy was designated as the special "Dark Fantasy" issue. Given the nature of the fiction in the issue, I can only surmise that "Dark Fantasy" means "fantasy featuring a female protagonist", because that is the only element that four of the five stories seem to share. The staff did their best to set up the theme with an article by Resa nelson about the Walking Dead television series and a brief discussion of the movie Deadgirl, and a discussion by Douglas Cohen about the Addams Family musical running on Broadway. But while the Walking Dead is certainly a dark vision, the Addams Family musical is ultimately campy and silly, and despite Cohen's desperate attempts to connect it with darker Broadway productions of the past, it remains campy and silly and thus at odds with the issue's announced theme. Theodora Goss' Folkroots article about vampires is, as always, well-researched and informative and generally fits the theme of the issue.

But the heart of any issue is the fiction, and the "dark" nature of the selections in this installment is somewhat questionable. The first story in the volume is the macabre A Witch's Heart by Randy Henderson, a somewhat darker version of the classic Grimm's fairy tale Hansel and Gretel.In this iteration of the story, Granny Bab captures both Hansel and Gretel, but only imprisons Hansel, taking Gretel under her wing and introducing her to the ways of witchcraft. Although Gretel is initially skeptical, remembering the warnings about witches that her father and priest had imparted to her, Granny Bab's comparatively fair treatment and somewhat warped love slowly turn the girl into the witch's loyal apprentice. In the end, Hansel "saves" the day, but having tasted the freedom offered by Granny Bab, Gretel regards this salvation with some disdain. Any story that deals with the possibility of cannibalism is certainly "dark", but the counterpoint in this fairy tale is a message of freedom: Granny Bab offers Gretel the ability to become her own person, while the men who have previously controlled her life - her father, her brother, her priest - have effectively spiritually cannibalized her for their own purposes. But the price of freedom in Gretel's world is high because a woman who is not subservient is an outcast.

The danger of a woman acting on her own initiative even in her father's service is highlighted in The Sacrifice by Michelle M. Welch. The story is ostensibly told by a pair of clerks, Anders and Gilien, who are working for the Inns of Court and traveling to King Harald's castle on official business that coincides with the funeral of Harald's daughter. There they find Didi, a young girl who has been horribly wronged and assess her case for the judges. Along the way, Anders shows off his knowledge by regaling his younger companion with an account of the King's most prized possessions - the marks of the magicians, to which his success in warfare is attributed. Although Didi's case is never taken up by the judges of the Inns of Court, the two boys encounter her time and again, as she goes from being a mute victim, to the dead symbol and leader for used up veteran soldiers, to finally revealing the truth behind how she died. In the end, it turns out that the villains are not the enemy soldiers, but rather those who rewards the loyalty of family by turning their back. Didi, it turns out, made a brutal sacrifice to save that which was most important to her father, and he, in response, turned her out to become an orphaned outcast. Even when done with the best of intentions, it seems that the use of initiative on the part of a woman is dangerous to her standing.

Continuing the equation of "dark fantasy" with "fantasy featuring women" Little Vampires by Lisa Goldstein relates the story of a collection of female coworkers in the 1960s who get together after work for dinner and a drink and are joined for the first (and the story implies, only) time by Anna, the generally nice younger half of a somewhat standoffish pair of eastern European sisters. As it is Halloween, the women swap allegedly true scary stories - the first one told in full is by Irene, the young, pretty, and slightly hippy-ish woman in the office, about a close encounter she and her friends had with the owners of a creepy neighborhood house when they were out trick or treating. But then Anna takes her turn and tells of her and her sister's disparate experiences during World War II, when Anna got the benefit of an identity card that changed her faith from Jewish to a different faith, and Vera did not. Though Anna never experienced the nightmare of the concentration camps, their horror weighs heavily on her mind as she takes care of her sister. Of all the stories in the issue, this one is the least "fantasy" and the most "dark", as it puts on display the cost borne even by those who do not themselves endure the inhumanity that humans can display towards one another.

In contrast to the other stories in the issue, By Shackle and Lash by Euan Harvey is not centered on the story of a woman or a story by a woman, but is rather about a disgraced noble warrior who falls in love with what might be an imprisoned woman. Wahid and Kemal are honorable Mukhabarat until a fateful night when a Hand of Afiz comes after one of their comrades. They, and their doomed compatriot, turn and run, and for this they are removed from their stations and reassigned as lowly prison guards fit only to feed prisoners and clean up after them. In their subterranean existence, they come across a beautiful prisoner who makes them think of blue skies, fresh air, and the smell of hay. But the beguiling prisoner offers something that is both more wondrous and more dangerous than a mere yearning, she offers the promise of a lost world that could be recovered if only Wahid were bold enough to reach for it. Of all the stories in the issue, this one fits the "dark fantasy" theme the least, but it is still an interesting non-Western fantasy tale.

The silliest, and in my opinion best, story in the issue is The Strange Case of Madeleine H. Marsh (Aged 14 ¼) by Von Carr, a humorous account of how a young girl accidentally summons H,P, Lovecraft's Elder Gods into her family's basement while her parents are away. The ironic element to the story is that Maddie isn't particularly enthusiastic about Lovecraft's fiction, and was only aware of them because her friend Tori had lent her one of his books as part of an assigned reading swap. After trying to hire an exterminator to deal with the problem, and consulting with her friends, Maddie manages to deal with her problem in a very literary manner. It seems somewhat odd to have the Lovecraftian Elder Gods play the centerpiece in a comedic story about a teenager, but Carr manages to pull off this odd combination in superlative fashion. The only quibble I would have with the story is that it is not particularly "dark", and thus doesn't fit the theme of the issue particularly well. That said, it is the highlight of the issue.

If one looks at the material in this issue from the perspective of whether it is "dark fantasy", it is decidedly a mixed bag. While a story such as The Sacrifice is definitely dark, the remaining offerings are generally more hopeful and, in the case of The Strange Case of Madeleine H. Marsh (Aged 14 ¼), sillier than one would expect when reading a story that is ostensibly "dark". The one element that seems common to these stories is the empowerment of women - in four of the five stories the central theme is that of a female character making a choice and then living with the consequences of that choice. But what the fact that this collection of "dark fantasy" seems so focused on telling stories featuring women highlights is, I think, an interesting and depressing commentary on what "dark" actually means in the context of fantasy.

Previous issue reviewed: February 2011
Subsequent issue reviewed: June 2011

Realms of Fantasy     Douglas Cohen     Shawna McCarthy     Magazine Reviews

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Musical Monday - I'm Yours by Jason Mraz


I really, really, really would like winter to go away and stay away for a good long time. I'm tired of cold. I'm tired of snow. I'm tired of ice. I'm really tired of being sick.

This week's Musical Monday describes what I want the world to be like right now. Leaving aside the direct message of the song, which I dedicate to my redhead, this song embodies the feel good laid back feeling of the warm weather months. Happy. Carefree. Sunny. Summer.

It can't get here soon enough for me.

Previous Musical Monday: The Year of the Beard by Molly Lewis
Subsequent Musical Monday: Code Monkey by Jonathan Coulton

Jason Mraz     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Book Blogger Hop April 11th - April 17th: '48 Is an Alternate History Novel by James Herbert

Book Blogger Hop

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Annie of My Mommy the Writer asks (via Billy): What do you think is the best book marketing tool? Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Goodreads?

I have no idea. I have no special insight into the marketing of books, and as a result, I have no idea what marketing tool works and what marketing tool doesn't. Given the track record of the publishing industry, I suspect that most people who are marketing professionals don't have much idea what works and what doesn't either. As far as I can tell, most marketing professionals seem to use a shotgun approach to marketing, firing with a broad a spread as possible and hoping something sticks.

That said, here is the marketing strategy that has worked best on me: In-person author appearances. There are few things that will make me interested in a book more than meeting the author and having a conversation with them. Granted, this method can backfire if the author is a bore or a jerk, but by and large, most of the times that I have met an author, I have ended up acquiring one or more of their books.


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Friday, April 11, 2014

Follow Friday - No One Really Knows Why the Gospel of John Specifies 153 Fishes in the Miraculous Catch


It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and two Follow Friday Features Bloggers each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the two Featured Bloggers of the week - My Thoughts . . . Literally and Create With Joy.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: Tell us about a book that you didn’t like and why we shouldn’t read it (as nicely and respectfully as possible)

I'm going to interpret this question as not asking for a response involving a warning against a really terrible book. I have read numerous awful books, but the likelihood that anyone would run across lousy books like Pureheart (read review), Seven Wings and the Bleeding Twin Flowers (read review), or really, just about any example of Christian fantasy or science fiction seems rather small. Similarly, warning people off of almost universally panned books like They'd Rather Be Right (read review) seems almost redundant. After all, telling people that you didn't like a books that is widely regarded as being a bad book seems both redundant and uninformative.

Instead, I'm going to shoot at the top of the literary tower and say that I don't like Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Actually, I don't like anything by Jane Austen. I'm sure this brands me as a literary philistine, but in my opinion all of her books are simply putrid. I don't like the characters. I don't find their stories interesting. I find Austen's writing style to be tedious. There is simply nothing worth bothering with in her books. They should be expunged from school reading lists. No one should ever be required to read them. I suspect that if English teachers weren't continually throwing them at their classes and telling kids that they were great works of literature, they'd fade into well-deserved obscurity within a generation because they simply aren't very good. It won't happen, but I can still dream.


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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Event - The Doubleclicks and Sarah Donner at the Way Station, April 4th, 2014, and The Doubleclicks and Molly Lewis at Jammin' Java, April 7th, 2014


Today is my birthday. This video is from Monday, April 7th, and is the culmination of a really fantastically nerdy weekend. This video is, in fact, the Doubleclicks singing their nerdy Happy Birthday song to yours truly, which was both unexpected and amazing. This is one of the most nerdy cool things that I have had happen to me, and it transformed the excellent Monday concert that the redhead and I attended into the most epic and awesome concert I have ever experienced in my life.  But that was the end of the story. Let's go back to the beginning.

A while back, the redhead and I learned that the Doubleclicks were going to be performing on April 4th at the Way Station, a Doctor Who themed bar in Brooklyn, New York. Because I have family in New York who coincidentally live within a couple blocks of the Way Station, we arranged to travel up the coast and combine a family visit with a journey to see our favorite band. The first thing to say is that the Way Station is a very awesomely nerdy place. The entire bar is decorated in steampunk decor, the drinks bear Doctor Who themed names such as the Stormageddon and the Captain Jack, and the rest room is a TARDIS with a Dalek and picture of the Fourth Doctor painted on the wall.

Once we were settled in with some tacos (the Way Station doesn't serve food, but they allow patrons to bring food to eat, or even order food for delivery), Sarah Donner started her set. We had never heard her before, but with songs like Schrödinger's Cat's Reply and That Was a Pegasus, she quickly made us into new fans. But the main event of the night was Aubrey and Angela, and when they took the stage they demonstrated their mastery of nerd folk leading off with Will They or Won't They and then reeling off excellent performances of Worst Superpower Ever, Lullaby for Mr. Bear, Wonder, Cats and Netflix, Lasers and FeelingsThis Fantasy World, Nothing to Prove, Ennui (On We Go), Clever Girl, and Love You Like a Burrito. Because of the constraints of the forum they were performing in, their set was only an hour long, but they packed the hour with nothing but excellent songs. This was the third time we have seen them, and every time, they have been better than they were before.

After we had made plans to go to New York, the redhead discovered that the Doubleclicks had scheduled a performance for April 7th at Jammin' Java in northern Virginia (this time appearing with Molly Lewis), just a short trip from where we live. It took us about three seconds to decide that we should go to that show as well (and the only reason it took us that long is that we needed to figure out if our train from New York would get us to Virginia in time to make it to the show). But before then, we were spending the weekend in New York with my sister. Which turned out to be fortunate, because it meant that we were able to do a favor for the Doubleclicks, who reached out to us through twitter and asked if we would take care of a small problem they were having. I'm not going to go into detail as to exactly what Aubrey and Angela asked us to do, because that's a story for them to tell, but we were happy to do it for them.

After a weekend in New York that was made incredibly enjoyable by my sister and her husband (and which included, among other things, a trip to the top of the Empire State Building and a lunch as Tom's Restaurant which was made famous by Suzanne Vega's song Tom's Diner) we made our way back to the Washington D.C. area and settled in for our second Doubleclicks concert in four days. First up was Molly Lewis, who we had seen a couple years before when she toured with Jon Coulton and Paul & Storm, and as good as she was then, and has gotten even better. After opening with a cover of Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), Molly ran through her impressive collection of ukulele based originals ranging from I Pity the Fool to An Open Letter to Stephen Fry to a song named Kapo which involved musing on the possibility that her vagina could detach itself from her body and fly about. She ended her set by having the Doubleclicks join her for The Year of the Beard, and as none of the three ladies have beards, they called Storm DiCostanzo of Paul & Storm to the stage to both assist in singing the song and show off his impressive beard.

Once Molly's set was over, the Doubleclicks took the stage and delivered a brilliant set of their infectious, adorable, and incredibly geeky material. They performed most of the songs they had sung in their set at the Way Station, but as they were not working with as restrictive time constraints, they were able to go deeper into their catalog and added Spock Impersonator, Oh Mr. Darcy, The Guy Who Yelled Freebird to their set list, and an encore consisting of an unrehearsed version of Ironically. And, of course, they performed the modified Nerdy Birthday Song for me. To finish their regular set, Aubrey and Angela brought Molly back to the stage as well as Storm for a rousing performance of Love You Like a Burrito, and true to form, Storm picked up the keyboard cat and stole the show by making Angela laugh so much that she temporarily lost her place in the song. Then Storm cranked out a hilarious keyboard cat solo and further derailed the song, but to be fair, it was the best possible derailment one could have hoped for. As good as they had been the Friday before, their performance on Monday was even better. This is a clear trend: I've seen the Doubleclicks live four times now, and each time they have been even better than they had been the time before. Given the brilliance of the first performance of theirs that I saw, that is quite an accomplishment.

I can't think of a better way to bracket a weekend than two concerts by the Doubleclicks unless one were to throw Sarah Donner and Molly Lewis into the mix as well. As a result, this past weekend was pretty much as enjoyable as I could hope for. Since I found them on YouTube three years ago, Angela and Aubrey have developed a repertoire of catchy, sweet, and nerdy songs that, when combined with their adorably dorky and funny stage presence, has made them into one of my favorite bands.

Also, did I mention that they sang their nerdy birthday song for me?

The Doubleclicks     Molly Lewis     Sarah Donner     Events     Home

Monday, April 7, 2014

Musical Monday - The Year of the Beard by Molly Lewis


Because seeing the Doubleclicks once just isn't enough, the redhead and I are going to be seeing them again tonight. But this time, they will be appearing with the queen of ukulele folk nerd music Molly Lewis, which will probably make this performance even more epic than the Doubleclicks' already epic performance this past Friday.

And this has caused me to realize that although I have featured many of the Doubleclick's songs as Musical Monday selections, I have somehow overlooked Molly Lewis' awesome compositions. To rectify this, I'm choosing her recent love letter to facial hair, The Year of the Beard, as this week's song. And the fact that she is backed by the Doubleclicks in the video makes it even better. Ratcheting up the awesomeness even further are appearances by Jon Coulton, Wil Wheaton, and several other bearded individuals. I've had a beard of some sort for the bulk of my adult life, either a goatee or (more rarely) a full beard. In recent years, I've tried the full beard off and on, but given that it has a lot more grey in it than the relatively sparse hair that adorns the top of my head, that's a look I'm liable to leave behind. But no matter what form of facial hair I am sporting, I feel better knowing that Molly Lewis approves.

Previous Musical Monday: The Guy Who Yelled Freebird by The Doubleclicks
Subsequent Musical Monday: I'm Yours by Jason Mraz

Molly Lewis     Musical Monday     Home

Friday, April 4, 2014

Follow Friday - In Fallout 2 the Chosen One Starts with $152 in Cash


It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and two Follow Friday Features Bloggers each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the Featured Blogger of the week - The Unusual Files.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: Late April Fools. What was the best prank you’ve played or had played on you? Share!

I am generally not a fan of pranks. Most pranks are simply not fun to be part of, and serve to do little but humiliate or embarrass the target. I'm sure there are exceptions, but in my experience they are so few and far between that they may as well not exist. This is, I suppose, my long winded way of saying that I don't play April Fool's pranks, and I don't bother to keep track of or even acknowledge any that someone might try to play on me.

Go to previous Follow Friday: There Were 151 Pokémon in the Original Set

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