Tuesday, April 30, 2019

2019 Prometheus Award Nominees

Location: Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon in Dublin, Ireland..

Comments: One of the notable things about the 2019 Prometheus Nominees is the complete lack of any Sad Puppies on the list. To be fair, the Pups never really got any significant traction with the Prometheus Awards - the only significant member of the Pups who has been nominated recently was Sarah Hoyt. This seems odd, since given the political proclivities of the Sad Pups, this award seems like it would be the natural home for them. In more than a few cases Pups have engaged in some rather obvious pandering in their works in an effort to get nominations for this award, but they never made a concerted effort to get their selections on the ballot in the same way they did for the Hugo Awards. There is probably an entire dissertation one could write about why the Pups almost completely ignored the Prometheus Award and instead battered their heads against the Hugo Awards, but since the Pups have mostly faded into well-deserved cultural irrelevance, there just doesn't seem to be much point in writing about it further now.

The larger issue with the Prometheus Awards is the repetitive nature of the Hall of Fame nominees. Of the five nominees, five of them had been nominated previously for the Hall of Fame. Harrison Bergeron has been nominated once before, while Conquest by Default has previously been nominated twice. Sam Hall has been nominated three times, while As Easy as A.B.C. has been nominated a total of thirteen times. The only Hall of Fame nominee that has not been previously nominated is Schrödinger's Cat: The Universe Next Door. Having nominees show up year after year until they get inducted is not a new phenomenon for the Prometheus Awards, and that seems to me to be something of a problem. If the range of potential nominees is so limited that one needs to renominate the same things over and over again until they win, the Hall of Fame seems less than impressive.

Best Novel

Winner:
Causes of Separation by Travis Corcoran

Finalists:
The Fractal Man by J. Neil Schulman
Kingdom of the Wicked by Helen Dale
The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
State Tectonics by Malka Older

Hall of Fame

Winner:
Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut

Finalists:
Conquest by Default by Vernor Vinge
As Easy as A.B.C. by Rudyard Kipling
Sam Hall by Poul Anderson
Schrödinger's Cat: The Universe Next Door by Robert Anton Wilson

Other Works Considered for the Hall of Fame

Demon and Freedom by Daniel Suarez (considered as a combined nomination)
Even the Queen by Connie Willis
ILU-486 by Amanda Ching
The Man Who Sold the Stars by Gregory Benford
A Mirror for Observers by Edgar Pangborn
The Mirror Maze by James P. Hogan
The Once and Future King and The Book of Merlyn by T.H. White (considered as a combined nomination)
That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
A Time of Changes by Robert Silverberg

Previous year's nominees: 2018
Subsequent year's nominees: 2020

Book Award Reviews     Home

Monday, April 29, 2019

Musical Monday - Morning Train (Nine to Five) by Sheena Easton


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: May 2, 1981 through May 9 1981.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: April 18, 1981 through May 16, 1981.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

Originally titled simply Nine to Five when released in the U.K., this song was famously renamed for its release in the United States in order to avoid confusion between it and the Dolly Parton hit 9 to 5 which reached number one on the U.S. charts just a handful of weeks before Morning Train (Nine to Five) did. I guess being a country music icon outweighs being an up and comer from Scotland.

The odd thing about Morning Train (Nine to Five) is that it reached number one in the U.S., but peaked at number three in the U.K. More accurately, I should say that this is an odd thing about the U.K., given that while this song was reaching the top of the charts in the U.S., ridiculous songs like Bucks Fizz's Making Your Mind Up were the number one hits in Britain. Morning Train isn't a great song - it is basically a pretty standard by the numbers pop hit about a woman pining for her significant other - but at least it isn't a schlockfest like Making Your Mind Up or Shaddup You Face.

I'm sure there is something deep and meaningful to say about the difference in the U.S. and the U.K. music markets that explains the fact that the U.K. seems to consistently reward the silly in a way the U.S. does not, but other than simply saying "the U.K. just likes weird in a way the U.S. does not", I don't know what that might be.

Previous Musical Monday: Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz
Subsequent Musical Monday: Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Kiss On My List by Hall and Oates
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Kiss On My List by Hall and Oates
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Being with You by Smokey Robinson

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Sheena Easton     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Book Blogger Hop April 26th - May 2nd: 304 Was the Only Area Code for West Virginia Until 2009


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 Billy asks: At the end of a hard day, how do you get yourself psyched about writing a book review?

For the last couple of months, I haven't been getting myself psyched to write book reviews, which is why there haven't been any since 2018. Between work and the attention the littlest starship captain needs, I just haven't had the energy to write reviews for the last few months. More accurately, I should say that I don't have the energy to complete reviews - I have three reviews in various stages of completion and another two incomplete blog posts that I simply haven't been able to get to the finish line. I always hope that next week will be when I am able to get them finished, but thus far that has been a forlorn hope.

However, this week will be the week. I have misplaced confidence.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, April 22, 2019

Musical Monday - Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: April 18, 1981 through May 2, 1981.

Making Your Mind Up is the second Eurovision Song Contest winner to reach number one on the U.K. chart in the 1980s, the first being Johnny Logan's What's Another Year. Other than that, it would be difficult for the two songs to be more different. Whereas Logan's song is a kind of introspective look at getting old and the kind of loss that comes with it, Making Your Mind Up is an almost meaningless piece of pop fluff that is mostly notable for its choreographed dance routine.

The odd thing about the notability of the dance routine that goes with this song is just how silly the reason it is notable. The Eurovision Song Contest is a kind of goofball pop circus, and Making Your Mind Up is just another example of this fact. What made this dance routine notable takes place at about 1:31 in the video, when the two male members of the band pull the skirts off the two female members of the band, revealing that they are wearing shorter skirts underneath. This was considered to be a particularly clever touch that swung the Eurovision vote in the band's favor and is regarded by some as a defining moment in the competition's history. To me, the fact that "pulling skirts off some band members" could be considered a "defining moment" of the competition indicates that the Eurovision Song Contest is basically ludicrous.

After winning the Eurovision Song Contest, Making Your Mind Up went on to become one of the most successful singles in the U.K. for 1981. The song was so notable that the annual U.K. competition to determine who would represent the U.K. in the Eurovision Song Contest was named "Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up" for four years from 2004 through 2007.

Sometimes the U.K. is just a little bit ridiculous, and everything relating to this song is just evidence confirming this.

Previous Musical Monday: Kiss On My List by Hall and Oates
Subsequent Musical Monday: Morning Train (Nine to Five) by Sheena Easton

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: This Ole House by Shakin' Stevens
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Bucks Fizz     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Friday, April 19, 2019

Book Blogger Hop April 19th - April 25th: The Roland TB-303 Bassline Synthesizer Is a Highly Sought After Piece of Equipment


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 Billy asks: Do you check how many views your posts have received?

I don't usually pay too much attention to the number of views a post gets. Because I use Blogger as a platform for this blog, the page view count is listed on the default working page, so I see the page views for the most recent couple of posts pretty much every time I go to work on a new post, but I don't really pay much attention to the numbers. I might take note if a page seems to be garnering an unusually large amount of attention, but for the most part I just don't care. I mostly write this blog for my own amusement, so any audience that it gets is basically just a happy accident as far as I'm concerned.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

1944 Retro Hugo Award Finalists (awarded in 2019)

Location: Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon in Dublin, Ireland.

Comments: As usual, I will raise my usual objections to the entire concept of the Retro Hugos: (1) They don't have any chance of accurately representing the preferences of the science fiction community of the era they are supposed to represent, and instead are selected by people looking back through mists of both time and nostalgia; and (2) fitting work from a bygone era into categories designed for modern media is a bit like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. I've raised both of these objections before, and they are no less true now than they were when I first raised them.

To this pair of objections, I will raise yet another: The level of participation in nominating for the Retro Hugos is so low that it is common for several entire categories to be dropped. This year, the glaring absence of the Best Art Book special category from the Retro Hugos is the most obvious example of this fact. When even a special category created specifically for this particular Worldcon is unable to garner enough support to exist as a Retro Hugo category, that is evidence that the Retro Hugos themselves have a problem.

Best Novel

Winner:
Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber

Other Finalists:
Earth’s Last Citadel by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner
Gather, Darkness! by Fritz Leiber
Das Glasperlenspiel (The Glass Bead Game) by Hermann Hesse
Perelandra by C.S. Lewis
The Weapon Makers by A.E. van Vogt

Best Novella

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Other Finalists:
Attitude by Hal Clement
Clash by Night by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft
The Magic Bed-Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons by Mary Norton
We Print the Truth by Anthony Boucher

Best Novelette

Winner:
Mimsy Were the Borogoves by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner

Other Finalists:
Citadel of Lost Ships by Leigh Brackett
The Halfling by Leigh Brackett
The Proud Robot by Henry Kuttner
Symbiotica by Eric Frank Russell
Thieves’ House by Fritz Leiber

Best Short Story

Winner:
King of the Gray Spaces (aka R is for Rocket) by Ray Bradbury

Other Finalists:
Death Sentence by Isaac Asimov
Doorway into Time by C.L. Moore
Exile by Edmond Hamilton
Q.U.R. by H.H. Holmes
Yours Truly – Jack the Ripper by Robert Bloch

Best Graphic Story

Winner:
Wonder Woman #5: Battle for Womanhood written by William Moulton Marsden, art by Harry G. Peter

Other Finalists:
Buck Rogers: Martians Invade Jupiter by Philip Nowlan and Dick Calkins
Flash Gordon: Fiery Desert of Mongo by Alex Raymond
Garth by Steve Dowling
Plastic Man #1: The Game of Death by Jack Cole
Le Secret de la Licorne (The Secret of the Unicorn) by Hergé

Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form

Winner:
Heaven Can Wait written by Samson Raphaelson

Other Finalists:
Batman written by Victor McLeod, Leslie Swabacker and Harry L. Fraser
Cabin in the Sky written by Joseph Schrank
A Guy Named Joe written by Frederick Hazlitt Brennan and Dalton Trumbo
Münchhausen written by Erich Kästner and Rudolph Erich Raspe
Phantom of the Opera written by Eric Taylor, Samuel Hoffenstein and Hans Jacoby

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

Winner:
Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman written by Curt Siodmak

Other Finalists:
The Ape Man written by Barney A. Sarecky
Der Fuehrer’s Face story by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer
I Walked With a Zombie written by Curt Siodmak and Ardel Wray
The Seventh Victim written by Charles O’Neal and DeWitt Bodeen
Super-Rabbit written by Tedd Pierce

Best Professional Editor: Short Form

Winner:
John W. Campbell

Other Finalists:
Oscar J. Friend
Mary Gnaedinger
Dorothy McIlwraith
Raymond A. Palmer
Donald A. Wollheim

Best Professional Artist

Winner:
Virgil Finlay

Other Finalists:
Hannes Bok
Margaret Brundage
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
J. Allen St. John
William Timmins

Best Fanzine

Winner:
Le Zombie edited by Wilson “Bob” Tucker

Other Finalists:
Futurian War Diges edited by J. Michael Rosenblum
Guteto edited by Myrtle R. Douglas
The Phantagraph edited by Donald A. Wollheim
Voice of the Imagi-Nation edited by Jack Erman and Myrtle Douglas
YHOS edited by Art Widner

Best Fan Writer

Winner:
Forrest J. Ackerman

Other Finalists:
Myrtle Douglas
Jack Speer
Wilson “Bob” Tucker
Art Widner
Donald A. Wollheim

Go to previous year's finalists: 1943 (awarded in 2018)
Go to subsequent year's finalists: 1946 (awarded in 1996)

What Are the Hugo Awards?

1944 Retro Hugo Award Longlist     Book Award Reviews     Home

Monday, April 15, 2019

Musical Monday - Kiss On My List by Hall and Oates


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: April 11, 1981 through April 25, 1981.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of April 11, 1981.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

Kiss On My List was the first big hit for Hall and Oates in the 1980s. It wasn't their first big hit overall - they had had a number one hit in the mid-1970s with Rich Girl, but their career had foundered for a half decade until their breakout in 1981 with this song. This was the first of a string of hits by the duo that served to set the tone for popular music over the first half of the 1980s.

Hall and Oates weren't the first identifiably "1980s rock stars" - that distinction probably belongs to Blondie, but they were the first group to establish a "1980s sound". While Blondie's output was eclectic, ranging from punk to disco to new wave to rap, Hall and Oates helped define what direction music would go in the post-disco post-punk era with a smooth and soulful urban almost jazz-influenced sound conducive to a laid back kind of cool that involved wearing animal print suits and skinny ties.

That said, in 1981 it certainly didn't seem like this would be the band that set the tone for music for the next couple of years. Popular music in 1981 was a chaotic swirl of indecision as the music from the 1970s, most notably disco and punk, fell from favor and was replaced by a mélange of styles that were going in a thousand different directions. That Hall and Oates would win the battle for a place at the helm of pop music was not a foregone conclusion in 1981, but it is what happened, strange as it may seem.

Previous Musical Monday: This Ole House by Shakin' Stevens
Subsequent Musical Monday: Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Rapture by Blondie
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Morning Train (Nine to Five) by Sheena Easton

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Rapture by Blondie
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Morning Train (Nine to Five) by Sheena Easton

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Hall and Oates     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Book Blogger Hop April 12th - April 18th: Area Code 302 Is the One and Only Area Code for the State of Delaware


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 Billy asks: When reading a series, do you re-read the previous book/s before reading the newly released book?

I don't even have enough time to read all the new books I want to read, let alone enough time to go back and reread all of the books in a series every time a new volume comes out. To be perfectly honest, I usually resolve this issue by not starting to read a series until all of the books have been published, and then I read them all at once. I usually buy the books when they are released, but often don't get around to reading them until much later. This has the odd side-effect of my owning several series that are in various stages of completion from which I have not yet read a single installment.

Oh well. I own more books than I will ever conceivably be able to read in my lifetime, so why should books that make up a series be any different? So it goes.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Thursday, April 11, 2019

2019 Hugo Award Finalists

Location: Dublin 2019 - An Irish Worldcon in Dublin, Ireland.

Comments: The first thing to know about this year's Hugo finalists is that for the first time in four years, N.K. Jemisin will not win a Hugo, but only because as far as I can tell, she did not write anything in 2018 eligible to get nominated onto this list. Even without Jemisin, this year's list of finalists is fantastic, with excellent nominees up and down the list in every category.

This year's finalists are notable for two reasons. The first is the introduction of the Best Art Book category, more or less splitting that category off from the Best Related Work category where such works had previously been relegated. The other is the nomination in the Best Related Work category of An Archive of Our Own and The Mexicanx Initiative Experience at Worldcon 76, neither of which are traditional finalists in this category. One might suspect that the first of these two events is at least partially responsible for opening up the field so that the second could occur. This sort of development is among the primary reasons why this is truly a great time to be a science fiction fan.

Best Novel

Winner:
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Finalists:
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee
Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Best Novella

Winner:
Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

Finalists:
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor
The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson
The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard

Best Novelette

Winner:
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again by Zen Cho

Finalists:
The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections by Tina Connolly
Nine Last Days on Planet Earth by Daryl Gregory
The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander
The Thing About Ghost Stories by Naomi Kritzer
When We Were Starless by Simone Heller

Best Short Story

Winner:
A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies by Alix E. Harrow

Finalists:
The Court Magician by Sarah Pinsker
The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society by T. Kingfisher
The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington by P. Djèlí Clark
STET by Sarah Gailey
The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat by Brooke Bolander

Best Related Work

Winner:
Archive of Our Own a project of the Organization for Transformative Works

Finalists:
Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee
The Hobbit Duology, a documentary in three parts, written and edited by Lindsay Ellis and Angelina Meehan
An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards, 1953-2000 by Jo Walton
www.mexicanxinitiative.com: The Mexicanx Initiative Experience at Worldcon 76 by Julia Rios, Libia Brenda, Pablo Defendini, and John Picacio
Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing by Ursula K. Le Guin with David Naimon

Best Graphic Story

Winner:
Monstress, Volume 3: Haven written by Marjorie Liu; art by Sana Takeda

Finalists:
Abbott written by Saladin Ahmed; art by Sami Kivelä
Black Panther: Long Live the King written by Nnedi Okorafor and Aaron Covington; art by André Lima Araújo, Mario Del Pennino, and Tana Ford
On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
Paper Girls, Volume 4 written by Brian K. Vaughan; art by Cliff Chiang
Saga, Volume 9 written by Brian K. Vaughan; art by Fiona Staples

Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form

Winner:
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Finalists:
Annihilation
Avengers: Infinity War
Black Panther
A Quiet Place
Sorry to Bother You

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

Winner:
The Good Place: Janet(s)

Finalists:
Doctor Who: Demons of the Punjab
Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe and Chuck Lightning
The Expanse: Abaddon’s Gate
The Good Place: Jeremy Bearimy
Doctor Who: Rosa

Best Professional Editor: Short Form

Winner:
Gardner Dozois

Finalists:
Neil Clarke
Lee Harris
Julia Rios
Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
E. Catherine Tobler

Best Professional Editor: Long Form

Winner:
Navah Wolfe

Finalists:
Sheila E. Gilbert
Anne Lesley Groell
Beth Meacham
Diana Pho
Gillian Redfearn

Best Professional Artist

Winner:
Charles Vess

Finalists:
Galen Dara
Jaime Jones
Victo Ngai
John Picacio
Yuko Shimizu

Best Semi-Prozine

Winner:
Uncanny Magazine publishers/editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, managing editor Michi Trota, podcast producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky, Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue editors-in-chief Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and Dominik Parisien

Finalists:
Beneath Ceaseless Skies editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
Fireside Magazine edited by Julia Rios, managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, social coordinator Meg Frank, special features editor Tanya DePass, founding editor Brian White, publisher and art director Pablo Defendini
FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction executive editors Troy L. Wiggins and DaVaun Sanders, editors L.D. Lewis, Brandon O’Brien, Kaleb Russell, Danny Lore, and Brent Lambert
Shimmer publisher Beth Wodzinski, senior editor E. Catherine Tobler
Strange Horizons edited by Jane Crowley, Kate Dollarhyde, Vanessa Rose Phin, Vajra Chandrasekera, Romie Stott, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons Staff

Best Fanzine

Winner:
Lady Business edited by Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan

Finalists:
Galactic Journey founder Gideon Marcus, editor Janice Marcus
Journey Planet edited by Team Journey Planet
nerds of a feather, flock together edited by Joe Sherry, Vance Kotrla, and The G
Quick Sip Reviews edited by Charles Payseur
Rocket Stack Rank edited by Greg Hullender and Eric Wong

Best Fan Writer

Winner:
Foz Meadows

Finalists:
James Davis Nicoll
Charles Payseur
Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
Alasdair Stuart
Bogi Takács

Best Fan Artist

Winner:
Likhain (Mia Sereno)

Finalists:
Sara Felix
Grace P. Fong
Meg Frank
Ariela Housman
Spring Schoenhuth

Best Fancast

Winner:
Our Opinions Are Correct hosted by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders

Finalists:
Be the Serpent presented by Alexandra Rowland, Freya Marske and Jennifer Mace
The Coode Street Podcast presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
Fangirl Happy Hour hosted by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
Galactic Suburbia hosted by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch
The Skiffy and Fanty Show produced by Jen Zink and Shaun Duke, hosted by the Skiffy and Fanty Crew

Best Series

Winner:
Wayfarers by Becky Chambers

Finalists:
The Centenal Cycle by Malka Older
The Laundry Files by Charles Stross
Machineries of Empire by Yoon Ha Lee
The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire
The Universe of Xuya by Aliette de Bodard

Best Art Book

Winner:
The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition illustrated by Charles Vess, written by Ursula K. Le Guin

Finalists:
Daydreamer’s Journey: The Art of Julie Dillon by Julie Dillon
Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, and Sam Witwer
Spectrum 25: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art edited by John Fleskes
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – The Art of the Movie by Ramin Zahed
Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth edited by Catherine McIlwaine

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Winner:
Jeannette Ng

Finalists:
Katherine Arden
S.A. Chakraborty
R.F. Kuang
Vina Jie-Min Prasad
Rivers Solomon

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book

Winner:
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Finalists:
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
The Invasion by Peadar O’Guilin
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

What Are the Hugo Awards?

Go to previous year's nominees: 2018
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 2020

2019 Hugo Award Longlist     Book Award Reviews     Home

Monday, April 8, 2019

Musical Monday - This Ole House by Shakin' Stevens


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: March 28, 1981 through April 11, 1981.

While the U.S. charts were looking towards the future with the first rap song to reach number one, the U.K. charts were looking backward with a rockabilly song originally sung by Rosemary Clooney but now performed by an Elvis-like Welsh singer at the top spot. I'm not sure what this says about the popular culture of the two countries in 1981, but it does seem to indicate something.

Not only is this song a throwback, hearkening back to a bygone era of music, its lyrics are surprisingly dark for such a bouncy and peppy dance tune. Essentially, the song is about an old house lived in by a man who has lived out his life and is now basically just waiting to die. Or maybe the house is waiting to die. The lyrics aren't really all that clear on that point, but someone is waiting to die. Given these lyrics, the kind of happy dance done by Stevens in the video seems pretty incongruous.

Previous Musical Monday: Rapture by Blondie
Subsequent Musical Monday: Kiss On My List by Hall and Oates

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Jealous Guy by Roxy Music
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Shakin' Stevens     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Book Blogger Hop April 5th - April 11th: The HTTP Response Status Code "301 Moved Permanently" Is Used for Permanent URL Redirection


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 Billy asks: If you could take the place of any fictional character, who would it be and why?

The problem with switching places with a fictional character is that most fictional characters lead lives that are best described as "interesting", and by interesting, I mean dangerous and often quite crappy. There are a lot of characters that are enjoyable to read about, but wouldn't be enjoyable to be.

With those considerations in mind, I think that the fictional character that I would want to take the place of would be Tom Bombadil from The Lord of the Rings. Overall, Bombadil seems to have a pretty good life. He has virtually unlimited power, a fairly nice house, and a beautiful spouse. The only real problem he has seems to be that his stomping grounds are fairly limited in area, although that may be a self-imposed limitation.

So Tom Bombadil it is. That's who I would take the place of.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, April 1, 2019

Musical Monday - Rapture by Blondie


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: March 28, 1981 through April 4, 1981.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: March 28, 1981 through April 4, 1981.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

Rapture is the first "rap" song that reached number one on the charts. I put "rap" in quotes because even though Deborah Harry raps a decent portion of the lyrics, it bears little relationship to what most people regard as rap. There are no samples, the underlying song is a kind of dreamy tune, the actual rapping is fairly rudimentary, and Harry doesn't look or really sound much like what most people expect for a rap artist.

Leaving all of that aside: While acknowledging Rapture's place in history as the first rap song to reach number one, I kind of question its cultural impact. I suspect that if you went to a hundred people and asked them about the song, the vast majority would give you blank stares in return. The song just doesn't seem to be that well remembered, probably due in large part to the fact that rap music as a genre went in a completely orthogonal direction to the style of this song.

As a comparison, one could look to the Sugar Hill Gang's tune Rapper's Delight, which came out in 1979, a few years before Rapture. Rapper's Delight did reasonably well for its artists, but it peaked on the U.S. Billboard charts at number thirty-six. On the other hand, it became culturally pervasive, influencing several generations of rap artists and helping shape the genre, and showing up in odd places such as Las Ketchup's Ketchup Song: The nigh-incomprehensible chorus of the Ketchup Song is an attempt to copy the opening sequence of Rapper's Delight that starts "I said a hip hop, The hippie to the hippie the hip-hip-hop, a you don't stop".

On a side note, Deborah Harry seems to have had a hand in sparking the creation of Rapper's Delight, so her rap credentials run fairly deep, and her appreciation of the genre probably spurred the creation of Rapture, but her foray into rapping seems to have mostly faded from popular memory enough that Jimmy Fallon isn't making a video using snippets from Brian Williams and Lester Holt to make them sing Rapture.

Previous Musical Monday: Jealous Guy by Roxy Music
Subsequent Musical Monday: This Ole House by Shakin' Stevens

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Keep On Lovin' You by REO Speedwagon
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Kiss on My List by Hall and Oates

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Woman by John Lennon
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Kiss on My List by Hall and Oates

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

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