Friday, July 31, 2020

1945 Retro Hugo Award Finalists (awarded in 2020)

Location: CoNZealand, Wellington, New Zealand.

Comments: The Retro Hugo Awards are a joke.

There I said it. It's a shame, and they didn't have to be a joke, but they are.

I've highlighted all the flaws inherent in the way these awards are structured and administered over the years, and every year the awards seem bound and determined to demonstrate these flaws over and over again, and this year was no exception - and this year even managed to find ways to be flawed in ways I hadn't even considered. Look at the Best Series category, where The Cthulhu Mythos won. This is such a vaguely defined "series' that its victory could possibly have made literally hundreds of works and dozens of authors Hugo winners. Just how far does this award extend? Charles Stross has written some Chtulhu pastiches. Is he a Hugo winner for those stories now? Tamsyn Muir has written some clearly Cthulhu-inspired fiction. Is she a Hugo winner for her stories now? Just how many people are now Hugo winners? Does anybody know? More to the point, since this is a Retro Hugo, does anybody care?

From a certain perspective, the debacle of the 1945 Best Series is just another side effect of trying to jam classic material into modern categories, but it is emblematic of the thoughtless and haphazard way in which the Retro Hugos were conceived and the careless way in which they are handled. No one really thought through what this nomination meant, and no one really seems to care about its implications. Its just another case of a badly designed award being badly run, and the drive to smear nostalgia all over the lens blurring away any kind of care or reason.

The Retro Hugos didn't have to be this mess. They could have been a vehicle for highlighting lesser known but excellent works from an older era. I am even willing to believe this was what the creators of the award had in mind when they first put forward the proposal for them. The reality, however, has been nominations and wins for the often mediocre early work of the tiny handful of authors that everyone remembers because they were famous for years long after the years these award supposedly apply to. That and the voters handing John W. Campbell yet another Hugo for editing.

The Retro Hugo isn't an award for good science fiction from the past. It is a way for a tiny fraction of Worldcon attendees to exercise their nostalgia. It could have been more, but it isn't. And that make the Retro Hugos a joke.

Best Novel

Shadow Over Mars (The Nemesis from Terra) by Leigh Brackett

Other Finalists:
The Golden Fleece (Hercules, My Shipmate) by Robert Graves
Land of Terror by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Sirius: A Fantasy of Love and Discord by Olaf Stapledon
The Wind on the Moon by Eric Linklater
The Winged Man by A.E. van Vogt and E. Mayne Hull

Best Novella

Killdozer! by Theodore Sturgeon

Other Finalists:
The Changeling by A.E. van Vogt
A God Named Kroo by Henry Kuttner
Intruders from the Stars by Ross Rocklynne
The Jewel of Bas by Leigh Brackett
Trog by Murray Leinster

Best Novelette

City by Clifford D. Simak (reviewed as part of the fix up novel City)

Other Finalists:
Arena by Fredric Brown
The Big and the Little (The Merchant Princes) by Isaac Asimov
The Children’s Hour by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner
No Woman Born by C.L. Moore
When the Bough Breaks by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner

Best Short Story

I, Rocket by Ray Bradbury

Other Finalists:
And the Gods Laughed by Fredric Brown
Desertion by Clifford D. Simak
Far Centaurus by A. E. van Vogt
Huddling Place by Clifford D. Simak (reviewed as part of the fix up novel City)
The Wedge (The Traders) by Isaac Asimov

Best Series

The Cthulhu Mythos by H.P. Lovecraft, August Derleth, and others

Other Finalists:
Captain Future by Edmond Hamilton
Doc Savage by Kenneth Robeson (mostly Lester Dent)
Jules de Grandin by Seabury Quinn
Pellucidar by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Shadow by Walter B. Gibson

Best Related Work

The Science-Fiction Field by Leigh Brackett

Other Finalists:
’42 To ’44: A Contemporary Memoir Upon Human Behavior During the Crisis of the World Revolution by H.G. Wells
Fancyclopedia by Jack Speer
Mr. Tompkins Explores the Atom by George Gamow
Rockets: The Future of Travel Beyond the Stratosphere by Willy Ley
The Works of H.P. Lovecraft: Suggestions for a Critical Appraisal by Fritz Leiber

Best Graphic Story

Superman: The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Other Finalists:
Buck Rogers: Hollow Planetoid by Dick Calkins
Donald Duck: The Mad Chemist by Carl Barks
Flash Gordon: Battle for Tropica by Don Moore and Alex Raymond
Flash Gordon: Triumph in Tropica by Don Moore and Alex Raymond
The Spirit: For the Love of Clara Defoe by Manly Wade Wellman, Lou Fine and Don Komisarow

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

(tie) The Canterville Ghost screenplay by Edwin Harvey Blum from a story by Oscar Wilde
(tie) The Curse of the Cat People written by DeWitt Bodeen

Other Finalists:
Donovan’s Brain adapted by Robert L. Richards from a story by Curt Siodmak
House of Frankenstein screenplay by Edward T. Lowe, Jr. from a story by Curt Siodmak
The Invisible Man’s Revenge written by Bertram Millhauser
It Happened Tomorrow screenplay and adaptation by Dudley Nichols and René Clair

Best Professional Editor: Short Form

John W. Campbell

Other Finalists:
Oscar J. Friend
Mary Gnaedinger
Dorothy McIlwraith
Raymond A. Palmer
W. Scott Peacock

Best Professional Artist

Margaret Brundage

Other Finalists:
Earle K. Bergey
Boris Dolgov
Matt Fox
Paul Orban
William Timmins

Best Fanzine

Voice of the Imagi-Nation edited by Forrest J. Ackerman and Myrtle R. Douglas

Other Finalists:
The Acolyte edited by Francis T. Laney and Samuel D. Russell
Diablerie edited by Bill Watson
Futurian War Digest edited by J. Michael Rosenblum
Shangri L’Affaires edited by Charles Burbee
Le Zombie edited by Bob Tucker and E.E. Evans

Best Fan Writer

Fritz Leiber

Other Finalists:
Morojo (aka Myrtle R. Douglas)
J. Michael Rosenblum
Jack Speer
Bob Tucker
Harry Warner, Jr.

Go to previous year's finalists: 1944 (awarded in 2019)
Go to subsequent year's finalists: 1946 (awarded in 1996)

What Are the Hugo Awards?

1945 Retro Hugo Award Longlist     Book Award Reviews     Home

Monday, July 27, 2020

Musical Monday - Bille Jean by Michael Jackson

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: March 5, 1983 through April 16, 1983.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: March 12, 1983 through April 16, 1983.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: The week of March 5, 1983.

The 1980s can be divided into two eras: The time before Thriller and the time after Thriller.

I'll start off by saying that I wasn't much of a Michael Jackson fan then, and I'm not much of one now. That said, there is no denying that, to a great extent, Michael Jackson's music in general, and the songs from Thriller specifically, were a big part of defining the decade.

It is easy to see why this album became a titanic hit, starting with this song. Billie Jean is a catchy, danceable song with a post-disco groove and a eminently memorable chorus. That's not really enough to make it the cultural phenomenon that it became though, because if it was, the numerous other catchy danceable songs with memorable choruses would have also become just as huge.

One of the things that set Jackson apart was that he had the foresight to really dive into the world of music videos. There had been decent music videos before, but Jackson managed to elevate the entire medium to a new level, and this video for Billie Jean was a leading edge for that. I distinctly remember my peers swooning over the fact that everything he touched in the video lit up. I remember how blown away everyone was by the choreography and the presentation. You can also see several of the signature Michael Jackson dance moves in the video as well, as well as the start of his distinctive style. He doesn't have the single glove yet, but the high-water pants and white socks are already present. Jackson didn't just show himself singing the song, he performed it, and then he got the video to complement that performance.

The final element that I think helped make Jackson into the defining star of the decade was that he was "safe". It is hard to remember now after all of the salacious material about the sleepovers with young boys at Neverland and the rumors that swirled about Jackson for years, but in 1983, he was seen as being almost ridiculously wholesome. He was openly and publicly devout, and rather loudly a virgin despite his superstardom. Not only that, if you were a teen in the 1980s, your parents remembered him as little Michael from the Jackson 5. They had seen him grow up. They were familiar with him, and thought of him as that cherubic little boy who fronted a band made up of his brothers. Jackson was, in effect, a Mom-approved pop star.

All of this combined into a perfect storm of popularity that helped make Thriller into a massive hit that generated a record seven top ten hit singles. Looking back, it is hard to really capture what pervasive phenomenon this album and the songs that came from it were. Jackson's music was everywhere in 1983, and ended up influencing pretty much everything that came afterward.

Previous Musical Monday: Baby Come to Me by Patti Austin and James Ingram
Subsequent Musical Monday: Is There Something I Should Know? by Duran Duran

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Baby Come to Me by Patti Austin and James Ingram
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Come On Eileen by Dexy's Midnight Runners

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? by Culture Club
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Come On Eileen by Dexy's Midnight Runners

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Too Shy by Kajagoogoo
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler

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

Michael Jackson     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for July 19, 2020 through July 25, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 10 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 10 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 570 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 15 miles
Current Weigh-In: Not done

So, this was a pretty good week. I set a goal of running ten miles for the week, and I did run ten miles for the week. More importantly, I ran consistently, actually running multiple days in a row. I ran more consistently this week than I have in a month or so, and that makes me think I have perhaps turned the corner and will be able to get back to a regular running schedule. In a fit of optimism, I am going to set a goal of 15 miles of running for the upcoming week, and hope that I can build on this week's success.

Previous Weekly Running Log: July 12, 2020 through July 18, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: July 26, 2020 through August 1, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Book Blogger Hop - July 24th - July 30th: 361 Degrees Is a Chinese Sporting Goods Company

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: What are the top books on your TBR pile?

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders.
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, July 20, 2020

Musical Monday - Baby Come to Me by Patti Austin and James Ingram

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: February 19, 1983 through February 26, 1983.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

This is the last song to reach number one before everything in music changed for the rest of the 1980s, and it is a kind of limp, uninteresting song with a memorable chorus. I had actually forgotten everything about this song other than the chorus, because everything else about this song is mediocre at best, and then the chorus rolls around, and everything changes.

The blunt reality is that most of the song is kind of terrible, but every now and then Austin and Ingram return to the chorus and the entire song is elevated far above the turgid music and bland lyrics. There's not much else to say about this song - it is two good singers who were handed material that was about 90% "meh" and 10% sublime, and they do the best one could expect with it. This song is almost two songs: The choruses are great, the rest is a struggle to get through.

Previous Musical Monday: Too Shy by Kajagoogoo
Subsequent Musical Monday: Billie Jean by Michael Jackson

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Africa by ToTo
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Billie Jean by Michael Jackson

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

Patti Austin     James Ingram     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for July 12, 2020 through July 18, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 10 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 2.5 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 560 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 10 miles
Current Weigh-In: Not done

I feel pretty good about this week even though I ended up only running two and a half miles. I went out with the redhead and the Littlest Starship Captain most of the days of the week, and the couple of runs that I did manage to put in felt pretty good. My shoulder will never be the same, but I can at least get out on the road and run without it preoccupying me while I am doing so. In terms of mileage covered, this week was obviously not good, but in terms of mental state, I think I am finally pulling out of the doldrums that I have been stuck in for the last several weeks.

Previous Weekly Running Log: July 5, 2020 through July 11, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: July 19, 2020 through July 25, 2020

Running     Home

Monday, July 13, 2020

Musical Monday - Too Shy by Kajagoogoo

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: February 19, 1983 through February 26, 1983.

There's not a lot to say about this song. It hit it big just as the New Wave musical movement was cresting and rode that cultural moment to the top of the U.K. Charts. There isn't really all that much to the song itself other than a kind of catchy chorus and the lead singer's two-toned hair. Only a handful of months after this song was released, the band fired the lead singer, and then floundered for a couple more years before completely falling apart. Too Shy was both the peak of Kajagoogoo's career, and the beginning of the end for them.

Previous Musical Monday: Africa by Toto
Subsequent Musical Monday: Baby Come to Me by Patti Austin and James Ingram

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Down Under by Men at Work
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Billie Jean by Michael Jackson

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

Kajagoogoo     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for July 5, 2020 through July 11, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 10 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 0 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 557.5 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 10 miles
Current Weigh-In: Not done

This was another wasted week for me. I didn't manage to run at all. On the other hand, I was able to get out and walk with the Redhead and the Littlest Starship Captain pretty much every day, so I wasn't completely inactive. Walking a mile and a half or so every day won't get me to where I'd like to be, so I have to figure out how to run while having what amounts to perpetual shoulder pain.

I've run through minor injuries before, always figuring that by doing so I would keep myself in shape for when the injury healed and I recovered. The pain was worth it, I rationalized, because once I got to the other side of the injury, I'd be better off than if I had simply stopped running on a regular basis. The difference now is that I don't think there will ever be an "other side". My shoulders will always hurt from now on. And it is kind of difficult to deal with that fact and come up with a running plan that accounts for it. My plan right now is to bull through and just hope for the best. We'll see how this goes.

Previous Weekly Running Log: June 28, 2020 through July 4, 2020
Previous Weekly Running Log: July 12, 2020 through July 18, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Book Blogger Hop - July 10th - July 16th: There Are 360 Degrees in a Circle Because the Babylonians Used a Sexagesimal Counting System

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 can recommend a book from the following genres, what would they be? Romance, NR, YR, or Fantasy.

Taking each of these in turn:

I don't read enough romance to make any kind of recommendation. I could probably count the number of regular romance titles I have read on one hand. Romance-tinged science fiction is probably the closest I can get to a decent recommendation for this genre. If that works, I'd recommend something by Catherine Asaro, probably The Veiled Web or The Radiant Seas.

I think that "NR" is actually supposed to be "NA", or "New Adult" fiction, which really covers a lot of what I would call "fiction", since the definition seems to be "stories featuring protagonists generally between 18 and 30 years of age". That's a genre that has such amorphous parameters that there are a lot of books that could fit into it. Would Leviathan Wakes and the remaining first five books of the Expanse series fit this category? Maybe. I don't know. That's what I'll recommend anyway.

For Young Adult, I have a lot of books I could recommend, but for now I'll go with Fran Wilde's books Updraft and Riverland.

As with YA, there are a lot of fantasy books that I could recommend, but I will confine myself to one author: Ursula K. Le Guin, specifically her Earthsea books starting with A Wizard and Earthsea and continuing through The Tombs of Atuan, The Furthest Shore, and beyond. I also recommend Le Guin's book The Lathe of Heaven.

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Challenge - The Big List of Everything I've Reviewed in 2020

Unlike previous years, I am not participating in any annual reading challenges this year. I have simply been too disappointed in the administration of too many of the challenges to bother any more. This year, I am still creating a comprehensive list of everything I review in the year, and I am hoping to get a lot of reviews completed. In addition to reviewing books I also review magazine issues, movies, television episodes, and albums, and in order to capture all of these reviews as well as my book reviews I've created this tracking page, which I will use to provide links to my reviews as I post them. This isn't really a "challenge", but I am listing it in place of my old challenge tracking pages, because that seems like the best place to put it.

The Big List of Everything I've Reviewed in 2020:
Becoming Superman by J. Michael Straczynski

Multi-Year Challenge Tracking Pages
101 Fantasy Reading Challenge
Read All the Books Challenge


Friday, July 10, 2020

Review - Becoming Superman by J. Michael Straczynski

Short review: The story of how the author grew up in an abusive household with a literal Nazi war criminal in the family and still became a successful writer in Hollywood.

Dreams of Superman
A childhood of misery
Becomes Superman

Full review: I love Babylon 5. I consider it to be the best science fiction television series to ever reach the small screen. I also love Sense8, and I have a real appreciation for shows like The Real Ghostbusters and Jeremiah. I even liked what little we got of Crusade. Straczynski's work, to a large extent, speaks for itself through its consistent, high-quality storytelling, but Straczynski's works aren't the focus of this book, and they didn't need to be. For fans hungry for information about the development and creation of those works, there are a plethora of sources, not least of which are numerous publications focused on them produced by Straczynski himself - I have, for example, the five volume set titled Asked & Answered: J. Michael Straczynski Answers 5,296 Fan Questions about Babylon 5 & Beyond as well as the fifteen volumes of script books he had published. His work has been, to put it bluntly, discussed to death. Fans who are looking for discussions about that sort of thing can probably skip this book and go find those other sources. Those who want a story that they haven't seen before, a story about a life that was at turns awful, at times sublime, and always interesting, will do well to read Becoming Superman.

J. Michael Straczynski could have played it safe. He's been the creator, showrunner, or producer for several successful live action television shows, as well as a couple of animated series - all of which performed better when he was associated with them than when he was not. He's had successful runs as a novelist, comic book writer, and screenwriter. Before any of that, he was a successful journalist. When he sat down to write his autobiography, he could have focused entirely on his professional life, detailing his time writing for She-Ra, The Real Ghostbusters, regaling readers with his experiences showrunning Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. He could have spent chapter after chapter talking about bringing Babylon 5, Jeremiah, and Sense8 to the screen. No one would have complained at all had he spent the pages of the book discussing how he wrote Spider-Man, Thor, and Superman, or any of the other projects he worked on. Those things are all in this book, although not as much as one might think, because Straczynski had another story to tell, a story that involved absolutely not playing it safe.

In Avengers: Infinity War, Dr. Strange says that he looked at fourteen million possible futures to find the one where the Avengers are able to prevent Thanos from eradicating half the population of the Universe and defeat the mad titan. After reading Becoming Superman, I feel like there are fourteen million alternate universes in which J. Michael Straczynski never broke free of his past and was never able to produce the wonderful body of work that we have been able to enjoy for the last couple of decades. There are universes where Straczynski didn't survive infancy, killed by his depressed and unstable mother. There are universes where he died of sickness and neglect, or where he was abducted and killed on the streets of New Jersey. There are universes in which his abusive father went too far and left the boy version of Straczynski too shattered to continue. Or where the constant stream of violence and neglect was compounded by the institutional indifference of the schools that were supposed to educate him, resulting in Straczynski's life being derailed into crime, addiction, or simple despair.

The book opens with a recounting of the stories that Straczynski was told about his family's past, and over the next several hundred pages, he takes apart and examines this carefully constructed lie. From a certain perspective, it seems almost inevitable that Straczynski would become a storyteller, because pretty much every member of his family put forward a carefully crafted fiction about their past, weaving together a web of falsehoods with just enough threads made of truth to make the whole at least somewhat plausible. At times, it seems as if some of the members of Straczynski's family had come to believe the fictional version of their past that they had conjured up, but time and again, reality peeks around the edges, throwing everyone's life into disarray as they desperately try to cover their tracks yet again - efforts that often seem to drive many of the callous and violent actions described in the book. This is not to say that keeping the made-up story of their past is the sole cause of the harrowing home life Straczynski describes in the book, but it does help to explain elements such as the constant moves from place to place, the hushed conversations between adults, the isolation from outsiders, and even the violent outbursts from his father. When added to the constant need to evade creditors, the copious consumption of alcohol, the brutality, the outright sadism, and the hinted at mental illnesses that seem to have plagued the family, the need to cover up secrets was just folded into the toxic mixture and gave what might have been run-of-the-mill dysfunction and misfortune an added edge of viciousness.

In the biography of someone who has had as successful a career as Straczynski, it may seem odd to dwell so extensively upon his childhood home life, teenage angst, and college experiences but the reality is that his years in journalism seem to have inculcated in Straczynski the ability to cut to the real meat of a story, and the real meat of his life story isn't in writing episodes of The Real Ghostbusters or showrunning Murder She Wrote or any of his other professional credits. The meat of his story is in the almost ludicrously horrific childhood, his somewhat desperate dalliance with a moderately lunatic cult, and the revelations about what his grandmother and father were up to during their sojourn in Europe during World War II. That said, while the meat of the story is the terrifying life he led before he managed to essentially cut off all connections with his entire completely fucked up family, the heart of the story is the connection he made with the people he picked up along the way: With Harlan Ellison, who became an almost unwilling mentor, with Larry DiTillio, with whom he worked on a couple of shows, with Andreas Katsulas, Richard Biggs, Jerry Doyle and the other cast members of Babylon 5, many of whom died far too soon, and on and on. These personal recollections, told in often vivid detail, about both the awful family he was born into, and the creative and loving replacement family that he picked up during his adulthood, elevate this autobiography far above a simple recollection of the hows and whys of television and movie productions.

The title of the book is a metaphor, derived from Straczynski's childhood love for Superman, who, along with a collection of other comic book figures, seem to have filled in as surrogate parents for a boy who was comprehensively failed by everyone around him. The subtitle is My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood, with Stops Along the Way at Murder, Madness, Mayhem, Movie Stars, Cults, Slums, Sociopaths, and War Crimes, and every single one of those elements is part of the story that led Straczynski from living in barely heated tenements and eating food that had all but spoiled to being a successful writer with careers in journalism, screenwriting, novel-writing, and comic book writing As he states late in the book, the life story told in the book is so improbable that if you wrote it as fiction, it would never get published. The end result is story that is as unbelievable as it is true, and well-worth reading.

2020 Hugo Award Finalists

J. Michael Straczynski     Book Reviews A-Z     Home

Monday, July 6, 2020

Musical Monday - Africa by Toto

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: The week of February 5, 1983.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

A piece of personal trivia: When this song was released I was, in fact, living in Africa, and had been for a couple of years. I have been to or seen pretty much all of the physical landmarks mentioned in the song such as Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti, although my favorite places I visited were actually the Ngorongoro Crafter and Olduvai Gorge.

I think it kind of goes without saying that when I was a thirteen year-old living in Zaire, this was pretty much a constantly played song among my peer group. The song was about where we were living, and more or less captured the mood of the moment. For a brief instant, Toto was hyped as being the next superstar band that would be churning out hits for a decade.

When you get down to it though, this is kind of a problematic song and video. A bunch of white guys singing about blessing the rains down in Africa coupled with a video about a white dude in a library hunting for the rest of a torn picture of a piece of a "native" shield. Throw in a black woman as his librarian backdrop and a faceless black "tribal warrior" as a kind of antagonist and the end result is just kind of creepy in so many different vectors.

Previous Musical Monday: Down Under by Men at Work
Subsequent Musical Monday: Too Shy by Kajagoogoo

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Down Under by Men at Work
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Baby, Come to Me by Patti Austin and James Ingram

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

Toto     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for June 28, 2020 through July 4, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 10 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 4 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 557.5 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 10 miles
Current Weigh-In: Not done

It has become really easy to derail my running. So easy, in fact, that I end up not running most days. The root problem is my shoulder issues. Although my shoulder doesn't actually directly impact my running, it has made it difficult to sleep well, and as a result, I am a lot more tired than I used to be. It also saps away my ability to concentrate, as I am constantly aware of the soreness in my shoulder, which flares up intensely when I engage in certain motions - and I am still discovering just what motions cause the flare ups.

The redhead has also decided that we should take walks every evening with the Littlest Starship Captain. I'm not complaining about these walks, but by the time we get home from them, they stack onto the previously mentioned issues and I am simply so worn out that I don't have the energy or mental fortitude to go out again and run. I'm not saying that I won't be able to start regularly running again, but I think that before I get there, I need to figure out a way to be able to sleep through the night.

Previous Weekly Running Log: June 21, 2020 through June 27, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: July 5, 2020 through July 11, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Book Blogger Hop - July 3rd - July 9th: The Battle of Wolf 359 Pitted the Federation Against the Borg

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: What book or books got a lot hype, but were a disappointment for you?

The only book that comes to mind right now that failed to live up to the hype for me is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I generally liked the Harry Potter series, even though for me it wasn't anything more than a decently executed young adult fantasy series that was kind of derivative at times with mostly nonsensical world- building. Given all the build-up for Deathly Hallows, I picked up the book expecting a worthy finish for a series that had built up a lot of momentum to that point.

What I got was a deadly dull anticlimactic snooze-fest. The book was about twice as long as its contents merited, with far too many of the pages taken describing a camping trip that simply would not end, the final battle was uninteresting, and even the post-mortem meeting between Harry and Dumbledore was dull. The much ballyhooed final chapter that Rowling had allegedly written when she started the series was awful. In short, the book was simply not even up to the modest standards of quality that the previous volumes in the series had established. Even though the earlier books had a few minor missteps there and there, they were isolated and relatively minor. Deathly Hallows, by contrast, felt like Rowling had taken every wrong decision she had ever made in the series and decided to place them front and center as the featured element of the book. And then she made sure to write about every one of them for about five times as long as needed.

Basically, I expected something that was at least an adequate finish to the series, and instead Deathly Hallows turned out to be bad enough to retroactively make every previous volume in the saga worse.

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Friday, July 3, 2020

1944 Retro Hugo Award Longlist (awarded in 2019)

Looking through the Retro Hugo information to create the 2019 Retro Hugo Longlist brings to my mind the question that I always have about the Retro Hugos: Why do these exist?

One justification that could be raised is that the Retro Hugos are intended to honor the finalists and winners, giving them the kudos they deserve for their contributions to the genre, but that seems like a fairly flimsy rationale to me. I have not checked to see for certain, but I am reasonably confident that everyone who either is on this longlist or was involved in the creation of a work appearing on this longlist is now dead. They are beyond caring what is done to honor them for their work.

Another justification that might be raised is that the Worldcon members feel the need to express their admiration of the people and works nominated - sort of the flip side of the first rationale, but with the people being gratified being people who are living current Worldcon members rather than artists, writers, and editors who have passed away. Given the level of participation that the Retro Hugos engender, this seems like a weak rationale as well. Some people have criticized the Hugo Awards as having an unrepresentative voting base, but at the very least one can say that the bulk of the attending and supporting Worldcon members participate in the process that results in those awards. In contrast, only a tiny fraction of the Worldcon members bother with the Retro Hugos.

So few people participate in the Retro Hugos, that entire categories are routinely left off of the ballot due to a lack of nominations for finalists. In 2019, Best Related Work, Best Semiprozine, Best Long Form Professional Editor, Best Fancast, Best Fan Artist, and Best Art Book all failed to garner enough support to even appear on the ballot. For some of these categories, such as Best Fancast, the reason is obvious, while for others it seems that voters just couldn't be bothered to come up with appropriate nominees. The number of people participating the the nominating process is minuscule - some of the longlisted nominees on this list got their by virtue of a single nominating vote, many more with two or three nominations. The number of nominators topped out at about six dozen for the most nominated novel. The number of Worldcon voters who participated in the actual vote to determine the Retro Hugo winners was only marginally higher.

In addition to this apparent lack of interest, it seems that many who do participate in the Retro Hugo process don't actually have any idea what they are supposed to be nominating. Two potential finalists were disqualified because they were not published in 1943. When I was going through the longlist to fill out the incomplete data about the nominees, it became apparent that many of the longlisted works were also ineligible due to being published in a year other than 1943. One person even cast a nominating ballot for Exit Strategy, a novella that was published in 2018.

One might think this confusion would lead to an interesting array of nominees being put forward, and that might be a reason for the Retro Hugos - to put a spotlight on people and works that otherwise might be forgotten. The reality, however, is that the nominees seem to be drawn from the relatively small pool of options that have endured the test of time. Most of the fiction nominees were written by the same handful of well-known authors, the same holds true for the artist and editor categories - the same handful of people get nominated over an over again. Functionally what this means is that figures like Fritz Leiber, Robert A. Henlein, John W. Campbell, Leigh Brackett, and A.E. van Vogt dominate the resulting lists of nominees. Do these people really need more recognition?

The potential honorees are dead, almost no Worldcon members participate, those that do seem to be frequently confused about what is eligible, and the nominees are largely people who who were already weighted down with honors during their lifetimes. So, the question remains: Why do the Retro Hugos exist? What purpose do they serve?

Best Novel

Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber [winner]
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

Longlisted Nominees:
The Black, Black Witch by Kenneth Robeson
The Book of Ptath by A.E. van Vogt
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft
Fog Magic by Julia L. Sauer
Judgment Night by C.L. Moore
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
Malpertuis by Jean Ray
Mary Poppins Opens the Door by P.L. Travers
Ravage/Ashes Ashes by René Barjavel
Sirius by Olaf Stapledon

Best Novella

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 Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry [winner]
The Magic Bed-Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons by Mary Norton
We Print the Truth by Anthony Boucher

Longlisted Nominees:
Exile to Centauri by Ross Rocklynne
Exit Strategy by Martha Wells
Genie of Bagdad by William P. McGivern
The Giant Atom by Malcolm Jameson
The Great Brain Panic by Don Wilcox
Hell Hath Fury by Cleve Cartmill
Killdozer by Theodore Sturgeon
The Lost Warship by Robert Moore Williams
One-Way Trip by Anthony Boucher
Opposites-React! by Jack Williamson
The Robot Master by Walter B. Gibson
The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag by Robert A. Heinlein (reviewed in The Fantasies of Robert A,. Heinlein)
Wings of Icarus by Ray Cummings

Best Novelette

Citadel of Lost Ships by Leigh Brackett
The Halfling by Leigh Brackett
Mimsy Were the Borogoves by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner [winner]
The Proud Robot by Henry Kuttner
Symbiotica by Eric Frank Russell
Thieves’ House by Fritz Leiber

Longlisted Nominees
Angelic Angleworm by Fredric Brown
The Beast by A.E. van Vogt
The Cave by P. Schuyler Miller
Daymare by Fredric Brown
Elsewhen by Anthony Boucher
Greenface by James H. Schmitz
Message from Mars by Clifford Simak
The Storm by A.E. van Vogt
Thralls of the Endless Night by Leigh Brackett
Time Locker by Henry Kuttner

Best Short Story

Death Sentence by Isaac Asimov
Doorway into Time by C.L. Moore
Exile by Edmond Hamilton
King of the Gray Spaces (aka R is for Rocket) by Ray Bradbury [winner]
Q.U.R. by H.H. Holmes
Yours Truly – Jack the Ripper by Robert Bloch

Longlisted Nominees
The Crowd by Ray Bradbury
The Devil Is Not Mocked by Manly Wade Wellman
The Geezenstacks by Fredric Brown
The Gremlins by Roald Dahl
The Iron Standard by Lewis Padgett
Nothing But Gingerbread Left by Henry Kuttner
The Secret Miracle by Jorge Luis Borges
The Scythe by Ray Bradbury
They Bite by Anthony Boucher
The Wind by Ray Bradbury

Best Graphic Story

Buck Rogers: Martians Invade Jupiter by Philip Nowlan and Dick Calkins
Flash Gordon: Fiery Desert of Mongo by Alex Raymond
Garth by Steve Dowling
Nelvana of the Northern Lights and the Ice-Beam by Adrian Dingle [ineligible]
Plastic Man #1: The Game of Death by Jack Cole
Le Secret de la Licorne (The Secret of the Unicorn) by Hergé
Wonder Woman #5: Battle for Womanhood written by William Moulton Marsden, art by Harry G. Peter [winner]

Longlisted Nominees:
All-Star Comics #18 written by Gardner Fox, art by Joe Gallagher, Sheldon Moldoff, Pierce Rice, Arturo Cazeneuve, Bernard Baily, Howard Sherman, and Stan Aschmeier
Brick Bradford: On the Throne of Titania written by William Ritt, art by Clarence Gray
Buck Rogers: Mechanical Bloodhound written by Flint Dille, art by Dick Calkins
Captain America Comics written by Stan Lee, Otto Binder, and Ray Cummings, art by Al Avison, Harry Sahle, Don Rico, Ed Asch, Syd Shores, Bob Oksner, Guy Blythe, Carl Pfeufer, Jack Alderman, Paul Reinman, Vince Alascia, Carmine Infantino, Al Fagaly, Al Bellman, Sid Greene, Al Gabriele, Jimmy Thompson, Ken Bald, and Mike Sekowsky
Donald Duck: The Mummy's Ring by Carl Banks
Donald Duck: The Victory Garden by Carl Banks
Green Lantern #7: The Wizard of Odds written by Bill Finger, art by Martin Nodell
Green Lantern #10: The Man Who Wanted the World written by Alfred Bester, art by Martin Nodell
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Mandrake the Magician: Baron Kord written by Lee Falk, art by Phil Davis
Many Moons written by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
Otomox written by André Mavimus, art by Roger Roux
The Phantom: The Phantom's Engagement written by Lee Falk, art by Wilson McCoy
Le Rayon U by Edgar P. Jacobs
Submariner and The Green Island Menace art by Carl Pfeufer
Tintin: The Crab with the Golden Claws by Hergé
Tintin: Red Rackham's Treasure by Hergé

Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form

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
Heaven Can Wait written by Samson Raphaelson [winner]
Münchhausen written by Erich Kästner and Rudolph Erich Raspe
The Phantom (serial) written by Morgan Cox, Victor McLeod, Sherman L. Lowe, Leslie Swabacker, Lee Falk, and Ray Moore [ineligible]
Phantom of the Opera written by Eric Taylor, Samuel Hoffenstein and Hans Jacoby

Longlisted Nominees:
Calling Dr. Death written by Edward Dein
The Curse of the Cat People written by DeWitt Bodeen
Faustus Kelly written by Flann O'Brien
Flesh and Fantasy written by Ellis St. Joseph, Oscar Wilde, László Vadnay, Ernest Pascal, and Samuel Hoffenstein
The Insect Play (Rhapsody in Stephen's Green) written by Clifford Bax, Karel Capek, Nigel Playfair, and Paul Selver
The Leopard Man written by Ardel Wray, Edward Dein, and Cornell Woolrich
The Masked Marvel written by Royal K. Cole, Ronald Davidson, Basil Dickey, Jesse Duffy, Grant Nelson, George H. Plympton, and Joseph F. Poland
Shadow of a Doubt written by Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson, Alma Reville, and Gordon McDonell
Sherlock Holmes Faces Death written by Bertram Millhauser and Arthur Conan Doyle
The Tin Men

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

The Ape Man written by Barney A. Sarecky
Der Fuehrer’s Face story by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer
Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman written by Curt Siodmak [winner]
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

Longlisted Nominees:
Captive Wild Woman written by Ted Fithian, Neil P. Varnick, Jay Griffin, and Henry Sucher
The Mad Ghoul written by Brenda Weisberg, Paul Gangelin, and Hanns Kräly
La Main du Diable/Carnival of Sinners written by Jean-Paul Le Chanois and Gérard de Nerval
Meshes of the Afternoon written by Maya Deren
Momotarô's Sea Eagles written by Arishige Kurihara
The Underground World written by Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Jay Morton, and Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Silent Village by Humphrey Jennings
Son of Dracula written by Eric Taylor and Curt Siodmak
Red Hot Riding Hood written by Rich Hogan
The Return of the Vampire written by Jay Griffin, Kurt Neumann, and Randall Faye

Best Professional Editor: Short Form

John W. Campbell [winner]
Oscar J. Friend
Mary Gnaedinger
Dorothy McIlwraith
Raymond A. Palmer
Donald A. Wollheim

Longlisted Nominees:
Robert A. W. Lowdnes
Frank A. Munsey
Alden H. Norton
W. Scott Peacock
Frederik Pohl
Malcolm Reiss
Farnsworth Wright

Best Professional Artist

Hannes Bok
Margaret Brundage
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Virgil Finlay [winner]
J. Allen St. John
William Timmins

Longlisted Nominees:
Earle Bergey
Edd Cartier
Harold W. McCauley
Paul Orban
Frank R. Paul
Mervyn Peake
George Rozen
Alex Schomburg
A.R. Tilburne
Dorothy M. Wheeler

Best Fanzine

Futurian War Digest 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
Le Zombie edited by Wilson “Bob” Tucker [winner]

Longlisted Nominees:
British Fantasy Society Bulletin by D.R. Smith
Chanticleer by Walt Liebscher
Cosmic Circle Commentator by Claude Degler (writing as Dan Rogers)
En Garde by Al Ashley and Abby Lu Ashley
Fanfare by The Stranger Club
Fantasy Fiction Field by Julius Unger
Fantasy News by James Taurasi and William Sykora
Horizons by Harry Warner, Jr.
Inspiration edited by Lynn Bridges
Light by Leslie A. Croutch
Madman of Mars #4 by Forrest J Ackerman
Nebula 6 by Larry Shaw and Rusty Barron
Shangri L’Affaires edited by Walt Daugherty, Arthur Joquel, and Phil Bronson
Sustainability Program by Jack Speer

Best Fan Writer

Forrest J. Ackerman [winner]
Myrtle Douglas
Jack Speer
Wilson “Bob” Tucker
Art Widner
Donald A. Wollheim

Longlisted Nominees:
Al Ashley
Helen Bradleigh
Lynn Bridges
Russ Chauvenet
Leslie E. Crouch
Walter J. Daugherty
E. Everett Evans
Harry Jenkins, Jr.
Francis Towner Laney
Don Rogers
J. Michael Rosenblum
Larry Shaw
William S. Sykora
Harry Turner
Julius Unger
Harry Warner Jr.
Douglas Webster

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

Go to 1944 Hugo Finalists and Winners

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Thursday, July 2, 2020

2019 Hugo Award Longlist

Every now and then, the redhead asks me why I put together these Hugo longlist posts. They are a lot of work. The published Hugo stats that I draw them from are annoyingly incomplete in a lot of ways, requiring me to do more research than I normally would for an awards post. There is almost certainly a very tiny audience for this sort of thing. On the surface, it just seems like it is a lot of work for very little payoff. All of which is completely correct, and at the same time completely wrong.

To a certain extent, the relative obscurity of and comparative lack of interest in the works on the longlist is the point of putting together a Hugo longlist post. The works on the longlist aren't lesser works - in most cases they are just as good if not better than the works that make the finalist list - they are just not as well-known. The works on the longlist are also frequently more interesting than the works that make the finalist list.

The reason for this is a function of the somewhat fractured nature of the science fiction community. To make it to the finalist list, a work has to have broad support across a range of these subgroups. To make the longlist, a work can be of particular interest to a handful of subgroups, or in extreme cases, just one. This results in works making the longlist that deal with topics of intense interest to those groups, and those works are often more interesting than those that are supported by a broad spectrum of voices.

For example, look at the Related Work category for this year. The finalists are all fine entries, but for the most part they cover fairly well-worn territory. The longlisted entries, on the other hand include (among other things) The 2017 #BlackSpecFic Report by Cecily Kane, Hard Enough by Marissa Lingen, I Belong Where the People Are: Disability and The Shape of Water by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, and On Motherhood and Erasure: people Shaped Holes, Hollow Characters and the Illusion of Impossible Adventures by Aliette de Bodard, each of which takes a specific and interesting topic and breaks it down in a compelling manner. These works explore corners of the speculative fiction world that one might miss if one were to only pay attention to what has percolated to the top of the list, and in my opinion, that would be a mistake.

Best Novel

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal [winner]
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

Longlisted Nominees:
Before Mars by Emma Newman
Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller
Circe by Madeline Miller
The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi
Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
In the Vanisher’s Palace by Aliette de Bodard
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson
Semiosis by Sue Burke
Witchmark by C.L. Polk

Best Novella

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells [winner]
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor
The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
Exit Strategy by Martha Wells [declined nomination]
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson
Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells [declined nomination]
The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard

Longlisted Nominees:
Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield
Descent of Monsters by JY Yang
The Expert System's Brother by Adrian Tchaikovsky
The Flowers of Vashnoi by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts
Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant
Time Was by Ian McDonald
Umbernight by Carolyn Ives Gilman

Best Novelette

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again by Zen Cho [winner]
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

Longlisted Nominees
An Agent of Utopia by Andy Duncan
Evernight Victor Milán
How to Swallow the Moon by Isabel Yap
The Nearest by Greg Egan
No Flight Without the Shatter by Brooke Bolander
The Privilege of the Happy Ending by Kij Johnson
A Study In Oils by Kelly Robson
The Substance of My Lives, the Accidents of Our Births by Jose Pablo Iriarte
Thirty-Three Percent Joe by Suzanne Palmer
A World to Die For by Tobias S. Buckell

Best Short Story

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

Longlisted Nominees
And Yet by A.T. Greenblatt
Asphalt, River, Mother, Child by Isabel Yap
Field Biology of the Wee Fairies by Naomi Kritzer
Meat And Salt And Sparks by Rich Larson
Mother Tongues by S. Qiouyi Lu
She Still Loves the Dragon by Elizabeth Bear
Sour Milk Girls by Erin Roberts
The Starship and the Temple Cat by Yoon Ha Lee
Waterbirds by G.V. Anderson
You Can Make a Dinosaur But You Can't Help Me by K.M. Szpara

Best Related Work

Archive of Our Own a project of the Organization for Transformative Works [winner]
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 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

Longlisted Nominees:
The 2017 #BlackSpecFic Report by Cecily Kane
Fire and Blood by George R.R. Martin
Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke and the Making of a Masterpiece by Michael Benson
Hard Enough by Marissa Lingen
How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveller by Ryan North
I Belong Where the People Are: Disability and The Shape of Water by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
On Motherhood and Erasure: people Shaped Holes, Hollow Characters and the Illusion of Impossible Adventures by Aliette de Bodard
One Atom of Justice, One Molecule of Mercy, and the Empire of Unsheathed Knives by Alexandra Rowland
Strange Stars: David Bowie, Pop Music, and the Decade Sci-Fi Exploded by Jason Heller
Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin by Arwen Curry

Best Graphic Story

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
Monstress, Volume 3: Haven written by Marjorie Liu; art by Sana Takeda [winner]
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

Longlisted Nominees:
The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, and Travis McElroy, illustrated by Carey Pietsch
The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag
The Forever War: Forever Free by Joe Haldeman, illustrated by Marvano
Mister Miracle by Tom King, illustrated by Mitch Gerads
Ms. Marvel Vol. 9: Teenage Wasteland by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Nico Leon
Runaways, Vol. 1: Find Your Way Home by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Kris Anka
Spider-Gwen by Seanan McGuire, illustrated by Rosi Kampe
Shuri: The Search for Black Panther by Nnedi Okorafor, illustrated by Leonardo Romero
X-Men Gold Annual #2 by Seanan McGuire, illustrated by Marco Failla
The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 7: Mothering Invention by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Jamie McKelvie

Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form

Avengers: Infinity War
Black Panther
A Quiet Place
Sorry to Bother You
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [winner]

Longlisted Nominees:
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
Deadpool 2
The Expanse (Season 3)
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Ready Player One
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Season 1)
Solo: A Star Wars Story
A Wrinkle in Time

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

Doctor Who: Demons of the Punjab
Doctor Who: Rosa
Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe and Chuck Lightning
The Expanse: Abaddon’s Gate
The Good Place: Janet(s) [winner]
The Good Place: Jeremy Bearimy

Longlisted Nominees:
DC's Legends of Tomorrow: The Good, the Bad, and the Cuddly
Doctor Who: The Woman Who Fell To Earth
The Expanse: Fallen World
The Expanse: Immolation
The Magicians: A Life in the Day
She-Ra: Princess Prom
She-Ra: Promise
Star Trek: Discovery: What's Past is Prologue
Steven Universe: Reunited
Westworld: Kiksuya

Best Professional Editor: Short Form

Neil Clarke
Gardner Dozois [winner]
Lee Harris
Julia Rios
Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
E. Catherine Tobler

Longlisted Nominees:
John Joseph Adams
Scott H. Andrews
Ellen Datlow
S.B. Divya and Mur Lafferty
C.C. Finlay
Dominik Parisien
Trevor Quachri
Jonathan Strahan
Ann VanderMeer
Sheila Williams

Best Professional Editor: Long Form

Sheila E. Gilbert
Anne Lesley Groell
Beth Meacham
Diana Pho
Gillian Redfearn
Navah Wolfe [winner]

Longlisted Nominees:
Liz Gorinsky
Sarah Guan
Lee Harris
Jenni Hill
Brit Hvide
Joe Monti
Devi Pillai
Anne Sowards
Miriam Weinberg
Toni Weisskopf

Best Professional Artist

Galen Dara
Jaime Jones
Victo Ngai
John Picacio
Yuko Shimizu
Charles Vess [winner]

Longlisted Nominees:
Tommy Arnold
Rovina Cai
Julie Dillon
Michael Komarck
Maurizio Manzieri
Reiko Murakami
Greg Ruth
Will Staehle
Simon Stålenhag
Sana Takeda

Best Semi-Prozine

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
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 [winner]

Longlisted Nominees:
Apex Magazine edited by Jason Sizemore, Lesley Conner, Maurice Broaddus, Jane Clark, Hannah Krieger, Cristina Jurado, and KT Bryski
Book Smugglers edited by Thea James and Ana Grilo
Cast of Wonders edited by Katherine Inskip, Andrew K. Hoe, and Karissa Sluss
Escape Pod edited by Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya
GigaNotoSaurus edited by LaShawn Wanak
Glittership edited by Keffy R.M. Kehrli and Nibedita Sen
Interzone edited by Andy Cox
Lightspeed edited by John Joseph Adams, Wendy N. Wagner, Rich Horton, Arley Sorg, and Laurel Amberdine
PodCastle edited by Jen R. Albert, C.L. Clark, and Setsu Uzumé
Shoreline of Infinity edited by Noel Chidwick

Best Fanzine

File 770 by Mike Glyer [declined nomination]
Galactic Journey founder Gideon Marcus, editor Janice Marcus
Journey Planet edited by Team Journey Planet
Lady Business edited by Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan [winner]
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

Longlisted Nominees:
Ansible edited by David Langford
Banana Wings edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer
Black Gate edited by John O’Neill, Howard Andrew Jones, C.S.E. Cooney, Rich Horton, Andrew Zimmerman Jones, and Bill Ward
The Drink Tank edited by Christopher J. Garcia and Alissa McKersie
The Rec Center edited by Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Elizabeth Minkel
SF Bluestocking by Bridget Mckinney
SF in Translation by Rachel Cordasco
The Wertzone by Adam Whitehead
Women Write About Comics edited by Megan Purdy

Best Fan Writer

Foz Meadows [winner]
James Davis Nicoll
Charles Payseur
Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
Alasdair Stuart
Bogi Takács

Longlisted Nominees:
Liz Bourke
Cora Buhlert
Sarah Gailey
Mike Glyer
Erin Horáková
Abigail Nussbaum
Jason Sanford
Paul Weimer
Orjan Westin
Adam Whitehead

Best Fan Artist

Sara Felix
Grace P. Fong
Meg Frank
Ariela Housman
Likhain (Mia Sereno) [winner]
Spring Schoenhuth

Longlisted Nominees:
Geneva Benton
Michael Carroll
Vandy Hall
Elizabeth Leggett
Jemina Malkki
Richard Man
Caio Santos
Maurine Starkey
Steve Stiles

Best Fancast

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
Our Opinions Are Correct hosted by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders [winner]
The Skiffy and Fanty Show produced by Jen Zink and Shaun Duke, hosted by the Skiffy and Fanty Crew

Longlisted Nominees:
Books and Pieces by Elizabeth
Breaking the Glass Slipper hosted by Megan Leigh, Charlotte Bond, and Lucy Hounsom
Ditch Diggers hosted by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace
Fansplaining hosted by Flourish Klink and Elizabeth Minkel
Hammer House of Podcast hosted by Paul Cornell and L.M. Myles
Jay and Miles Xplain the X-Men hosted by Jay Edidin and Miles Stokes
Kalanadi hosted by Rachael Kalanadi
Lindsay Ellis by Lindsay Ellis
Sword and Laser hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt
Verity! hosted by Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts

Best Series

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
Wayfarers by Becky Chambers [winner]

Longlisted Nominees:
The Arcadia Project by Mishell Baker
Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh
Fractured Europe by Dave Hutchinson
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
The Murderbot Diaries Martha Wells
Planetfall by Emma Newman
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Sin du Jour by Matt Wallace
Wild Cards edited by George R.R. Martin

Best Art Book

The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition illustrated by Charles Vess, written by Ursula K. Le Guin [winner]
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
Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium by Paul Kidby [ineligible]
Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth edited by Catherine McIlwaine

Longlisted Nominees:
The Art of Black Panther by Eleni Roussos
Beyond Science Fiction: The Alternative Realism of Michael Whelan by Michael Whelan
The Chronicles of Exandria, Vol II: The Legend of Vox Machina by Matthew Mercer, Taliesin Jaffe, James Haeck, and Liam O'Brien
Cicada by Shaun Tan
The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag
Marvelocity: The Marvel Comics Art of Alex Ross by Alex Ross and Chip Kidd
A Middle-Earth Traveler: Sketches from Bag End to Mordor by John Howe
Monster Portraits by Sofia Samatar, illustrated by Del Samatar
Yoshitaka Amano: The Illustrated Biography – Beyond the Fantasy by Florent Gorges and Luc Petronille, illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Katherine Arden
S.A. Chakraborty
R.F. Kuang
Jeannette Ng [winner]
Vina Jie-Min Prasad
Rivers Solomon

Longlisted Nominees:
Tomi Adeyemi
Sam Hawke
Simone Heller
Karen Osborne
C.L. Polk
K. Arsenault Rivera
Alexandra Rowland
Nibedita Sen
Anna Smith Spark
Tasha Suri

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi [winner]
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
The Invasion by Peadar O’Guilin
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Longlisted Nominees:
Arabella: Traitor of Mars by David D. Levine
Cross Fire by Fonda Lee
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
The Hidden City by David Bowles
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristof
Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword by Henry Lien
Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
Tempests & Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

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

Go to 2019 Hugo Finalists and Winners

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