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It's a little startling to discover that I have actually got through an entire category of this year's Hugo nominations already. For the last few years, the Doctor Who episodes which made the shortlist shared their billing with episodes from other TV shows which I had not seen; this year, the two extras are a 15 minute animated film and a YouTube video, so I can jump right in and allocate my votes.

5) Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury. This is a joyous celebration of fandom and of the life of one of the great survivors of sf. I loved it and am glad it has been nominated, but I will give it only my fifth preference. I am enough of a diehard Who fan to rank the Who episodes higher, and much though I enjoyed this, I don't think it represents the best of short form dramatic sf in the year 2010.

I was also at first a bit confused as to whether it was really eligible. The Hugo Awards site states that "While the World Science Fiction Society sponsors the Hugos, they are not limited to sf. Works of fantasy or horror are eligible if the members of the Worldcon think they are eligible." This is all very well, but it's really difficult to see how Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury qualifies as a work of fantasy or horror, let alone sf, at least as those terms are usually understood by fandom.

However all is made clear by the WSFS constitution itself, which expands eligibility for the shorter BDP category to "Any television program or other production, with a complete running time of 90 minutes or less, in any medium of dramatized science fiction, fantasy or related subjects" - and lust for Ray Bradbury is very definitely a related subject; the possibility that people might someday want to nominate a dramatic presentation on a subject related to sf or fantasy, rather than one which is sfnal in itself, perhaps did not occur to the writers of the Hugo Awards site, and I can't really blame them - I would have thought it vanishingly unlikely myself before this came out last August.

4) Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol. Don't get me wrong - this was a lovely episode of Doctor Who and just right for Christmas evening. But as a work of SF, I think the other nominees are better.

3) Doctor Who: The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang. This will probably win, but I'm ranking it third. I hugely enjoyed it, especially Amy's "Something borrowed - something blue" line at the end, and it was far better disciplined than most of the Russell T. Davies season finales, but that is not setting the bar very high.

2) The Lost Thing. I hadn't read Shaun Tan's book, and saw this only after the hype about it winning the Oscar for best Animated Film had died down, but I thought it was beautiful and heartily recommend it - a story of a boy who finds a Thing, half hermit crab and half giant coffee pot, on an Australian beach and then tries to find a home for it. Really rather special.

1) Doctor Who: Vincent and the Doctor. Yes, I do plan to give my first preference to the writer of The Tall Guy, Blackadder, Mr. Bean, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and The Vicar of Dibley. (Not forgetting his first great work with The Heebeegeebees.) I thought this was the outstanding Who episode of last year, the best since Blink, and my biggest difficulty in deciding which others to nominate for the Hugos was a fear that if I nominated any of them, Vincent might be crowded out. But luckily we got through that stage OK; hopefully the Alternative Vote will see the award go where it ought.

So, am I mad? Or just deluded?


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 26th, 2011 01:04 pm (UTC)
I think reasonable. I mean, 11th Hour was probably my favourite episode of Who this year but Vincent and the Doctor was by so far the best, above and beyond even Who or sci-fi. It managed something tonnes of art programmes had failed to manage and convey the brilliance of Van Gogh's art.
Apr. 26th, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
Yep, easily the best of the season
Apr. 26th, 2011 01:47 pm (UTC)
Vincent and the Doctor was the best episode of last season, but TPO/TBB was the better SF of the season.

But if I was voting, I'd pick the sheer joyousness of Fuck Me Ray Bradbury, whose melody is *still* stuck in my head...
Apr. 26th, 2011 02:40 pm (UTC)
How odd.

I thought "Vincent..." was by some significant margin the worst episode of the series. I'm really trying to understand why people thought it was so good, and I'm failing completely - usually I can at least see why people like something I don't, but I just can't find what the elements in "Vincent" are that work for other people.
Apr. 26th, 2011 03:25 pm (UTC)
For me, it was partially the very very good portrayal of someone with fairly severe depression that was sympathetic and got across the point. Living with someone with the condition (not quite as bad but close sometimes) gave me a completely different perspective on it.

That and the acting and just general presentation was top notch.
Apr. 27th, 2011 08:50 am (UTC)
Apr. 27th, 2011 08:51 am (UTC)
ah, threading makes that confusing.

I'm agreeing with "I thought "Vincent..." was by some significant margin the worst episode of the series"
Apr. 26th, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
I agree with your ranking of the Who stories completely, haven't seen The Lost Thing, and would be unsure where to rank the other, I really like it and the idea behind it but don't know if it ought to qualify.

It'd either be top or bottom I think.
Apr. 26th, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
don't know if it ought to qualify

I think this is quite clear from the WSFS Constitution: it's a dramatic presentation, and it's certainly on a subject related to sf or fantasy, so it qualifies. Rather different from the Red Plenty case which I discussed a couple of months back.
Apr. 26th, 2011 04:01 pm (UTC)
I really disliked "Vincent and the Doctor," a thin, poorly-structured episode that might have been redeemed by its treatment of mental illness, if that treatment had been appropriate to a full television story rather than a heavy-handed PSA. (Lest anyone accuse me of ignorant insensitivity, I should say that I have immediate personal experience with both clinical depression and bipolar disorder.) It looks good next to the non-existent treatment of such illnesses in other television programs, but this isn't a case where I'm inclined to grade on a curve. The performances were strong and the visuals were lovely, but that wasn't enough to save the episode for me.

I'm not a Worldcon member, but I'm pulling for The Lost Thing, just because I wasn't terribly impressed with any of last year's Who episodes and think the show has won enough Hugos to be getting on with. I haven't seen Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury, but I don't like the idea of something so tangential being eligible for the BDP award. (I still think it's ridiculous that Gollum's acceptance speech won a few years back.) Maybe there ought to be a category for this sort of related item.
Apr. 26th, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
Deluded.Sorry :-)
Apr. 26th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
ps but I'd have voted for the football episode, so you can mock me!
May. 14th, 2011 10:54 am (UTC)
I would love to see Fuck Me win a Hugo, but I can't vote it ahead of Doctor Who either. I also wonder whether it quite fits in the Dramatic Presentation category at all, since it's not exactly drama. I would have placed it in the "Best Related Work" category (and wish I'd thought of nominating it there at the time).

Better watch Lost Thing, then. Agree with you on the the others.
May. 14th, 2011 11:27 am (UTC)
I also wonder whether it quite fits in the Dramatic Presentation category at all, since it's not exactly drama.

Oh, I think it is definitely a dramatic presentation, by any reasonable interpretation!
May. 14th, 2011 11:38 am (UTC)
I suppose you're right. I guess I just want it in a different category so both it and Doctor Who can win.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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