August 27th, 2006

buzz

Hugos

You (may have) heard it here first (unless like me you got it from drewan who has photographs):

Big Heart Award was awarded to Forest J Ackerman. And they have changed the name of the award to the Forest J Ackerman Big Heart Award
Campbell Award Winner: John Scalzi
Fan Artist: Frank Wu
Fan Writer: Dave Langford
Best Fanzine: Plokta
Best Semiprozine: Locus
Best Pro Artist: Donato Giancola
Best Editor: David Hartwell
Best Dramatic Fiction (Short): Doctor Who "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances"
Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form: Serenity
Best Related Book: Storyteller
Best Short Story: "Tk'tk'tk" by David D Levine
Best Novelette: "Two Hearts" by Peter S Beagle
Best Novella: "Inside Job" by Connie Willis
Best Novel: Spin by Robert Charles Wilson

Well, I called two out of four in the fiction categories. Delighted about Doctor Who and Serenity, of course, and Plokta and Dave Langford as well.

Stunned that, as with the Nebulas, "Singing My Sister Down" didn't win the short story category.

How will poor Connie Willis find room on the mantelpiece for her nine, count 'em, nine Hugos?
earthsea

August Books 20) H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life

20) H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life, by Michel Houellebecq

Read this for review elsewhere, so will notify here when it is done. But it was amusing to re-read Lovecraft's "The Whisperer in Darkness", based as it is on the premise that the recent discovery of Pluto was a signifier of Dreadful Things, the same week that Pluto got downgraded to sub-planet status.
buzz

More Hugo reflections

In the fiction categories: One woman out of four (on a par with Hugos in general, 41 of 201 Hugo awards (20%) in total, 9 out of 40 in the last ten years); three first-time winners, same as last year (though the year before, all winners already had at least two Hugos).

Details (thanks to despotliz for pointing me to the full stats):

Spin had a convincing lead over Accelerando at all stages of the count. Accelerando came second, with a smaller but still convincing lead over Old Man's War. The third place result was very tight, Old Man's War one first preference ahead of Learning the World, extending that lead to two on the second count, and ending with 216 to 213. For fourth place, contrary to Ken MacLeod's gloomy predictions to me a few weeks earlier, Learning the World was decently far ahead of A Feast for Crows which in turn was decently ahead of "No Award" for the fifth slot. Apparently Neil Gaiman withdrew Anansi Boys which otherwise would have had the third highest number of nominations and would have knocked Old Man's War off the list.

"Inside Job" was in fact level with "Magic for Beginners" with 124 first preferences, inched ahead for the second, third and fourth counts, and then received a substantial number of transfers from "Identity Theft" to finish ahead by a clear margin. "Magic for Beginners" was a reasonably strong second place, with a tight contest between Burn and "The Little Goddess" for third resolved in Burn's favour, again by transfers from "Identity Theft". "The Little Goddess" came a comfortable fourth, and "Identity Theft" a decent enough fifth with fewer votes preferring "No Award" than for any of the other fiction categories.

The results for Best Novelette were pretty clear with nobody changing places at any stage of the count: "Two Hearts" top, "I, Robot" in second place, "The King of Where-I Go" in third place, "The Calorie Man" in fourth and "Telepresence" in fifth.

The Best Short Story category saw the best performace for "No Award" indicating general voter dissatisfaction with the choices available. "Singing My Sister Down" actually got the highest number of first preferences, 120 to 110 for "Tk'tk'tk" but did dismally in later stages, with "Tk'tk'tk" getting more than twice as many transfers from "The Clockwork Atom Bomb" and doing almost as well from "Down Memory Lane". For second place it was even more drastic, with "Singing My Sister Down" again starting on top, but being overtaken by both "Down Memory Lane" and "The Clockwork Atom Bomb", the latter winning the #2 spot. Even for third place, it was fairly tight, "Singing My Sister Down" finishing on 217 votes to 202 for "Down Memory Lane", which secured fourth place fairly comfortably. "Seventy-Five Years" did not shift from the fifth place at any stage, and beat "No Award" by only 257 to 96. ("No Award" also got 64 votes to 340 for "Tk'tk'tk" in the runoff to see if the award could be made at all.)

Looking around elsewhere, I see that the three Doctor Who stories won the top three spots for Best Dramatic Presentation (short) - Hurrah! Though "Father's Day" sneaked it by a single vote ahead of Battlestar Galactica. (Followed, a very long way behind, by "Jack-Jack Attack", Lucas Back in Anger, and last year's Hugo awards ceremony.)

The most one-sided result was, predictably, the one in which the most votes were cast, Serenity getting 329 out of 660, and winning a clear majority once "No Award" had been eliminated. This category also saw the only actual tie, for third place, between "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" and "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" ("Batman Begins" coming second and "Goblet of Fire" fifth).

The closest result for any actual award was for Best Fan Writer, Dave Langford finishing with 156 votes to Cheryl Morgan's 148 (Cheryl presumably being boosted a little by the fact the the Worldcon was on her home turf).
earthsea

August Books 21-22) A Rule Book for Arguments; Critical Reasoning

21) A Rulebook for Arguments, by Anthony Weston
22) Critical Reasoning: An Introduction, by Anne Thomson

Got these just to see if my science degree had seriously impacted my ability to construct sensible arguments. I seem to have picked up the necessary skills along the way somehow, though, despite not writing any essays between my desultory first-year geology course and my final-year dissertation on the origin of the universe. Still, two quite nice little books: the first more for Americans, and just containing rules to follow; the second for the British market, containing some interesting examples to work through. Well, more fun thatn Sudoku anyway.
earthsea

August Books 23) The Brightfount Diaries

23) The Brightfount Diaries, by Brian Aldiss

I knew of this, Brian Aldiss' first novel, from one of his autobiographies, but thought I would never get a chance to read it. However House of Stratus have reprinted it as part of their series of all Aldiss works - though it can't be doing awfully well as I picked it up for 99p somewhere (marked down from the original £6.99). It's a funny little book, stiched together from a series of newspaper columns, purporting to be the diary of an assistant in a second-hand bookshop in an unnamed English cathedral city. He has a raneg of more or less peculiar colleagues, an eccentric uncle and aunt, and very little luck with girls. The eccentric relatives seem awfully familiar from Aldiss' later work (though his subsequent protagonists had more success with the opposite sex). The most sympathetic of his colleagues is a science fiction fan; our hero is not (this is 1955). Engaging but mainly as a harbinger of things to come.