May 24th, 2015


The Evolution Man, by Roy Lewis

I have on the shelf another of Lewis's novels, The Extraordinary Reign of King Ludd, set in an alternate history where the 1848 revolutions succeeded and the crowns of the British and Mughal Empires were united in marriage. Eighty years on, King-Emperor George Akbar I is struggling with technology; I don't remember a lot else except that I think there was another revolution at the end.

I got hold of The Evolution Man (aka What We Did to Father aka How I Ate My Father aka Once upon an Ice Age) after reading Terry Pratchett's repeated recommendations in A Slip of the Keyboard. It really is hilarious, a novel of cavemen who talk to each other in mid-twentieth century schoolboy prose, with names like Oswald, Ernest and Wilbur - clearly aimed in part at William Golding's The Inheritors, and perhaps also at any number of caveman films. Their father worries about which end of the Pleistocene era they are living at, but invents fire, thus causing a technological revolution. I'm sure that the young Douglas Adams must have read it too; there are strong echoes of the humour of Hitch-hiker here, if anything more so than of Pratchett (though there are shades of Lewis's the treatment of technology in the early Rincewind/Twoflower relationship). It's a very short book at 120 pages, and there really is only one joke, but it's worked through in several different variations to a satisfactory and tasty conclusion.

My votes in the Hugo Artist categories

Best Fan Artist is the only category which was left un-piddled on by the slatemongers. As usual, it's a mixture of familiar names and new; also as usual, I find the new ones more interesting. And they managed to get on the ballot with no need for an organised campaign...

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My ranking is very similar to that of Joe Sherry. He is rather mercilessly wielding "No Award" after his top two. Certainly I too am being more merciless than usual in voting "No Award" this year, and not only on the slate candidates; I may also put it third, but I will also rank those finalists that I put below "No Award" in this category.

For Best Professional Artist, there is only one non-slate finalist, Julie Dillon. I'll be honest; I prefer at least one of the other artists to her, but I am voting for "No Award" against any finalist whose place on the ballot has been secured as part of a political campaign by a racist misogynist. This does not reflect on the artists themselves, whose interests and motives do not concern me here. But I'm taking the reflections of Matt Foster very seriously, and I think I will simply vote 1) No Award, 2) Julie Dillon this year. We have been denied a proper vote in this category, as in so many others.

2015 Hugos: Initial observations | Voting No Award above the slates | How the slate was(n't) crowdsourced | Where the new voters are
Best Novel | Short fiction | Best Related Work | Best Graphic Story | Pro and Fan Artist | Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), Best Fan Writer, John W. Campbell Award