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My nominations for Best Related Work this year were:

Perilous and Fair: Women in the Works and Life of J. R. R. Tolkien, eds. Janet Brennan Croft and Leslie A. Donovan
Letters to Tiptree, eds Alissa Krasnostein and Alexandra Pierce
Companion Piece: Women Celebrate the Humans, Aliens and Tin Dogs of Doctor Who, eds. L.M. Myles and Liz Barr
TARDIS Eruditorum, by Philip Sandifer - the entire blog, which finished in February 2015
A Detailed Explanation, by Matthew David Surridge

None of these made the final ballot, which was completely determined by the slate. I don't regard any of the finalists as having legitimately earned their places, so I am voting No Award in this category; it does not in any way reflect the state of commentary on the genre in the last year.

Edited to add: The state of the genre last year is possibly better illustrated by the most popular Related Works among respondents to the File 770 straw poll. These were:

Letters to Tiptree, eds. Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein (24)
You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir, by Felicia Day (12)
John Scalzi Is Not a Very Popular Author and I Myself Am Quite Popular: How SJWs Always Lie About Our Comparative Popularity Levels, by "Theophilus Pratt" [Alexandra Erin] (10)
Invisible 2: Personal Essays on Representation in SF/F, ed. Jim C. Hines (5)
The Wheel of Time Companion, by Robert Jordan, Harriet McDougal, Alan Romanczuk, and Maria Simons (5)
“A Detailed Explanation”, by Matthew David Surridge (4)
A History of Epic Fantasy, by Adam Whitehead (4)
Modern Masters of Science Fiction: Lois McMaster Bujold, by Edward James (4)
Women of Wonder: Celebrating Women Creators of Fantastic Art, by Cathy Fenner, intr. Lauren Panepinto (4)

(end of edit.)

Unlike last year, though, I'm going to give a couple of transfers to maximise the chances of the worst of them being beaten by the less awful. It's subjective, of course, but my ranking is as follows:

1) No Award

2) Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 by Marc Aramini

Second paragraph of third chapter:
At the culmination of the first book, Severian presents his philosophy of composition in the chapter titled “Five Legs”, comparing the writing of his manuscript to an actual execution, in which the competent headsman can position people who “want different things in such a way that he pleases everyone (save perhaps his victim, of course). Severian also states:
The authorities for whom the carnifex acts, the chiliarchs or archons … will have little complaint if the condemned is prevented from escaping, or much inflaming the mob; and if he is undeniably dead at the conclusion of the proceedings. That authority, as it seems to me, in my writing is the impulse that drives me to my task. Its requirements are that the subject of this work must remain central to it—not escaping into prefaces or indexes or into another work entirely; that the rhetoric not be permitted to overwhelm it; and that it be carried to a satisfactory conclusion. (Shadow, XXXIII 226)
Apart from The Book of the New Sun, I've read only a couple of other Wolfe books; a lot of people really like him, but he doesn't do much for me to be honest. However, this seems a harmless enough exploration of his writing that just happens to have been published by the chief slater.

3) The First Draft of My Appendix N Book by Jeffro Johnson

Second paragraph of third chapter (which is on The High Crusade by Poul Anderson):
Now… the thief class takes a lot of flak in spite of the enduring appeal of characters like Robin Hood and Bilbo Baggins. Yet not only was it a latecomer that wasn’t even in the original three “little brown books” that made up the original “White Box”rule set, but its system of skills and abilities was seen as taking away from actions that everyone tended try during the earliest game sessions.² For instance, fighting men might take a stab at being stealthy by removing their armor and then scouting ahead for the party. When the thief class came along with an explicit chance to “move silently”, a lot of people leaped to the conclusion the other classes couldn’t attempt such a thing anymore. This made for some hard feelings, and fixing the design issues implied by this class’s existence is such a hassle that maybe it’s best to just drop it altogether!
² See “The Trouble with Thieves” by James Maliszewski in Knockspell #2 for a good run down on the arguments surrounding the introduction of the thief class.
A fairly harmless look at the books listed in Appendix N of the original Dungeon Master's Guide, from the very narrow perspective of what each book contributed to Dungeons and Dragons. (The paragraph excerpted is actually a side remark in an article mainly about clerics.) The book is not actually finished; it's a collection of blog posts, a poorly formatted table of contents being included in the Hugo packet. In a normal year would lose marks from me for messiness.

The other three nominations are sheer malice. Two are straightforward propaganda; the third combines a harrowing account of personal trauma with an attack on all homosexuals and on same-sex marriage. I'm not going to rank them on my ballot at all. The excerpts will give a sufficient sense of the content, I hope.

“Safe Space as Rape Room” by Daniel Eness

Second paragraph of third entry:
The answer is simple: vandalism and destruction is not the unintended consequence of the protesters, nor is the inactivity of the majority a sign of helplessness. It is not the vocal few who have torn down Lovecraft’s statue, but the seemingly passive majority within World Fantasy’s body who, through unvoiced cheers, have blessed the desecration.
Actually one of the less inflammatory passages.

SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police by Vox Day

Second paragraph of third chapter:
From the famous and accomplished to the insignificant and the ordinary, absolutely no one is safe. Consider a few of the following examples:
  • Dr. James Watson, Nobel Laureate and co-discoverer of DNA, awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, forced to resign as chancellor and board member of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory after 43 years due to comments he made concerning human biodiversity. The president of the Federation of American Scientists said, “He has failed us in the worst possible way. It is a sad and revolting way to end a remarkable career”.
  • Brendan Eich, CEO of Mozilla, forced to resign due to a single $1,000 political donation made five years prior.
  • Sir Tim Hunt, Nobel Laureate, awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, forced to resign from the University College London and fired by the European Research Council’s science committee due to a comment about women crying in the laboratory.
  • Pax Dickenson, Chief Technology Officer of Business Insider, forced to resign due to tweeting several politically incorrect comments.
  • Curt Schilling, former Major League Baseball pitcher, baseball analyst, and expert ASL player was suspended by ESPN and removed “from his current Little League assignment pending further consideration” for a single tweet comparing the estimated percentage of Muslims who are extremists to the historical percentage of Germans who were National Socialists.
  • North Charleston Police Sgt. Shannon Dildine, fired for wearing Confederate flag boxers.
  • Florida high school principal Alberto Iber, fired for defending a Texas police officer accused of racism.
  • Greg Elliott, Canadian graphic artist, fired and charged with criminally harassing two female political activists for refusing to endorse their plan to “sic the Internet” on a young man in Northern Ontario who developed a video game of which they disapproved.
To be clear, Watson was forced to resign from Cold Spring not for comments about human biodiversity but because he said black people were stupid. Shannon Dildine was not fired for "wearing Confederate flag boxers"; he was fired for posting a picture of himself wearing nothing but Confederate flag boxers on Facebook, the week that nine black churchgoers were murdered in his community and as calls mounted for the flag to be taken down from state property - you get the joke? And it goes on, but I think the point is clear.

“The Story of Moira Greyland” by Moira Greyland

Second last para:
But that is not going to slow me down one bit. I am going to keep right on speaking out. I have been silent for entirely too long. Gay “marriage” is nothing but a way to make children over in the image of their “parents” and in ten to thirty years, the survivors will speak out.
Greyland's trauma is entirely real, and what happened to her is deplorable, but there's no way that I'm endorsing her political conclusions, even indirectly, with a preference vote. In a week when the Stanford rape victim's testimony has seared across the airwaves, the slate's exploitation of Greyland's trauma to try and score points in a game that nobody else wants to play seems particularly disgusting.

Well, that was depressing. Let's hope for better next year (though I will have to refrain from commentary).

Best Novel (1941/2016) / Best Novella (1941/2016) / Best Novelette (1941/2016) / Best Short Story (1941/2016) / Best Related Work (2016) / Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) (1941/2016) / Art categories (1941/2016) / John W. Campbell Award


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