Thursday, March 24, 2016

MidAmeriCon II Hugo Award Nominations

I have only recently entered the world of science fiction and fantasy writing deeply in the last year or so but when I started to hear about the Hugo Awards I would often choose books from the previous winners to help inform me of the current state of speculative fiction.

Last year, I enjoyed the Imaginarium convention in Louisville, Kentucky so much that I decided to sign up for a few more conventions this year to expand my knowledge and meet cool people in the industry. I went for it and picked the biggest convention I had heard of with MidAmeriCon II, the World Science Fiction Convention that will be hosting the Hugo Awards this year. 

As I learn more I hope to be able to further understand how all of this works but as I understand it now, the Hugo Awards are one of the top science fiction and fantasy awards alongside the Nebula awards and the Locus awards, I think. I hope to do a post about the nominations for these awards before they are announced and then come back to them after the winners are chosen.

Right now, I'm mentioning the Hugo awards and my attendance at this upcoming convention in August because the nomination window is closing. Last year a strange thing happened where a group of writers, publishers, editors and what not came together to create a slate of pieces that should be nominated for the Hugo awards. This move made it so that other pieces lost out on a chance to win the awards despite having a lot of votes but just not the support of this concentrated group. I don't know what they are choosing this year but I have my own picks that I'll mention. 

I didn't get a chance to read as much current science fiction as I would have liked, especially longer fiction like novellas and novels. I am usually a year or two behind the currently published books. I only just recently picked up the book Ancillary Justice and the two subsequent sequel. The first one won the Hugo Award for best novel two years ago. I have read a lot more short stories this year. The magazine I am most familiar with is Apex Magazine since I've had classes with the brilliant editor Jason Sizemore. 

I've chosen several short stories from Apex to be nominated including: "Sing Me Your Scars" by Damien Angelica Walters (her whole collection should be nominated and her new novel Paper Tigers is near the top of my reading list), "Pocosin" by Ursula Vernon (Vernon has won a Hugo before for "Jackalope Wives", another awesome story any fan of fantasy should check out), and "Going Endo" by Rich Larson (Larson is becoming one of my favorite short fiction writers, he has a great story "Sparks Fly" in the current issue of Lightspeed). 

I am also nominating "Severance" by Chris Bucholz for best novel from Apex Publications. This novel was so funny and action-packed, a great twist on the generation ship tale. The editor Jason Sizemore should definitely be including for best short form and he also wrote a hilarious book called "For Exposure: The Life and Times of  Small Press Publisher" that taught me a lot about the convention circuit and inspired me to go out and try it myself. This book should be a nominee in the "Best Related Work" category. Most of these stories can be found online or if you don't have time to read them check them out on the podcast during your commute, or before bed, or whenever. 

I went back and found some popular stories that have already been nominated for Nebula awards or recognized on the Locus reading list. I have recently started reading the montly issues of Lightspeed and Clarkesworld and you can see my reviews of the more recent issues on this blog. I went back and found podcasts of a couple stories and decided on "Cat Pictures Please" by Naomi Kritzer and "Today I am Paul" by Martin L. Shoemaker from Clarkesworld magazine. Unfortunately this filled up all my short story slots so I couldn't fit in a Lightspeed story but next year I will know a lot more stories to choose from. 

I also nominated "Ancillary Mercy" by Ann Leckie, which I think will get nominated and I hope to have read by the time it comes to a vote, and "Heart of a Lion" by Stephen Zimmer for best novel. I also chose Mad Max, The Martian, and Star Wars for "Best Dramatic Presentation". There is less than a week left for nominations but I may try to fit in a few more picks. I'm so excited to attend MidAmeriCon in Kansas City this year! 

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