Tag: worldcon

Worldcon, Hugos, etc.

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So I was going to do a long blog post, but jet lag hit, and the snakelet is keeping me very busy. Nevertheless…

I’ve said a lot of what I wanted to say here. All I’m going to say in addition to that is: different stories speak to different people. A thing that I like might be one that turns you off, and vice-versa. To say that a thing that I like is not “proper science fiction”; that SFF fans need to reclaim the field against the kind of thing I write; that people like me having success and being nominated are a sure sign the field is headed downhill?

Uh. Read that thing I wrote again please.

I am very glad that Liu Cixin/Ken Liu and Thomas Olde Heuvelt showed us the Hugos aren’t necessarily the province of Western Anglophone works; that Worldcon is going to be in Helsinki in 2017; that we will continue to strive for greater diversity and inclusiveness in the field.

And I would also like to thank the 73 people who nominated “The Breath of War” for a Hugo Award for Best Short Story–I’m deeply touched and very appreciative.

Finally: this year saw a record number of Hugo voters and an amazing turnout. If you were one of them, remember that next year you can nominate the works you loved, so start keeping an eye out for the stuff you love this year (and for the love of God please, let’s not do counter-slates). I will, as usual, recommend stuff as the year goes on, and make a blog post closer to the deadline with a recap of what I loved. I encourage you to do the same.

PS: Worldcon was lovely! Except 9 hours of time difference, which turns out to be quite difficult to catch up on…

PPS: I debated over whether to leave the comments open. I reserve the right to borrow Scalzi’s Mallet of Loving Correction.

A quick debrief of our London trip

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So…

We have survived the London trip. We stayed in a small flat near Notting Hill, which was very conveniently placed (but very small); and tried to organise so that we actually went places (as opposed to staying in the flat while the snakelet napped). We got to the London Zoo (aquariums are wonderful things when you’re an 11-month-old), Hyde Park, and Marylebone High Street. I also made it to Nine Worlds (briefly), Fantasy in the Court (even more briefly), and Worldcon (extensively).

Nine Worlds sounded lovely for the six or so hours that I was there: a familiar haunt at the Radisson Edwardian hotel, a very diverse programming and crowd, and great panels (the food in SFF panel was awesome fun, and also I want to buy all of Sarah McIntyre’s books. Her jampires–vampires who eat jam–sound fabulous). I can’t really say much about Fantasy in the Court, because I was there really briefly, maybe 30 minutes or so on my way back to said Notting Hill flat (but many thanks to Lavie Tidhar who lent me his mobile phone to text a panicked H).

Worldcon… the actual con was fantastic. Great venue with lots of food places, hotels that weren’t too far away (I heard horror stories about the Ibis styles–the double rooms were apparently horrible, but we got an apartment for 4, which was basically three times larger than the one we had in Notting Hill. Greatly depended what you’d picked), great programming, and the fan village space, which gathered various bid tents, a bar, and a playing space for young children, among other things. I think it’s the first time that’s been done? Anyway, a great idea. I got to catch up with many friends (though there were people I managed to entirely miss 🙁 ), was on fantastic panels, had a lovely signing (there was a queue!) and a lovely reading to a packed room.  The Hugo Awards ceremony was fantastic (aka OMG I got to stand within speaking distance of Peter Davison and David Tennant–even managed to talk to David Benioff for a few minutes before I fully realised who it was I was talking to). I’m sorry I failed to win a Hugo; but it was a well-deserved win for Mary, and overall I’m very happy with the results (*so* happy for John Chu, and also for Kameron Hurley’s double trick).

What wasn’t so great was doing said con with the snakelet. We had hoped to leave him in childcare for his afternoon nap, which would have freed us both to go to the con–it didn’t quite work, partly because childcare didn’t have a dark space for babies to sleep, and partly because the snakelet was in a really clingy mode of “I don’t recognise this place, I want my mommy and daddy”. When you factor in the distance from our hotel to the actual con (a good 20 minutes each way), you can guess what followed: namely, epic sessions of juggling between the H, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and her son, and me to watch over the baby’s naps (including but not limited to: rushing out of meals, bringing takeaway to the room for both of us, skipping lunch altogether). And because I was working the con and the H was not, basically the H didn’t get much of a chance to attend… Much as I love snakelet, I think that next worldcon is going to result in us dropping off snakelet at grandparents and leaving without him.

All that aside, though, it was a great experience. Bring on the next UK con :p

(oh yeah, we seem to have con crud, too. Not a surprise entirely, but an unpleasant welcome gift)

UK, here we come!

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UK, here we come!

We’re at the frantic packing stage, aka “how can we have so much stuff?” (answer: the snakelet collects it).
A reminder of where I’ll be at:
Sunday 10th August (aka “drop-in”): Nine Worlds, schedule here
Thursday 14th August to Sunday 17th August (we’re here Monday but probably running to catch a train back to Paris): Worldcon, schedule here (brief plug: come to my reading on Saturday morning and get an exclusive excerpt from the novel aka post-apocalyptic Paris with magicians).

As Kate Elliott says, I go to cons to meet people, so please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself and/or ask me to sign things. I’ll be glad to talk if not on my way to a panel or other obligation.

Final Worldcon schedule

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So, I got my final Worldcon schedule, and I’m going to be busy (in a pretty awesome way). As a reminder (taking a leaf from Kate Elliott’s book), I go to cons to meet people, so don’t be shy if you see me and want to talk. I’m also quite happy signing stuff and/or talking outside of panels (provided I’m not running on my way to elsewhere, of course!).

Below is where you can find me:

Autographing
Thursday 15:00 – 16:30, Autographing Space (ExCeL)
I will have signed postcards featuring the On a Red Station, Drifting artwork, and possibly a few other books: notably, I’m working on a POD edition of On a Red Station, but am not at all sure I’d have those with me.

Universal Language: Good or Bad?
Thursday 18:00 – 19:00, Capital Suite 14 (ExCeL)
Is a universal language possible? How might that be achieved and would achieving it necessitate destroying our own languages and way of thinking? Would we want to create one in addition to our own languages and if so, should it be spoken or signed?
Michael Burianyk (M), Dr. Bettina Beinhoff, Aliette de Bodard, Anna Feruglio Dal Dan, Jesi Pershing

Feeding the Imagination: Food in SF/F
Friday 11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL)
The food in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is described in such detail that cookbooks have been published in response. What other genre works have focused heavily on food to develop the world and characters? What does food say about an invented society? Are stories that lack an exploration of the diet of their characters lacking something?
Shana Worthen (M) , Aliette de Bodard, Gillian Polack, Jo Walton , Fran Wilde

Content and Form: Writing SF/F in non-Western Modes
Friday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 8 (ExCeL)
Sofia Samatar recently suggested that SF genre writers and readers have “a tendency to focus on content rather than form”, even or especially when engaging with marginalised perspectives. Does our genre inevitably tend towards the form and structure of western, English-language stories, regardless of what cultural tradition(s) are reflected in the content? How can a non-western or non-Anglophone writer engage with science fiction and fantasy while also operating outside of the conventions of western-style storytelling? Is it possible for western writers to engage with non-western traditions in an authentic way and produce a story that a wider audience will recognize as science fiction or fantasy? What are some of the different forms offered by non-western cultures that need to be told?
Amal El-Mohtar (M), Aliette de Bodard, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, JY Yang, Nick Wood

Kaffeeklatsch
Friday 17:00 – 18:00, London Suite 5 (ExCeL)

Reading
Saturday 10:00 – 10:30, London Suite 1 (ExCeL)
I haven’t made a firm decision on what I’m reading, but it’s likely to be an excerpt from the novel aka fantasy set in sideways version of Belle Epoque Paris–your chance to find out more ^^

Always Outside, Looking In?
Saturday 15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)
How do writers from non-Anglophone countries relate to so-called “traditional SF”, and the expectations of Anglophone publishers and readers? What are the processes and considerations behind writing in a language that is not your first, or in seeing your work translated into English? While it’s often assumed that non-Anglophone writers all want to see their work reach the English audience, are there any circumstances under which a writer might choose not to? In a 2013 interview on the World SF blog, UAE writer Noura al-Noman said about one of her novels: “The whole idea behind ‘Ajwan’ was to provide Arabic content for teens … The subject matter [sci-fi] made Arabic seem more approachable to them … I am going to wait a bit before I publish it in English.”
Thomas Olde Heuvelt (M), Jesús Cañadas, Aliette de Bodard, Ju Honisch , Floris M. Kleijne

Environmentalism in Anime
Sunday 10:00 – 11:00, Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL)
Images of environmental destruction — or the complete replacement of nature with metal and concrete mega-cities — are common in anime. But there is also a tradition of anime and manga that preserves and honours nature: think of MuShiShi, or Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Where else are ecologically-aware narratives found, and what is their focus? Is the environmentalism of anime primarily one of nostalgia and conservationism, or technological conquest?
Anushia Kandasivam (M), Adrian (Ade) Brown, Aliette de Bodard, Ian Murphy

Sunday evening, from 6pm onwards: Hugo Reception, Hugo Awards and Hugo Losers’ Ceremony.
I am ready to deliver on my promise to bring a snakelet in a suit onstage, should I (against all odds) find myself in a position to give an acceptance speech.

Worldcon draft programme

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So this isn’t definitive by any means, but I’ve been allowed to share my draft Worldcon programme, and it looks great!

Thursday 18:00 – 19:00: Universal Language: Good or Bad? (ooooh… I’ve seldom been on a panel about languages, actually, despite my, hum, experience, I guess? This should be really great).

Friday 11:00 – 12:00 Feeding the Imagination: Food in SF/F (I need not explain why I’m particularly happy to geek out about food for an entire panel ^^)

Friday 13:30 – 15:00: Content and Form: Writing SF/F in non-Western Modes (aka a panel Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and I have been discussing for a while. Very happy to see it on the programme. It should be awesome!).

Saturday 15:00 – 16:30: Always Outside, Looking In? (aka non-Anglophone SF. There’s a pretty good variety of people on this with varying experiences of being published in English, which should make for fascinating conversation)

Sunday 10:00 – 11:00: Environmentalism in Anime (should be really fun. Never had that kind of conversations about anime)

Linky linky

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I haven’t done this for a bit, so here’s me catching up on a few links over the internet:

-Over at Chimeras, Elena Giorgi interviews me on Writing, Science and Language
-Jason Loch interviews me for Toonari Post, and blogs about his love for Obsidian and Blood
-I blog over at Juliette Wade’s Talk to You Universe on French convivial meals such as raclette, pierrade and fondue
-Erin M. Hartshorn posts about me in her A to Z of female SF writers, and in particular about “The Jaguar House, in Shadow”
-Tony’s Thoughts reviews Servant of the Underworld
-A medley of reviews for D’Obsidienne et de Sang (in French): Noosfere, Les Chroniques de Madoka, Mythologica, another one at Mythologica, Kawell of BOOKS EN STOCK at YouTube, Madoka, Dup at Book en Stock , Anesidora at Terre Des Mille Lieux. Mostly all positive, if not outright dithyrambic. Wow.

And because a post like this is missing pictures, here’s the H and I at the Hugo Awards ceremony, courtesy of Richard Man (you can see all his Hugo pictures here):

Hugo Awards

Worldcon brief report

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So we had a great romp in the US (except for the bit where we burst the tyre landing, see earlier post): we got to stay with the amazing Dario Ciriello and his wife Linda; to meet up with Keyan Bowes, Jason Ridler, Erin Hoffman, Nick Mamatas, Katherine Sparrow, Kate Kligman, and Mike-whose-last-name-I-keep-blanking-out-on (sorry. If you’re around in comments and want to amend, I’d very much appreciate it).
And I had a great worldcon altogether, meeting with many many friends, and staying up far too late. I got to see good friends T.L. Morganfield, Chris Kastensmidt and Ken Scholes, met a whole bunch of people I only knew from online (or didn’t know at all) and spent a lot of time hanging out with awesome people, which is always cool. Many thanks to Patty Wells and her organising team –it is truly a massive labour of love to organise those events, and I don’t think I’m near aware enough of the enormous quantity of work that goes on behind the scene to give us this wonderful space in which to share our love of genre.

I had a lovely time on panels as well, though in retrospect I should have taken on more programme load (I wanted to avoid the Montreal burnout, but I ended up on too few items). The panel on non-European fantasy we had with Chris Kastensmidt, Ken Scholes and Saladin Ahmed had a great discussion going on, and many insights (and it was filmed, too, which means you should be able to see it on the internet somewhere…) I mostly played wallflower on the Minorities on Covers one (though I should really have registered my opposition to the notion that the reason Hollywood movies were so racist was because of foreign demand. Uh, I’m sorry? We don’t particularly care about White Americans over in Europe either, and I’m pretty sure most of Asia would rather have Chinese-Americans than middle-aged White dudes. Please stop using us non US-ians as excuses for all-Hollywoodian failings). And I ended up cancelling the Cross-Cultural Influences one because I was so nervous about the Hugos (which was stupid, I freely admit. I could have managed it). Reading and kaffeklatsch went pretty well, and so did autographing session. And I came home with lots of books (OK, not so many. Got Warbreaker, my fave Brandon Sanderson book, and a load of Shlock Mercenary comics).

It’ll come as no particular surprise that not only did I not win a Hugo, I also ranked pretty much last on most people’s ballots… [1] Not complaining though. It is truly an honour to be a nominee, especially for a Hugo, aka the award which defined so much of my science fiction reading. And it was a very strong ballot, and I am truly humbled by the number of people who read, enjoyed, and voted for “The Jaguar House, in Shadow”. Also, I got to show off my lovely dress, which counts for something [2] 🙂 (and the Hugo nomination was an excuse to do the California roadtrip with the H–on which more later, when we upload the pictures–, so pretty good there as well).

Many congrats to the Hugo winners, in particular to Mary Robinette Kowal for picking up her first Hugo, to Clarkesworld for their second (NOTE: Neil posted they were retiring from contention for next year, in the interests of the category)–and especially many many congrats for Sheila Williams for her well-deserved win: given the number of Asimov’s stories on the Hugo ballot/who won a Hugo in recent years, not having her win Best Editor for Short Form seemed downright odd. A bit miffed that the following wins didn’t happen: Ian McDonald’s The Dervish House (plus, Ian in kilt was awesome), N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (yes, it’s two in the same category. I’m allowed to be schizophrenic), Alastair Reynolds’ “Troika” (Alastair hasn’t exactly been recognised by the Hugo voters before, and it’s a crying shame…), and Lauren Beukes (who is very much made of awesome. Definitely looking forward to her next book). But you can’t win every time…

The H and I were also fairly puzzled by the Japan video at the Hugo Awards: we loved the glimpse into other cons in another country, but listing only the Western Anglophone winners on the Seiun Awards felt… oddly self-centered? We kind of wanted to see what was cutting edge in Japan, as well [3] (and I have to admit neither of the two names meant much to us except in a “oh, I’ve seen this name before” way, so seeing a few Japanese names and publication covers wouldn’t have been so conceptually different for us).

In travel news, I knew this already, but I think I’ll never trust security checks again: we realised after we’d cleared security that we had a folded Opinel knife in the outer pocket of our backpack, in full sight–and that absolutely no one had seen it or commented on it. But, on the other hand, I couldn’t check in online with American Airlines because they couldn’t figure out that “Aliette Debodarddelajacopiere” and “Aliette de Bodard de la Jacopiere” were really the same person (hey, not my fault the reservation systems has limited space for my full name and insists on lumping it all together…); and we got the suitcase searched coming AND going. Which, at a guess, probably didn’t yield much of interest (except if you’re looking for fully licit Shlock Mercenary contraband, of which there was plenty), and got me fairly miffed when whoever repacked the suitcase broke all the cookies we were bringing to the con. Still wondering–was it the TSA-friendly lock that they saw as a challenge?

Anyway, more later (including a confession post, and California picture trips). Gotta cook dinner and go to bed, and then we can see about this writing thing tomorrow…


[1] Most people on the internet seemed to be complaining about the story not working for them, so I figured my chances ran pretty close to a snowball’s in Hell…
[2] And the rocket pin. Don’t forget the rocket pin. I now have a Nebula pin, a Hugo pin and a Campbell pin, and feel I can dazzle my way out of pretty much everything (and if it doesn’t work, I’ll just hit people with the BSFA trophy).
[3] And thanks to the magic of Google, here’s the list of winners, and nominees (nominees isn’t great, there seem to be info missing from it, but I don’t read Japanese, it’s the best I could find…)

Worldcon schedule

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My schedule for Renovation. I’ll be arriving sometime Tuesday afternoon/evening (we’re not sure yet), and leaving completely bleary-eyed after the Hugo Losers’ Party (though the plane home goes through Fort Worth, and we have 30 minutes to change–so there’s actually a chance we might still be there Sunday evening…)

Wed 13:00 – 14:00, Molecular Gastronomy: When You have more Gadgets in Your Kitchen than Your Mom (Panel), A04 (RSCC)
What kitchen gadgets do you have now and which do you want to have? How soon will immersion circulators and anti-griddles be as common as pasta presses and sorbet machines in the “gourmet” kitchen? What _other_ strange lab equipment might become the Next Big Thing in kitche nappliances? The modern science and chemistry of cooking. _Future Food_ is a series on PlanetGreen featuring the restaurant MOTO in Chicago.
Dave Howell (M), Aliette de Bodard, John O’Halloran, Keith G. Kato
Ooh, neat. Have never been on this kind of panel before. This should be fun.

Wed 16:00 – 17:00, Interview with Aliette de Bodard (Interview), A09 (RSCC)
Aliette de Bodard, Christopher Kastensmidt
This one is Chris’ fault…

Thu 14:00 – 15:00, Autographing: Thu 14:00 (Autographing), Hall 2 Autographs (RSCC)
Aka where I will sign your stuff (short fiction, novels, sheets of white paper if you feel like it). Aka also the bit where I will feel quite lonely (not that famous), so the standard strategy of coming to chat with me works fine, too.

Thu 15:30 – 16:00, Reading: Aliette de Bodard (Reading), A14 (RSCC).
There will be cookies. Not homemade, ’cause I’ll be on the road, but I’ve brought over traditional stuff from Brittany.

Fri 11:00 – 12:00, Minority Representation in SF Art and the Ugly Reality (Panel), D05 (RSCC)
Minority representation needs to get better in our visual SF, including casting in film and TV and the design and selection of cover art. A discussion of what’s wrong with the status quo and how the industry can and should improve.
Lee Moyer, Aliette de Bodard, Lee Harris, Naamen Tilahun
This one should be interesting. Hope it remains civil (from past experience, those panels have a bad tendency to degenerate, most often because of someone in the audience)

Fri 16:00 – 17:00, F*** Your Knight and the Horse He Rode in on: Fantasy Series not Based on Medieval European Culture (Panel), A10 (RSCC)
An irreverent panel where young writers challenge the predominance of medieval-inspired settings in fantasy.
Christopher Kastensmidt, Saladin Ahmed, Aliette de Bodard, Ken Scholes
Hmm. Again, Chris’ fault. He’ll be moderating though 🙂

Sat 11:00 – 12:00, KaffeeKlatsch: Sat 11:00 (KaffeeKlatsch), KK1 (RSCC)
Wanna discuss Obsidian and Blood, future projects, or something else? Also, I’ll be bringing the Breton cookies leftovers…

Sat 16:00 – 17:00, Cross-Cultural Influences in SF (Panel), A03 (RSCC)
How are cross-cultural inflences manifested in Science Fiction? We look at the impact of both modern and ancient cultures on on SF. How, say, has American SF been affected by Japan? What are the trans-Atlantic influences in play? We expect a wide-ranging discussion.
Mari Kotani, Aliette de Bodard, Brenda W. Clough, Nick Mamatas, Takayuki Tatsumi
Ha. This would be the panel where I try very hard not to point out that SF is a one-way street from the US to the rest of the world? *diplomacy fail*

And, of course, the Hugo Awards, aka when I have a pretty dress and the H goes around in a serious suit. You don’t want to miss this 🙂

Hugo recommendations

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So, with the deadline for the Hugos approaching, I thought I’d do some recommending. Herein is the stuff I’m really rooting to get onto the ballot. (fair warning: I know a lot of the people involved here, but I’m only recommending the stuff I loved, and sharing it in the hope that you’ll find some gems of your own in there).

Best short story:
“As Women Fight” by Sara Genge (Asimov’s December 2009): a nice and thoughtful take on gender changes, taking place on a planet where the gender in a couple is determined by who wins the annual fight. With neat reflections on friendships, abuse and the dividing line between man and woman. It’s been collected in two Year’s Bests, has made the Locus Recommended List, and I’ve already seen some support for it in the Hugo competition. Definitely worth a read.

“The Chrysanthemum Bride” by Angela Slatter in Fantasy Magazine, a dark story set in Ancient China, about a poor but vain daughter of peasants taken to be the bride of the emperor. Truly horrific, and will linger in your mind long after you’ve finished it.

Best novelette:
“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” (Interzone 220, reprinted online in Apex): ok, the title has me checking it every time I type it out, but this is one that’s made of awesome. Set in a world where people don new identities every morning with the help of masks, this one follows a typical individual as he stumbles onto the foundations of the society. It’s strange and rich with beautiful language, and a kickass ending.

Best novel:
By the Mountain Bound by Elizabeth Bear: a story that takes its inspiration in Norse myths, it follows the einherjar and the valkyries, the Children of the Light who try to uphold the order of a new world even though their Father (Odin) has died in Ragnarok. When a strange woman washes ashore, claiming to be the Lady, one of the gods the Children have been waiting for. She means to fight the prophecied war against their enemies–but is she really who she claims to be?
This one is a prequel to All the Windwracked Stars, which I also loved. Unlike its sequel, it’s definitely more epic fantasy in tone–but it takes its cues from the Norse epics, which are far more sombre and violent than most moden fantasies. I loved the ending–and loved that Elizabeth Bear had the guts and the skills to pull this off.
Canticle by Ken Scholes: sequel to Lamentation, this one continues to follow Scholes’ characters as they inch every closer to the secret of the destruction of the city of Windvir. Gypsy leader Rudolfo faces assasination attempts, and the birth of his own sickly son; young Neb seeks a secret in the desolate Wastes, one that could change the face of the Named Lands; and Winters, the ruler of the Marsh People, has to deal with heresies among her own people. Scholes melds religion and science brilliantly in this post-apocalyptic fantasy–this is even better than Lamentation (which had already blown me away).
The Shifter by Janice Hardy: I really wish there were a YA category on the ballot, but in the absence of that we’ll make do with Best Novel :=) The Shifter (aka The Pain Merchants in the UK) is the story of Nya, an orphan in a world where pain can be shunted off into a special metal. But Nya is special: she can shift pain into other people. When her sister disappears, Nya has to use her abilities to find her–without letting herself be found out and used as a weapon…
It’s got an awesome core concept, and a unique and fun voice for Nya that makes the whole book very endearing. Also, it doesn’t shy away from darker moral choices, definitely making it stick in the mind.

Best Semiprozine:
Interzone: regularly on the semiprozine ballot without my plug, I suspect, but still… I do love the magazine. It’s really willing to take risks and publish very different kinds of stories, and the fiction offerings are neatly complemented by DVD and book reviews. Been a subscriber for 4 years; and I fully intend to renew this one. For an example of cool fiction, see the Foster story above.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies: another one of the few I enjoy reading regularly: there’s a tremendous variety of style and subject matter, and a mix of new and established authors that combines to a very pleasant result. For an example of cool fiction, see the rich and complex “Thieves of Silence” by Holly Phillips, or Rodello Santos’s atmospheric “To Slay with a Thousand Kisses”, a neat take on cursed spirits.

Best Fanzine:
StarshipSofa: yup, podcasts are eligible for the Hugo. Check out my previous post for more info.

Campbell Award:
Rochita Loenen-Ruiz (First Year of Eligibility): Rochita has published fiction in Apex, Fantasy Magazine and Weird Tales. She has this beautiful, fluid writing style that allows her to move smoothly from a humorous, whimsical story like “Teaching a Pink Elephant to Ski” to more sombre subject matters like the plague-wracked world of “59 Beads”. My only regret is that she writes so little, because I sure as heck want to see more of her fiction out there getting recognition.

Juliette Wade (Second Year of Eligibility): Juliette is a member of my crit group, Written in Blood, who has sold stories to Analog. She draws on her experience as a linguist to craft strange and utterly believable alien races in stories like “Cold Words” or “Let the Word Take Me”. She also has an awesome blog, “Talk to You Universe”, where she discusses worldbuilding, linguistics and strange customs, a must for spec-fic writers.

Chris Kastensmidt (Second Year of Eligibility): Chris got a little unlucky for Campbell purposes, as he sold a single eligible story before a drought, a humorous retelling of Little Red Hood co-published with Jim C. Hines. His story “The Fortuitous Meeting of Gerard van Oost and Oludara”, an awesome tale of adventure, treasure hunting and magic set in colonial Brazil, is due out in the next issue of Realms of Fantasy. In the meantime, you can read his more humorous (but slightly dated) stuff here and here, and check out his awesome website for the Gerard van Oost and Oludar series here.

Sean Markey (Second Year of Eligibility): Sean writes quirky stories with beautiful language. Check out “The Spider in You,” in Strange Horizons, a very odd and dark story about people who worship large poisonous spiders as gods, or “Waiting for the Green Woman”, a story of a very peculiar father-daughter relationship: what do you do when your daughter is a tree in the desert?

Shweta Narayan (First Year of Eligibility): I really enjoy her stories–including “The Mechanical Aviary of Emperor Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar”, in the Shimmer Jungle Clockwork issue, a clever set of nested stories set within a Hindu/Mughal milieu, and “Nira and I” in Strange Horizons, a beautiful story about mists, spirits and caste divisions.