Monday, January 19, 2015

BSFA & Hugo noms

1) Just above there's a list of some short genre fiction which caught my attention in 2014, simply by lying sneakily in wait.

2) I was sort of thinking I might nominate Jonathan McCalmont's regular Interzone column, "Future Interrupted," for BSFA Best Non-Fiction? Obviously I agree with everything Jonathan says: I agree with everything everyone says. But I'm not 100% sure how eligibility would work (see note), so I guess I may just pick one, uh, iteration of the column.

By my reckoning only #5 to #7 made it to both Interzone and the Ruthless Culture blog during 2014. And I think I would plump for #6, if only because I'm not quite sure whether it shouldn't be nominated for Best Short Fiction instead:
Entitled ‘Not a Series of Waves, But an Ocean’, my sixth Future Interrupted column was an attempt to drive home the slipperiness of genre culture by coming up with a semi-credible alternative genre history. In my history, Hugo Gernsback was not an ambitious crook but a Robbe-Grillet-style figure who raged against the Victorian confines of the bourgeois novel by breaking down the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction. This is not so much history as it is headcanon.
However -- update! -- McCalmont-wise more nominations seem to be heading toward his blog post, "Short Fiction and the Feels," or perhaps "Uncanny / Deep Terraform / Deep Forests & Manicured Gardens" as a sequence? So I dunno. (UPDATE: Here's a really extensive bullet-pointed critique of all these posts by Ethan Robinson ... which is also framed as preparatory to a different kind of response altogether. I hope that happens).

3) Also, here's Nina Allan's non-fiction round-up. I would happily nominate Nina Allan's two BSFA nominations foci blog posts for Best Non-Fiction, if they did not sport the glaring (and no doubt deeply political) omission of Nina Allan's read-through of The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women.

4) Isn't it a bit funny that things like blog posts enjoy an advantage over things like big 250-odd page books -- and especially over monographs rather collections of essays -- in the nomination phase, just because of their relative familiarity / accessibility? When really it feels right to have that advantage handed to the books, which, all else being equal, are likely to represent a different scale of time and effort? One way of ameliorating that tendency is not being too squeamish about including a big 250-odd page book on your ballot just on the basis of a skim, or even just on the basis of recommendations by people you trust. And I think I may do that with at least one of the books Allan mentions. (Voting, it says deep within my heart, is another matter).


Note: McColumn started appearing in Interzone from May-June 2013, and online from November 2013. But you don't wait for this kind of thing to be collected before you nominate: a collection consisting mostly of work published in previous years would be ineligible.

You can nominate a blog post, but can you nominate a blog label? If texts which involve a modicum of computation were eligible, I'd probably like to nominate my personal SF&F Twitter list feed in all categories.

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