May. 30th, 2017

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So, this journal is recently imported from LiveJournal, so please excuse any broken links.
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Alright, let's talk about last year's winners, first.

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemison won Best Novel, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor won Best Novella, "Folding Beijing" by Hao Jingfeng (translated by Ken Liu) won Best Novelette, and "Cat Pictures Please" by Naomi Kritzer won Best Short Story. The only one of these that is at all surprising if you assume the psychology of the majority of voters was "vote for whatever the Rabid Puppies will hate most" is "Folding Beijing," since that was on the Rabid slate, but even that one is not so very surprising, since it likely would have gotten nominated anyway (one anonymous commenter suggested it was on the Rabid slate so they could claim they're not totally racist; they're cool with Asians) and is thematically very much in tune with the Jemison and Okorafor pieces. So, whatever. At least the Rabid Puppies can't really be said to have gotten their way with the winners.

Next up, my personal nominations for this year.

For best novel I nominated All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders, Death's End by Cixin Liu, The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu (it puts the "science" in "epic fantasciencey"), and The Monster on the Road is Me by J. P. Romney (a perfect mixture of cleverness and awkwardness). The first two made the final cut, so that's nice.

I didn't read much new short fiction last year, and none of what I did read struck me as award-worthy, so I didn't make any novella, novelette, or short story nominations.

I nominated Arrival for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, and two episodes of Black Mirror ("San Junipero" and "Hated in the Nation") for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. Arrival and "San Junipero" made the final cut.

Finally, then, initial thoughts on the actual nominations.

Noticeably, there is no more than one obviously Puppy story in each category, which is kind of a relief. But it turns out there was a rule change this year that is kind of convoluted but essentially means that the force of any given vote is divided by the number of other nominations that voter made in the same category. (I might have nominated differently, particularly in the novel category, if I'd realized that earlier.) So the Puppies ended up focusing down on one nominee per category, though they are also claiming this was all according to plan (I guess along the same reasoning it's assumed the 9/11 attackers must be happy about America's apparent slide into autocracy). Whether the rule change will turn out to have been a good idea in the long run, I'm not sure, but the fact that I only have to read one John C. Wright story this year (and a short one at that) feels like a victory.
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At the time of writing, I've actually read all the short stories, all the novelettes, and five and a half of the novellas, and one thing I'm struck by is how still, even after the rule change, nearly all of the nominated works seem to have been conceived as bullets for the culture war, just rather more biased toward the other side this year. I recognize that all fiction is political, that attempting (or claiming) to be apolitical is still a political statement, and that it's probably just a sign of the times (I don't expect next year or the year after will be any better), but I'm a little tired of being preached at.

"I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author." –J.R.R. Tolkien

Alright, let's get on with it. )

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