stormsewer: (rocks)
2015 Hugo picks: Novels

This post is of course too late to influence voting (life intervened, though I did vote (and who am I kidding about influence?)), but these are my rankings. Read more... )
stormsewer: (rocks)
Alright, I suppose we can't put this off any longer. Incidentally, I've decided not to disclose if and how I'll be employing "No Award" votes this year. My picks for short story. )
stormsewer: (rocks)
So, I went to last year's WorldCon in San Antonio. One of the more interesting people I encountered (first on a panel and then by hounding him longer than was probably polite) was Yasser Bahjatt, a Saudi who gained a taste for science fiction growing up in Michigan. Upon returning to Saudi Arabia, where he now lives, he noticed that science fiction doesn't really exist in most Muslim countries. He further noticed that the correlation between the amount of science fiction published in a country and the amount of patents filed in that country is pretty good. So he decided to take on the mission of creating an Arabic and, more broadly, Muslim culture of science fiction.Read more... )
stormsewer: (death)
So a while back I poked some fun at people who think science fiction is supposed to be and/or used to be optimistic.

But recently I read The Windup Girl, and its pessimism annoyed me. And I had similar thoughts when reading Oryx and Crake. So I guess in some respects I can sympathize with the anti-pessimists.

It's not the pessimism per se that bothers me. Cause hey, life sucks, and then you die, and if life is relatively good that only seems to increase your sensitivity to the tiniest suckitude. I'm cool with that. But I feel like these novels are pessimistic about the wrong things. And wrong about what they judge optimistically, as well. Read more... )
stormsewer: (death)
Sometimes people whine about the good ol' days when science fiction was optimistic and why can't it be like that now? Here are some examples of many.

Well, you know what? I'm not sure it was ever that optimistic. I mean, what's often cited as the most famous short story of "golden age" science fiction? "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov. Seriously, have you read this? It will punch your soul in the face and then spit in its ear.

Okay, okay, that's just one example. Surely most science fiction from that halcyon era (the era of fascists liquidating people by the millions, of quivering fingers gently caressing the red buttons of the apocalypse) must have been Zoloft in print, right?

Well, let's do a little survey. In 1970 SFWA got together and decided on the best short SF stories from 1929 to 1964, and published it as The Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Surely this "best of the best" collection should be a fair representation of the attitudes of the time, yes? Well, let's take a look at those stories, then, and make a judgment call as to whether or not they are optimistic. Read more... )
stormsewer: (up)
I mentioned on Twitter that Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne Valente ([ profile] yuki_onna) is one of the best stories I ever read. Here are some more detailed thoughts: Read more... )


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