Faith in Humanity: Restored (For Now) or, The 2014 Hugo Award Winners

Look at this list of awesome Hugo Award winners!

Oh, my heart. Fandom.

And yes: there are a few parts of the nominating and voting results that warm the very cockles of my heart. Like “No Award” coming in fifth place for Best Novelette.  Delightful.

My main entertainment today, apart from watching the Hugo livestream has been watching my new bird feeder in the back yard. We have goldfinches and house finches and cardinals! So far!

Links: 08/15/14

This is the second links post for the week–there was one yesterday which was devoted to Michael Brown and Ferguson, MO.

Ferguson Links: 08/14/14

It seemed important that these links get their own post.  I’ve been reading a lot.  The #Ferguson and #NMOS14 tags on Twitter are also a good resource, but I have noticed some trolling of both so be careful and disengage if you have to.  There’s also a #NMOS14 page on Facebook. List of all #NMOS14 vigils.

Meh Suffragettes: Courtney Milan’s The Suffragette Scandal

The Suffragette Scandal, Courtney Milan

The Suffragette Scandal, Courtney Milan

Sigh. I wanted to love this book. I really, really did. But I didn’t.

Let’s back that up a bit. Of all the other books in Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series, I’ve loved them all. The Countess Conspiracy made me ugly-cry. There aren’t many romances that do that to me.

So I’ve been chewing over exactly why I didn’t connect with The Suffragette Scandal in the same way I did with the others.  And after a few weeks of thought and a few conversations on Twitter, I think I’ve figured it out.

The stakes weren’t high enough. Which I know sounds really weird. But I never felt really engaged with Free and the bullshit she had to deal with.

Edward Clark is one of my favorite heroes–he’s not a nice man and I loved that about him. I didn’t like a decision he made at the end, although the narrative basically gave him no other choice.

Free–well, I liked her well enough. But I don’t know. I never felt like that if the villain (who I found to be almost cartoonish) succeeded that there would be major consequences for her.  I felt like, for the time period that the book was set in, she had too many powerful male relatives for that to work. Which, I know! I know! This is a book about a suffragette! But she does have all those enlightened male relatives backing her up and that detracted from the gravity of her situation. I do wonder if this book would have worked better for me if it were earlier in the sequence as opposed to the end.

I liked Free’s willingness to stand up and speak regardless of the cost to her. I liked that she employed women and her remembrances of her aunt Freddy were just lovely and poignant. But there was just something missing.

Meoskop at Love in the Margins liked the book a lot more than I did–and while I agree with all of her assessments of the individual pieces, they just didn’t coalesce into something that really worked for me.  I may revisit the book in a few months and see how I feel about it then.

In conclusion, instead of “Huzzah! Suffragettes!” this book was a solid “Meh. Suffragettes,” for me. Meh.

The final novella in this series, “Talk Sweetly to Me” will be out August 19. I will, of course, be buying it. I’m looking forward to it for a few reasons: the heroine is a black mathematician and I’m loving Milan’s genius promotional idea of actually having an Ask A Man column over on Tumblr. Folks, that’s how you do promo.

Guest Post: Michi Trota of Uncanny

Today I’m happy to present a guest post from Michi Trota, Managing Editor for the new science fiction and fantasy magazine, Uncanny. I’ve backed their Kickstarter and I hope you’ll consider it as well.

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I grew up reading/watching a lot of science fiction and fantasy. A lot. Star Trek and Doctor Who were almost always on the TV. We wore out our VHS copy of Star Wars. Twice. The first book I ever remember my mom reading to me was The Hobbit and she made sure I knew every Grimm’s Fairy Tale before I ever saw a Disney film. I enjoyed every bit of those stories, but I didn’t actually fall in love with SF/F until I was seven, when we read Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” in second grade.

It wasn’t like the science fiction that I was familiar with – there were not space battles, no aliens, no transporter pads, but it was compelling, confusing and just plain broke my heart. I couldn’t articulate it at the time, but that dystopian what-if future challenged a host of assumptions that I’d been taking for granted about how the world worked. That was the moment I understood that SF/F could be more than thrilling space battles and wizards weaving spells, that at its heart, SF/F is about exploring possibilities, exposing us to different perspectives, and understanding what it means to be human. That story has stayed with me for nearly thirty years.

That’s the kind of work that Uncanny: A Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy is going to find and publish.

I couldn’t be prouder or more excited that Lynne Thomas (Chicks Dig Time Lords, Apex Magazine) and Michael Thomas (Queers Dig Time Lords, Apex Magazine) asked me to join Uncanny’s staff as managing editor. If you were to ask me what my ideal SF/F magazine would look like, Uncanny would tick all those boxes: quality fiction and nonfiction, as well as poetry and art that’s experimental, elegant and evocative; space for new voices to be featured alongside familiar names; a commitment to both a diversity of creators as well as diversity in characters and settings; and a talented staff of professionals who absolutely love SF/F.

We even have a fantastic logo designed for us by Katy Shuttleworth, because what better way to recognize what Uncanny stands for than a SPACE UNICORN?

In short, a celebration of the best what the SF/F community and geek culture has to offer.

Our line up of contributors for Year One includes creators with unique voices, whose work epitomizes many of the things we love about SF/F: Charlie Jane Anders, Paul Cornell, Galen Dara, Julie Dillon, Neil Gaiman, Jim C. Hines, Kameron Hurley, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ken Liu, Scott Lynch, Sofia Samatar, Rachel Swirsky, Catherynne M. Valente, and many more. If you’re not familiar with some of these awesome creators, check out the series mini-interviews with some of our contributors featured as part of Uncanny’s Kickstarter.

Once our Kickstarter is fully-funded, Uncanny will also be accepting fiction and poetry submissions!

While Kickstarter will get things going, we have a solid plan to continue building Uncanny and making the magazine sustainable through growing our subscriber base, utilizing sponsorships and advertising, and whatever other fannish goodies we can come up with.

It’s been thrilling to watch the amount of support and enthusiasm come in for Uncanny over the last couple of weeks. Our Kickstarter is almost halfway over and we’ve raised $22,400, nearly 90% of our goal. We’re not there yet, so if Uncanny sounds like the kind of SF/F magazine you can’t wait to read, we hope you’ll support us.

Because space unicorns are awesome.