Screen capture of a portion of Mike Glyer’s online fanzine “File 770”
Having (finally) successfully subscribed to Mike Glyer’s File 770 online SciFi fan newzine, I find that most of what this rather prolific blog puts out doesn’t catch much of my interest. Of course, with WorldCon Dublin coming up next month, a lot of the content is focused there. They also put out a tremendous number of articles about various awards, again, most of which I don’t have an interest in.
However, I did pause to read Neffy Award Ballot Is Out. I’d never heard of the Neffy Awards, so I looked them up.
But before that, I took a look at the ballot, which lists science fiction and fantasy works nominated in a number of categories. They include Best Novel, Best Shorter Work, Best Book Editor, Fanzine, TV Show, Movie, Anime, and so forth. Needless to say, I didn’t recognize any of the names and most of the category entries. Oh, I have heard of “Game of Thrones” and I used to watch “Supergirl,” but that was about it. This reminded me that as a “fan,” I’m probably really lacking in keeping up with what’s current (to find out what I’ve been reading and watching lately, go to my Reviews page).
Original cover for James P. Hogan’s 1977 novel “Inherit the Stars”
Somewhere on Facebook, I saw an image of a familiar book cover, the cover to James P. Hogan’s 1977 science fiction novel Inherit the Stars. I remember reading it while my wife and I were on vacation in Europe in 1985, traveling with a Catholic choir group (long story).
As with a lot of books I read decades ago, I remember liking it, but I can recall almost nothing of the plot. Yes, it all starts with the mystery of a dead human being found on the Moon, a person 50,000 years old. Intriguing.
I thought about adding it to my list of books to re-read, even though a day ago, I dedicated myself to reading science fiction and fantasy of a more recent vintage.
I was surprised to discover that “Inherit” was the first book in a five-part series. I was also surprised to discover that it was the first book Hogan ever wrote, and that he did so on a dare.
I decided to look up Hogan on the internet. He died in 2010 at the age of 69, just a few years older than I am now.
I also found out he wasn’t a nice man.
Photo credit – Knoxville News – Science Fiction convention – place and date unknown
In recent comments on the File 770 SF/F news blog criticizing veteran SF writer Robert Silverberg over comments he made about author NK Jemisin’s Hugo Award acceptance speech last summer, one of the things mentioned is that Silverberg hasn’t read any SF stories written in the past ten years, like that’s a bad thing.
In comments I made on twitter last summer criticizing the objectivity of the Hugo Awards, one person accused me of not being “a fan,” as if being a fan were some sort of exalted and coveted position.
But as I continued to gather information about the Hugos and how one is nominated for an award, I realized that although the pool of voters each year is relatively small (I’d estimate anywhere between a few hundred and a few thousand), probably all of them are avid SF/F readers and viewers who consume tons and tons of the latest available works. I guess that’s what my critic meant when she said I wasn’t a fan.
But wait a minute. How much SF/F do I read?
Found at io9.gizmodo.com – No image credit available
I’ve continued to consider the problems I’ve read about recently regarding the upcoming WorldCon 2018, which I wrote about yesterday.
Since I’m not published in SF/F (although I am as far as textbooks and self-study guides go), I suppose it shouldn’t be particularly relevant. To the best of my understanding, the Cons (and it has been over 20 years since I attended any SF/F convention), allow fans to meet and greet their favorite authors as well as up and coming talent, plus provide authors a big marketing opportunity, so ideally, it should be a win-win.
Also, again to the best of my understanding, a number of awards, including the Hugos are presented at WorldCon, which traditionally has been a big deal.
But are the Hugos still a big deal?