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How’d I do? (Hugo Awards)

August 18th, 2014

I was breaking down moving boxes and  showering during most of the Hugo Award ceremony so it wasn’t as if I was watching with bated breath.  Now and then a bit of audio would come through or there’d be a particularly sweet moment (Ellen Datlow’s acceptance was understated and lovely) but mostly I saw the results after they were posted like everyone else.  Last night I threw up a couple of half-assed predictions, mostly to keep myself honest about my preconceptions against the reality of the actual results when they came out today.

 So, how’d I do?


 Best Novel: 

I predicted:

  • Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)

The Winner:

  • Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)

Nothing psychic about this one.  Leckie had already swept the Nebulas, the Arthur C. Clark Award, the British SF Association Award, and the Locus Award for Best First Novel.  Short of Larry Correia and Mira Grant joining forces to beat opposing voters with nunchuku at the ballot box  Justice was going to win at a walk.   I didn’t fall head over heels for it myself but it’s a solid book .


Best Novella:

I predicted:

  • “Equoid”, Charles Stross (, 09-2013)

The Winner:

  • “Equoid”, Charles Stross (, 09-2013)

I waffled on this category  for a while though I still haven’t actually read any of the nominees.  In the end I went Stross over Valente based entirely on the publisher, figuring more people probably saw the Tor story.


Best Novelette

I predicted:

  • “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling”, Ted Chiang (Subterranean, Fall 2013)

The Winner:

  • “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal ( /, 09-2013)

 I bet Chiang because for the Hugos you just do.


Best Short Story

I predicted:

  • “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere”, John Chu (, 02-2013)

The Winner:

  • “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere”, John Chu (, 02-2013)

This was nothing but a gut feeling.  Much as Sofia Samatar is a fan favorite (and winner of this year’s Campbell Award)  I couldn’t see the majority of voters giving first place to a story with the word “Selkie” in the title.


Best Related Work:

I guessed:

  • Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, Jeff VanderMeer, with Jeremy Zerfoss (Abrams Image)

The Winner:

  • “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative”, Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)

Got blindsided with this category since the Hurley article is a few thousand words against VanderMeer’s lavishly illustrated and celebrity guest star-filled three hundred fifty odd pages.  It’s a great essay though, and an important one. Good on her.


 Best Graphic Story

I lazily checked off:

  • “The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who”, written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Jimmy Broxton (Doctor Who Special 2013, IDW)

The Winner:

  • “Time”, Randall Munroe (XKCD)

Never would have guessed a semi-obscure nerdy webcomic over Doctor Who at a British Worldcon in a million years, especially given the unique format of that particular XKCD which requires attention, and well, time, to appreciate.   Regardless, nice to see Munroe getting a little bit of the credit he deserves.


Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

I crossed my fingers and bet on:

  • Gravity, written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films; Warner Bros.)

The Winner:

  • Gravity, written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films; Warner Bros.)

God help me, I was terrified “Frozen” might actually win.

 By that point in the evening it was really late and I was creating new and innovative ways to swear at WordPress which flatly refused to allow me to bold certain items in red text while being perfectly happy to do so for others.  As a result you missed my humiliating prediction that any (or all) of the Doctor Who episodes were likely to tromp all over any of the other nominees.  “The Rains of Castamere” is only notable for the last couple of minutes but those are bloody minutes indeed when Dr. Who gets added to the body count.

 So in the end my record stands at four and four.  Still, if winning is all about showing up I beat Nate Silver so I guess that’s something.  Congratulations to all the winners and I’ll see you all again in 2015.

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A Set of Completely Uninformed Guesses: The 2014 Hugo Award Results

August 17th, 2014

It’s about 8:30AM in London so there are a few hours before the Hugo Awards are announced for this year.   It’s closer to 3:30AM here on the East Coast so in the spirit of the Witching Hour here are my psychic projections for the first couple categories, posted without commentary.   Note, these aren’t my personal favorites, they’re just where I’d throw a sawbuck I could afford to lose if it came down to a bet.  Given how weird the nomination process turned out this year, it’s really anyone’s guess how it’ll all shake out.


Best Novel (1595 nominating ballots)

  • Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
  • Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross (Ace / Orbit UK)
  • Parasite, Mira Grant (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
  • Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia (Baen Books)
  • The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books / Orbit UK)


Best Novella (847 nominating ballots)

  • The Butcher of Khardov, Dan Wells (Privateer Press)
  • “The Chaplain’s Legacy”, Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jul-Aug 2013)
  • “Equoid”, Charles Stross (, 09-2013)
  • Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean Press)
  • “Wakulla Springs”, Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages (, 10-2013)

Best Novelette (728 nominating ballots)

  • “Opera Vita Aeterna”, Vox Day (The Last Witchking, Marcher Lord Hinterlands)
  • “The Exchange Officers”, Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jan-Feb 2013)
  • “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”, Mary Robinette Kowal (, 09-2013)
  • “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling”, Ted Chiang (Subterranean, Fall 2013)
  • “The Waiting Stars”, Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky, Candlemark & Gleam)

Best Short Story (865 nominating ballots)

  • “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”, Rachel Swirsky (Apex Magazine, Mar-2013)
  • “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (, 04-2013)
  • “Selkie Stories Are for Losers”, Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons, Jan-2013)
  • “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere”, John Chu (, 02-2013)

Best Related Work (752 nominating ballots)

  • Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It, Edited by Sigrid Ellis & Michael Damian Thomas (Mad Norwegian Press)
  • Speculative Fiction 2012: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary, Justin Landon & Jared Shurin (Jurassic London)
  • “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative”, Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)
  • Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, Jeff VanderMeer, with Jeremy Zerfoss (Abrams Image)
  • Writing Excuses Season 8, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Jordan Sanderson

Best Graphic Story (552 nominating ballots)

  • Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City, written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
  • “The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who”, written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Jimmy Broxton (Doctor Who Special 2013, IDW)
  • The Meathouse Man, adapted from the story by George R.R. Martin and illustrated by Raya Golden (Jet City Comics)
  • Saga, Volume 2, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics )
  • “Time”, Randall Munroe (XKCD)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (995 nominating ballots)

  • Frozen,screenplay by Jennifer Lee, directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee (Walt Disney Studios)
  • Gravity, written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films; Warner Bros.)
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, screenplay by Simon Beaufoy & Michael Arndt, directed by Francis Lawrence (Color Force; Lionsgate)
  • Iron Man 3, screenplay by Drew Pearce & Shane Black, directed by Shane Black (Marvel Studios; DMG Entertainment; Paramount Pictures)
  • Pacific Rim, screenplay by Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros., Disney Double Dare You)


(10:52pm: If you check the history you’ll see this post was edited multiple times, including after the ceremony.   The predictions were the same throughout; WordPress and I were wrestling over formatting.)

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Space and Time #120 is out!

March 17th, 2014

It’s been a long time coming but I received my contributor copies over the weekend so it looks like “Old Meat” is finally out in the world!  One of the first stories I wrote in North Carolina, it’s got everything you could want.  Sex, violence, vengeance, foie gras, old gods in chains…I’m really pleased to finally see it in print.  Boston folks, you can still likely buy copies at Pandemonium.  For the ebook-inclined, it looks like you can snag a 4-issue electronic subscription HERE at 50% off the usual cover price.






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Dark Worlds

November 15th, 2013


A long time ago I was taken by business associates to a very expensive, very exclusive nightclub in Paris. It was loud and flashy and full of smoke and I can’t remember a thing I ate, a single word of the conversation, or anything much of the interior details though overall the place was quite pretty. Someone pointed out one of France’s better-known porn starlets was seated across the room and later she danced a bit with her date. Mostly I remember her as being blonde; there was nothing at all memorable about her companion. I went home and haven’t really thought about that night since.  So in that way, it’s remarkably similar to the experience I had seeing Thor:  The Dark World



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Wormhole Postbox

April 21st, 2013

A message to be sent backward in time to John Bowker, age 10:

We just touched a hull plate from the Titanic.

Don’t rush getting here, but keep the faith.  The Future is as awesome as we hoped.




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“A Question of Storage” in the March 2013 issue of Big Pulp

April 1st, 2013

Cover of the March 2013 issue of Big Pulp magazine.

The March issue of Big Pulp Magazine hit the stands this week, containing my SF story “A Question of Storage” about a character’s problem with storing porn and how it might ultimately save the human race from extinction.    Submitted during the reading period for the magazine’s “Queer Fiction”-themed issue, I knew a science fiction piece about pornography that isn’t actually porn (the story has no sex or graphic descriptions at all) would be sort of a hard sell.   Big Pulp’s enthusiastic yes was a nice surprise.

You can get your own hardcopy or e-book edition at, hardcopy at Barnes & Noble, or directly from Exeter Press  if you’d like to cut out the middleman.  Give it a look and let me know what you think!


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Geek Pride

November 15th, 2012

Somewhere along the line and without me noticing, the word “geek” has been redefined such that I no longer recognize the people to which it’s being applied or the perspective of those on any side of the arguments over the right to bear it.

Beard, silly hat, inappropriate touching...hmmm.

Beard, silly hat, inappropriate touching…hmmm.

This is just a hunch, but I suspect natives of Ireland have a similar feeling watching Americans on St. Patrick’s Day.

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Summer passing

August 22nd, 2012

There were new medical students on the lawn when I rode up this morning, a gaggle of kids in floppy white coats being herded into lines for a photo. Suddenly and without warning I need a jacket on the scooter coming in, and there’s a little bit of shock when I submerge myself in the pool at the beginning of a workout. Maybe it’s working at a university, something the students bring along with them like naivete, but somewhere in the chronosphere there was a click. Summer has changed into something else.

It was a fast season. I spent most of July in a clinical psychology seminar, a summer session class so it condensed the usual fifteen week semester into 5. That meant after the first few sessions, life was basically read, mid-term exam, read,treatment team,readPaperreadreadFinal!. I enjoy that kind of grind and the work wasn’t particularly challenging, but the professor went a long way toward convincing me that there’d be areas of clinical psychology that would make being a tax accountant seem like a free-wheeling intellectual life. (FWIW, I come from a family of tax accountants and some of them are quite free in their wheels…bad analogy. Think Dickens here.)

To make things more hectic, somewhere right in the middle of readpaperreadreadFinal!, I attended Transformus, the North Carolina regional burn. That was a fine, gorgeous madness, both in terms of scheduling and coming into the weekend with far too little sleep and far too much gear.

The Transformus Burn, taken by Tony Rogers

Our participation involved a lot of yonic symbolism, scouting uniforms, cookies, and a wooden spoon that tattooed labia into your skin. Hooray for Techshop and Cunt Scouts forever. I understand Troop 69 out of Asheville wants a dance-off next year.

It also involved the purchase of a 54,000 BTU flame ring for steaming the hundred tamales we’d assembled the weekend before. (Want to see a trashed kitchen? Come by after a marathon tamale-rolling session.) The burner did make light work of the camp dinner but my ulterior motive was using it to get sufficient horsepower to do some serious wok cooking at home. Chinese restaurants run on high heat; it’s hard to get that semi-charred flash-fried taste on a home stove even with the gas cranked to eleven. Even 54k is on the low side but it does go a long way; back porch beef chow fun was a revelation. The dry-fried Szechuan green beans weren’t quite perfect but were more than edible as well. As I said to my friend John, it’s not that hard to use. The only trick is not setting yourself on fire…

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All I Want for Christmas…

December 10th, 2010

The Boston Phoenix 2010 Christmas Gift Guide came out this week and amidst the suggestions for what to get your neighborhood drug lord and aging music scenester is my list of what to get the Neophile/Tech nerd in your life this season.

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April 8th, 2010

I’ve been slowly putting together an article about doing Montreal on the cheap based on a trip from last November.  (To really do the piece justice, it’ll require another visit.  Oh, hardship.) The paté counter at Premiere Moisson in Marché Jean-Talon figures prominently.

Pate in all its glory

It's like the World's Best Baskin Robbins

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