And Now a Message from my Editor re Hugo Awards

Reprinted from his website. If the sorry state of modern science fiction does not remind you of the sorry state of modern painting, please wake up and pay attention to what is happening to our beloved genre.

Keep in mind that his is not a parody. These subhumans are completely serious, and regard the short stories described below as the best of the year.

Voting for the Hugo Awards closes soon!  The voting page for the 2014 Hugo Awards is located at http://www.loncon3.org/hugo_vote/hugo_vote_form.php.  The voting page for the 1939 Retro Hugo Awards is located at http://loncon3.org/hugo_vote/retro_hugo_vote_form.php.  You will also find links to paper ballots which can be filled out and mailed in.  The deadline for voting is Thursday 31 July 2014, 11:59 PM PDT.  The online voting pages will close and any paper ballots mailed in will need to be received by that time.

“If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky. Not just bad, but laughably, risibly, embarrassingly terrible. When the history of Pink SF/F is written, this Nebula Award winner should stand as Exhibit A. The fact that it was written and published is indicative of a problem in science fiction and fantasy. The fact that it won an award, any award, is a veritable indictment.

“The Ink Readers of Doi Saket” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. Reasonably well-written, seemingly well-researched story set in Thailand. Extremely boring and I’d have to read it again to identify the point. Not interested enough to bother. Neither science fiction nor fantasy.

“Selkie Stories Are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar. The structure is piecemeal, the story is tedious, pointless, amateurish, and narcissistic. On the plus side, it is, unlike the others, identifiable as fantasy. Bad fantasy, to be sure, but fantasy.

“The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu. Homosexual angst story about a Chinese man afraid to come out about his white boyfriend to his family, written by a homosexual Chinese man. It would appear someone took the advice to “write what you know” a little too literally. The writing isn’t bad and it would be the best story of the lot (which isn’t saying anything at all) if it had anything to do with science fiction or fantasy. Which it doesn’t.

Read the whole thing.

Just for the purpose of comparison and contrast, allow me to list short stories who won the best short story category of Hugo Awards back in the day.

If you are not familiar with these stories, please turn in your science fiction fanboy card and report to the depersonalization chamber. Either that, or look up and read these stories. All of them have been anthologized countless times.

  • “Allamagoosa” by Eric Frank Russell [Astounding May 1955; Sci Fiction, scifi.com 2004-09-15]
  • “The Star” by Arthur C. Clarke [Infinity Nov 1955]
  • “Or All the Seas with Oysters” by Avram Davidson [Galaxy May 1958]
  • “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes [F&SF Apr 1959]
  • “The Long Afternoon of Earth” aka “Hothouse” by Brian W. Aldiss [F&SF Feb,Apr,Jul,Sep,Dec 1961]
  • “The Dragon Masters” by Jack Vance [Galaxy Aug 1962]
  • “No Truce with Kings” by Poul Anderson [F&SF Jun 1963] (2) “Savage Pellucidar” by Edgar Rice Burroughs [Amazing Nov 1963] (3) “A Rose for Ecclesiastes” by Roger Zelazny [F&SF Nov 1963]
  • “Soldier, Ask Not” by Gordon R. Dickson [Galaxy Oct 1964]
  • “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” by Harlan Ellison [Galaxy Dec 1965]
  • “Neutron Star” by Larry Niven [If Oct 1966]
  • “Light of Other Days” by Bob Shaw [Analog Aug 1966]
  • “The Last Castle” by Jack Vance [Galaxy Apr 1966]
  • “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” by Harlan Ellison [If Mar 1967] (2) “The Jigsaw Man” by Larry Niven [Dangerous Visions, 1967]
  • “Nightwings” by Robert Silverberg [Galaxy Sep 1968]
  • “Dragonrider” by Anne McCaffrey [Analog Dec 1967,Jan 1968]
  • “The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World” by Harlan Ellison [Galaxy Jun 1968] (2) “All the Myriad Ways” by Larry Niven [Galaxy Oct 1968]
      • That same year, the winner for Best Dramatic Presentation was 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) [Paramount] Screenplay by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick; Directed by Stanley Kubrick; based on the story “The Sentinel” by Arthur C. Clarke
      • And, likewise, that same year, a Special Award was given to Neil Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin, and Michael Collins – for The Best Moon Landing Ever.

That Special Award, to my knowledge, has never been granted again, because we are the generation that had the moon and lost it.

As for the gap between “The Dragon Masters” or “Nightwings” or even “Dragonrider” versus “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”, when I contemplate the depth of the fall, grief and awe dumbfounds me, and words fail, so I turn to a wordsmith greater far than I to speak for me, and for us:

…’My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away…

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