Monday, May 23, 2011

Updates + Hugo Voter Packet

We've got a few more parts of the website working. The percentage bars on the left column are now functional again, and my assistant was able to put up another Twitter posts collection. New annotations and library items will have to wait for later though.

There are two new Writing Excuses episodes up. First, Howard and I sat down with Jim Hines to discuss parody and satire. Then we talked with John Scalzi about dialogue. Both episodes were recorded at Penguicon.

This past weekend at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards banquet, my friend and past Writing Excuses guest Eric James Stone was presented with the award for Best Novelette of 2010 for his story "That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made." Congratulations, Eric, and congrats to all the Nebula winners! If you want to read the story, Eric has posted it on his site. It has also been nominated for a Hugo Award in the same category.

I want to talk a little more about the Hugo Awards. I've mentioned before how anyone who registers for Worldcon can vote for the Hugos, and a little about how voting works. I haven't said much before about how there is a cheaper membership you can get that basically allows you to vote but not to attend the convention. The Supporting Membership goes for $50, which is well worth it especially if you consider the value of the following: the Hugo Voter Packet.

The Hugo Voter Packet came out at the end of last week, and it's an ebook package containing ebooks for every single work nominated for a Hugo. Most are available in ePub, mobi (for Kindle), pdf, and rtf files so you can convert them to work on the device of your choice.

Now, I should mention here that the $50 Supporting Membership fee, the $100 Young Adult Attending Membership fee, and the $195 Attending Membership fee (prices good until July 17, 2011) do not actually pay for these ebooks. The ebooks are free for registered members, like the DVD screeners sent to members of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when they're deciding what to vote on for the Oscars. So to support the authors whose works appear in the Hugo Voter Packet, you should still buy the physical books or the commercial ebooks, since the authors do not get any royalties from this packet. (By the way, membership fees only support the running of the convention and are not used for profit.) But the Hugo Voter Packet is a great way to check out works that you wouldn't otherwise have read, so that you may make an educated choice when you fill out your ballot.

The packet contains the full text of eight novels:

  • Blackout by Connie Willis (All Clear, the second half of the story, is not included)
  • Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • The Dervish House by Ian McDonald
  • Feed by Mira Grant (pen name of Seanan McGuire)
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
  • I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells (Campbell nominee)
  • Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia (Campbell nominee)
  • Moxyland by Lauren Beukes (Campbell nominee)
(There are also excerpts of other novels by Lauren Beukes and Lev Grossman.)

Four complete graphic novels:

  • Fables: Witches by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham
  • Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse by Phil and Kaja Foglio with colors by Cheyenne Wright
  • Grandville Mon Amour by Bryan Talbot
  • Schlock Mercenary: Massively Parallel by Howard Tayler with some colors by Travis Walton
  • The Unwritten, Volume 2: Inside Man by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
(For those who measure their graphic novels in megabytes, that's 685 megabytes of sequential art.)

Two complete nonfiction books:

  • The Business of Science Fiction: Two Insiders Discuss Writing and Publishing by Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg
  • Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea
(There are also excerpts from the two other Best Related Work nominee books and links to all the episodes of Writing Excuses Season Four.)

Dozens of short fiction pieces, including every story in the November/December 2010 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction, the September 2010 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction, the September 2010 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, the anthology The Way of the Wizard, and the anthology Godlike Machines (all in the Best Editor, Short Form section). In the Campbell (Not a Hugo), Short Story, Novelette, and Novella sections, short fiction is from nominated authors Lev Grossman, Saladin Ahmed, Rachel Swirsky, Ted Chiang, Elizabeth Hand, Geoffrey A. Landis, Alastair Reynolds, Sean McMullen, Allen M. Steele, Aliette de Bodard, James Patrick Kelly, Eric James Stone, Carrie Vaughn, Mary Robinette Kowal, Kij Johnson, and Peter Watts.

Plus samples of work from nominated artists Daniel Dos Santos, Bob Eggleton, Stephan Martiniere, John Picacio, Shaun Tan, Brad W. Foster, Maurine Starkey, Steve Stiles, Taral Wayne, and Randall Munroe. And I haven't looked in detail at the contents of the sections for Best Semiprozine, Best Fanzine, and Best Fan Writer, but it looks like they also contain tons of complete stories and articles.

This is a very large amount of high-quality award-nominated reading material (some of the works are already award-winners, those that picked up Nebulas this past weekend). If you've been waffling on whether to buy a membership to Worldcon, the existence of this packet is something you should consider. And Worldcon members who are already registered, now's the time to get reading and get ready to vote! (The ballot closes July 31st, 2011.)


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