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Hugo Recommendation – Best Fan Writer

March 3, 2013 at 11:59 am
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The deadline for Hugo nominations looms ever closer: March 10, for those who have not been paying attention.

There are lots of categories I have not talked about yet. Nor will I, at least not this year. It’s a big field, and it is hard to keep up with all the good stuff being produced.

But I will make recommendations in one final category: fan writer.

In the past few years, I have been beating the drum for a number of websites and blogs and podcasts in the Best Fanzine category. The internet has replaced the traditional print fanzine as the heart of fanac, and I felt that it was past time that the best on-line fanzines got some recognition. Alas, that door has now closed, for the most part. Fans of a more traditional bent got together at the last two worldcons to change the rules, so these new forms of fan writing are no longer eligible. Podcasts can be nominated for a Hugo in a new “Best Fancast” category, but websites and blogs are just out of luck. The new rules make it certain that the Best Fanzine Hugo will continue to be contested by the same old style fanzines that have dominated it for the past few decades; new forms need not apply.

(It always astonishes me that a field that is purportedly all about the future, like science fiction, can be so absolutely hidebound and resistant to change where its own fannish traditions are concerned).

Anyway, that’s done, so I won’t be talking Best Fanzine anymore. Best Fan Writer is another issue, however. While websites and blogs and the like can no longer compete as fanzines, those who write for them are still eligible in the fan writer categories, and I would like to bring a few of them to your attention.

ADAM WHITEHEAD. Also known as “Wert.” Proprietor of THE WERTZONE, one of the very best of the fantasy review blogs. And that’s no small praise, as there are a number of good ones out there, among them PAT’S FANTASY HOTLIST, the BLOG OF THE FALLEN, DRIBBLE OF INK, STOMPING ON YETI, and THE SPECULATIVE SCOTSMAN. All worthy sites; you might want to take a look at those as well. But Wert’s coverage of the field and reviews are amongst the best. He almost made the ballot last year; this year, I hope he will.

JOHN JOS. MILLER. Miller writes a regular column called Creature Features for the website CHEESE MAGNETS, where he is one of half a dozen rotating columnists. He most often concerns himself with old SF and fantasy and horror films, and his commentary is always amusing and often insightful. If you love genre film, even including bad movies, check it out. You can find his latest columns at Would that all fan writing was as much fun.

ADAM ROBERTS. This one might be a bit controversial, as Roberts is actually a professional writer, a well-known British SF novelist… but as Fred Pohl won Best Fan Writer only a few years ago, there’s precedent for a pro winning for fan writing. Roberts did his on his blog PUNKADIDDLE — which he closed down, seemingly for good, in June 2012. He is still eligible on the basis of the first half of the year, however. Roberts is a very snarky reviewer and commentator (which seems to be a British tradition), and shows no mercy to books and writers he dislikes (and I get the impression that he’s not all that impressed with own stuff, for what it’s worth)… but he’s always entertaining, and his series of columns on the top-selling books of all time was impressive and engrossing. Well worth a nomination, I think. (Though he probably holds the Hugos in disdain, as he does so much else).

So there you have it. My own choices for Best Fan Writer. All of whom have done great work on-line, none of whom has ever been given any Hugo recognition previously.

Whoever you choose to nominate, in any of these categories, please NOMINATE.

The nominating ballot can be found here:

You have until March 10.

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More Season Three Goodness

March 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm
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HBO has released an extended version of the Season Three Trailer.

Have a look:

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Bart and Brienne! Tyrion and Cersei! Dragons!!! Hot damn.

Only twenty-nine days to go.

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Hugo Recommendations – Best Editor

March 2, 2013 at 10:24 am
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Back to the Hugo nominations…

Editors are the unsung heroes of literature, and we’re fortunate to have some great ones in the worlds of SF and fantasy. For many decades there was just one Hugo, for Best Editor, which almost always went to a magazine editor. Book editors got little or no recognition. But as with Dramatic Presentation, the category was split a few years back, and we now have two editing awards: Best Editor – Short Form, for editing magazines and anthologies, and Best Editor – Long Form, for book editors.

Short Form tends very much to be a case of rounding up the usual suspects, with the same handful of names appearing year after year after year. (And quite deservedly so, since most of them do great work). Some of you may be thinking of nominating me in Best Editor – Short Form, for my work on the Wild Cards series and the big anthologies I have been co-editing with Gardner Dozois. Don’t. Sure, I’d love be nominated as editor one of these years, but not for 2012. I am not eligible. None of my anthologies, WC or non-WC, came out this past year. (2013 should be a different story). However, my sometime partner-in-crime IS eligible, on the strength of his Best of the Year and other solo acts, and I urge you to remember GARDNER DOZOIS when filling out your ballot for Short Form. There’s none better.

In Long Form, I have three names to offer. Starting with ANNE LESLEY GROELL, my editor at Bantam Spectra. Anne was nominated for the very first time last year at Chicago, and it was long past due. She did not win (the Hugo went to Betsy Wollheim of DAW, who was also long past due, having done great work for decades without recognition)… but maybe second time will be the charm. Spectra is one of the most distinguished imprints in all of SF and fantasy, and much of that is due to Anne. She has been editing my own books since A GAME OF THRONES first came out in 1996, but has shepherding many another novelist through to publication as well, helping them to make their books better.

For my other two suggestions, you need to look across the pond to England. The Hugo rules do not explicitly limit the award to American editors, but in practice that is the way it all too often works out. As best as can recall (someone correct me if I am wrong), no British editor has ever been nominated for the Hugo, much less won one. And there are two giants in the world of SF publishing laboring over the water, editors and publishers with decades of great work behind them, who have built their respective publishing houses into the dominant UK powers in our genre. I am speaking of JANE JOHNSON of HarperCollins Voyager, and MALCOLM EDWARDS of Gollancz/ Orion. It is WAY past time that these two friendly competitors received some recognition from Hugo voters for all they have contributed to our field. So please do remember their names when making your nominations.

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Hugo Recommendation – Best Professional Artist

March 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm
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Just six days left to make your Hugo nominations. Nominations close on March 10.

To continue with my own thoughts and recommendations… let’s talk about Best Professional Artist.

This is one of the toughest categories, I think. There are so many incredible artists working in our field at present, it is very difficult to winnow the list down to just five.

Let me start, once again, with the same shocked revelation I make every single damned year. Did you know that neither ALAN LEE nor JOHN HOWE has ever won a Hugo? In fact, I don’t believe either one has ever even been nominated. To my mind, that’s outrageous. These are two of the most important, influential, and talented fantasy artists ever to lift up a paintbrush, whose influence in the field has been enormous. It is long past time they got some recognition.

JOHN PICACIO won last year’s Hugo, after umpty-ump years of being a bridesmaid. It was great to see John standing up there clutching a Hugo at long last, and his victory was certainly well deserved. He just keeps getting better and better. I like to think that his amazing work on the 2012 Ice & Fire calendar helped finally put him over the top. This year John did his own calendar, as well as some stunning covers. Check out his website at for a review of his body of work for 2012. Some amazing stuff there. Picacio definitely deserves another nomination, in my opinion.

This year’s Ice & Fire calendar, the one for 2013, was illustrated by MARC SIMONETTI. Another astonishing artist, and one who had never been nominated for a Hugo. Time he was, I think. In addition to the calendar, Marc has also done several covers for the French editions of my novels from J’ai Lu, covers that were then reused in Brazil, and by various other publishers around the world. It was those covers that first drew him to my attention. Here’s one:


Then, of course, there’s MICHAEL KOMARCK. My admiration for his work is well known. Komarck did the very first Ice & Fire calendar back in 2009, the ill-fated Dabel Brothers calendar; he has also done some gorgeous Ice & Fire artwork for Fantasy Flight Games and Green Ronin, and of late has established himself as the definitive Wild Cards artist with his covers for Tor’s editions of the WC books, both new and old.


Komarck FINALLY got his first Hugo nomination last year, at Chicon. Of course, he went on to lose to Picacio in the final balloting. I plan on nominating him once again. You can see a lot more of his work at his own website:

And that’s five nominees right there: Alan Lee, John Howe, John Picacio, Marc Simonetti, Michael Komarck. Only five places on the ballot. Alas, there are a lot more than five great artists working in SF and fantasy right now. Among them are MARC FISHMAN and TOM KIDD, two more terrific talents. I’ve had the privilege of working with both recently. Fishman illustrated the Subterranean Press limited edition of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, Kidd their limited of DYING OF THE LIGHT. We need more places on the Hugo ballot, I think (no, not really, just trying to make a point). Anyway, take a look at their stuff as well. I believe Tom Kidd has been nominated in the past, though he has never won a Hugo. Fishman has never even made the ballot. They are both worthy of consideration.

This is a hard one, as I said. There’s no wrong answer here. The main thing, I think, is to consider ALL the great work being done in the field, instead of just rounding up the usual suspects. All too many times in the past, the ballot for Best Professional Artist has consisted of the same five names, as if no one else was worthy of the award. Nothing could be further than the truth.

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