Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My 2014 Hugo Votes: Best Fan Writer

After voting for Best Novella, I wrote, "This will be the last category I'm voting." I was wrong. I thought about the fact that I had nominated Kameron Hurley for Best Fan Writer, and I decided I should probably vote in the category if possible.

As it turned out, each of the nominees submitted a fairly short collection of writing, so it was pretty easy to evaluate each of them on that basis.

The writing seemed to divide into two categories: writing about issues in the SF community and reviewing works of SF. There was certainly some overlap; in particular reviews often veered into "issues" territory. That's OK; I liked pretty much all of it. In fact, this is the first category I've voted in where I would be happy with pretty much any of the nominees. Thus, my ballot:
  1. Kameron Hurley. I still think she has written some really incisive stuff, such as her post on the SFWA Bulletin controversy. Unfortunately, one of the pieces she chose to include was about health insurance. While a good piece, it didn't feel particularly fannish. Fortunately, as a regular reader of her blog, I don't have to rely on that piece to form much of my opinion.
  2. Abagail Nussbaum. The included material was essays on two books, a TV show and a movie. It helped that I had seen the movie and read one of the books, but I found the writing helpful in guiding my thoughts on the material.
  3. Liz Bourke. Some good reviews, and an interesting essay about writing a column on female authors. I didn't engage with the writing as much as Nussbaum's, perhaps because I was less familiar with the material.
  4. Foz Meadows. In many ways, she covers much the same territory of pointing out what it wrong in the SF community as Hurley does. I found it a little more in the rant direction. I think the behavior she writes about deserves ranting, and she writes about it well -- I'm just not voting it as high because it comes across as slightly less thoughtful.
  5. Mark Oshiro. As far as I can tell, his schtick is writing about works of fiction in the recap style that is very popular now for TV shows. Included in the packet were writeups of 3 book chapters and 1 TV show episode. I had read one of the books. The writing quickly went into personal reflection, which lost my interest. I thought the format was interesting, and I might enjoy it for some books I've read...but probably recaps by a different author.
  6. No Award. It's a favorite of mine; it rarely ends up in last place.
I was really up in the air about positions 2-4.
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