Yes, we’re still talking about the Hugo and Clarke Awards.
Let’s start with the Clarke Awards this time around. Regular commenter Estara points out this great post by another regular commenter, Australian SFF writer Andrea K. Höst who takes issue with the jury’s claim that a lot of the novels by women writers that were submitted to the Clarke Award this year are “technically fantasy” and points out that it’s perfectly possible for books to be both SF and fantasy or look like fantasy and actually be SF and that even some works by the award’s patron Arthur C. Clarke would fall into this category. And of course, Clarke’s Third Law states:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Andrea’s post also led me to writer Tom Pollock and his delightfully named blog Djinn & Tronic. Tom Pollock makes a similar point, namely that genres can coexist with each other and that it’s perfectly possible for a book to belong to more than one genre, an idea which will horrify genre purists everywhere.
And let’s not forget that some of the previous winners and nominees of the Clarke Award, such as the 2011 winner Zoo City by Lauren Beukes or the various China Miéville novels which have been nominated (and won) in the past or the Sherri Tepper novel whose nomination so enraged Christopher Priest (and others) last year or Time Powers’ Declare, which suffers from the same issue as G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen, that is the presence of Djinn*, were not exactly clear-cut SF either.
On to the Hugos: At The World in the Satin Bag, Shaun Duke points out that all of those who tell Hugo/Worldcon critics that they should attend the WSFS business meeting have missed the fact that attending Worldcon is prohibitively expensive for many of us. I’m not sure if I’ll attend next year’s Worldcon in London (or if I even want to), because even though Worldcon is on the same continent for once, getting to London still requires plane travel (and Ryanair is not a great option, if you want to buy something and have more than carry-on luggage) plus accomodation costs (and of course, the con is in the Docklands, where hotels are pricey and nowhere near any London friends where I could crash) plus the costs for the con itself, all of which adds up. Ditto for a possible Helsinki Worldcon the year after. And I’d still consider myself financially privileged. The situation looks much worse for fans from non-western countries.
The Skiffy and Fanty Show has invited Justin Landon and Jonathan McCalmont to expound on their isues with the Hugos in general and this year’s shortlist in particular. Once again, I haven’t listened to it, since I don’t do podcats.
*And other problems. I found Declare not just immensely disappointing, but also downright offensive – and I normally like Tim Powers a lot.