This year’s Nebula Awards have been handed out and my reactions are mixed. IMO the weakest book by far won in the best novel category – a pity because there were so many interesting nominees. But then Kim Stanley Robinson is a writer who just doesn’t work for me. And it is notable that 2312 is the most obviously science fictional book among the nominees. In the novella category, I’d have preferred either Aliette de Bodard’s On a Red Station Drifting or Jay Lake’s The Stars Do Not Lie, but then I haven’t read the Nancy Kress novella and it shows up on lots of awards list this year. I totally agree with the award for Aliette de Bodard’s Immersion in the short story category and can’t comment on the novelette category. The Andre Norton Award for the YA category went to another book I’ve never heard of, Fair Coin by E.C. Meyers. Finally, I’m very happy that the Ray Bradbury Award for best dramatic presentation went to Beasts of the Southern Wild, a wonderful indie film with an almost all-black cast, which won over such box office heavyweights as The Hunger Games and The Avengers.
At the Guardian, Stuart Kelly, one of this year’s Booker Prize judges, wonders whether the literary versus genre fiction wars have finally come to an end. We can but hope.
Or maybe Kelly is too optimistic. For Cheryl Morgan offers yet another addendum to the women in SF debate by taking a look at the SF-themed edition of the BBC radio program The Woman’s Hour, which seemed to believe that SF is mainly filmic these days and that women don’t make it.
At the Guardian, John Dugdale has an interesting article about how certain popular fiction characters are defined by their clothing choices and props. Ironically, the article is illustrated by Tom Cruise as Lee Child’s thriller character Jack Reacher, when fans of the books (which I’ve never read, shoot-em-up thrillers not being my thing) complained that Cruise did not match the description of Jack Reacher in the books at all.
Also at the Guardian, Jonathan Sperber asks if Karl Marx is still relevant. Oddly enough, nodoy ever asks whether Adam Smith is still relevant (and indeed the article states in the very first sentence that Smith is of course relevant), never mind that Smith predates Marx by decades and is nigh unreadable. I read both Karl Marx and Adam Smith (as well as many other great thinkers of the 18th and 18th centuries) at university and Marx was not just more readably than most, but also more relevant to the world today, whereas Adam Smith just annoyed the hell out of me and everybody else in that class.
iO9 has a great interactive map of American accents and dialects, which makes the linguist in me happy.
More goodness from iO9: Artist Nina Katchadourian arranges book spines to create poetry. I love the one with the sharks and the one with the assassination.
Finally, I saw a Maikäfer or cockchafer in the garden today and managed to capture it on camera. Now I’ve written about Maikäfer (sorry, but cockchafer is a horrible word) and their importance in German folklore before. But this time I got a better photo, which you can see behind the cut: