But now the awards are back like a weird plague that never really goes away, but takes brief hiatuses to make you feel safe from its wicked grasp.
To make up for the absence of the awards last year, I'm going to double up this year, which makes this doubly hard, since I cannot fall to temptation by allowing myself to select best books or movies I enjoyed in 2014, even though I'm basically in love with so many things right now (new and old).
First, the rules:
- I must have consumed the item in 2013 or 2014.
- No more than 3 runners up per category.
- I can drop or add categories as necessary.
- I will use "genre" to mean "science fiction and fantasy" in order to distinguish categories without using 3 extra words.
2014 Selection: City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway Books)
Runners Up: Breach Zone by Myke Cole (Ace Books), Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (Orbit Books), and The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar (Hodder and Stoughton)
2013 Selection: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit Books)
Runners Up: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (Little, Brown, and Company), Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan (Orbit Books), and Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson (Grand Central Publishing)
Best Collection or Anthology
2014 Selection: N/AFor some monumentally stupid reason, I have not read enough collections or anthologies this year, which means I am a terrible person...
2013 Selection: Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee (Prime Books)
Runners Up: Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond edited by Bill Campbell and Edward Austin Hall (Rosarium Publishing) and The Love Machine and Other Contraptions by Nir Yaniv (infinity plus)
2014 Selection: Tor Books
Runners Up: Angry Robot Books, Orbit Books, and Hodder and Stoughton
2013 Selection: Orbit Books
Runners Up: Tor Books, Angry Robot Books, and Hodder and Stoughton
2014 Selection: Tor.com
Runners Up: Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons and Interzone
2013 Selection: Clarkesworld
Runners Up: Strange Horizons, Interzone, and Tor.com
2014 Selection: The Pilgrims by Will Elliot (art by Kekai Kotaki)
2013 Selection: Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond edited by Bill Campbell and Edward Austin Hall (art by John Jennings)
2014 Selection: Interstellar (2014; Christopher Nolan)one of the top 10 science fiction films since 2000. Having seen it three times, I am still in awe of the film's breadth. It is not just epic in scale, but in intellectual depth, too, exploring the dynamic structure of human selfhood through a tale of space exploration, salvation, and redemption. If there is one film that deserves recognition as a cinematic achievement this year, Nolan's magnum opus is it.
Runners Up: Jodorovsky's Dune (2013), Snowpiercer (2013), and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
2013 Selection: Pacific Rim (2013)
Runners Up: The World's End (2013), Her (2013), and Gravity (2013).
Best Genre Television Show
2014 Selection: Arrow (2012-Present)
Runners Up: How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014), Supernatural (Seasons One and Two), and
2013 Selection: Sleep Hollow (2013-present)
Runners Up: Star Trek: Enterprise (2001-2005), Game of Thrones (2011-present), and Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001)
Best Non-Genre Film
2014 Selection: A Most Wanted Man (2014)
Runners Up: Chef (2014)
2013 Selection: 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Runners Up: Captain Phillips (2013)
Best Non-Genre Television Show
2014 Selection: Vikings (2013-present)
Runners Up: The Following (2013-present), Hannibal (2013-present) and The League (2009-present).
2013 Selection: The Following (2013-present)
Runners Up: Hannibal (2013-present) and Vikings (2013-present)
Best Podcast (That Isn't The Skiffy and Fanty Show)
2014 Selection: Doorway to the Hidden WorldA sleeper classic if there ever was one. And Kevin Lux, the show's host, would probably blame it on the Habsburgs. Doorway to the Hidden World is everything you could want in a conspiracy-based satirical podcast. Bizarre theories about who controls the world. Advertisements for fringe cults. Answers to the world's most pressing mysteries. The Omega Man references in that one episode. If you're a fan of Welcome to Night Vale, then you will love Doorway to the Hidden World, because it's just darned good stuff.
Runners Up: The Incomparable, Rocket Talk, and The Writer and the Critic
2013 Selection: The Coode Street PodcastJonathan and Gary were on top of their game in 2013. They may not be everyone's cup of tea, but their frank discussion of sf/f's history, politics, and important or forgotten works made them a go-to for me in 2013. Combining decades of knowledge, Jonathan and Gary gave podcasting something it sorely deserved: an older generation's view of the field. Now that they've switched over to Tor.com, I suspect they'll remain a staple in the field for years to come.
Runners Up: The Writer and the Critic, Galactic Suburbia, and the Outer Alliance Podcast
Best Non-Genre-Specific Podcast
2014 Selection: We Hate MoviesAt some point during 2014, I discovered a whole bunch of movie-related podcasts. We Hate Movies was one of them. Focused on mostly bad movies, the hosts of this largely comical show rip apart their subjects with jokes, impressions, and a whole lot of (probably unintentional) analysis. Given that one of my favorite things to do on The Skiffy and Fanty Show is to review bad movies, it's easy to see why I love this show. It's now one of my go-to-podcasts for movie discussion.
Runners Up: How Did This Get Made?, Stuff You Missed in History Class, and The Book was Better
2013 Selection: Stuff You Missed in History ClassThis is one of my staples. The show focuses on the lesser known details of various events in history, from the popular (Amelia Earhart) to the surprisingly unknown (the Egg Nog Riot). It's a treasure trove of well-research facts and weirdness spanning centuries. If there is a non-fiction show you should be listening to, then it should be this one.
Runners Up: This American Life, StarTalk Radio, and Read It and Weep!
The 2013 and 2014 Kudos Award
2014 Selection: Natalie Luhrs
Like many writers who have challenged sexism within sf/f (Hurley included), Luhrs has had to deal with an extraordinary amount of grief for her efforts. Her coverage of the SFWA Bulletin fiasco this year is well worth reading; her blog (now at a new site) continues to offer excellent commentary, typically on issues of gender in sf/f (see her stuff on WisCon, for example). There is no doubt that Luhrs is (or should be) a powerhouse in the field, and I expect more awesome work from her throughout 2015. Now if only we could get her on that Hugo Awards shortlist for Best Fan Writer...
2013 Selection: Kameron Hurley
Let's be honest. You don't really need to know why Kameron Hurley deserves a Kudos Award, right? You know she won a bunch of Hugo Awards for her non-fiction work, and you probably also know that she's one of the most visible feminists in the sf/f field. As a challenger of structural sexism within sf/f, Hurley's voice has been a necessary one for the "fight" in which so many of us have been engaged (many for a lot longer than myself). Her personalized approach to essays gives her work a unique voice, too. Whether she intended to or not, Hurley has had a profound impact on sf/f, and will continue to have that impact for the foreseeable future, whether as a non-fiction writer or an sf/f novelist.
The 2013 and 2014 Wappa Wag Award
(i.e. the Worst Person Who Happens to be in Genre Award)
(Yes, I changed the name.)
(Yes, I changed the name.)
2014 Selection: #GamerGate
I've written about GamerGate already. It's hard to describe the movement in any positive way. For every group of individuals who honestly care about journalistic ethics, there are a sea of loud-mouthed trolls who cry about Social Justice Warriors and just about everything but journalistic ethics. And as much as those same people try to claim that GamerGate isn't about violence against women, dozens of threats have been made in the group's name, most of them explicitly driven by an anti-feminism, anti-woman agenda that has always been embedded within the "movement." Just recently, members of GamerGate doxxed a transgender gamer, and it became clear from the 8Chan boards (and elsewhere) that this was fed by a bigoted transphobic campaign. Whatever good used to exist in GamerGate has been so utterly tainted by association that I still think people who honestly stand for journalistic ethics are beyond foolish to continue to use the name. Worse, GamerGate has done absolutely nothing to bridge the gap between those who stand for ethics and those who believe they are under attack by a culture of misogyny and/or bigotry (a point proven by so many GamerGaters); instead, we have an infinite divide. And division is hardly the best strategy for a group which has historically been shit on by the world.
2013 Selection: Theodore Beale (a.k.a. Vox Day)---------------------
If you don't know who Vox Day is by now, then you've been sleeping under a rock. Throughout 2013, he was the voice of blatant sexism and racism in the sf/f community. His attack on N.K. Jemisin eventually led to his expulsion from the SFWA (based on a rules violation, though so many members of the SFWA certainly wanted him gone long before he gave them an excuse to throw him out). And his longstanding "feud" with John Scalzi is almost legendary at this point, if only because his obsession with calling Scalzi an admitted rapist is so patently absurd as to be comical. But there's nothing comical about Vox Day. If you're brave, you can Google his name. I, however, am unlikely to talk about him again on this blog.
: I base my selections on what I consumed during the year because I never have enough time to catch every awesome thing out there; I always end up having to go back to fill in gaps. Sometimes, I don't even know that I should see or read something until the year after it releases, which is a shame, but also a consequence of living on a planet with a ridiculous 24-hour day. Also: Netflix.