Hugo Predictions

First things first, I managed to pick a total of 11 of the nominees. Whooo *twirls fingers*

As most people anticipated, Theodore Beale’s slate got a long of nominations. Not all of them, but a lot. The following are my predictions for the Hugos.

Best Novel: I think Butcher will go over as good as he did last year, and I haven’t seen a lot of positive reviews of Seveneyes. Not even Beale liked it, and he nominated the thing. I haven’t read any of them, but am looking forward to reading 5th season and Uprooted. Haven’t read the first two Ancilliary  novels, and it’s a third novel, so I think it’s between Jemisin and Novik. I’m going to go with Nemisin, though I may revise after reading them.

Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Best Novella: I loved the Builders, but Binti got on by beating the slate.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Best Novellete: Only non puppy is the Bo Bolander.

“And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander

Best Short Story: No Award
EDIT 5/31/16: One of the slated works dropped out, and “Cat Pictures Please” was added. I’m pretty sure that will lead to it getting the rocket. As much fun as Chuck Tingle’s countertrolling of Teddy and his ilk has been, I don’t think that it’ll put him above No Award.

Best Related Work: No Award

Best Graphic Story: I’ve heard good things about the Invisible Republic, but it’s a puppy nominee. So is Sandman, but it’s also Neil Gaiman, and a lot of people (including me) nominated it before Beale did so…

The Sandman: Overture

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long: Sure a lot of it has puppy spore, but this category is really way bigger than the puppies. You don’t get points for throwing a coin in the air and yelling “Heads or tails!”  Haven’t seen Ex Machina or the Martian, and Age of Ultron wasn’t as good as Winter Soldier or the first Avengers. I think it comes down to Star Wars or Mad Max. Lots of people though Star Wars was derivative so let’s go with the other.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Best DP, Short: I think that MLP will end up under No Award and wouldn’t be surprised if Supernatural did as well. I don’t think the twincest fans are going to be coming out for the Hugos. I want Jessica Jones to win, but you can never count out Dr. Who. It will be interesting to see how the noms would have shaken out if Beale’s videogames hadn’t gotten DQed.

Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile”

Best Editor, Short: Jerry Pournelle might get no awarded. Other than that it’s a toss up. I’m rooting for JJA but would be happy if Clarke, Datlow, or Williams won.

John Joseph Adams.

Best Editor, Long: Beale, Minz, and Weisskop will get No Awarded. Again. Between Gilbert or Gorinsky, I have no real favorite, and am stoked that the two of them broke through the slate. Gorinsky was the first one I saw Mike Underwood congratulate, so I’ll go with her.

Liz Gorinsky

Best Pro Artist: All puppy picks. I expect it to be No Awarded, but I nominated Rostant, and I’m going to vote for him too. I want him to be there, selling prints.

Larry Rostant

Best Semiprozine: Uncanny Magazine broke through the slate. I think it’ll take it

Uncanny Magazine

Best Fanzine: I think that Black Gate will Recuse, Castalia will go under No Award. EDIT 5/31/16: Black Gate did recuse, and Lady Business was added to the ballot. I think it’ll garner a fair amount of votes, but I don’t see File 770 losing.

File 770

Best Fancast: No Award

Best Fan Writer: Mike Glyer broke through the slate, and I think he’ll pick up the second of his two Hugos this year.

Mike Glyer

Best Fan Artist: No Award. Kukuruyo at the bottom. EDIT 5/31/16: I think if anyone does beat NA, it’ll be Steve Stiles who is a perennial contender.

Campbell: Alyssa Wong broke through the slate.

Alyssa Wong.

Hugo Predictions

Kill Switch by Jonathan Maberry

Disclaimer: I received an eARC from NetGalley. In addition, I have previously participated in fundraisers by the author that resulted in me getting some cool books and swag.

Twitter Summary: Pulse-pounding, weird science popcorn thriller.

Affiliate Links: Kill Switch

First line: Where were you when the lights went out?

The Joe Ledger series is a study in what would happen if you took beat cop Steven Seagal and put him in a world where he has to deal with weird science cryptid versions of such staples as ape men, vampires, and aliens. I don’t really like vampire or zombie novels. This (and Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles) is my largest exception.

This is owed in a large part to the author’s penchant for, to put it bluntly, beating the crap out of both the protagonist and the world he lives in. By this point, eight books in, the world Joe Ledger inhabits is far different than our own. Ledger’s world has a LOT less infrastructure remaining.

Having covered zombies, vampires, beastmen, aliens, and other such staples, this time the author delves into the Lovecraft mythos, using that as a baseline for putting the world and Joe Ledger through some more heinous crap. My favorite setpiece is a NASCAR race.

Trust me, you do not want to be at a Jonathan Maberry NASCAR race.

The first line of the book, immediately informs the reader that there isn’t going to be much downtime in this book. The pace of the story isn’t just fast but breakneck, hurling towards the end. This isn’t slap dash “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” though. Maberry skillfully builds the tension, throwing in a couple of false climaxes and a few twists, while maximizing the payoff. In true action movie fashion, there’s not much rest for the wicked afterwards, either.

Final Verdict: Highly Recommended. I have preordered each since the 3rd, and I see no reason to stop.

Other recommendations:

Supernatural thriller novels: Gemini Cell by Myke Cole and Seal Team 666 by Weston Ochse

Kill Switch by Jonathan Maberry

Chains of Command by Marko Kloos

Disclaimer: I received an eARC from Net Galley. In addition, I kicked in money to Marko’s Semper Fi fundraiser, and as a result, my wife’s name is in the back of the book.

Twitter Summary: Explosive, tightly written side quest that sets up next book to be a doozy.

Affiliate Links:Chains of Command (Frontlines) First book in the series Terms of Enlistment (Frontlines) , Frontline: Reqiuem (comic)

First Line: We now call it the Exodus.

I’ve been reading the Frontline series by Marko Kloos since I ran across book one in Nov of ’13, a few months after it’s publication date of 8 May 13. It’s been less than three years, and we already have four novels, and a couple short stories set in the world. A quick Tweet to the other, and I got back that there will be at least two more, though the POV character for the 6th may change. This is in addition to the comic that’s coming out in May 15. Quite a prodigious output.

One which doesn’t seem to diminish the quality of the story. His novels have been on my pre-order and devour immediately list since the first one. And while I thought that there was a minor plot hole with this one, one easily explained away by the fog of war, I believe that he has consistently improved his craft. This is the best yet.

Look at that first line! Immediately I wanna know “Who is we? What did we call it? Why that name”

I especially like how the book seems to pull a Force Awakens, and follows a lot of the story beats of the first book. We start out in boot camp, we get to a unit with Platoon Sergeant Fallon, and then we go do some urban warfighting. That is of course, a super abbreviated version of the story, but I don’t want to give anything away.

What I will give away is that the story goes like an Orion rocket. I devoured the book over the course of a couple of days, and it wouldn’t have taken that long if I hadn’t been out all day yesterday.  Marko’s POV character is relatable. He wants to do his job, spend time with his wife, and maybe occasionally blow the shit out of some aliens. Who doesn’t have a day like that?

It’s not all jingoistic, ra ra, crap either. The scenes on Earth with Grayson’s mother, and various conversation he has with friends and enemies alike, point to both the futility and the horror of war. He delves into what isa  just or unjust order, and what is a just or unjust war. This is a MilSciFi novel that understands that MilSciFi doesn’t have to be loving descriptions of viscera splattered across airlocks, or exhausting detail of the construction of a blaster pistol. You actually care about both the character, and the state of the world that he lives in.

Final Verdict: Highly Recommended. Kloos continues to be one of the authors whose works I preorder in both e and deadtree, because I want them on my shelf. I very much look forward to all hell breaking loose in the fifth book.

Other Recommendations:

The works of author Jay Allan. Jay’s Crimson World series starts at a similar place, with some similar pieces, but the story that gets spun out of it is much different. Jay also writes at an incredibly prodigious pace and has self published 20+ novels in the last five years, with three tradpubbed as well. Also on my immediate purchase list. The first three Crimson World are in an omnibus for cheap. Highly recommended. Crimson Worlds Collection I: Crimson Worlds Books 1-3

His Harper Voyager series is about Mercenary Space Pirates. Also awesome. First book is  Shadow of Empire

Chains of Command by Marko Kloos

Battlemage by Stephen Aryan

Twitter summary: Pleasing conglomeration of gritty war/political intrigue/magickal battle.

Affiliate Links: Battlemage (Age of Darkness) ,Bloodmage (Age of Darkness)

First Line: Another light snow shower fell from the bleak grey sky.

One of the things I love about this book is also what I see as one of its, thankfully not fatal, flaws. We have gritty soldier on soldier battle, we have spymaster/political intrigue, we have high fantasy magickal battles, we have beings who are obviously not what they seem, and a “Who is your Daddy and what does he do?” subplot. I love all of them, however, I do think that they didn’t coalesce as well as they could have. That, and things like the first line of the book (seen above) failing to really drag one into the story, I believe to be symptoms of this being the author’s debut novel.  I have full faith that the next book will be more polished, and I’ll get to test that theory later this week as the sequel, Bloodmage, comes out on Tuesday.

I think one of the things that the author did very well was show that for as much raw killing power as the titular Battlemages have, it’s mostly used to offset the enemies Battlemages. Just as the Monitor and Merrimack mostly kept each other in check during the Civil War, and the aircraft carriers squared of in WWII, if both sides have technological parity it’s going to come down to two things: tactics, and grunts.

And that’s one part where the multi-veined story approach shines. One chapter we’ll have magickal derring-do, and the next we’ll get soldiers axing each other in the face. Then we’ll get a chapter where the spies and saboteurs get to do their thing. Scratches all the itches.

My other nitpick with the book, is that one of the antagonists has a great motivation and backstory, and the other is just a crazy guy who kills off his own people at the drop of a hat. I have a hard time believing that anyone is rushing to fight for a guy who kills off three sets of generals.

Final Verdict: I enjoyed it thoroughly, I have preordered the sequel, and I am looking forward to seeing this author grow as a storyteller.

Other Recommendations:

James A. Moore’s Seven Forges series has a lot of the same kinds of beats, starts with Seven Forges and the fourth book, The Silent Army comes out on 3 May.

Brian Staveley’s Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne also has political intrigue, bad asses punching and stabbing each other in the face, plus GIANT BIRDS THAT WILL KILL YOU and the trilogy just finished up. First book is The Emperor’s Blades

Battlemage by Stephen Aryan

Things I Read in March

Author Title Previously read? m/f genre
Gwenda Bond Fallout (Lois Lane #1) no f ya superhero
Robert Jackson Bennett City of Stairs no m fantasy
Kelly Lee A Criminal Magic no f fantasy
Lyn Miller-Lachmann Rogue no f ya
Margaret Mcheyzer Ugly no f ya
K.J.Parker The Devil You Lnow no m fantasy
Jonathan Maberry Kill Switch (ARC) no m thriller
Victor Lavalle Ballad of Black Tom no m fantasy
Gwenda Bond Blackwood no f ya horror
Scott McCloud The Sculptor no m comic
Warren Ellis Elektrograd: Rusted Blood no m sf
Various Secret Wars (2015-2016) (and it’s various miniseries) no comics
Brian Bendis Invincible Iron Man (#1-6) no comics
Angela – Asgard’s Assassin (#1-6) no comics
Batman: Europa (#1-4) no comics
the Valiant (#1-4) no comics
Bloodshot Reborn (colorado and the hunt) no comics
Books of Death:the Fall of Valiant no comics
Black Canary (#1-6) no comics
Injustice: Gods Among Us (year 1) no comics
Things I Read in March

2015 Hugo Nominations Ballot

Best Novel
Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett
The Trials by Linda Nagata
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
Wake of Vultures by Delilah Dawson

Best Novella
Binti by Nneedi Okorafor
The Shootout Solution by Mike R. Underwood
The Builders by Daniel Polansky
Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace
Sunset Mantle by Alter S. Reiss

Best Novelette
Bannerless by Carri Vaughn
Star Wars: The Perfect Weapon by Delilah Dawson
Ginga by Daniel Jose Older
ELEKTROGREAD: Rusted Blood by Warren Ellis
And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead by Brooke Bolander

Best Short Story
Please Undo this Hurt by Seth DIckinson
I am Graalnak of the Vroon Empire, Destroyer of Galaxies, Ask me Anything by Laura Pearlman
Catcall by Delilah Dawson
Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong
Cat Pictures, Please by Naomi Kritzer

Best Related Work
Geek Knits by Joan of Dark and Kyle Cassidy
I’m Not Broken by Annalee Flower Horne
E Pluribus Hugo
John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular: How SJWs Always Lie About Our Comparative Popularity Levels by Theophilus Pratt/ALexandra Erin
Myke Cole/Sam Sykes Twitter Interactions by Myke Cole and Sam Sykes

Best Graphic Story
Sandman: OVerture by Neil Gaiman
Ms. Marvel, Vol 2 by G. Willow WIlson
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
Bitch Planet, Vol 1 by Kelly Sue Deconnick
Thor, Vol 1: Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron

Best Dramatic presentation, Long Form
Welcome to Night Vale, 2015 by JOseph Fink/Jeffrey Cranor
Mad Max: FUry Road
Jessica Jones, Season 1
The Man in the High Castle by Frank Spotnitz

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
Pilot – Mr. Robot
Cut Man – Daredevl s01e02
Certain Agony of the Battlefield – Orphan Black
“If-Then-Else” – Person of Interest

Best Professional Editor (Short Form)
Jaym Gates
John Joseph Adams
Ellen Datlow
Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray
Ann Vandermeer
Best Professional Editor (Long Form)
Devi Pillai
Tricia Narwani
Miriam Weinberg
Anne Sowards

Best Pro Artist
Larry Rostant
Daniel Dos Santos
Sana Takeda
John Jude Palencar
Lauren Saint-Onge

Best Semi Prozine
Uncanny Magazine
Pornokitsch
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
The Book Smugglers

Best Fanzine
James Nicoll Reviews
File770.com
Fantasy Faction UK

Best Fancast
Tea and Jeopardy
Ditch Diggers
Three Guys with Beards

Best Fan Writer

Rachel Acks
Alexandra Erin
Jared of Pornokitsch
(There were two others but I my online baguette is wonky and I can’t refresh because the deadline has passed)

Best Fan Artist
Galen Dara
Megan Lara
Euclase
Lauren Cannon

Best Hugo Award that is Not a Hugo Award
Andrea Philips
Bo Balder
Charlie Holmberg
LOST TO SANDS OF TIME
LOST TO THE OCEAN DEPTHS

2015 Hugo Nominations Ballot