(Note: This is the latest in an ongoing series of posts reviewing as many of the 2015 Hugo nominees as I can, and explaining why I will or will not vote for them.)
I've decided to take the last nominees from Best Related Work in a lump, mainly because there's some more stuff coming up from Castalia House, and I want to hold my nose and get through it as quickly as possible.
"Why Science is Never Settled," Tedd Roberts
I've never heard of Tedd Roberts (apparently a pseudonym) but in this piece he comes across as a competent scientist and peer reviewer. Unfortunately, that's all I can say about the piece itself: competent. The subject is mildly interesting, but his treatment thereof is at best mediocre. Not Hugo-worthy.
"The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF," Ken Burnside
This has a lot of physics in it, which the author explains fairly well, but suffers from the same affliction as The Three-Body Problem: dry, stilted prose. This is better than "Why Science is Never Settled," as the ideas seem to be well thought out and would apply more to SF writers, but it's still nothing outstanding.
"Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth," John C. Wright
Oh dear dog, heeeeeeerrrrrree's Johnny again. If nothing else, Mr. Wright's nominations in this packet prove to me that I shall never spend one thin dime of my money on any of his work in the real world, and really, as much as I appreciate the free works in the Hugo packet, in the case of Mr. Wright, they were still far too expensive. The prospect of plowing through all 329 pages of this hot mess is too daunting even for me; therefore I will touch on a few random essays.
The Hobbit; or, The Desolation of Tolkien
This made me fall over and thrash on the floor, because...gasp! choke! spit! it was almost....nearly....possibly....good. If Mr. Wright would confine his so-called "writing" to movie and/or book reviews, he might actually be readable. His natural bent towards purplelicious prose (or, as Eric Flint so memorably put it, "This is an example of what I think of as the Saudi School of Prose. No noun may go out in public unless she is veiled by grandiloquence and accompanied by an adjective.") combined with the unleashing of his Inner Snark (and really, she should get out of the Vatican more often), produced something that actually held my attention all the way through.
Referring to Tauriel:
Then the Stupidity Hammer lashes out again, this time as a blow to the groin of every man in the audience, because, SURPRISE! The young and eternally lovely elf-maiden, instead of doing elf-maidenly things like dancing in the moonlight on the surface of enchanted lakes or singing magical songs to beguile the watchful terrors of Thangorodim, turns out to be Xena the Warrior Elf Princess. Yes, she is the roughest, toughest, most kick-ass Spartan Marine Navy SEAL Special Forces Ninja Battlebabe in the entire warrior-harem of the elf-lord's politically correct gender-neutral and gender-accomodating fashion-model army. She makes as much sense as a platoon of bathing beauty Cataphracts or the dread and dreaded Playboy Bunny Brute Squad.
Heaven forbid Mr. Wright see Mad Max: Fury Road. He will simultaneously blow up the Internet and win a Pulitzer Prize.
Okay, what's next?
(Keeps advancing pages in e-reader...stumbles across some more book reviews that make me take back the point made above; for instance, in reviewing Philip Pullman, Wright is as painfully long and Saudi-infested as Eric Flint stated)
Is there any more there there?
(Stares with open mouth at Saving Science Fiction From Strong Female Characters and Restless Heart of Darkness; Great Cthulhu, what utter dreck)
(End of ebook)
Apparently not. Unfortunately, one snarkalicious movie review does not a Hugo Award make. (As an aside, Theodore Beale edited this mess? What was his role as editor, to pat Little Johnny on the head and tell him, "You're the Bestest Science Fiction Writer Evahhhhhhh!" If so, he did Mr. Wright no favors.)
So, to sum up the category of Best Related Works:
Mr. Noah Award in a runaway. In fact, Noah is the equivalent of the magnificent Secretariat thundering down the stretch in the Belmont Stakes, straight and true and overpowering, leaving his competitors in the dust.
Thank you for this. I firmly believe that nothing will implode the reputation of the Puppies faster than a large number of sf readers-at-large being exposed to Mr. Wright's essays. (Which may be read in their entirety and for free at Mr. Wright's home page.) The more who encounter Mr. Wright's circumscribed and astigmatic perceptions of sf and and its history (with the shared reaction of "what IS he talking about?"), the faster will the Puppies recede from the mainstream acceptance they seek.
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