July 5, 2016
Hugo Voting 2016: Zines
(I don't know what year this was presented, but that is lovely.)
To continue with my Hugos 2016 roundup, I am next tackling Best Fanzine, Best Semiprozine, and Best Fan Writer.
I will start out by admitting my bias: I am a regular commenter at File 770. A marvelous little community has been built there as a result of last year's Hugo fiasco, and I hang out there a lot. The discussions are deep and wide-ranging: SFF books, television shows and movies of course (we're just starting up a Cult Movie Bracket, which is a friendly voteoff of what would be called "cult movies," such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show), interspersed with filk, puns and recipes! (Yes, you can join us. No, we don't bite...unless you make preposterous claims without providing evidence.)
Having said that, though, I am not voting File 770 at the top of this category, as much as I enjoy reading and commenting there. No, that honor will go to what I call one of the mostly unknown (at least, until now) treasures of fanzines: Lady Business.
Lady Business views science fiction and fantasy through an uncompromising feminist lens, and as a result digs deep into things most other fanzines won't touch. Their entry in the Hugo packet, with their critiques of Agent Carter, Mockingjay, Judi Dench's M in the James Bond series, and an extremely chart-heavy deconstruction of gender discrimination in SFF awards, is a perfect demonstration of why I believe they should win this category. File 770 is looser and goosier (and I say that with all affection); but the Lady, just as her name implies, is all Business.
1) Lady Business
2) File 770
3) Tangent Online
4) No Award
(Other nominees: Tangent Online is okay but not up to the standards of the top two. I refuse to vote for anything coming out of Castalia House--though I did read their lackluster entries--and Superversive SF is infected with Rabid Puppy-itis, so they are left off my ballot entirely.)
(And if you don't know what the Puppies are, believe me, you're better off.)
Again, to be upfront: I am a regular reader of Uncanny Magazine, backed their Year Two Kickstarter, and included them in my nominating ballot. But they published some marvelous stories last year, several of which made it to my longlist. Their nonfiction pieces are also excellent.
1) Uncanny Magazine
2) Strange Horizons
3) Beneath Ceaseless Skies
(I've also subscribed to this magazine.)
4) Daily Science Fiction
5) No Award
(The remaining nominee, Sci Phi Journal, is just meh. The stories included in their sample were not of very good quality.)
Best Fan Writer
After passing over File 770 in the Fanzine category, I am reversing myself here. Mike Glyer's exhaustive, even-handed writeups about the Hugos and Puppygate were indispensable reporting on the state of the SFF field last year.
1) Mike Glyer
2) No Award
(Other Nominees: I'm not much into video games, so while Shamus Young has penned a thorough discussion of the game Mass Effect, I simply could not get through it. Jeffro Johnson is a very dry, ponderous sort of writer, which makes potentially interesting subjects much less so. Douglas Ernst's writeups of various subjects, including Star Wars, are brief and superficial at best, as are Morgan Holmes' short articles. None are Hugo-worthy, in my opinion.)