July 12, 2017
Hugo Voting: Best Related Work
The nominees for Best Related Work (and hoo boy, is it wonderful to have some actual legitimate nominees again, after the Puppi-poo trainwrecks of the past two years):
The Geek Feminist Revolution, by Kameron Hurley (Tor Books)
The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher (Blue Rider Press)
Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg, by Robert Silverberg and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Fairwood)
The View From the Cheap Seats, by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow / Harper Collins)
The Women of Harry Potter posts, by Sarah Gailey (Tor.com)
Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)
6) Traveler of Worlds: Conversations With Robert Silverberg
This was...okay, I guess, but you'd really have to be a Robert Silverberg fan to love it. I'm not.
5) The Princess Diarist
I wouldn't be at all surprised if this won, after Fisher's untimely death. I gave it four stars on Goodreads on my first reading, but a little distance and time has made me reconsider that down to three. This is not to say I didn't like this book...I did. Carrie Fisher was a woman of wit and wisdom, unfortunately battling her demons to the very end, and a damn fine writer. But looking back, this book seems a bit on the lightweight side to me now, especially in comparison to the books further up the list.
4) The Women of Harry Potter posts, Tor.com
This is a little difficult comparison to make, as we have five short articles, 12 pages total, stacked up against five full-length books. That said, these articles are well-thought-out, punchy and to the point, and have a lot to say about the world of Harry Potter. They make sense even to someone who has never read a HP book (like me). I particularly liked the article about Ginny Weasley.
3) The Geek Feminist Revolution
Kameron Hurley is one of my favorite authors, and I've read a lot of these essays on her blog before they were collected into this book. (As one of her Patrons, I also receive a podcast from her every month, which I really look forward to. She has a lot to say, and she's hilarious.) Her writing is fierce, funny, pithy and brutally honest, and her feminist lens informs every essay in this book.
2) The View From the Cheap Seats
I don't think Neil Gaiman has ever been more thoughtful than in this collection, which is a grab-bag of introductions written for other authors' books, transcribed speeches, articles, interviews, reviews...just about every possible iteration of non-fiction writing is represented here. But every bit of it is recognizably Neil Gaiman, with his laidback demeanor and wry British drollery. This is a book to be read slowly and savored.
1) Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016
Sometimes books take a while to seep into your brain and take root. You may think you've taken their measure at the time, but as the days slip by and sentences and fragments of essays pop into your mind at all sorts of odd moments, you realize a book made a far deeper impression on you than you first thought. This happened to me with this book. I originally gave it three stars, mainly on the strength of Le Guin's beautiful, erudite prose: poetic and precise, with nary a word wasted. The section of the book that dragged the overall rating down for me (or so I first thought) was the final third, "Book Reviews," because the books she was discussing didn't sound like my kind of thing at all. But looking back, I can see those well-argued reviews were fascinating in and of themselves, even if I don't think I'll ever read many of their subjects. So in rethinking this book (and especially remembering the essay that alone was worth the price of admission, "What It Was Like," a gut-punch of a short speech about life for American women before Roe v. Wade), it has to take my No. #1 slot. Ursula K Le Guin is simply a national treasure.
Next up: John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer