July 29, 2018

Hugo Reading 2018: Best Fan Writer

Fan Writer is kind of a catchall category: in it you find professional writers and reviewers and artful amateurs. Just about anyone can qualify if you can establish a voice and an audience, which is nice.

The nominees:

Camestros Felapton
Sarah Gailey
Mike Glyer
Foz Meadows
Charles Payseur
Bogi Takacs

My ballot:

6) Bogi Takacs

I'd never heard of or read em before, although e has been involved in the recent Worldcon kerfluffle (which I am not commenting on here). In checking out eir blog, I decided some of the pieces I read there worked better than the ones included in the packet. Still, in the overall scheme of things, I thought e was just so-so. 

5) Mike Glyer

Mike runs File 770, a place where I hang out regularly. Both Mike and File 770 have won this award in the past. However, I don't think last year was his strongest. 

4) Camestros Felapton

Cam is one of the "artful amateurs" I spoke of. I also hang out at his place, and read a lot of the pieces in his packet in their original form, on the blog. Cam tends towards humor and whimsy in his writing, which I enjoy, but his pieces aren't quite up to the quality of some of the others. 

3) Charles Payseur

Charles runs Quick Sip Reviews and also writes for the Book Smugglers. His packet entries go a little deeper into his subjects, in particular making me re-evaluate a book I didn't like at all when I first read it, Sam J. Miller's The Art of Starving

2) Sarah Gailey

Sarah takes a little different tack with her included pieces that is very interesting. In "This Future Looks Familiar: Watching Blade Runner in 2017," she uses simple (but not simplistic) language to talk about the film. It's a marvelous review, and forces the reader to completely re-think the film, as well as the meanings of the words "empathy" and "human." Another piece, the riveting "City of Villains: Why I Don't Trust Batman," turns the character of Bruce Wayne inside out, showing that he is not the "hero" but is indeed a villain, this billionaire who has the money and power to make things better but throws it away with his vigilante's ego. It's really a flash story, Hugo-worthy in itself. 

1) Foz Meadows

This was a tough choice, picking Foz over Sarah. In the end, I went with Foz Meadows because of her gift for insightful and even-keeled analysis. This is shown in this lengthy article on HBO's Westworld, as well as this thorough deconstruction of Alien: Covenant. I love reviewers who can dig into theme and subtext and bring all sorts of interesting ideas to the light. Foz does this very well; her articles always make me think. 

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