Christopher J. Garcia is a writer, historian, fanzine editor (editor of The Drink Tank and co-editor (with James Bacon) of Journey Planet), and filmmaker from Santa Clara, California. He’s lost 16 Hugos in three categories, but managed to win Best Fanzine in 2011. He’s a Curator at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. He is also working on a fannish documentary series called 5 Cons.

Conversations at the Bottom of the Escalator
An Open Letter to John DeNardo

Dear John,

First off, congrats! You’ve got your second Hugo which can now be used as bookends! That’s the best thing about getting your second, so I’ve been told, and as long as one of the books between them is All Our Yesterdays by Harry Warner, I’ll never complain about comin’ in second to ya on both of ‘em!
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Short Fiction Friday: Reflections on the 2013 Hugo Award Short Fiction Winners

The Sunday evening of Labor Day weekend most likely found the eclectic group of SF Signal readers doing any number of relaxing, geektastic things.  I was basking in the glow of a decent fantasy football draft and watching the Hugo awards live via Twitter feed.  You have to hand it to 21st century technology.  Although the feed from LonestarCon’s hotel venue was poor and kept dropping, the avid SFF fans on Twitter managed to keep fans like me aware of things as they were happening.

In my opinion the short fiction categories were very strong this year. In many of the categories I had my own favorites that I was pulling for, and yet the short fiction category for me personally was one of agonizing choices because I found myself torn over who I hoped would win.  There were several stories that I felt were deserving of artist Vincent Villafranca’s gorgeous 2013 rocket.

Serendipitously, it happens that I have read all the winners of the short fiction category as well as many of the deserving also-rans and I thought it would be a nice idea to honor the short fiction winners this year by discussing them this week for Short Fiction Friday.  What were your impressions of this year’s Hugo short fiction winners?  Let us know whether you agree or disagree and why.

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2013 LoneStarCon3/WorldCon Trip Report

I’m still flying high after LonestarCon3/Worldcon 2013. What a blast it was. Even though I arrived relatively late to the con, the people there instantly made me feel right at home.

Convention panels are fun, but for me the real pleasure in attending conventions is hanging out with like-minded book-lovers. Many people made this con a memorable lifetime experience for me — too many to name-drop without leaving someone out, but they know who they are — and they were not only the fellow attendees with whom I shared laughs with, but also the convention runners who put on a great con. Well done! My only regret is that I didn’t have more time to spend with fellow con-goers, and some fiends I missed seeing completely. Next time!

This convention had the largest-ever attendance by regular SF Signal contributors. I finally got to meet some of them for the first time in person. It was like a family gathering, only without the arguments and guilt. (Even so: I’m the crotchety old uncle.) :)

Speaking of gatherings, the SF Signal Meetup was a smashing success. Lots of fans and authors showed up for a relaxed get-together and some fun schmoozing. It ran long, but only because it was so much fun. Thanks to everyone who attended!
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WINNERS: 2013 Hugo Awards

Since much of the SF Signal crew were knee-deep in Worldcon (and lovin’ every minute of it), this announcement comes later than usual: The winners of the 2013 Hugo Awards have been announced!

(Woot! More to come later. :) )

Here are the winners:

  • BEST NOVEL: Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (Tor)
  • BEST NOVELLA: “The Emperor’s Soul” by Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)
  • BEST NOVELETTE: “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi” by Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity, Solaris)
  • BEST SHORT STORY: “Mono no Aware” by Ken Liu (The Future is Japanese, VIZ Media LLC)
  • BEST RELATED WORK: Writing Excuses, Season 7 by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Jordan Sanderson
  • BEST GRAPHIC STORY: Saga, Volume 1 written by Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  • BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (LONG FORM): The Avengers Screenplay & Directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios, Disney, Paramount)
  • BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (SHORT FORM): Game of Thrones: “Blackwater” Written by George R.R. Martin, Directed by Neil Marshall. Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (HBO)
  • BEST EDITOR – SHORT FORM: Stanley Schmidt
  • BEST EDITOR – LONG FORM: Patrick Nielsen Hayden
  • BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST: John Picacio
  • BEST SEMIPROZINE: Clarkesworld edited by Neil Clarke, Jason Heller, Sean Wallace, and Kate Baker
  • BEST FANZINE: SF Signal edited by John DeNardo, JP Frantz, and Patrick Hester
  • BEST FANCAST: SF Squeecast, Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas, Catherynne M. Valente (Presenters), and David McHone-Chase (Technical Producer)
  • BEST FAN WRITER: Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • BEST FAN ARTIST: Galen Dara

The John W. Campbell Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2011 or 2012, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award): Mur Lafferty

The 2013 Hugo Award winners were announced on Sunday evening, September 1, at the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel in San Antonio. The ceremony was hosted by LoneStarCon 3 Toastmaster Paul Cornell.

The 2013 Hugo trophy base was designed and cast in bronze by Texan sculptor Vincent Villafranca.

Congratulation to all the (other) winners!

In episode 150 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester gathers a panel to discuss the 2012 WorldCon (Chicon7), their experiences, panels and the Hugo Awards.

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Wombats in Wonderland Or Retaining a Childlike Sense of WorldCon By Michaele Jordan

Yes, Virginia, there are wombats in Wonderland, as you should know because Digger just won the Hugo for Best Graphic Novel. I loved Digger. But I didn’t expect it to win. Firstly, it was in black and white (unlike all other entries), secondly, it had no babes in it, let alone naked ones (alright, there was a young priestess, but she was veiled and mostly bald, so I didn’t count her) and thirdly, it was a complete story from beginning to end (unlike all other entries).

Why would a complete story line disqualify a nominee? Simple. People vote for their favorites. Some fans (like myself) see their Hugo ballots as a sacred responsibility. They pour over the nominees, weighing every word and agonizing over the choice when (as often happens) several candidates are worthy. Others approach their vote (and I’m not criticizing, just observing) with light-hearted cheer, partial to their favorite authors/artists/etc. even before they start reading, and dismissing other entries as casually as a junior editor burrowing through the slush pile of Sisyphus. Some fans even join WorldCon solely to nominate and promote a specific work. Again, I do not criticize. They are driven by love. But whatever the technique, however much thought does or does not go into it, it everyone votes for the one they like best.

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On Winning The Hugo Award

The dust has settled a bit after a very busy and fun-filled weekend at Chicon 7, home of the 2012 Worldcon.

All I can say is…wow. What a spectacularly fun time it was. From the moment I arrived to the moment I left, it was a stream of seeing good people and having good times. It was great to see old friends — meeting some of them face-to-face for the first time — and making new friends as well. If I try to start naming names then I will want to be comprehensive and will undoubtedly leave someone off, so I won’t even try. Suffice it to say that they know who they are. Thanks to them for making my first Worldcon so memorable.
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WINNERS: 2012 Hugo Awards

For obvious reasons, this post is a little later than normal, but the winners of the 2012 Hugo Awards have been announced. More to come later. Here are the winners:

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REVIEW: 2011 Hugo Award Novella Nominees

Here are my impressions of five of the six Hugo award Novella Nominees for 2011. Although there are normally only five nominees in any given Hugo category, this year the Novella category had six nominees due to a tie in the nominations. However, since I have not read the novel that it follows (and spoils), I did not read the sixth nominee, Deadline by Mira Grant.

Interestingly, all five of these stories were also 2011 Nebula Award Nominees as well, with a sixth story also nominated due to a tie.

Impressions, comparisons and thoughts on the five nominees reviewed follow.

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From The Hugo Awards website: Chicon 7, this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, has just released the 2012 Hugo Voter Packet. This package includes electronic versions of many works nominated for the 2012 Hugo Awards and is only available through the close of voting on this year’s Hugo Awards on July 31, 2012. (Fancast nominees, including SF Signal, can be heard here)

Chicon Attendees and Supporting Members: To access the Hugo Voter Packet, you will need a PIN issued to you by Chicon 7. You should have recieved an email explaining how to obtain the packet. If not, contact Chicon 7’s Hugo Award Administrators.

Everyone Else: You can take advantage of this awesome packet of sf/f goodness, too. If you buy a supporting membership to Chicon 7, you get the 2012 Hugo Voter Packet for free. At $50, that’s a great deal. (You also get the right to vote this year, and nominate next year.)

The finalists for the 2012 Hugo Award have been announced.

Short version: OmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigod! Ahem….

Long version: The nominees are:


Best Novel
  • Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor)
  • A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin (Bantam Spectra)
  • Deadline by Mira Grant (Orbit)
  • Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan / Del Rey)
  • Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (Orbit)

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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

One of the hallmarks of genre is the way we distinguish books by means of awards. So we asked this week’s panelists…

Q: What is the value of awards to the science fiction and fantasy community? How important are they to you?

Here’s what they said…

Jo Walton
Jo Walton is a Welsh-Canadian fantasy and science fiction writer and poet. She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2002 and the World Fantasy award for her novel Tooth and Claw in 2004. Her novel Ha’penny was a co-winner of the 2008 Prometheus Award. Her novel Lifelode won the 2010 Mythopoeic Award. Her newest novel is Among Others, currently nominated for a 2011 Nebula Award. She also writes many things for Tor.com.

I think awards are valuable in two different ways. In the present tense, they can draw attention to books and writers that deserve more attention — as when China Mountain Zhang was nominated for the Hugo. The Philip K. Dick award manages to find something I like and hadn’t noticed pretty much every year. This is good for readers who pay attention to them, and it can be good for a writer’s career — if they get award notice a publisher might decide to stick with them even though they don’t have great sales.

Secondly, they’re valuable as part of the historical memory of the genre — the awards of a year give a kind of snapshot of what people at the time thought was good. They judgements of awards are not always the judgements of posterity — I certainly saw that when I did my Tor.com “Revisiting the Hugos” series and looked at every year from 1953 until 2000. But they remain interesting. And what’s interesting to me isn’t ever the winner, it’s the shortlist. One book is one datapoint, a shortlist is a spread. The question I asked was not “did the best book win” so much as “do those five books give a good picture of where the genre was in that year”.
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WINNERS: 2009 Hugo Awards

The Winners of the 2009 Hugo Award have just been announced via The Hugo Awards Twitter feed:

  • BEST NOVEL: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins; Bloomsbury)
  • BEST NOVELLA: “The Erdmann Nexus” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2008)
  • BEST NOVELETTE: “Shoggoths in Bloom” by Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s Mar 2008)
  • BEST SHORT STORY: “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang (Eclipse Two, also: audio version)
  • BEST RELATED BOOK: Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998-2008 by John Scalzi (Subterranean Press)
  • BEST GRAPHIC STORY: Girl Genius, Volume 8: “Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones” Written by Kaja & Phil Foglio, art by Phil Foglio, colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
  • BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM: WALL-E Andrew Stanton & Pete Docter, story; Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon, screenplay; Andrew Stanton, director (Pixar/Walt Disney)
  • BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM: Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Joss Whedon, & Zack Whedon, & Jed Whedon, & Maurissa Tancharoen, writers; Joss Whedon, director (Mutant Enemy)
  • BEST EDITOR, SHORT FORM: Ellen Datlow
  • BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM: David G. Hartwell
  • BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST: Donato Giancola
  • BEST SEMIPROZINE: Weird Tales edited by Ann VanderMeer & Stephen H. Segal
  • BEST FAN WRITER: Cheryl Morgan
  • BEST FANZINE: Electric Velocipede edited by John Klima
  • BEST FAN ARTIST: Frank Wu

Additionally, The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer went to David Anthony Durham.

Congratulations to all the winners!

See also: