Here, at last, is the GMRC review poll for August! (Worldcon has thrown a monkey wrentch into just about everything here on WWEnd so we’re a bit behind on the GMRC and all over the site for that matter.) We featured 7 reviews in the blog last month, including 2 reviews each by 2 different reviewers, and it’s time to read the reviews and cast your vote for the best.
Remember, you don’t have to be a GMRC participant to vote so head on over to the forum and cast your vote now. Since we’re getting a late start we’ll leave the poll open until September 20th.
- Man Plus by Frederik Pohl – (allie)
- The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov – (jfrantz)
- Suldrun’s Garden by Jack Vance – (allie)
- Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein – (CharlesDee)
- The Languages of Pao by Jack Vance – (Emil)
- White Mars by Brian Aldiss – (valashain)
- Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke – (jfrantz)
Winner will receive the following:
- GMRC T-shirt – your choice of colors so long as it’s black
- GMRC button – you can never have too much flair
- Set of WWEnd Hugo Award bookmarks – These are the new ones for the 2012 Hugo and ChiCon 7.
- Book of your choice from the WWEnd bookshelf – the winner will get a list of a dozen titles to pick from
- Everlasting Glory – So you’ll have that goin’ for ya. Which is nice.
Runners-up will get a GMRC button and a set of bookmarks.
Here are the updated stats from RhondaK101.
Authors with the most books read:
Authors with the most different titles read:
Books most frequently read (10 or more reads):
Chris Uhl (chuhl) can’t remember a time when he wasn’t a science fiction fan. He has a B.A. in Classics from Vassar College and an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a teacher, a legal assistant, a college development officer, a salesman, and a film extra. Chris may be the only WWEnd reviewer who has no blog. This is his first GMRC review to feature in the WWEnd blog.
I’m a big fan of space opera, but I’ve never read E. E. “Doc” Smith or Jack Williamson because I’ve always heard that, although their importance in the genre’s history is undeniable, their prose style is an ordeal for modern readers. So I took advantage of the GMRC to try Williamson’s The Legion of Space.
Yes, the prose does tend towards the purple end of the spectrum. It’s formal and intense and rather melodramatic by our standards. But if you‘re willing to give it a chance, you find yourself in the hands of an author who’s clearly having fun trying to dazzle and horrify you with the wonders and terrors that our heroes face in their quest to save the solar system from destruction. It’s like when someone tells you a ghost story around a fire. You can roll your eyes and hang on tight to your disbelief and sneer, or you can get into the spirit of the occasion and have fun with it. If you meet him halfway, Williamson’s writing can be very vivid and suspenseful and powerful.
For example, here’s an excerpt in which our four heroes, having crash-landed on a hostile planet, find themselves adrift on a log that isn’t as safe as it first appeared. At the other end of the log they see a slimy creature that looks like “a gigantic amoeba”:
We are live at the 2012 Hugo Award ceremony, where the committee has reported a massive ballot turnout. As I write this,
hundreds thousands of nerds are filing into the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency in balmy Chicago in breathless anticipation. We’re live blogging the results, so refresh this post to get fresher and fresher results…that is, unless you decide you’d just as soon go get something to eat and then get your results all at once! Better yet, watch the live stream here. We are also tweeting results to all who follow @WWend.
8:16: I wasn’t sure how much I liked the 2012 trophies. All stacked together on the stage, however, they look great.
8:17: “We are diverse, and we are all in this together” - John Scalzi, this year’s MC (to great applause)
Best fanzine A special committee award goes to Robert (Bob) Weinberg.
8:36: A memorial for those who have died in the year since Renovation 2011, including the incomparable Ray Bradbury. Harry Harrison, Neil Armstrong, Anne Macaffrey, Sally Ride, Maurice Sendack and many authors, artists and fans, whom will surely be missed.
8:48: Analog Magazine editor, Stanley Schmidt (who received a standing ovation for lifelong career) is presenting the award for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer (not to be confused for the Campbell memorial award). The award goes to E. Lily Yu. Her reaction can be best described as shock. Jay Lake presented the diadem.
8:53: The base design for this year’s trophy (pictured above) is being explained by its creator, Deb Kosiba, who made each one by hand.
8:55: Scalzi’s stages of being nominated for a Hugo: elation, intimidation, bargaining, depression, nervousness. The nominees are currently experiencing number five. Personally, I think the story is dragging so as to intensify this stage for each of them.
9:00: The best fan artist award goes to Maureen Starkey.
9:04: The best fan writer award goes to Jim C. Hines. He said he isn’t used to being popular, as he first learned in high school: “It turns out that sewing a Star Trek patch onto your jean jacket isn’t the best way to get in with the cool kids.”
9:07: The best fancast (special category) award goes to SF Squeecast, Lynne M. Thomas, Seanan McGuire, Paul Cornell, Elizabeth Bear, and Catherynne M. Valente. That was NOT a surprise to me. Yes, there was much squeeing.
9:13 The best fanzine award goes to SF Signal edited by John DeNardo. We are spared the histrionics of Christopher J. Garcia. (Just kidding — I loved it last year)
9:20: The best semiprozine award goes to Locus edited by Liza Groen Trombi, Kirsten Gong-Wong, et al.
9:23: The best professional artist award goes to John Picacio (the crowd roars).
9:28: The best editor award (long form) goes to Betsy Wollheim.
9:33: The best editor award (short form) goes to Sheila Williams.
9:40: The best dramatic presentation (short form) award goes to “The Doctor’s Wife” (Doctor Who), written by Neil Gaiman; directed by Richard Clark (BBC Wales). Neal Gaiman accepted the award! Gaiman claims that Community is a Doctor Who spinoff, due to Inspector Spacetime’s presence on the show. Ha! Also “It would be the act of a fool or a madman to try to do it [write an ep] again. So I’m on my third draft.” (!)
9:53: The best dramatic presentation (long form) award goes to Game of Thrones (Season 1), created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss; written by David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, Jane Espenson, and George R. R. Martin; directed by Brian Kirk, Daniel Minahan, Tim van Patten, and Alan Taylor (HBO). George R. R. Martin describes his original pitchmen as “mad fools” to think they could get his book on the small screen. He adds “sure, I wish we had two more hours every season.” He and I, both.
9:55: The best graphic novel award goes to Digger by Ursula Vernon (Sofawolf Press). Scalzi, in the process of announcing the award, declares himself a sloppy fan of Neil Gaiman’s graphic work. Heh.
10:03: The best “related work” award goes to The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Third Edition edited by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls, and Graham Sleight (Gollancz). Graham Sleight, accepting the award, says he thinks he might be dreaming. Scalzi promptly slaps him. “That,” Sleight responds, “is quality toastmastering.”
10:10: The best short story award, presented by Gardner Dozois, goes to “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2011).
10:12: “The novelette is the Goldilocks form of story. Not too short, not too long, just right” – Scalzi
10:14: The best novelette award goes to “Six Months, Three Days” by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com).
10:17: The best novella award goes to “The Man Who Bridged the Mist” by Kij Johnson (Asimov’s, September/October 2011).
And now for the big one….
10:21: The award for best novel goes to Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor). Ta Da!
Jo Walton’s story is a really great one for fans. She made the trip from fandom to authorship, and this award, I think, completes an extraordinary transition. I can’t wait to go back and read ALL
five nine of her books.
10:24: Jo just said that she thinks the nominees are the important works (and so it doesn’t matter who wins). We agree, and this is EXACTLY why we list nominees so prominently in our tiled lists. We’re glad to see such a great author who thinks this way.
We woke up early on Friday eager to get the day started and to forget the horrible chorus of snores that ensured nobody got a good night’s sleep. There was a lot of finger pointing and the stories of snores and nocturnal emissions grew in the telling throughout our wicked expensive breakfast but by the end we were all still friends. With our appetites’ diminished we headed down to the dealer’s room to set up our fan table.
The fan tables this time around were on the other side of the dealer’s room but we had a corner spot, which is essential for our big monitor, and we were lucky in our neighbor’s to either side. The Heinlein Society is on our left with WindyCon on our right. Great people at both tables which is nice. We hooked up the big 31 inch monitor to the laptop, spread out some piles of bookmarks, the new ones for this year and some left overs from last, and settled in to hawk the site to passers-by. The crowd was good and many folks made it past the dealer’s tables to the fan section so we had a nice flow past the table.
Just like last year we had all manner of people come up to see what we were about. Some folks just wanted to take a peek and refused all attempts at communication on our part. You could almost hear them thinking “don’t make eye contact, don’t make eye contact” as a kind of mantra to ward off evil. Others stepped up and talked our ears off about their own projects with no apparent interest in WWEnd at all. We made a fine captive audience it seems. For those people it was “Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.” Of course the majority of our visitors were fans just like us and many took an active and keen interest in the site. Those folks were a pleasure to talk to and it was quite fun to see how much they enjoyed our short site tour. I hope we’ll see some new signups after the con.
The table was busy with just the three of us so there was not much time to do many panels. In fact, I was the only person to get away at all. I got to attend “100 Years of Edgar Rice Burroughs” which was an entertaining and insightful discussion of his major works and influences from Tarzan to John Carter and beyond. The room was packed (and much too hot), the panelists were in high spirits and the audience offered some nice questions and commentary without the usual awkward soapboxing you often see in these kinds of panels. One thing that I noticed was that the whole crowd was a bit long in the tooth. I believe I was the only person there under 50 which is not particularly surprising since WorldCon skews older anyway (and Burroughs is most definitely old-school) but I could not help but wonder who’s going to keep reading Burroughs when this generation is gone? It would be a shame if people only came to know his work through the movies.
The rest of the day we spent taking turns at the table and wandering the hall again getting autographs and looking for presents for the kids. We went to the autograph session that featured Robert Silverberg and George R. R. Martin. Strangely there was no line for Martin, despite being up for the Hugo, while the Silverberg line was rather long. Quite a change from last year when the longest lines were for Martin. We got Martin to sign our bookmarks and later we got sigs from Seanan McGuire too. 3 more to go!
Once we wrapped up for the day it was time to find some eats. Since we had pizza the night before it was time for some Chicago hot dogs. We walked about a mile or so to American Dog and ordered up some dogs. Chicago style dogs come with relish, peppers, sliced tomatoes, onions, mustard and a wedge of pickle. They were delicious. We left determined to have another dog later on the trip. Back at the hotel we decided to skip the parties and headed to the bar instead for some beers and hot wings while we waited for our pal Chris to get there. Chris showed at last call so we bailed and went back to the room full, sleepy and 2 sheets to the wind. The theory was that if we were too drunk to care we might all pass out before the snoring started again. Another good day at the con.
Guest Blogger, Allie McCarn, reviews science fiction and fantasy books on her blog Tethyan Books. She has contributed many great book reviews to WWEnd and has generously volunteered to write some periodic reviews for our blog.
Editor’s note: This review was submitted in July but there was a mix-up and we missed posting it in the blog for the GMRC.
“In the not-too-distant future, a desperate war for natural resources threatens to bring civilization to a crashing halt. Nuclear warships from around the globe begin positioning themselves as the American government works feverishly to complete a massive project to colonize Mars.
Former astronaut Roger Torraway has agreed to be transformed by the latest advances in biological and cybernetic science into something new, a being that can survive the rigors of Mars before it is terraformed. Becoming Man Plus will allow him to be the linchpin in opening the new Martian frontier…but not without challenging his humanity as no man has ever been challenged before.” ~barnesandnoble.com
Man Plus is my July book for WWEnd’s Grand MasterReading Challenge. Frederik Pohl is not a completely new author to me, as I have read and loved his novel Gateway. Man Plus has some interesting ideas, but it did not replace Gateway as my favorite Pohl novel to date.