Posted in awards, Hugo awards

The Hugo awards nominees have been announced

Here are the Nominees

Some good books and names on this list,

Best Novel

  • 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
  • Blackout by Mira Grant (Orbit)
  • Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (Tor)
  • Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (DAW)

Best Novella

  • After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications)
  • The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)
  • On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
  • San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats by Mira Grant (Orbit)
  • “The Stars Do Not Lie” by Jay Lake (Asimov’s, Oct-Nov 2012)

Best Novelette

  • “The Boy Who Cast No Shadow” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Postscripts: Unfit For Eden, PS Publications)
  • “Fade To White” by Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld, August 2012)
  • “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi” by Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity, Solaris)
  • “In Sea-Salt Tears” by Seanan McGuire (Self-published)
  • “Rat-Catcher” by Seanan McGuire (A Fantasy Medley 2, Subterranean)

Best Short Story

  • “Immersion” by Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld, June 2012)
  • “Mantis Wives” by Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, August 2012)
  •  “Mono no Aware” by Ken Liu (The Future is Japanese, VIZ Media LLC)

Note: category has 3 nominees due to a 5% requirement under Section 3.8.5 of the WSFS constitution.

Best Related Work

  • The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature Edited by Edward James & Farah Mendlesohn (Cambridge UP)
  • Chicks Dig Comics: A Celebration of Comic Books by the Women Who Love Them Edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Sigrid Ellis (Mad Norwegian Press)
  • Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who Edited by Deborah Stanish & L.M. Myles (Mad Norwegian Press)
  • I Have an Idea for a Book… The Bibliography of Martin H. Greenberg Compiled by Martin H. Greenberg, edited by John Helfers (The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box)
  • Writing Excuses Season Seven by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler and Jordan Sanderson

Best Graphic Story

  • Grandville Bête Noire written and illustrated by Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse Comics, Jonathan Cape)
  • Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
  • Saga, Volume One written by Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  • Schlock Mercenary: Random Access Memorabilia by Howard Tayler, colors by Travis Walton (Hypernode Media)
  • Saucer Country, Volume 1: Run written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Ryan Kelly, Jimmy Broxton and Goran Sudžuka (Vertigo)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • The Avengers Screenplay & Directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios, Disney, Paramount)
  • The Cabin in the Woods Screenplay by Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon; Directed by Drew Goddard (Mutant Enemy, Lionsgate)
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro, Directed by Peter Jackson (WingNut Films, New Line Cinema, MGM, Warner Bros)
  • The Hunger Games Screenplay by Gary Ross & Suzanne Collins, Directed by Gary Ross (Lionsgate, Color Force)
  • Looper Screenplay and Directed by Rian Johnson (FilmDistrict, EndGame Entertainment)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • Doctor Who: “The Angels Take Manhattan” Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)
  • Doctor Who: “Asylum of the Daleks” Written by Steven Moffat; Directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)
  • Doctor Who: “The Snowmen” Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Wales)
  • Fringe: “Letters of Transit” Written by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Akiva Goldsman, J.H.Wyman, Jeff Pinkner. Directed by Joe Chappelle (Fox)
  • 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

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Stanley Schmidt
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form

  • Lou Anders
  • Sheila Gilbert
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Patrick Nielsen Hayden
  • Toni Weisskopf

Best Professional Artist

  • Vincent Chong
  • Julie Dillon
  • Dan Dos Santos
  • Chris McGrath
  • John Picacio

Best Semiprozine

  • Apex Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Jason Sizemore and Michael Damian Thomas
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
  • Clarkesworld edited by Neil Clarke, Jason Heller, Sean Wallace and Kate Baker
  • Lightspeed edited by John Joseph Adams and Stefan Rudnicki
  • Strange Horizons edited by Niall Harrison, Jed Hartman, Brit Mandelo, An Owomoyela, Julia Rios, Abigail Nussbaum, Sonya Taaffe, Dave Nagdeman and Rebecca Cross

Best Fanzine

  • Banana Wings edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer
  • The Drink Tank edited by Chris Garcia and James Bacon
  • Elitist Book Reviews edited by Steven Diamond
  • Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Emma J. King, Helen J. Montgomery and Pete Young
  • SF Signal edited by John DeNardo, JP Frantz, and Patrick Hester

Best Fan Writer

  • James Bacon
  • Christopher J Garcia
  • Mark Oshiro
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • Steven H Silver

Best Fan Artist

  • Galen Dara
  • Brad W. Foster
  • Spring Schoenhuth
  • Maurine Starkey
  • Steve Stiles

Best Fancast

  • The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
  • SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester, John DeNardo, and JP Frantz
  • SF Squeecast, Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas, Catherynne M. Valente (Presenters) and David McHone-Chase (Technical Producer)
  • StarShipSofa, Tony C. Smith

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  • Zen Cho
  • Max Gladstone
  • Mur Lafferty
  • Stina Leicht
  • Chuck Wendig


Posted in Alif the Unseen, G. Willow Wilson, Women's prize for finction

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Hardcover, 433 pages Pub June 19th 2012 by Grove Press

I must admit that this book has been sitting on my to blog list for some time. I have been slightly afraid to review this work, because; it has received a lot of attention, it has caused quite a lot of controversy, it is set in a culture that is not my own, and it is a book that defies definition. But , it’s on The Women’s Prize For Fiction Long List, and so I’m now reviewing it.

Alif The Uncertain

Alif is a computer hacker who makes his living working for anybody, who has; a cause, gripe, or subversion; and the money to pay for his talents.  Alif is the child of  a secret liaison. His parents; are not married, have different ethnic origins, and very different social positions. Therefore, Alif occupies an ambiguous place within his society. Despite this, he has managed to form a relationship with a young woman who occupies a higher, and more secure, social position.   His girlfriend (Insitar) has told him that her father is forcing her to marry someone  with a similar social status to herself.  She is forced to comply and therefore breaks the connection to Alif and asks him to disappear from her life.  He decides to follow her instructions and completely disappear from her world.   Alif creates a computer program that hides his very existence from her computer, in an attempt to become invisible. This program will gain the attentions of shadowy individuals who work for the state and act for their own sinister motives.

Alif’s uncertain social position highlights the structures and relationships that constitute this unnamed ‘middle eastern’/’gulf’ country/state (world).  We can see that this is a country whose inhabitants; Have complex identities, come from very different ethnic origins, and have differing tribal loyalties.   We learn that this is a very structured state, in which your social class and ethnic/tribal origins defines what you can and cannot do.  In addition, we learn this is a very tightly controlled, high surveillance world.

The theme  of identity is further explored in the life of his childhood friend Dina.  From the time we meet her, we know that she is a religious character.  She has chosen to wear the Hijab.  This is not welcomed by her family or the wider society.  We learn that the Hijab had become a sign of social status; a dress style that has come to denote a high class/caste position. Dina, who has a low social status, in choosing this form of dress,  is therefore breaking a social norm.  Class still defines the sanctioned mode of dress for every individual.

Alif the Secular, disappointed Romantic

Despite  Alif’s efforts to disappear from Inistar’s world, he cannot forget her and begins a war by messenger; sending Inistar hateful messages. In return, he receives a strange package, an ancient book.  This book will lead Alif, and his childhood friend Dina into a mythical world of the DJinn.

This is a city that has a mythical realm running through its centre. Run your hand along a wall and, if you believe and have the right identity,  you will find a gap.  That gap leads you through to a street of the DJinn. That sacred street mirrors the secular one, even in regards to the technology; reflecting the secular city back to itself. This reminds us that in many , if not all, parts of this world the sacred past sits comfortably alongside the technological future/present.

The themes of Faith, and secular cynicism,  run throughout the heart of this book. At one point,  Dina,  a really likeable character, who is deeply seeped in her faith, accuses Aslif of a lack of conviction.  She says that he does not even believe in the secular accoutrements that he espouses, such as; the arts, democracy and technology. Instead of a firm belief in one thing, Alif, and the world that he represents, has a cynical, superficial, yearning for the next new shiny thing.   Alif’s unfocused hacking protest proves this point.  He will work for any cause, being a hired gun for any group with a cause and  a credit card.

Alif and the Other (Kindle edition; location 1720 onwards).

One of the most interesting characters in this book is that of the western woman who has recently converted to Islam.  Her character gives Willow Wilson an opportunity to explore the life of those who convert to another faith. This character is an interesting one, especially when you refer back to Willow Wilson’s own identity. Willow-Wilson is herself a convert to Islam.  I may be inferring too much from this fact;  but, the character seems to be an interesting way for Willow Wilson to answer her potential critics  who ask the question ‘can a western writer (even a convert)  ever truly understand this culture?’.  This character, and Alif’s reaction to her,  gives the writer the chance to say ‘I am aware of my ambiguous position towards this culture and am sensitive to its potentially problematic nature’.

On another level this character gives us the opportunity to explore:  the relationships, and misconceptions, that exist between the east and west; the relationships between men and women; and the myths that shape and inhibit them.

This book encourages many interesting conversations and is an interesting fictional debut. This is an author worth watching.  I am really glad that this book, with its fantastic/genre elements, has made the Women’s fiction awards.

Posted in Uncategorized

Catch up, confessions and awards

Well,  It’s been quite some time since my last post.  No excuses.  It was pure idleness.  But, I am back.  I will try to post at least once a week. This is just a catch up.  Firstly, it’s confession time. I have broken one of my new years resolutions.  I said that I would ignore The Women’s
Prize for Fiction
list this year. I swore that I would not use the list as a reading list.  I swore that I would not try and read the reading list before they publish the short list.  But, that’s exactly what I am doing.   So, look out for a slow trickle of book reviews over the next few weeks.  The books are;

The complete longlist for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction:

  1. A Trick I Learned From Dead Men, Kitty Aldridge, Jonathan Cape

  2. Alif the UnseenG. Willow Wilson, Corvus Books

  3. Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel, Fourth Estate (read- see review at…a-longish-book/ ‎)

  4. Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver, Faber & Faber (One of my two books given up on)

  5. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn, Weidenfeld & Nicolson

  6. Honour, Elif Shafak, Viking

  7. How Should a Person Be?, Sheila Heti, Harvill Secker (another book given up on.  Seems like something from the ‘90’s)

  8. Ignorance, Michele Roberts, Bloomsbury Publishing

  9. Lamb, Bonnie Nadzam, Hutchinson

  10. Life After Life, Kate Atkinson, Doubleday

  11. Mateship With Birds, Carrie Tiffany, Picador

  12. May We Be Forgiven, A.M. Homes, Granta Books

  13. NW, Zadie Smith, Hamish Hamilton

  14. The Forrests, Emily Perkins, Bloomsbury Circus

  15. The Innocents, Francesca Segal, Chatto and Windus

  16. The Light Between Oceans, M.L. Stedman, Doubleday

  17. The Marlowe Papers, Ros Barber, Sceptre

  18. The People of Forever Are Not Afraid, Shani Boianjiu, Hogarth


  1. The Red Book, Deborah Copaken Kogan, Virago
  2. Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, Maria Semple, Weidenfeld and Nicolson


In other awards news.  Other awards have been announced;

The James Tiptree awards Honor list;

The Joint Winners are;


The Drowning Girl-  Caitlin.  R.  Kiernan

Ancient, Ancient- Kiini Ibura Salaam


The Honor list

I have read the two winners. In addition, I am in the process of reading the others. You can expect the reviews soon.  Also, the Aurealis Awards finalists have been announced and you can find them on


So, to sum up.  I’ve got a lot of reading to do and you can expect more reviews soon.