My Hugo Comments

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Evelyn C. Leeper

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Jun 29, 2001, 4:12:40 PM6/29/01
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Here are my observations and comments on the Hugo nominees in the
fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Since I doubt my
opinions will sway anyone, this is not a blatant attempt to sway
your vote. :-)

HUGOS:

Nominations for Novel:

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
The Sky Road by Ken MacLeod

First of all, I'll note that there is only one American here, and no
American science fiction novels. Two of the five are fantasy, and
three of the five are in book series. Since my feeling is that a book
(or story) must stand on its own to be worthy of a Hugo, this has
affected my opinions.

Though everyone raves about Ken MacLeod, THE SKY ROAD is the second of
his books that I have started and given up on. (The fact that I went
back to Plutarch and found him much more readable says more about me
than about either MacLeod or Plutarch, no doubt.)

And after reading a chapter or so of A STORM OF SWORDS, I gave up. I
felt that I would have to read the first two to even make sense of this
volume, and therefore it doesn't meet my personal criteria for a Hugo.

I was surprised to see MIDNIGHT ROBBER on the ballot. Its patois makes
it much slower going than most science fiction and I would have thought
narrowed its audience, but apparently not.

CALCULATING GOD is good solid writing, but a bit too pat in parts.

But my vote goes to HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE. Yes, it's
part of a series, and since I have read all the preceding books I may
be having difficulty judging whether it stands alone, but to me it
seems to.

Nominations for Novella:

"A Roll of the Dice" by Catherine Asaro (Analog Jul/Aug 2000)
"Oracle" by Greg Egan (Asimov's Jul 2000)
"Radiant Green Star" by Lucius Shepard (Asimov's Aug 2000)
"Seventy-Two Letters" by Ted Chiang
"The Retrieval Artist" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Analog Jun 2000)
"The Ultimate Earth" by Jack Williamson (Analog Dec 2000)

I found "Radiant Green Star" the hardest to read, not because of the
content, but because the page size of ASIMOV'S, combined with Shepard's
long paragraphs, meant that I was being presented with an almost-solid
block of over five hundred words on each page, and with more lines per
line than in an average book.

That aside, what about the stories themselves? Asaro's "Roll of the
Dice" just didn't do anything for me (though I did finish it).
Similarly, I couldn't see the appeal of "Radiant Green Star." "The
Ultimate Earth" proves that Jack Williamson still can write classic
science fiction in his tenth decade--and I suppose that his story
covers a large time span is quite fitting. Rusch's "Retrieval Artist"
was very good, with its realistic feel, but the winner hands down (as
always) is Ted Chiang with "Seventy-Two Letters," an absolutely superb
story based, as was Richard Garfinkle's CELESTIAL MATTERS, on the
premise that what in our world is a previous view of science since
discredited, is in reality the accurate one. For Garfinkle, it was
Aristotelian science. For Chiang, it's a different theory of biology.
(See also James Alan Gardner's "Three Hearings on the Existence of
Snakes in the Human Bloodstream.") Chiang just sold a collection to
Tor, which I eagerly await.

Nominations for Novelette:

"Agape Among the Robots" by Allen Steele (Analog May 2000)
"Generation Gap" by Stanley Schmidt
"Millennium Babies" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov's Jan 2000)
"On the Orion Line" by Stephen Baxter (Asimov's Oct/Nov 2000)
"Redchapel" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's Dec 2000)

I have no great insights into this category, though I thought many of
them represented the authors doing again what they're known for without
any really new additions. Nothing wrong with that in general, but I
thought that "Millennium Babies" did stand out as, if not astonishing
new and fresh, at least not as predictable as some of the others.

Nominations for Short Story:

"Different Kinds of Darkness" by David Langford (F&SF Jan 2000)
"Kaddish for the Last Survivor" by Michael A. Burstein (Analog Nov 2000)
"Moon Dogs" by Michael Swanwick (Asimov's Mar 2000)
"The Elephants on Neptune" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's May 2000)
"The Gravity Mine" by Stephen Baxter (Asimov's Apr 2000)

Didn't I see some of these people elsewhere on this ballot? :-)

Seriously, if you have to vote for Dave Langford for a Hugo, vote for
him in this category.

But seriously, seriously, his was the best story and I'm not sure I can
even pin down why. I liked the idea of "Kaddish for the Last Survivor"
but didn't find all the premises convincing. I liked "The Elephants on
Neptune" but thought it very reminiscent of ANIMAL FARM. And so on.
But something about "Different Kinds of Darkness" was new and
interesting and enough to make suspend whatever disbelief I might have
had.

Nominations for Dramatic Presentation:

Chicken Run
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Frank Herbert's Dune
Frequency
X-Men

In spite of my comments in the Retro Hugos section regarding a bias
toward science fiction over fantasy, I still give the nod here to
fantasy--maybe because I thought the fantasy works were *so* much
better here than the science fiction ones. FREQUENCY had a lot of
promise and started well, but turned into yet another "unstoppable
psychotic killer" movie. (Mark described this as "convergent alternate
history"--rather than a single past forking into multiple possibilities
for the present, a variety of premises for films all merge into the
same conclusion. FRANK HERBERT'S DUNE (to distinguish it, no doubt
from the other DUNE which wasn't Frank Herbert's?) was workmanlike but
uninspiring. The same was true (for me, anyway, of X-MEN. On the
other hand, CHICKEN RUN was a true delight, full of in-jokes and
characterization and puns ("Chocs away!") and just a joy to watch.

But the winner has to be CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. It has
everything: fantasy, real characters, great cinematography, a marvelous
score, .... Too often we are reduced to choosing a Hugo winner from a
set of films that may be good science fiction (though not even always
that), but are not good *films*. (Or television shows--the same
criteria apply.) If one looks at some of the films nominated for Hugos
in the last decade, one sees a lot of films that were completely
undistinguished as films. For example, any Oscar consideration for
them would be for special effects or (Ghod help us) sound effects. The
very fact that CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON garnered ten Oscar
nominations at least implies that it's good as a film as well as being
good as a fantasy.

RETRO HUGOS:

Nominations for Novel:

The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
Farmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein
First Lensman by Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.
Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The longest of these is shorter than the shortest of the "non-Retro"
novels; together they are only abour twenty pages longer than the
Martin by itself. It has been argued that THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE
WARDROBE is actually a novella, and the Vance just a collection of
short stories.

It's hard to decide whether to vote for what I would have voted for in
1951, or what I would vote for now, even allowing me to vote as I think
I would have from a fifty-year-old's perspective in 1951. At the time,
PEBBLE IN THE SKY and FARMER IN THE SKY might have seemed great, but
now both appear very dated. (The references to tobacco, and the
German/Dutch stereotyped farmer, in the latter are particularly
jarring.) I still find THE DYING EARTH unreadable, and having tried to
read FIRST LENSMAN, I can now add that to the list of books I just
don't get or can't read.

This leaves THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, which is readable,
and not dated. This may be one advantage of fantasy. At any rate, it
gets my vote. (And the Lewis estate gets my raspberry, for authorizing
new Narnia books that eliminate all the Christian symbolism, and a line
of Narnia plush toys.)

(What was it with smoking in 1950?! Just about every one of the Retro
nominees has people smoking as a major aspect of it. Even Mr. Tumnus
smokes a pipe!)

Nominations for Novella:

"...And Now You Don't" by Isaac Asimov
"The Dreaming Jewels" by Theodore Sturgeon
"The Last Enemy" by H Beam Piper
"The Man Who Sold the Moon" by Robert A. Heinlein
"To the Stars" by L. Ron Hubbard

The magazine version of "The Dreaming Jewels" is probably a novella,
but I suspect everyone is going to vote on the novel version (14%
longer) instead. Similarly, "...And Now You Don't" (the second half of
SECOND FOUNDATION) is also skirting between novella and novel, but at
least I think the book version is identical to the magazine version, as
is "To the Stars" in its re-incarnation as the first half of RETURN TO
TOMORROW.

At one time, "The Man Who Sold the Moon" might have appealed to me.
Now, after thirty more years' worth of similar preaching from Heinlein,
I find it annoying and couldn't force myself to read more than a third
of it. "The Dreaming Jewels" is not my usual cup of tea, but stands up
better. "The Last Enemy" and "To the Stars" are also okay, but my vote
here has to go to "...And Now You Don't." I realize this may sound
inconsistent based on my criterion that a book (or story) must stand on
its own to be worthy of a Hugo, and one major problem here is that the
"Foundation" series is so much a part of the landscape that it's hard
to pretend the rest don't exist. So all I can do is say that as best I
can judge, this has enough background recap to stand alone.

Nominations for Novelette:

"Dear Devil" by Eric Frank Russell
"Okie" by James Blish
"Scanners Live in Vain" by Cordwainer Smith
"The Helping Hand" by Poul Anderson
"The Little Black Bag" by C. M. Kornbluth

This is a strong category, and tough to decide. "Okie" seems somewhat
dated, as does "Scanners Live in Vain." (Of course, if I'm trying to
vote based on 1950 sensibilities, this shouldn't count.) "The Helping
Hand" is just too obvious. Maybe it wasn't then, but the whole
phenomenon has been discussed so much since then that it's hard to see
this as thta original. "Dear Devil" has sentiment on its side, but my
vote has to go to "The Little Black Bag" as the best, and certainly the
most memorable.

Nominations for Short Story:

"A Subway Named Mobius" by A. J. Deutsch
"Born of Man and Woman" by Richard Matheson
"Coming Attraction" by Fritz Leiber (Galaxy Nov 50)
"The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork Out" by Reginald Bretnor
"To Serve Man" by Damon Knight

"A Subway Named Mobius" is the clear winner here for me. I know people
liked "Born of Man and Woman"--I just don't know why. "To Serve Man"
is good, but I don't believe would be on this ballot if there had not
been a "Twilight Zone" episode of it. (And if you think about it
enough, the ending doesn't actually stand up.) I can't believe anyone
liked "The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork Out" enough to nominate it--it
must be one of those butterfly ballot things. And "Coming Attraction,"
while good technically, just doesn't have the certain something of "A
Subway Named Mobius." (Of course, I do have a degree in mathematics,
and read this story back in Clifton Fadiman's FANTASIA MATHEMATICA
about a zillion times, so that might have something to so with it too.)

Nominations for Dramatic Presentation:

Cinderella
Destination Moon
Harvey
Rabbit of Seville
Rocketship X-M

I couldn't locate a copy of "Rabbit of Seville" and don't remember ever
seeing it. CINDERELLA I have seen, but only as an adult, and I am not
as enthusiastic about the Disney classic cartoons as many. ROCKETSHIP
X-M was a quickie made to beat DESTINATION MOON to the box office.
(Which is not to say that sometimes the quickie isn't better than the
major film: consider TOMBSTONE versus WYATT EARP.) HARVEY IS very
good, but I'll admit to a certain bias toward science fiction over
fantasy here--particularly since this was the beginning of the massive
cinema science fiction boom of the 1950s--and give my vote to
DESTINATION MOON.

So there you have it. Now everyone can tell me how wrong I am. :-)
--
Evelyn C. Leeper, http://www.geocities.com/evelynleeper
NOTE: Ignore both the man behind the curtain and the address in the headers.
Please use evelyn-dot-leeper-at-excite-dot-com to mail to me as the
address in the header will stop working in a few weeks.

Jaquandor

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Jun 29, 2001, 6:16:57 PM6/29/01
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>I couldn't locate a copy of "Rabbit of Seville" and don't remember ever
>seeing it.

This would be the Bugs Bunny cartoon in which Bugs plays, well, a barber who
does all sorts of horrible things to Elmer Fudd while the intrepid hunter is
sitting in a barber's chair? The accompanying music being Rossini's "Barber of
Seville"? You really haven't seen that?

But then maybe I'm thinking of the wrong thing....


--
-Jaquandor

"Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The
water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up." -Stephen King


Mike Van Pelt

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Jun 29, 2001, 9:14:24 PM6/29/01
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In article <9hinfo$8...@nntpa.cb.lucent.com>,

Evelyn C. Leeper <ele...@lucent.com> wrote:
>Nominations for Dramatic Presentation:
>
>Cinderella
>Destination Moon
>Harvey
>Rabbit of Seville
>Rocketship X-M
>
>I couldn't locate a copy of "Rabbit of Seville" and don't remember ever
>seeing it.

You must have seen it. Bugs Bunny as the Barber of Seville,
once again tormenting Elmer Fudd. Chase scene with barber
chairs of infinite height. If you haven't seen it, you
*must* track it down. It's not quite up there with "What's
Opera, Doc", Bugs and Elmer's evisceration of Wagner's
Ring Cycle, but it's close.

I'd still pick Destination Moon for the retro Hugo, but
Rabbit of Seville is definitely worth seeing.

--
Mike Van Pelt Missing scene from "A.I.":
mvp at calweb.com "I see blue screens."
KE6BVH

Richard Horton

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Jun 29, 2001, 11:05:32 PM6/29/01
to
On 29 Jun 2001 20:12:40 GMT, ele...@jaguar.stc.lucent.com (Evelyn C.
Leeper) wrote:

>Here are my observations and comments on the Hugo nominees in the
>fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Since I doubt my
>opinions will sway anyone, this is not a blatant attempt to sway
>your vote. :-)
>
>HUGOS:
>
>Nominations for Novel:
>
>A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
>Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
>Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
>Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
>The Sky Road by Ken MacLeod

>Though everyone raves about Ken MacLeod, THE SKY ROAD is the second of


>his books that I have started and given up on. (The fact that I went
>back to Plutarch and found him much more readable says more about me
>than about either MacLeod or Plutarch, no doubt.)
>

Can't argue with personal taste -- it gets my vote, though. Not to
say that Plutarch isn't fine, too.


>I was surprised to see MIDNIGHT ROBBER on the ballot. Its patois makes
>it much slower going than most science fiction and I would have thought
>narrowed its audience, but apparently not.
>

As with many books with unusual prose (Feersum Endjinn, for a somewhat
different example) I found that after a short period of acclimation, I
read it easily, and I found that the "patwa" enhanced the book
immensely. It's a nice book, though I'd have cut the first section
(on Tan-Tan's home planet) almost completely -- worthy of a
nomination, and probably my second place vote.


>Nominations for Novella:
>
>"A Roll of the Dice" by Catherine Asaro (Analog Jul/Aug 2000)
>"Oracle" by Greg Egan (Asimov's Jul 2000)
>"Radiant Green Star" by Lucius Shepard (Asimov's Aug 2000)
>"Seventy-Two Letters" by Ted Chiang
>"The Retrieval Artist" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Analog Jun 2000)
>"The Ultimate Earth" by Jack Williamson (Analog Dec 2000)
>
>I found "Radiant Green Star" the hardest to read, not because of the
>content, but because the page size of ASIMOV'S, combined with Shepard's
>long paragraphs, meant that I was being presented with an almost-solid
>block of over five hundred words on each page, and with more lines per
>line

^^^^ (one hopes only one line per line, though in Analog I guess
there are two lines per line. <g>)


> than in an average book.
>

A bit over 600 words/page in Asimov's (and Analog) issues, these days.
And I quite agree -- a page of Shepard's prose is awfully
intimidating.

>That aside, what about the stories themselves? Asaro's "Roll of the
>Dice" just didn't do anything for me (though I did finish it).
>Similarly, I couldn't see the appeal of "Radiant Green Star." "The
>Ultimate Earth" proves that Jack Williamson still can write classic
>science fiction in his tenth decade--and I suppose that his story
>covers a large time span is quite fitting. Rusch's "Retrieval Artist"
>was very good, with its realistic feel, but the winner hands down (as
>always) is Ted Chiang with "Seventy-Two Letters," an absolutely superb
>story based, as was Richard Garfinkle's CELESTIAL MATTERS, on the
>premise that what in our world is a previous view of science since
>discredited, is in reality the accurate one. For Garfinkle, it was
>Aristotelian science. For Chiang, it's a different theory of biology.
>(See also James Alan Gardner's "Three Hearings on the Existence of
>Snakes in the Human Bloodstream.") Chiang just sold a collection to
>Tor, which I eagerly await.
>

"Seventy-Two Letters" also gets my vote. (I think you are overrating
"The Ultimate Earth", which I thought sketchy and unconvincing. The
other novellas (except "Radiant Green Star", which I rather like) are
middle-of-the-road stuff, in my opinion, not bad but not Hugo-worthy.

>Nominations for Novelette:
>
>"Agape Among the Robots" by Allen Steele (Analog May 2000)
>"Generation Gap" by Stanley Schmidt
>"Millennium Babies" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov's Jan 2000)
>"On the Orion Line" by Stephen Baxter (Asimov's Oct/Nov 2000)
>"Redchapel" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's Dec 2000)
>
>I have no great insights into this category, though I thought many of
>them represented the authors doing again what they're known for without
>any really new additions. Nothing wrong with that in general, but I
>thought that "Millennium Babies" did stand out as, if not astonishing
>new and fresh, at least not as predictable as some of the others.
>

As your comments suggest, this is a pretty blah category. The only
story that stood out for me was "On the Orion Line", for its cynicism
as much as anything. I rather like "Generation Gap", though not so
much as to give it a Hugo. KKR rarely works for me -- generally
competent, but way too manipulative. That the Resnick story was
nominated for a Hugo is incomprehensible to me -- it's thoroughly
mediocre (though better, I suppose, than "The Elephants on Neptune",
which I thought quite awful) -- its version of Teddy Roosevelt is just
wrong -- its mystery is obvious. Hey, I can see buying it -- Resnick
is a readable guy, the story passed the time, but a Hugo nomination?
What gives?

>Nominations for Short Story:
>
>"Different Kinds of Darkness" by David Langford (F&SF Jan 2000)
>"Kaddish for the Last Survivor" by Michael A. Burstein (Analog Nov 2000)
>"Moon Dogs" by Michael Swanwick (Asimov's Mar 2000)
>"The Elephants on Neptune" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's May 2000)
>"The Gravity Mine" by Stephen Baxter (Asimov's Apr 2000)
>
>Didn't I see some of these people elsewhere on this ballot? :-)
>
>Seriously, if you have to vote for Dave Langford for a Hugo, vote for
>him in this category.
>
>But seriously, seriously, his was the best story and I'm not sure I can
>even pin down why. I liked the idea of "Kaddish for the Last Survivor"
>but didn't find all the premises convincing. I liked "The Elephants on
>Neptune" but thought it very reminiscent of ANIMAL FARM. And so on.
>But something about "Different Kinds of Darkness" was new and
>interesting and enough to make suspend whatever disbelief I might have
>had.

Another weakish category -- and there were some darn fine stories
published this year, too. The Langford probably gets my vote, too.


>RETRO HUGOS:
>
>Nominations for Novel:
>
>The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
>Farmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein
>First Lensman by Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.
>Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov
>The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
>

>(What was it with smoking in 1950?! Just about every one of the Retro


>nominees has people smoking as a major aspect of it. Even Mr. Tumnus
>smokes a pipe!)
>

It was a different time. But if you want, you could ask Eric Flint to
edit the stories and remove the smoking references. <g>

I don't find _The Dying Earth_ unreadable, quite the contrary, so it
gets my vote.

>Nominations for Novella:
>
>"...And Now You Don't" by Isaac Asimov
>"The Dreaming Jewels" by Theodore Sturgeon
>"The Last Enemy" by H Beam Piper
>"The Man Who Sold the Moon" by Robert A. Heinlein
>"To the Stars" by L. Ron Hubbard
>
>The magazine version of "The Dreaming Jewels" is probably a novella,

No it's not! I have the issue of Fantastic Adventures in which it
appeared, and my word count is 47,000. (For what it's worth, FA gives
word counts on the title page, and they list it at 55,000, but I don't
believe them.)

I could certainly be off by a couple thousand, but no way is it less
than 40,000 words. It just may be less than 45,000, which would make
it legal to move it to the lower category, but I seriously doubt it.

>but I suspect everyone is going to vote on the novel version (14%
>longer) instead.

> Similarly, "...And Now You Don't" (the second half of
>SECOND FOUNDATION) is also skirting between novella and novel,

Again, it's approximately 50,000 words.

> but at
>least I think the book version is identical to the magazine version, as
>is "To the Stars" in its re-incarnation as the first half of RETURN TO
>TOMORROW.
>
>At one time, "The Man Who Sold the Moon" might have appealed to me.
>Now, after thirty more years' worth of similar preaching from Heinlein,
>I find it annoying and couldn't force myself to read more than a third
>of it. "The Dreaming Jewels" is not my usual cup of tea, but stands up
>better. "The Last Enemy" and "To the Stars" are also okay, but my vote
>here has to go to "...And Now You Don't." I realize this may sound
>inconsistent based on my criterion that a book (or story) must stand on
>its own to be worthy of a Hugo, and one major problem here is that the
>"Foundation" series is so much a part of the landscape that it's hard
>to pretend the rest don't exist. So all I can do is say that as best I
>can judge, this has enough background recap to stand alone.
>

I didn't much like "Last Enemy" (at least in the original Astounding
appearance, there is no "The".) I haven't yet read "To The Stars". I
think "The Dreaming Jewels" is the best of the lot (and, yes, I'm
evaluating the book version, not the magazine version), though I think
like "The Man Who Sold the Moon" rather better than you do. I have
always had a bit of distaste for the end of _Second Foundation_ (Ve
Vill Control Your Minds, und You Vill Like It!) -- only surpassed by
my distaste for _Foundation's Edge_ and _Foundation and Earth_.
Asimov really had no trust in humans at all.

>Nominations for Novelette:
>
>"Dear Devil" by Eric Frank Russell
>"Okie" by James Blish
>"Scanners Live in Vain" by Cordwainer Smith
>"The Helping Hand" by Poul Anderson
>"The Little Black Bag" by C. M. Kornbluth
>
>This is a strong category, and tough to decide. "Okie" seems somewhat
>dated, as does "Scanners Live in Vain." (Of course, if I'm trying to
>vote based on 1950 sensibilities, this shouldn't count.) "The Helping
>Hand" is just too obvious. Maybe it wasn't then, but the whole
>phenomenon has been discussed so much since then that it's hard to see
>this as thta original. "Dear Devil" has sentiment on its side, but my
>vote has to go to "The Little Black Bag" as the best, and certainly the
>most memorable.
>

I agree with most of what you say except that I think "Scanners Live
in Vain", even though dated, is so powerful and effective that it
transcends its datedness. It gets my vote by a considerable margin.

>Nominations for Short Story:
>
>"A Subway Named Mobius" by A. J. Deutsch
>"Born of Man and Woman" by Richard Matheson
>"Coming Attraction" by Fritz Leiber (Galaxy Nov 50)
>"The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork Out" by Reginald Bretnor
>"To Serve Man" by Damon Knight
>
>"A Subway Named Mobius" is the clear winner here for me. I know people
>liked "Born of Man and Woman"--I just don't know why. "To Serve Man"
>is good, but I don't believe would be on this ballot if there had not
>been a "Twilight Zone" episode of it. (And if you think about it
>enough, the ending doesn't actually stand up.) I can't believe anyone
>liked "The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork Out" enough to nominate it--it
>must be one of those butterfly ballot things. And "Coming Attraction,"
>while good technically, just doesn't have the certain something of "A
>Subway Named Mobius." (Of course, I do have a degree in mathematics,
>and read this story back in Clifton Fadiman's FANTASIA MATHEMATICA
>about a zillion times, so that might have something to so with it too.)
>

Hmmm. I think "A Subway Named Mobius" is a cute idea, but that's
about it. "Coming Attraction", on the other hand, is thoroughly
brilliant, not dated at all -- one of the truly great stories in SF
history. I liked "Gnurrs" OK when I read it some years ago, but it
never would have occurred to me in a million years to nominate it for
a Hugo. And I don't doubt for a second that you are right about "To
Serve Man", cute as it is, getting in (at least partly) on the basis
of the TZ episode.

As I asked before, where the heck is Bradbury? My nominating ballot
included "Ylla", "Usher II", and "There Will Come Soft Rains". "The
Veldt" and "The Fox and the Forest" are also from 1950. All these
stories are much much better than, say, "The Gnurrs Come From the
Voodvork Out". The ballot is seriously harmed by their absence --
though this paragraph may almost explain why they didn't make it --
there were so many good Bradbury stories that they split the vote.


--
Rich Horton | Stable Email: mailto://richard...@sff.net
Home Page: http://www.sff.net/people/richard.horton
Also visit SF Site (http://www.sfsite.com) and Tangent Online (http://www.tangentonline.com)

Frank

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Jun 30, 2001, 3:26:17 AM6/30/01
to
No comments on Egan's "Oracle"?

Ide Cyan

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Jun 30, 2001, 4:54:08 AM6/30/01
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Um, spoiler warnings regarding the Foundation trilogy?

Richard Horton wrote:
> On 29 Jun 2001 20:12:40 GMT, ele...@jaguar.stc.lucent.com (Evelyn C.
> Leeper) wrote:

[Regarding the Retro Hugo Awards]
> >Nominations for Novella:
<snip>


> > "The Last Enemy" and "To the Stars" are also okay, but my vote
> >here has to go to "...And Now You Don't." I realize this may sound
> >inconsistent based on my criterion that a book (or story) must stand on
> >its own to be worthy of a Hugo, and one major problem here is that the
> >"Foundation" series is so much a part of the landscape that it's hard
> >to pretend the rest don't exist. So all I can do is say that as best I
> >can judge, this has enough background recap to stand alone.
>
> I didn't much like "Last Enemy" (at least in the original Astounding
> appearance, there is no "The".) I haven't yet read "To The Stars". I
> think "The Dreaming Jewels" is the best of the lot (and, yes, I'm
> evaluating the book version, not the magazine version), though I think
> like "The Man Who Sold the Moon" rather better than you do. I have
> always had a bit of distaste for the end of _Second Foundation_ (Ve
> Vill Control Your Minds, und You Vill Like It!) -- only surpassed by
> my distaste for _Foundation's Edge_ and _Foundation and Earth_.
> Asimov really had no trust in humans at all.

I finished reading Second Foundation a few days ago, and while the
tricky business of just where the Second Foundation was was fun (but
infuriatiing; Hari Seldon, you naughty psychohistorian, you!), I have to
agree that the mind control was a bit icky. At least the Mule didn't
make you do his bidding out of any sense of certitude that he was doing
it for your own good and for the good of the galaxy, and he was upfront
about it to his Converted. I just felt sorry for Arkady and everybody
else.

Effective story-telling, mind you, but nasty. The Seldon Plan's
cloistered followers are a veritable jihad of fanatical zealots.

I've got copies of _Foundation's Edge_ and _Foundation and Earth_, but
I've heard of their bad reputation, and I have yet to read the Robot
novels anyways, so I'm wary of starting them.

I've begun Lud-in-the-Mist now anyways, and I have stacks of other books
waiting. :-)

Vlatko Juric-Kokic

unread,
Jun 30, 2001, 5:41:37 AM6/30/01
to
On 29 Jun 2001 20:12:40 GMT, ele...@jaguar.stc.lucent.com (Evelyn C.
Leeper) wrote:

>but the winner hands down (as
>always) is Ted Chiang with "Seventy-Two Letters," an absolutely superb
>story

What I *didn't* like about the story is the "reporting" part after the
childhood beginning, which gave me the feeling that the story should
have been a novel.

BTW, the Asimov's site is an abomination because of the too-small
letters. I tried writing to their webmaster about that once and the
mail bounced.

vlatko
--
_Neither Fish Nor Fowl_
http://www.webart.hr/nrnm/eng/index.htm
vlatko.ju...@zg.hinet.hr

TLambs1138

unread,
Jun 30, 2001, 1:40:42 PM6/30/01
to
As for "Rabbit of Seville", (the Bugs Bunny cartoon) what really got to me was
the ending--Elmer as bride, Bugs as groom, and the opening bars of "The
Marriage of Figaro". Sick, sick people...

And "To Serve Man" was also popularized on The Simpsons as one of their
Halloween specials--"Hungry Are the Damned", with much ado about a cookbook and
the dust being blown off different parts (I think this was the first time we
met Kang and Kodos in the Simpson chronology as well).

Obviously, I watch _way_ too many toons...


Jean Lamb, tlamb...@cs.com
"Fun will now commence!" - Seven of Nine

Mike Berro

unread,
Jun 30, 2001, 3:18:53 PM6/30/01
to
I'm surprised you find THE DYING EARTH "unreadable"; could you elaborate? To
me that is different than saying "I hated it", but is that what you meant?

It is indeed a collection of short stories, but was issued as a novel, so I
suppose that's why it was nominated.

--Mike
http://www.jackvance.org

Nicholas Whyte

unread,
Jun 30, 2001, 4:57:58 PM6/30/01
to
ele...@jaguar.stc.lucent.com (Evelyn C. Leeper) wrote in message news:<9hinfo$8...@nntpa.cb.lucent.com>...

> Here are my observations and comments on the Hugo nominees in the
> fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Since I doubt my
> opinions will sway anyone, this is not a blatant attempt to sway
> your vote. :-)
>
> HUGOS:
>
> Nominations for Novel:
>
> A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
> Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
> Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
> Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
> The Sky Road by Ken MacLeod

I've only bought Calculating God today, so will get back after I have
read it.

> Nominations for Novella:
>
> "A Roll of the Dice" by Catherine Asaro (Analog Jul/Aug 2000)
> "Oracle" by Greg Egan (Asimov's Jul 2000)
> "Radiant Green Star" by Lucius Shepard (Asimov's Aug 2000)
> "Seventy-Two Letters" by Ted Chiang
> "The Retrieval Artist" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Analog Jun 2000)
> "The Ultimate Earth" by Jack Williamson (Analog Dec 2000)
>

> the winner hands down (as
> always) is Ted Chiang with "Seventy-Two Letters," an absolutely superb
> story

Agreed. You didn't mention "Oracle" in your review, which I thoght was
the only other story of Hugo-winning quality. None of the others were
real turkeys though. "The Ultimate Earth" didn't have a very
satisfactory ending but that seems to be standard for stories about
nanotechnology.

> Nominations for Novelette:
>
> "Agape Among the Robots" by Allen Steele (Analog May 2000)
> "Generation Gap" by Stanley Schmidt
> "Millennium Babies" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov's Jan 2000)
> "On the Orion Line" by Stephen Baxter (Asimov's Oct/Nov 2000)
> "Redchapel" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's Dec 2000)
>
> I

> thought that "Millennium Babies" did stand out as, if not astonishing
> new and fresh, at least not as predictable as some of the others.

"Agape Among the Robots" and "Redchapel" were both a little on the
silly side. "On the Orion Line" was surely written by Heinlein and
then parodied by Harrison several decades ago. "Millennium Babies" was
good, but "Generation Gap" was better; plays with the alternate
timeline concept in what I thought was quite an original way, bringing
about a certain redemption - twice over - for the main character.

> Nominations for Short Story:
>
> "Different Kinds of Darkness" by David Langford (F&SF Jan 2000)
> "Kaddish for the Last Survivor" by Michael A. Burstein (Analog Nov 2000)
> "Moon Dogs" by Michael Swanwick (Asimov's Mar 2000)
> "The Elephants on Neptune" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's May 2000)
> "The Gravity Mine" by Stephen Baxter (Asimov's Apr 2000)
>

> Seriously, if you have to vote for Dave Langford for a Hugo, vote for
> him in this category.
> But seriously, seriously, his was the best story and I'm not sure I can
> even pin down why.

There was nothing particularly sfnal about "Kaddish for the Last
Survivor"; the single piece of technology in the story could equally
well have been a written diary. "The Elephants on Neptune" is just
plain silly. "Moon Dogs" didn't make much sense either. Baxter has
written "The Gravity Mine" before, at greater length, and better.
"Different Kinds of Darkness" is original, creepy and surprising.
That's why it's the best.

Nicholas Whyte

My sf pages: http://explorers.whyte.com/sfindex.htm

Jorge Candeias

unread,
Jun 30, 2001, 9:31:58 PM6/30/01
to
Richard Horton wrote:

> As I asked before, where the heck is Bradbury? My nominating ballot
> included "Ylla", "Usher II", and "There Will Come Soft Rains". "The
> Veldt" and "The Fox and the Forest" are also from 1950. All these
> stories are much much better than, say, "The Gnurrs Come From the
> Voodvork Out". The ballot is seriously harmed by their absence --
> though this paragraph may almost explain why they didn't make it --
> there were so many good Bradbury stories that they split the vote.

First of all, I like your taste! ;-)

Secondly, I think that even so "There Will Be Soft Rains" stands out
from the lot. This is one of the very few truly and timelessly brilliant
SF stories ever written, IMHO.

So I guess the absence of Bradbury has to be explained some other way.
Perhaps everybody assumed he'd be there and tried to put up a second
best? Or perhaps the current taste for crude, cynical, violent stories
(and consequent distaste for the kind of poetic humanism that fills
Bradbury's writing) is showing? I dunno...

But "There Will be Soft Rains" deserves a Hugo, I have no doubt about
that...

Jorge

John Andrew Fairhurst

unread,
Jul 1, 2001, 3:17:34 AM7/1/01
to
In article <9hinfo$8...@nntpa.cb.lucent.com>,
ele...@jaguar.stc.lucent.com says...

> But my vote goes to HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE. Yes, it's
> part of a series, and since I have read all the preceding books I may
> be having difficulty judging whether it stands alone
>

FWIW, also having read all of the Potter books, I would say the books do
stand alone quite well. If I was going to vote, it'd get mine too...

(BTW, where's Nalo Hopkinson from?)
--
John Fairhurst
In Association with Amazon worldwide:
http://www.johnsbooks.co.uk
Classic Science Fiction & Fantasy

Ide Cyan

unread,
Jul 1, 2001, 3:30:05 AM7/1/01
to
John Andrew Fairhurst wrote:
> (BTW, where's Nalo Hopkinson from?)

"I've lived in Toronto, Canada since 1977, but spent most of my first 16
years in the Caribbean, where I was born."

That's from her bio on her website. http://www.sff.net/people/nalo/

Nicholas Whyte

unread,
Jul 1, 2001, 6:24:22 AM7/1/01
to
Vlatko Juric-Kokic <vlatko.ju...@zg.hinet.hr> wrote in message news:<ha7rjtsbks26ji2c2...@news.hinet.hr>...

> On 29 Jun 2001 20:12:40 GMT, ele...@jaguar.stc.lucent.com (Evelyn C.
> Leeper) wrote:
>
> >but the winner hands down (as
> >always) is Ted Chiang with "Seventy-Two Letters," an absolutely superb
> >story
>
> What I *didn't* like about the story is the "reporting" part after the
> childhood beginning, which gave me the feeling that the story should
> have been a novel.
>
> BTW, the Asimov's site is an abomination because of the too-small
> letters. I tried writing to their webmaster about that once and the
> mail bounced.

Cut'n'paste into your favourite text processor, then print in a format you can read.

Nicholas

Nicholas Whyte

unread,
Jul 1, 2001, 9:00:44 AM7/1/01
to
On 29 Jun 2001 20:12:40 GMT, ele...@jaguar.stc.lucent.com (Evelyn C.
Leeper) wrote:

>Here are my observations and comments on the Hugo nominees in the
>fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Since I doubt my
>opinions will sway anyone, this is not a blatant attempt to sway
>your vote. :-)
>
>HUGOS:
>
>Nominations for Novel:
>
>A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
>Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
>Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
>Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
>The Sky Road by Ken MacLeod

I think this is a very difficult choice. "A Storm of Swords" is
outstanding, but is also I think the least outstanding of the three
books in the series so far, and definitely doesn't stand on its own.
"Calculating God" started exceptionally well but degenerated towards
the end which I'm afraid reminded me of the worst of the Star Trek
movies. "Midnight Robber", once you engaged with the patois which is
the book's real charm, likewise didn't quite convince me at the end. I
did like "The Sky Road" but I liked "Harry Potter and the Goblet of
Fire" more. I think in the end I would vote for "A Storm of Swords",
though conscious that the majority will probably disagree.

Chad R. Orzel

unread,
Jul 1, 2001, 10:03:01 AM7/1/01
to
On 29 Jun 2001 20:12:40 GMT, ele...@jaguar.stc.lucent.com (Evelyn C.
Leeper) wrote:


>Nominations for Novella:
>
>"A Roll of the Dice" by Catherine Asaro (Analog Jul/Aug 2000)
>"Oracle" by Greg Egan (Asimov's Jul 2000)
>"Radiant Green Star" by Lucius Shepard (Asimov's Aug 2000)
>"Seventy-Two Letters" by Ted Chiang
>"The Retrieval Artist" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Analog Jun 2000)
>"The Ultimate Earth" by Jack Williamson (Analog Dec 2000)

{...}

but the winner hands down (as
>always) is Ted Chiang with "Seventy-Two Letters," an absolutely superb
>story based, as was Richard Garfinkle's CELESTIAL MATTERS, on the
>premise that what in our world is a previous view of science since
>discredited, is in reality the accurate one. For Garfinkle, it was
>Aristotelian science. For Chiang, it's a different theory of biology.

In keeping with this year's general Hugo theme of "works Chad hasn't
read," I didn't recognize any of these when the nominations came out.
I read the Chiang story on-line, though, after hearing it praised here
(and having liked "Story of Your Life"), and it really didn't do much
for me.

It's certainly a neat premise, but it's an awfully talky story after
the first few paragraphs (possibly in homage to the fiction of the
Victorian-is era about which he's writing), containing too many "As
you know, Robert..." passages for my tastes. Which was especially
annoying, given that the opening passages did a nice job of sneaking
the different science in, as he had me thinking the toy automaton was
mechanical for a couple of paragraphs before I caught the "name"
thing.

I was also expecting more of a punch line than we got, or at least a
different punch line, but it's hard to hold that against Chiang. And
at least he didn't hammer too hard on the analogy to modern genetics.

It was a nifty idea, and executed reasonably well, but lacked the
punch of "Story of Your Life." I'll probably look up a few of the
other nominees, just to have something to do while I'm bored at work,
but I'm a little uneasy if this one's going to win in a walk...

>Nominations for Dramatic Presentation:
>
>Chicken Run
>Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
>Frank Herbert's Dune
>Frequency
>X-Men
>
>In spite of my comments in the Retro Hugos section regarding a bias
>toward science fiction over fantasy, I still give the nod here to
>fantasy--maybe because I thought the fantasy works were *so* much
>better here than the science fiction ones. FREQUENCY had a lot of
>promise and started well, but turned into yet another "unstoppable
>psychotic killer" movie. (Mark described this as "convergent alternate
>history"--rather than a single past forking into multiple possibilities
>for the present, a variety of premises for films all merge into the
>same conclusion.

I like that.
A very useful concept in dealing with movies...

>But the winner has to be CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. It has
>everything: fantasy, real characters, great cinematography, a marvelous
>score, ....

Yep.
A wonderful movie, that. I was glad to see it nominated.

>Nominations for Dramatic Presentation:
>
>Cinderella
>Destination Moon
>Harvey
>Rabbit of Seville
>Rocketship X-M
>
>I couldn't locate a copy of "Rabbit of Seville" and don't remember ever
>seeing it.

It's not quite as good as "What's Opera, Doc?" but it's fun.


Later,
OilCan

James Nicoll

unread,
Jul 1, 2001, 12:29:47 PM7/1/01
to
In article <3B3ED17D...@yahoo.com>, Ide Cyan <ide_...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>John Andrew Fairhurst wrote:
>> (BTW, where's Nalo Hopkinson from?)
>
>"I've lived in Toronto, Canada since 1977, but spent most of my first 16
>years in the Caribbean, where I was born."
>
!

Does that mean she was born in '61? I met her at a MPL (Well,
St. Paul, actually) con and I thought she was in her mid-20s. How
come everyone else has a painting in the attic but me?

James Nicoll

--
The Canadians were a hospitable and tolerant desert people,
living on the edge of a wilderness of snow and permafrost. Winnipeg,
Regina and Saskatoon were cities of the northern desert, Samarkands
of ice. J.G. Ballard

Bill Snyder

unread,
Jul 1, 2001, 12:59:53 PM7/1/01
to
On 1 Jul 2001 12:29:47 -0400, jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:

>In article <3B3ED17D...@yahoo.com>, Ide Cyan <ide_...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>>John Andrew Fairhurst wrote:
>>> (BTW, where's Nalo Hopkinson from?)
>>
>>"I've lived in Toronto, Canada since 1977, but spent most of my first 16
>>years in the Caribbean, where I was born."
>>
> !
>
> Does that mean she was born in '61? I met her at a MPL (Well,
>St. Paul, actually) con and I thought she was in her mid-20s. How
>come everyone else has a painting in the attic but me?
>

But surely you must have a picture in the attic, James. Or maybe a
whole series. It shows you flayed, dismembered, roasted, drowned,
frozen...

--
Bill Snyder [This space unintentionally left blank.]

Henry Churchyard

unread,
Jul 1, 2001, 4:08:15 PM7/1/01
to
In article <9hinfo$8...@nntpa.cb.lucent.com>,
Evelyn C. Leeper <ele...@lucent.com> wrote:

> Here are my observations and comments on the Hugo nominees in the
> fiction and dramatic presentation categories.

> RETRO HUGOS:

[I snipped from the lists some stories I don't remember ever having
read...]


> Nominations for Novel:

> The Dying Earth by Jack Vance

> First Lensman by Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.
> Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov
> The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

> in 1951 PEBBLE IN THE SKY and FARMER IN THE SKY might have seemed
> great, but now both appear very dated. I still find THE DYING EARTH


> unreadable, and having tried to read FIRST LENSMAN, I can now add
> that to the list of books I just don't get or can't read. This
> leaves THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, which is readable, and

> not dated. At any rate, it gets my vote.

I think "Dying Earth" is a true classic (much better than the three
much later Vance "sequels", which went downhill at a great rate); it's
true that "Dying Earth" is to some degree a short story collection,
but almost every single story is a real winner, and the book ends on a
very strong note with "Guyal of Sfere".

"Pebble in the Sky" is a million times better than "Stars Like Dust",
but I don't know that I would call it a classic; and "Lion, the Witch
and the Wardrobe" is pretty much my least favorite book in the Narnia
series (and I think it is at least a little dated).


> Nominations for Novella:

> "To the Stars" by L. Ron Hubbard

[Side note -- isn't that the story that had ordinary-space spaceships
"check blasting" in the forward direction to avoid reaching the speed
of light? ;-) ]


> Nominations for Novelette:

> "Okie" by James Blish
> "Scanners Live in Vain" by Cordwainer Smith

> "The Little Black Bag" by C. M. Kornbluth

> This is a strong category, and tough to decide. "Okie" seems
> somewhat dated, as does "Scanners Live in Vain." (Of course, if I'm
> trying to vote based on 1950 sensibilities, this shouldn't count.)

> my vote has to go to "The Little Black Bag" as the best, and
> certainly the most memorable.

"Scanners Live in Vain" is pretty much a classic; it's hard for me to
see how it's very dated (though it does have a kind of blue-collar
sensibility in a way). "Little Black Bag" is pretty good in its own
way, but it's basically a kind of abstract fable, and the eugenics
thinking behind the premise is really more dated than anything in
"Scanners Live in Vain" (the Jukes and the Kallikaks, remember them?)
Blish's "Flight of the Cities" is still a certain kind of classic, but
I don't know if it's all that pleasurable to read, and it's definitely
dated in parts -- and I don't see how any part of "Flight of the
Cities" could stand up to "Scanners Live in Vain" as an independent
novelette (I don't remember which part of "Flight of the Cities" makes
up "Okie"). However, I did really like the description of 100-years-on-
into-the-cold-war-and-on-the-verge-of-losing-it America near the
begining of "Cities in Flight".


> Nominations for Short Story:

> "A Subway Named Mobius" by A. J. Deutsch

> "Coming Attraction" by Fritz Leiber (Galaxy Nov 50)

> "To Serve Man" by Damon Knight

> "A Subway Named Mobius" is the clear winner here for me. "To Serve


> Man" is good, but I don't believe would be on this ballot if there

> had not been a "Twilight Zone" episode of it. And "Coming


> Attraction," while good technically, just doesn't have the certain
> something of "A Subway Named Mobius." (Of course, I do have a degree
> in mathematics, and read this story back in Clifton Fadiman's
> FANTASIA MATHEMATICA about a zillion times, so that might have
> something to so with it too.)

My father had Clifton Fadiman's "Fantasia Mathematica" on his shelves
when I was a kid, and I read it several times too, but I still think
that "Coming Attractions", if it's the "innocent Brit visits the
degeneracy of NYC" story that I remember (haven't read it for a while),
is a strong contender.

--
Henry Churchyard chu...@usa.net http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Jul 1, 2001, 8:02:21 PM7/1/01
to
Chad R. Orzel <orz...@earthlink.net> wrote:

> ["72 Letters", Chiang]


>
> In keeping with this year's general Hugo theme of "works Chad hasn't
> read," I didn't recognize any of these when the nominations came out.
> I read the Chiang story on-line, though, after hearing it praised here
> (and having liked "Story of Your Life"), and it really didn't do much
> for me.

> It's certainly a neat premise, but it's an awfully talky story after
> the first few paragraphs (possibly in homage to the fiction of the
> Victorian-is era about which he's writing), containing too many "As
> you know, Robert..." passages for my tastes. Which was especially
> annoying, given that the opening passages did a nice job of sneaking
> the different science in, as he had me thinking the toy automaton was
> mechanical for a couple of paragraphs before I caught the "name"
> thing.

> I was also expecting more of a punch line than we got, or at least a
> different punch line, but it's hard to hold that against Chiang. And
> at least he didn't hammer too hard on the analogy to modern genetics.

When I read the story, about halfway through, I saw where the
punchline was going to come from. I starting wibbling incoherently. It
was a *brilliant* idea... but I saw immediately that it would only be
brilliant to a small fraction of the population.

> It was a nifty idea, and executed reasonably well, but lacked the
> punch of "Story of Your Life."

Agreed.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
* Re-elect Al Gore in 2004.

Avram Grumer

unread,
Jul 1, 2001, 9:24:19 PM7/1/01
to
In article <3b3f1daf...@news.skynet.be>, expl...@whyte.com
(Nicholas Whyte) wrote:

I'm still working my way through _Midnight Robber_. It's definitely in
the running for my Hugo vote. I read _Calculating God_ last week, and
yeah, far too pat and Star-Trek-like. I'm not going to get to the Martin
book, because I haven't read the earlier books, but I may have time for
the fourth Harry Potter book. It'll have to be a damn sight better than
the first three to get my vote.

Then I can tear my way through the short fiction, all of which I've got
sitting in my Visor.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden has convinced me to vote "No Award" for all of the
Retro-Hugos. (See <http://www.panix.com/~pnh/makinglight.html>, scroll
down to the June 14 entry.)

--
Avram Grumer | av...@grumer.org | http://www.PigsAndFishes.org

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed
corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a
trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Richard Horton

unread,
Jul 1, 2001, 10:52:23 PM7/1/01
to
On Sun, 01 Jul 2001 21:24:19 -0400, av...@grumer.org (Avram Grumer)
wrote:

>Teresa Nielsen Hayden has convinced me to vote "No Award" for all of the
>Retro-Hugos. (See <http://www.panix.com/~pnh/makinglight.html>, scroll
>down to the June 14 entry.)

I think those arguments are well-taken, and absolutely convincing in
the case of categories like Fan Writer and both Artist categories.
But I think that the Retro-Hugos are defensible, with caveats, for the
fiction.

Teresa writes "Better yet, let's remember it, and to hell with the
awards." Bravo! And what has done more, these past few months, to
help people remember SF from 1950 than people thinking about, and
discussing, possible Retro-Hugo awards?

(Maybe a lot, actually, but in my personal case, I made it a project
to read as much 1950 SF as I could, and to discuss it as widely as I
could -- as such it was of considerable value to me personally. To
other people? I couldn't say.)

We should, of course, keep in mind that these aren't reasonable
"replacements" for awards that would have been given in 1951. And I
have no doubt whatsoever that fans voting in 1951 would have produced
a more "interesting", more historically valid, more "weird", set of
awards than will result in 2001. The 2001 Retro-Hugos will be nothing
but a reflection of what people in 2001 remember of 1950 SF. And as
such, flawed. And as such, if the respect accorded the 1996
Retro-Hugos is any indication, they won't be generally regarded as
"real Hugos", or significant awards. Which is pretty much as it
should be. The exercise, IMO, remains fun, and instructive.

Evelyn C. Leeper

unread,
Jul 2, 2001, 9:16:08 AM7/2/01
to
In article <xCp%6.489$eJ5.2...@paloalto-snr1.gtei.net>,

Mike Berro <mikebe...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> I'm surprised you find THE DYING EARTH "unreadable"; could you elaborate? To
> me that is different than saying "I hated it", but is that what you meant?

No, I picked it up (for at least the second time), started it, and
couldn't force myself to read it. I guess there's just something about
Vance's prose, at least here, that I can't mesh with.

Evelyn C. Leeper

unread,
Jul 2, 2001, 9:17:56 AM7/2/01
to
In article <aef59d20.01063...@posting.google.com>,

Nicholas Whyte <expl...@whyte.com> wrote:
> ele...@jaguar.stc.lucent.com (Evelyn C. Leeper) wrote in message news:<9hinfo$8...@nntpa.cb.lucent.com>...
>
> There was nothing particularly sfnal about "Kaddish for the Last
> Survivor"; the single piece of technology in the story could equally
> well have been a written diary.

[spoilers]


Well, no. The whole idea was similar to BRAINSTORM--you would actually
experience it rather than just have a (forgeable) document.
Unfortunately, I didn't see why this would make it more believable to
skeptics, so perhaps you're right.

Evelyn C. Leeper

unread,
Jul 2, 2001, 9:20:29 AM7/2/01
to
In article <43aujt4l6iakfhtn1...@4ax.com>,

Chad R. Orzel <orz...@earthlink.net> wrote:
> On 29 Jun 2001 20:12:40 GMT, ele...@jaguar.stc.lucent.com (Evelyn C.
> Leeper) wrote:
>
> but the winner hands down (as
> >always) is Ted Chiang with "Seventy-Two Letters," an absolutely superb
> >story based, as was Richard Garfinkle's CELESTIAL MATTERS, on the
> >premise that what in our world is a previous view of science since
> >discredited, is in reality the accurate one. For Garfinkle, it was
> >Aristotelian science. For Chiang, it's a different theory of biology.
>
> In keeping with this year's general Hugo theme of "works Chad hasn't
> read," I didn't recognize any of these when the nominations came out.
> I read the Chiang story on-line, though, after hearing it praised here
> (and having liked "Story of Your Life"), and it really didn't do much
> for me.
>
> ...

>
> It was a nifty idea, and executed reasonably well, but lacked the
> punch of "Story of Your Life."

This last sounds like "praising with faint damns" (or something), at
least to be. I mean, it's like saying that KING LEAR is good, but not
up to HAMLET. (Or whatever you rank highest.)

Frank

unread,
Jul 2, 2001, 6:05:16 PM7/2/01
to
On Sun, 01 Jul 2001 14:03:01 GMT, Chad R. Orzel <orz...@earthlink.net>
wrote:

>I'll probably look up a few of the


>other nominees, just to have something to do while I'm bored at work,
>but I'm a little uneasy if this one's going to win in a walk...

What makes you think this one might "win in a walk"? If it were a
Connie Willis story, sure. Of the nominees in this category, I think
Jack Williamson is probably likely to win; he's over ninety, and he's
never won a Hugo for fiction. This may be the voters' last chance to
give him an award.


Simon Slavin

unread,
Jul 2, 2001, 6:08:16 PM7/2/01
to
In article <3B3D93B0...@yahoo.com>,
Ide Cyan <ide_...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> I've got copies of _Foundation's Edge_ and _Foundation and Earth_, but
> I've heard of their bad reputation, and I have yet to read the Robot
> novels anyways, so I'm wary of starting them.

The Robot novels which /aren't/ in the Foundation series are
fine. I'm not fond of the books in which the two series converge.

Simon.
--
http://www.hearsay.demon.co.uk | I have a hunch that [] the unknown sequences
No junk email please. | of DNA [will decode into] copyright notices
| and patent protections. -- Donald E. Knuth
Mac OS X. Because making Unix user-friendly is easier than debugging Windows.

Richard Horton

unread,
Jul 2, 2001, 9:32:49 PM7/2/01
to
On Mon, 02 Jul 2001 15:05:16 -0700, Frank <fch...@usa.nospam.net>
wrote:

Yeah, but his story just isn't very good, darnit!

John Andrew Fairhurst

unread,
Jul 3, 2001, 12:50:16 AM7/3/01
to
In article <9hnj5r$r11$1...@panix6.panix.com>, jdni...@panix.com says...

> Does that mean she was born in '61? I met her at a MPL (Well,
> St. Paul, actually) con and I thought she was in her mid-20s.
>


Although she's lived most of her life here in the UK, one of my friends
at work was born in the Caribbean. Although she's nearly in her mid
forties, she could pass quite easily for early thirties or younger.

I think they're not telling us something :-(

Joseph Nebus

unread,
Jul 3, 2001, 1:41:55 AM7/3/01
to
Ide Cyan <ide_...@yahoo.com> writes:

>Um, spoiler warnings regarding the Foundation trilogy?

>Richard Horton wrote:

>> Asimov really had no trust in humans at all.

I think that's an unfair assessment. In most of his stories
the average guy comes across very well -- basically decent, worthy of
respect, and usually much wiser than authority figures who Know Better
are.


>I finished reading Second Foundation a few days ago, and while the
>tricky business of just where the Second Foundation was was fun (but
>infuriatiing; Hari Seldon, you naughty psychohistorian, you!), I have to
>agree that the mind control was a bit icky. At least the Mule didn't
>make you do his bidding out of any sense of certitude that he was doing
>it for your own good and for the good of the galaxy, and he was upfront
>about it to his Converted. I just felt sorry for Arkady and everybody
>else.

The mind-control powers of the Second Foundationers strike me
as being powers far in excess of what Seldon planned (at least before
the controversial last novella of "Forward the Foundation" tried to
build the backstory). At least initially the Second Foundationers
had superior powers of persuasion attributable to long, intense study
of how humans think and how they form decisions, which seems almost
inevitable to me.

That they were doing this for the good of the galaxy isn't
seriously disputable in the story's contexts -- they had the evidence
of galactic chaos if they didn't act to rebuild the galaxy. One may
well argue whether a unified empire is the best course for humanity,
but it does seem sensible that people living in the First Empire would
think that the perfect state of affairs.

(Also, it's not really made clear what sort of government the
Second Empire is, apart from 'more federated' and 'less injust' ...
the ultimate goal may be a clearly, recognizably improved state of
existence.)


>Effective story-telling, mind you, but nasty. The Seldon Plan's
>cloistered followers are a veritable jihad of fanatical zealots.

The goal was building a sustainable galaxy-wide political
structure from the chaos of the old; if you weren't fanatical, you
would know it was impossible.

Still, Second Foundation strikes me more as an attempt to
institutionalize wisdom; since government is necessary, shouldn't it
be as wise as possible? One that can know, with reasonable confidence,
how to best do what it chooses? There are many problems implementing
this -- I think the academic structure of what's seen in the Second
Foundation hints at some of them -- and it's a shame there weren't any
stories set in the Second Empire to try to explore how psychohistory
would be used to deal with the normal problems of government.


>I've got copies of _Foundation's Edge_ and _Foundation and Earth_, but
>I've heard of their bad reputation, and I have yet to read the Robot
>novels anyways, so I'm wary of starting them.

An exaggerated reputation. The biggest flaws in "Foundation's
Edge" and "Foundation and Earth" are their wordiness; if Asimov's
editors hadn't been blinded by enthusiasm and cut out the excesses,
they'd be perfectly exciting stories. And if you're the sort who likes
Asimov's style even when he's just puttering around an idea, the stuff
that isn't essential to the stories isn't bad, as long as your patience
holds out.

(That, and a fair number of elements seem recycled from earlier
stories without enough new development to make them feel original. I
attribute that to being rusty, though; Asimov's later long pieces were
better at replaying old material.)

Joseph Nebus
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

O. Deus

unread,
Jul 3, 2001, 2:46:32 AM7/3/01
to
Joseph Nebus wrote:

> The mind-control powers of the Second Foundationers strike me
> as being powers far in excess of what Seldon planned (at least before
> the controversial last novella of "Forward the Foundation" tried to
> build the backstory). At least initially the Second Foundationers
> had superior powers of persuasion attributable to long, intense study
> of how humans think and how they form decisions, which seems almost
> inevitable to me.

Their powers seemed in range with those of the Mule which involved
forcing people into altered states of mind. They were neither as crude
or as brutal as the mule but they were certainly not merely persuaders.


> That they were doing this for the good of the galaxy isn't
> seriously disputable in the story's contexts -- they had the evidence
> of galactic chaos if they didn't act to rebuild the galaxy. One may
> well argue whether a unified empire is the best course for humanity,
> but it does seem sensible that people living in the First Empire would
> think that the perfect state of affairs.
>
> (Also, it's not really made clear what sort of government the
> Second Empire is, apart from 'more federated' and 'less injust' ...
> the ultimate goal may be a clearly, recognizably improved state of
> existence.)

Somewhat, however as neither Seldon nor the powers behind the Foundation
ever believed in the ability of people to make their own decisions, that
wouldn't be very meaningfull. Indeed by the final novel Asimov has
turned over power to a superorganic lifeform that will essentially
encompass all life and enslave all of humanity into one lifeform.



> Still, Second Foundation strikes me more as an attempt to
> institutionalize wisdom; since government is necessary, shouldn't it
> be as wise as possible? One that can know, with reasonable confidence,
> how to best do what it chooses? There are many problems implementing
> this -- I think the academic structure of what's seen in the Second
> Foundation hints at some of them -- and it's a shame there weren't any
> stories set in the Second Empire to try to explore how psychohistory
> would be used to deal with the normal problems of government.

Well the ultimate problem is that no such Empire would have either been
just or workable. It would at best have been a slightly better working
version of the original Empire until it began to decay and without an R.
Daneel to keep things running smoothly, that would inevitably happen. No
secret organization can function well for long and by Foundation's Edge,
the decay of even the Second Foundation was quite clear.



> An exaggerated reputation. The biggest flaws in "Foundation's
> Edge" and "Foundation and Earth" are their wordiness; if Asimov's
> editors hadn't been blinded by enthusiasm and cut out the excesses,
> they'd be perfectly exciting stories. And if you're the sort who likes
> Asimov's style even when he's just puttering around an idea, the stuff
> that isn't essential to the stories isn't bad, as long as your patience
> holds out.

The biggest flaws is that both essentially kill the integrity and the
future of the Foundation in favor of an inhuman organism into which all
of humanity will be subsumed. The entire notion of a man who somehow
makes right decisions is ridiculous and unsupported

Chad R. Orzel

unread,
Jul 3, 2001, 9:32:57 AM7/3/01
to
On 2 Jul 2001 13:20:29 GMT, ele...@jaguar.stc.lucent.com (Evelyn C.
Leeper) wrote:

>In article <43aujt4l6iakfhtn1...@4ax.com>,
>Chad R. Orzel <orz...@earthlink.net> wrote:

{"Seventy-two Letters"}

>> It was a nifty idea, and executed reasonably well, but lacked the
>> punch of "Story of Your Life."

>This last sounds like "praising with faint damns" (or something), at
>least to be. I mean, it's like saying that KING LEAR is good, but not
>up to HAMLET. (Or whatever you rank highest.)

Maybe a little.
I'd rate it a bit lower than that, though-- it's no "Titus
Andronicus," but it's not up to the Lear/Macbeth/Hamlet/Othello level.
"Romeo and Juliet" maybe.

It's certainly a neat idea, but the execution just doesn't do it for
me. Too talky, not enough punch in the punch line.

Later,
OilCan

Chad R. Orzel

unread,
Jul 3, 2001, 9:34:55 AM7/3/01
to
On Mon, 02 Jul 2001 15:05:16 -0700, Frank <fch...@usa.nospam.net>
wrote:

>On Sun, 01 Jul 2001 14:03:01 GMT, Chad R. Orzel <orz...@earthlink.net>


>wrote:
>
>>I'll probably look up a few of the
>>other nominees, just to have something to do while I'm bored at work,
>>but I'm a little uneasy if this one's going to win in a walk...
>
>What makes you think this one might "win in a walk"?

The fact that the vast majority of the people who have stated teir
voting preferences on r.a.s.w have said they think it's the best of
the lot. By a margin of something like six or eight to one.

Later,
OilCan

William Hyde

unread,
Jul 3, 2001, 12:07:11 PM7/3/01
to
In article <3B3D93B0...@yahoo.com>,

Ide Cyan <ide_...@yahoo.com> writes:
> Um, spoiler warnings regarding the Foundation trilogy?
>


>

> I finished reading Second Foundation a few days ago, and while the
> tricky business of just where the Second Foundation was was fun (but
> infuriatiing; Hari Seldon, you naughty psychohistorian, you!), I have to
> agree that the mind control was a bit icky.

I don't believe that this was Asimov's original idea
about the second foundation. The Mule was Campbell's
idea, not Asimov's, and the second foundation, I believe
had to be changed so as to be able to deal with him.
Unfortunately a second foundation with these sorts of
powers is, as you point out, a menace. He defuses this
by making the leader such a comic, unthreatening, figure,
but that does not change the central reality.

I also think this is part of the reason Asimov gave up
on the series for so long. He had written himself into
a rather distasteful corner. In "Foundation's Edge" he
finds a way out, one that many readers did not like,
but better than permanent control by a self-perpetuating
elite. Then in later books things got even worse, but
that is another subject.

William Hyde
Department of Oceanography
Texas A&M University
hy...@rossby.tamu.edu

Frank

unread,
Jul 4, 2001, 3:00:36 AM7/4/01
to
On Tue, 03 Jul 2001 13:34:55 GMT, Chad R. Orzel <orz...@earthlink.net>
wrote:

>On Mon, 02 Jul 2001 15:05:16 -0700, Frank <fch...@usa.nospam.net>
>wrote:
>
>>On Sun, 01 Jul 2001 14:03:01 GMT, Chad R. Orzel <orz...@earthlink.net>
>>wrote:
>>
>>>I'll probably look up a few of the
>>>other nominees, just to have something to do while I'm bored at work,
>>>but I'm a little uneasy if this one's going to win in a walk...
>>
>>What makes you think this one might "win in a walk"?
>
>The fact that the vast majority of the people who have stated teir
>voting preferences on r.a.s.w have said they think it's the best of
>the lot. By a margin of something like six or eight to one.

Although I don't know that rasfw posters have had a really good track
record when it comes to predicting the Hugos. I don't think they're
representative of Hugo voters.

Chad R. Orzel

unread,
Jul 4, 2001, 7:36:11 PM7/4/01
to
On Wed, 04 Jul 2001 00:00:36 -0700, Frank <fch...@usa.nospam.net>

wrote:
>On Tue, 03 Jul 2001 13:34:55 GMT, Chad R. Orzel <orz...@earthlink.net>
>wrote:
>>On Mon, 02 Jul 2001 15:05:16 -0700, Frank <fch...@usa.nospam.net>
>>wrote:

{"Seventy-two Letters"}

>>>What makes you think this one might "win in a walk"?

>>The fact that the vast majority of the people who have stated teir
>>voting preferences on r.a.s.w have said they think it's the best of
>>the lot. By a margin of something like six or eight to one.

>Although I don't know that rasfw posters have had a really good track
>record when it comes to predicting the Hugos. I don't think they're
>representative of Hugo voters.

Maybe.
But that's as much as I have to go on. Furthermore, a number of the
people who have spoken in favor of this story winning are people whose
judgement seems, from my perspective, to be pretty good.

I have no real intention of trying to handicap the Hugo balloting,
though, so if the phrasing offends you, feel free to ignore it.

Later,
OilCan

P.D. TILLMAN

unread,
Jul 9, 2001, 12:15:38 PM7/9/01
to

Is there a site with links to the nominees available online?

And thanks, Evelyn, for starting an interesting discussion.

TIA & Cheers -- Pete Tillman
http://www.michaelswanwick.com
Featuring chapter 1 of _Bones of the Earth_

In a previous article, ele...@jaguar.stc.lucent.com (Evelyn C. Leeper) says:

>Here are my observations and comments on the Hugo nominees in the
>fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Since I doubt my
>opinions will sway anyone, this is not a blatant attempt to sway
>your vote. :-)
>
>HUGOS:
>
>Nominations for Novel:
>
>A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
>Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
>Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
>Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
>The Sky Road by Ken MacLeod
>

>First of all, I'll note that there is only one American here, and no
>American science fiction novels. Two of the five are fantasy, and
>three of the five are in book series. Since my feeling is that a book
>(or story) must stand on its own to be worthy of a Hugo, this has
>affected my opinions.
>
>Though everyone raves about Ken MacLeod, THE SKY ROAD is the second of
>his books that I have started and given up on. (The fact that I went
>back to Plutarch and found him much more readable says more about me
>than about either MacLeod or Plutarch, no doubt.)
>
>And after reading a chapter or so of A STORM OF SWORDS, I gave up. I
>felt that I would have to read the first two to even make sense of this
>volume, and therefore it doesn't meet my personal criteria for a Hugo.
>
>I was surprised to see MIDNIGHT ROBBER on the ballot. Its patois makes
>it much slower going than most science fiction and I would have thought
>narrowed its audience, but apparently not.
>
>CALCULATING GOD is good solid writing, but a bit too pat in parts.


>
>But my vote goes to HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE. Yes, it's
>part of a series, and since I have read all the preceding books I may

>be having difficulty judging whether it stands alone, but to me it
>seems to.


>
>Nominations for Novella:
>
>"A Roll of the Dice" by Catherine Asaro (Analog Jul/Aug 2000)
>"Oracle" by Greg Egan (Asimov's Jul 2000)
>"Radiant Green Star" by Lucius Shepard (Asimov's Aug 2000)
>"Seventy-Two Letters" by Ted Chiang
>"The Retrieval Artist" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Analog Jun 2000)
>"The Ultimate Earth" by Jack Williamson (Analog Dec 2000)
>

>I found "Radiant Green Star" the hardest to read, not because of the
>content, but because the page size of ASIMOV'S, combined with Shepard's
>long paragraphs, meant that I was being presented with an almost-solid
>block of over five hundred words on each page, and with more lines per
>line than in an average book.
>
>That aside, what about the stories themselves? Asaro's "Roll of the
>Dice" just didn't do anything for me (though I did finish it).
>Similarly, I couldn't see the appeal of "Radiant Green Star." "The
>Ultimate Earth" proves that Jack Williamson still can write classic
>science fiction in his tenth decade--and I suppose that his story
>covers a large time span is quite fitting. Rusch's "Retrieval Artist"
>was very good, with its realistic feel, but the winner hands down (as


>always) is Ted Chiang with "Seventy-Two Letters," an absolutely superb
>story based, as was Richard Garfinkle's CELESTIAL MATTERS, on the
>premise that what in our world is a previous view of science since
>discredited, is in reality the accurate one. For Garfinkle, it was
>Aristotelian science. For Chiang, it's a different theory of biology.

>(See also James Alan Gardner's "Three Hearings on the Existence of
>Snakes in the Human Bloodstream.") Chiang just sold a collection to
>Tor, which I eagerly await.
>
>Nominations for Novelette:
>
>"Agape Among the Robots" by Allen Steele (Analog May 2000)
>"Generation Gap" by Stanley Schmidt
>"Millennium Babies" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov's Jan 2000)
>"On the Orion Line" by Stephen Baxter (Asimov's Oct/Nov 2000)
>"Redchapel" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's Dec 2000)
>
>I have no great insights into this category, though I thought many of
>them represented the authors doing again what they're known for without
>any really new additions. Nothing wrong with that in general, but I
>thought that "Millennium Babies" did stand out as, if not astonishing
>new and fresh, at least not as predictable as some of the others.
>
>Nominations for Short Story:
>
>"Different Kinds of Darkness" by David Langford (F&SF Jan 2000)
>"Kaddish for the Last Survivor" by Michael A. Burstein (Analog Nov 2000)
>"Moon Dogs" by Michael Swanwick (Asimov's Mar 2000)
>"The Elephants on Neptune" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's May 2000)
>"The Gravity Mine" by Stephen Baxter (Asimov's Apr 2000)
>
>Didn't I see some of these people elsewhere on this ballot? :-)
>
>Seriously, if you have to vote for Dave Langford for a Hugo, vote for
>him in this category.
>
>But seriously, seriously, his was the best story and I'm not sure I can
>even pin down why. I liked the idea of "Kaddish for the Last Survivor"
>but didn't find all the premises convincing. I liked "The Elephants on
>Neptune" but thought it very reminiscent of ANIMAL FARM. And so on.
>But something about "Different Kinds of Darkness" was new and
>interesting and enough to make suspend whatever disbelief I might have
>had.


>
>Nominations for Dramatic Presentation:
>
>Chicken Run
>Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
>Frank Herbert's Dune
>Frequency
>X-Men
>
>In spite of my comments in the Retro Hugos section regarding a bias
>toward science fiction over fantasy, I still give the nod here to
>fantasy--maybe because I thought the fantasy works were *so* much
>better here than the science fiction ones. FREQUENCY had a lot of
>promise and started well, but turned into yet another "unstoppable
>psychotic killer" movie. (Mark described this as "convergent alternate
>history"--rather than a single past forking into multiple possibilities
>for the present, a variety of premises for films all merge into the

>same conclusion. FRANK HERBERT'S DUNE (to distinguish it, no doubt
>from the other DUNE which wasn't Frank Herbert's?) was workmanlike but
>uninspiring. The same was true (for me, anyway, of X-MEN. On the
>other hand, CHICKEN RUN was a true delight, full of in-jokes and
>characterization and puns ("Chocs away!") and just a joy to watch.


>
>But the winner has to be CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. It has
>everything: fantasy, real characters, great cinematography, a marvelous

>score, .... Too often we are reduced to choosing a Hugo winner from a
>set of films that may be good science fiction (though not even always
>that), but are not good *films*. (Or television shows--the same
>criteria apply.) If one looks at some of the films nominated for Hugos
>in the last decade, one sees a lot of films that were completely
>undistinguished as films. For example, any Oscar consideration for
>them would be for special effects or (Ghod help us) sound effects. The
>very fact that CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON garnered ten Oscar
>nominations at least implies that it's good as a film as well as being
>good as a fantasy.
>
>RETRO HUGOS:


>
>Nominations for Novel:
>
>The Dying Earth by Jack Vance

>Farmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein


>First Lensman by Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.
>Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov
>The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
>

>The longest of these is shorter than the shortest of the "non-Retro"
>novels; together they are only abour twenty pages longer than the
>Martin by itself. It has been argued that THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE
>WARDROBE is actually a novella, and the Vance just a collection of
>short stories.
>
>It's hard to decide whether to vote for what I would have voted for in
>1951, or what I would vote for now, even allowing me to vote as I think
>I would have from a fifty-year-old's perspective in 1951. At the time,


>PEBBLE IN THE SKY and FARMER IN THE SKY might have seemed great, but

>now both appear very dated. (The references to tobacco, and the
>German/Dutch stereotyped farmer, in the latter are particularly
>jarring.) I still find THE DYING EARTH unreadable, and having tried to


>read FIRST LENSMAN, I can now add that to the list of books I just
>don't get or can't read.
>
>This leaves THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, which is readable,

>and not dated. This may be one advantage of fantasy. At any rate, it
>gets my vote. (And the Lewis estate gets my raspberry, for authorizing
>new Narnia books that eliminate all the Christian symbolism, and a line
>of Narnia plush toys.)
>
>(What was it with smoking in 1950?! Just about every one of the Retro
>nominees has people smoking as a major aspect of it. Even Mr. Tumnus
>smokes a pipe!)
>
>Nominations for Novella:
>
>"...And Now You Don't" by Isaac Asimov
>"The Dreaming Jewels" by Theodore Sturgeon
>"The Last Enemy" by H Beam Piper
>"The Man Who Sold the Moon" by Robert A. Heinlein


>"To the Stars" by L. Ron Hubbard
>

>The magazine version of "The Dreaming Jewels" is probably a novella,
>but I suspect everyone is going to vote on the novel version (14%
>longer) instead. Similarly, "...And Now You Don't" (the second half of
>SECOND FOUNDATION) is also skirting between novella and novel, but at
>least I think the book version is identical to the magazine version, as
>is "To the Stars" in its re-incarnation as the first half of RETURN TO
>TOMORROW.
>
>At one time, "The Man Who Sold the Moon" might have appealed to me.
>Now, after thirty more years' worth of similar preaching from Heinlein,
>I find it annoying and couldn't force myself to read more than a third
>of it. "The Dreaming Jewels" is not my usual cup of tea, but stands up
>better. "The Last Enemy" and "To the Stars" are also okay, but my vote
>here has to go to "...And Now You Don't." I realize this may sound
>inconsistent based on my criterion that a book (or story) must stand on
>its own to be worthy of a Hugo, and one major problem here is that the
>"Foundation" series is so much a part of the landscape that it's hard
>to pretend the rest don't exist. So all I can do is say that as best I
>can judge, this has enough background recap to stand alone.
>
>Nominations for Novelette:
>
>"Dear Devil" by Eric Frank Russell


>"Okie" by James Blish
>"Scanners Live in Vain" by Cordwainer Smith

>"The Helping Hand" by Poul Anderson


>"The Little Black Bag" by C. M. Kornbluth
>
>This is a strong category, and tough to decide. "Okie" seems somewhat
>dated, as does "Scanners Live in Vain." (Of course, if I'm trying to

>vote based on 1950 sensibilities, this shouldn't count.) "The Helping
>Hand" is just too obvious. Maybe it wasn't then, but the whole
>phenomenon has been discussed so much since then that it's hard to see
>this as thta original. "Dear Devil" has sentiment on its side, but my


>vote has to go to "The Little Black Bag" as the best, and certainly the
>most memorable.
>

>Nominations for Short Story:
>
>"A Subway Named Mobius" by A. J. Deutsch

>"Born of Man and Woman" by Richard Matheson


>"Coming Attraction" by Fritz Leiber (Galaxy Nov 50)

>"The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork Out" by Reginald Bretnor


>"To Serve Man" by Damon Knight
>

>"A Subway Named Mobius" is the clear winner here for me. I know people
>liked "Born of Man and Woman"--I just don't know why. "To Serve Man"


>is good, but I don't believe would be on this ballot if there had not

>been a "Twilight Zone" episode of it. (And if you think about it
>enough, the ending doesn't actually stand up.) I can't believe anyone
>liked "The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork Out" enough to nominate it--it
>must be one of those butterfly ballot things. And "Coming Attraction,"


>while good technically, just doesn't have the certain something of "A
>Subway Named Mobius." (Of course, I do have a degree in mathematics,
>and read this story back in Clifton Fadiman's FANTASIA MATHEMATICA
>about a zillion times, so that might have something to so with it too.)
>

>Nominations for Dramatic Presentation:
>
>Cinderella
>Destination Moon
>Harvey
>Rabbit of Seville
>Rocketship X-M
>
>I couldn't locate a copy of "Rabbit of Seville" and don't remember ever

>seeing it. CINDERELLA I have seen, but only as an adult, and I am not
>as enthusiastic about the Disney classic cartoons as many. ROCKETSHIP
>X-M was a quickie made to beat DESTINATION MOON to the box office.
>(Which is not to say that sometimes the quickie isn't better than the
>major film: consider TOMBSTONE versus WYATT EARP.) HARVEY IS very
>good, but I'll admit to a certain bias toward science fiction over
>fantasy here--particularly since this was the beginning of the massive
>cinema science fiction boom of the 1950s--and give my vote to
>DESTINATION MOON.
>
>So there you have it. Now everyone can tell me how wrong I am. :-)


>--
>Evelyn C. Leeper, http://www.geocities.com/evelynleeper
>NOTE: Ignore both the man behind the curtain and the address in the headers.
>Please use evelyn-dot-leeper-at-excite-dot-com to mail to me as the
>address in the header will stop working in a few weeks.
>

--

Kylinn

unread,
Jul 9, 2001, 7:10:59 PM7/9/01
to
til...@aztec.asu.edu (P.D. TILLMAN) wrote:

>Is there a site with links to the nominees available online?

Not the novels, but all of the short works are
available at one site or another. The WorldCon
site has links to them from:
<http://www.netaxs.com/~phil2001/hugos/press-release.html>

Ky,
who's having more problems deciding on her
retro-Hugo choices than the current one. If
only _those were online as well!

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