Episode #81 Transcript: 2017 Hugo Awards

Episode Number: 81
Episode Title: 2017 Hugo Awards (listen to this episode)
Transcript by: Susan the Great
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Renay: Hello friends! I’m Renay.

Ana: And I’m Ana.

Renay: And you’re listening to Fangirl Happy Hour: 2017 Hugo Finalist.

Ana: Boom!

[Music: B-3 by BoxCat Games]

Renay: Yes, it is true. We are officially Hugo finalists. We’ve been sitting on this information for A WEEK.

Ana: Far too long. Yes, about a week.

Renay: It was HARD.

Ana: But, when we got that email from the Hugo award administrator we both kind of like had minor strokes? Slash minor heart attacks. We celebrated a lot. It was great. Especially because following that, we both also got second emails for our separate projects.

Renay: I didn’t get the email. Ana got the first email.

Ana: Oh, yes.

Renay: Told me about it so I had to go check, and then went, “Wait, check your email for Lady Business, you probably got one!” So I checked my email for Lady Business and indeed, there it was. So Ana was the one who told me about my Hugo nominations, so thanks Ana.

Ana: No problem. My pleasure. Seriously, how great is this?

Renay: I mean, it’s pretty great.

Ana: And we have to thank our listeners, our space bees, who voted for us.

Renay: You guys!

Ana: [crying] This is so beautiful!

Renay: I want to give you all a hug! My favorite part of Fangirl Happy Hour’s nomination is that the text of our communication about our nomination was different than the text of the communication Lady Business got about it.

Ana: Or the Book Smugglers got about it.

Renay: One of the lines was, “I know you have expressed strong views on this recently”, so I’m just like, “Wow, some Hugo people must be listening to our podcast.”

Ana: And find our views strong. Our views are very strong. I agree with that. But not in a negative way, like we would never say no a Hugo nomination. I think they should be made really really clear well it is clear now because we didn’t say no.

Renay: We said yes, emphatically yes, in fact, but I just thought it was really funny. I was like—I didn’t realize that I had made any comments about Hugo nominations that were strong. You have.

Ana: Well, both of us—it’s our brand. We have talked about the Hugo awards for the past two years, very strongly.

Renay: I’m very excited about our nomination, but I’m also more excited at the fact that the ballot looks pretty normal.

Ana: It feels so great. I saw someone talking about it: how good it felt that they looked at the ballot and they were agonizing over the actual good choices that they had, and not agonizing in anger or in sadness because you’re just gonna go no awarding everybody in the freaking ballot, anyway. For the past two years, that’s what we were left with more or less. We didn’t even discuss the ballot. We definitely did not celebrate them. There was no space for talking about the actual books in it and we are now finally back in a position where we can do that again.

And I said in my Twitter feed this morning that it felt like 2014. Because that’s the year when I got my first nomination for the Book Smugglers for Best Fanzine and a bunch of really wonderful other people got nominated. It was like, days and days of celebrating and then 2015 came along and it was that shit fest. That is not to say that certain members of the Puppy legion didn’t make it to the ballot because they did. Which is fine; one or two here and there, that’s fine because those people that are nominating them are voting, and they are voting with their hearts not with their slates.

Renay: Well, except they are voting with their slates because they’re doing exactly Bigot McFuckface wants them to do.

Ana: I stopped reading his blog.

Renay: Well, you should talk to Zach, because apparently Zach, my partner, is reading his blog.

Ana: Ah, okay.

Renay: In fact, he was reading his blog and he told me this story that I actually accidentally misrepresented on Twitter about how because I rated The Collapsing Empire on Goodreads back in November, I was now part of the Tor conspiracy and Tor had paid me to rate The Collapsing Empire five stars.

Ana: That is hilarious. These people really cannot imagine someone who actually genuinely loves John Scalzi as much as you do. You are a precious unicorn for these people!

Renay: Not only is it disingenuous because this asshole bigot runs a publishing company… guess what books start as? Books start as Word files, they don’t just spring fully-formed as books from an author’s brain. They start as Word files. In November, I read a Word file.

Ana: You are so special.

Renay: And because I read this Word file, apparently now Tor is paying me to promote John Scalzi because I couldn’t legitimately like him, that’s not possible. So, sure. They got some stuff on the ballot but I don’t believe it’s because people wanted that stuff on the ballot. I just think it’s a bunch of fucking bigots being bigoted.

Ana: So you think they were shenanigans there again?

Renay: Well, I’m sure there were some shenanigans.

Ana: Oh my god. I just had a horrible, horrible thought. Maybe they mobilized themselves in a way that they are now going to play a game of No Awarding everything apart from that one thing in a specific number of categories. And then they are gonna go en masse, vote for that one thing, and that one thing’s gonna win.

Renay: You just went conspiracy theory. Ana, these people are not playing three-dimensional chess. These people are boring and sad and need to grow up.

Ana: Right. Let’s roll with that. I’m happy. Let’s continue with the happiness of the Happy Hour. I just wanna say that I am very happy and it’s really weird to have two nominations.

One thing that I would like to know in case someone who is listening to us could help me finding out because I tried to find this information and I couldn’t. But am I the first Brazilian or one of the first Brazilians to have been nominated for a Hugo award? Has any Brazilians ever won the Hugo award? Who could answer that question.

Renay: That would be super cool if you were!

Ana: It would indeed.

Renay: Am I the first Arkansan to be nominated? I don’t think it matters that much. Arkansas is not that great.

Ana: [laughter]

Renay: I became who I was despite Arkansas’s influence, let’s say. So in our category, Best Fancast, there were 690 ballots.

Ana: And 253 different nominees.

Renay: So there’s us. Us! Fangirl Happy Hour. There’s Galactic Suburbia.

Ana: Hooray!

Renay: Hosted by Alyssa and Alex and Tansy; there is Tea and Jeopardy, hosted by Emma Newman with Peter Newman; there’s the Coode Street Podcast by Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Straham; and Ditch Diggers by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace; and the Rageaholic presented by Razorfist? They sound mad.

Ana: Do you know them? I haven’t heard of them before.

Renay: Me neither. I’m just saying, listen, I hope by the Rageaholic you mean: even if you’re mad, you have a good drink in your hand, because if you’re just mad with no drink, that’s no good. We highly recommend drinks. Or avocados with sugar.

Ana: Bleeeh.

Renay: I’m really excited about the fancast ballot. I’m super excited about it because it’s just full of fans doing fan things and having fun. Being fans! I like it.

Ana: I agree.

Renay: The next category that I wanna talk about from the very bottom, we’re gonna skip the Campbell award because it’s awesome, you can go and look at it, it’s full of great people who are doing really interesting things with writing. But we’re gonna start with Best Series because I have some thoughts about Best series.

Ana: Yeah.

Renay: Nothing I nominated made it.

Ana: You did not nominate The Expanse?

Renay: It’s not done.

Ana: So this is what I didn’t—what I hadn’t understood, that I thought it had to be a done series.

Renay: That’s just my rule because otherwise, holy crap. And I haven’t finished the Temeraire series so I didn’t nominate it. But I’m glad it’s here because it’s great. I read up to book five. It is great. A few years ago, Ira who works on Lady Business with me and also did our excellent show art—congratulations Ira, you are technically included in our Hugo nom—they gave me this CD from Baen books. It was full of ebooks of the Vorkosigan series. It had all of the books in it in multiple types of ebooks formats, and I still have this CD.

Ana: Are you going to read them now?

Renay: Maybe. I’m not surprised to see it here, however, because it’s Lois McMaster Bujold, come on guys.

Ana: It’s very popular. And by all accounts, really good too. I read I think the very first one, Cordelia’s Honor, and I thought it was okay.

Renay: The series that I am kinda surprised to see here is The Craft sequence.

Ana: I’m not surprised.

Renay: I guess because I thought it was sort of an underground kind of fantasy series? But I guess it was more popular than I thought, and now people are gonna be like, “Renay, see, you have to read it, you have no choice.”

Ana: Yes, like I’ve been telling you.

No, but Max Gladstone had been nominated for the Campbell Award so I think it is more popular within this community. I, for one, love those books. Absolutely adored them. I think they are brilliant so it is well-deserved.

Renay: I’ve read all The Expanse books. I’ve read all the October Daye books and several of the little novellas that she releases. I’ve read five of the Temeraire books and so that means I would only really need to read The Craft sequence and Vorkosigan. But I’m not sure I’m going to get to all of those books. That’s a lot of reading. It might be too much reading. Do you know what I mean?

Ana: Yes.

Renay: It’s really hard to read just the books in the novel category because some of them are part of a series? So how in the world are voters gonna be able to sample all these series to make a decision? It seems like too much work. That’s kind of my main concern about this category upon seeing the finalists.

Ana: It’s true but many people are aware of—I don’t know, maybe most voters will at least have read some of them already.

Renay: I just don’t think this category is workable.

Ana: Sustainable, yeah. I think you have a point there.

Renay: I mean, I see why people want it. Like I mean I see why people honor a series but I think that there’s just too much text to make it accessible and like you said, sustainable.

Ana: But if you see it in terms of numbers, too, it’s a super high number. 1393 is like, it’s on par with the novels and the novellas categories.

Renay: Well, if I was a new Hugo voter, I would look at this and throw up in my mouth a little. Because that’s a lot of books. But as I tell people who are new, find the categories that interest you, and ignore all the rest of them that don’t. One of my best fanartist people made it from my ballot. Likhain?

Ana: Um, Mia Sereno? She’s brilliant. She’s done one of the covers for The Book Smugglers.

Renay: The universe smiled down upon me and made sure that Abigail was in the best Fanwriter category. Thank you, universe.

Ana: Foz Meadows too, and Chuck Tingle. I would like to meet Chuck Tingle, maybe I will when I go to the Hugo Awards.

Renay: Best Fanzine! Which is my other category!

Ana: Ooh, hooray! I was so happy about that for you, for Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, and Susan. Congratulations to all of you!

Renay: We’re very excited. I kind of want to suggest to the G who runs Nerds of Feather that we have a jello fight.

Ana: [laughter] SF Bluestocking: I was pretty happy about that one too.

Renay: Yeah, I remember telling everybody, “Hey, Bridget’s doing great work, why don’t we nominate her, ” and apparently everybody was already planning to because here she is. I was super excited. And then next category is Best Semiprozine which has you in it! Yay!

Ana: Yay!

Renay: It’s Ana! I’m so excited, The Book Smugglers, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James. Look at you guys. Look at you on the ballot. so cute!

Ana: I’m very pleased about that. There is a lot of work that goes into the Book Smugglers as you know. I’m happy to be here. There are other amazing nominees in this category and I am like, “Oh fuck.” [laughter]

Renay: Would you have your feelings hurt if I voted for Strange Horizons first and then you second?

Ana: I would, but I would also understand.

Renay: Well I’m gonna put you first, and Strange Horizon second. I was just feeling it out.

Ana: I was very conflicted, because I love Strange Horizons and I think Niall Harrison has done such amazing work for the past few years. And he announced that he’s stepping down from being editor in chief of Strange Horizons and I’m like FUCK so this means that this is the last year that he’s eligible for the Hugos. And I’m like, I think he deserves one? But I also want one!

Renay: Welcome to being a Hugo finalist!

Ana: [laughter] Oh man… I would be happy to lose to Strange Horizons. Let’s put it like that.

Renay: The next category is Best Professional Artist. One of my nominees made it here: Sana Takada, from Monstress.

Ana: Galen Dara, I love her work, she has done a couple of covers for Tor.com, and I think she has done one for Uncanny. And she’s also doing three covers for Book Smugglers Publishing this year, hello.

Renay: Hello.

Ana: Hello.

Renay: I really like this category. I think it’s really robust. Like it shows a wide variety of what people are doing in the field. The Best Dramatic Presentation categories: were you surprised by anything in those?

Ana: I would not say that I was surprised. But I would say that I was very happy to see San Junipero from Black Mirror in the Short Form, because that was one of my favorite episodes of Black Mirror from last year and one of my favorite episodes of everything. It’s brilliant. I think you should watch it. It’s one of the best, hopeful episodes of Black Mirror and it’s about two women who fall in love with each other. And also The Door from Game of Thrones. That episode was fucking brilliant. I was like, whaaaaa this is so cool.

Renay: The Long Form: I was not surprised by anything on Long Form, but I was very happy that none of the Avengers movies were there, like Doctor Strange. Civil War, was not there. I was just like good job, good job Hugo voters.

Ana: That’s true, Deadpool is, which is cool. Ghostbusters obviously. Rogue One, sorry Renay.

Renay: Oh well.

Ana: Stranger Things. The whole season. And Arrival, which was one of my favorite movies from last year. And Hidden Figures!

Renay: I saw some people confused about why Hidden Figures was nominated, and I was like, “Because it was about the space program.”

Ana: I was baffled, but you just…

Renay: I mean, there was an Apollo movie that qualified a few years ago.

Ana: You just de-confused me. Thank you.

Renay: The Best Graphic Story category is hilarious, because we’re just coming off that huge drama about Marvel going, “Well nobody wants diversity because all these titles didn’t sell.”

Ana: Which I think today I briefly saw an article on Twitter debunking those numbers.

Renay: Plenty of people have debunked it at this point. It’s just these Marvel executives are full of crap and this proves that they are wrong. Because this category is pretty diverse.

Ana: And it has brilliant works too. Some of my favorites from last year: Ms Marvel volume five, you know how I felt about that one.

Renay: Mm-hm, The Vision volume one: you know how I felt about that one.

Ana: Mm-hm.

Renay: And I’ve read all of them except for Paper Girls but I own Paper Girls, so now I’ll be able to catch up.

Ana: I’ve read all of them apart from Saga volume six.

Renay: Well, we know that you and I disagree on this point.

Ana: Oops.

Renay: Best Related Work is pretty much like I expected.

Ana: I was very pleased to see the Carrie Fisher biography here. It’s a nice nod. I read the Geek Feminist Revolution and I thought it was brilliant.

Renay: I haven’t read anything here. I’m so behind. And then we have all these short fiction categories, which I have nothing to say, because I’ve read zero.

Ana: I’ve read a couple of the novellas. I read The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson and Every Heart A Doorway. I loved both of them.

Renay: So my problem with the novellas and why I hope that they’re in the packet when the packet comes out is that my library doesn’t count them as books. They only have Every Heart A Doorway, I guess because it’s hardcover, but the rest they won’t get.

Ana: Oh really?

Renay: I remember when I went to buy Every Heart A Doorway and it was like, “Yes, we want twenty-five dollars for this” and I’m like, “fuck off.”

Ana: [laughter]

Renay: I don’t know who you think are buying books, but not this lady! And I have no clue if the rest of them are like that. Well, I bought Binti and Home as ebooks.

Ana: And they were pretty cheap.

Renay: But I bought them as ebooks because I couldn’t afford the novellas, so that’s my problem. My library doesn’t like to buy them. I really, really hope they’re in the packet because otherwise we’re gonna have a problem.

Ana: Mm.

Renay: And Tor really cleaned up.

Ana: I know. They’re so popular.

Renay: And then we reach the Best Novel category where one thing I nominated made it.

Ana: What?!

Renay: One thing I nominated made it to the Best Novel category and that was Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee.

Ana: You did not nominate The Obelisk Gate. Is that what you’re telling me?

Renay: Yes.

Ana: I need a moment.

Renay: Okay. Let’s take a moment.


Ana: [laughter] What the fuck— [laughter] What did you nominate, I’m curious?

Renay: Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee, Company Town by Madeline Ashby, This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, Everfair by Nisi Shawl, Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott.

Ana: Right.

Renay: There’s a reason. Fifth Season won last year. I loved Obelisk Gate, but I also thought so why don’t I nominate some of the other stuff that I loved instead. Also I kinda broke my own rules because I generally don’t like nominating second and third books in a series but Poisoned Blade was super good and I was kinda at the place where I knew that it would not make it, but I wanted to give my nomination to the book, anyway.

Ana: Yeah, I did the same thing. I nominated Poisoned Blade. I nominated A Closed and Common Orbit, Ninefox Gambit, and Obelisk Gate, too. So I’m pretty pleased with this. I really liked All The Birds In The Sky, I’m happy that it’s here. I know that Thea read Death’s End and she thought it was brilliant. The only thing that I didn’t read or Thea didn’t read either, was Too Like The Lightning.

Renay: I have that and the language in that book…yikes.

Ana: Yikes in what way.

Renay: It’s written like a Victorian novel.

Ana: Mm, okay.

Renay: But it’s set in the future?

Ana: Mmm!

Renay: It was just really hard. I was really excited for that book, and when I saw the writing I was just like, “I’m out!” Because I couldn’t, it was like work. It was work to have to get through the text itself. Are you gonna read it?

Ana: I don’t think so. I’ve read some troubling reviews from non-binary readers saying that that book’s really problematic in that way.

Renay: All The Birds In The Skies is the first book in a series. A Closed and Common Orbit is the second in a series. Death’s End is the third. Ninefox Gambit is the first. The Obelisk Gate is the second. And Too Like The Lightning is the first. So I feel like already we may be able to see how things are gonna break down? Because Death’s End has a long row to hoe, because I’m not sure you can read that by itself.

Ana: No, you can’t. You can A Closed and Common Orbit by itself. I would not even call it a sequel. Companion novel; you can definitely read it without having read the first one. You cannot do that with The Obelisk Gate.

Renay: I get real mad when I read criticisms of The Obelisk Gate where people complain, “Well, The Obelisk Gate was no Fifth Season.” Well, fuck you too buddy, of course it’s not! It’s a different book. Why can’t you critique things with some nuance?!

Ana: [laughter] It’s equally brilliant, I thought, completely—yes it is different. It’s no Fifth Season.

Renay: But it’s its own thing, and it’s good. If you want the same formula in every book, go read some romance or some mystery or a crime novel. Science fiction and fantasy as far as I can tell doesn’t use formulas in the same way as other genres.

Ana: Hmm. I don’t know. I think maybe now we could say that and maybe that’s what is creating even the backlash from the Puppies because diverging from they are used to which is the formulaic science fiction novels.

Renay: But the formulaic science fiction novels are still there. It’s just some of them now are different, because we have different, more diverse, writers creating stories that don’t necessarily need to follow that formula. There are plenty of publishers, even the ones on this list, putting out science fiction and fantasy novels that have formulas. I’m not imagining all the epic fantasies I’m seeing on the shelf. They’re still there.

Ana: Mm-hm.

Renay: Sorry, that criticism just chaps my ass. This book that has a new title, and a new plot, wasn’t the same as this previous book and it makes me unhappy! Well, cry me a river, whiny.

Ana: [snickers] Oh Renay. [laughter] Burn.

Anyway, let’s talk about the other books. All the Birds In The Sky; is that the first in a series?

Renay: I don’t think it’s a series. It’s just a book.

Ana: Right, okay.

Renay: I just don’t know, Ana. But should I start with Three Body Problem and finish the series?

Ana: No. I know how it ends, I think you would hate it.

Renay: I’ll think about it. I have some time to decide. But three books; and these are not small books, because I have looked at them.

Ana: I mean, I loved the Three Body Problem. I hated the second one to the point where I didn’t read the third one. Thea loved them. She had the same problems I did with the second one, and she managed to read the third one. She loved it. She loved how it ended.

Renay: If I don’t read that one, that means I only have two to read. And maybe I’ll like Too Like The Lightning, since I know what to expect from it now? Expectations can kill a book.

Ana: Which book are you surprised not to see here? Would we say Everfair?

Renay: Yeah, I’m really surprised not to see Everfair here.

Ana: Yeah, me too.

Renay: Maybe I shouldn’t be, because you made a comment about how it didn’t get a lot of reviews when it first came out.

Ana: Yeah. I think that maybe was a big clue.

Renay: But I didn’t see a lot of reviews of Death’s End.

Ana: No, that’s true, but it had a higher probability of people reading it because the first book had already been here. It’s a different pathway to the Hugo ballot those two novels. I keep expecting a YA novel to make it. Like, Gemina—Illuminae Files—they are such cool books and I—I think everybody would just love them but no.

Renay: They’re YA.

Ana: Poisoned Blade. Like how is there no Frances Hardinge in the Hugo Awards?

Renay: For the same reason that when you go and look at the Locus Awards, their YA category is a mess. Because the Hugos are an adult award. They’re awarded mostly by adults.

Ana: I’m really surprised too that we haven’t seen the V. E. Schwab series here. They would be brilliant books to be here, too.

Renay: That’s a series I’m surprised that’s not in series.

Ana: The last book just came out now, so maybe we have a chance of getting those there next year.

Renay: If the category makes it. They have to vote on it still.

Ana: Right.

Renay: Because this category this year is a special category, hosted by Worldcon 75. There’s a lot of cool things on this ballot, though.

Ana: I will be agonising over who to vote for, what to vote for, and we shall see if we will be winners. We are the champions! Just by being nominated.

Renay: The Hugo finalist lists are historical documents. And part of the reason that a lot of people got so angry at the Puppies wasn’t just the Puppies were being racist and bigots. It’s also because those award list are historical documents. They get remembered. People who are new come in and they look at them. So when you have somebody attempt to spoil the award and erase history—cause that’s what they were doing, and they succeeded because now you have to dig down into the long lists to find the true finalists—that has an impact. They’re entry points. They’re historical lists that new people use and that people who’ve been here a while use to look back and see where they’ve been.

Ana: Absolutely. And also if I lose, I get to go to George R.R. Martin’s Hugo Losers party. So it’s basically a win/win situation. It’s a shame that you can’t come.

Renay: Sorry that it’s so expensive! I don’t have a zillion dollars.

Ana: If I have to accept this award on our behalf I don’t know what I’m gonna do.

Renay: Here’s my advice: don’t fall.

Ana: God. I’m gonna fall now. Fuck.

Renay: Part of the Hugo tradition is the Hugo packet, where finalists put their stuff so voters can judge them and we would like your suggestions on what segments or sections from 2016 episodes you think should go in the packet. If you have ideas we would like to hear from you. Please email us and let us know. If you have timestamps that would be great, that way I can begin the process of splicing everything together. You could help us be champions!

[Music: Happy Summer Love by Chuki Beats]

Renay: Congratulations on finishing episode 81. We hope you are as excited about the Hugos as we are!

Ana: Impossible! We made it, space bees. We made it.

Renay: Susan creates our transcripts, which you can read on our website. Ira made our show art. Our music this week is by Boxcat Games and Chuki Beats. You can find links to their work in our show notes plus information about all the Hugo finalists we’ve discussed this episode.

Ana: You can follow us on twitter at @fangirlpodcast or email us at fangirlhappyhour@gmail.com. If you’re not subscribed to the show, you can find us on iTunes, Soundcloud or wherever quality podcasts are acquired.

Renay: Drink some water, contact your reps, and be sure to get your membership to Worldcon 75 so you can vote for us.

Ana: If you vote for us you get a million dollars.

Renay: That’s a lie.

Ana: No, you won’t. [laughter]

Renay: Thanks for listening, space bees!

Ana: See you next episode!

Renay: Bye!

[Music: Happy Summer Love by Chuki Beats]

Ana: Cut this from this recording! [laughter]


Renay: Come on, Ana, say something about it, you can do it.

Ana: No.

Renay: You can do it.

Ana: No.

Renay: Yeah.

Ana: No, I am rising above it.


Renay: Okay, now I remember. [silence] Do I remember? Yes!


Renay: Is there a TV in the background?

Ana: Yes. Downstairs. In the front of the house.

Renay: Guess what I hear? [laughter] I hear your television.

Ana: Yes.

Renay: I hear Russel watching television without you. He’s probably—he’s probably Netflixing without you, ha ha!

Ana: He wouldn’t dare.