Best Long Form Dramatic Performance: Some (almost) Final Thoughts on the Hugos

All the True FansTM have been called to put their foot down and stop the Puppies. Sigh…

This is probably the last time I’m going to be writing about the Hugos until after they’re announced. Honestly, the best way to have stopped the Puppies was to let the works stand on their own merit or lack thereof and quietly vote against them, even if it meant No Awarding everything. Instead, the crazed hyperbolic name calling led to thousands who had no dog in the fight (wakka wakka) getting involved, getting loud, and getting belligerent to match belligerence. I know, because I was one. You didn’t want me involved? You shouldn’t have called people racist homophobic neo-nazis who wanted to kick all the women and colored folk out of Sci-fi when that was clearly not the case. You didn’t want the Puppies getting any awards? Discuss the merits, not the slate, and when stuff sucks and No Award wins the day, THEN go back and say “Well, things weren’t so hot that year, and here’s why.”

I’ve done a lousy job as a New Hugo Voter. I only made it completely through one prose category, short fiction, and for the most part was fairly unimpressed. I didn’t get through Novelettes, because one was awful and another I just couldn’t get into; I won’t vote in that category because even though I’d hope that the awful story didn’t get an award, I’m not going to nuke a category where I haven’t read everything. Between all of the blog posts about how bad The Goblin Emperor was and the three pages of Ancillary whatever I read before I said “Nope”, I gave up on the Novel category in favor of reading old sci-fi books at my leisure. Most of the art was meh, Rat Queens ought to have been more of a controversy than the Puppies, and I’m tempted to give the zombie comics guy a Hugo for being the most nonchalant dude to ever have the privilege of being blase about such a prestigious award. Black Gate deserves the fan-zine award so I voted for them even though they don’t want me to. I’m not going to put this on the slates, because the worst things I read were not on the slates, but I was unimpressed enough by what I read overall to say “Guys, I’m unimpressed.” And if folks hadn’t called these people every name in the book, I would have still been unimpressed, but I would not think that the detractors are a bunch of shitheads. There may have been some bad stories, but there were a lot of bad people.*

So why am I actually writing this post? Because I finished another Hugo Category over the weekend so finally have something else I can vote on in good conscience. Movies.

This year’s movie category is nothing short of amazing, and I’ll admit, I am having a hard time ranking these films. With the exception of Captain America 2: Electric Boogaloo, I loved all of these films. I would love nothing more than for every year for 15 or so movies as good as those nominated (even CapAmerica) to come out so I could wallow in sci-fi goodness. As such, it’s hard to decide which movie to award, because, in my mind, that would be to reward a certain type and approach to science fiction, when really I just want to shout “give me more of all of these things!”

Until this weekend, I’d say things were pretty neck & neck between Interstellar and Guardians of the Galaxy; though Guardians of the Galaxy is the sort of thing I’d probably want to watch over and over, it lost a bit of points for being a branded bit of franchise entertainment as opposed to Interstellar’s unique and independent vision. If Guardians of the Galaxy had not been a building block in a multi-billion dollar media and merchandising web based on a comic book, it would be a clear 1st place winner, because I love crazy wacky pulp sci-fi and planet romance. But Interstellar was just so goddamn thought-provoking and beautiful, like a 2001 or, hell, a Forbidden Planet, but without being a preachy and taxing slog like a Neill Blomkamp flick. I’d like to see more films like it, and while I’m afraid I’d get more of the latter than the former if directors try to emulate Nolan’s piece, I’m still wanting to go with Interstellar.

But then I saw Edge of Tomorrow; it’s based on a book, which has a comic based on it as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me that there’s an anime out or in the works based on All You Need is Kill, but I’d still say that this sort of film represents a much bigger gamble than a piece of the Disney-Marvel cash-cow, and it’s the sort of gamble I’d like to see studios take. This movie was just so damn good, and so much fun to watch. I mean, sure, it can be boiled down to “Groundhog Day with aliens, power armor, guns and explosions”, but really isn’t that enough? Tom Cruise is back with a vengeance and Emily Blunt is a badass who I’d look out for if all the rest of her films didn’t appear to be the complete opposite movie-going experience as this. Though I’m sure if she showed up in it with a 4-foot sword wearing powered battle armor, The Jane Austen Book Club could potentially be my new favorite movie of all time.

I enjoyed the Lego movie a lot, but even moreso than Guardians of the Galaxy, I feel hesitant to reward something that so obviously exists largely to cash in on valuable media properties, such as Warner Bros. stock of DC characters. It could’ve easily been terrible, and walked a razor’s edge a lot of the time; as good as it was, it’s not the sort of thing I’d like to see more of, particularly because it could easily descend into the sort of shameless cashing in that we tend to expect from this kind of picture.

As it stands, I may end up flipping a coin to see which movie I put at #1 in Best Long Form Dramatic Presentation, because I really can’t make up my mind between Interstellar and Edge of Tomorrow.
Coming soon, I talk Vance, nail down exactly what it is that sets Morrowind apart, why I keep coming back to it, and criticize its failings in light of an adventure paradigm that Dither has been working on. After that, Part 2 of Doing it Wrong, in which I talk some about Magic, Spells, Scrolls and Spellbooks in B/X and try to decide whether we’re all doing it wrong or if B/X was doing it wrong. Then, Civil War: Can Albert Sidney Johnston crush Grant in the forests of Tennessee before the Army of the Cumberland sails up the Mississippi to take Vicksburg? What is General Hardee doing in Harrisburg and what is McDowell going to do about it that won’t leave the road to Washington and Baltimore open? Why can’t Lee get the hell out of the Carolina swamps and go someplace useful? These questions and more will be answered!  Where am I going to find the time to talk about Andrew J. Offutt!?  Probably not this week!

*At least Thomas Heuvelt didn’t tell me I was gonna have to answer to Jesus for my lies.

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6 responses to “Best Long Form Dramatic Performance: Some (almost) Final Thoughts on the Hugos

  1. I’d like to see a “this stuff is almost half as good as Leigh Brackett” slate for just the short fiction categories. To produce it, though… it would require picking the four magazines most likely to publish them and then doing a weekly post on them. Not a full fledged review, more like… “this story got my attention because ____” type thing.

    • Absolutely! What magazines actually publish stuff like that though? I mean, once it’s finished, I’d actually like to try to polish and sell At the Feet of Neptune’s Queen. Part of me is tempted to try and start my own sci-fi zine devoted to heroic fantasy and planet romance, but my past failures running a record label make me hesitant to invest in what could be an expensive and time-consuming undertaking… Because I wouldn’t want to publish it unless I could find someone to make knock-off Allen Anderson style covers for it.

      As for creating a slate, if I can ever catch up on Short Reviews, I guess I could bite the bullet and give it a go. At the moment, though, the very thought sends me into whiny little kid mode: “But I don’t WANT to read new sci-fi!”

  2. “Discuss the merits, not the slate, and when stuff sucks and No Award wins the day, THEN go back and say ‘Well, things weren’t so hot that year, and here’s why.'”
    Good advice for ‘both’ sides really.

    • Honestly, if I just had to go by what I’d read and if people had never been all “Hurf blurf, homophobic racist misogynist crypto-fascist neo-nazis!”, I’d probably have been anti-Puppy by the end of the process. I’d be all “Really? The stuff from before looked pretty bad, but this is what you’re replacing it with?” Of course the whole thing could’ve very well be a Xanatos Gambit by Vox Day to get Wright a lock on at least Short Fiction, if not other categories, by stacking him up against stuff that wouldn’t really cut it. But I’m not really that conspiracy minded?

      If I didn’t have a ton of stuff from the 40s and 50s to get through first, I’d totally follow jeffro’s suggestion to go through everything and try to highlight anyone who’s writing stuff along the same lines as Brackett. I’d call my Short Fiction slate the Leigh Bracket.

    • No problem! I just hope I’ll have time to write it tomorrow. I’ve suddenly found myself under both a deluge of ‘real’ work and ton of game-design related posts floating in my head that I have to get out or I’ll go crazy!

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