Hugo Award Voter Packet

Today, I sent the Hugo Voter Packet to Worldcon officials.

For those who are curious, we selected the following representative works:

  • The Lion’s Share, by JD Brink
  • The Hour of the Rat, by Donald J. Uitvlugt
  • The Space Witch, by Schuyler Hernstrom
  • Rose by Any Other Name, by Brian K. Lowe
  • The Last Dues Owed, by Christine Lucas
  • The Phantom Sands of Calavass, by S.H. Mansouri
  • Lost Men, by Eugene Morgulis
  • The Priests of Shalaz, by Jay Barnson
  • Squire Errant, by Karl K. Gallagher
  • A Hill of Stars, by Misha Burnett
  • My Name is John Carter (Pt 1), by James Hutchings
  • The Feminine Force Reawakens, by Liana Kerzner

All total, it adds up to about 63K words, slightly longer than our latest issue.

While a part of me wanted to be able to just send all of the stories, I understand that Hugo voters will have millions of words to go through in their packets, so I wanted to send them an amount that showcases the types of pieces we publish while not presenting them with a daunting amount of content to read.

The other day, JD Brink joked about degrees of separation from a Hugo nomination. In a sense, he was wrong; Cirsova’s nomination is HIS nomination, just as it is a nomination for ALL of our writers and artists. We would not be here without you.

To all of our contributors, congratulations on your Hugo Award Finalist Selection!

If You Have Questions, We Have Answers (Interview Roundup)

*Stickied Post

If you’ve just found out about Cirsova from our Hugo Nomination, hi! If you’d like to know more about us, who we are, and what we do, a great place to start would be these interviews we’ve done over the last few months.

Red Sun Magazine – Interview with Cirsova Magazine


Castalia House (Scott Cole) – A Conversation With P. Alexander: Cirsova Magazine

Chris Lansdown – Cirsova Magazine

Jon Del Arroz – Interview with Cirsova Magazine Editor P. Alexander


Sexy Space Princesses and Super Starship Battles! (Geek Gab, Episode 66!) (Audio)

Or, you can always ask questions here! We’re always happy to field questions!

Cirsova Receives Hugo Nomination for Best Semi-Pro Zine!

It is incredibly difficult to convey just how hard it’s been to keep this under my hat for the last couple of weeks. I’ve been so excited that I just wanted to scream.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us and made this possible! If I name names, I know I’ll forget folks, so I’ll try to cover everyone as best I can. Thank you to my fellow bloggers at Castalia House, thank you to the Alt-Furry crew for putting us on Sad Pookas, thank you to the folks on Pulp Twitter, thanks to everyone who follows and reads the blog, thanks to the friends and family who’ve supported us, and especially thanks to all of our readers and contributors – without you, we’d be just another WordPress site!

I probably won’t be able to make it up to Finland this year, but if any local Helsinki black metal musicians plan on attending Worldcon, I’d be thrilled to have you to accept the award on our behalf!

Hugo Awards: Cirsova Eligibility

This is a quick guide to eligibility by category for pieces published by Cirsova in 2016. It is not a recommendations list. While I may post my recommendations and favorites for other categories, we will not do so for any categories in which we published fiction.

Cirsova is a Semi-Pro paying magazine (we pay .01 per word with an additional .01 for the first 2500 words). Cirsova published 43 eligible works in 2016 (45, if you split out Hutchings’s poem). Stories that are available to read for free on our website are linked. Other issues are available on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats.



  • A Hill of Stars, by Misha Burnett (Cirsova #1)
  • The Wooing of Etroklos, by J. Comer (Cirsova #3)
  • Shadow Vision, by Preston Dennett (Cirsova #4)
  • The Vault of Phalos, by Jeffery Scott Sims (Cirsova #4)

Short Story

Related Work

Best Short Fiction (Only Part of the Hugos I’m Gonna Get Mad About)

For the most part, the outcome of the Hugo Awards on Saturday did not surprise me. While I’m bummed that Ku Kuru Yo and Castalia House didn’t win, it was still expected, and for the most part, I wasn’t particularly invested in a lot of the categories.

Best Short Fiction was really the only point of outrage for me. I would have loved to see Chuck Tingle* take the prize in that category.  I would have been fine with one of the other stories winning, and even No Award would not have been as terrible, given the circumstances.  But the notion that Cat Pictures Please was the best that the Science Fiction field had to offer makes me want to dash my brains out.  It was almost kept off the ballot except that one Rabid Puppy pick withdrew their nomination, allowing Cat Pictures to back into a slot.

Now, for a minute consider this comment left on a Guardian article:

“Science Fiction is defined by Clarke’s Three Laws, Fantasy is defined by Tolkien’s On Fairy Stories.

That is the end of the matter.

If the right-wing want “swashbuckling fun”, they can create their own damn genre. No, sf/f has never been about “inclusiveness”. It has almost exclusively been left-of-centre visions. Right-of-centre visions are more often found in pay-to-pray megachurches.”

Ignoring the political idiocy of the Guardian commenter, the notion that SFF is not supposed to be swashbuckling fun MUST be pervasive given the support for this sort of stuff.  This change in short fiction was already well under way by the 1970s, as was apparent in some of the worst stories I read in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

And consider that Cat Pictures Please is a preachy little piece about an AI that outs a flimsy stereotype of a closeted gay minister cuz he’ll be so much happier out of the closet.  This is what is considered the best in Short Science Fiction? This is why, while it stands to have so much potential, especially in a tablet-happy reader market, SFF short fiction still feels stuck in a rut.This is why, despite my love of SFF short fiction, I don’t waste my time on the contemporary ‘big name’ publications.

It’s not just Cat Pictures Please, or the laughably bad If You Were a Dinosaur My Love – plenty of Puppy picks and favorites last year and this were twee, saccharine little puffs of winks and cuddles fit more for a volume of Chicken Soup for the SF Soul than to be called “Best Short Story”.  I’ve made no bones ::pun intended:: about the fact that my disappointment with some of the Puppy picks was part of what inspired me to try to promote Heroic Fantasy and pulpy Science Fiction.

Are we regressives? In the sense that we’d like to drag genre fiction kicking and screaming back to a place where it was fun and awesome, I suppose so. SFF at its best should be inspirational and aspirational. There is so much potential, as I’ve said, for this kind of science fiction. People are hungry for new stories, stories they can read in their spare time, on the go, on vacation, and on their tablets—short fiction is PERFECT for that.

By supporting Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, not only are you helping us fight back against the notion that science fiction and fantasy should not be “swashbuckling fun”, you are supporting authors who create swashbuckling fantasy and science fiction by enabling us to buy their stories while paying competitive rates.

*:Worth noting that Chuck Tingle’s Space Raptor Butt Invasion has done far more for mainstream gay acceptance within the SFF community beyond capital “F” Fandom than a thousand little softly bigoted pieces like Cat Pictures Please could dream to. Also, never forget that despite the faux show of solidarity, Tingle was No Awarded after having initially been bullied and told he needed to drop out by N.K. Jemisin who went on to win Best Novel this year.

Hugo Post-Mortem

In the end, the Hugos turned out not how I’d hoped, but how I’d expected.

The big question looming over the announcement was who were the people who’d shown up in record numbers to vote in the Hugos. Well, we still can’t say that it was entirely the GRRM “True Fans”, because there were several categories that had incredibly high vote totals for nominees in what are normally incredibly small categories. Toni Weisskopf got what may be a record number of votes in the Best Long Form editor category, with 1216 first pass votes. However this was one of the many categories that was “nuked” by the No Award vote.

Originally, I’d predicted that a lot of the lesser known categories would be nuked because the straight ticket and puppy-free ticket No Award crowd would certainly outnumber good faith voters in those categories. While I was one of those who had been brought in by the Puppy controversy, I was a good faith voter and only voted in categories in which I had read everything and could make an informed choice, so I skipped a number of categories. What surprised me was how large the No Award crowd actually was. I was expecting the Puppies to lose because they were splitting their votes among 5 nominees, not because they were outnumbered by the No Award block from around 3:2 to 2:1 in most categories.

There were a few other shocks which should not have been surprises, but still were. The Asterisk award bit was a huge insult to the nominees and the winners, but what was strange was the fervor of the cheers whenever “No Award” was announced. It was the best thing in the world to a huge number of people that the “wrong” authors didn’t win. In a year that gave an award to The Day the World Turned Upside Down for best novelette when other categories were being nuked because “hurf-blurf quality”, the cognitive dissonance is amazing. I abstained in the Novelette category because I didn’t get around to reading them all, but DtWTUD was one of the worst things I’d read recently. In fairness, it WAS losing to No-Award until the 4th pass.

There were a few bright spots in the categories that did win awards. I’m not unhappy that Guardians of the Galaxy won. It wasn’t my first choice, but it was definitely the kind of movie I’d love to see more of. I’m glad Julie Dillon won; I know nothing about her, and she could be the most horrible person in the world, but her artwork was superb and she deserved the win; I’m sorry that her win has an asterisk by it. I’m also happy to see Ms. Marvel get the win. Ms. Marvel is a flawed work and probably ultimately doomed to either die a withering death or become another zombie title simply because it’s an American comic that is part of the Marvel Universe, but it was certainly the best of the bunch. At least Rat Queens didn’t win, amirite? The Zombie comic had no chance because that dude could not give but a single fuck about the Hugos, and I’ve got to respect him for that.

It was a nice gesture to let that fan from Austria(?) come up and announce some winners. The Dalek was awful, though. No, not because of any ‘exterminate the Sad Puppies’ reference that some people are suggesting, but because the audio was completely borked for that entire portion of the ceremony. How great would it have been if they had to announce a No Award from Outer Space?

So, record turn-out for Worldcon to match a record number of No Awards being given out (doubling the total from all previous years). Saturday night, we may have seen the most epic ‘taking the ball and going home’ in history. Ultimately, there’s a now a stalemate in fandom: the Puppies have proven that they can lock the nominees in the most categories, while the TruFan crowd has proven that they can shut down those categories once nominees are decided. So, the question is, what will happen next time? Who will give first and by the time one side gives, will the Award even mean anything? The Puppies camp is already ratcheting up for next time. While the straight No Award camp was probably only in the few hundreds (else Movie and Comic would’ve been nuked, too), the Puppy-Free camp was certainly in the thousands. That’s a LOT of money being spent by a LOT of fandom to keep those nasty Puppies from taking home an award. With Worldcon membership price jumping up to $50, I wonder what attrition we’ll see? The psychological significance in difference between $40 and $50 is larger than a mere $10, so I would not be surprised if next year did not have the record number of supporting members.

This empty box cost fandom roughly $140,000.

This empty box cost fandom roughly $140,000.  How much will it cost next year?

I’m probably not going to register next year. After what I saw Saturday night, I don’t think Worldcon deserves my money.

Breakdown of voting can be found here, if you’re interested.

I was almost surprised Mixon didn’t thank Requires Hate in her acceptance speech.

Minor update: I loved the running joke of an old white guy making fun of Vaishnavism.  Progressive Hugos 4 the Win!