World Wide Websday: January 1, 2014

Happy 2014, all ye subscribers to the Gregorian Calendar (you think I’m joking, but my Ethiopian roommate informed me that it’s 2006 in Ethiopia right now, and New Year’s is in September).  Also, writing that date was a struggle for me, I just want everyone to know.  If it had been on paper, I’d have been stuck trying to smoothly turn a 3 into a 4, which we all know is doomed to failure.

Awards and things arranged in lists

You see, there are actually several different species of end-of-the-year lists.  The commercial ones come out a couple of weeks before Christmas, with the sinister aim of encouraging you to buy a ton of books for your relatives.  Then there are more blogger-ly lists, which come out at the actual end of the year.  Without further ado:

  • i09 has provided a predictable-but-not-too-predictable Best of 2013 post.
  • So has Stefan Raets at Far Beyond Reality, including such made-up awards as “Best Genre-bending Twin-Peaks-Meets-X-Files Americana Headtrip,” which was American Elsewhere.
  • Bookworm Blues has a nice long list of their most-loved speculative fiction of 2013.
  • The Book Smugglers were also all over it, with two separate lists for each respective Smuggler.  There’s a stronger YA presence, for sure, but they also have nice best-books-we-read-regardless-of-publication-date lists.
  • There’s someone else who had a Best of the Year post, too, of unparalleled diversity and depth…Who was it?  Us?  Yes, it was us.

And then there are the savvy types who immediately started listing the books we have to look forward to next year.  Including:

  • The Fantasy Book Café, which includes two authors I’m doing little excited dances for already (Elizabeth Bear and N.K. Jemisin).
  • Kirkus Reviews, whose list was compiled by a real live and very trustworthy Book Smuggler (also, dudes, Ancillary Justice has a sequel)
  • Buzzfeed, which is has a much different list than the previous two.
  • Fantasy Faction, who has a really long list and the first mention I’ve seen of Garth Nix’s new book in the ABHORSEN series.

In awards news, The Ocean at the End of the Lane just won the 2013 Specsavers National Book Award (I think I might die of not-surprise, at this point).  Also, the John W. Campbell Award for the best new fantasy or science fiction writer is now open for voting, under the same membership rules as the Hugo.

Writing and publishing news

Speaking of awards, Strange Horizons has a very heartfelt (and enlightening) article about the machinery of the Hugos and their possible future.  If you find yourself winning a Hugo, you might also need to sit down with your family and have a talk about the genre you write in.  Kameron Hurley has a really sweet piece on how to introduce the non-SFF-reader to your SFF work, without selling the whole thing short.  Just for kicks (pun intended, but somewhat regretted), here’s the Mythic Scribes advice on writing the best fight scene you can write.  You know, in pursuit of that Hugo.

Articles and miscellany

Three completely unrelated articles caught my eye this week, which means I won’t even try for cohesion here.  First, there’s a rather lovely conversation between Jo Walton and Claire from The Captive Reader on reading books when you’re too young, and whether that’s even a thing.  As someone who read The Hobbit  in second grade and missed almost everything except the idea of an invisible man, giant spiders, and a dragon I…strongly support rereading.  Next, Alison Herman argues that it’s time to let Harry Potter die a natural, peaceful death, rather than letting it become a horrible shambling corpse animated by fandom and corporate gold-digging.  Or something like that.  Lastly, a note of celebration: Suvudu feels that we (being the geeks) have successfully conquered television this year.  Now for wrath, now for ruin, and the red dawn.

Shiny stuff

In order to make art history compelling—at least Western art history, because doesn’t everybody have a dark-sad-portrait limit?  Or a naked-white-lady limit?—this must happen (add C3PO to Duchamp, and everything is better).  Then there are also these sculptures which look so much like people that I kind of feel like the artist stole live humans and freeze-dried them.  He’s also vaguely connected to the movie Labyrinth, so that’s how I’m connecting the dots back to SFF.

And finally, because I’m drunk with the heady power of the Websday post, let’s all go admire one of my favorite Golden Age illustrators: Kay Nielsen.  They just have such…poise, and drama, and fearful symmetry.  And a very Art Noveau Meets East Asian Artistic Traditions and Steals Them feel.


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ALIX E. HARROW recently got her MA in History at the University of Vermont, and has circled back to her Old Kentucky Home with her partner Nick Stiner. She spends her time desperately repairing their newly-purchased home, reading fantasy books, throwing a frisbee for their neurotic border collie, and trying to cook authentic Mexican food. She makes a hilariously small amount of money writing high school history curriculum. Alix is dipping her toes into the blogosphere at The Other Side of the Rain, in an attempt to sharpen her writing skills and also not-incidentally talk about the books she loves. Some of her favorite authors include Neil Gaiman, Ursula LeGuin, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Susanna Clarke.

View all posts by Alix E. Harrow

5 comments

  1. Those books that are hotly anticipated for 2014? I want them all. ALL OF THEM. Every last one. (And I’ve already pre-ordered at least four of them.) How will I ever find enough time?!

    I’m awed that the Book Smugglers read as much as they did last year. Holy cats, those are some big numbers. I bet they’re not on Facebook (a/k/a “The Time Eater from Hell”).

  2. thanks for all those lists!

  3. Alix, baited breath, Jemisin and Bear. Superb!

    • This is when I remember why I used to only read completed series. Next best thing I could do was start reviewing and try to get my sticky fingers on things a little ahead of time!

  4. Thank you for the mention, how can we be there first one to mention Garth Nix!? Crazy, aye? :)

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