First, a confession – I don’t have much time to read anymore. I’ve never been a very fast reader, I simply had a lot of free time, which can be deceptively similar from the outside. But the past couple years I’ve taken on other projects and a serious relationship, both of which have cut into my time sharply, so I barely even have time to read the two-books-per-month for the local SF/F Book Club. Which means that the amount of novels I read is already low, and the number I read in the same year they’ve been published is astonishingly low. Therefore the majority of my nominations are more aspirational nominations than actual “I read this and I think it’s amazing and it was just published so it’s still eligible for the award I think it deserves!” nominations. They are books that I want to be good, and if enough people think they were then I’ll get a copy to read with the Hugo Packet (which we read in our Book Club every year) and I can actually make an informed decision then. :)
When it comes to short stories… I’ve never been an avid reader of them. Usually I find an author I like first, and then go read his backlog of stories afterwards. Fortunately that’s not as true this year! So let’s start with the short stories!
First and foremost:
I know the author, which is how I came to actually read a short story (a rarity for me). However that’s not why I’m nominating it. This is truly an amazing, epic short story. People who know me IRL know that I often rave about Hal Duncan’s Vellum. It is, IMHO, the best book ever. It isn’t written linearly, because its story isn’t a linear story. It is a mosaic which you can only see small pieces of at a time, and once you’ve read the whole thing you have all the pieces and you can hold them in your mind and mentally take several large steps backwards and finally see the actual picture. As such, it’s hard to tell people what it’s about. It has to be experienced personally, and most people don’t like the experience.
Comes The Huntsman has the same structure. If you were to take Vellum and turn it into a short story, it would be Comes The Huntsman. Not in terms of story or characters or any of that, but in terms of emotion and structure. Which is my way of saying that I love this sort of story structure, it resonates with me like no other type of fiction can.
On top of that, Comes The Huntsman has an excellent story of its own, with real emotional pull. It is an excellent work, and everyone should read it. All the short stories I’m nominating are strong, I don’t mean to disparage any of them. But this one should win the 2012 Hugo, IMO.
Again, I read it because I know the author. It is a fantastic story, in a world of upheaval that feels like it’s blossoming into something beautiful, and a character who’s personal storyline mirrors that narrative. That feeling of watching something amazing begin is infectiously exciting. It’s also available in audio form at Toasted Cake, and the reading is superb. I’ve subscribed to TC on the strength of that episode. They beat me to win the 2012 Parsec Podcast Awards, and very deservedly so!
The Three Feats of Agani, by Christie Yant
Brought to my attention by the formerly mentioned Anaea Lay. A great story of gods, which I imagine speaks strongly to any tranhumanists (which is why I personally loved it).
On to Books:
The Killing Moon, by NK Jemisin
I haven’t read it, but Anaea Lay has promised to “throw a spectacularly childish fit […] in order to solicit nominations for this book.” Thus I am nominating it. Plus I trust her taste.
Because he’s awesome and I’ve loved all his stuff to date.
Auraria, by Tim Westover
Again, I haven’t read it. But it’s recommended by Van Aaron Hughes, who doesn’t have exactly my taste but who’s opinion I trust. Moreover, it is a self-published book that is apparently awesome (coming in 2nd place in the Fantastic Reviews Battle of the Books), and I am ideologically committed to supporting people who bypass the established powers to strike out on their own and do a very good job of it.
The somewhat rare: Novelette!
(rare because I don’t read these, and few people includes them in their noms lists)
Wool, Omnibus Edition, by Hugh Howey
I haven’t read it yet, but I keep seeing it pop up over and over by various people I trust. I’m enthusiastic about it because it started out as simply a guy writing and posting his work online, and more and more people finding it and loving it and spreading it. It is essential a self-published work, which I think is awesome. A great story that also tells the publishing industry to go screw itself at the same time? Sign me up!
Because Dr Who is overrated. I mean, it’s a’ight, but I don’t bother watching it unless it’s already on and I have nothing else to do. Which is why I’m only maybe halfway through season 2. My Little Pony, OTOH, is made of pure awesome, as I’ve written before. If it gets the nom, this will be my top vote.
Because I’m not about to not nominate myself, even if I have no chance of even making an “also nominated” list. :) This episode was one of the most fun ones, I figured the more dramatic ones require too much background knowledge.
CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER
Van Aaron Hughes – who I know personally from the Denver SF/F Book Club and who is a damn good writer! I’ll also be nominating him for Fan Writer for Fantastic Reviews, which runs the really freakin’ cool Battle of the Books every quarter which you really should read, it’s fun. :)
Anaea Lay – who I’ve met and who is awesome, and still eligible!
As you can see I’ve got free nomination room, so if there’s something you think is really deserving let me know.