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News of the week of August 19, 2014

Meeting Report

We played:

Schedule

We resume our regular weekly meetings on Tuesdays at 7:45pm, at 233 Broadway, Cambridge.

On September 9, there's an election, so as usual we will meet then only if someone else opens up or hosts.

Note that if you aren't registered to vote where you want to vote, today, Wednesday, August 20, is the last day to do so. Most towns will have their offices open late for this.

News of the week of July 29, 2014

Meeting report

We had an all-Dowland meeting this time:

Schedule

We will not meet either on August 5 (when you should go to the West Gallery workshop) or on August 12.

The August 19 meeting will be dedicated to working on the program for the August 22 performance, so if you aren't planning on performing, you should count on being a test audience some of the time if you come.

After that, we resume our regularly scheduled meetings on Tuesdays at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge.

2014 Hugo Award votes

Novel

This category was difficult this year -- they nominated the 14 volume sequence "The Wheel of Time" in it's entirety. It's about 6 times the length of War and Peace. I only had time to read 2 times the length of War and Peace between when they sent out the voter packet and when I had to vote.

It's possible that when (if, but I'm sort of enjoying it) I finish it, I will be bowled over and wish I had voted for it over the three I ranked ahead of it, but really, if anyone had ever said anything about it that made me want to read it, I would have read some of it by now. The first volume was imitation Tolkein by someone with a tin ear for language. I'm sort of glad I pushed on -- it improves pretty fast after that. But I'm not finding reading the online summaries is anything like reading the books, so I'm going to just continue reading them in order.

So my choices are:

  1. Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross
  2. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
  3. Parasite by Mira Grant
  4. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
  5. Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles

The first three of those are what I consider "normal" science fiction -- examinations of the impact of some kind of technology on the lives of the characters. The Stross got first place because I thought both the technology idea (how do you do banking over interstellar distances?) and the characters were a bit more interesting than the Leckie and the Grant.

I voted for "The Wheel of Time" over "Warbound" because if it does turn out to be a good fantasy series, it will be much more the kind of thing I want to read than the "Grimnoir Chronicles". (I should mention that in addition to the 14 volume series nominated as a whole, the publishers of Warbound also gave us all three volumes of this series, and I'm not sure I'd have wanted to read Volume III on its own.) It seems to be SF for the video games generation, and in spite of some good writing in between the action scenes, I found it difficult to slog through.

I considered voting for "No Award" ahead of "Warbound", but I decided that it was well enough written to justify an award if that's the kind of SF the voters really want.

Novella

  1. "Equoid" by Charles Stross
  2. Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
  3. "Wakulla Springs" by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages
  4. "The Chaplain's Legacy" by Brad Torgersen
  5. The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells

The top three of these are all excellent stories. The other two lack characterization. I voted for the Stross over the Valente and the Duncan because I thought the Science Fiction (a proposed life cycle for the Unicorn) was better. "Wakulla Springs" is a well-written story, but really not SF at all. "Six-Gun Snow White" is brilliant in spots, but doesn't really hang together at the end.

Novelette

  1. "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling" by Ted Chiang
  2. "The Waiting Stars" by Aliette de Bodard
  3. "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal
  4. "The Exchange Officers" by Brad Torgersen
  5. "Opera Vita Aeterna" by Vox Day

Again, any of the top three would be a good award winner. I didn't remember until I'd filled out my ballot that the Vox Day was controversial, but I figure it doesn't matter because I didn't like it without any political motivations.

Short Story

  1. "The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere" by John Chu
  2. "Selkie Stories Are for Losers" by Sofia Samatar
  3. "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" by Rachel Swirsky
  4. "The Ink Readers of Doi Saket" by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Here, I do feel strongly that my number one vote is better than the others, although I certainly won't be surprised if something else wins. I don't feel strongly about the ranking of two and three.

News of the week of July 22, 2014

Meeting report

We played:

Schedule

We will meet as usual on July 28 at 7:45 pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge..

We will not meet on August 5. Consider going to the West Gallery workshop by Francis Roads, instead.

I will be in Spain on August 12. Stuart has offered to host a meeting at his house in Somerville. Let him know if you want to come, and he'll post a message to the list if there's a critical mass.

After that, we will resume our usual Tuesday night meetings.

Performance opportunity

We have been asked to play at the Women's Lunch Place from 11am to noon on Friday, August 22. Let me know if you're interested in playing. I would expect anyone who wants to play to also come to the meeting on Tuesday, August 19, and we can decide on repertoire when we know who we have.