Tuesday and Wednesday were quiet days, reading and watching-wise due to work commitments. I did finish reading Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, which I mildly enjoyed. I suspect my reaction to the book has to do both with it being aimed at a slightly younger audience and that I grew up watching Hercules cartoons before moving on to Xena et al, so the whole idea seemed rather familiar. Reports are that Miss 10 is enjoying it greatly, though, so when she’s finished we’ll chat about it.  Other than I read two more issues of Grant Morrison’s Joe the Barbarian, which I continue to enjoy, and caught up with episode 6 of Kelsey Grammer’s Boss. While I’ve been engaged be the series to date, this is where it gripped for me. It was a bit darker, a bit more violent, and certainly more compelling as Kane’s world begins to unravel quite seriously.

Not sure where to next. I have some bits and pieces of TV to watch, a few comics to read, an ENORMOUS pile of books that I’m not looking at, and some other stuff.  I was pleased to see the new issue of Subterranean starting to appear. Bill’s magazine has consistently been amongst the frontrunners for quality fiction over the past couple of years, so more is welcome!

Hugo and Nebula nominations open…

Each year at the beginning of the awards season the question comes around about promoting your own work/nominating your own work for awards.  With Nebula and Hugo nominations now open, below is a list of eligible works by category.

Novellas (Nebulas/Hugos)

  • Martian Chronicles, Cory Doctorow (Life on Mars)

Novelettes (Nebulas/Hugos)

  • Dying Young, Peter M Ball (Eclipse Four)
  • Mercies, Gregory Benford (Engineering Infinity)
  • Walls of Flesh, Bars of Bone, Damien Broderick & Barbara Lamar (Engineering Infinity)
  • Creatures with Wings, Kathleen Ann Goonan (Engineering Infinity)
  • The Ki-Anna, Gwyneth Jones (Engineering Infinity)
  • The Vicar of Mars, Gwyneth Jones (Eclipse Four)
  • Tourists, James Patrick Kelly (Eclipse Four)
  • The Old Man and the Martian Sea, Alastair Reynolds (Life on Mars)
  • Laika’s Ghost, Karl Schroeder (Engineering Infinity)
  • A Taste of Promises, Rachel Swirsky (Life on Mars)
  • Fields of Gold, Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse Four)
  • Judgement Eve, John C. Wright (Engineering Infinity)

Short Stories (Nebulas/Hugos)

  • Attlee and the Long Walk, Kage Baker (Life on Mars)
  • Martian Heart, John Barnes (Life on Mars)
  • The Birds and the Bees and the Gasoline Trees, John Barnes (Engineering Infinity)
  • On Chryse Plain, Stephen Baxter (Life on Mars)
  • The Invasion of Venus, Stephen Baxter (Engineering Infinity)
  • The Beancounter’s Cat, Damien Broderick (Eclipse Four)
  • Nine Muses, Emma Bull (Eclipse Four)
  • Slow as a Bullet, Andy Duncan (Eclipse Four)
  • The Double of My Double Is Not My Double, Jeffrey Ford (Eclipse Four)
  • Thought Experiment, Eileen Gunn (Eclipse Four)
  • Old Habits, Nalo Hopkinson (Eclipse Four)
  • Story Kit, Kij Johnson (Eclipse Four)
  • Tidal Forces, Caitlin R. Kiernan (Eclipse Four)
  • Goodnight Moons, Ellen Klages (Life on Mars)
  • First Principle, Nancy Kress (Life on Mars)
  • Digging, Ian McDonald (Life on Mars)
  • A Soldier of the City, David Moles (Engineering Infinity)
  • Wahala, Nnedi Okorafor (Life on Mars)
  • The Server and the Dragon, Hannu Rajaniemi (Engineering Infinity)
  • Mantis, Robert Reed (Engineering Infinity)
  • Larp on Mars, Chris Roberson (Life on Mars)
  • Watching the Music Dance, Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Engineering Infinity)
  • Bit Rot, Charles Stross (Engineering Infinity)
  • The Man in Grey, Michael Swanwick (Eclipse Four)
  • The Panda Coin, Jo Walton (Eclipse Four)
  • Malak, Peter Watts (Engineering Infinity)

Editor, Short Form (Hugos)

  • Jonathan Strahan
    Books (5): The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year: Volume Six; Eclipse Four; Engineering Infinity; Life on Mars; Dangerous Ways: Mystery Novels by Jack Vance)
    Magazines (12): Locus: The Newspaper of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Field, Reviews Editor, Jan-Dec 2011 issues)

Semiprozine (Hugos)

 Fanzine (Hugos)

Fancast (Hugos)

I encourage everyone to look at these and all of the other very fine works that are eligible for awards in 2012 and nominate the works that you loved!  Your nomination and vote are important and the more people that are involved, the better the awards are!

Edited: Edited to remove Live and Sassy from Fancast/Fanzine to match eligibility criteria.


… a quiet day.  I read part of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, which I bought on the Kindle when I was traveling back in October. Sophie started reading it on her new Kindle Touch, and before I knew it we’d agreed we were in a competition to see who could finish first, and to see if we’d have anything interesting to say about it when we were done.  I also read issue 1 of Azure, a digital SF comic by Daniel Govar, that didn’t much interest me. Work reading-wise, I read the February Asimov’s, which features a strong novella by Robert Reed, “Murder Born”. I’d already read a lot of good things about the story, but found myself not quite as impressed.  The main piece of culture, though, was Marianne and I watching ep 1 of Seasojn 2 of the the BBC’s Sherlock, “A Scandal in Belgravia”.  While it was problematic in some ways,  I still enjoyed it enormously.

Finally, as an aside to this post, my thanks to all for their kind birthday wishes. They were all enormously appreciated.

What I read or watched yesterday…

One of the things I’m toying with is posting a brief diary of the new “culture” consumed every day. I find I look back and can’t always pinpoint when I read something, hence this.

There are some possible exceptions. I don’t know that I want to include anything here about short fiction I’m reading for the year’s best because it conflicts with Last Short Story, and because it seems like a fairly poor idea.

I also won’t post about some novels. Every now and then manuscripts fall into my hands, legitimately (!), and it’s best not to comment publicly on them until a more appropriate time.

With those two caveats, though, here’s the rather passive amount of culture I consumed on a holiday Sunday when I slept as late as I have in three years, and when we did go swimming for a while.

I’m been watching the first season of Kelsey Grammer’s new political drama, Boss. For those unfamiliar with it, Grammer plays a mayor of Chicago diagnosed with a degenerative neurological condition. The script is tight, the cast is good, and the stories work. I’m not 100% I love it, but I find myself compelled to keep watching, which is a good sign.

I also watched the final two episodes of season two of Downton Abbey. Somehow I seem to have watched most of Downton Abbey on planes – season one on the Reno/WorldCon trip and most of season two on the NYC/LA/World Fantasy trip – but I’d not quite finished till last night. It’s a real soap opera now, and I’m not as impressed with s.2 as I was with s.1, but it still the right thing for the day.

Finally, during 2011 I purchased an iPad. That lead to me dipping my toes into the world of comics. I’ve never been an active comics reader, having read a small number of superhero comics as child, then Neil’s Sandman and Dave Sim’s Cerebus later on in life. Everything else passed me by, but James Bradley had me check out and rather enjoy Warren Ellis’s Planetary, and it got me interested enough to dabble.

Yesterday I read the opening three issues of Grant Morrison & Sean Murphy’s Joe the Barbarian. I’d seen the omnibus in Planet, but don’t really want to get into acquiring physical comics, so was happy to read it on the iPad. The story, of a young boy going into some kind of insulin shock and either seeing or hallucinating a great universe-saving epic adventure is pretty cool, and the art is great (though I sometimes seem to find comics panels generally confusing). I also tried issue 1 of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s Spaceman. I think I want to re-read it before posting more on it.

That’s my culture for 1 January. I’m not expecting to add much to it today. It’s my birthday and I expect demands for my time will distract me from things, but we shall see.