Monday, August 22, 2011


Connie Willis takes best novel(s), in a move that will make some of our readers happy, and HG favorites Inception (Chute) and the final two episodes of last season's DW (Tulk) sweep the drama awards... Lev Grossman gets the Campbell for a book that I liked a bit.

Detailed analysis from the invaluable Abigail Grossman is here. Cool quote, disagreeing with my position while referring to films that I have not seen but will try to:

Of course, the best known voting bloc in the Hugos is the Who contingent, who have turned the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form category into the least interesting of the night. What is interesting, however, is how the votes break down. "Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury" started in first place and held that position until the third round of counting--not, in itself, a particularly encouraging statement about either the category or the state of genre television. Meanwhile, the highest-ranked Who episode was actually "Vincent and the Doctor"--a more deserving winner than "The Pandorica Opens"/"The Big Bang." Regardless of which of the nominees won, the entire voting fandom should hang its head in shame over the fact that The Lost Thing has an Oscar, but not a Hugo.


David Chute said...

Wouldn't have picked "Inception" (or many other things) over "Vincent and the Doctor." Could imagine voting for "Immortal Sins" next year, however.

Not ready to get up a post about her quite yet, but I am enjoying Poppy Z. Brite's "Lost Souls" a great deal more than expected. The goth elements should have been enough to put me off, and at this stage in pop cultural history sexy vampires are not a commodity in short supply. But in this first novel Brite is clearly a natural born and compelling writer; barrelling narrative drive in spite of the pea-soup-humid atmosphere.

Christian Lindke said...

Too much Doctor Who love. Is there really nothing else out there? Really?

The SF literati community has become far too meta and far to insular. The fact that Charles Stross -- someone I have a love/hate relationship with -- tweeted ire at Connie Willis' victory is a sign of the times.

I want to see "A Year Without The Doctor" at the Hugos. That's what I want to see.

Military SF is underrepresented as usual -- being nearly completely ghettoized -- and as much as I enjoy Girl Genius.

"Inception" wasn't competing with The Doctor -- different categories -- The Doctor split his own vote. It was also the only SF Long Dramatic Presentation. The others are all Fantasy. Not that it's bad to see pure Fantasy nominated.

Things like Alphas, on SyFy, give me hope that maybe next year they'll give a non-DW a nod, but my guess is that "Torchwood" will sweep. It is exactly the kind of thing the SF community likes today.

It's meta and it reminds people of an echo of C.L. Moore or without any of the punch.

David Chute said...

"Torchwood: Miracle Day" is not universally loved at all by fans. Some simply find it "too gay" (comments in imdb), but many have more substantial complaints, not all of which I disagree with.

I don't have very sharply defined sense of what "meta" means, I guess. If a superhero or a private eye is depicted as living in a post-Stephen King/Ann Beattie "real world" in which pop culture is ubiquitous, including earlier depictions of superheroes and private eyes, the portrait wouldn't be convincing without an element of self-consciousness. Like anything else, this can be done elegently or clumsily. can't see it as an automatic deal breaker.

David Chute said...

Curious about the Stross Tweet. What's his beef?

Christian Lindke said...

Meta isn't just about the work itself being self-referential, in this case it deals a great deal with "in community" jokes. The show, like much of the Who stuff post-relaunch, is too into itself for me from time to time. And the hipster swagger of many of the fans is annoying.

That said, "Torchwood: Miracle Day" only suffers from some of this problem. It is at least trying to reach out to new fans.

I think of DW, and pre-Starz "Torchwood," like I think of later seasons of ST: tNG. The show became too insular and meta. It wasn't just the characters making winks at the audience, it was the "witty" way that the writers included needless "easter egg" nods to the audience.

Some easter eggs are nice, some are annoying. It depends on, as you wrote, how elegantly they are done.

When they become an endless stream reminiscent of a Dennis Miller rant, that's when it is too much for me. DW sometimes falls into this trap. Not always, but sometimes.

DW fans pretty much fall into it all of the time.

David Chute said...

A version of playing too narrowly to one's core audience, then? Which I can agree can be annoying, although perhaps it is hard to distinguish at time from an honorable storyteller referring to past events. When Jack considered adopting Angelo as a companion, and referenced The Doctor, that didn't feel like a wink, to me.

In discussions at work it has been suggested that the whole episode was in effect a form of ret-conning; that if Angelo is as central as he seems to be to the ultimate outcome he should have been mentioned earlier; a slightly different slant on a point I made in my review.

Metafiction or metafilm is a more standard sense of stories about stories is actually one of my favorite things: Many examples, though for me Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter is still at the top of the pile.