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Many of you know the Hugo Awards Ceremony took place in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday, September 5 at the World Science Fiction Convention.  (If you don’t know, the Hugos are like the “Oscars” in the world of science fiction and fantasy).

For the first time in over a decade, Stephen and I were not attending the Hugo Ceremony and were, instead, going to be at Dragon*Con, the largest annual science fiction and fantasy convention held annually in the USA.  Dragon*Con occurs each Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, draws between 35,000 and 40,000 fans  It takes over downtown Atlanta for 4 days - there are costumes, parties, sessions, stars, etc. in mega-doses.

Coincidentally the Hugo Awards Ceremony was happening in Melbourne right in the middle of Dragon*Con weekend.  And we realized a number of the 2010 Hugo Award nominees were going to be at Dragon*Con:

Unfortunately, the 8PM kickoff time for the Hugo Award Ceremony was at (groan) 6AM Atlanta time.  So we decided to all, or at least almost all, have breakfast together, with whatever fans felt like dragging themselves out of bed at 6AM, and listen to the results come in live.

I made a phone call to longtime fan and convention-runner Laurie Mann, explained to her what we wanted to do, and Laurie got the ball rolling.  She put me in touch with Vincent Docherty, and at the same time I got in touch with Cheryl Morgan, who brought Kevin Standlee on board - - and from points all around the globe these folks figured out how to provide real time information and materials so the Hugo Nominees sitting at breakfast in Atlanta could be as up to date as the folks sitting in the Main Plenary Hall in Melbourne.  Simultaneously, Eugie Foster started promoting the Live Hugo Awards Breakfast at Dragon*Con.

When 6AM arrived Steve and I showed up at the Kafe Kobenhaven at the Hyatt Regency, and there were already 10 or 12 people waiting for us!!  And there was already a problem  -  the restaurant didn’t know we were coming and people were starting to freak out.  (Truth is, when I talked to the hotel, and they started making a big deal about us showing up with 20-30 people, I made the conscious decision not to make a reservation.  It’s a huge restaurant, with a buffet breakfast, so I decided we would just show up, treat the restaurant manager real nice and take real good care of the wait staff).  So when we arrived, I pulled aside the manager, had the conversation, and in about 5 minutes the restaurant had given us our own corner, had pulled tables together for us, and piping hot coffee was being consumed.

By this time Lou, Kate, Eugie, Farah, John, Mike and Steve had all arrived – some with significant others, some with fans or friends, and Mary Robinette Kowal from SFWA, and some fans who joined us for breakfast.

Eugie, Stephen, Mary and two others set up laptops  -  as the ceremony commenced we fired up the amazing Mark Slater-produced 7½ minute video that was being shown at the same time on the big screens in Melbourne.  It was riveting!  Then all started to follow various Tweet Streams and videos  -  -  primarily though the streams from Cheryl Morgan and Kevin Standlee.

Hugo Breakfast

Then the awards presentation began  -  at this point Mary took over, announcing the nominees of each category . . and subsequently announced the winner.  As the Ceremony proceeded John Picacio announced some of the nominees, as did Lou Anders and Mike Resnick.  And as it got quiet between nominations and the nominees were biting their nails or chewing their bacon, Mike shared stories about some of the other nominees, and about Hugo Nominees and Ceremonies of the past.

Hugo Breakfast

Every time a winner was announced, even though with one exception those winners were not at our breakfast, there was a rousing round of applause.  With the exception of one first-time nominee, the rest had all been nominated in the past, two were past winners, and all expressed the honor they felt being 2010 nominees.  The high point came of course when Clarkesworld Magazine won the Hugo for Best Magazine!  Our Tweeter in Melbourne, Cheryl Morgan, was one of the named nominees and accepted the award; Kate Bake, podcast director and the voice of Clarkesworld was with us at breakfast and was completely floored when the win was announced.  We all couldn’t have been happier for her.

Hugo Breakfast

All in all the Hugo Breakfast was a great success  -  due in large part to the efforts of Vincent Docherty, Cheryl Morgan, Kevin Standlee, Eugie Foster and Laurie Mann. 

While there will not be a Dragon*Con / Hugo scheduling conflict in 2011, I certainly hope that the standard set this year, which allowed fans around the world to know the results instantly, will be maintained for future years  -  actually, I hope it is taken one step further with a professional level of live video being streamed over the internet.  After all, what better way to showcase and celebrate the importance and the glamour of the Hugo Awards Ceremony than to show the world?

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This year it's a short list  -  my top nomination in each category where I found something or someone deserving of a nomination (with the exception of movies, where there was a very lot of exceptional work).

Remember  -  nominations will close on March 13 (but if you want to participate in the nominations stage you must have been a member of the 2009 Worldcon in Montréal, or you must purchase at least a Supporting Membership in this year’s Worldcon by January 31st).

Before submitting your nominations, please consider:

Best Novel  -  The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

Best Short Story  -  The Moment by Lawrence M. Schoen


Best Related Work
The Inter-Galactic Playground: a critical study of children and teen's science fiction by Farah Mendlesohn


Best Dramatic Presentation, Long

            District 9
            Moon
            Star Trek
            Watchmen

Best Editor, Long  -  Lou Anders


Best Editor, Short  -  Ann VanderMeer


Best Professional Artist  -  John Picacio (take a look at the work on his website)


Best Semiprozine  -  Weird Tales edited by Stephen H. Segal and Ann VanderMeer


Best Fan Artist  -  Brianna Spacecat Wu (see this post for some of Brianna’s recent work)



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In this journal I usually write about scifi, cars or politics.  I don’t think I’ve ever written about our children - daughter, the Honorable Judge Samantha L. Segal, or son, Hugo Award winner Stephen H. Segal.  (It should be noted that even though they’re both in their 30’s, I still feel compelled to give them equal billing, so no one grows up feeling either favored or slighted).

But I know many of you, or you know me, as a result of either Stephen & I attending WorldCon for so many years, or as a result of you knowing Stephen as the editor of Weird Tales.  So today I’m writing about Steve.

By now you’ve likely seen the news  -  Stephen will be starting a new job, in a different city, in a couple weeks.  He’s joining Quirk Books in Philadelphia as their Acquisitions Editor.  Their publishing business has grown to the point that acquisitions can no longer be the part-time domain of their management team; they need a dedicated professional to acquire the best properties for them.  I’m sure in his quest to find the right properties Stephen will have the opportunity to work not only with well known authors, but with young fresh talent, something he has always enjoyed.

This means, of course, he’ll no longer be the Editorial Director at Weird Tales.  WT is, fortunately, blessed with extraordinary people . . . . publisher John Betancourt for whom WT is a labor of love, Editor Emeritus George Scithers, and their fantastic fiction editor, Ann Vandermeer.  Stephen will stay involved as their senior contributing editor (you may have already seen the Press Release from Weird Tales).

From a Father’s perspective, cheering from the sidelines of his kid’s life, Stephen’s experience at WT has been terrific.  Winning the Hugo with Weird Tales is the unplanned result of a largely uncharted journey we began when Stephen was a youngster, becoming a 4 year old Star Wars fan in a house filled with piles of science fiction books and a TV filled with Nimoy and Shatner.  Let’s not forget, Steve and I have been attending conventions for decades.   The idea that he might someday work in the field was something that never entered my mind (nor do I think it entered his mind until adulthood).

We met Isaac Asimov at our first NY Star Trek Convention, and spoke briefly with him about Stephen’s aspirations to be a writer.  Did I have any clue that Steve might someday share the honor of being the recipient of a Hugo Award with Dr. Asimov?  I have always had the high hopes and dreams that all parents have  -  but unlike most parents I’ve had the pleasure of seeing those dreams realized . . . actually, exceeded.

So Stephen moving on is, to me, bittersweet.  While he will still be involved with WT, he will no longer be the public figure you see at conventions promoting the magazine.  Does this mean you won’t see Steve or I at conventions  -  NO!  Long before Weird Tales or Hugos, we were going to Worldcons, and that won’t change.

What I suppose will change is . . . . we will no longer be able to be there incognito, and fade into the crowd as we did for so many years.  Some of you who attend Worldcon may have always wondered about the “coincidence” of “This is Not a Door” following us around the world.  (We thought it was hilarious).

So while Stephen will no longer be Mr. Weird Tales, he and I will continue to be what we think is the only father and son who take their annual trip to Worldcon (yes, I know most fathers take their sons fishing, or hunting, or to Talladega or the Superbowl . . . . but we want to go where it’s fun).  Yes, he and I make the trek every year, painful as it must be for our wives to be left behind and not attend an SF Con with us.  And I laugh more that week than I do all year  -  and when it’s over, I start counting the weeks until the next Worldcon.

So look for us at Worldcon.  Steve will be doing something with up and coming authors, and you can find me at 9AM at Stroll With The Stars.  (Just for clarification . . . this year we’ll be at Dragon*Con and will not be in Melbourne . . . . so look for us this year in Atlanta, and next year, 2011 in RENO!)  And wish Stephen good luck in his new job!

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I don't know about you, but I'm enjoying all the Sci-Fi on TV this year - and this is despite the absence of my two longtime favorites, Star Trek (yes, I'm a fan of all the iterations) and Dr. Who (I'm not a fan of all the Doctors - but I'm only not watching because I don't get BBC America).

Is there anything else good out there that I'm missing?

What I am watching is:
  • Flash Forward - creative plot, mostly good acting
  • Stargate Universe - surprised I like this, as I disliked all previous Stargates. But I'm a sucker for spaceships - and now they have a spaceship, and a stargate and magic stones - the only thing they lack is the "Guardian of Forever", but I'm sure they'll find a way to time travel too.
  • Heroes
  • Fringe - not quite as quirky as the first season, but still entertaining.
  • Dollhouse - Hey, I like this show (the skimpy costumes don't hurt). But it's apparently cancelled and they're going to play out the remaining episodes in the next 2 months.
  • Smallville - the plots have become so painful I've stopped watching (besides, isn't Superman supposed to fly . . . and how 'bout the phonebooth?)
  • Sanctuary - I like the show, but Amanda Tapping's acting is beyond horrible. I can never tell if she's smiling or grimacing - she seems to have the same expression for every emotion.
  • V - what could be better than deceptive all-powerful aliens surreptitiously taking over the planet? And eventually doing things too horrible to mention to the humans? Especially when we all know, and they don't.
So am I missing anything good?
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We just recently picked up a new car and this is the front plate that was on it.

Any of you Spaceballs fans who may want this front plate before I toss it?

May thew Schwartz


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There are three categories I find particularly interesting this year (but I urge you to vote in all categories, and do so before midnight, July 3):


Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
– There is a lot of debate about whether METAtropolis was appropriate as a nominee for the category (seems a little strange that fans who claim to be so forward-looking can be so close minded).  If you are unaware, it’s an audiobook, nominated in a category traditionally populated by full-length feature films.  Let me tell you why METAtopolis has my vote:

It is just an outstanding piece of work  -  5 excellent stories by great authors, all which fit within the framework that John Scalzi and the other authors developed  -  beautifully read by 5 pros, led off by a dramatic performance by Michael Hogan.  The concept and the execution (content and production) are simply outstanding, and very different than what’s expected in this category.

This is the kind work that deserves a Hugo.  If you haven’t yet listened to METAtropolis (yes, I know, it’s 9 hours long), stop what you’re doing and start listening  -  it will be well worth your time.


Best Professional Artist – an unbelievably difficult category to vote on, for a couple reasons. 

First, there is no specific piece of work to vote on as there is in the literature categories – so as a voter you are left much more to your own resources than with many of the other categories.  Second, the talent nominated in this category is always just unbelievable  -  every year it is a choice from amongst nominees who are masters in the field, every one deserving a win. 

This year I want to point you toward the work of John Picacio  -  there is a very lot I could say about his work, but the most convincing argument comes from the work itself (see: John Picacio’s 2008 published work).  Review John’s work and I think you’ll agree – this is the work of a grandmaster, the kind of work that honors our genres.


Best Semiprozine
– there is a lot of excitement around this category, not because of the nominees but because of the possibility that the category may be discontinued after this year.  I’m told the reason is because Locus has won so many times that a foregone conclusion is that as long as the category exists, Locus will win.

But I think the Hugo should go to a magazine which publishes literature.  And I think Weird Tales has done an outstanding job of bringing us some of the best new authors, and the best established authors, in the last year (see – Year In Review).  From Peter Atwood, whose Weird Tales story “All In” is nominated for a Prix Aurora Award, to Michael Moorcock’s all new Elric novella  -  Weird Tales hit a home run bringing us great stories from great storytellers.  And isn’t that what the Hugos are all about?

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This is the small print that says the opinions above are mine and mine alone.  These opinions may be biased – perhaps by many factors, not the least being my attention to Science Fiction and Fantasy, on screen, in print, and in the spoken word, for over 50 years.
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 . . . but let me set the record straight.  While I appreciate the congratulations, I had nothing to do with it.

Stephen H. Segal and Ann VanderMeer are the editors of Weird Tales, John Betancourt is the publisher and George Scithers is the editor emeritus.  Yes, you see me each year at the World Science Fiction Convention with Stephen; this doesn't mean I'm his publisher, I'm his father (and his fan), and at the conventions I'm his support staff. 

I may admit to subjecting the poor impressionable boy to a house full of Doctor Who and Star Trek, and bookshelves full of Heinlein, Verne, Norton and Asimov when he was a child; perhaps I'll even admit to taking him to conventions.

But the congratulations for the Hugo nomination should go to Stephen and Ann and the team at Weird Tales.  They've done an amazing job.

see: Weird Tales nominated for a Hugo Award

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My full list of recommendations follows, but please remember -

This may be the last year for a "magazine" category, as the elimination of the Semiprozine category is likely to be confirmed at this years' WSFS meeting.  A fortunate set of circumstances actually qualifies Weird Tales for the Semiprozine category.  Somehow, in 85 years of publishing some of the most outstanding authors we know, Weird Tales itself has never won a Hugo.  I'm hoping you'll agree that the outstanding work of the past couple years earns them a nomination in what may be the final year of Semiprozine awards.

And also
- this is the first year for the Graphic Stories category.  Categories only live on if there's adequate interest, so I urge you to nominate some of your favorites in this category.
  • Best Graphic Story  -  "In the Cage", published in Mushishi volume 4

And the rest of my recommendations:

  • Best Novel  -  "The Alchemy of Stone" by Ekaterina Sedia
  • Best Novella  -  "America, Such as She Is" by Jay Lake, published in Alembical
  • Best Novella  -  "Black Petals" by Michael Moorcock, Weird Tales #349 (Mar/Apr 2008)
  • Best Novelette  -  "Renovations," by Matthew Pridham, Weird Tales #348 (Jan/Feb 2008)
  • Best Short Story  -  "Gift Time" by Lawrence M. Schoen, published in the anthology Barren Worlds
  • Best Short Story  -  "Evil Robot Monkey" by Mary Robinette Kowal, The Solaris Book of NewScience Fiction Vol. 2
  • Best Short Story  -  "Time and the Orpheus," by Chiles Samaniego, Weird Tales #351(Sept/Oct 2008)
  • Best Short Story  -  "The Last Great Clown Hunt," by Chris Furst, Weird Tales #352 (Nov/Dec 2008)
  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Longform  -  City of Ember
  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Longform  -  Cloverfield
  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Longform  -  Wall-E
  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Shortform  - Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
  • Best Editor, Shortform  -  Ann VanderMeer
  • Best Editor, Shortform  -  Stephen H. Segal
  • Best Editor, Shortform  -  Ellen Datlow
  • Best Editor, Longform  -  Lou Anders
  • Best Editor, Longform  -  Sean Wallace
  • Best Fan Artist  - Brianna Spacekat  (see website)

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It's a short list this year:

Best Graphic Story 
     - "In the Cage", published in Mushishi volume 4
 
Best Dramatic Presentation - Longform
     -
City of Ember
     - Cloverfield
     - Wall-E
 
Best Dramatic Presentation - Shortform
     - Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Best Editor  -  Shortform
     - Ellen Datlow
     - Stephen H. Segal
     - Ann VanderMeer

Best Editor  -  Longform
     - Lou Anders
     - Sean Wallace

Best Professional Artist
     - John Picacio  (see
published work of 2008)
 
Best Semiprozine
     - Weird Tales, edited by Stephen H. Segal and Ann VanderMeer  (see Year in Review and eligible works published in WT)

Best Fan Artist
     - Brianna Spacekat  (see website)
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About a year ago I asked if I was alone in my outrage of the remake of this great movie. (see the original post).

After comments from some of you I changed my position, as someone pointed out that even though the original movie was well done and had a great message, the age and relative obscurity of the movie meant it simply wasn't being seen by younger people. Point taken. So I for the last year have anxiously awaited the new movie.

And now I've seen it.
Read more... )
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He's got to be kidding.

I remember it like yesterday - - in 1977 when the Imperial Stormtroopers came on screen, I SCREAMED OUT (at least, in my head) - - - HE'S STOLEN THEM FROM DOC SMITH!!!!

Now I read he actually won an infringement case in a California court (and a $20 million judgment), and is looking to enforce his rights in Great Britain. . . all over his ownership of the design of the Imperial Stormtroopers.

Excuse my phraseology, but what balls this guy has to lift the space armor from Doc Smith, then sue over infringement of his plagiarized costumes!
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Here is my complete list of work I believe is worthy of Hugo nominations (excluding Art categories); somehow I feel I should have absorbed more this year, but. . . . . .

Best Novellette

Best Short Story

  • Eric Amundsen – “Bufo Rex”, Weird Tales #347
  • Frank Wu – “Love and Death in the Time of Monsters”, Abyss & Apex #24  (not sure if this belongs here, or as Fan Writer, so I’ve included it in both)
  • Jay Lake - "Tom Edison & His Telegraphic Harpoon", Weird Tales #345

Dramatic Presentation: Long Form

  • The Entire 1st Season of “Heroes
  • Jerome Bixby’s “The Man From Earth
  • The Host” – a Korean film released overseas and shown at Cannes in ’06; it is however eligible as the English language version was not released until 2007.

Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

  • Heroes” episode - "How to stop an exploding man"

Best Editor: Short Form

  • Sean Wallace - Fantasy Magazine, Fantasy (anthology), Bandersnatch, Jabberwocky

Best Semiprozine

  • Weird Tales  - based on current criteria, Weird Tales qualifies for this category

Best Fan Writer

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Here are my thoughts on work I believe is worthy of consideration for Hugo nominations (in some categories):

Short Story

Semiprozine

  • Weird Tales  (based on current Hugo criteria, Weird Tales qualifies for this category)

Dramatic Presentation: Long Form

  • Jerome Bixby’s “The Man From Earth
  • The Host” – though released overseas and shown at Cannes in ’06, I believe this is eligible as the English language version was not released until 2007.

Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

  • Heroes” (great show, though I’m not sure exactly which episode – all are good)
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I just read there is a remake in the works (OK, maybe I’m a little slow as this news is about 6 months old), starring Keanu Reeves as Klaatu, and with Jennifer Connelly and Kathy Bates.  Sounds like a good cast.

BUT AM I ALONE IN MY OUTRAGE about trying to remake a classic (piece of modern-day art)? 

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