This time we are looking at what are, for lack of a better term, the "nonfiction and institutional categories": Best Related Work, Best Semiprozine, Best Fanzine and Best Fancast. Now, those who follow this blog know how cranky The G can get on the subject of certain categories and their bizarre eligibility guidelines--and we've got two of them today (Best Semiprozine and Best Fancast). Nevertheless, I will do my best to stay calm and stick to the rules, frustrating as they can be. I reserve the right, will, however, get a little snarky and passive-aggressive in the process.
There are, however, some sticky issues that made putting this list together a bit difficult. Knowing what does or does not constitute a "fanzine" in the era of blogs, for example--and given that we may already be on the downward slide of that era, it only promises to get more difficult as time passes. Nevertheless, we have tried to create clear and consistent guidelines for inclusion in this category. Thus, to qualify, a fanzine: (1) must be a fan venture (i.e. must not generate a significant amount of money, or pay professional rates for work); (2) must publish a lot of content in a given year; and (3) must publish "award worthy" content. We did not discount single-author blogs from consideration, but criterion #2 makes it difficult for most single-author blogs to merit consideration. Consequently, while a couple made it, most did not--including some very good ones.
I also feel obliged to mention that 'nerds of a feather, flock together' is eligible in this category, but whether we belong on anyone's list (short, long, good or bad) is another story, and part of a conversation we aren't inclined to join. We'd much rather talk about all the other sites we like to read (and which meet the criteria outlined above).
The category Best Fancast also presented issues, namely, on the question of whether podcasts hosted by profit-making websites were still fancasts. The issue here comes down to whether the podcasts qualify (given token-level payment for the podcasts themselves) or do not (given that the parent companies can employ at least some people full-time). There were internal disagreements on this question, but in the end we decided to include the podcasts in question, but make note that they may not meet the eligibility requirements. I personally encourage you to vote them in that category--both because they belong there and, consequently, because a rule that keeps them out is dumb. But that's just me. It is also worth noting that last year 8-4 Play was a finalist for Fancast, and 8-4 Play is hosted by 8-4, a professional video game localization company. If 8-4 Play is eligible, and passed the vetting process of the Hugo committee, than so should Rocket Talk and Midnight in Karachi. But that's just our opinion.
Before moving on to the recommendations, a gentle reminder that this list is not and does not intend to be a comprehensive survey of genre or fandom. Rather, these are recommendations we suggest you consider alongside whatever other candidates you have in mind. - G & Joe
Carrington, Andre. Speculative Blackness [University of Minnesota Press, 2016]
Dixon, Kyle and Michael Stein. Stranger Things Original Soundtrack [Lakeshore Records, 2016]
Fireside Fiction Special Report (Brian J. White, Tobias Buckell, Justina Ireland, Mikki Kendall, Nisi Shawl, Troy Wiggins, Cecily Kane and N.K. Jemisin) [Medium, 2016]
Hurley, Kameron. The Geek Feminist Revolution [Tor, 2016]
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
The Book Smugglers
Chaos Horizon (Brandon Kempner, ed.)
Lady Business (Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, Susan, eds.)
Rocket Stack Rank (Greg Hullender, Eric Wong, eds.)
SF Mistressworks (Ian Sales, ed.)
SFFWorld (Dag Rambruat, Rob Bedford, Mark Yon, and Nila White, eds.)
Cabbages and Kings (Jonah Sutton-Morse)
Fangirl Happy Hour (Ana Grilo and Renay Williams)
Midnight in Karachi (Mahvesh Murad)
Rocket Talk (Justin Landon)
Skiffy and Fanty (Rachael Acks, David Annandale, Shaun Duke, Julia Rios, Mike Underwood, Paul Weimer, Jennifer Zink
POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Writer / Editor at Adventures in Reading since 2004. Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2015, editor since 2016. Minnesotan.