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For a third year, we are a finalist for the Hugo Award and that is not something I could have imagined when I first joined the team here at Nerds of a Feather. I know that I speak for Vance and The G when I say that we are honored and humbled to recognize that we continue to be part of the history of the Hugo Award and part of the fan tradition in science fiction and fantasy.
Joining Nerds of a Feather in 2015 was one of the most surprising and rewarding decisions I had made in twelve years of fan writing at my own single author blog. Twelve years in blog time is almost an eternity. I never had a specific goal that I was working towards beyond a vague impossible dream of the Hugo Award, and the community that I had enjoyed in the “early days” had splintered with blogs closing and other writers following other paths. The scene had changed and I missed the energy of a vibrant community. I was as close to stepping away from fan writing as I had ever been, but becoming a part of this team was reinvigorating. I was filed with an energy and passion I had thought long lost.
The most important word in the preceding paragraph is “team” because that is the true strength and the true beauty of Nerds of a Feather. There are twelve active writers and together we all have built a small community, something special and full of energy. It is the full and equal contributions from each writer that gives us our foundation for success, and I wouldn’t have the opportunity to write this essay without the daily excellence these writers contribute.
Adri Joy, Brian, Chloe Clark, Dean E.S. Richard, Joe Sherry, Michael Newhouse-Bailey, Paul Weimer, Phoebe Wagner, Spacefaring Kitten, The G, Vance Kotrla, Sean.
We have a crack team of writers here at Nerds of a Feather and I could not be be prouder of the work they produced in 2018.
Every writer here at Nerd of a Feather is a *fan* of science fiction and fantasy. We’ve been reading and watching and thinking about spaceships and wizards and dragons and visions of the future and impossible creatures and robots and magic and maybe even magic robots. We loved sharing our passion with anybody who would listen, and sometimes even with those who would not. We remember first seeing that rocket logo on the cover of some of the books we loved so much and wondering what it was all about, but knowing that it *meant* something special. It *still* means something special. “Hugo Award Winner” are three incredible words, but three words just as treasured are “Hugo Award Finalist”. Nerds of a Feather is now a three time Hugo Award Finalist and we fully appreciate that we stand both in the footprints and on the shoulders of giants.
Though an award for Best Fanzine was not given out at the first Hugo ceremony at the 1953 Worldcon, fanzines were included at the second Hugo Award ceremony two years later in 1955. It was one of only six Hugo Awards given out that year (for those historically minded, Fantasy-Times won). Except for 1958, Best Fanzine has been given out every year since. Fanzines have been (and still are) a vital and prominent part of the rich tradition of science fiction and fantasy and of fandom itself.
Nerds of a Feather follows not only in the blazing trails of the blog styled fanzines of SF Signal, A Dribble of Ink, and Lady Business, but of every fanzine that has come before us and kept community and conversation going. We follow in the footsteps of Fantasy-Times, of Yandro and Locus and Janus and File 770, of Emerald City and Mimosa and Banana Wings and Journey Planet. We are proud to be part of this fan tradition, of being a small part of a larger genre conversation.
Our contributions in 2018 to that larger conversation include:
*Feminist Futures: a major initiative looking at landmark works of feminist science fiction and fantasy
*Frankenstein at 200: celebrating 200 years of Frankenstein, Vance considers the novel and the two James Whale directed movies in four essays.
*Eco-Speculation: a series of essays on the intersection of speculative fiction and the environment
*Horror 101: Chloe Clark continues her high level look at the horror genre
*New Books Spotlight
*Long and Short Form Reviews
*Thursday Morning Superhero: A weekly look at new comic books
*Westworld Wednesdays: a limited run weekly feature covering each episode of the show's second season
*Coverage of board games, video games, and so much more
What follows is a collection of some of our work from 2018 that we believe represents the core of what Nerds of a Feather is all about. If you are new to Nerds of a Feather, welcome. We hope that you’ll be as thrilled to discover these reviews and essays as we are to share them with you. If you are already familiar with Nerds of a Feather, we’d like to thank you for coming along on this journey with us. We wouldn’t be here without you.
Section I: Fiction Reviews
1. Beneath the Sugar Sky, by Seanan McGuire
2. A Robot Learns to Love Itself: Reflecting on the Murderbot Diaries by
3. Musings on The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang
4. Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse
5. X-Men: Grand Design by Ed Piskor
6. Dark State, by Charles Stross
Section II: Feminist Futures
1. Feminist Futures: An Introduction
2. Feminist Separatism in Science Fiction
3. The Cycle of Coming Home
4. Her Smoke Rose Up Forever
5. Women of Wonder
6. The Word for World is Forest
Section III: Spotlight on Horror
1. Frankenstein at 200: An Outsider’s Love Song
2. Frankenstein at 200: Society Be Damned
3. Frankenstein at 200: What Monstrosity Looks Like
4. HORROR 101: Violence in Horror, Part One
5. HORROR 101: Surrounded by Others – Anatomy of a Pod Person
6. Tip of the Hat: The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix)
Section IV: Conversations
1. PERSPECTIVES: Let’s Talk Marvel Comics!
2. Fireside Chat: Amanda Rose Smith of Serial Box
3. Fireside Chat: Brian Ramos
4. Eco-Speculation #4: Interview with Eric Fisher Stone
5. 6 Books with Rebecca Roanhorse
6. 6 Books with Seth Dickinson
Section V: Visual Media Reviews
1. Black Panther
2. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
3. The Predator
3. Lost in Space (2018)
Section VI: Features
1. SIDE QUESTS: Synthesizers, A Love Story
2. A Young Writer Remembers Ursula K. Le Guin
3. The Fugue of Fantasy and the Grimdark Interregnum
4. Thursday Morning Superhero: Year in Review
5. Eco-Speculation #2 Animals Among Us
6. Westworld Wednesday: Some People’s Children