Friday, January 24, 2020

2020 Nerds of a Feather Hugo Awards Recommended Reading, Part 4: Institutional Categories

Welcome to the fourth and final installment of the Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together 2020 Hugo Awards Longlist! (Parts 12, and 3.)

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. We reserve the right, however, to 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.  

We 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 in the past 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 most everything else. 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

Related Work
Becoming Superman, by J. Michael Straczynski
Broken Places and Outer Spaces, by Nnedi Okorafor
The Dark Fantastic, by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas
Joanna Russ, by Gwyneth Jones (University of Illinois Press)
The Hugo Initiative, by Joe Sherry. Adri Joy, Paul Weimer, Michael Newhouse-Bailey
Lady from the Black Lagoon, by Mallory O’Meara
Lost Transmissions: The Secret History of Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Desirina Boskovich
The Magical Readathon 2019 by Book Roast
Monster She Wrote, by Lisa Kroger and Melanie R. Anderson
The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein, by Farah Mendelsohn
Shapeshifters: A History, by John B. Kachuba
They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei
Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin by Arwen Curry

Anathema Magazine
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
The Dark Magazine
Fireside Fiction
FIYAH Literary Magazine
Strange Horizons
Uncanny Magazine

The Book Smugglers (Ana Grilo and Thea James)
The Full Lid (Alasdair Stuart)
The Hugo Book Club (Amanda Wakaruk and Olav Rokne)
Lady Business (Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, Susan, eds.)
The Rec Center (Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Elizabeth Minkel)
Runalong the Shelves (Womble)
Quick Sip Reviews (Charles Payseur)
The Quiet Pond (CW)
Reading the End (Jenny Hamilton)
SF in Translation (Rachel Cordasco)
SFFReviews (Sara Uckelman and Sarah Grace Liu)
SFFWorld (Dag Rambruat, Rob Bedford, Mark Yon, and Nila White, eds.)
Women Write About Comics (Kayleigh Hearn, Kat Overland, Claire Napier, Kate Tanski, Wendy Browne, eds.)

Aces and Jokers
Axe of the Blood God
Books and Pieces
Bree Reads Books
Claire Rousseau
Coode Street Podcast
Ditch Diggers
Fangirl Happy Hour
Females in Fantasy
Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men
Kitty G
New Books in Science Fiction
Our Opinions Are Correct
SFF Yeah!
Skiffy and Fanty
Sisters of Sci-Fi
Sword and Laser
Two Chairs Talking