Thursday, January 21, 2021

2021 Nerds of a Feather Hugo Awards Recommended Reading, Part 4: Institutional Categories


Welcome to the fourth and final instalment of the Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together 2021 Hugo Awards Longlist!

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. Some of these categories are the hardest to figure out eligibility for, either because they require intimate knowledge of Hugo rules ("Semiprozine", why are you a word in our vocabulary) or because the precedent for them has historically been weird (e.g. recognising the podcasts of profit-making websites in Best Fancast). Nonetheless, we have done our best, and ask that you a) forgive us and b) gently bother Adri on Twitter if you feel we've got something wrong.

There are still a couple of sticky issues that made putting this list together a bit difficult. For example, deciding on when to put single author ventures in fanzine or recognise their authors in fan writer (or both!) continues to pose a challenge. We have tried to create clear and consistent guidelines for inclusion in this category. Thus, we have tried to recognise publications in this category which are (1) a fan venture (i.e. must not generate a significant amount of money, or pay professional rates for work); (2) publishing a substantial amount of content under a unified "brand" in a given year; and (3) (obviously) publishing "award worthy" content.

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 in this post. We'd much rather talk about all the other sites we like to read! 

Best Related Work was also an interesting category for us this year. The longstanding catch-all nature of this category means that this year we feel there's a plethora of both fandom achievements and genre non-fiction that is worthy of consideration. While the dichotomy raises long term questions about the future of Best Related Work as a single category, we suggest voters follow their heart and embrace the wide range of things eligible this year, from groundbreaking virtual events to (b/v)logs to academic work. What's an award without a little chaos variety, after all? 

Before moving on to the recommendations, we'd like to remind everyone once again 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.

Nerds of a Feather 2021 Recommendation List Series:

Related Work
A Handful of Earth. A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler, by Lynell George (Angel City Press)
Asimov’s Empire, Asimov’s Wall”, by Alec Nevala-Lee (, 7 Jan 2020)
Biology and Manners: Essays on the Worlds and Works of Lois McMaster Bujold ed. Regina Yung Lee and Una McCormack (Liverpool University Press)
ConZealand Fringe by Claire Rousseau, Adri Joy, C, Marguerite Kenner, Alasdair Stuart, Cheryl Morgan and Cassie Hart
Europa28: Writing by Women on the Future of Europe, ed. Sophie Hughes and Sarah Cleve (Comma Press)
FIYAHCON, by L.D. Lewis, Brent Lambert, iori Kusano, Vida Cruz, and the FIYAHCON team
Flights of Foundry by Dream Foundry
Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics!, by Tom Scioli (Crown Books for Young Readers)
Into the Omegaverse: How a Fanfic Trope Landed in Federal Court, by Lindsay Ellis
Margaret Atwood: A Word After A Word After a Word is Power (Note: May be ineligible based on scale of original 2019 release)
Strange Horizons Reviews: A Twentieth Anniversary Roundtable, by Rachel Cordasco, Erin Horáková, ML Kejera, Samira Nadkarni, Abigail Nussbaum, Charles Payseur, Nisi Shawl, Aishwarya Subramanian and Bogi Takács
"The State of Black Speculative Fiction" by Eugen Bacon and Milton Davis (Hadithi & The State of Black Speculative Fiction)
Ties that Bind: Love in Fantasy and Science Fiction ed. Francesca T. Barbini (Luna Press Publishing)
"Timeless: A History of Chrono Trigger", by Aidan Moher

Anathema: Spec from the Margins
Augur Magazine
Baffling Magazine
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
FIYAH Literary Magazine
The Future Fire
Strange Horizons

Astrolabe  by Aidan Moher
The Fantasy Inn by Hiu, Jenia, Kopratic, Sharade, Tam, Travis and Wol
The Full Lid by Alasdair Stuart
Genre Grapevine by Jason Sanford
Insert Cartridge by Aidan Moher
Lady Business ed. Ira, Renay, Susan, KJ and Jodie
Quick Sip Reviews by Charles Payseur
The Quiet Pond by CW, Joce and Skye
The Rec Center by Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Elizabeth Minkel
SF In Translation by Rachel Cordasco
Women Write About Comics by Nola Pfau and Wendy Browne

Claire Rousseau
Chronicles of Noria
The Coode Street Podcast
The Fantasy Inn Podcast
The Functional Nerds
Hugo, Girl
Hugos There
Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men
My Name is Marines
Onyx Pages
Perpetual Pages
SFF Audio
SFF Yeah!
Skiffy and Fanty
Sword and Laser