The Voter's Packet for the Hugo Awards has been released and made available to all members of DisCon III and Nerds of a Feather has put together a compilation of what we feel represents the best and the breadth of our collective work published in 2020. While the purpose of the Voter's Packet is to help eligible voters make an informed decision when casting their ballots, we wanted to also make this available to all of our readers who may want to take a look back at what we did last year. As such, below is The G's introduction to the Voter's Packet followed by the Table of Contents with links to each of the essays, reviews, and features we included in the packet.
If you'd like, you can also download the files we included in the Voter's Packet and take Nerds of a Feather on the go.
We hope you enjoy!
If ever there was a year when genre mattered, it was 2020. What we just lived through – what we continue to live through – was once the stuff of science fiction. Think about it. A zoonotic, aero-
solized virus. Global pandemic. State-enforced lockdowns. Mask mandates. Contact tracing via digital apps on your mobile devices. The spread of misinformation, echoing the spread of the virus itself. And video conferencing – so much video-conferencing – taking the place of person-to-per son interaction.
Meanwhile, so many of us found ourselves cut off from our usual support networks and activities, isolated at home or working essential jobs in challenging circumstances; starved for entertainment; in need of an escape. Genre offered us distant worlds and far-off lands, magical creatures and the endless wonder of space. Genre could help us momentarily escape from what was going on around us. And it could help us work through the pain, fear and stress of what was going on around us – what is still going on around us.
Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together exists in a virtual space. It is powered by a group of editors and writers scattered across the world. Our purpose is to share, review and critique works of science fiction and fantasy that we feel are worthy of discussion. We have never sought to be comprehensive in our coverage, but rather well curated.
And we neither charge nor seek advertising to underwrite this endeavor. We do it out of love for the subject matter, and because we all, individually and collectively, want to cast our opinions and viewpoints out into the ether, where they become part of the digital community – and conversation - that is fandom.
We are not alone. There are many others, including our fellow nominees in the Best Fanzine, Best Fan Writer and Best Fancast categories, who ride alongside us. We all share this same passion for genre and for fandom, that same need to express ourselves through critical exegesis. I feel fortunate to ride alongside them. Still, I think there is something special about Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together. Nine years ago, almost to this day, it began with a phone call to my co-founder Vance Kotrla. We had long been neighbors and friends, brought together by a shared love for science fiction and cult cinema.
I knew that he, like me, had a lot to say about it too. Would he want to put that to page? As it happens, he did. Fast-forward nine years and we have just received our 5th Hugo Award nomination. We have one
writer (Paul Weimer) nominated in the Best Fan Writer Category, and an editor (Adri Joy) co-nominated in the Best Related Work Category. What’s more, an alumnus (Charles Payseur) is nominated both in the Best Fan Writer and Best Fanzine categories. We have a wonderful group of editors and writers, led by our Managing Editors Adri Joy and Joe Sherry, who produce thoughtful, engaging and sometimes provocative material five-days-a-week. (Vance and I still write for the site too!) And while books are our bread and butter, we also cover comics, games, film and television. Quite the value, right? A broad selection of what genre has to offer in one convenient place. With that in mind, I’d like to present you with a curated sample of the work we produced in 2020. I am immensely proud of the work our team has produced - particularly in this year of years, when we needed genre more than ever. I am grateful for the opportunity to share it with you, and for your consideration in the Best Fanzine category.
Section I. Fiction Reviews
1. The City We Became, by N.K. Jemisin
2. Unconquerable Sun, by Kate Elliott
3. Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
4. My Best Friend's Exorcism, by Grady Hendrix
5. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Tempest
6. In the Black, by Patrick Tomlinson
7. Harrow the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir
8. When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, by Nghi Vo
9. A Pale Light in the Black, by K.B. Wagers
Section II. Nerds on Tour
1. Introducing Nerds on Tour
2. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014, Film)
3. The Route of Ice and Salt, by Jose Luis Zarate (1996, Novella)
4. Black Orpheus (1959, Film)
Section III. Conversations
1. Adri and Joe Talk About Books: 2019 Locus Recommended Reading List
2. The Modern Nostalgia of Dragon Quest XI: A Conversation
3. The Hugo Initiative: Blogtable (1983, Novelette)
4. Interview: S.L. Huang
5. Interview: Andrea Hairston
Section IV. Essays
1. Beauty, Dragons, and Isometric Horror: Revisiting Breath of Fire IV
2. Major and Minor: On Speculative Fiction as Canonical Literature
3. Tor.com Publishing, Fire Become Ashes, and the pretty pastel packaging of abuse
4. Imagining Beyond the Climate Crisis
Section V. Features
1. Westworld Wednesdays: Other People's Gods
2. Tuesday Morning Superhero: Comic Con at Home
3. The Dragon Prince Re-Read: Skybowl
4. We Rank 'Em: New (Retro) Adventure Games!