Hugo News For Those Coming In Late

The Hugo nominations were announced over the weekend, but inasmuch as the weekends are when people aren’t on the Internet, especially when there’s a major religious holiday in there, I thought I’d make mention of it again for those of you just now straggling back into the Webs.

So: Hey! The Hugo nominations have been announced!

Here’s the entire Hugo nomination slate. I’m on it.

Here’s my reaction to being on the slate.

Here’s the Web site to Chicon 7, this year’s Worldcon, where the Hugo Awards will be given out. You totally want to go this year, in no small part because I will be Toastmaster and I will also be hosting the Hugo Awards ceremony itself.

There, now you’re all caught up. Continue on with the rest of your Monday.

21 Comments on “Hugo News For Those Coming In Late”

  1. Meanwhile, across the pond, the BSFA award for best novel went to (wait for it) The Islanders, by Christopher Priest.

  2. There are some great noms. I thought that weekends are when people who pretend to work while at their offices, while surfing the web, aren’t on the Internet.

    An attorney talked me out of founding The First Church of Computers in the late 1960s, speaking of major religious holidays. My premise was that, if using a computer was deemed a religious experience, then there might be tax advantages… And I’d already written several chapters of the Binary Bible… I think that Futurama writers came up with the same notion. “And the iron shall lie down with the lamp…”

  3. @Jonathan

    I hope that said “bible” was written in binary? Or at least Fortran or Cobol? (come to think of it, a species that spoke binary might not be such a bad idea: Idea open for general use)

  4. I hope that Chicon provides the option that was available last year for non-attending registered Hugo voters to receive all of the nominated stories/novels electronically. I thought that was a great idea.

  5. Hi John,
    Do you have any scoops on whether Chicon 7 is attempting to provide a Hugo voters packet with samples/complete works this year?

  6. @digitalathest
    Star Trek: TNG had an episode featuring the Binars, a race who spoke in binary and who were chosen to do a refit of the Enterprise’s computer because they were so good at it.

    This doesn’t really make sense to me. I suppose one could have a species who communicated by emitting sounds using binary frequency-shift keying instead of some other scheme of vowels and consonants, but their patterns of sounds would still have to translate into a language of some kind. “Binary” isn’t actually a language. There is no reason to suppose that different Binar cultures might not have different languages, though if they all use BFSK to form words, they would all pretty much sound the same to a human being. Nor do I see why their mode of communication would make them any more than a tiny bit more adept at communicating with machines. One might as well use the Ethernet connection on a Mac Book to transmit a computer virus to the command ship of an invading alien species.

  7. Read only one book there (hey, give me a break, I’m in graduate school. And it’s Mathematics, so it’s real graduate school) “Leviathan Wakes”. A good novel with definite influences from Stephen R. Donaldson’s “Gap” Series, “Blade Runner” and “Death Troopers”. It even has some inspiration from “Firefly” as it takes place in the solar system, which is big enough for many ginormous capital ships to easily get lost in and includes a plucky crew of misfits on the run from major power.

    Oh, and it has Space Zombies (which comes from “Death Troopers”). Did I mention the Space Zombies?

  8. I too am curious to hear if/when a Hugo voter’s packet might become available, but I do note that at least three nominated works are available at

  9. @Mike,

    You have to realize that the Writers of ST:TNG and writers in general, don’t have even a basic understanding of science or technology. So, binary-speaking aliens being adept in “speaking” to computers seems plausible to them.

    It’s kind of like saying we humans are adept in speaking to cats since our vocal range is largely the same (which makes the fact that my cat won’t do what I say a mystery).

  10. @scorpius: Yes Trek science is well known for being silly. I remember the episode where a planetary surface was colder than zero Kelvin. It wasn’t really the emphasis of the show and they had fun with it, such as when they named chemicals/alloys after anime characters.

    It does occur to me that a species that communicated in such a way, might plausibly be quicker to invent digital computers in the first place.

  11. “Speaking in binary” is like saying that we speak in base-26. (“We” being speakers of languages using Roman character sets.)

    Also, written language is itself “digital” in that it is expressed using discrete units. Anyone writing text is converting analog spoken language to digital written language. When computers work with text, they are merely translating from one digital format to another, which is computationally trivial.

    Actually understanding text is a much higher order task, but one where the transmission format is not particularly important.

  12. @Steven Burnap
    I’d say that would be writing in base-26 +/- for those languages using Roman characters.

    I suppose one could count all of the various sorts of sounds humans make when speaking a particular language and call that base-N though since amplitude, inflection, pauses, and various inarticulate noises communicate additional information, human speech isn’t quite so digital as written communication.

  13. My favorite nomination of this year is Community’s “Remedial Chaos Theory” episode (short form dramatic presentation). I highly recommend it. While from a science fiction standpoint, it’s not breaking much new ground, it’s a nice acknowledgment of a sitcom with strong elements of the fantastic. (See also: the Dungeons and Dragons episode from last year!)

  14. Excerpt from GENE515

    What is Man, that he may know Number? What is Number
    that it may be known by Man?

    As we are mathematicians, we are in the image of our
    creator, The Mathematician, who has other attributes
    beyond our comprehension, and is Transfinite.

    He freely gives us this world, and the cosmos beyond,
    and the flora and fauna over which to be stewards, and
    our fellow human beings to love, which is in the image
    of His love, which is transfinite.

    We have free will, and for those of use who choose to
    be mathematicians, he gives us the integers as toys,
    in which is His book coded.

    We play with those toys, some of us in solitude, some
    of us playing together. And when we put aside childish
    things, behold, we still have the gift of Number, and
    they are more than first we knew.

    Eureka!, and Aha!, and knowing what Mozart meant when
    he said that he did not write music, but it was
    already there and he plucked it from thin air as it
    blew past. And what Ramanujan said was given him by a
    Goddess, And what Gauss could see as a child, and
    Riemann in the looking glass of Primes, and Galois by
    candlelight in the brief hours before his fatal duel.

    Euclid, alone, has looked on beauty bare. But we
    mathematicians today are not alone, far from it,
    cradled in the same Web woven of Number, binary and
    octal and hex, decimal and alphanumeric, vector and
    raster, and more in cables, trunks, and as wifi in the
    very air about us.

    By knowing Number more deeply, we more deeply know
    ourselves, and our Creator.

    Every word begins and ends with the empty word; the
    empty word begins and ends with itself.

  15. Is it the toastmaster’s job to present Hugos, or introduce the Hugo presenters?

  16. I thought it was the toastmaster’s job to get “toasted” on Coke Zero and Devil Dogs.

  17. I’m just hoping I can afford to make it to Worldcon this year because (a) it’s in Chicago and I live a couple of hours away and (b) I’ve never been able to make the mechanics of attending a Worldcon succeed because of issues related to distance, finance, and taking time off work.

    Although this year might also be questionable, as the forecast for being laid off from work is still in the ‘a definite possibility to plan for’ mode as opposed to the ‘technically possible but not all that likely’ mode.

    Then again, since I wouldn’t necessarily have to plan for hotel costs, it might still be financially doable even if I do get laid off….*sigh*

  18. @Mike: It’s been done both ways. In recent years it has mostly been the latter, we’re leaning towards the former (with an obvious juggle we need to handle).

  19. The packets alone are worth a supporting membership, people. Five novels, plus all the novellas, novelettes, short stories, graphic novels, and some or all of the related works? You literally couldn’t buy all those for that price.

    Plus, the Hugo is the Major Award I care most about — it affects me more in my choice of entertainment than the Oscars, Emmys, or Grammys, etc. It’s the only one where I know any of the nominees. And it’s the only one I ever get to vote for.

    Perhaps John and Seanan could switch off toastmastering and give awards to each other. Which reminds me to ask —

    John: will Masquerade intermission be Paul and “Just A Minute” again? It’s the only intermission I’ve sat all the way through in my 30 years of going to Worldcon, I think.

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