Shadow War’s Hugo Chances

I’ve been asked several times over the last few months if I thought “The Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City: Prologue,” which has been nominated for a Hugo in the category of short story, had a chance of winning the category. My response has been that I would talk about it after the Hugo voting closed. Now the Hugo voting is closed, and here’s my thought as to whether the story will win:

No, I don’t think so. It’s a little weird and quirky and silly, and purpose-built to be an April Fool’s joke, and I think the combination of all those factors will ultimately work against it, coupled with the fact that there are several genuinely excellent works on the short story ballot this year. I’m happy to share the ballot with all of the nominees and will be happy to lose to any of them.

I was genuinely thrilled it was nominated, and when it was nominated, I decided that simply being on the ballot was an excellent reward for this particular story, and that it had been nominated for doing certain things well. I felt the same way when Zoe’s Tale was nominated for Best Novel; I was no illusions that on a ballot with works from Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, Cory Doctorow and Charlie Stross that I’d walk out with the rocket, but the nomination to me meant I was being acknowledged for getting something right (in that case, getting the voice of Zoe to be a believable one). With “Shadow War” I’m pretty sure I’m getting a tip of the hat for making a funny story that pokes at the genre affectionately rather than spitefully. Also, I think some people may have nominated the story just to mess with everyone’s heads. Which, you know, is fine, too, although in that case it’s one more reason for me not to exactly stress about its chances of winning.

That said, if it did win it wouldn’t be a travesty. As I’ve noted before, if you think writing a story that’s supposed to come across like it’s bad literature yet is still readable and stands on its own as a short story while at the same time formatted to work as a prologue chapter of a book that doesn’t actually exist is an easy thing to do, then by all means go ahead and do it. I’ll stand over here and watch. Oh, yeah, remember to make it funny. Because that’s not hard, either. It’s stunt writing, but stunt writing still needs to get the job done. The story works or it doesn’t, depending on personal taste, but on the level of structure and story telling, it gets over the bar well enough. I’m aware that some people seem disproportionately annoyed that the story got on the ballot, but some people seem disproportionately annoyed that I have a career at all, so: Oh, well. If the story wins, they will be annoyed further, I suppose. It’s not my problem.

In any event, I’m jazzed to have been nominated, not at all expecting to win, and will be delighted to be on stage at the Hugo ceremony (which I am the host for this year) when whoever does win gets to come up and take the trophy. They will have deserved it, and I’ll be very happy for them.

I will say this, however: Next year? I think this should get a nomination for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.


A Trio of Caveats

Jezebel has linked in and reported on yesterday’s piece on Readercon, which is nice because it helps to widen the discussion of the issue, to which I came late and had a less than critical role in (again, here’s a good collection of posts about the event, most of which were written before I popped in with my thoughts).

Between the Readercon piece and the “Who gets to be a geek” piece I’m getting a lot of press and positive vibes in the last couple of days for being a decent guy , particularly when it comes to women in geekdom. I certainly appreciate it; I try to be a good guy and I try also to encourage others to be the same.

But for the sake of my own sense of proportion, I’d like to note some things, quickly.

1. I’m getting credit that doesn’t necessarily accrue to me, simply because I have a relatively big platform. In the case of the Readercon incident specifically, the reason I keep pointing back to that list of links is to note that lots of other people — staring with Genevieve Valentine, who was the one harassed — had been making noise about it for days. If anything, I offered signal boost to work already done.

2. I don’t mind attention (obviously) and I am delighted to boost the signal to help combat the basic misogynistic crap that women have to deal with in geekdom because holy buckets, we do seem to be having quite a public gout of it these days, don’t we. That said, it’s been noted, and not unfairly, that the fact that the attention on these topic increases when I, a guy, talk about them (I’m a guy! Did you know?) is ironic and indicative of a whole bunch of other things which would take a while to unpack. Some of that attention goes back to the aforementioned big platform, but some of it doesn’t, and that’s worth noting and discussing.

3. I’m happy to be getting credit for being a good guy, and I really do try to be a good guy. But, you know. I have shown my ass on the Internets (and elsewhere) before, and I probably will again; hopefully unintentionally and then I will then hopefully quickly apologize, but even so. I just want it out there that I’m aware that I’m a fallible person, will almost certainly experience fallibation in the future (“fallibation”: not a real word) and that makes me like everyone else. I also want it out there that I know getting credit for being a decent human being right now doesn’t mean that I’ve accrued a “Get Out of Jail” card if I’m a jackhole later. If you see me showing my ass, be sure to let me know. I don’t expect this will be a problem for most of you.


“To Sue The World,” Featuring Wil Wheaton + All of w00tstock 4.0

Hey, would you like to see me and Wil do “To Sue the World,” which we did at the Burbank Public Library, whilst I was on tour? Of course you do. Here you go.

Thanks to “pateachoux3” for recording and uploading that.

Also, if you go here, you’ll find the canonical w00tstock 4.0 version, featuring Pat Rothfuss, along with every other part of that particular show. Enjoy, you crazy kids!

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