Showing posts from February, 2024

Recent Reading: In Ascension by Martin MacInnes

When Paul Lynch won the Booker last year for Prophet Song , a near-future dystopia in which Ireland falls under the sway of a fascist government, there was the predictable hoopla over whether the book could, or should, be read as science fiction. But it seems to me that the SF community missed a trick several months earlier, when it failed to herald the longlisting of Martin MacInnes's In Ascension for the same award. Not only is In Ascension undeniably science fiction, featuring such core tropes as interstellar space travel, new star drives, and contact with aliens; it also seems very much in conversation with some key genre works which deal with these very topics, most obviously Carl Sagan's Contact and the movie adapted from it. As in that story, the novel is told from the point of view of a young, female scientist who ends up at the center of a global effort to respond to indisputable evidence of the existence of alien intelligence. But whereas Contact used that premise

The 2023 Hugo Awards: Somehow, It Got Worse

The last month has been a busy one in Hugo and Worldcon fandom. After the shock of the much-belated 2023 nominating stats, and their revelation of serious irregularities in the compilation of the award's ballot, there was a great ferment of conversation and action. Mainstream publications have caught wind of the scandal and publicized it far and wide . Turnover in the few permanent committees that oversee the Hugo trademark and intellectual property has been high . The poor folks at the upcoming Glasgow Worldcon have been scrambling to respond to the evolving situation and to distance themselves from the previous committee—including, most recently, making a laconic announcement that they would refuse any of Chengdu's passalong funds, the budgetary surplus that is traditionally bequeathed from one Worldcon to the next. And stats nerds—of which this community is, unsurprisingly, blessed with a surfeit—have been furiously crunching the nominations numbers and EPH calculations