Nebula Award Winners 2011

Posted Sunday May 20, 2012 by John Gunders in |

The Nebula Award winners for 2011 were announced overnight:

Novel: Among Others, by Jo Walton (Tor)

Novella: “The Man Who Bridged the Mist,” Kij Johnson (Asimov’s Science Fiction, October/November 2011)

Novellette: “What We Found,” Geoff Ryman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September/October 2011)

Short Story: “The Paper Menagerie,” Ken Liu (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March/April 2011)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation: Doctor Who: “The Doctor’s Wife,” Neil Gaiman (writer), Richard Clark (director) (BBC Wales)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book: The Freedom Maze, Delia Sherman (Big Mouth House)

Hugo Award Nominees 2012

Posted Saturday April 7, 2012 by John Gunders in |

Nominations for the 2012 Hugo Awards were announced overnight. You can find the full list here. Nominations for best novel are:

Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
A Dance With Dragons, George R. R. Martin (Bantam Spectra)
Deadline, Mira Grant (Orbit)
Embassytown, China Miéville (Macmillan / Del Rey)
Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey (Orbit)

Jo Walton and China Miéville have the chance to make it a Hugo/Nebula double.

In other interesting news, the five nominations for “Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form” include three episodes of Doctor Who (“The Doctor’s Wife”, “The Girl Who Waited”, and “A Good Man Goes to War”), and an episode of Community (“Remedial Chaos Theory”). I must say, I never expected to see an episode of Community on a Hugos list, but the nominated ep is a masterpiece of alternative reality fiction. I wouldn’t be surprised if it picked up the gong: Doctor Who has owned the category for half a decade, and this must grate a little on US voters, but as much as I loved “The Doctor’s Wife” (screenwriter: Neil Gaiman), “Remedial Chaos Theory” was almost flawless television.

Winners will be announced at the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, 30 August – 3 September.

Nebula Award Nominees 2011

Posted Monday February 20, 2012 by John Gunders in |

Overnight the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announced the nominees for the 2011 Nebula awards. It was also announced that the recipient of the 2011 Damon Knight Grand Master Award for lifetime contributions and achievements in the field will be awarded to two-time winner (1992, 2010) Connie Willis, who has also received Hugo awards for best novel in 1992, 1999, and 2010.

Kameron Hurley and Genevieve Valentine are the only first-time nominees for best novel. Jack McDevitt won in 2007 with Seeker.

The winners will be announced in May.

Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
Embassytown, China Miéville (Macmillan UK; Del Rey; Subterranean Press)
Firebird, Jack McDevitt (Ace Books)
God’s War, Kameron Hurley (Night Shade Books)
Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, Genevieve Valentine (Prime Books)
The Kingdom of Gods, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)


Nebula Award Winners 2011

Posted Sunday May 22, 2011 by John Gunders in |

The Nebula Awards for 2011 (books and stories published in 2010) were announced over the weekend:

Winning Novel: Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Spectra)
Winning Novella: “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window” by Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Summer ’10)
Winning Novelette: “That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made” by Eric James Stone (Analog 9/10)
Winning Short Story (tie): “Ponies” by Kij Johnson ( 1/17/10) and “How Interesting: A Tiny Man” by Harlan Ellison (Realms of Fantasy 2/10)
Ray Bradbury Award: Inception
Andre Norton Award: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett (Gollancz; Harper)

The full list of nominees are here.

Hugo Award Nominations 2011

Posted Sunday April 24, 2011 by John Gunders in |

Busy times at House Memes, so instead of a substantive post, here are the nominations for the 2011 Hugo Awards. Winners will be announced at Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention in August.

Best Novel
Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra)
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr)
Feed by Mira Grant (Orbit)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)


Nebula Award Nominees 2010

Posted Tuesday February 22, 2011 by John Gunders in |

The Nebula Awards for science fiction and fantasy published in 2010 were announced yesterday.

Unlike the Hugo Awards, which are popular awards voted on by registrants at Worldcon, the Nebulas are peers awards, and nominations and votes are limited to active members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The winners will be announced on 21 May 2011.

There are six categories: Short Story, Novelette, Novella, Novel, The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. At the ceremony in May they will also announce the winner of the Solstice Award for outstanding contribution to the field.

Read on for a full list of the nominees…

Making New Media: Book Review

Posted Wednesday January 19, 2011 by John Gunders in |

Burn, Andrew, Making New Media: Creative Production and Digital Literacies, Peter Lang, New York, 2009.

This book is a collection of essays previously published in education journals between 1999 and 2007 that consider the author’s involvement in teaching new media skills to UK school children at primary and secondary levels. It includes chapters on digital film editing, computer game design and production, and use of digital arts such as machinima in the classroom. But if you are looking for a book on new media theory or pedagogical theories on the teaching of new media, think again. This book amounts to a carefully worded call for the positioning of social semiotics as the natural accompanying theory for cultural studies. All the essays draw explicitly on the social semiotic theories of Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen (especially their influential 1996 Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design), and the examination of the classroom work is used mainly to provide examples for a social semiotic analysis of the work undertaken. The author goes so far as to propose a new term to describe the study of the moving image: kineikonic, a conjoining of the Greek words for ‘move’ and ‘image’ (60). Burn argues for a multimodal approach to the study of digital media, incorporating all semiotic aspects of the text into the analysis.

The opening chapter, written specifically for the book, is a dense examination of the study of digital media, from the cultural studies foundation of Raymond Williams, to the new media theories of Henry Jenkins, with a wild ride through Bourdieu, Walter Ong, and of course Kress and van Leeuwen and others in between. The case study chapters are more accessible, and draw on some interesting classroom work, but again the focus is on social semiotics to the exclusion of other media theories.


Memetic Theory

Posted Monday November 15, 2010 by John Gunders in |

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Memes was released in Australia last week, and to celebrate I bring you the second of my excerpts from the book. This section is taken from chapter twenty-one, in the section of the book where we look at the theories behind memes. This excerpt is reproduced with the permission of Alpha Books.

From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Memes, Chapter Twenty-One

The message to take from The Selfish Gene was that simple preconditions can lead to complex results – that the underlying chemical processes that cause the gene to behave in a particular way can account for many of the behaviors that we see in plants and animals, and even in ourselves. Dawkins’s points out that most organisms will defend and support their kin over other members of the same species, and that this altruism is due to the fact that kin carry mostly the same genes. Thirty years since its publication, this scientific principle remains unchallenged.

But Dawkins acknowledges that the gene doesn’t have everything its own way, and that human intelligence can overcome the insistence of the selfish gene. A good example is contraception, which defeats the gene’s attempt to replicate itself.

There is another example that Dawkins used. He claimed that there was evolving a new replicator that had the power to defeat the dominance of the gene by encouraging people to consciously act against the blind compulsions of that particle. The meme. The selfish gene urges its host to act in a way that ensures the survival of the gene (and the host, obviously). Aside from the kinship example I mentioned above, this theory doesn’t account for altruism very well – why would a gene’s survival machine destroy itself for the benefit of unrelated genes? But people do sacrifice themselves to save others, they do inconvenience or even endanger themselves for a principle or an ideology. Perhaps someone is inspired by someone’s heroic deed to act similarly in the same circumstances. Perhaps a principle like “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” is recognized and believed, and affects the behavior of someone faced by an agonizing decision.


The Complete Idiot's Guide to Memes

Posted Friday October 8, 2010 by John Gunders in |

File this one under “shameless self-promotion.”

While it is not necessarily anything to do with this blog, long-time readers will be aware that I’ve posted a number of times on ideas that would end up in a general book on memetics that I was writing with American journalist and writer, Damon Brown. I’m happy to say that the book was released this week in the US in the “Complete Idiot’s Guide” series from Penguin. Details here.

With permission, I’ve reproduced the opening pages below.

From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Memes, Chapter One.

Before the new millennium, calling something “viral” usually meant Yellow Fever or perhaps a nasty cold going around the office. It was a physical thing your body could catch—and something you definitely didn’t want!

We’ve learned in the new Internet age, however, that something viral isn’t necessarily related to our body or even a bad thing. It just means a concept that catches on. As you probably know, an idea can be viral, a video can be viral, a spiritual belief can be viral, and so on.

Before the word viral became modern and hip, there was already a term for these tidbits of culture passed along to others: memes. Sounds funny, doesn’t it? But as you’ll soon discover, the word meme (which rhymes with dream) means much more than just a video of a cat playing the piano on YouTube. Indeed, some scientists believe it ties into our very evolution.


Hugo Award Winners 2010

Posted Monday September 6, 2010 by John Gunders in |

The Hugo Awards were announced last night at Aussiecon 4 in Melbourne. This year a tie for best novel, which means I have to buy two new books for my growing collection of Hugo and Nebula winners.

Also, Russell T Davies bows out of Doctor Who with a win for “Waters of Mars.”

Best Novel: TIE: The City & The City, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan UK); The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade)
Best Novella: “Palimpsest”, Charles Stross (Wireless; Ace, Orbit)
Best Novelette: “The Island”, Peter Watts (The New Space Opera 2; Eos)
Best Short Story: “Bridesicle”, Will McIntosh (Asimov’s 1/09)
Best Related Book: This is Me, Jack Vance! (Or, More Properly, This is “I”), Jack Vance (Subterranean)
Best Graphic Story: Girl Genius, Volume 9: Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm Written by Kaja and Phil Foglio; Art by Phil Foglio; Colours by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Moon Screenplay by Nathan Parker; Story by Duncan Jones; Directed by Duncan Jones (Liberty Films)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Doctor Who: “The Waters of Mars” Written by Russell T Davies & Phil Ford; Directed by Graeme Harper (BBC Wales)
Best Editor Long Form: Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Best Editor Short Form: Ellen Datlow
Best Professional Artist: Shaun Tan
Best Semiprozine: Clarkesworld edited by Neil Clarke, Sean Wallace, & Cheryl Morgan
Best Fan Writer: Frederik Pohl
Best Fanzine: StarShipSofa edited by Tony C. Smith
Best Fan Artist: Brad W. Foster
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (presented by Dell Magazines): Seanan McGuire