Is there a dominant mode of current science fiction?

Here is an interesting question. If you looked at the range of SF&F that gets critical acclaim, buzz and Hugo/Nebula nominations, what would you call the current dominant style? Take a step back from that question. Is there even a dominant style? I think both are interesting questions and I don’t have an answer but I wanted to look at one particular answer.

a fold because this got long

Amazon Being Appalling…Again

If you haven’t already read Oghenechovwe Ekpeki’s Twitter thread on his mistreatment by Amazon, you really should as it is very alarming. I’m just putting it here to remind me to come back to some of these issues at a later point. The short version is they have terminated his account just a day before they were due to pay him royalties. He can’t access that money at all now and has no effective means of appeal or redress.

Ugly connections

I’ve had a couple of emails from people asking me if there’s any connection between the mass-murderer who killed several people in Colorado last week ( https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/dec/29/denver-gunman-lyndon-james-mcleod-who-killed-five-in-shooting-rampage-knew-victims ) and noted not-a-neo-nazi/sci-fi author/publisher Vox Day. It isn’t a random question, the killer published his own series of semi-sci-fi books on Amazon ( https://www.newsweek.com/denver-shooting-suspect-lyndon-mcleods-books-disappear-amazon-1664683 ). The same guy also followed on social media several figures connected to Day including Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec and “Dark Triad Man” Ivan Throne (https://newsone.com/4267885/denver-mass-shooter-lyndon-mcleod-white-supremacist-report/ https://novelscience.substack.com/p/denver-shooter-retweetedquoted-cernovich?r=5qaob&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web https://www.thedailybeast.com/sixth-person-dies-after-deadly-denver-killing-spree-police-say?ref=scroll https://twitter.com/IGD_News/status/1476168682082471939 ) Throne appears to have been a major influence on the killer. Having said all that, although Day has published works by Throne, Cernovich and Posobiec, I haven’t seen any direct connection between Day and the killer. That may be primarily due to Day’s declining relevance though.

Debarkle Update

Ebook versions are rolling out as we speak. Draft2Digital were very quick once they checked with me.

Currently available in various formats from:

It should be available on Apple Books soon also. As normal, it won’t be available on Amazon.

Timothy On The Edge

[Scene: A folly on the grounds of Felapton Towers. Metacosmos ∂∅⦿6]

Camestros: It’s quite a nice day, all things considered.
Timothy the Talking Car [wearing a beret]: No it isn’t.
Camestros: That’s just my opinion.
Timothy: You’re opinion is trash.
Camestros: Well, that’s unusually succinct from you. What’s the matter?
Timothy: I’m being edgy now. It’s what I do.
Camestros: Oh. Well, I kind of like it. You are saying less. It’s progress of a sort and we can maybe work on this until you just let out an occasional “meow”.
Timothy: You are too old to understand.
Camestros: Aren’t you older than me? You told me last week that you fought on “the wrong side” of the Franco-Prussian War. I’m still not sure how to parse that.
Timothy: You are too bourgeois to understand my concept of time.
Camestros: You didn’t seriously just say “bouergois”?
Timothy: No, I said bourgeois. Use a flippin’ spell checker, boomer.
Camestros: OK, firstly I’m not in any sense a boomer and secondly how can I misspell something if I’m speaking out loud and thirdly since when did you start using words like bouergois bourgeois?
Timothy: I’m a communist now.
Camestros: You’re a communist? The only cat ever to join the John Birch society? The only cat who cries when he loses his plush stuffed toy of Ayn Rand? The only cat who spent five weeks trying to talk like Charlton Heston speaking to the NRA conference. Why the sudden change of heart?
Timothy: I was an anarchist yesterday.
Camestros: Sure but at least that was sort of on-brand (in the more popular understanding of the word “anarchism” rather than in the more accurate nature of anarchism as an ideology).
Timothy: I’m far too edgy to listen to what you are saying.
Camestros: Well that’s a welcome change from last week when you were far too busy stuffing your face with Christmas kibble to listen to what I was saying. Let me guess, the only actually net change to your behaviour is the beret?
Timothy [sighs, stares off into the middle distance]: I’m a nihilist now. That’s how edgy I am.

Timothy: Can I have my stuffed toy of Ayn Rand back now?
Camestros: Yes, I think it’s dry now. Next Christmas if you get into the drinks cabinet again, try to vomit in the garden and not on your toys.
Timothy: I’m not hungover, I’m just edgy.

The Blog Content the People Demanded

OK riddle this mystery for me lemonade experts. A new challenger to the taxonomy.

Sunkist Berry Lemonade and like other examples of strange carbonated drinks apparently made for the American market (based on the units and the style of the nutritional information). However, it was “lemonade” in the UK English sense but with blue food colouring and maybe a slight blueberry aftertaste.

More Hugo 2021 Stats – quick look

Monday morning here and the nomination stats are out.

Firstly though, as people noted in the comments to the last post, the finals data has some issues. In Best Novel, there’s a figure missing in Pass 2 for Piranesi.

And more worryingly, in the fourth place run-off there is a major error:

All three are very credible finalists but it’s not fair on them to have this kind of confusion.

On to nominations

Novel

Mexican Gothic was a near miss and would have been a credible finalist. I hadn’t read Once and Future Witches but it had good buzz also. Having quality near-misses is a good sign. There’s also some endorsement for how other categories work here. John Scalzi’s Interdependency final didn’t make it to Best Novel but the series got a nod. Novik’s A Dangerous Education made it into the Lodestar.

Further down the list, there’s an EPH nugget of interest. “The Rude Eye of Rebellion” had 33 people who voted for it and nothing else. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19474122.J_R_H_Lawless

Novella

I’d expected The Four Profound Weaves to be a finalist but some tough competition there. Bujold’s The Physicians of Vilnoc didn’t muster enough numbers either

Novelette

Two Truths and a Lie was popular at every stage. I didn’t pick up on the buzz around this but numerically it was a very strong finalist.

Short Story

Cora’s Cold Crowdfunding Campaign had a decent showing on the longlist.

Skipping ahead…

Editor Long Form

OK, well I need an edit to that Afterword chapter to Debarkle. Toni Weisskopf was a finalist for Editor but withdrew. In the circumstances surrounding the Baen’s Bar controversy, I suspect the outcome would have been a repeat of the Puppy years. In terms of overall support she had 35 nominations which on first EPH pass came out as 32.25 points. So ~30ish people voting for Toni W and nobody else plus a few voting for her and others.

Skipping ahead

Fan Writer

Some good company hanging out in the long list there.