Unfettered III – Great Stories, Helping Authors and Artists


By JJ: Grim Oak Press and editor Shawn Speakman produce the Unfettered anthologies and other special editions – part of the proceeds of which is used to help pay medical fees for authors and artists in need:

Unfettered: Lacking health insurance and diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011, Shawn quickly accrued a massive medical debt that he did not have the ability to pay. That’s when New York Times best-selling author Terry Brooks offered to donate a short story Shawn could sell toward alleviating those bills – and suggested Shawn ask the same of his other friends.

The first Unfettered anthology was the result, an anthology unfettered by story theme restrictions, featuring short fiction works by some of the best fantasy writers in the genre – many of which were set in those authors’ popular series universes. It paid off more than $200,000 in medical bills.

Unfettered II: In an effort to pay forward the aid he received – and to memorialize his mother who passed away from stomach cancer in early 2016 – Speakman again collaborated with celebrated genre authors to publish Unfettered II. All proceeds from the anthology went to help eliminate medical debt for other authors or be donated to cancer research hubs around the world.

To date, the project has given approximately $24,000 from Unfettered and Unfettered II, two large donations to two fantasy authors in need of funds for medical debt and hospice care and around $10,000 in donations to cancer research. Once the applied-for 501c3 charitable organization status is approved, they will be able to disburse more funds to needy authors and artists, without having to pay taxes on them.

The list of authors to be included in Unfettered III is full of well-known names, and the book will be available as a hardcover ARC signed by at least six contributors (250 copies only, available January 15), a trade hardcover and an ebook (both available March 19), and a numbered hardcover edition signed by all contributors (available May 14). Preorders can be made now from the link below.

Unfettered III: New Tales by Masters of Fantasy, edited by Shawn Speakman, Grim Oak Press (2019)
cover art by Todd Lockwood

List of Authors

  • Callie Bates
  • Terry Brooks
  • Delilah S. Dawson
  • Jason Denzel
  • David Anthony Durham
  • Lev Grossman
  • John Gwynne
  • Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
  • Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
  • Mark Lawrence
  • Megan Lindholm (Robin Hobb)
  • Todd Lockwood
  • Seanan McGuire
  • Naomi Novik
  • Peter Orullian
  • Cat Rambo
  • Robert V. S. Redick
  • Ken Scholes
  • Scott Sigler
  • Anna Smith Spark
  • Shawn Speakman
  • Anna Stephens
  • Patrick Swenson
  • Ramon Terrell
  • Marc Turner
  • Carrie Vaughn
  • Tad Williams
  • Deborah A. Wolf

… and according to Brandon Sanderson, it will include a never-published, 20,000-word Wheel of Time novella:

As some of you know, during the revision process of A Memory of Light, two lengthy sections ended up on the cutting room floor. The first, which we titled River of Souls, was included in the first Unfettered Anthology. The second, I assumed, would never see the light of day.

However, Grim Oak Press (and Shawn Speakman, who runs it) has continued the Unfettered anthologies – the income of which is used to help pay medical fees for authors and artists in need. I thought the arrival of the third anthology would be a great chance to use this other deleted scene. (Which involves Perrin traveling into the Ways.) Harriet has graciously agreed to let it be published, so I’m thrilled to be able to announce its inclusion in the anthology.

I’ve long been fond of this sequence, and it was quite difficult to cut from the book. (In the anthology itself, I’ll explain why we eventually decided that the sequence needed to go.)

The earlier Unfettered anthologies are still available in trade, e-book, and special editions; the first one has been reissued in a second edition which features a new cover and contains an extra story. Purchasing any of these anthologies directly from the Grim Oak Press site allows more of the money to go to the charitable fund – however, Speakman is happy for readers to purchase at any of the usual retail sites.

Unfettered: Tales by Masters of Fantasy, edited by Shawn Speakman, Grim Oak Press (2013)
First edition cover art by Todd Lockwood
Second edition cover art by Stacie Pitt

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Patrick Rothfuss: “On Becoming Unfettered”
  • Introduction by Shawn Speakman
  • “The Unlocked Tome” by Shawn Speakman
  • “Imaginary Friends” by Terry Brooks [Word & Void]
  • “How Old Holly Came To Be” by Patrick Rothfuss [Kingkiller Chronicle]
  • “The Old Scale Game” by Tad Williams
  • “Game of Chance” by Carrie Vaughn
  • “Martyr of the Roses” by Jacqueline Carey [Kushiel]
  • “Mudboy” by Peter V. Brett [Demon Cycle]
  • “The Sound of Broken Absolutes” by Peter Orullian [Vault of Heaven]
  • “The Coach With Big Teeth” by R.A. Salvatore
  • “Keeper of Memory” by Todd Lockwood [Summer Dragon]
  • “Heaven in a Wild Flower” by Blake Charlton
  • “Dogs” by Daniel Abraham
  • “The Chapel Perilous” by Kevin Hearne [Iron Druid Chronicles]
  • “Select Mode” by Mark Lawrence [Broken Empire]
  • “All the Girls Love Michael Stein” by David Anthony Durham
  • “Strange Rain” by Jennifer Bosworth [Struck]
  • “Nocturne” by Robert V. S. Redick
  • “Unbowed” by Eldon Thompson [Legend of Asahiel]
  • “In Favour With Their Stars” by Naomi Novik [Temeraire]
  • “River of Souls” by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson [Wheel of Time]
  • “The Jester” by Michael J. Sullivan [Riyria Chronicles]
  • “The Duel” by Lev Grossman [Fillory]
  • “Walker and the Shade of Allanon” by Terry Brooks [Shannara]
  • “The Unfettered Knight” by Shawn Speakman [Annwn Cycle]
  • “The Twilight Dragon” by Shawn Speakman (UK edition only)

Unfettered II: New Tales by Masters of Fantasy, edited by Shawn Speakman, Grim Oak Press (2016)
cover art by Todd Lockwood

Table of Contents

  • Foreword: “Remembering Kathy Speakman” by Terry Brooks
  • Introduction: “The End of Magic’s Beginning” by Shawn Speakman
  • “Castle Coeurlieu” by Naomi Novik
  • “A Slow Kill” by Peter Orullian [Vault of Heaven]
  • “And Men Will Mine the Mountain for Our Souls” by Seanan McGuire
  • “Day One” by Jim Butcher [Dresden Files]
  • “Brightwine in the Garden of Tsitsian Village” by Bradley P. Beaulieu [Song of Shattered Sands]
  • “Aokigahara” by John A. Pitts
  • “The Decoy” by Janny Wurts [Wars of Light and Shadow]
  • “The King’s Despatcher” by David Farland [Runelords]
  • “Figures” by Rachel Caine
  • “The Red-Rimmed Eyes of Tóu Ma” by Aidan Moher
  • “Magic Beans” by Django Wexler
  • “The Hedgewitch” by Sarah Beth Durst [Queens of Renthia]
  • “Victim with a Capital V” by Scott Sigler
  • “A Duel of Evils” by Anthony Ryan [Raven’s Shadow]
  • “The Raven” by Erin Lindsey [Bloodbound]
  • “Bulletproof” by Mark Lawrence
  • “The Gunnnie” by Charlaine Harris [Gunnie Rose]
  • “Little Wren and the Big Forest” by Michael J. Sullivan [First Empire]
  • “The Thrill” by Brandon Sanderson [Stormlight Archive]
  • “The Last Flowers of the Spring Witch” by Shawn Speakman

Unbound: Tales by Masters of Fantasy, edited by Shawn Speakman, Grim Oak Press (2015)
cover art by Todd Lockwood

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: “A Geek Trying to Do Good”, by Shawn Speakman
  • “Small Kindnesses” by Joe Abercrombie [First Law]
  • “An Unfortunate Influx of Filipians” by Terry Brooks [Landover]
  • “Mr. Island” by Kristen Britain
  • “Jury Duty” by Jim Butcher [Dresden Files]
  • “Madwalls” by Rachel Caine
  • “The Way Into Oblivion” by Harry Connolly
  • “Uncharming” by Delilah Dawson
  • “All In a Night’s Work” by David Anthony Durham
  • “Son of Crimea” by Jason M. Hough [Zero World]
  • “A Dichotomy of Paradigms” by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • “A Good Name” by Mark Lawrence [Broken Empire]
  • “River and Echo” by John Marco
  • “Seven Tongues” by Tim Marquitz
  • “The Siege of Tilpur” by Brian McClellan [Powder Mage]
  • “Fiber” by Seanan McGuire [Fighting Pumpkins]
  • “Stories Are Gods” by Peter Orullian [Vault of Heaven]
  • “Heart’s Desire” by Kat Richardson
  • “The Hall of the Diamond Queen” by Anthony Ryan [Raven’s Shadow]
  • “The Dead’s Revenant” by Shawn Speakman [Annwn Cycle]
  • “The Farmboy Prince” by Brian Staveley
  • “The Game” by Michael J. Sullivan
  • “The Ethical Heresy” by Sam Sykes
  • “The Rat” by Mazarkis Williams

About Grim Oak Press:

Unfettered launched Grim Oak Press, a brand new SF&F publishing press with the big dream of helping others. It has grown ever since. After five years, Grim Oak Press spawned the non-profit Grim Oak Shield, both businesses working hand-in-hand to defeat medical debt for authors and artists in need. Such notable authors as Terry Brooks, Naomi Novik, Jacqueline Carey, Stephen R. Donaldson, Raymond E. Feist, and Janny Wurts support that mission and in 2018 Grim Oak Press will publish beautiful, limited editions of their books.

Each project we take on has its own life and style. We try to match the best artists in SF&F with the story to make a perfect match. We work directly with the authors and artists, giving them a creative freedom to re-envision their worlds like never before. New wrap around cover art, new interiors, and full color foldouts make these books extremely unique.

We also use the best materials around. Each book is printed on extremely high quality paper, cloth bound and leather wrapped, making them feel just as good in your hands as they look on your shelves. Details in the design and layout, sewn in ribbons, cover stamps, and many other fine touches are how we separate ourselves from other small publishing presses.

It is a magical time for those who love SF&F. Thank you to all who purchase books from Grim Oak Press. We will continue producing them as long as you enjoy placing them on your shelves.

– Your Grim Oak Team
Shawn Speakman & Jeff Lawson

2018 Novellapalooza

[Editor’s note: be sure to read the comments on this post for more novellas and more Filer reviews.]

By JJ: I’m a huge reader of novels, but not that big on short fiction. But the last few years, I’ve done a personal project to read and review as many Novellas as I could (presuming that the story synopsis had some appeal for me). I ended up reading 31 of the novellas published in 2015, 35 of the novellas published in 2016, and 46 of the novellas published in 2017 (though a few of those were after Hugo nominations closed).

The result of this was the 2016 Novellapalooza and the 2017 Novellapalooza. I really felt as though I was able to do Hugo nominations for the novella category in an informed way, and a lot of Filers got involved with their own comments. So I’m doing it again this year.

The success and popularity of novellas in the last 4 years seems to have sparked a Golden Age for SFF novellas, with Tor.com, Subterranean Press, NewCon Press, PS Publishing, Book Smugglers, Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Tachyon bringing out a multitude of works, along with the traditional magazines Asimov’s, Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Analog – so there are a lot more novellas to cover this year. By necessity, I’ve gotten to the point of being more selective about which ones I read, based on the synopsis being of interest to me.

It is not at all uncommon for me to choose to read a book despite not feeling that the jacket copy makes the book sound as though it is something I would like – and to discover that I really like or love the work anyway. On the other hand, It is not at all uncommon for me to choose to read a book which sounds as though it will be up my alley and to discover that, actually, the book doesn’t really do much for me.

Thus, my opinions on the following novellas vary wildly: stories I thought I would love but didn’t, stories I didn’t expect to love but did, and stories which aligned with my expectations – whether high or low. Bear in mind that while I enjoy both, I tend to prefer Science Fiction over Fantasy – and that while I enjoy suspense and thrillers, I have very little appreciation for Horror (and to be honest, I think Lovecraft is way overrated). My personal assessments are therefore not intended to be the final word on these stories, but merely a jumping-off point for Filer discussion.

I thought it would be helpful to have a thread where all the Filers’ thoughts on novellas are collected in one place, as a resource when Hugo nomination time rolls around. Which of these novellas have you read? And what did you think of them?

I’ve included plot summaries, and where I could find them, links to either excerpts or the full stories which can be read online for free. Short novels which fall between 40,000 and 48,000 words (within the Hugo Novella category tolerance) have been included.

Please feel free to post comments about any other 2018 novellas which you’ve read, as well.

(Please be sure to rot-13 any spoilers.)

(fair notice: all Amazon links are referrer URLs which benefit non-profit SFF fan website Worlds Without End)

Read more…

Best Professional Artist Hugo: Eligible Works from 2018

(warning: this post is heavily image-intensive, and will probably not work well on mobile devices: flee now, or prepare to meet your doom extremely slow page download)

By JJ: To assist Hugo nominators, this post provides information on the artists and designers of more than 560 works which appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy for the first time in 2018.

These credits have been accumulated during the course of the year, from copyright pages, Acknowledgments sections, and public posts by artists, authors, and publishers, as well as other sources on the internet.

Because it is difficult to provide a list ordered by name when artwork is frequently credited to two or more artists and/or designers, I have uploaded my main spreadsheet with all accumulated data here.

In this post I will display up to 12 images of artworks for each artist for whom I have identified 4 or more works which appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy for the first time in 2018.

Please note carefully the eligibility criteria according to the WSFS Constitution:


Professional Artist

3.3.12: Best Professional Artist. An illustrator whose work has appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy during the previous calendar year.

3.2.11: A Professional Publication is one which meets at least one of the following two criteria:
(1) it provided at least a quarter the income of any one person or,
(2) was owned or published by any entity which provided at least a quarter the income of any of its staff and/or owner.

3.10.2: In the Best Professional Artist category, the acceptance should include citations of at least three (3) works first published in the eligible year.


Under the current rules, artwork for semiprozines and fanzines is not eligible in this category. You can check whether a publication is a prozine or a semiprozine in this directory (the semiprozine list is at the top of the page, and the prozine directory is at the bottom).

Please be sure to check the spreadsheet first; but then, if you are able to confirm credits missing 2018-original works and the names of their artists from Acknowledgments sections, copyright pages, or by contacting authors and/or artists, go ahead and add them in comments, and I will get them included in the spreadsheet, and if the artist is credited with at least 4 works, in this post. If you have questions or corrections, please add those also. Please note that works may or may not be added to the list at my discretion.

PLEASE DON’T ADD GUESSES.

Artists, Authors, Editors and Publishers are welcome to post in comments here, or to send their lists to jjfile770 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Only those bying stoute of heyrte and riche in bandwydthe shouldst click hither to proce’d…

Lee Billings (1956-2018)

Lee Billings at MidAmeriCon II in Kansas City in 2016

Lee Billings at MidAmeriCon II in Kansas City in 2016

By JJ: Originally part of Nashville fandom, Lee (Van Deest) Billings was a member of the Middle Tennessee Science Fiction Society, active in club events, part of the lively community at alt.callahans on Usenet, and participating in conventions all over the country. A singer and brilliant lyricist, she became a big Filker, coordinating the Filk programming at many conventions.

Up to the 1990s, there was a lack of strong filk programming in Southern Fandom. She filled that gap by creating and chairing Musicon for 5 years. She describes that evolution in The History of Musicon 1992-1996.

She was Guest of Honor at Harmonicon III in 1995, and was honored as Toastmistress at GAFilk 1 in 1999, which picked up the mantle of Southern Filkdom after the final Musicon.

Lee was nominated for a Pegasus Award (the Filkers’ Hugo Awards) for Best Military Song in 1995 for The Ballad of Fleet Sergeant Ho. Thanks to Eli Goldberg, her album can be found here.

After moving to Houston two decades ago, she became a strong supporter of Apollocon, and assisted that convention in various roles.

Lee was a jewelry artisan, creating unique and interesting pieces. She and her partner Russ had a Dealer’s Table at many conventions. She regularly posted photos of unusual and fascinating geological specimens on her Facebook wall. In her business’ “About” section, she said, “Starcat Designs came into being in 2002, growing out of my love of rocks and minerals. Most of my jewelry designs are one-of-a-kind.The materials used include stone, glass, organics (pearls, bone, shell, wood, etc.), and metals.”

I only got to know Lee during the last three and a half years, through her participation in the File 770 community and in conversations with her at Worldcon and on Facebook. I’m far from an expert on her contributions to fandom and filkdom; I welcome comments from those who have more knowledge of her life, and links to tributes to her elsewhere on the web.

After being diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer more than a year ago, Lee defied the odds and continued to contribute her wit, wisdom, and assistance to others while fighting to overcome her own illness.

Lee was an incredibly clever, vibrant, and eloquent person, a fierce advocate of fair and considerate treatment for the marginalized and less-privileged, and she will be greatly missed not only by me, but by all who knew her. She is survived by her domestic partner of 20 years, Russ Ault, and their seven rescue cats.

Lee’s partner Russ says:

There will be a memorial service of some sort at a later date. There will be no funeral. Lee requested that her remains be cremated. I will be collecting remembrances to sort through for the memorial. They can be emailed to rault42 [at] gmail [dot] com.

If desired, memorial donations can be made to Project Purple.

Vale, Starcat.
 

Best Editor Long Form and Short Form Hugo: Eligible Works from 2018

By JJ: To assist Hugo nominators, listed below are the editors of works published for the first time in 2018.

These credits have been accumulated from Acknowledgments sections and copyright pages in works, as well as other sources on the internet.

Feel free to add missing 2018-original works and the name of their editors in the comments, and I will get them included in the main post. Self-published works may or may not be added to the list at my discretion.

PLEASE DON’T ADD GUESSES.

If you are able to confirm credits from Acknowledgments sections, copyright pages, or by contacting authors and/or editors, then go ahead and add them in comments. If you have questions or corrections, please add those also.

Authors, Editors, and Publishers are welcome to post in comments here, or to send their lists to jjfile770 [at] gmail [dot] com.


This post has been paginated to reduce loading times; click on the next page number to continue.

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Best Series Hugo: Eligible Series from 2018

By JJ: To assist Hugo nominators, listed below are the series believed to be eligible as of this writing for the 2019 Best Series Hugo next year *†.

Each series name is followed by the main author name(s) and the 2018-published work.

Feel free to add missing series and the name of the 2018-eligible work in the comments, and I will get them included in the main post.

I just ask that suggesters (1) first do a Find on author surname on this page, to check whether the series is already on the list, and (2) then make an effort to verify that a series does indeed have 3 volumes, that it has a 2018-published work, and that it has likely met the 240,000 word threshold; in the past I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to verify suggested series, only to discover that they had fewer than 3 volumes, or nothing published in the current year, or weren’t anything close to 240,000 words (e.g., children’s books). Self-published works may or may not be added to the list at my discretion.

Note that the 2017 Hugo Administrator ruled that nominations for a series and one of its subseries will not be combined. Therefore, when nominating a subseries work, think carefully under which series name it should be nominated. If the subseries does not yet meet the 3-volume, 240,000 word count threshold, then the main series name should be nominated. If the subseries does meet that threshold, then the subseries name should probably be nominated. This will ensure that another subseries in the same universe, or the main series itself, would still be eligible next year if this subseries is a finalist this year.

Updated: The 2019 Hugo Administrators have announced that the 2017 Best Series Finalists, although the result of a one-time category, are subject to the same re-qualification requirements as the 2018 Best Series Finalists; bear that in mind when making your nominations.

Read more…

Worldcon 76 Roundup

Worldcon 76 Chair Kevin Roche used his crafting and electronics skills to build a 1/10th scale model of the San Jose Electric Light tower.

Worldcon 76 Chair Kevin Roche used his crafting and electronics skills to build a 1/10th scale model of the San Jose Electric Light tower.

By JJ:

(1) 2018 Hugo Ceremony Video
(the first half hour is a slideshow of author and fan photos; the actual ceremony starts at 0:29:22; the File 770 Best Fanzine Award is at 0:47:45)

(2) 2018 Hugo Ceremony CoverItLive Text Coverage by Kevin Standlee, Susan de Guardiola, and Cheryl Morgan (includes lots of photos!)

(3) 2018 Hugo Nominating and Voting Statistics

(4) 1943 Retro Hugo Nominating and Voting Statistics

(5) Hugo Finalist Photos taken by Olav Rokne and Amanda Wakaruk

 

(6) Masquerade Photos taken by Olav Rokne and Amanda Wakaruk

 

(7) Hugo Ceremony photos by Neil Ottenstein

(8) Hugo Ceremony photos by Alyshondra Meacham

 

(9) John Picacio on Worldcon 76 and the MexicanX Initiative

 

(10) Worldcon 76 Recap Video by MexicanX Initiative Attendee Adria Gonzales

(11) WSFS Business Meeting Videos

(12) WSFS Business Meeting Summaries by Alex Acks

(13) 2018 Worldcon Photo Album by Kevin Standlee

(14) GRRM’s Hugo Losers Party photos from Best Novella-winning author Martha Wells

(15) Dancing Robots at GRRM’s Hugo Losers Party video by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

(16) Alvaro also says, “I spotted this bit of Worldcon hotel snark at 3:30 in the morning on Sunday night:”

 

Please feel free to add links to more Worldcon 76 goodness in the comments.

What’s In The 2018 Hugo Voter Packet?


By JJ:
On May 30, the 2018 Hugo Awards voter packet became available for download by Supporting, Attending, Youth, Child, and Active Duty members of Worldcon 76. The packet is an electronic collection which helps voters become better informed about the works and creators on the ballot. Works which are included have been made available through the generosity of finalists and their publishers.

The voter packet contains complete texts of many Hugo-nominated works, preview versions of some works, and directions for finding some finalists’ works online. Some novels have been made available through NetGalley, which requires a user account for access (registration is free).

The packet is available for download from the Worldcon 76 website in the “Hugo Voter Packet” section. You must have a valid Membership Number and PIN to download the packet. If you have recently joined Worldcon 76, you will be sent a membership number and PIN shortly after joining. Your PIN will be e-mailed to you using the e-mail address you entered when you registered with Worldcon 76. If you do not receive the e-mail, or your name or membership number and PIN fail to authenticate, you can use the PIN lookup page to request your PIN.

If you haven’t yet downloaded this year’s Hugo Voter Packet and wish to download only selected parts, or if you’re still trying to decide whether to purchase a membership, a breakdown of its contents is presented below.

The Hugo Voter Packet will be available for download until the voting deadline at 11:59 pm Pacific Daylight Time on July 31, 2018. As in previous years, Worldcon 76 asks that voters honor publishers’ and creators’ request that they reserve these copies for their personal use only, and that they do not share these works with non-members of Worldcon 76.

Only members of Worldcon 76 can access the 2018 Hugo Award Voter packet and vote on the 2018 Hugo Awards. To become a member of Worldcon 76, see the membership page.

If you don’t have access to the Hugo Voter Packet, here is a list of links to read the 2018 Hugo Finalists which are available for free online. Some detailed discussions of the Finalist works can be found on the 2018 Hugo Award Finalists announcement thread, as well as in other posts on File 770.

Worldcon 76 and WSFS are deeply appreciative of the publishers, authors, artists, editors, and other creators who have generously provided their works to this year’s Hugo Voter Packet, and ask that voters who feel the same way consider posting on social media to thank the publishers, editors, and creators who have participated in the packet.

My thanks to Camestros Felapton for assistance with the multi-part category packets.

Here is the breakdown of the 2018 Hugo Voter Packet contents:

Read more…

The Revolution Will Be Incrementalized: Peter Watts and The Freeze-Frame Revolution


By JJ: Imagine being groomed from birth for a role on an galactic construction ship, on an endless journey to build a cosmic superhighway of wormhole transport gates for humans to use in the far future. Imagine being awakened by the ship’s AI for a few days, as part of a team to assist with a gate build, then spending millennia in cryogenic sleep before being awakened again to work with a different team of people – an endless cycle broken only by the occasional appearance of a strange lifeform as the ship exits at hyperspeed from a newly-constructed gate. Imagine the boredom, the isolation, and the devastating realization of the personal futility of being near-immortal, yet never getting to live a full life. Imagine the anger and resentment at realizing that you’ve been sold a bill of goods about this being your “noble destiny”.

Imagine trying to coordinate a rebellion with your co-workers, when you’re only awake for a few days every several thousand years – with an omnipresent artificial intelligence which has been programmed to protect the ship’s mission at all costs watching your every move, and hearing every word that you say.

This is the premise behind Peter Watts’ Sunflowers series and the just-released novella* The Freeze-Frame Revolution**.

Sunday Ahzmundin is one of 30,000 “spores” – diasporans who were groomed from birth to be sent out on the Eriophora, a cryosleep ship powered by a singularity and accelerated up to one-fifth of lightspeed, on a mission to prepare the way for a future humanity to travel the stars once their technology has advanced to the point where such travel would be possible. But their ship was a last-ditch effort made by a race of troubled people on a poisoned planet, whose survival was far from assured. And the ship left Earth more than 60 million years ago: the spores have no idea whether there are even any humans other than themselves still left alive in the galaxy. They have come to realize that they are living only shallow imitations of real lives – and they’ve discovered that their ship’s AI has been lying to them… about something.

It’s clear that the full story of this universe is something which Watts has had in development for at least a decade, because the worldbuilding in the novelettes “The Island” (which won a Hugo in 2010), “Giants” (2013), and “Hotshot” (2014) is solidly intertwined with that of The Freeze-Frame Revolution. And it is a wonderfully-rich, hard science fiction universe, filled with big concepts and unique imagery woven together in a plausible execution.

I was just as blown away by this fantastic story as I have been by all of his other works. The Freeze-Frame Revolution has earned a place at the top of my Hugo Novella nomination ballot next year – and I will be very surprised if I read anything this year to displace it from its Number 1 spot.

The Freeze-Frame Revolution is available right now on Kindle in both the U.S. and the UK, and will be released in paperback on June 12 in the U.S., and on June 28 in the UK.


* the cover says “A Novel”, but the story is 41,300 words, and Watts considers it a novella

** I received a free e-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Read more…

Waiting for Online Hugo Voting and the Voter Packet

By JJ: Enquiring Hugo voter minds want to know: When will we be able to vote online? When will the Hugo Voter Packet be available?

In the tradition of similar File 770 posts on the subject in years past, here is a comparison of the deadlines and availability dates of recent Worldcons.

Because what the hell, we’ve got time to kill. And a year from now, someone is going to ask about this again, the way they do every year.

Notes:

  • In 2008 and 2009, the Hugo Voter Packet was put together by John Scalzi
  • In 2012, the Hugo Voter Packet was released in stages starting on May 18, becoming fully available on May 30
  • With the Exception of 2009, 2016, and 2017, all Finalist Announcements were made on Easter weekend

 

Chicon 7 in 2012 and Renovation in 2011 were the Worldcons which had online voting up and running the fastest, at 2 and 5 days following the announcement of the Finalists. Denvention 3 in 2008 and Renovation were the Worldcons which had the Hugo Voter Packet available the most quickly, at 3 and 4 weeks following the Finalist announcement.

While you’re waiting for the Hugo Voter Packet, here’s a list of links to read the 2018 Hugo Finalists which are available for free online.

  1. – days between online nominations becoming available and nomination deadline
  2. – days between nomination deadline and finalist announcement
  3. – days between finalist announcement and online voting becoming available
  4. – days between finalist announcement and Hugo Voter Packet becoming available
  5. – days between online voting becoming available and voting deadline
  6. – days between voting deadline and the start of Worldcon

Update 04/29/2018: Added graph.