2022 Seiun Award Nominees

Art from F-CON, the 2022 Japanese Science Ficton Convention

The 2022 Seiun Award nominees were revealed on May 15. The announcement of the winners and the award ceremony will be held at the 59th Japan Science Fiction Convention (F-CON) to be held in Fukushima Prefecture from August 27-28, 2022.

Thanks to N. for the translation. All titles are in English, with Romanji in the Long Work and Short Story categories. English titles, in the event of no existing English title, are translated.

BEST JAPANESE LONG WORK

  • A Situation Beyond Statistics (Toukeigai Jitai), by Yuri Shibamura (Hayakawa Bunko JA, 2/17)
  • Space Battleship Yamato: Dawn Chapter, Aquarius Algorithm (Uchuu Senkan Yamato: Reimei-hen Aquarius Algorithm), by Yuya Takashima (Kadokawa, 9/27)
  • What Will You Be Doing at the End? Can I See You Just One More Time? (Shūmatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Mō Ichido dake, Aemasu ka?) by Akira Kareno (Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko, 7/30, 11 volumes)
  • The Youngest Princess in Blue (Aoi no Suehime), by Mitsuhiro Monden (Sōgen Suiri Bunko, 9/24)
  • JAGAE Eccentric Legend of Oda Nobunaga (JAGAE Oda Nobunaga Den Kidou), by Baku Yumemakura (Shodensha, 6/10)
  • Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut (Tsuki to Raika to Nosferatu), by Keisuke Makino (Gagaga Bunko, 10/19, 7 volumes)
  • Kiryu Police: White Bone Road (Kiryu Keisatsu: Hakkotsu Kaidou), by Ryoe Tsukimura (Hayakawa Shobō, 8/18)
  • Man Kind, by Taiyo Fujii (S-F Magazine, serialization ended in August 2021 issue)

BEST JAPANESE SHORT STORY

  • “Anonymous Akashic Records” (UchiAka-shic Record), by Yuba Isukari (S-F Magazine, June 2021)
  • “A Human History of Cleaning & Cleaning Equipment” (Souji to Souji Yougu no Jinruishi), by Yuri Matsuzaki (Anomalous Papers, Kyosuke Higuchi, ed. Hayakawa Shobō, 10/19)
  • “You Made Me Human” (Kisho ga Watashi wo Ningen ni Shitekureta), by Todoki Uka (S-F Magazine, February 2021)
  • “The Subjectivist” (Shukansha), by Koichi Harukure (S-F Magazine, August/October 2021)
  • “On the Imagination and Creativity of Invertebrates” (Musekitsui-doubutsu no Souzouryoku to Souzousei ni Tsuite), by Yuichi Sakanaga (Kawade Shobo Shinsha NOVA 2021 Summer Issue, 4/6)
  • “How to Defeat a Science Fiction Writer” (SF Sakka no Taoshikata), by Satoshi Ogawa (Anomalous Papers, Kyosuke Higuchi, ed. Hayakawa, 10/19)
  • “Seven Billion Pessimists” (Nana Okunin no Pessimist), by Nirou Katase (S-F Magazine, August 2021)
  • “Selling The Body” (Shintai wo Uru Koto), by Miyuki Ono (S-F Magazine, August 2021)

BEST TRANSLATED LONG WORK

  • Network Effect, by Martha Wells (translated by Naoya Nakahara)
  • The Man with the Compound Eyes, by Wu Ying-Mi  (translated by Satoshi Oguriyama)
  • The Fated Sky, by Mary Robinette Kowal (translated by Akinobu Sakai)
  • Death’s End, by Cixin Liu (translated by Nozomi Omori, Wan Chai, Sakura Mitsuyoshi, Ko Tomari)
  • No Enemy But Time, by Michael Bishop (translated by Yutaka Oshima)
  • Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir (translated by Kazuko Onoda)
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (translated by Kazuko Yamada)
  • Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky (translated by Masayuki Uchida)

BEST TRANSLATED SHORT STORY

  • “Yakiniku Planet,” by Liang Qingshan (translated by Keita Kojima)
  • “Mother Tongues,” by S. Qiouyi Lu (translated by Umiyuri Katsuyama)
  • “Nomad,” by Karin Lowachee (translated by Naoya Nakahara)
  • “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary,” by Ken Liu (translated by Yoshimichi Furusawa)
  • “Power Armor: A Love Story,” by David Barr Kirtley (translated by Naoya Nakahara)
  • “The King of Time,” by Baoshu (translated by Kosaku Ai)
  • “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” by Alix. E Harrow (translated by Fumiyo Harashima)
  • “The One With the Interstellar Group Consciousnesses” by James Alan Gardner (translated by Chiori Sada)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION

BEST COMIC

  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, by Fumi Yoshinaga (19 volumes)
  • Attack on Titan, by Hajime Isayama (34 volumes)
  • An Interstellar Voyage Fit for a Baron (Danshoku ni Fusawashii Ginga Ryokou), by Rasenjin Hayami (3 volumes)
  • Psychic Squad (Zettai Karen Children), by Takashi Shiina (63 volumes)
  • Astronaut Cat, by Ryo Aizawa (one-shot)
  • Beastars, by Paru Itagaki (22 volumes)
  • JoJolion, by Hirohiko Araki (27 volumes)
  • Sōbōtei Kowasubeshi, by Kazuhiro Fujita (25 volumes)

BEST ARTIST

BEST NONFICTION

  • NHK: 100 Minutes of Masterpieces – Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”, by Kazuhisa Todayama (NHK Publishing)
  • SF Prototyping: New Strategies of Innovation from Science Fiction, by Michito Miyamoto, Yuuki Namba, Hirotaka Osawa (Hayakawa)
  • Rurubu Universe, edited by Kimiyo Hayashi (JTB Publishing)
  • The Thoughts of Shinichi Hoshi, by Michiaki Asaba (Chikuma Shobō)
  • The Best of Japanese SF Comics, edited by Kenta Fukui (Sōgen Suiri Bunko)
  • Super Sentai (Illustrated Gakken Book), edited by Dai Matsui (Gakken)
  • A Physicist Gets Into Sci-Fi Movies, by Yuichi Takamizu (Kobunsha)
  • World Science Fiction Writers Conference, edited by Hayakawa Shobo Editorial Department (Hayakawa Shobo)

FREE NOMINATION

“A novel-generating AI created by an individual and released in July 2021, as it became a hot topic as a creative AI that can be easily enjoyed on the Web.”

“Date is the app’s release. For the app’s release and its scale as a social phenomenon after the production announcement in 2016.”

“Date is the release of the most recent game in the series, “Super Robot Wars 30.” In honor of the increased visibility of robot works, including past works, due to the crossover of robot works.”

“Research into a treatment for kidney disease in cats made the news and raised more than 200 million yen. The reason for this event was that it drew attention to the theme of animal physiology, a topic that is close to our hearts, and that it was a reminder of the high impact of “buzz” on the Internet.” (English article)

“The new movie version, which spanned almost 15 years since 2007, has finally come to an end. Starting from the TV series, it has been about 25 years. Many people did not live to see the end, and the conclusion of the event literally embodied the curse of Eva. We would like to pay tribute not only to the movie as a stand-alone product, but also to the completion of the series over the years.”

“While the whole world was suffering from the new coronavirus, the Freedom was built in Shanghai, China in April, and the Nu Gundam was built in Fukuoka, Japan in December. The construction of two mobile suits (Freedom is not a Gundam) in one year was unprecedented and the first time in history. It could be said to be a modern version of the construction of the Great Buddha to pray for the dispersal of Corona.” (English article)

“Although private citizens have used public organizations for space travel in the past, it is significant that they have successfully completed a manned spaceflight mission that will lead to private space travel in the future.”

Best SF/F Games of 2021? Insert Disc Here

By N: With the DisCon III Business Meeting being held in December, that means we won’t know until then the latest status of the proposed Best Video Game category that was referred to the Hugo Awards Study Committee. Just in case it’s repeated as a special category by next year’s Worldcon, considering the time investment some games demand, I’ve set up a spreadsheet (styled after Lady Business’ Spreadsheet of Doom) as a way for nominators to catalogue and keep track of their favorite eligible games of the year, so there’s little rushing through last year’s games in 2022. From AAA to indie, anything goes as long as it’s SF/F.

I’ve christened this ship by adding some acclaimed games that came out in 2021, from the big blockbuster releases…

…to the hotly anticipated games that met expectations…


…to indie games that gained fans through their creativity and innovation.

Edits are open to any and everyone. Feel free to add what I missed!

Here’s the link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AQ4DtTa5EWEAGoz028qVGDtXdhMQcMZtkkLUOFZIvDQ/edit?usp=sharing

Dramatic Presentation Watch:
The Clone Wars

Introduction: This is the first in an occasional series of recommendation posts spotlighting potential contenders for the 2021 Best Dramatic Long/Short Form Hugo categories (and possibly Graphic Story later).

By N.

DRAMATIC PRESENTATION WATCH: Star Wars: The Clone Wars: “Old Friends Not Forgotten”/”The Phantom Apprentice”/”Shattered”/”Victory and Death” (Long Form)

The final chapter of The Clone Wars happens over the course of 4 interconnected episodes. Ahsoka Tano finally returns to the Jedi order, reuniting with her master (and best friend) Anakin Skywalker. This reunion is short-lived when General Grievous attacks Coruscant…or rather, when the events of “Revenge of the Sith” kick into gear. What follows is a tragedy, as Ahsoka experienced Order 66 firsthand and the Clone Wars meet a harrowing end, to say little of what becomes of her friend…

Star Wars, to this writer, is a funny franchise. Its introduction to the global public in the 1970s no doubt shaped the course of moviemaking, further popularizing both the American blockbuster and clear-eyed, spectacular genre filmmaking, becoming a merchandising behemoth in the process (Holiday Specials notwithstanding). The following two entries of the trilogy served to further cement its legacy as not just a beloved piece of SF/F but a key part of pop culture, period.

And yet…something happened to Star Wars. George Lucas came back to direct the “Prequel Trilogy,” charting the fall of series villain Darth Vader from his rise as Jedi Anakin Skywalker, premiered in 1999 and concluded in 2005 to initial befuddlement that evolved into anger and mockery. This past decade saw the “Sequel Trilogy,” set after the original trilogy, which attempted to both invoke nostalgia for the original movies and recontextualize their binary view on good vs. evil in a 21st-century light. This resulted in an entry that heavily called back to “A New Hope” only to dissipate from the public consciousness, a highly polarizing entry, and an entry that tried to please everyone and pleased few. Connected to the “Sequel Trilogy” was a larger pushback from those fed up with Star Wars – fed up with the heavy marketing, the discourse that came with these new movies, and the extremely vocal fans.

The supplemental material of Star Wars, however, has always seemed to be better received than the later main entries. The dearly-departed Extended Universe greatly expanded the world of Star Wars, unlocking its potential and firing-up the imaginations of fans and writers, many of whom would wind up working on Star Wars properties themselves. Rogue One and Solo: A Star Wars Story both got resounding mehs, but the Disney+ series The Mandalorian holds rave reviews. There’s a disconnect here between these examples and the main movies; the Original Trilogy, as much as Empire Strikes Back elevated it, was still largely an exercise in invoking the old serials of Lucas’ youth mixed with an Akira Kurosawa-inspired 70’s brat mentality; the actual worldbuilding was incidental (A New Hope, in particular, has that “making this all up on the fly” feel to it.) The more popular the franchise became, the greater the urge to dig into the world became. Ultimately, this was largely to the greater series’ detriment; Like the later Sequel Trilogy, Lucas was attempting to do things with the prequels, both deconstructing the Jedi as a wholly just force and maintaining the series’ fun sensibility. If there’s a trend here, it’s that while works on the sidelines of Star Wars can explore its world with ease, main entries that attempt this seem to always stumble into poor critical receptions, arguably because that was never the intention of the series in the first place.

This writer himself was never big into Star Wars, and still, admittedly, feels a detachment from the franchise. It seems like a series one has to watch at a formative age to feeI a special attachment to; me, I was born a year before Phantom Menace came out and never watched any of the movies as a kid. The only piece of Star Wars media I watched was, coincidence, Clone Wars—not the 2003 miniseries, but this Clone Wars. I remember when the series first premiered in film form and was lambasted, coming fresh off the heels of the prequels and seeming to overturn the beloved miniseries in favor of a kiddie Saturday morning cartoon feel. Seven seasons and a jump to Netflix and Disney+ later, that’s been proven to not be the case. Dave Filoni and collaborators used that supplemental freedom to do what the prequels were unable to do; flesh out the world, flesh out characters that had previously been afterthoughts, and to give credence to the notion of moral ambiguity in the world of Star Wars

That plays out in this 4-part finale, where the already strong storytelling is bolstered by the dramatic irony of how ROTS plays out Ahsoka Tano went from an “annoying add-on” to one of the most beloved Star Wars characters ever; seeing the events from her perspective, as well as from the perspective of the Clones that audiences had come to love over the course of seven seasons, end the series on a sobering note of sublimity.

I had not seen Clone Wars since middle school, so (possibly unavoidably with Star Wars) I felt a hint of nostalgia while watching these episodes. Detached as they are from the rest of the season, they stand alone (though not apart from each other). Due to the cohesive storytelling and combined length, if they’re to be considered for the Hugo Awards, it really has to be for Long Form. Television has always had a spotty history in the category (only a few shows, only in their first seasons), so asking voters to look at what amounts to an arc might be a high order. But, speaking as someone who isn’t really into Star Wars, this set of episodes is worth it.