Thursday, July 09, 2015

Hugo Reading - Fanzine

I have the same problem with this category as with the other 'zine one. I just don't have that much time to read everything presented. This means I'll keep reading the 'zines right up until the deadline for the ballots in case something convinces me to change my mind. There are only four nominees because one of them withdrew after the ballot was printed.

  • Elitist Book Reviews, edited by Steven Diamond
    There was no submission in the packet for this fanzine, but the website is easy to find and by scrolling down it's possible to read the 2014 entries. This is mostly book reviews, and they are pretty good reviews overall. I actually subscribed to the RSS feed almost as soon as I read a couple of reviews, because it looks like it doesn't have an overwhelming amount of new posts and what is posted looks like high quality stuff. It does exactly what it claims: reviews books. Would I give it a Hugo? I'm not sure.
  • Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Colin Harris, Alissa McKersie, and Helen J. Montgomery
    I think they put this one in the wrong category. It appears to be a prozine, it's that good. Lots of contributions from lots of people, and the first issue in the Hugo packet has a theme that I just happen to love (Doctor Who). There is a lot of fan art, including submissions from children, which is just awesome. As it happens to cover a subject I already know well, I know they do a very good job hitting a lot of different aspects of the show and covering just about the whole range of fandom, which is not easy to do. The second issue in the packet has a sports theme and is also excellent. A pile of back issues is available here or here, and well worth perusing. This is definitely worthy of getting a Hugo.
  • The Revenge of Hump Day, edited by Tim Bolgeo
    This was a new one for me, but the typography of this one immediately put me off. I mean, I really didn't like the look of it. I guess some of the layout training I've been getting at work is starting to sink in. However, bad layout is not a good reason for me to dismiss this, so I read on. It appears to be a Christmas issue, and has a lot of the stuff you might expect from an old-fashioned fanzine, with updates on people, including Jerry Pournelle. There are some really bad and mildly offensive jokes and the first half of the 'zine has very little SFF content. Then there are some reprints of online articles that might be of interest to science fiction fans. After that there are some politic pieces that are just boring. This isn't quite as bad as "Wisdom from the Internet" but you'd have to be stupid or insane to think it deserves a Hugo award. I smell puppy poop all over this one.
  • Tangent SF Online, edited by Dave Truesdale
    I really have no idea what to make of the sample in the packet. It's got some pictures, a big piece looking at an issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction and what appear to be embedded audio files that wouldn't play on my machine. Visiting the website allowed me to confirm that those are, indeed audio files of old radio shows, which is neat. It's kind of scattershot, but I gather the website is a bit like that, too. There's a lot more content on the website, and it's organized much better there. The packet actually directs voters to the website, as well, so I guess I'm expected to judge the organization there. It's ok, but I'm not sure it's Hugo worthy.
Journey Planet is the clear winner and something actually worthy of a Hugo. It will definitely be on the top of my ballot. I will probably put Elitist Book Reviews and Tangent Online next, I'm not sure which order they will be in, that's something I'll be sleeping on. Revenge won't make my ballot due to lack of original interesting content.

This is another category that the puppies put their paws on, though I'll probably be surprised when I look up which ones were on the slate. I sincerely doubt Journey Planet is a slate nominee, it's just too good. It's absolutely clear that Revenge is a puppy nominee. I don't know about the other two. I will look it up for my round-up post.