Monthly Archives: August 2015

Hugo Part the Deux… Dude

My last post on the Hugo award was quite sprawling and I jammed about ten points in there without working it out.

One of the finer points of why the Hugo doesn’t ultimately matter as a barometer of anything other than mainly authors and a few insiders passing awards is this scenario.

I am sure there are lots of ways people come across books: recommendation from a friend, television commercial (another one, Mr. Patterson?) emails from Amazon, etc.

But the #1 way I come across new books is standing in the science fiction aisle and scanning through books. I have also just started to do this with the Kindle browser, but you need a starting point. I look at covers, titles, something grabs me, I probe a little deeper, see if the prose strikes me, the first sentence, maybe first paragraph, the blurbs, etc. What may grab me on Saturday may fail on Sunday, I may never get to the book I do buy, or it can sit on the shelf passed over for a year or two. I confess I also have a reading list that goes past my natural life so new authors have to fit in. It is not like I go into a bookstore because I have nothing to read.

I am sure this is the way it goes for a lot of people – a lot of readers. The chances of me having run across any of the same books in the qualifying year as anyone else is very small indeed. What the Hugo award represents is the same thing it has always represented. The selection by a very small group of people of what they believe is the best work of a given year – by whatever standard they happen to be using in that era (more about this comment in a moment).

I would be willing to bet most of the WorldCon people that vote are people actually in the business and I bet there are a lot of people who Continue reading


Hugo Award, Doing the Math, Doing the Homework

I am probably the last sci-fi nerd in all the world to broach this subject.

If you haven’t heard of the Hugo Award controversy, or if the term Sad Puppies makes you think of actual four-legged puppy dogs, then most of this is going to mean nothing to you.

It barely means much to me and I am a science fiction fan (fantasy, a little, unless its the 1,222,357,199th Tolkein rehash, then no thank you!)

The Hugo Award is basically science fiction’s (written science fiction mainly) Academy award, its Tony, its Emmy. But instead of these highly popular, televised (are Tonys televised?) events, the Hugo is virtually unknown – even among those that can be counted as science fiction fans. Unlike what some would claim (like George RR Martin) if you read a few science fiction stories a year and you’re excited about the new Star Wars (even though you should know better than to get your hopes up) I consider you a fan. Hell, if you simply enjoy a story or two a year I consider you a fan. Who am I to judge your time and a host of other factors I have no way of knowing?

However, as I noted above, George RR Martin does not:

A fan is not just someone who reads SF and fantasy. A fan is a member of a community called “fandom” whose roots go back to the 1930s.

Fans are tolerant, friendly, good humored, warm, welcoming. They love worldcon, they respect and value the Hugos, they honor fannish tradition.

Guess what, Harlan Ellison? You’re out!

Anyway imagine the gull of making a litmus test of character traits one should (must?) possess if one is to be TruFan. Is there a hair color Continue reading

Lafferty Quote Time!

Otherwise titled: I am engrossed in ur/o or urin/o, or, in plain English, urine. Yep, it is the chapter, The Urinary System! So that means I have little time to post something of my thoughts. But, who needs my thoughts (puny and recycled things they usually are) when you can bend your mind on a good Lafferty quote or two?




vsauce / Studies in Words

A friend got me into this youTube channel called vsauce. It is pretty cool if you enjoy the deeper, or weirder, questions of existence, or life, or human behavior. Some of the titles can sound pretty lame, but actually contain cool tidbits of science and esoterica. The host is entertaining to watch – I think he may like coffee a little more than the rest of us.

Some of my favorites are:

Is Anything Real?

Is Your Red the Same as My Red?

Did the Past Really Happen?

Will We Ever Visit Other Stars?


And, although I really don’t have the time for it presently, I discovered and immediately purchased C.S. Lewis’ Studies in Words.  If one knows what Lewis’s day job and education was, one knows he was more than qualified to write such a book. I’m only on the introduction right now and probably will be so for a while.

As noted before I am eternally stuck in medical terminology. Not just the names and descriptions of all body parts and organs and regions and whole body terminology, but of common symptoms, pathological conditions, diagnostic techniques, treatments and procedures, and common medical abbreviations. Read 58 pages just on the digestive system and then try to remember on a test that AST stands for “aspartate aminotransferase” and SGOT stands for “serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase”.

They never test you on blind memory for such things, the abbreviation sections are always multiple choice and, usually, the abbreviations follow the lettering; like NG is nasogastric. Then again you would think that “nothing by mouth” would be NBM, but it is NPO.

I have found that the tests require significantly less than the material provided in the chapters. And I think I have figured out why (two and a half months later). The textbook I am using is called Comprehensive Medical Terminology, not Comprehensive Medical Terminology for Medical Coders. This is a textbook used for all sort of medical training. If I go through all this shit and I end up in a specialist’s office, I’ll be pissed! “Why did I have to learn that the frothy, foul smelling poop that floats in my toilet bowl is called steatorrhea?” Steat = Fat + rrhea = discharge, flow. Rrhea, we should all be familiar with as in Continue reading