Monthly Archives: August 2014

Best Fan Artist Prize Unveiled at the Hugo Awards

by Irma Arkus

According to the latest from Alaska Dispatch, Sarah Webb, an illustrator from Fairbanks received this year’s L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators of the Future as well as the Best Fan Artist prize at the Hugo Awards ceremony this year.

Other Hugo Awards presented this year include Ann Leckie’s “Ancillary Justice” for Best Novel; “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu for Best Short Story; and “Gravity” and “Game of Thrones” for Best Dramatic Presentations (long and short forms, respectively).

Her art is amazing and she is super cute too!

20140410 - ASI - WOTF - THE BIG REVEAL _promot shot

Check out some of her amazing art here.

2014 Hugo Awards Nominees

Presented at:Loncon 3, London, United Kingdom, August 17, 2014

Best Novel

Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
– Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross (Ace / Orbit UK)
Parasite, Mira Grant (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books / Orbit UK)
– Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia (Baen Books)

Best Novella

– “Equoid”, Charles Stross (, 09-2013)
Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean Press)
– “Wakulla Springs”, Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages (, 10-2013)
– “The Chaplain’s Legacy”, Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jul-Aug 2013)
– The Butcher of Khardov, Dan Wells (Privateer Press)

Best Novelette

– “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”, Mary Robinette Kowal (, 09-2013)
– “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling”, Ted Chiang (Subterranean, Fall 2013)
– “The Waiting Stars”, Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky, Candlemark & Gleam)
– “The Exchange Officers”, Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jan-Feb 2013)
– “Opera Vita Aeterna”, Vox Day (The Last Witchking, Marcher Lord Hinterlands)

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Sofia Samatar*
Max Gladstone*
Wesley Chu
Ramez Naam*
Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Best Short Story

– “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere”, John Chu (, 02-2013)
– “Selkie Stories Are for Losers”, Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons, Jan-2013)
– “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”, Rachel Swirsky (Apex Magazine, Mar-2013)
– “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (, 04-2013)

Best Related Work

– “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative”, Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)
– Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, Jeff VanderMeer, with Jeremy Zerfoss (Abrams Image)
– Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It, Edited by Sigrid Ellis & Michael Damian Thomas (Mad Norwegian Press)
– Speculative Fiction 2012: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary, Justin Landon & Jared Shurin (Jurassic London)
– Writing Excuses Season 8, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Jordan Sanderson

Best Graphic Story

– “Time”, Randall Munroe (XKCD)
– Saga, Volume 2, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
– Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City, written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
– “The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who”, written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Jimmy Broxton (Doctor Who Special 2013, IDW)
– The Meathouse Man, adapted from the story by George R.R. Martin and illustrated by Raya Golden (Jet City Comics)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

– Gravity, written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films; Warner Bros.)
– Frozen,screenplay by Jennifer Lee, directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee (Walt Disney Studios)
– Pacific Rim, screenplay by Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros., Disney Double Dare You)
– Iron Man 3, screenplay by Drew Pearce & Shane Black, directed by Shane Black (Marvel Studios; DMG Entertainment; Paramount Pictures)
– The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, screenplay by Simon Beaufoy & Michael Arndt, directed by Francis Lawrence (Color Force; Lionsgate)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

– Game of Thrones: “The Rains of Castamere”, written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
– Doctor Who: “The Day of the Doctor”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Television)
– Orphan Black: “Variations under Domestication” written by Will Pascoe, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions; Space/BBC America)
– An Adventure in Space and Time, written by Mark Gatiss, directed by Terry McDonough (BBC Television)
– The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, written & directed by Peter Davison (BBC Television)
– Doctor Who: “The Name of the Doctor”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Televison)

Best Editor, Short Form

Ellen Datlow
John Joseph Adams
Jonathan Strahan
Sheila Williams
Neil Clarke

Best Editor, Long Form

Ginjer Buchanan
Liz Gorinsky
Sheila Gilbert
Toni Weisskopf
Lee Harris

Best Semiprozine

– Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, and Stefan Rudnicki
– Strange Horizons, edited by Niall Harrison, Brit Mandelo, An Owomoyela, Julia Rios, Sonya Taaffe, Abigail Nussbaum, Rebecca Cross, Anaea Lay, and Shane Gavin
– Apex Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Jason Sizemore, and Michael Damian Thomas
– Interzone, edited by Andy Cox
– Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews

Best Fan Writer

Kameron Hurley
Abigail Nussbaum
Foz Meadows
Liz Bourke
Mark Oshiro

Best Fan Artist

Sarah Webb
Brad W. Foster
Mandie Manzano
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles

Why You Need to Watch: Halt and Catch Fire


by Irma Arkus

Recent addition to my viewing schedule is AMCs Halt and Catch Fire which according to EW today is getting a very welcomed second season renewal.

The show, created by Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers, set in 1980s, depicts the riveting ups and downs of personal computing industry. The surprise? It’s neither too technical, nor makes for bad drama. In fact, it’s brisk, captivating, likeable and somewhat enigmatic. But let’s get to the gritty…

Set in Texas, very much mired in history of “Silicon Prairie” and Austin’s boom during the same era, the show depicts an ambitious yet tyrannical and manipulative visionary, embodied in no other than a sales agent and product manager, Joe MacMillan. Played by the wonderful Lee Pace, MacMillan shows up out of nowhere, joining a relatively sleepy corporation with a mediocre product. Sleek, polished and persuasive, MacMillan is quickly uncovered to have more lofty goals than your average East Coast sales agent, as he maneuvers his new employer, Cardiff Electric, into an impossible and legally-trick competition against the giant IBM.

Before you know it, not only is the company transformed, but has a new product in the works that may (or not) transform the booming industry of personal computing.

Caught in his web of ambition are two major talents. The first is a family man, Gordon Clark, whose entire life is defined by his previously failed independent product developments. This development vision, it seems, is also a passion which he shares with his surprisingly talented wife, played by Kerry Bishé, who despite her contributions to variety of hardware and software developments, seems to continuously earn but the short end of the stick.

Clark, played by Scoot McNairy, is a wonderfully complex character, who often consumed by a creative challenge, finds himself battling personal inadequacies, faces the crimp of family obligations, and is generally plagued by personal demons.

The second, and most lovely, is Cameron, played by a Vancouverite, Mackenzie Davis. Not only is Davis preposterously and captivatingly beautiful, but she very aptly depicts the new generation of programmers who view the world of computing with very different norms and expectations, seeing technology as a gender and class-neutral device for individual and meritorious empowerment.

Lately, we’ve been watching a lot of shows about business, mostly adventures set in isles of antique department stores, but Halt and Catch Fire is not really about the riveting life of retail. Difficult to peg, the show can be described as Mad Men meets Silicon Valley.

On the one hand, there is the nostalgic element of the 1980s, with its bold, fresh, cutting edge designs and interiors. On the other, there are the dangers of developing anything (back then or these days), and the potential for failure for many of these entrepreneurial projects all makes for a riveting drama.

Guardians of the Galaxy Rocks!


Despite our fervent interest in everything X-Men, the films are not doing so well. Marvel continues to nurture a franchise that has thus far been relatively ailing, and any attempts at rehabilitation have largely resulted in half-hearted successes.

Guardians of the Galaxy may be following a particular pattern – expensive, summer, tent-pole production is a blockbuster – but it also represents a slight turn. Just as Captain America provided us with a new, refreshing angle on the SHIELD operations, with narrative tackling the rot from within, and by proxy exploring relevant contemporary cultural themes, so does Guardians of the Galaxy offer a new effort at presenting us with a bit of entertainment.

To be fair to Disney and Marvel (Disney owns Marvel since 2009 btw), I also had a blast watching John Carter: Princess of Mars, but apparently Americans were washing their hair that night and were just not in the mood.

Guardians of the Galaxy is about Peter, a boy who experiences the trauma and sadness of witnessing the death of his mother in the hospital. Running out of the hospital with tears in his eyes, Peter is whisked away by what appears to be an old fashioned UFO, while clutching onto his beloved Walkman tape deck.

We get to see Peter 20 years later, dancing through the caverns of an alien landscape, amongst remnants of an ancient civilisation long gone.

He dances. And he is cool. And he is the most lovable man on earth, also known as Chris Pratt. Of MouseRat fame. Yes, the one from Parks and Recreation.

The film quickly descends into madness, cuteness, friendship, adventure, defeating villains and saving the universe. And the soundtrack is excellent.

Peter, aka “Starlord” is paired with Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana, only in green, and they are joined by Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper, a genetically engineered racoon with a zesty personality, and wonderful Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a remarkable success. It is by definition a fun film. The kind of fun we all want to see, but for some reason, don’t get to, despite the high ticket prices.