I understand that Historical 14th Century Russian Folk Fantasy might not be the selling point for others that it is for me, but regardless, the Winternight Trilogy is something special. I can’t speak to the accuracy of Arden’s Rus, but the verisimilitude is impressive, from the frozen rural hold where the book starts, through to the proto-city of Moscow, all under the yoke of absent Tartar rulers. It is a land of hard work, resilient people, and of course magic.
I’ve been pretty harsh on recent seasons of Dr Who for having over-plotted season arcs, a poor understanding of time travel, and a lack of conviction that just wore me down. This season could have just given us a female Doctor, told some bog standard, standalone Dr Who adventures and I would have been happy as a woodchuck. Instead, they not only fixed almost all of my problems, but Dr Who feels like it has come back with a purpose – it has things to say and it’s not afraid to say them.
Sometimes I just want the literary equivalent of junk food. Hullmetal Girls has a cover of an earnest women in space armor, the dedication is to the kung fu panda 2 soundtrack, and the blurb is about a girl in a lost fleet who agrees to become a robocop for the government, only to find that all is not well (and it’s obvious both what is not going well and where it is going to go).
If the idea of an infinitely sprawling library, filled with unique books salvaged from across the multiverse, where time doesn’t pass for you while you are within its walls doesn’t appeal to you, I don’t know why you would read fantasy books at all.
Being a historian should be easier when you have a time machine and lots of tea…
It’s easy to set to set a single tone – juggling tones is a lot harder. The title and the start of One Damn Thing suggest a particular style that I love, wry British comedy, and when operating in the mode of hard work, punishing bureaucracy, farcical romance and endless tea, it’s a very enjoyable book. Unfortunately…
Since I managed to see four of the nominees in this category in my normal watching habits, fitting USS Callister and a short track didn’t seem like much of an ask. It’s also worth noting that I nominated three things in this category: Badwater from Alice Isn’t Dead, Michael’s Gambit and Dance Dance Resolution from The Good Place. Given one of these got nominated, it’s clearly going to be top of my list, right?
This year the graphic story category returns to an sff focus after last year’s slate dominated by Avengers. Previewing the category, we have sequels to three comics I really liked (Bitch Planet, Monstress, and Saga), one sequel to a comic I thought was OK (Paper Girls), and two new entrants (including our only superhero entry written by an author whose previous Hugo nominee I rather liked).
This is the award for best new writer, regardless of output length (or quantity), and year after year it ends up my favourite category by delivering works that I think are better than any of the nominees in the main ballot. This year I will be thwarted however, as the three shorter pieces in this category are all in regular competition. On the upside, this makes this category an easy ask, as I’ve also already read Under the Pendulum Sun, leaving me with just three novels to cover.