AISFP 134 – Daniel Polansky, Hugos, Book Reviews

THE TOME OF THE UNDERGATES has been recovered, and the gates of hell remain closed. Lenk and his five companions set sail to bring the accursed relic away from the demonic reach of Ulbecetonth, the Kraken Queen. But after weeks at sea, tensions amidst the adventurers are rising. Their troubles are only beginning when their ship crashes upon an island made of the bones left behind from a war long dead.

BLACK HALO is the second novel from the breakout fantasy sensation, Sam Sykes. Don’t miss this title from the author praised by John Scalzi, who said, “I do not wish Sam Sykes dead.” Oh, and when you buy your copy of BLACK HALO, please contact Sam on his website and tell him Adventures in Scifi Publishing sent you!

Show Notes

Daniel Polansky joins us to discuss his debut novel LOW TOWN. We talk about the blending of epic fantasy with crime fiction, writing sinful characters, how he is both like and not like George R. R. Martin, his approach to world building, why he screams at people in bookstores and why you should too.

  • Before the interview, we breakdown the Hugo Awards, suggest some new categories, and Shaun goes off on a rant. It’s just his opinion. He could be wrong.
  • Feedback from Michelle on writing book reviews. She says some great stuff, and we mostly agree.
  • Please enter THE BLACK GOD’S WAR and CLARKESWORLD book giveaways.
  • And, no, Moses and Matt are not buddies! Not that they don’t like each other. That’s not what we’re saying! Just listen, you’ll see what we mean.
  • Finally, check out the latest SF Signal Mindmeld on fantasy maps.

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  1. Shaun, Shaun, Shaun…

    The Hugos arent about what’s best…they are about what is most popular. What is most popular to a very small section of the SF/F audience at that.


    ps- I voted for “that song” over the Whos… 😉

  2. Shaun Farrell says

    Popularity is just one consideration. If popularity were the ONLY consideration, the best Novel category would be nothing be Star Wars books and the short fiction categories would have dropped off years ago.

    But, you’re right about a small section of the community. But even if suppose that the Hugos are nothing but a popularity contest among a niche audience, that doesn’t mean we should accept that. It’s worth having the discussion on how we can broaden the audience who is invested in the Hugos.

    So, you voted for that? NOOOOO! LOL Just kiddin’

    Sort of.

  3. Possibly you should do a show (or a few) during the run up to the nominations, both reminding people to nominate and offering up some recommendations. The nominations are where the smallest group can have the largest impact (probably why “that song” was able to get on the ballot).

    Interview(s) of someone involved in putting together the Locus Recommended Reading list. Interview(s) with an anthologist or editor to discuss some stand out stories. A round table of book reviewers (book blogers or professional, whatever you can get) discussing “award worthy stuff from the previous year. Etc.

    Great show as always. Awesome that you were able to be at the Hugo ceremony.

  4. Personally I didn’t like “that song”. My first thought when watching it was “desperate attempt to be viral”. Well, it worked.
    I know I am not the target demographic, so normally I would just shrug and move on. But I totally agree with you that it is demeaning the Hugos. I am British, and would make the comparison to a knighthood. It really meant something once, but now it is a laughable popularity contest.
    It is sad to see the Hugos go the same route.
    When I saw that it was a nominee, I thought it might be some kind of “4chan” stunt, with a collective push because “it would be a bit of a laugh”.

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