Let’s Go Back to the Hugos: 1986!

It’s Hugo Week! You know what that means? It’s almost Not-A-Hugo-Award-And-Not-That-Campbell-Award-But-That-Other-Campbell Award time! Exciting!

(Are rebrands too radical for SF awards?)

Anyway, it’s time to go… Back to the Hugos!

Hugo Year: 1986

1986: Chernobyl. The Challenger. Hijackings. Bombings. Fires. Genocides. Reagan. Thatcher. Noriega. (If you think 2016 is bad, check out this timeline.) Also, I started Kindergarten and got in trouble for not coloring inside the lines. (It was because of those BIG crayons! Remember those crayons? I hated them.)

And Bob Shaw hosted ConFederation in Atlanta, Georgia, where Orson Scott Card took the big Hugo prize for Ender’s Game.

The list:

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The Winner: ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card, followed by CUCKOO’S EGG by C.J. Cherryh, THE POSTMAN by David Brin, FOOTFALL by those fucking guys again, and BLOOD MUSIC by Greg Bear

My Kindergarten ballot: Continue reading

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Cuckoo’s Egg (1985) by C. J. Cherryh

CuckoosEgg1I was familiar with C. J. Cherryh before I became familiar with THE C. J. Cherryh, thanks to the time, way back when, I googled something ubiquitous– though, I thought it was pretty unique– “female science fiction writer.” A strict fantasy reader at the time, I wasn’t interested in the harsh realities of space, but I was looking for something different because fantasy was starting to wear on me. I kept Cherryh’s name in mind and eventually stumbled across the first of her Foreigner series in a messy little secondhand bookstore near Rice University. I thought the diplomacy plot would appeal to my poli-sci sensibilities and it did. I liked it okay. And it felt exactly the way I expected space opera fiction to feel.

Nowadays, I’m a little more informed about THE C. J. Cherryh, and her place in sci-fi history, and since reading Foreigner, I’ve noticed that Cherry’s style is almost always described as cold, distant, and dry. Sometimes, mechanical. These descriptors are always loaded as a caveat, as if her writing should be warm, inviting, nurturing—just like all the other warm and fuzzy space opera authors clogging the bookshelves. Well, let’s just come out and say what those well-intentioned reviewers really mean: She is a woman, so where is her writerly womb? Continue reading