It’s been a frustrating week. This year, for the first time, I purchased a supporting membership to World Con. For those of you who might not be into science fiction and fantasy, World Con happens every year, somewhere in the world, and is the place where the Hugo Awards are awarded, and much science fiction and fantasy stuff happens.

I’ve been attending Australian Cons for the last couple of years, and really wish I’d known about them earlier – because they’re a lot of fun, and really interesting. Fairly obviously, given that I write Science Fiction and Fantasy, I love reading and watching it. Anyway, I thought I’d get involved.

Up until recently, I’d thought that the Hugo Awards were awarded by some kind of special panel of Spec Fic judges. Then I learnt that they’re actually fan nominated and fan voted. I discovered this partly because of the controversy around this year’s nominations. It’s pretty hard to find a non-partisan article on this controversy, but if you stick ‘Hugo Awards 2015’ into Google, you’ll find plenty of stuff to read about it.

One of the major reasons that I bought a supporting membership was because I wanted to be able to vote in the selection process for the 2017 World Con (Go Helsinki! – I’m hoping to be there!) and of course the Hugo Packet came with the membership – so this year I’m going to vote.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been working my way through the packet – which is what Hugo voters get in case they haven’t read the appropriate nominations. (I might add that I’m a prolific reader of Spec Fic, but there’s so much stuff to read, that I just don’t have enough time to read it all, so a lot of the stuff in the packet is quite new to me.)

The title of this post is ‘Frustrated.’ And I am. I’ve read quite a few Hugo nominees and winners over the many years I’ve been reading Spec Fic, and I’ve enjoyed pretty well all of it in all its varied forms. But this lot? I’m struggling through a lot of it. I’ve read all the short stories and novelettes and most of the novellas. Ho hum. Sigh. Honestly….sigh….

As an early career writer myself, I appreciate good writing. I also know that I don’t always get it right, but I really thought Hugo nominees would have it down pat. Nope. Or at least not this lot. Don’t get me wrong, there are some decent stories, and some of them are decently written, but so far, the vast majority are not exciting me at all. And as far as a couple of them go, they’re not well written at all.

I do have to thank the Hugo Packet for introducing me to Ms Marvel, though. I will actively go out and find more of her. (Apart from Phantom comics, I haven’t really read a lot of graphic novels.) In the meantime, I will continue to slog through the rest of the packet, hoping to find a gem here and there. Then I shall vote accordingly. On the upside, I’m feeling pretty happy about some of my own short stories right now….


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