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Hugo 2019 Fortnight

It’s Hugo Fortnight at RTSF as we use the 2019 Hugo nominees to learn about robots. You can see the official list at We will start the fortnight with what the best novel nominees have to say about robots. This year two of the six nominees for best novel have robots or a robot theme. Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee concludes his Machineries of Empire trilogy with the help of robot servitors. It raises the question of if robot servants were sentient, would we care? Record of a Spaceborn Few, the latest in Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series, explores what happens to the everyday lives of people on a generation ship, including when robots are introduced that take over their jobs. The two couldn’t be more different: one is full of angst, weapons, kinky sex, and torture, the other is thoughtful, sentimental, and moving. If they were movies, it’d be like choosing between Venom and A Star is Born. Artificial Condition, the second in Martha Wells’ delightful Murderbot Diaries series, is up for a best novella and an amusing way to learn about software engineering (see the RTSF review here). Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, by Alec Nevala-Lee is nominated for best related work, you can see the RTSF interview with him here. And Lewis Padgett’s 1943 novelette The Proud Robot is going up against their (it was a husband/wife team) better known Mimsy Were the Borogoves for the 1944 Retrospective Hugo award. Follow us as we learn about robotics from the fan favorites of science fiction from 2018!

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