2019 Hugos and ICYMI

August 20, 2019

 

The Hugos were awarded last night in Dublin in a lovely ceremony where real lady astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison awarded the Best Novel to the Mary Robinette Kowal for The Calculating Stars. Not a dry eye in the house, certainly not mine. It was a very good year for the Hugos with high quality entries, truly all the finalists were winners and worth reading. But if you are particularly interested in robots or whether the robots in the Hugo entries were accurate, you may want to check out reviews and interviews below in case you missed them.

 

Revenant Gun and Record of a Spaceborn were the novels with robots. The two couldn’t be more different: one is full of epic space battles and machinations, angst, weapons, and kinky sex, the other is a thoughtful, sentimental, and moving depiction of what it would be like to live on a generation ship that has reached its destination. Record of a Spaceborn Few is part of Becky Chambers' Wayfarers series which won the Hugo for best series.

 

Artificial Condition won the best novella, keeping Martha Wells’ Murderbot streak going! She dedicated the award to Murderbot and Asshole Research Transport (ART)- definitely two memorable robots. See our interview with Martha. But Aliette de Bodard’s The Tea Master and the Detective is excellent as well with The Shadow’s Child an nicer version of ART. Check out the interview with Aliette too. While Kelly Robson's Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach doesn’t feature sentient robots, it definitely has the most realistic use of unmanned aerial vehicles by time travelers ever and it a wonderful read. Kelly has promised an interview, so stay tuned!

 

STET by Sarah Galley is the only nominated short story with robots: a heartbreaking take on the Trolley Problem. I haven’t had time to write about the Trolley Problem- It is not how smart cars actually work, though it is how the public has taken a philosophy thought question and conflated it with robotics. Still, very much worth reading. 

 

Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction did not want for best related work though it was my favorite. It is like a David McCullough work or Seabiscuit - not the least bit dry. I learned a great deal about Asimov and that pivotal age in science fiction. Plus Alec Nevala-Lee is very interesting himself, see the interview with him here

 

- Robin

 

 

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