IMG_4990-0.jpgAlthough I already shared my thoughts on Friday at Worldcon, Sasquan was much busier over the weekend with the 2015 Hugo Awards Ceremony on Saturday night.

On Saturday, it was announced that Helsinki had won the site selection vote— if you plan on attending the 75th Worldcon, you’ll be traveling to Finland in 2017!

The panels I attended at Sasquan were always filled with a great selection of people, making them some of the highest quality I’ve seen. We attended a panel on editing anthologies were the panelists were a list of who’s who in genre anthologies. Moderated by Mike Resnick, the panel also included John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton and Ellen Datlow.

The insights were fascinating. For example, John Joseph Adams, known for theme anthologies like the recent Press Start to Play and The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, explained why most of the time the theme anthologies are invite-only.

It may frustrate authors, but if he throws open submissions he may hundreds of stories for only 20 story slots. The hundreds of rejected stories may then be accepted by magazines. The magazines are likely to go to print before the anthology and are now filled with stories that on that specific theme

“The more specific the theme, the more of the danger,” said Adams.

In addition to the panel on Friday, I attended another panel on science fiction and fantasy critics & reviewers to pick up additional pieces of wisdom and perspective.

A fun panel to attend was all about Astronaut Guest of Honor Kjell Lindgren. Lindgren’s sci-fi enthusiasm was inspiration for our post “Three Reasons why Book Geeks will Love the New ISS Missions” and although only “flat” Kjell (his cardboard cutout) was actually present, NASA representative Jenny Knotts did a great job presenting videos, answering questions and providing anecdotes (did you know that returning astronauts cannot be trusted with breakable coffee cups? They forget they’re in Micro-G and tend to drop them…).

Lindgren also spawned our favorite new con game:

His cardboard cutouts kept seeming to move around…


presentation model of the 2015 Hugo Award statue.
Close up with the presentation model of the 2015 Hugo Award statue.

Out on the main floor, we took a look at the Worldcon history display which showed past Hugo Award bases. This year’s winning base design by Matthew Dockrey is striking. It’s a beautiful award this year.

In the dealer’s room, I picked up two more books. I was seduced by the beautiful gold-embossed cover of an H.G. Wells anthology.

I also met the great people from McFarland Books. They publish a lot of scholarship on science fiction, fantasy and pop culture.

I love non-fiction, especially if it’s geeky and I ended up purchasing a copy of The Tropes of Fantasy Fiction by Gabrielle Lissauer.

The 2015 Hugo Awards Ceremony held on Saturday, August 22nd.

Making the free event ticketed went a long way to easing the process of filling the seats in the auditorium. We got great seats in the orchestra level.

2015 Hugo Awards Ceremony audience
Fans of Science Fiction & Fantasy filled the audience at the 2015 Hugo Awards Ceremony

As we were lucky enough to attend the ceremony in person we  live-tweeted the event.

There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding the award results and the ceremony itself. I’ll discuss the actual votes later, but as a member of the live audience, I commend the emcees David Gerrold and Tananarive Due for the way they handled the ceremony.

Although conflict and tension has plagued this award season, the ceremony itself was positive— almost stubbornly so— despite the fact that no award was presented in 5 different categories.

The audience was asked to hold their applause until after all finalists in a category was announced. This was respectful of the finalists and something I hope is repeated every year.

Hugo Award Program & Tickets
Program and tickets from the 2015 Hugo Award Ceremony

The No Award categories were moved through very quickly. Yes, the audience did (controversially) clap when No Award was announced. Applause itself is contagious but what was probably not picked up by the livestream was an undercurrent of muttering— at least in my section— as people dealt with their own personal reactions to No Award.

Overall, I found it to be an upbeat and entertaining ceremony during which 11 Hugo Awards, 4 special awards and the Campbell Award for Best New Writer were presented.

Here are five of memorable highlights for me from the night:

  • Campbell award winner Wesley Chu spontaneously kneeling to receive his tiara
  • Dalek Rainier upstaging the emcees to present the winners in the Best Dramatic Presentation categories
  • Connie Willis coming on stage with anecdotes, jokes and an award for the emcees
  • Emcee David Gerrold becoming emotional during the “In Memorium” segment
  • The brief on-stage happy dance by one of the winners accepting the award for Best Fanzine
  • The presentation of the award for Best Novel by Kjell Lindgren on the International Space Station
Lindgren announces Hugo Award
From the International Space Station, Astronaut Kjell Lindgren announces the winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel

The winner of the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel was The Three-Body Problem.

It is the first translated work to ever win the award. It was my top choice and I was happy to see it prevail.

You can check our collected live tweets from the night or watch the video of the 2015 Hugo Award Ceremony.

Overall, I had a splendid time at Worldcon. Anyone else have highlights?

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