Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Category Archives: Hugo Awards

The Jeffro Johnson 2016 Fan Writer Packet

Well it’s that time of year again– time to put together the latest selection of Jeffro Johnson book blogging posts for the reading pleasure of Worldcon’s throng of Hugo Award voters.

I only have one problem doing this. Last year is just a great big blur to me at this point…! Fortunately somebody remembers what all we got into: Spencer Hart graciously selected these as being of interest to the more bookish of book-inclined book blog readers out there:

Now I dunno if I’ll have to trim this down or not. Or maybe somebody will turn up with a totally awesome Jeffro Johnson blog post that I completely forgot I wrote. But if you’re looking to go ahead and get rolling hashing out who is the preeminent fan writer of this year’s incredibly competitive field, this ought to get you going.

Oh, and incidentally… the blog where all of these were posted is Castalia House blog, which is up for Best Fanzine this year. Check it out!

Round Up the Usual Suspects!

And if you don’t know who the usual suspects are… look no further than the Sad Pookas slate over at QuQu media.

The Frisky Pagan reacts to the news on Twitter:

Seriously, though… it’s an awesome list. Check it out!

A Real Big Mess

Stephanie Zvan at Almost Diamonds reports a surprising detail about this year’s Hugo Awards:

It turns out that there were a few conservative artists who would have been nominated without being on the Rabid Puppies slate. Jerry Pournelle still would have been a finalist for Best Editor (Short Form). Toni Weisskopf would have topped the nomination list for Best Editor (Long Form). Jeffro Johnson’s Appendix N still would have been a finalist for Best Related Work. These are all people whose work appeals to enough people to be nominated without any slate.

While my status as a “conservative artist” is being exaggerated here to make a point, I have to say… being singled along out with Jerry Pournelle and Toni Weisskopf for any reason is nevertheless quite an honor. And the fact that Stephanie even gets the title of my work correct only makes it sweeter!

Of course, not everybody would agree that being recognized by WorldCon voters is all that it’s cracked up to be these days. I’ve heard quite a few people make the case that it is actually a negative indicator for quality. Fortunately, I’m covered there as well: as editor of the Castalia House blog, I placed six of five in the fanzine category– not just below No Award, but also below all five of the other nominees. This is another distinction which I share with Jerry Pournelle. (!!!)

You know, it’s just plain awesome having something in common with a true giant of the science fiction field who not only penned some classic works of fiction, but who also created some of the works that would directly inspire the Traveller role-playing game. Given the subject matter of my researches from the past couple years here, I am especially pleased with this turn of events.

Comments on Sad Puppies IV and Rabid Puppies II

The Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies have released their recommendation lists for the year… and I feature prominently on both of them. There’s just a few things I’ll highlight here:

  • I am at the top of the list in the Fan Writer category on both of them.
  • My work on Appendix N is singled out in the Best Related Work category on both lists.
  • The Castalia House blog is recommended for Best Fanzine, Morgan (Castalia House’s resident scholar of all things pulp) is put forward for Best Fan Writer, and Castalia House columnist Daniel Eness made Best Related Work, all on Rabid Puppies.
  • SuperversiveSF is down for Best Fanzine on both lists. (Note that these guys made my Top Gaming Blogs list last year– I think this one is well deserved.)
  • Finally, there are now many gamers and game blogs on both lists. Zenopus Archives is on the Rabid Puppies Fan Writer list.  Winchell Chung (the artist that created the iconic look for Steve Jackson’s Ogre Mark V) is down for Best Related Work on Sad Puppies. Ron Edwards and Charles Akins are both down for Best Fan Writer on Sad Puppies. Traveller creator Marc Miller is down for Best Novel on Rabid Puppies. And as I pointed out when I reviewed Ctrl Alt Revolt, Nick Cole is something of a gamer’s gamer; he is down for Best Novella on Rabid Puppies.

You know, I have to say… making the Puppies lists for Best Related Work was a real shock for me. That’s just not something that ever even occurred to me as being a possibility. Maybe it’s a bit ironic, but it’s actually humbling to have even a modest number of people think that well of me. I honestly don’t know what else to say, but “thank you.” So: thank you! 

Earlier this year on the Superversive Livestream, L. Jagi Lamplighter wondered what it must have been like for me to be writing about Appendix N and then have it blow up as much as it has. (“Imagine that you were Jeffro…!” Heh.) Now, how it’s blown up has been very surprising– not to mention entertaining as wall. But to tell you the truth, I never had any doubt that this was a really significant story that would be of interest to all kinds of people outside of the game blogging scene.

I just thought it was crazy that so little had been written about the topic. (Though to be fair, James Maliszewski had written rather more than I was aware of at the start.) It seemed obvious that there needed to be a book on the subject for the sort of people that would read Jon Peterson’s Playing at The World, Lewis Pulsipher’s Game Design, and/or James Lowder’s Hobby Games: The 100 Best. And the further along I got in the process, the more surprised I was that no one had taken the time to do it before.

While I had no idea where exactly the series would ultimately lead me, I was certain that a great deal of the best sff writing on the internet was being done by game masters digging into the origins of vintage rpgs. The fact that people in the sff scene were largely unaware of it looked like a golden opportunity. I thought that if someone could take what they were doing, buckle down and put together a book length work on the topic that non-gamers could conceivably read, then… well… something would happen.

And here we are. My supersized gameblog posts have (incredibly to me) inspired the creation of Cirsova, a new semi-pro sff ‘zine dedicated to creating new fiction of the sort that I have spent the past year and a half rediscovering. I am (as of January) blog editor over at Castalia House. And people kibitzing about the Hugos right now are talking about the literary antecedents for the Dual Brain mutation in Gamma World. For a guy that set out merely to share his love of Car Wars with the rest of world, this is a real trip.

As to the controversy surrounding the Hugos, I get that a lot of people want to talk about that but really, I just don’t have too much to say that hasn’t already been said on the topic. Several people have suggested that we would better off writing about the books we love rather than fussing and fighting so much. And while I have a small stockpile of popcorn laid back for the coming months, I will say that I’m fairly well in agreement with that sentiment. Certainly, that attitude motivated me to write as many books reviews and game session reports as I did the past couple of years.

But there is far more going on than I or even the rest of the Castalia House bloggers can keep up with. We really could use some help! Whether you are interested in delving into the history of science fiction and fantasy or whether you have a review of a book or game that nobody’s talking about but which people should be discussing… we want to see what you can do. So if you’ve got something along the lines of Penny Kenny’s take on Legend of the Galactic Heroes or Warren Abox’s piece on En Garde! or even Misha Burnett’s ambitious Appendix X series… please talk to me about doing a guest post.

Because that’s another thing I’ve heard critics of the Puppies saying: that it’s a shame that the Sad Puppies process only ran for a few months; it should be a year round thing… and it should go beyond a mere recommendation with a handful of “amens”! Well, the Castalia House blog can be something like that– for the sort of people that are more interested in books than they are in the fandom wars. As a reader or a writer, I invite you to join us as we dig into the works people are going to be talking about next year. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Lots of SFF Love to Go Around

Well, I don’t think it surprised anyone that I ended up on the Rabid Puppies Reading List™ this year. Seeing my name turn up in more than one category struck me as a little bit much, though. Not everyone felt the same way– here’s what John C. Wright had to say:

I second his recommendation of Andy Weir as best new writer, and Jeffro Johnson for Best Related Work.

Nice, right? That’s just cool. His commentariat goes even further, though.

Here’s Holmwood:

I am a lifelong fan of science fiction who had drifted away from the field, assuming that I had changed. Mr. Day’s work in the field has continued to revitalize my interest, as has Mr. Wright’s recently published work.

If I look at some of Mr. Day’s achievements in the last year or so:
– reviving Dr. Jerry Pournelle’s superb There Will be War series and publishing a new volume;
– creating Riding the Red Horse, an excellent debut for an anthology series
– publishing a speculative fiction novel by one of the finest strategic thinkers of our time
– establishing a superb SF group blog at CH that to me is better than
– discovering and promoting a series of excellent new writers
– helping incorporate a better understanding of gaming of all types into SF

And Astrosorcerer:

Andy Weir is a great choice for Best New Writer.
Appendix N and SJWs Always Lie are both excellent candidates for Best Related Work.
Erin Dies Alone and Gunnerkreig Court are both worthy for Best Graphic Story.
Abyss & Apex and Sci-Phi Journal are fantastic choices for Best Semi-Pro Magazine
Castalia House Blog and File 770 are excellent choices for Best Fanzine
Jeffro Johnson and David Freer are entertaining reads and choices for Best Fanwriter.

So much love!

I’m especially glad to see that I’m not the only person that thinks the Castalia House blog team is a superb group of writers. Way to go, guys!