There are far too many amazing fan writers out there. This list began with 20-30 names, which I whittled down to 8. Then I flipped a bunch of 8-sided die to pick the final 5 (or something like that).
So, here’s what I picked this year:
One of the things I love about Hurley’s writing is the way she uses personal anecdotes and analogies to address the issues throughout our genre, particularly as they relate to representation and gender. She also writes about the writing world and much more, but I think her strongest work involves her critiques of our genre’s representation problems, particularly this essay at A Dribble of Ink.
She is by far my favorite feminist writer in the sf/f world. Her analysis of the SFWA fiasco last year, for example, is well worth reading, if not because you need persuading, then at least to bask in the intensity of her rhetoric and the profound analyses she provides. Her “controversial” writing style probably works against her among certain circles, but I personally think she deserves to make it to the final ballot.
This is my only almost-traditional fanwriter selection. I should note up front that Paul is a friend, so I’m a tad biased. That said, there’s something about Paul’s all-encompassing involvement in sf/f that I think must be recognized. He is everywhere, adding his thoughts on everything from books to commentary to sf/f history to his personal connection to genre. He’s like the singularity of the fanwriter. He writes columns for multiple websites (including one of mine — The Skiffy and Fanty Show). He tweets more than any other human being on the planet (or close to it), reads and reads and reads and just shares his love for sf/f in a way that is exhausting, but also so endearing. Genre loves Paul. It must love Paul.
Easily one of the best reviewers in the blogosphere, Nussbaum’s detailed and well-reasoned posts are responsible for her inclusion on this list. This review of Sofia Samatar’s A Stranger in Olondria, for example, is a glorious piece of work. Her many posts on films and literature are practically essential reading, so if you haven’t checked out her blog, you need to do so now.
Remember when Justin wrote some thing about the Hugos and pissed off a bunch of people? Me, too. And it was beautiful. He writes about a lot of other things, too, such as books and what not, but I suspect he is best remembered for his criticisms of what he sees as the flaws or issues within our genre. And he has this extraordinary ability to spark conversation, which I think is hard to come by sometimes.
And that’s it. So, what did you pick?