2016 WISB Awards: The Winners

Now that awards season is in full swing, it's time to release the winners of the 2016 WISB Awards.  As with every year of the award, the winners are selected from my reading and viewing experiences throughout 2015 and during my annual Hugo Awards reading binge.  As such, the long list included works published decades ago. Unlike previous years, the 2016 WISB Awards included a long list, which you should check out to see all the great stuff I enjoyed.  You might also check out the 2016 Hugo Awards Reading/Watching List, which includes works from my original list and works suggested by readers. As with every year of the awards, these selections are based entirely on my own tastes, which are imperfect, narrow, and weird. The winners are below the fold.  Some of the categories include runners up; the categories that do not contained far fewer entries on the long list, and so including a short list would basically have included the long list anyway. Read More

Shaun’s Rambles 013: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (w/ Special Guest Mareen Kincaid Speller)

Geek references + the Dominican Republic = instance classic.  In this episode, Maureen Kincaid Speller joins me to discuss the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.  We tackle the novel's treatment of geekery, its exploration of masculinity, romance, and the coming-of-age narrative, and much more! I hope you enjoy it! Read More

2016 WISB Awards Long List

It's that time of year:  time for me to release some kind of list of things I loved in 2015.  This year is different, though.  This year, I'm releasing a long list for the WISB Awards, and it is from this list that I'll select the winners of my annual WISB awards, the jury-less, vote-less monstrosity of an award that is only of value to myself. Since I cannot include my own work on the following long list, I'll include those works here:
  • Best Fancast:  The Skiffy and Fanty Show (Shaun Duke, Julia Rios, Paul Weimer, Mike Underwood, Rachael Acks, David Annandale, and Jen Zink); Totally Pretentious (Shaun Duke and David Annandale)
  • Best Non-Fiction Work:  Speculative Fiction 2014:  The Year's Best Online Reviews, Essays, and Commentary edited by Renee Williams and Shaun Duke (Book Smugglers Publishing)
If you feel there's a glaring ommission, let me know in the comments.  I haven't read everything there is to read (obviously), and it's likely I've missed a lot of really great work. Now here's the official 2016 WISB Awards Long List: Read More

2016 Hugo Awards Recommendations: What should I read/watch?

It's that time again:  time to ask for recommendations for the Hugo Awards.  The nomination period will open up soon, and I haven't done as much reading/watching as I would have liked this year.  The only categories I feel comfortable voting in at the moment are Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form), Best Novel, and Best Podcast.  That means, as always, there are a lot of gaps. So, this is your chance to let me know what you loved reading or watching this year.  To make things a bit more organized, I've created a Google form with options for every category.  You don't have to fill the whole thing out to suggest a work.  In fact, you can come back to the form as many times as you like.  If you want to let me know what you loved in the comments below, you're free to do that, too. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Shaun’s Rambles 011: Michael R. Underwood (Interviewing the Fans)

What makes Mike Underwood tick? What did he read when he was a kid? What inspired him to become a member of QUEST and invade the Free Worlds of the Noble and Benevolent Multidimensional Imperium?  I try to get to the bottom of some of these questions in an interview with the infamous figure! I hope you enjoy it! Some useful links: Read More

Shaun’s Rambles 009: On the #HugoAwards and #SadPuppies

The Hugos are over, but the controversy isn't over.  In this episode, I talk about the results of the 2015 Hugo Awards and how the Sad Puppies have irreparably harmed whatever good message they had.  It's not an exhaustive discussion, but it's one I wanted to start while I had time. If you want to learn more about what is going on, here are few useful links: Read More

Top 10 Science Fiction and Fantasy Anime Movies

I've been sitting on this list for months because I didn't think I'd seen enough anime movies to warrant the creation of a list.  Turns out I was wrong.  When I did a bit of searching, I discovered I'd seen quite a lot of anime films, many of them viewed at 1 AM on some random satellite station my grandma had a decade ago.  I still don't know which station played anime at 1 AM, nor do I remember all of the films I saw (Black Magic M-66, which does not appear on the list below because it's not that great, is one for which I am particularly nostalgic).

So here I am with a list of 10.  Don't hesitate to tell me what you think in the comments (or share your own lists).  Here goes (in no particular order):

Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (Yutaka Fujioka)

Flying beds, nightmare kings, magic scepters, flying squirrels, and dreams!

The Place Promised in Our Lonely Days (Makoto Shinkai)

Alternate realities, Cold War analogues, rebellion, and homemade jets!

And I'm presenting a paper on it at the 2014 International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando!  *dances*

Howl's Moving Castle (Hayao Miyazaki)

Talking flames, animalistic transformations, mystical castles, and Miyazaki's classic genius.

Princess Mononoke (Hayao Miyazaki)

Mythology, modernity vs. the old world, giant spirit animals, and muskets!

The Cat Returns (Hayao Miyazaki)

Talking cats in tophats, kitty kingdoms, and magic transformations!

Oh, and the English-dubbed edition, which is surprisingly good, features Cary Elwes, Anne Hathaway, Kristen Bell, Rene Auberjonois (from DS9!), Peter Boyle, Elliot Gould, and many more.  That's one hell of a cast, no?

Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo)

Do I really need to explain this one?  It's a beautiful, mess-with-your-head kind of film.  And it's a classic.  At this point, you should have seen it already...

Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii)

What happens if a human mind merges with an artificial one?  And are cyborgs still human?  A cyberpunk classic.

Ghost in the Shell 2 (Mamoru Oshii)

Can you really trust cyborgs when their ability to exert free will is always in question?  Nothing like a little cyberpunk to tackle the tough questions!

Macross Plus (Shoji Kawamori & Shinichiro Watanabe)

Jet battles, artificial intelligence, mass hypnosis, and Robotech!  Yeah!

Patlabor (Mamoru Oshii)

Mecha in everyday society + hackers + mecha police = greatness.

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P.S.:  I really wanted to include the OVAs for Samurai X in this list, but they are technically episodic in format, rather than proper films like the ones listed above.  That means I'm going to have to write a whole new list about my favorite SF/F anime series!