Thursday, May 26, 2016

Voting for Hugos: Best Picture

So far we have a resounding No Award in Related Work, and for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) …

Last year I was kind of stuffy about refusing to vote in a category until I’d seen/read/experienced all the nominees.  I was playing fair despite the slate, and consequently I read some stories way past their bouncing point.

I don’t know if it quite falls under No More Mizz Nice Guy, but this year I’m not going to hold myself to the same rules. For instance, I don’t need to watch a superhero movie to know I’m not going to vote for it against The Martian and The Force Awakens.

Same goes for Ex Machina, another hot AI chick love story, a subject which seems cloistered in a demographic I don’t share. I’m all in favor of annoying men hooking up with robots or realdolls or smartphones or whatever, just as long as I don’t have to pay attention to it.

I glanced at Mad Max: Fury Road on Amazon. It costs twenty bucks, with no short-term rental available. There are some movies I know in advance that I would like to own for twenty bucks, and this isn’t one of them. I never got into the original franchise, which featured ultra bigot Mel Gibson. I’m told this installment has counterbalancing feminist propaganda, which is sort of like telling me, “hey, this broccoli and herring salad has cilantro in it!” 

So that leaves me with The Force Awakens versus The Martian.

A corporatized reworking of a childhood favorite, or the most awesome and exuberant Mars tale since "Oops I Did It Again." 

I’m already leading with my emotions by excluding 3/5 of the movies based on whim/price, and when it comes down to it, a vote for an award such as a Hugo is a gut-based call anyway. And my guts would never forgive me for putting yet another angsty hot-AI-chick story or superhero installment or Mad Max chapter ahead of either TFA or TM.

So which movie stirred my guts the most?  TFA had quite a few gut punches, especially toward the end. TM made me cry though, with that scene where he’s launching randomly in their direction and gets caught up in a web of red, and where the recent father chose to extend the mission – little human connectivity moments like that.

Have these movies inspired me to do anything in particular, other than blog about them?  Well, let’s see. TFA caused me to make vague plans to go to Disneyland.  But I was probably going to do that anyway, since I’m fond of Disneyland. TFA also lured me into an actual theater.

The Martian, on the other hand, gave me hope for the continued existence of science fiction. It came from a place totally removed from the publishing scene and its infighting. Andy Weir is making his next movie with Ridley Scott, and is having all kinds of ridiculously overwhelming success, and I doubt if having “oh yeah, he also got a Campbell award because the skeksis were too busy fighting over the corpse of corporate publishing to give him best novel” blurb on his novel in addition to all that other stuff would make him shine any brighter. Weir just made corporate publishing look old-fashioned and stodgy – maybe they are.  He made me decide to bypass querying and agents and corporate publishers and all that crap, which might be a bigger decision than going to Disneyland in the long run. I might succeed, I might fail, but at least I know it’s possible.

Weir and The Martian also got me interested enough in the science fiction community to see what’s been going on over the years, and consequently I discovered the web version of File 770 and all the wonderful folks who chill there. It inspired me to learn about the Sad and Rabid Puppies and their detractors, in my struggle to figure out who to blame for the lack of awards for The Martian. In the last year or so, since all this has been going on, I have read a metric crap ton of recent science fiction as a result of File 770 and all this other reading. I have discovered books like Options by Robert Sheckley, and Bride of The Rat God by Barbara Hambly. Which is my current read, and I’m loving it so much that I don’t even mind that the Hugo packets are being delayed because of all that pornography I was recently complaining about.

After years of deliberately not reading science fiction so I could do a better job of writing it, I’m now rolling blissfully in piles of it, and I have The Martian to thank for encouraging me. 

The Martian gets my vote. Followed by TFA, and then No Award.

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