After deciding that
the combination of heat and tiredness made climbing a bad prospect, I was left at a bit of a loose end. But after R talked me into bucking my ideas up, I decided to try and go swimming only to discover that the pool was closing early and I'd just missed the last entry cut-off time. Giving up I returned home and settled down with more of the Hugos works, so here are a few thoughts on some of the anthologies up for consideration for one award or another.Speculative Fiction 2012
collects a set of online essays and criticism from a variety of different sources. I very much enjoyed the eclectic mix of topics and I was pleased to find myself re-encountering a number of pieces I'd enjoyed when I'd first encountered them — obviously the editors and I share similar tastes! I particularly liked Penny Schenk's piece China Miéville's Railsea
and Lavie Tidhar on Embassaytown
, while Liz Bourke's caustic review of Michael J Sullivan's Theft of Swords
is as delightful a piece of schadenfreude as one might wish to find.Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It
, with its awesomely long title, does exactly what it says on the cover. The enthusiasm of the essays is infectious, even to someone who has become slightly jaundiced about the show of late, and each one undoubtedly celebrates the Dr Who, but the actual subjects are a bit mixed. Some of the pieces are critical analyses, pointing the gay subtext of a lot of Dr Who and how, in Classic Who, the Doctor's lack of overt sexuality challenged the hetronormativity of your standard TV hero. Many of the other pieces feature often rather sweet coming out stories — either as gay or as geek! — filtered through a love of Dr Who and the fan culture surrounding it.The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination
is a fun anthology edited by John Joseph Adams, up for the best short form editor, dedicated to showing things from the other side of the superhero-supervillain divide. The essays are fun, although read shortly after Queers Dig Time Lords
and pieces like Kate Eliot's essay The Omniscient Breasts
, it's hard not to notice a certain familiar treatment of some of the characters in the stories. But that's a quibble; most of the pieces are fun — and the authors seem to enjoy the opportunity to cut loose — and it gave me the chance to read pieces by a few authors I hadn't read before.
Where the novel, short story etc categories are relatively easy to assess — at the least the forms are similar and the criteria relatively obvious — the related work is such a interesting and varied lot it's hard to make any sort of objective decision...