Murderbot Wins Two Hugos! And other reactions to this year’s results

Sebastian Martorana, a Baltimore artist, created the bases for this year’s Hugo Awards, given out last weekend at the 2021 WorldCon–this year hosted in Washington, D.C. The bases are made of salvaged marble from the Beaver Dam Quarry–the marble originally used in many, many buildings, including the Washington Monument. Marble from that quarry can only be acquired through salvage because the quarry has been under water since it flooded in the 1930s.

Saturday night the Hugo Awards ceremony occurred. I did not watch the livestream because I was hosting our monthly Virtual Writers’ Night which would ordinarily also be our annual holiday party. It’s not quite a party when we’re not gathered in person.

I was trying to be a good host and pay attention to folks online and ignore all the tweets and other alerts popping up on all my devices as the Hugo winners were being announced. Since I am both a Hugo nominator and Hugo voter, I of course have some reactions.

But first, the winners: Announcing the 2021 Hugo Award Winners

Congratulation to all the winners!

For the fifth year in a row, the Novel that won was in second place on my ballot, again; an outcome I’m perfectly all right with. It’s just starting to get funny.

Last year seven of my number one choices won the rocket. This year it was only three (Editor Short Form, Best Series, Astounding Award for Best New Writer).

On the other hand, in addition to Best Novel, my second choices in Best Novella, Best Novelette, Best Related Work, Dramatic Presentation Long Form, Best Pro Artist, Best Fancast, and Lodestar Award for Young Adult Book all took home the award trophy.

As I think I mentioned earlier this year, the ballot this time was really, really good, in my opinion. In most categories there weren’t any nominees that I didn’t think were good enough to win.


There were a few nominees that I put below No Award. But in each of the categories where I did put a No Award in, it was in sixth place. Which means that in my opinion the other five nominees were definitely award worthy.

However… one of the places I put No Award was in Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, and I’m miffed, though not at all surprised that the thing I put below No Award won. I’m not surprised because for reasons that continue to escape me, the absolute worst skiffy-ish television series to be conceived in the last two decades has won a bunch of Hugos.

My only consolation is that this was an episode from the final season of that tripe, so it won’t be plaguing me again next year.

My number one choice in this category came in fourth. My second choice came in third. My third choice came in sixth–and I’m going to stop looking at the voting statistics in this category because clearly when it comes to sci fi television I am out of step with the rest of the Hugo voters.

In more pleasant news: the person I put in first place on my ballot for Best Fan Writer came in second… again. Of course, this was one of the categories where none of the choices were unworthy, in my opinion.

Some other folks have written at the winners and the voting. You should check these out:

Camestros Felapton: Hugo 2021 first reactions

Camestros Felapton: More Hugo 2021 Stats – quick look

Nicholas Whyte: 2021 Hugos in detail

Friday Five (gun continues to smoke edition)

We have reached the third Friday in December.

My week has been dominated by sniffles, coughing, a scratchy throat, and an on-again off-again low grade fever. At the advice of my doctor I got a COVID test this week. Still awaiting the result. My husband came down with the first symptoms about 3 days after I did. Keep your fingers crossed.

Anyway, it’s time for this week’s Friday Five in which I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about seditious traitors, and five stories about the pandemic. Plus notable obituaries.

Stories of the Week:

PolitiFact | The 2021 Lie of the Year: Lies about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and its significance

Lessons from a year of reporting on climate solutions in the PNW

Oh, So Now The Mainstream Media Gets That Fox News Is Garbage?

Kentucky Workers’ Jobs Threatened If They Evacuated For Tornado – "Corporations will literally let you die to make a buck." Stay in the factory during a tornado or get fired? It’s time to unionize EVERYWHERE

Senator Warren Pushes SCOTUS Expansion: Four More Justices – It’s time to UNPACK the Court

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

Carl Nassib designed rainbow cleats to support the LGBTQ community

Hormone therapy linked to lower suicide risk for trans youths, study finds

US LGBTQ+ population hits 20 million

11 ways LGBTQ rights improved around the world in 2021 – Though 2021 presented many challenges for the LGBTQ community, it was also a year of hope and progress

Jury Awards $4M to Trans Boy After School Denies Him Restroom Access

This Week in Seditious Traitors:

Mark Meadows should face charges for stonewalling Congress

Lauren Boebert’s Recent Joke: Contextualized for the Racist-Adjacent and Empathy Deficient

Dem Congressman Doesn’t Sugarcoat It: Jim Jordan Is A Traitor – No mincing of words by Ruben Gallego, a former Marine who is on the House Armed Services Committee

Delaware judge denies Fox’s motion to dismiss Dominion lawsuit

DOJ must move ‘full speed ahead’ with Jan. 6 criminal probe of Trump and his allies: Laurence Tribe

This Week in the Pandemic:

Google employees to lose pay if don’t comply with vaccination policy

Pfizer confirms COVID pill’s results, potency versus omicron

The NFL and NBA lead new Covid outbreaks in sports, spurring fines, restrictions, and delays

5 omicron variant symptoms you shouldn’t ignore

Fauci says omicron will soon become dominant Covid variant in U.S., urges people to get vaccines and boosters

In Memoriam:

Feminist author and poet bell hooks, known for ‘Aint I A Woman’ and ‘All About Love’, dies at 69

Remembering our sister-friend bell hooks – Heartbreaking doesn’t aptly depict the enormity of her passing

‘The world is a lesser place today without her.’ Acclaimed author bell hooks dies at 69

Michael Nesmith, Monkees Singer-Songwriter, Dead at 78

Michael Nesmith was more than a Monkee

Michael Nesmith, Monkee and pop innovator, has died

My Friend, My First LGBTQ Ally, Anne Rice, Has Died

Friday Five (sue the f– out of them edition)

We have reached the second Friday in December. Which is one day after my wedding anniversary, and I’m still a bit amazed that my husband still puts up with me.

It’s getting colder. Earlier this week, because I let the bird feeder get lower than usual, there was a lot of drama outside my window. Little birds can be vicious to each other. The hummingbird feeder was not so low, but the colder temperatures (and a lot fewer flowering plants blooming in the area) means that several are visiting the feeder many times a day. For some reason there is that spot about a foot away from the feeder one the fairy lights I have strung up out there where several of the hummingbirds want to sit in between feeding… but they don’t want to share. And their fights are even more vicious than the altercations between the sparrows, junkos, and chickadees at the other feeder.

Anyway, it’s time for this week’s Friday Five in which I bring you: one story about a hidden treasure, two stories about making bad people pay for their wrongs, the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about deplorable people, and five stories about the pandemic. Plus notable obituaries and something I wrote.

This Week in Hidden Treasures:

Hidden sketch revealed beneath Rembrandt’s The Night Watch – Restoration uncovers Dutch master’s original vision for 1642 painting for the first time

This Week in Make Them Pay:

Mass Shooting Victim Sues MI School District For $100M – Michigan school shooting ‘entirely preventable,’ $100-million suit says

Family of Georgia Trans Inmate Wins $2.2M Wrongful-Death Settlement

Stories of the Week:

Canada Bans the Dangerous Practice of LGBTQ+ ‘Conversion Therapy’ – unanimous votes in both Houses…

Supreme Court Justice shoots down lawyer’s wild claim about LGBTQ rights – The lawyer said the right won’t use attacks on abortion to take away LGBTQ rights. Sonia Sotomayor called bullshit

Two recent murder trials show the danger of white fragility – Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted while Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan Jr. were found guilty, but the trials are merely opposite sides of the same coin

14 GOP senators help advance McConnell debt limit deal

Seventh-grader dies by suicide after being told he’d go to hell for being gay

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

Federal Court To South Carolina: Fulton Doesn’t Do What You Think It Does – South Carolina thought the Supreme Court gave them an avenue to practice anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Guess what?

Priest backs trans community after diocese tells LGBT+ people ‘repent if you want baptism’

Wonder Woman Is Getting the Queer Romance She Deserves in New DC Comic

Minnesota Town Rallies Around Outed Trans Child

Pro wrestler kisses his boyfriend in front of homophobic protestors to “stand up against hate” – His fans loved it

This Week in Haters, Deplorable People, and Their Victims:

Antigay activist Josh Duggar can now add “convicted child sex predator” to his esteemed resumé

Court rejects Trump’s efforts to keep records from 1/6 panel

The far right isn’t attacking books. They’re attacking children – The right is weaponizing Q-Anon ideology and sexual assault to ban LGBTQ books, putting kids in danger

Torrance police traded racist, homophobic texts. It could jeopardize hundreds of cases – While no officers face criminal charges in direct relation to the text messages, the racist exchanges have led to the dismissal of at least 85 criminal cases involving the officers implicated in the scandal

Martin Shkreli ‘Pharma Bro’ Firm Reaches $40M Settlement in Gouging Case – The settlement doesn’t stop litigation against Martin Shkreli, who was dubbed the “Pharma Bro" and allegedly masterminded the scheme as Vyera’s first CEO

This Week in the Pandemic:

Covid-19 patients at this hospital are dying ‘at a rate we’ve never seen die before’ — and it’s taking a toll on health care workers

Illinois State Rep. Introduces Bill Requiring Unvaccinated Residents to Pay For Their Own COVID Care

16- and 17-year-olds are now eligible for a Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine booster

Maria Van Kerkhove interview: What we know about omicron so far – Exclusive: The World Health Organization’s technical lead on covid-19 says we will know how effective our vaccines are against omicron by Christmas

Fauci pushed back on Sen. Ron Johnson’s claims that he ‘overhyped’ the AIDS crisis and COVID-19

In Memoriam:

Bronski Beat founder Steve Bronski dies at 61

Bronski Beat co-founder ‘who changed lives’ dies

Steve Bronski, co-founder of pioneering gay band Bronski Beat, dies aged 61

Bob Dole dies at 98; anti-LGBTQ record is part of his legacy

Things I Wrote:

Nine Years Ago Today

Nine Years Ago Today

The service made me cry a lot.

I’ve written a few times about how I and my husband got married on the very first day it was legal to do so in our state. And how our fabulous friends assembled a beautiful wedding chapel in their home and how many other wonderful friends attended and played music (secretly organizing the music without us knowing) and so many other great things.

I cried a lot.

Rather than recap all of that, I figured this story about other weddings that happened that same day, a few miles away at Seattle City Hall would suffice:

60 Moments That Gave Me The Chills During Seattle’s First Day Of Marriage Equality – Relive one of the most emotionally exhausting days of my life, when 138 couples got married in downtown Seattle on the first day gay marriage was officially lega

Friday Five (H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E edition)

We have reached the first Friday in December. Wait. What? December? How the heck did that happen?

My husband and I have been having odd symptoms that hint at a cold — no serious respiratory symptoms. It’s been weird and annoying.

Anyway, it’s time for this week’s Friday Five in which I bring you: two stories about bad-ass women in the news, one story of the WTF is wrong with people type, the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about seditious treason, five stories about hate, and five stories about the pandemic. Plus notable obituaries and somethings I’ve written.

This Week in Badass Women:

Sotomayor Nails Forced-Birth Lawyer To The Wall

Stacey Abrams announces she’s running for governor in Georgia

This Week in WTF:

Another school shooting happened while you weren’t looking – At this point, slaughtering children in school doesn’t even merit top billing on the evening news broadcasts

Stories of the Week:

Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight

Local Democrats Only Flip 40-ish Seats In Georgia Elections, Probably Excellent News For John McCain

Menorah Lighting Is Back At The White House This Year – Last year, the so-called president held a partisan food reception, but no menorah

This dinosaur had a weapon shaped like an Aztec war club on its tail – A new ankylosaur species found in Chile may be an early version of the armored creatures

The deputy who shot Casey Goodson Jr. 5 times in the back is charged with murder

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

This guy 3D-printed a mirror array to make sunlight propose marriage for him

How a Seattle man became a lifeline for persecuted LGBTQ people in other countries

Biden’s World AIDS Day proclamation mentions LGBTQ people in break from Trump – Donald Trump and Mike Pence refused to acknowledge the impact HIV has had on LGBTQ people. Joe Biden changed that

Library Association Battles Attempts To Ban LGBT Books – There were 155 efforts to censor books in US schools and libraries, group says

Leslie Jordan and Cheyenne Jackson release holiday duet of ‘Little Drummer Boy’

This Week in Seditious Traitors:

Very, very, very bad news for Donald Trump

Judge Sends Signal To Capitol Rioters Who Blame Trump – "No one was swept away to the Capitol, no one was carried,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson told a defendant’s lawyer

Two Georgia election workers sue far-right website over false fraud allegations

FBI Arrests Capitol Rioter With The Help Of The ‘F**k You’ Tattoo On His Middle Finger – Justin Jersey, known as "Fingerman," was one of the earliest suspects sought by online sleuths investigating the Trump supporter who attacked cops

Sidney Powell And ‘Kraken’ Lawyers Must Pay More Than $175,000 To Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer And Others

This Week in Hate, Discrimination, and Bad People:

Google Sued for Anti-Trans, Antigay Discrimination by Former Employees

North Carolina Lt Gov Threatens Dem Lawmaker After Speech In Support Of LGBTQ Rights – "He has no power or authority over me," Sen. Mayfield says of exchange with lieutenant gov

Liberty University professor charged in sexual battery, abduction of student

Canada’s “QAnon Queen” Arrested After Death Threats – Self-declared ‘Queen of Canada’ detained by RCMP after alleged threats to health-care workers

‘I was given training to de-gay my voice’: what it’s really like to work in TV if you’re LGBTQ+

This Week in the Pandemic:

Stricter testing requirements for travelers coming to the US will take effect Monday

Parts of King County seeing big demand for COVID booster, appointments hard to come by

New York officials confirm 5 cases of omicron Covid variant in NYC metro area

Omicron vs. Delta: More mutations don’t necessarily make a meaner Covid-19 virus

NFL suspends Antonio Brown, two others for submitting fake vaccination cards

In Memoriam:

Stephen Sondheim, Titan of the American Musical, Is Dead at 91 – He was the theater’s most revered and influential composer-lyricist of the last half of the 20th century and the driving force behind some of Broadway’s most beloved and celebrated shows

Legendary gay composer & Broadway genius Stephen Sondheim passes at 91 – From "West Side Story" to "Sweeney Todd" and everything in between, the public searches hopelessly for words that encapsulate the incomparable creative

Some Insufficient Words About Stephen Sondheim

Eddie Mekka, Carmine on ‘Laverne & Shirley,’ dead at 69

Dave Draper, iconic American bodybuilder, dies at 79

Lee Elder, the first Black golfer to play at the Masters, dies at 87

Things I Wrote:

Transgender Day of Remembrance

It’s nearly time for the jangle java jingle!

Mid-week News Update: Lack of moral compass edition

Some pre-Thanksgiving Dinner humor

It’s time for Turkeys!

Thanksgiving Greeting

Time to be Thankful

To absent friends… 2021

To absent friends… 2021

Today is World AIDS Day. Each year, I spend part of the day remembering people I have known who left this world too soon because of that disease.

So: Frank, Mike, Tim, David, Todd, Chet, Jim, Steve, Brian, Rick, Stacy, Phil, Mark, Michael, Jerry, Walt, Charles, Thomas, Mike, Richard, Bob, Mikey, James, Lisa, Todd, Kerry, Glen, Brad, and Jack. Some of you I didn’t know for very long. Two of you were relatives. One of you was one of my best friends in high school and college.

I miss you all. It was a privilege to know you.

Joe Jervis at often posts this story to commemorate the day: Membership: A Memory For World AIDS Day.

I’ve asked before: who could imagine that I would see my own country refuse to deal with a deadly epidemic twice in my lifetime?

Time to be Thankful

To all my readers outside the U.S.: Happy Thursday!

Here are things I’m thankful for:

  • my handsome, good-natured, patient, shrewd, funny husband
  • coffee
  • sci fi books that tell of hopeful futures
  • music
  • cocktails
  • purple
  • the cute birds that visit my bird feeder every day
  • people who help other people
  • recipe blogs
  • videos about how to make cocktails
  • people who make art, music, and other creative things
  • people who take care of us when we’re sick
  • books
  • my eccentric, sometimes infuriating relatives who probably find me even more bewildering than I ever do them
  • not having to spend any holidays with (especially) the most infuriating relatives this year
  • that chunk of ice that is always stuck in the body cavity of the turkey no matter how many days the turkey was in the fridge thawing before the holiday
  • that wonderful feeling (after I nearly give myself frostbite in both hands getting the neck and giblets and the last of the ice out of the turkey) as water runs over my hands and slowly warms them back up
  • audio and video conferencing services that let me spend time with friends
  • vaccines
  • podcasts
  • gravy
  • audio books
  • people who work retail
  • rain
  • tea
  • people who write fanfic
  • science
  • olives
  • people who love
  • my smart, sweet, sexy, super capable, long-suffering husband (who definitely deserves to be on this list twice!)
  • pie
  • online friends
  • people who review and recommend books
  • radio and wireless technologies
  • playlists
  • gadgets
  • people who fill the world with joy
  • kittens and puppies and tigers and otters
  • teddy bears and mousies
  • stuffing
  • friends who will group text with me while we’re all yelling at the same football game on the TV
  • gin
  • cherries
  • the Royal Back Channel gang (you know who you are)
  • the many almost magical computing devices that I can now wear on my wrist, carry in my pocket, and otherwise use to bring a wealth of information and possibilities that were barely imaginable when I was a kid
  • all my wonderful friends—who are talented, kind, giving, and clearly the most patient people in the world, because they put up with me
  • have I mentioned my kind, clever, cheerful, hard-working husband (who definitely deserves to be on this list three times!)?
  • people who read my blog

Thank you, each and every one. Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today or not, I hope you have a wonderful day full of blessings, because you deserve it.

It’s time for Turkeys!

But maybe avoid being under any helicopters today–just in case.

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