So I wouldn’t call this “last minute”, per se. I am, of course referring to getting our nominations in for the 2014 Hugo Awards. For those of you who do not know, the Hugo Awards (AKA The Science Fiction Achievement Awards) are handed out by the World Science Fiction Convention. Unlike many other prestigious awards, the Hugos are nominated and voted on by the rank and file members of the convention. Furthermore this isn’t some trade organization or masonic cabal. Anybody can join. All it takes is money. Even if you don’t go to the convention (which is in London, England this year), there is an excellent reason to join, especially if you like science fiction (which is rather the whole point, actually). You see, for the last several years, the convention assembles all the finalists that have been nominated for the Hugos, and then they e-mail all the novels and short stories and articles and graphic novels and whatnot out to the membership, so that they can make an informed vote. Thus, you get several hundred dollars worth of reading material, all of it considered the best work produced in the previous year. This is a crazy good deal, even if you never set foot in the convention itself.
If you are like me, you’re already a member, but you haven’t quite gotten around to sending the nominations in yet (furthermore, if you are like me, you will vote for Girl Genius Volume 13; Agatha Heterodyne & the Siege of Mechanicsburg by Phil & Kaja Foglio and Cheyenne Wright. Published by Airship Entertainment (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php) in the Graphic Story category). Fear not! You have until March 31, and you late joiners can fill the form out online (which is also where you can join) (http://www.loncon3.org/).
Now if you peruse the web you will find any number of sites that will recommend novels and short stories, movies and TV shows. There are, however damn few that will recommend stuff for the Graphic Story category. This is something I can fix.
Now all of the graphic stories I’m reccommending are webcomics (and per the rules, all finished up their story arc in 2013). Partly because a cobbler looks at shoes, but mostly because I think that web cartoonists are producing some of the most interesting work out there. Here they are, in no particular order;
A Redtail’s Dream by Minna Sundberg ( http://www.minnasundberg.fi/comic/page00.php) A refreshingly different fantasy story about godlike animals, alternate levels of reality and a talking dog. Plus the art is astounding.
Spacetrawler by Christopher Baldwin (http://spacetrawler.com/2010/01/01/spacetrawler-4/) A sprawling, hard S.F space opera comedy. If you liked Buck Godot, you’ll love this.
The Case of the Forked Road by John Allison (http://scarygoround.com/?date=20130615) John’s a Brit, so I hesitate to give him the home field advantage here, but this is one of the best screw-ball time travel stories I’ve read in quite awhile.
The Tomorrow Girl: Dresden Codak Volume 1 by Aaron Diaz (http://dresdencodak.com/) Aaron’s quirky mad scientist girl comic makes us insanely jealous at times. You should find out why.
And finally, this is your last chance to leap upon the insanely successful Pairs Kickstarter being run by James Ernest of Cheapass Games (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cheapassgames/pairs-a-new-classic-pub-game). It’s a fun game in of itself, and people who follow Girl Genius will find it of interest because one of the decks will be built around The Muses, the mysterious, enigmatically annoying clank girls who were built to guide and instruct the Storm King. There are nine of them, and while we were certainly planning on putting them into the Girl Genius story eventually, we hadn’t been planning on having to design all of them this soon. Thus, as is common in art, our pain results in your pleasure. I hope you appreciate it.