Hugo Awards

This year is the first year I signed up to be a Hugo voter. I had read most of the nominated novels, some of the short stories, and had some strong opinions about the new award this year–Best Series.

I had forgotten that a few years ago they added “The Hugo Voter Packet”, where many of the publishers send copies of the Hugo-nominated works to the Hugo voters.

As part of this, DAW authorized sending every single word in the October Daye-verse to every Hugo voter. I have read all the novels already, but there are dozens of short stories. I get the newer ones through Patreon, but not having to track down where each of the older ones are published is… I don’t even know. Priceless.

Anyway, I’m ridiculously excited to be able to vote in these awards!

“Ninefox Gambit” by Yoon Ha Lee

I really, really enjoyed Ninefox Gambit. I’m an experienced reader but I had difficulty getting into it at the beginning.

It’s about a universe where they discovered that strict adherence to holidays and calendrical events can influence reality, and allow “exotics”, or extremely powerful and weird weapons. It’s about a woman with another personality implanted in her–a traitor, but one who has never lost yet.

If I had to compare it to anything, I’d say, “Too Like the Lightning“, even though they’re extremely different.

My only complaint is that it does not feel like a complete story. The sequel is coming.

Tea Tin Planter

I wanted to transplant my baby snake plants into some tea tins I had around, but the tins weren’t waterproof. I designed a little planter in Fusion 360.
It fits inside of the tins, has some holes from drainage, and a lip to hold some water in. I 3D printed a few in this beautiful blue filament Matthew picked up from matterhackers. It’s actually pretty enough I’m not certain I want to put them in the tins now!

(If you make some, remember to put a little gravel in the bottom to help the drainage situation.)

I uploaded the Tea Tin Planter files over at Thingiverse.

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty is a closed-room murder mystery in space with clones!

I got hooked on this! As the characters discover their situation, and all the weird things that are going on, I knew that Mur was going to stitch them all together so it made sense by the end–and WHO DID IT?!!?!!

I appreciate that Mur Lafferty is getting better and better with each book. This one is quite good–but it is not perfect. There were maybe three or four times I thought something was hokey or silly–and all but one of those times it was crucial to how the the plot works out, so stick with it. (I think that one of the characters was so good at a skill of hers that it was almost a superpower.)

Maidenhead Locator System

Amateur Radio operators compete and often keep track of how far away the people are that they make contact with. In the late 50s, folks created a grid system for Europe so people could quickly transmit approximate location. In 1980, amateurs began to adopt a new system, the Maidenhead Locator System, which describes a world-wide grid system.

I found a fun Google Maps dealie that shows you the Maidenhead Locator System overlaid a more traditional map.

Trust and Hysteresis

I was talking to a friend of mine today, and we got around to talking about trust. I realized that trust can be a good example of hysteresis.

When you trust someone, they can do things that you might not agree with, but you’re still OK with them. Once they do enough of them, however, you no longer trust them. Now, their actions are viewed in a different light, and things they do that would have been OK before are no longer OK.

It even works the other way around. Neat!

“Too Like The Lightning” by Ada Palmer

Too Like The Lightning by Ada Palmer is ambitious, complicated, excellent, and only half a story.

If I had to compare to any other work, I’d say it’s closest to “The Book of the New Sun” by Gene Wolfe.

The narrator plays with us. He addresses the reader, as Dear Reader, and the delivery and reveal of information to us as readers is extremely deliberate–even though it’s a relatively chronological story set over only a few days. At one point, he mentions that it’s silly that the word “visor” isn’t spelled with a z, because visors are futuristic. Chapters later, he spells it vizor.

The sequel comes out any day now, and I’m really excited to read it.

“Every Hidden Thing” by Kenneth Oppel

I really like Kenneth Oppel’s work–I had previously read the Airborn novels and loved those, so when I saw he had a new book out, I picked it up.

I went in completely cold–I knew nothing about it. I actually thought it was going to be science fiction-y! It is not–but it is an absolute delight,

Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel is a sweet book about two teenagers working with their fathers to find dinosaur fossils during the “Bone Wars” of the 1800s. It’s been described as “part Romeo and Juliet, part Indiana Jones”. I’m not sure I’d describe it as that. Kenneth Oppel has always done a good job with youth romances, and he did a great job here, again.

“Hot Boy”

I’m at a work retreat, and the folks invented a “new drink” they’re calling the Hot Boy. I’m documenting it for posterity.

  • 3 oz Gin
  • Squeezed eighth of a lemon
  • Squeezed eighth of a lime
  • 2 tbsp pablano/serrano simple syrup
  • Slice of Jalapeno
  • Slice of Serrano
  • Splash of San Pellegrino Limonata

Advanced: lemon twist rub, followed by serrano rub.

Thanks Zach and Nolan!