Saturday, May 23, 2015

Hugo Awards 2015: Best Novel

This is how I am voting in the Best Novel category. Of course, I merely offer this information regarding my individual ballot for no particular reason at all, and the fact that I have done so should not be confused in any way, shape, or form with a slate or a bloc vote, much less a direct order by the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil to his 367 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.
  1. The Three-Body Problem
  2. Skin Game
  3. The Goblin Emperor
  4. The Dark Between the Stars
  5. No Award
As for Ancillary Sword, the fact that Ancillary Justice won last year was an indictment of the Hugos, the Nebulas and every other science fiction award it won. The fact that Ancillary Justice is the most-awarded novel in science fiction history will be seen as a complete joke within a decade, and within 15 years it will be as little read as the now-forgotten Nebula-winner The Quantum Rose (Amazon Rank: #2,563,748 in Books) is now. And the first book was better than the sequel. Therefore I am leaving it off the ballot.

Other categories will follow over the next few weeks, in the off-chance that anyone happens to be interested in my opinion.



Blogger Blume May 23, 2015 12:14 PM  

Heads will explode when the sjws hear you are voting 3 body problem 1. I on the other hand shall vote it 2. I am to much a butch fan first, minion second. It must be why I have no number.

Anonymous fish May 23, 2015 12:17 PM  

From "The Quantum Rose":

A New Adventure in the Saga of the Skolian Empire.

Kamoj Argali is the young ruler of an impoverished province on a backward planet. To keep her people from starving, she has agreed to marry Jax Ironbridge, the boorish and brutal ruler of a prosperous province. But before Argali and Ironbridge are wed, a mysterious stranger from a distant planet sweeps in and forces Kamoj into marriage, throwing her world into utter chaos.

From "The Spinster and the Earl:

Anonymous fish May 23, 2015 12:19 PM  

Stupid blogspot!

She was known as The Spinster of Brightwood Manor, and that suited Lady Beatrice O’Brien just fine.

She was happy being a spinster; happy running her father’s estates while amassing a fortune of her own; happy tending to the needs of her community; and most of all, she was happy not having a man around to tell her what to do.

But when Beatrice accidentally shoots her new neighbor, the Earl of Drennan, her life turns upside-down. Suddenly, this very arrogant gentleman, who also happens to be charming and attractive, makes himself at home at Brightwood Manor, and proceeds to court her!

Beatrice knows one thing for certain. Marriage will complicate her life. But falling in love?

That’s an entirely different matter.

Anonymous Anonymous May 23, 2015 12:35 PM  


Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,887,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Blogger Marissa May 23, 2015 12:36 PM  

You're telling me the rot of romance masquerading as science fiction hails back at least 15 years ago? And here I thought it was a new thing with the rise of chick lit and Twilight.

Blogger WATYF May 23, 2015 12:47 PM  

Wait.... so is this you subtly telling us what to do without openly admitting that you're doing it? ;o)


Blogger David May 23, 2015 12:48 PM  


Would it be problematic if, just hypothetically speaking, my vote was coincidentally identical to yours?

Blogger Giraffe May 23, 2015 12:54 PM  

I signed up yesterday. Not sure if I made the deadline, or if there is one, because their site is so poor it wouldn't display properly. I haven't gotten a pin yet.

Blogger VD May 23, 2015 12:58 PM  

Would it be problematic if, just hypothetically speaking, my vote was coincidentally identical to yours?

In light of how we have been reliably informed by Mr. Glenn Hauman that one cannot judge intentions by consequences, I don't see how that would even be possible.

Blogger Midknight May 23, 2015 1:07 PM  

Even more heads will explode when they realize you rated Goblin Emperor over a puppy-slated item

Anonymous Redjack May 23, 2015 1:13 PM  

I put Skin ahead of Goblin. Dark in third. Just found the court politics in Goblin to unbelievable. It is well written and put together.

Blogger Jim May 23, 2015 1:21 PM  

The Rabids are at it again. Theodore has issued zher marching orders to zher tiny, irrelevant corner of the Internet in a feeble attempt to dictate the Best Novel award, and so we must all rally together to ensure zhe does not succeed. It's unfortunate, because I quite liked the Three Body Problem before I discovered that Theodore voted it for the top slot. Now, I have no choice to be No Award it, as Cixin Liu has not responded to any one of my two hundred and thirty seven tweets issued in the past ten minutes demanding that zhe withdraw from the awards to remove the taint of Theodore from zher writings. Then again, I did find 3BP to be problematic in its absence of pansexual wereotters and rampant gendered language. Perhaps it doesn't deserve a Hugo afterall.

There. That's my prediction of SJW reaction to Vox's picks.

Blogger Migly May 23, 2015 1:24 PM  

Blume is not a number, he is a free minion!

Blogger Jack Ward May 23, 2015 1:39 PM  

Hmmm, yes. Well, I might vote the same if I can ever get Worldcon to admit they got my money some 7 weeks ago, or so. [per my credit card statement, no less]
Of course, its just coincidence, you see.
No, I have no pin yet either.

Blogger Giraffe May 23, 2015 1:46 PM  

No, I have no pin yet either.

I do wonder. I are they trying to increase puppy related sadness by defrauding people of their money? Keep out the RP voters?

Blogger Rantor May 23, 2015 1:48 PM  

Brilliantly cunning, selecting the Chinese author. How can the SJWs possible oppose the Chinese author? They aren't racist like Harvard is?

Anonymous Anonymous May 23, 2015 1:55 PM  

Blume is not a number, he is a free minion!

Anyone know who the new number 2 is?

Anonymous Clint #47/#73 May 23, 2015 2:07 PM  

I got my PIN after about 4 days. I just emailed them and within an hour had my reply.

BTW, I just happened to coincidentally come to the same conclusion as VD regarding the novels. Now, I wonder if he is copying off of me. I will have to see his other lists to know for sure.

Anonymous joe doakes May 23, 2015 2:19 PM  

No need for orders, Supreme Dark Lord: a nod is as good as a wink to the willing.

I will rid you of those turbulent SJWs. I await your further non-commands.

Anonymous MendoScot May 23, 2015 2:38 PM  

I started on 3BP last night, and it is definitely my favourite although I haven't started on TDBS.

I particularly like the description of the cultural revolution's effect on Chinese science. There are many who don't realize that Chinese science adapted to Western thinking in the late 19th and early 20th C, and was advancing rapidly. But the CR put a stop to that, asit was imperial ideology and colonialism. The people involved, and the survivors, are still alive today - some in high positions. Now that China produces about a third of scientific publications, the whole Western model has been corrupted by communist ideology, both by Western SJWs and Eastern conformists.

Blogger Daniel May 23, 2015 2:59 PM  

Jackboots on. Lockstep to the beat of my own drummer.

I will repeat the importance of leaving any works below No Award off the ballot. A lot of the SJWS are screwing this up out of hubris and ignorance. Don't follow their misinformed model.

Blogger doofus May 23, 2015 3:07 PM  

To be fair, Catherine Asaro at least writes story based fiction that appeals to her core audience. You may not (I don't) really like what she writes, but that just means that we are not her target audience. She is doing what we all preach, writing stories that appeal. So, if she were to win a Hugo because her fans bought their memberships and voted for her, I would sincerely congratulate her on her deserved award.

Blogger Unknown May 23, 2015 3:09 PM  

If you rank TBP above Skin Game, I'm really looking forward to reading it.

Blogger Unknown May 23, 2015 3:09 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Nate May 23, 2015 3:13 PM  

my own vote looks like this:

Skin Game
The Dark Between the Stars
No Award

Blogger bruce May 23, 2015 3:24 PM  

Niven's The Goliath Stone, or for the second half when he's throwing ideas in double handfuls, Shipstar.

Blogger bruce May 23, 2015 3:27 PM  

I don't like Ann Leckie's stuff- the use of 'she' as a universal pronoun doesn't flaw it, much, since her males are girls in guy suits, but she can't do females either. Unless Sterile + Fascinated with Feelings = Goodly Female Characterization. Her space opera has no more real astronomy for a background than a black garbage bag with some sparkles, and her battleship AI main character is a crummy attempt at a battleship (she needs to steal some basics from Drake's Priness Cecile or any ship from The Mote in God's Eye or Doc Smith. Also sucks as an AI- she should steal some basics from Minsky's Community of Mind.

These are real flaws - load every rift with ore- but of course she's not writing space opera. This is Social Justice SF. I have no appetite for the stuff; I will never develop any good taste in the genre. So maybe her petit-bourgeois view of art as simply a way to sneakily display wealth and Importance; indeed the petit-bourgeois self-importance of all main characters, so utterly void of real high ambition, makes her stuff a masterpiece in that field, perfectly reflecting the aspirations of 2015 feminism. Indeed the bland, vaguely inept prose could be a model for a slow girl who really needs easy A's in pop-sosh. So no No Award. No Award is pointless spite. A Dark Lord should not be pointlessly spiteful. With Niven's not on the ballot, it's not a real Hugo Award anyhow.

Anonymous Elijah Rhodes May 23, 2015 3:30 PM  

For anyone that has no pin, all you have to do is visit the Sasquan download page here:

Then click the "PIN Lookup Page" link. It will ask you a couple questions then email you the number.

Blogger Rantor May 23, 2015 4:11 PM  

VFM 0324 has registered his membership in the World Science Fiction Society. Awaiting membership number and PIN. Looking forward to reading Three Body Problem.

Anonymous pseudotsuga* May 23, 2015 4:21 PM  

I've read Skin Game, Ancillary Justice, and The Dark Between the Stars, but not the other ones yet. I think Anderson (author of TDBtS) tried for EPIC, and ended up with 4 novels competing for space. One chapter spends a fair number of pages on one viewpiont, but then along comes the next, and the next, and the next--I found it tedious to have to keep switching between the characters in my brain. Don't get me wrong--the fact that Anderson kept me going on despite the vast sweep of interwoven character arcs is an indication that he is a skilled pro. However, I don't think what he's doing here works well enough to take top billing.
The Skin Game excerpt was a fun read. It's an action packed book, and Butcher is good enough with his brief flashbacks and explanations that most readers can jump into the book in media res and still figure out who is who, what their motivations are, and so on. There is very little for SJWs to like in it, I suspect--not enough dithering in self-identity crises, and there is no hot-button-issue-of-the-day featured there. But I have to read all the others before I can rank this one.
Ancillary Justice takes a LONG time to get going. I found myself not wanting to care what happened to the characters as tedium set in. I don't find the writing strong, either. The "no-gender-SQUEEE" factor isn't enough to support the rest of the story. The fact that this is a sequel affects my reading of it, also, because I don't know the characters or the back story. But I hope that I am honest enough to not confuse my problems with the novel's problems.

Blogger Noah B. May 23, 2015 4:41 PM  

And all this time, I thought Rabid Puppies was going to offer a slate, and now we hear that there is in fact no slate. I feel like I'm in total disarray.

Anonymous Alexander #0010 May 23, 2015 4:45 PM  

Putting Skin Game over TBP, but otherwise... purely coincidental match, I'm sure.

Blogger Jack Ward May 23, 2015 5:00 PM  

Elijah Rhodes May 23, 2015 3:30 PM

Except I've done that 5 times now. No it does not work. For me.
I suppose I will try and call them early next week. I suspect you cannot get through unless you know someone. I might be pleasantly surprised. After that, well, a registered, has to be signed for and returned receipted letter. At least I will have ammo come the card company fraud complaint; should it come to that.

Blogger Mussorgsky112 May 23, 2015 5:21 PM  

The sad part is just how few of the other side would actually get that sort of reference. My question is, "who are the prisoners and who are the warders?"

Blogger Rantor May 23, 2015 5:32 PM  

@Noah B #120. Feeling in disarray not allowed, step back in line and get with the program.

@Blume, this is interesting behavior. Man not a number eh? Don't care what you call yourself as long as you follow his supremacy.

Anonymous RTaylor May 23, 2015 5:52 PM  

Perhaps a refresher in exactly how the whole "No Award" thing works is in order... I remember it being explained a while back to show that it may have unexpected results (as Daniel mentioned above). Or even a link to that post?

Anonymous Steve May 23, 2015 6:30 PM  

Bloody hell. That cover art for "The Quantum Rose" tells you all you need to know. Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.

Ersatz Mills and Boon shite with a skiffy ribbon in its hair. I haven't been this angry since I saw the cover for a Mary Robinette Kowal book, and it gave me vagina cancer.

Blogger Noah B. May 23, 2015 6:33 PM  

The admonition not to judge a book by its cover made more sense when printing technology was more limited.

Anonymous Anonymous May 23, 2015 6:48 PM  


Check out the "Hover Hand" on Kowal's cover. Awesome!!!

Blogger eharmonica May 23, 2015 6:54 PM  

Look here for the No Award explanation.

Long story short, each prospective place winner (be it 1st or 2nd, or 3rd, or etc) is measured head-to-head against No Award. If No Award beats it, No Award wins.

Why not list a work below No Award?
Due to the tallying system, anytime you list a nominee, you are in essence voting for it eventually.

Anonymous Steve May 23, 2015 7:08 PM  

Noah B - True dat.

When I was a wee laddie, I had to beg, borrow or steal books. There was no way my parents could have afforded to buy me any new books, and they didn't like me reading when I should have been outside playing.

Church jumble sales were a good place to pick up old classics. I love buying a pre-owned book and finding a personal message written inside, like "Merry Christmas 1976, from your Aunt Susan". Once I opened the dust cover of a hardback and found a mint condition minature lobby card for a film that came out in 1950. Another time I hit the jackpot when I bought a book by Sir Fred Hoyle that the previous owner, apparently a passionate amateur astronomer, had annotated with furious rebuttals to Sir Fred's theories on the Big Bang and evolution.

I'm a convert to Kindle but I do rather miss the physicality of books, the smell of the glue and paper, the knowledge that someone else read and loved the exact same copy many decades before I did.

Anyway, covers from the mid 20th century were mostly sketchy at best. The Lord of the Rings had a weird stylised eye surrounded by weird Elvish script. Starship Troopers had what looked like plastic toy army men on parachutes.

Nowadays, of course, with photoshop and cheap photorealistic full-colour artwork being available to anybody who can be bothered, the cover communicates so much more.

Quantum Rose and the works of Mrs Kowal say "Bored housewives! Come get your bodice-ripping fantasy right here!"

Not that there's anything wrong with that. But if that's SFF, so is Star Whores.

Anonymous Steve May 23, 2015 7:18 PM  

Jeffro - I know! Not sure if the gentlesir is putting the period-drama pussy on a pedestal there, or if he's concerned that her attack-hummingbirds might peck his eyes out.

Blogger Biggus Geekus May 23, 2015 7:31 PM  

> in the off-chance that anyone happens to be interested in my opinion

That's why I keep coming back here: the humility.

Blogger Blume May 23, 2015 7:38 PM  

Nah, it's a mild jab at the dark lord. My email seems to have gotten lost in the minion ordering.

Anonymous Anonymous May 23, 2015 8:33 PM  

"who are the prisoners and who are the warders?"

We will not make any deals with you. We've resigned. We will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, de-briefed, or numbered. Our lives are our own.

Blogger Russell May 23, 2015 8:36 PM  

Be seeing you, number 0040.

Anonymous Anonymous May 23, 2015 8:38 PM  

Of course, numbering by our Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil is entirely separate. He is not one of the Warders...

Or is he?...

Blogger CostelloM May 23, 2015 9:17 PM  

He he he.... "What does the EYE command?"....

Blogger Kull May 23, 2015 9:33 PM  

Does Goblin Emperor get better? Because it is annoying the shit out of me. The main character is really on my nerves. I am waiting for the owl that carries the invite to Hogwarts. He just got to court. Why was the emperor banging his mom if she was part of the downtrodden group in that there fantasy world? Spoilers please, does he ever use any of his new authority to get any payback on the guy that had been fucking with him for years at the hunting lodge?
It's funny, I skimmed some reviews and some were complaining about names, titles, other fantasy trappings, etc... That's not bothering me at all. I am just waiting for this guy to do something besides sit quietly and reflect on the past or call the reader's attention to injustice. It's early but damn. I already made it farther than I did with Ancillary S-Word, so congrats to the author there. Are all the protagonists in these establishment novels so bland?

Anonymous Scottishmentat (0285) May 23, 2015 9:39 PM  

Question: Is it correct that participants in last year's Loncon are only granted a PIN# for the initial nomination process, and not the full vote?

Blogger Rantor May 23, 2015 10:05 PM  

Scottishmentat (0285) yes Loncon members only get to nominate. You must join Sasquan to vote on the nominees. $40 for a non attending member. I joined today.

Anonymous Anonymous May 23, 2015 10:32 PM  

eharmonica May 23, 2015 6:54 PM
Look here for the No Award explanation.

Long story short, each prospective place winner (be it 1st or 2nd, or 3rd, or etc) is measured head-to-head against No Award. If No Award beats it, No Award wins.

Why not list a work below No Award?
Due to the tallying system, anytime you list a nominee, you are in essence voting for it eventually.

I am afraid that your reading of the rules is incorrect.

From the rules:

Elimination and second round of balloting
Note that No Award is being treated just like other nominees. This means that No Award can be, and indeed normally is, eliminated as a candidate. Any preferences below No Award can then be redistributed just as they would be for any other candidate.

This comes before the "no award test" which is really just a formality, and only occurs with the eventual winner of the contest (if it is no award)... after this award has already proved to have more votes ranked above No Award, than No Award has over the winner.

To give a concrete but unrelated example, take a theoretical run for president, under the same voting system (rather than the one we use now), among mostly historical figures.
We have George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Hillary Clinton, and Che Guevera, and I am also allowed to vote for "no winner", the No Award equivalent, which sparks a brand new election.

I rank my votes as follows.
1. Thommas Jefferson
2. George Washington
3. No Winner
4. Hillary Clinton
5. ___________

the only way Hillary can get my vote is if George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and No Award are eliminated in the first 3 rounds.

Thus, in the fourth round, in the contest between Hillary and Che Guevera, in which all candidates I actually care for have been eliminated, I am casting a vote to help keep Che out of office.

If I left Hillary out of my 4th position, then after round 3, I would have no more effect on the vote. That seems like a waste of some of the value of the supporting membership.

In the actual example under discussion... the hugos... perhaps I prefer a book that is merely mediocre, but that I don't think deserves an award, to one that uses "zhe" as a pronoun, and somehow simultaneously portrays all men as unwitting Hitlers.

Anonymous Culture War Draftee #151 May 23, 2015 11:25 PM  

I was willing to give Anc. Sword a try. It seemed like a good SF premise, space empire & cyberpunk. That first chapter was boring though. Page after page of feelings and filler, there's a galactic war is sort of dropped there, the big excitement is over the dishes. The DISHES! Leckie's no Barrington Bayley.

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit May 24, 2015 5:00 AM  

Ah, there's such a thing as a "make up" Award for a much weaker book when several strong works got edged out in previous years. And I am fine with that (unless 3 Body Problem blows me away, that's why I'll be voting for Butcher, it's actually a "Dresden Files" vote.

I'll bet Asaro won the Skolian Empire vote that year. She's a fine writer and the only one whose FTL is scientifically sound, not mere handwavium. She also wrote one of the only realistic SFnal matriarchies: the species of gengineered humans were modeled on hawks with the females bigger and tougher than the males.

Aaaaand she also writes straight up romance. Not my cuppa, but it has it's fans.

Anonymous Steve May 24, 2015 5:32 AM  

The Overgrown Hobbit - I can't see past Skin Game this year either, but I will read Three Body Problem before voting.

Skin Game is a top quality book in its own right, but all the more impressive given that it's number 15 in the Dresden Files series.

Number 15! How many authors can hold your interest past book three? Or even book two?

Riverworld and Forever War are brilliant novels by hugely talented authors, but Farmer and Haldeman found rapidly diminishing returns in the sequels. And yet, the Dresden Files characters keep developing. The stories still feel fresh. Jim Butcher is as regular as a metronome and more sure-footed than a six-legged mountain goat. Damn few writers have that sort of talent, consistency, and work rate.

For some reason, urban fantasy doesn't get the same respect that science fiction does. And popular writers aren't accorded the same recognition that literary writers get. To my mind these are silly prejudices. Butcher is a blazingly bright star in the SFF firmament and long overdue an award.

Anonymous The other robot May 24, 2015 9:19 AM  

Looking forward to reading Three Body Problem.

Personally, I think you will be disappointed. I have not yet read the excerpts for Skin Game but found Storm Front to be such an interesting book, I would find it had to believe that Skin Game is not as good.

I have only read the stuff in the preview of The Three Body Problem on Amazon and found that something I had to slog through.

As a result of this round of Hugos I have read one each of Larry Correia's and Butcher's books (the first) and they are not boring.

I don't plan on putting The Three Body Problem first in my vote, but I do plan on putting Ancillary Sword last with No Award above it.

Blogger GK Chesterton May 24, 2015 9:55 AM  

"I suppose I will try and call them early next week. I suspect you cannot get through unless you know someone. I might be pleasantly surprised. After that, well, a registered, has to be signed for and returned receipted letter. At least I will have ammo come the card company fraud complaint; should it come to that."

I got an answer back in 24 hours on a weekend. Given that they are volunteers (from my understanding) and they got back to me on a weekend I'm willing to cut them slack.

Anonymous RedJack #22 May 24, 2015 10:37 AM  

Goblin doesn't get any better Kull. It doesn't get any worse either.

I think the target audience is about 13 years old. It reads like a "Harry Potter" book, only not as dark.

The more I chew on it, the more I think I will move it behind Dark. I keep thinking back to the world in Dark, and wondering "How did X get there?" The Goblin story, while better written, wasn't as engaging. The only thing I was wondering about was how they got the gas for the air ships in a kind of medieval world.

Anonymous Jeanne May 24, 2015 11:44 AM  

My best novel ballot:

1. Skin Game
2. Three Body
3. Dark
4. Goblin Emperor
5. No Award

Blogger Will McLean May 24, 2015 2:16 PM  


"Why was the emperor banging his mom if she was part of the downtrodden group in that there fantasy world?"

There is some prejudice against goblins in that Elfland, but the Goblins control a commercially important state on their borders, and the late emperor married her for political reasons, consummated, and then had second thoughts. Sort of an consummated Anne of Cleves. One encounter was enough to produce a child, as is often the case.

Redjack #22: There is plenty of evidence that TGE is post-medieval. Besides airships, they have pocket watches, gaslight, steam engines and an interesting constitutional monarchy. They have a monarch and aristocracy, but so did Victorian England.

Blogger Masha K. May 24, 2015 2:32 PM  

Question: Are we better off putting No Award last in all Puppy-populated categories to make sure SJWs can't "No award" the category?

Anonymous Anonymous May 24, 2015 4:37 PM  

Masha K. May 24, 2015 2:32 PM

Not really. It'd be better for SJW works that don't deserve awards to not get them. Making it more likely for horrible works to win is the only thing putting "No award" after the horrible works would do.

Blogger Kull May 24, 2015 4:55 PM  

Will McLean
Thanks for the info. I was terrified that it wouldn't be explained. And thanks for the appraisal Redjack. It's some comfort to know I won't be hurling it across the room. With those terrors behind me I will make a genuine attempt to enjoy it, milquetoast hero and all.

Blogger Kull May 24, 2015 4:56 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Masha K. May 24, 2015 5:36 PM  

Joshtheaspie: Thanks, that makes sense.

Blogger maniacprovost May 24, 2015 6:06 PM  

What is the reasoning behind putting No Award on the ballot at all? Why not leave it off?

Blogger Unknown May 24, 2015 6:31 PM  

In theory, there could be years that no work in a particular category deserves the award, especially with all the different niche categories they have. For instance, many people here have said none of this year's graphic novel nominees are any good. And shouldn't awards go to works that are something special, rather than ones that were just a little better than the other dreck? "No Award" provides the opportunity to vote that way.

If books A-D are nominated and your ballot says:

Book A
Book B
No Award

You're saying that only A & B are worthy of the award, and you'd rather see nothing get awarded than have it go to C or D. That's different from just putting A & B on your ballot, which implies you don't have an opinion one way or the other about C & D; maybe you didn't read them.

That's all how it's supposed to be used, of course.

Blogger VD May 24, 2015 7:05 PM  

Question: Are we better off putting No Award last in all Puppy-populated categories to make sure SJWs can't "No award" the category?

No, just leave it off the ballot for the most part.

Blogger Will McLean May 24, 2015 7:31 PM  


If you haven't done so already, I recommend reading A Handbook for Travelers in the Elflands in the back before going further in the narrative. It explain forms of address, honorifics, and gender markers for names, saving you the trouble of deducing them from context. In the Kindle edition you can get there from the ToC.

Anonymous Anonymous May 26, 2015 11:07 AM  

Quantum Rose and other similar Asaro books are actually a pretty brilliant mashup. She can throw in all the hard physics speculation and sf that she wants, as long as the plotline is a Gothic paranormal romance, with rapist psychic space-vampires as the Gothic threat. Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah used to mine similar territory, but Asaro does it better.

She's also done computer sf combined with Valentino sheik romance, and genetics sf combined with handsome man on a planet full of women romance. It seems that lots of readers like combining something for the brain with something frivolous and fun, and she certainly doesn't seem to run out of steam writing them. I can't quite blend them together, but even the cognitive dissonance gives one a lot of cracky fun trying.

If her sales are low at this point, I suspect it's because her ebooks are comparatively expensive (being from the publisher): $7.99.

However, her Kindle sales for Quantum Rose right now are: #453,315 in Kindle Store. Her paperback is currently listed at over 20 bucks on its main page, so that would depress those sales figures to what Vox listed. The secondary page for the same book lists paperbacks at the standard 1 cent, and the sales figures there are #244,188 in Books.

Romance readers are obviously buying her stuff used, no problem. Tor needs to put out a new edition at a reasonable price, since apparently they've sold out of her paperbacks; but perhaps Asaro is looking for a rights reversion, like she got with Primary Inversion.

Anonymous Anonymous May 26, 2015 11:23 AM  

Anyway, now that she's moved over from Tor to Baen, she's doing more of a noir sf mystery thing as well as the Skolian Empire physics sf romance stuff. I haven't read Undercity yet, but it might be more to non-romance readers' taste.

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