Best Fancast

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There a quite a few Hugo Award categories set aside for professionals, but there are also several designed to honor those in the fan community. As an avid podcaster listener, I’m very intrigued by the category of Best Fancast, which is “awarded for any non-professional audio- or video-casting with at least four (4) episodes that had at least one (1) episode released in the previous calendar year.”

I currently listen to eight SFF podcasts and I think they would all be considered “non-professional” although I’m not entirely sure what that means. I think all eight of them have Patreon pages now and essentially take donations from their fans. Some of them also have sponsorships of some kind. Does making a profit mean they are “professional” or do the hosts have to be authors, illustrators, etc. to earn that distinction?

I have no idea, but does it really matter? Podcasting is something that anyone can do. You don’t need expensive equipment or expert technical knowledge. I did a podcast for five years and we were able to make it sound pretty good using a $20 microphone and free audio software.

And why are we excluding “professional” podcasts from awards anyway? There is no “professional” equivalent given out so why are we distinguishing in the first place? That seems like we’re cutting out a segment of podcasts for no good reason.

But it’s also worth noting that some podcasts might actually be better suited for some of the other award categories. For example, there are some podcasts that could probably fall into the category of “Best Dramatic Presentation,” like Welcome to Night Vale, which is essentially a serialized story in the tradition of the old radio dramas. Perhaps others could fall under “Best Fanzine” or “Best Semiprozine” (best what?), like Escape Pod or Podcastle, which provide audio narrations of short fiction stories.

Overall, I like that there’s a “Best Fancast” category, but I wish the category was a little more clearly defined (or that I understood it better). I’ll definitely be nominating several of my favorites, including Tea & Jeopardy, Geeks Guide to the Galaxy, and Sword & Laser. I would probably use my other two nominations for The Coode Street Podcast and Rocket Talk, but I also enjoy The SF Signal Podcast, The Once and Future Podcast, and Speculate! If you like author interviews and conversations about all things genre, you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Disabling Comments

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I recently read an interesting post on John Scalzi’s blog about disabling comments. Frankly, this blog is primarily for my own personal entertainment and I rarely get any real comments so I’ve decided to turn off comments. This should hopefully cut down on the amount of spam that I have to deal with.

August Has Flown By

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I just wanted to give a general update and let everyone know that I’m still alive. August has been great, but also busy and I’ve seemingly neglected the blog. It’s always one of the first things that gets dropped when time is limited.

I have, of course, still made time to geek out about a few things. Lately, I’ve been catching up on Under the Dome. It’s a pretty interesting show about a town that suddenly gets enclosed within an impenetrable dome. It feels a lot like the early episodes of LOST. It has a lot of big names connected to it too like Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and Brian K. Vaughn.

I’ve been watching a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’m totally hooked. I was always a Star Wars fan growing up and Star Trek was kind of “off limits,” but now I’m discovering that I really like it. Picard is such a great character and most of the episodes are really interesting, if not scientifically sound, but that’s okay.

I’ve been reading of course too, but I’m a bit behind on my book reviews. Hopefully, I’ll catch up on those pretty soon. Right now, I’m listening to Neal Stephenson’s Anathem and reading Jim Butcher’s Cold Days, which is the latest in the Dresden Files. Both are great.

I’ve also been learning Russian! That’s been challenging, but I’m making progress.

Summer’s almost over. I didn’t really do anything too exciting, but it was a still a good one. Hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did.

Unexpected Hiatus

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It’s been a touch over a month since I’ve posted to the blog and I can hardly believe how quickly that time flew by. The main reason for my unexpected hiatus was because I was putting in some overtime at work to help wrap up development for a major release of QuantumCMS, our in-house content management system. I even wrote a post about it on our corporate blog. I’m really happy with how everything turned out and I’m looking forward to getting feedback from our clients.

Now that’s the weather’s nice (I’m ignoring the fact that it snowed yesterday), I’ve been running more. I’m not a big runner, but it’s a great way to stay in shape and it generally makes me feel better about myself. It’s also helping me get through George R.R. Martin’s incredibly epic (and lengthy) A Dance With Dragons, because I listen to it on my ancient iPod Nano while I exercise.

And of course, I must also blame the NHL playoffs. I’m sure that I’ve noted in the past that I love hockey. Well, there’s no better time of the year for hockey fans that during the playoffs and the first round, which has been going for the last couple of weeks, is particularly exciting. It’s a good thing that I’ve been running, because I’ve also been spending an inordinate amount of time in front of the television lately.

This hiatus has also put me way behind on book reviews, which are the lifeblood of this blog. I’m hoping to catch up on reviews for my past reads, but it may take some time.

In other news, my brother and I have purchased tickets for Gen Con this summer. We still need a hotel and plane tickets, but hopefully that will happen very soon. I’ve never been to Gen Con, but we’re both big tabletop gamers so I think it will be a really fun experience.

Well, that’s it for now, my lunch break is over!