Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.
This is part of a series of posts reviewing categories in this year's Hugo ballot. I'll be discussing the entries, the voter packet, and my ballot. I've nominated and voted most years since 2011, when I figured out that all I had to do was join Worldcon to get to do so. Not only that, but if you participate in one year, you still get to nominate the next year. This year, thanks to a rule change, we nominated up to 5 entries, and the final ballot included the top 6.
I don't listen to podcast regularly, preferring to consume written commentaries, but I have heard a few of these before. Below are this year's finalists, listed in the order they appeared on the official announcement, with my notes on each.
The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan - I know I've listened to this before, but I can't recall any sense of it. One of the featured episodes in the packet was "Kai Ashante Wilson and A Taste of Honey" which is on the ballot this year. I was not impressed by the interviewer, and swapped to the roundtable episode. I don't know. This feels dry and joyless. The roundtable was better, largely because the guests outnumbered the hosts.
Ditch Diggers, presented by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace - I've never listened to this podcast. The voter packet had links to recommended episodes and I picked (surprising nobody) the Kameron Hurley episode. This did not go well. The theme music was VERY LOUD and tinny, but the actual conversation was challenging to hear. I gave up after a few minutes and swapped to the Madeline Ashby episode and it had the same issue. Basically, I can't listen to this in the car or the office because of the audio quality, which means I won't listen to it.
Fangirl Happy Hour, presented by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams - This podcast is the closest I come to regularly listening to. Wow is that an awkward sentence. That is to say, when I decide to throw on a podcast, I check here first for new episodes. The two hosts are thoughtful and gleeful and angry and basically everything.
Galactic Suburbia, presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner
Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch - I've listened to this before, but never kept up. It's just not quite the right fit for me. They listed the New Years Eve episode as the featured episode in the packet, so that's what I listened to. The audio quality is a little uneven, but not the worst on the ballot.
The Rageaholic, presented by RazörFist - I'm going to pretend this doesn't exist.
Tea and Jeopardy, presented by Emma Newman with Peter Newman - The packet included an episode, so that's the one I listened to, with guest Charlie Jane Anders. I've enjoyed this podcast in the past. If I actually listened to podcasts, this would be one. The production values are good and Emma Newman has a great voice. This is a solid episode with an interesting conversation about genre and the different experience of publishing a novel vs a short story.
In summary, Fangirl Happy House at the top, followed by Tea and Jeopardy. I don't even know if I'm going to rank the rest of these.