Random Bits: Hugo Nominations, The Expanse TV Series, “Whaliens”

Hugo Nominations

The Hugo Award nominations came out a couple of weeks ago, and Andrew Hall has already listed the LDS nominees.  But I’d like to give a bit more context to some of the controversies.

The Hugos are nominated and voted upon by members of WorldCon, and anybody who’s willing to pay for a supporting membership (currently £25, around $42) can do so.  Larry Correia encouraged his fans to buy memberships and recommended several potential nominees, most of which made it onto the ballot, including several by LDS authors: Larry Correia’s Warbound (the third book in his Grimnoir Chronicles, which I reviewed here), Dan Wells’s The Butcher of Khardov, Brad Torgerson’s “The Chaplain’s Legacy” and “The Exchange Officers”, and Steve Diamond’s Elitist Book Reviews.

Rather than being celebrated for introducing more fans to (and thereby increasing the revenue of) Worldcon, Correia has been the subject of outrage from various quarters.  The outrage almost certainly would have been less had not the most controversial of his recommendations, a story by an author who was expelled from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) following various statements that could be construed as racist or misogynistic, also made it onto the ballot.  Unfortunately, some people therefore seem determined to vote against anything Correia recommended without regard for the quality of the work.

A smaller controversy involves the nomination of the entire 14-book Wheel of Time series in the novel category.  Although the Hugo rules allow it, and the relevant committee has ratified the nomination, some people feel it’s unfair to put a work that was published in so many volumes over so many years in the novel category.

In happier and less-controversial news, the publisher of the Wheel of Time series, Tor Books, has decided to put the entire series in the electronic Hugo Voter Packet.  Over the past few years, this packet has become a substantial perk for Worldcon members, as it contains most of the Hugo-nominated works.  Since the ebooks of the Wheel of Time currently cost $89.89 at the Kindle store, getting them all (not to mention most of the other nominated works) for the $42 price of a Worldcon supporting membership is a steal.  I recommend that anyone who’s interested buy a membership, read the nominees, and vote for the Hugo Awards.

The Expanse TV Series

The SyFy Channel will be making a TV series out of James S. A. Corey’s Expanse novels.  I reviewed the first of the novels, Leviathan Wakes, a few months ago because Mormons play a part in the plot.  There’s no telling whether the Mormon aspect will make it into the TV show, but if it does, the producers should feel free to use my recommendations for better portraying the Mormons in the story.


If you thought there was only room in the universe for one story about whale-like aliens who want to convert to Mormonism, you were wrong.  The April 2014 issue of Analog Science Fiction & Fact contains “Whaliens” by award-winning author Lavie Tidhar.  Overall, I think it’s an amusing short story that spoofs various science fiction tropes and caricatures science fiction authors.  The story begins when whale-like aliens, under the impression that Mormonism is the dominant religion, arrive at the White House and demand that the Prophet Moroni be brought to them.  After finding that neither he nor Mormon nor Joseph Smith is available, the Whaliens eventually ask for a Jew and, after various plot twists, end up converting to Judaism.  Mormonism is not brought up in the story after the beginning, except for a quick reference to Mormon polygamy near the end.

About Eric James Stone

A Nebula Award winner, Hugo Award nominee, and winner in the Writers of the Future Contest, Eric James Stone has had stories published in Year’s Best SF 15, Analog, Nature, and Kevin J. Anderson’s Blood Lite anthologies of humorous horror, among other venues. One of Eric’s earliest memories is of seeing an Apollo moon-shot launch on television. That might explain his fascination with space travel. His father’s collection of old science fiction ensured that Eric grew up on a full diet of Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke. While getting his political science degree at Brigham Young University, Eric took creative writing classes. He wrote several short stories, and even submitted one for publication, but after it was rejected he gave up on creative writing for a decade. During those years Eric graduated from Baylor Law School, worked on a congressional campaign, and took a job in Washington, DC, with one of those special interest groups politicians always complain that other politicians are influenced by. He quit the political scene in 1999 to work as a web developer in Utah. In 2002 he started writing fiction again, and in 2003 he attended Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. In 2007 Eric got laid off from his day job just in time to go to the Odyssey Writing Workshop. He has since found a new web development job. In 2009 Eric became an assistant editor for Intergalactic Medicine Show. Eric lives in Eagle Mountain, Utah.
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4 Responses to Random Bits: Hugo Nominations, The Expanse TV Series, “Whaliens”

  1. Th. says:


    When swales and whaliens replace vampires and zombies and dystopias, we’ll all know who to thank/blame.

  2. Jonathan Langford says:

    Thanks for the additional background information!

    I’ve always loved space whales. Particular favorites (though not Mormon, alas) are from Glen Cook’s Starfishers trilogy.

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