The Hugo Awards took place in Dublin on Sunday 18 August 2019. The Hugos are science fiction's most prestigous award, voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention, which is also responsible for the handing out of the awards themselves. It’s the first time in the history of the Hugo Awards that they’ve been hosted in Ireland. Dublin City Libraries were at the Convention Centre on North Wall Quay. The Best Novel Award is widely reported on, but it’s the Best Graphic Story category that interests me the most.If you'd like to borrow any of the graphic novels discussed below, simply click on the book cover or title to be taken to the reserves page, where you'll need your library card and PIN to request the book. You can find more detailed information about the books in the footnotes.Saladin Ahmed’s Abbott[ii] is a clever combination of social commentary and the supernatural. Set in Detroit in the ‘70s, the story pulls no punches with the blatant racism, sexism, and every other –ism of the time. In her life as a black, female reporter, and her brushes with otherworldly beings, our main character Elena Abbott straddles two worlds in which she doesn’t feel she belongs. This is a bold and imaginative story but I feel that it relies too heavily on expositional dialogue to suceed as a comic book.Black Panther surged in to the mainstream consciousness with the spectacular 2018 movie. In the meantime, the comics have been aiming for the highbrow market with Nnedi Okorafor and Ta-Nehisi Coates on writing duties. Okorafor gets the nod from the Hugos for Long Live the King.[iii]Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam[iv] is the only one of the nominees that I don’t know anything about. If you’ve read it, post up your own comments below, or on social media. I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Looking back over the first year of our book club recently[v], I noted how many of our selected titles came from Image Comics. Apparently we’re not alone in rating the Portland based publisher. Three of the six nominees are Image publications. On top of that, two of those were written by Canadian writer Brian K. Vaughan. With his work on Runaways for Marvel, Pride Of Baghdad for Vertigo, and Ex Machina for Wildstorm, Vaughan hardly needs an introduction for comic fans. I could do an entire blog about him alone (note to self: Do blog about Brian K. Vaughan) and the Worldcon membership has justly acknowledged him for Paper Girls[vi] as well as the latest volume of his seminal Saga[vii].Image’s non -Vaughan nominee won the Hugo Award. It’s the third year in a row that Monstress[viii] has taken home the big prize. To be honest, I haven’t read Volume 3. Marjorie M. Liu’s writing in Volume 1 didn’t appeal to me so I haven’t kept up with it. For me, the main selling point of this series is the sumptuous art of Sana Takeda. Her artwork alone makes this worthy of attention. At Worldcon, the queue at her autograph table was over an hour. That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more Worldcon related chatter.Marc, Library Assistant, Dublin City Libraries[ii] Abbott, written by Saladin Ahmed, art by Sami Kivelä, colours by Jason Wordie, letters by Jim Campbell (BOOM! Studios)Author Ahmed, Saladin, Kivela, Sami, Wordie, JasonTitle Abbott Ahmed, Saladin, Kivela, Sami, Wordie, JasonPublication Info. Boom! Studios 15 Nov 2018Standard No. 9781684152452 [iii] Black Panther: Long Live the King, written by Nnedi Okorafor and Aaron Covington, art by André Lima Araújo, Mario Del Pennino and Tana Ford (Marvel)Author Okorafor, Nnedi, author.Title Long live the King / Nnedi Okorafor ; illustrated by Andre Araujo.Publication Info. New York, NY : Marvel Worldwide, Inc., 2018.Edition Graphic novelStandard No. 9781302905385 (pbk.)Standard No. 1302905384 (pbk.) [iv] On a Sunbeam, by Tillie Walden (First Second)Author Walden, TillieTitle On a sunbeam.Publication Info. London : Avery Hill Publishing, 2018.Edition Graphic novelsStandard No. 9781910395370 (hbk.) : £24.99Standard No. 1910395374 (hbk.) : £24.99 [v] http://www.dublincity.ie/story/central-library%E2%80%99s-comics-and-graphic-novels-book-club [vi] Paper Girls, Volume 4, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image Comics)Author Vaughan, Brian K.Title Paper girls. Volume 4 / Brian K. Vaughan, writer ; Cliff Chiang, artist ; Matt Wilson, colors ; Jared K. Fletcher, letters.Publication Info. Portland, OR : Image Comics, c2018.Edition Graphic novelStandard No. 9781534305106 (paperback)Standard No. 1534305106 (paperback) [vii] Saga, Volume 9, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)Author Vaughan, Brian K., author.Title Saga. Volume nine / Fiona Staples, artist ; Brian K. Vaughan, writer ; Fonografiks, lettering + design.Publication Info. Portland, Oregon : Image Comics, Incs., 2018.Edition Graphic novelsStandard No. 9781534308374 pbk.Standard No. 1534308377 pbk. [viii] Monstress, Volume 3: Haven, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)Author Liu, Marjorie M., author.Title Monstress. Volume 3 / Marjorie Liu ; illustrated by Sana Takeda.Publication Info. Berkeley : Image Comics, 2018.Edition Graphic novelStandard No. 9781534306912 (pbk.) : £14.99Standard No. 1534306919 (pbk.) : £14.99
The Testament of Jessie Lamb Wins Science Fiction Award
British novelist Jane Rogers has won the UK's top science fiction prize, the Arthur C Clarke Award, for her novel 'The Testament of Jessie Lamb'. Rogers has been a prize winner before, but this is her first venture into science fiction. The book was also on the longlist for the Man Booker Prize last year.'The Testament of Jessie Lamb' is the story of a 16-year old girl who wants to save humanity after an act of biological terrorism releases a deadly virus which only affects pregnant women. It would seem that the book is somewhat of a surprise but popular winner. This is Jane Rogers's eight novel. Her novel 'The Voyage Home' was on the longlist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2006. This Award is administered by Dublin City Public Libraries. "The Voyage Home is a story of love and loss, of power and its abuse, and of family and faith." (Award site).Her novel 'Promised Lands' won the Writers' Guild Best Novel Award in 1996.Arthur C Clarke Award site announcement.Report in the Guardian Newspaper.