I'm at Norwescon, working hard and having fun, so this will be brief.
The most interesting thing I've heard today came from editor Lou Anders. On the Steampunk panel, the question of whether Steampunk is science fiction or not came up, and he said: "If Steampunk is science fiction, then science fiction is doing all right currently. If it's not, then science fiction is in bad shape."
Shown above: Legendary ornithopter pilot Eileen Gunn. Mess with Texas if you must, but don't mess with her.
So, did he mean:
a) From a sales and publishing perspective, if we include steampunk, then SF is in good shape?
b) If we are open-minded enough to consider steampunk to be part of the wide and varied worlds and aesthetics of SF, then SF is doing OK because we aren't precluding unexpected developments with overly narrow definitions?
Steampunk makes me think of Girl Genius, which in turn made me think of the other webcomics that I read, e.g. xkcd and Dinosaur Comics, which made me think...
Are xkcd and Dinosaur Comics a form of science fiction?
I think I would argue that they are.
Is there an appropriate Hugo category for that?
This is one of the scariest photos of myself that I've ever seen. My pious hope is that someone will post it to my Wikipedia entry in place of the similar but less dramatic photo that is currently there. It was taken 4/22/11 at Norwescon.
Photo credit: Michael Swanwick.
I believe Lou meant from a sales perspective. He may also have meant in terms of abundant, innovative fiction as well.
Cartoons would go under Best Graphic Story. Or, if they don't really tell a story, possibly Best Related Work. Girl Genius is up again this year for Vol. 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Muse of Protection.
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