Monthly Archives: July 2020

Ep043 Hugo Nominees

2020 Hugo Award Nominees for Short Story

Award season for science fiction and fantasy is in full swing. Earlier this year the Nebula and Locus award winners were announced, but in early August the Hugo Awards will be given out. In this episode of Leave It To The Prose, Isaac and Reid discuss the current nominees for best short story and provide their opinions and predictions on the 2020 Hugo Awards.

2020 Hugo Award Nominees

Whereas the Nebula Awards can be thought of as analogous to the Acadamy Awards, creators voting for creators, the Hugo Awards merge creators and fandom. Anyone who purchases an attendance to World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) is granted a voting ballot for the Hugo Awards. Both creators and fans attend WorldCon, so the sharing of the ballot among everyone in the community often makes the Hugo Awards deemed as the most prestigious of the Science Fiction Awards, though that is a matter of personal opinion.

Topics Discussed

  • What are the Hugo Awards?
  • Descriptions of each of the nominees for Hugo Award for Best Short Story, and if any themes transcend these stories. Each story is intense and conveys strong emotion in their own way. Other themes involve family and family relations. We postulate short stories have a shorter publication timeframe and thus can move faster with the tides of social dialogue. We discuss how these stories are pushing science fiction/ fantasy in a new direction, a direction that allows us to convey, express, and understand a new level of catharsis and emotion as it relates to humanity.
  • Our predictions. Isaac’s choice of “As the Last I May Know”; Reid’s of “And Now His Lordship Is Laughing”
  • Elaboration on the short story “Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island.” How this story innovates on how a story, plot, and chapter can be conveyed.
  • Why “As the Last I May Know” is a story worthy of awards. Exploration of how not declaring an end can further emphasize a theme.
  • Why “And Now His Lordship Is Laughing” is a story worthy of awards. Exploration of how tragedy can be set up, and retribution can be fully justified.

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Ep042 Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Originally a collection of radio plays, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is Douglas Adams’s adaptation of these audio stories into a novel format and its subsequent sequels. The Hitchhiker’s Guide follows Arthur Dent as he becomes a hitchhiker in the galaxy. Through Arthur we meet a cast of character, alien and human, in a variety of stressful and comedic circumstances.


  • Comedy in a written form: the callback (mention and return). For example Arthur Dent’s house being demolished for a highway with the plans available for review and comment in the local planning office; and then the return at a grander scale as Earth is being demolished and that the Earthlings could have commented on the plans via a location orbiting another star.
  • Comedy in a written form: absurdity. The infinite improbable drive. The use of randomness and absurdity to change the story.
  • How Punch lines, reveals, and twists can be used in either of these comedic settings and when used in a different tone make for general beats in story structure.
  • The “quality” of the story. The book lacks character growth, over-arching conflict (due to the episodic nature), and other fundamental story elements. However, this was an intensional choice, and allows the author and reader to focus on the other elements of the story.
  • The answer to the universe is 42, and how the use of bathos is used as humor. Bathos is the use of anticlimax. There is an intentional buildup of interest and suspense around the answer to the universe and similarly around the question of the universe. When we get to the answer it is a punchline and intentional disappointment.
  • The fine line between horror and comedy. How without the humorous levity, Arthur’s story could be seen as a horror story.
  • How the book is a social commentary on our society more than a commentary or satire of science fiction. This plays into how adaptations of the story can be difficult, as the work needs to build the universe, build the norms of this universe, and then provide commentary, as opposed to a strict satire like Space Balls or Galaxy quest where a world (in contrast) is already built (outside of the work itself).
  • The joy of reading books together.
  • The use of narrative voice, and the exemplar nature of a comedic voice throughout the story.

Other Works Mentioned

Black Lives Matter

Leave It To The Prose stands with Black Lives Matter. Locally and globally demand justice. Resource can be found at  Additionally read, listen, and follow BIPOC authors in the science fiction and fantasy community including: Octavia Butler, N.K. Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor, Tomi Adeyemi, Marlon James, Jennifer Marie Brissett, and so many more.