Friday, May 28, 2010

Hugo Nominee: Fables Vol. 12: The Dark Ages

Fables Vol. 12: The Dark Ages

Fables Vol. 12: The Dark Ages is on the short list of nominees for the Hugo for Best Graphic Story this year.  All week, Brit Mandelo has been reviewing the nominees on  Today she wrote about Fables and admitted it's also her pick for the winner.  You can read her full article at Best Graphic Story Nominee #5: Fables—The Dark Ages but I'll share some highlights here:

The fifth and final nominee this year is Fables: The Dark Ages by Bill Willingham and a bevy of artists. (Mark Buckingham, Peter Gross, Andrew Pepoy, Michael Allred and David Hahn, for the curious.) The Dark Ages is the twelfth trade collection of Fables. I take back what I said about Captain Britain and MI13: Vampire State having the highest entry bar—that goes to Fables. There’s more or less no way at all to start reading the series here and know what’s going on. In fact, I think it would be some kind of travesty to start here, like skipping to page three hundred or, hell, the last chapter of a book before you read the rest. The good news is, Fables is easy to find in bookstores around the country, not just comic shops, and I can’t recommend it strongly enough, so there’s still time to catch up before the voting.

Fables and its creator(s) have a fantastic awards record so far. It’s won a total of twelve Eisner Awards, some for story and some for art. The Eisners are the big-deal award for comics, sort of like the Hugos and/or Nebulas are for SFF. It was also a Best Graphic Story nominee last year for the eleventh volume, War and Pieces.

I think sums up the entire series best with:

I suppose I could try to make an argument similar to the one I made with Girl Genius—that this isn’t a big plot-solver volume—but I think what it does do is much more important than that. Fables is all about retelling and reinventing stories, tales, and tropes. That’s what it does. So, for it to continue and in fact gain momentum after the point in the story where most fairytales end… That’s significant. It’s doing its thematic work with strong hands, right there, reinventing the idea of the fairytale again and again by showing what happens behind the scenes. It’s the difference between happily-ever-after (which never really happens), and having to face the consequences of every action.

So congrats to the Fables team. When the series first started, I never imagined it would become the hit with fans and critics that it now is. But Willingham et all understand the darker potentials of fairy tales and have explored them well and appealed to a large audience.  I'm always thrilled when that happens...

The Hugo Awards winners will be announced at Aussiecon 4 on 2-6 September 2010.  If you are interested in reading many of the entries, Books on the Knob has an explanation of how to receive the packet for voting at Hugo Awards Packet. She explains the system well, here is an excerpt:

This year, the Hugo Awards are doing things a little differently. Rather than a physical packet of reading material, they are releasing the entire list electronically to members, including supporting members who are not able to attend the conference in Australia. What that means is that for $50US or $70AUD, you can get copies of six novels, six novellas, six novelettes, five short stories, four graphic stories (plus a couple to read online only), and a number of related works, fanzines and other writing excerpts in various categories, all of which were considered to be prize-worthy examples by the awards committee. I found a password on one PDF (and, yes, most of the packet is in PDF form, although there are a few with multiple formats and I saw at least one PRC/Mobi file on a quick look-thru), so that one will be a PC only read, rather than moving to my Kindle and there are a few that include links to online only reads (a few graphic/comics sites are online only publications, for example), but otherwise they should work well on an ereader.

If you don't want to join, a number of the short stories, novelettes, novellas and graphic stories are available online to read, for the duration of the voting period (yes, you are expected to vote, but there is little to stop you from skipping this part), which ends 31 July 2010 23:59 PDT. You can sign up online, HERE, but you will have a decision to make: let them process the charges in Australian dollars, which will mean possibly paying a small exchange fee to your bank or credit card company, and a total based on the current exchange rate (when I checked, it worked out to around $65US; PayPal tells you how much before you complete the transaction), OR you can use their manual registration and payment option via PayPal and pay a flat $50US (directions are on the registration page). If a bargain price is your main consideration, the latter is the way to go. However, you'll want to add to your PayPal message that you wish to get all your material via email, or they will send you everything via snail mail - adding at least a week to get anything, here in the States. In addition, rather than the automated system set up to issue registration info (which you need to download the books), your registration is handled manually, by a group of volunteers; even with several emails to them to check on status, mine took three weeks to complete and get my password via email. With only two months left in the voting period, that would not leave much time to read the entries if I chose that method today.

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