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Short story discussions > Hugo Nom: Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Prologue, by John Scalzi

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message 1: by Candiss, Moderator (new)

Candiss (Tantara) | 777 comments Mod
Let's discuss Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City: Prologue by John Scalzi (Tor.com), nominated in the Short Story category for this year's Hugo Awards. (Asimov's, April/May 2011)


Sarah | 110 comments The first three paragraphs cracked me up. I feel like you don't often see funny stories nominated for the big awards.


Shel (shel99) | 930 comments This made me smile, but I can't say it made me want to read more of the story that this was supposed to be a prologue to. It reminded me of the earlier Terry Pratchett books - the ones that were pure silliness, rather than the later Discworld books that are really clever satire. Entertaining, yes, but not much to it.


Sarah | 110 comments Is it actually a prologue, or a fake prologue for a fake trilogy that he isn't really writing? I think it may have been an April Fool's joke.


Sara (VivianStreet) | 9 comments Sarah Pi wrote: "Is it actually a prologue, or a fake prologue for a fake trilogy that he isn't really writing? I think it may have been an April Fool's joke."

Yep, it's fake. That was last year. This year (for April Fool's) Tor announced that it was being made into a manga series....

Scalzi admitted that he wouldn't have been able to sustain that level of insanity over a whole book, let alone a trilogy. It's just a bit of fun :D


Sarah | 110 comments I wonder if that kind of negates its chances of winning. Funny pieces already stand at a disadvantage to profound pieces, and to give an award to a joke kind of dilutes the significance of the award.


Sara (VivianStreet) | 9 comments Sarah Pi wrote: "I wonder if that kind of negates its chances of winning. Funny pieces already stand at a disadvantage to profound pieces, and to give an award to a joke kind of dilutes the significance of the award."

Does the fact that it was used for an April Fool's joke make the writing skills required to construct it less valid?

The project came about because Tor did a survey of the most common words used in popular SFF titles of the last decade. Just because it's funny doesn't mean it doesn't have anything to say about fantasy as a genre or people as a whole....

(I'm not trying to be pugnacious. This is more to provoke a discussion, because I'm honestly interested in what might come up.)


message 8: by Sarah (last edited Jun 04, 2012 08:17AM) (new)

Sarah | 110 comments And I'm just speculating. I think those first three overwrought paragraphs that boil down to "it was a dark and stormy night" are genius. And it definitely does say something about the trends in epic fantasy.
I'm just looking at the fact that straight-out humorous SF rarely wins the big awards. The Connie Willis type of dramatic humor is the closest it usually comes, with statements on the human condition delivered by funny people in bad situations or serious people in funny situations.

I think it takes a ton of skill to construct something funny. Writing genuinely funny is way harder than tragedy. Scalzi, Willis, James Morrow, and James Patrick Kelly did a whole panel discussion on that at the Nebulas a couple of weeks ago.


Kathi | 1101 comments Sara wrote: "The project came about because Tor did a survey of the most common words used in popular SFF titles of the last decade. Just because it's funny doesn't mean it doesn't have anything to say about fantasy as a genre or people as a whole...."

Thanks for that link--reading it was my smile for the day.


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