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Here’s the thing about awards, awards shows, and awards organizations.  The best nominee doesn’t always win.  Hell, the “best” nominee rarely ever wins because, in spite of what people tell you or what camp you happen to fall into, the vast majority of people base their votes on friendships, familiarity, popularity,  ideas, or messages.  Those who do vote for “the best” tend to select from a fairly narrow range of possibilities – based on friendships, familiarity, popularity, ideas, or messages.  It’s somewhat bewildering, occasionally downright frustrating, to see awards go to certain works while other equally great (occasionally better) works go ignored, often not even making a preliminary list of nominees.

As a fairly voracious reader, I read a lot of books in 2015, many of them award nominees, just as many lesser-known works from lesser-known (to me) authors.  And, as I began to check out the 2016 releases, I looked back at the titles I enjoyed in 2015 and thought: “That deserved some sort of recognition.”.  And then: “Hell, I should just give out my own awards.”

I read a lot across a wide variety of genres.  I can make a well-informed decision.  I know what I like.  And, most importantly, I AM opinionated.  So, why the hell not?

At first, I thought I’d call my awards The Jovians (Get it?) but discovered the Jovian Awards (for Fantasy & Science Fiction) already exists.  My second choice would be the Saturn Awards but, alas, that too has been taken.  A quick google search turned up –

Mercury Awards – for music
Venus Awards – for local working women in business
Mars Awards – for designers (named after the chocolate bar, not the planet)
Neptune Awards – for marketing
Pluto Awards – for SciFi, fantasy and alternate history books
Kepler Awards – for European young scientists
Uranus Awards – surprisingly available!

In the end, I settled on something a little more in keeping with the wayward, independent spirit of these awards: Rogue Star (“a star that has escaped the gravitational pull of its home galaxy and is moving independently in or towards the intergalactic void” [wikipedia]).

Presenting awards in three categories (only because I didn’t read enough potential entries in any of the alternate categories.  Also, I need to get out there and watch more movies.).  Great reads all.  Check them out!

***

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL

NOMINEES

Bitch Planet, vol. 1 – Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro, Image
Divinity – Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine, Valiant
Jupiter’s Circle, vol. 1 – Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, Image
Saga, vol. 5 – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Image
The Walking Dead,vol. 23 Robert Kirkman and Stefano Guadiano, Image

WINNER

Saga, vol. 5 – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Image

***

BEST SHORT STORY

NOMINEES

“A Murmuration” – Alastair Reynolds, Interzone
“Calved” – Sam J. Miller, Asimov’s
“Re: re: Microwave in the break room doing weird things to fabric of spacetime” – Charles Yu, Terraform
“So Much Cooking” – Naomi Kritzer, Clarkesworld
“Today I Am Paul” – Martin L. Shoemaker, Clarkesworld

WINNER

“Today I Am Paul” – Martin L. Shoemaker, Clarkesworld

***

BEST NOVEL

NOMINEES

Beyond Redemption – Michael R. Fletcher, Harper Voyager
The Flicker Men – Ted Kosmatka, Henry Holt and Co.
Half A War – Joe Abercrombie, Harper Voyager
Touch – Claire North, Orbit Books
The Traitor Baru Cormorant – Seth Dickinson, Tor

WINNER

Beyond Redemption – Michael R. Fletcher, Harper Voyager

***

Congratulations to the winners.  You can pick up your prize – in the form of a beer – should we ever cross paths!

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Sort of.  While Bubba was working on his tan and Lulu was working the dog park crowd, I was seemingly overseeing the action but actually working on two fronts: Dark Matter and my new super-secret SciFi project.  In the case of the former, I’ve already forwarded my team my game plan for the show’s third season so I’m now breaking down the story arcs into their individual progressive beats.  In the case of the latter, I finished the tease yesterday and am working out the first few scenes in my head, from the rude awakening to the shuttle ride reveal.  Even though production on season 2 has ended, it never REALLY ends.  P.S. I ran Akemi through a couple of the big story arcs that build through Dark Matter’s second (and third) season and her response was utter shock once she recognized the pattern: “You planned that in season one!”.  Why, yes.  I have a plan…

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In the lead-up to Dark Matter’s second season premiere, I’ve been all over in a bid to get the word out (twitter: @BaronDestructo, @DarkMatter_show, reddit: https://www.reddit.com/user/JosephMallozzi/, imgur: http://barondestructo.imgur.com/all/, Facebook: Baron Destructo, youtube: Joseph Mallozzi).    And I’m pleased to see many fans are helping out including Tom Gardiner and the gang at ThreeIfBySpace.net.  Check out their weekly rundown of the happenings on this very blog:

http://www.threeifbyspace.net/2016/05/dark-matter-digest-may-22-double-dose-dark-matter-doings-trailer/#.V0HPog-QjG1.twitter

And their breakdown of the Dark Matter season 2 promo:

http://www.threeifbyspace.net/2016/05/dark-matter-season-2-trailer-hood-breakdown/?utm_content=buffer6b26d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#.V0ITtvkrJhE

And, in case you missed it (in the words of Akemi: “How possible?!!”):

Hey, speaking of Dark Matter check out our new space station (and home of one Tabor Calchek), by way of Dark Matter VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson, compliments of the award-winning team at FUSEFX lead by VFX Supervisor Shawn Hillier:

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Gorgeous, no?

Decontamination:

Technocrane:

Systems Control:

 

Our Toronto Farewell Tour continued last night at Ufficio Restaurant with Melissa O’Neil, Dark Matter’s kick-ass commander, TWO.  On this occasion, decidedly less ass-kick and plenty more discussing and dining was on the agenda.  A few of the dishes we killed –

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Giant Portuguese squid ink arancini, pomodoro & fried basil.

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Potato crema tortellini with smoked ramp butter & cured egg yolk.

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Grilled octopus, fingerling potatoes, romesco, salsa verde.

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Kawaii yo, as the Japanese would say.

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Our meal complete, leftovers in tow, Melissa jumped on her magical bike and rode off into the night.

“Captain America is weakest.  He has only frisbee.  And the ugliest mask, and he knows it’s ugly – that’s why sometimes he doesn’t wear.”

– Akemi on Captain America

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We’re two weeks away from boarding a plan back to Vancouver.  As you can see, Lulu and Bubba are ready to go…BUT will have to shave a little more weight before they’re deemed flight-worthy.  Despite the fact that we’re cutting down on their meal portions and treats, they remain decidedly chunk-monkeyesque.  I suggested we adopt an alternate weight loss plan: weigh them every morning and whoever’s heaviest doesn’t get to eat that day.  In response to my idea, Bubba game me THIS look:

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NOT impressed.

Speaking of eating, my Goodbye Toronto Tour continues.  On Tuesday night, Akemi and I met up with fellow foodie and Dark Matter Social Media Czar Natalie Cooper for dinner at Piano Piano, home of our favorite pizza in town –

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The Sweet Hornet: mozzarella, fior di latte, soppressata, black olive, honey n’ chilli.

Also two delicious pastas…

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Caccio e Pepe Agnolotti: ricotta, black pepper, parmigiano

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Pillowy potato gnocci with peas and asparagus.

And, for dessert, one of the chocolatiest chocolate desserts I’ve enjoyed in recent memory:

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Triple Coco Barry 70% Chocolate Cake Chocolate Ice Cream: almond, Maldon salt, caramel.

Today, Akemi and I were walking down the street when I heard someone say: “Hey, you’re Joseph Mallozzi.”  My initial reaction was: “Oh, shit.  They re-ran that episode of America’s Most Wanted.”  But no.  It turns out the spotter, Mike, is a longtime Stargate fan and reader/lurker of this blog.  Delighted, I invited him and his co-worker, Lovella, to Soma for a quick chocolate-tasting.  Their after-lunch office meeting could wait…

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Yep, that is one shocking selection!

Full of chocolate and goodwill, Akemi and I headed up to Queen Street West where we picked up some pork butt for tomorrow’s slow-roast…but not before stopping by Nugateau, Toronto’s premiere eclair-only patisserie for some desert…round 2!

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Left = The Mont Tremblant: 70% single origin dark chocolate mousse, whipped praline ganache, hazelnut praline grains (for me!).

Right = Raspberry Rose: whipped raspberry rose ganache and vanilla mascarpone, raspberry rose & lychee compote (for her!).

Our Goodbye Tour continues tonight as we head out with Dark Matter’s TWO, Melissa O’Neil!  Here are a couple of pictures of her cozying up to the enemy in some BTS shots from our season 1 finale:

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Head on over to @DarkMatter_show for all the behind the scenes visuals!

http://www.pianopianotherestaurant.com

http://nugateau.com

http://www.somachocolate.com

I’d like to say that it came to me in a dream but, in truth, it came to me as I was lying wide awake at 5:30 a.m.  My french bulldog had stirred me out of a deep slumber, pacing around until I got up to let her out and, once her business was done, returned to bed where she immediately drifted off.  No insta-sleep for me though.  While Lulu lay beside me, snoring up a storm, I stared up at the ceiling and, over the course of the next two hours, came up with the premise of my new SciFi series.

I eventually drifted off, slept for a couple of more hours and then awoke creatively rarin’ to go.   Throughout the day, while I was walking the dogs and running errands, I broke the story: a tease, five acts, a tag, colorful characters, big stakes, humor, and my trademark twists, turns, shocks and surprises.

The plan is to write the pilot between now and when the Dark Matter writers’ room kicks off on June 12th, hopefully set it up for a fall of 2017 premiere, and convene a second writers’ room in August.

It’s all coming together nicely – except, of course, for the title.  I hate coming up with titles (which is why I had YOU, the fans, choose all the Dark Matter season 2 episode titles.  Thanks.).  So how about it?  Despite the fact that you know absolutely nothing about the prospective new show, what cool SF titles would you suggest?

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Hey, check it out.  I’ve bee twitter verified!  Do you know what that means?!!!

Yeah, me neither.

Meanwhile, over on my dedicated Dark Matter @DarkMatter_show – twitter account, I’ve been uploading behind-the-scenes pics from the first season finale:

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THREE drops off the laundry.

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Jodelle clowning.

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The troops get their marching orders.

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Searching the vents – an homage to Alien.

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THE RAZA

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THE MARAUDER

THE FERROUS CORP DESTROYER

THE MIKKEI DESTROYER

GA Destroyer (1)

THE GALACTIC AUTHORITY DESTROYER

THE FAR HORIZON

Hmmm.  Let’s forget about the Far Horizon.

Ships in progress for season 2…

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REYNAUD’S WARSHIP

Dark Matter Mystery Freighter

MYSTERY FREIGHTER

[NOT PICTURED]

OTHER SHIPS

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