Our Reading Lives

Highlighting Hugo Finalists and Fandom Communities Quick Sip Reviews and A03

Priya Sridhar

Staff Writer

A 2016 MBA graduate and published author, Priya Sridhar has been writing fantasy and science fiction for fifteen years, and counting, as well as contributing columns to Chalkpack Magazine and drawing a webcomic for five years. She also enjoys reading, biking, movie-watching, and classical music. One of her stories made the Top Ten Amazon Kindle Download list, and Alban Lake published her novella Carousel. Priya lives in Miami, Florida with her family and posts monthly at her blog A Faceless Author. Website Twitter: @PriyaJSridhar

Asimov has a story about how often he’d present for Hugo Awards but was never chosen for one. This was the 1930s when he started publishing short stories professionally while seeking out his PhD. He went up on stage and started riffing about his jealousy about peers winning an award, and then he opened the envelope and learned he won a Hugo that year.

I don’t know if I’ll ever win a Hugo; my ego can hope. With that said, I’m proud that one of my friends online received a nomination: Charles Payseur of Quick Sip Reviews. He has been nominated for Best Fan Writer, and his review website QSR received a nomination for Best Fanzine!

Even better, Archive of Our Own also received a nomination! This is a huge win for fandom, for reasons I’ll explain below.

Quick Sips and Fanzines

Charles Payseur is a good friend of mine. We met when he reviewed one of my short stories published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and I thanked him for his lovely words. I found his cats adorable, and we shared a passion for speculative fantasy with people of color and LGBTQ+representation. He also writes remarkable fiction, with heroes and villains, and Toons in dystopia. I look forward to his Patreon updates, especially when he reviews Goosebumps and points out with love how the stories could have gone better.

Charles’s reviews focus on the power of speculative short stories, novellas and novels.  He digs deep into analysis, to figure out the authors’ intentions and the impact of the written word on the reader. He also wants to promote debut authors in this realm so they can find an audience. I’ve certainly learned to take care when he talks about horror stories, because the ones he reviews tend to make me shudder, the way a good story should.

In addition, he also tags spoilers and mentions useful keywords for potential readers, in case of triggers and for people who would rather have a snippet of the tales. This helps especially with the horror, and when fiction features problematic tropes such as “bury your gays.” Charles is kind and honest, and honesty pays off.

Charles will be attending WorldCon 2019 in Dublin, and he usually goes to WisCon as well in May. I hope readers attending either convention will take the time to look him up. Be sure to support him on Patreon as well, if you can!

Being an A03 Member

For those wondering, Archive Of Our Own serves as a fan space that resists purges from litigious authors that can’t appreciate their fandom. (Come at me, Anne Rice.) The website has a team of lawyers on hand, programmers on staff to assist with technical difficulties, and reassurance that they won’t delete fanfic that displeases readers who want “purity culture” and nevertheless seek out the stories above the PG-13 reading.

For the record, writing fanfic is legal. You cannot sell or mass-distribute it, however, unless the work is in the public domain, has a creative commons license, or has given you permission to write the intellectual property (IP). So you can sell your Sherlock Holmes fic as long as it doesn’t feature modern incarnations of Sherlock, as an example, but do not sell any Harry Potter fan fiction. We all remember DickSoapGate, where the fanfic being sold with the other contents in the fan merchandise box was the least of our problem with that controversy.

A03 is a fandom space, that is centered around protecting an art form that mainly cis woman write. I cannot speak for trans women, but A03 also focuses on creating an LGBTQ+ friendly space. One of my nonbinary friends posts there regularly, with confidence.

One benefit of A03 is the sense of freedom. You can find the material you like, in any fandom and crossover. Fanfiction.net is good for when you’re starting out and testing the waters for feedback. The risk is that fanfiction.net can do purges on “adult” content; A03 never will, as they detail on the site.

I joined A03 relatively recently. Most of my fan fiction was posted to ff.net when I was a teen, and I went on hiatus. High school does that to a person. No, I’m not going to tell you what my username was. I was an amateurish, embarrassing writer. Mainly I go on now to support my fanfic writer fans. Learning to upload on A03 is a relatively small learning curve, all things considered.

Plus, thanks to this nomination, I can put it in my Twitter Bio that I’m part of a Hugo-nominated community! How is that for cool cred?