Wednesday, July 17, 2013
My Considerations on Voting
Hugo Awards - Novels
My least favorite of the Hugo nominees was Redshirts. It was an enjoyable read but somewhat lightweight and very literary meta. I felt the Codas were a good part of the story and the lesson. Still, I don't want to give the award as the best of 2013 for something which can be summarized as "Writers, respect and don't mistreat your characters." #5
I really enjoyed Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, but not as much as I enjoyed some of Bujold's other books and it is more lightweight than the rest of the Vor saga. A very enjoyable read, go get it, but not the best of the year - #4
Blackout by Mira Grant. Another case where I loved the series but this was not as good as the previous novels. And really, that big reveal was obvious. I don't think the Hugo should be given to the third in a series when the other two weren't honored. However, Robinson's Green and Blue Mars were so honored when Red Mars wasn't. Also odd that a novel with the same title of Blackout by Connie Willis won the 2011 award. I loved Grant's Blackout, as well as the other, just not for this award #3
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed - never heard of him or it until this was nominated. This was a very good take on Tales of the Arabian Nights with a small band of knight-errants trying to save the kingdom from evil magical forces. Didn't think I would like it but it was so well done, extremely well done, and was a very good read - #2
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson is a worthy sequel to the Hugo award winning Green Mars series and shows us the rest of the Solar system years later. There is a grand tour while solving a mystery and there is a nice endcap to the saga that started in Red Mars. Red Mars, which didn't win the Hugo, was the first genre novel I read that I felt ranked up with great literature, the War and Peace of science fiction. I didn't buy the premise, why the Hell are the Western states spending hundreds of billions so soon to colonize Mars, and felt the explanation should not have been held to the end, well maybe but Robinson didn't convince me. Anyway, it should have won the Hugo, the awards to the next two novels in the series were making up for that. Although I felt that way about Red Mars I also was troubled because many of the people I would normally shove the book into their hands and say "Read this now" I was reluctant to do so. Many of my fannish friends don't want to wade through War and Peace, even though Robinson makes lists of technical equipment and materials seem like poetry. There is also some reluctance to recommend 2312 - three of the big and odd concepts in the book are the importance of longevity treatments in reshaping society, more people are becoming dwarves because very short people live longer, and more people are becoming hermaphrodites for the same reason. Can I go around saying "Here read, this, I should warn you there is hermaphrodite dwarf sex"? Probably, SF is supposed to broaden your mind - #1
The best book I read last year was Wool - Omnibus Edition published January 25, 2012. It would be my number one choice if it was on the ballot. Too much of the traditional science fiction literary establishment looked down upon self publishing not realizing how quickly the revolution was upon us. The older long term literary establishment and fans ARE the Hugo voters. My real #1 - Wool Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey.
This ranking may change in the next week or so, I changed my mind once already.