So, Hugo Award nominations. Every year, it seems to be both an invitation to bellyaching among those who want the award to take itself more seriously, to again become a fair and trustworthy snapshot of the genre’s best year-in-and-year-out, and an everybody-hug-circlejerk-ignore-the-trolls-you-deserve-this-i-voted-for-you twitter fun factory between nominees. Fun times, especially for frustrated Internet pundits like myself. This year’s ballot was particularly blah, though. I won’t go through each category because, well… I don’t have an opinion on a lot of it. But there are a few spots I’d like to explore.
My first thought on the list of nominations for the ‘Best Novel’ was a tepid lack of inspiration. The inclusion of Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon (REVIEW) is the lone bright spot, and also the only novel from my list of nominations to appear on the final ballot. Redshirts (REVIEW) is entertaining, but no more worthy of a Hugo than a fourth-or-fifth episode of Dr. Who appear in the ‘Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)’ category; I’m not surprised to see it there, but I am disappointed that another of Scalzi’s wash, rinse, repeat efforts was rewarded with a nomination. The novels from Bujold and Grant are included, for all intents and purposes, because of the name on their cover, rather than the text inside. I’m sure they’re both fine novels, but neither made waves in fandom or genre discussion this year. Kim Stanley Robinson is another Hugo darling, and 2312 was at least a significant release in Science Fiction, which, alongside David Brin’s Existence (a novel that some will should have been included instead of Robinson’s), reopened a style of hard Science Fiction that has a long legacy in the genre but little recent activity. Read More »