— Ramez Naam (@ramez) April 22, 2014
“But let me speak frankly to you: if you don’t intend to read and investigate the other nominees and participate in a wide variety of categories, you are doing the awards a disservice. I would rather have the Wheel of Time not win than have it be given an award as part of a thoughtless shoving match.”
“If work was shunted onto the list to make a political point and without regard to its quality, and it is crap, you’re going to know it when you read that work, and you should judge it accordingly.“
The 2014 Hugo nominees were announced today, and, like always, some of the categories have a few head-scratchers. However, I’m going to focus my discussion on the Best Novel category, which is usually the one where I’ve read the most nominees:
- Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit US / Orbit UK)
- Neptune’s Brood by Charles Stross (Ace / Orbit UK)
- Parasite by Mira Grant (Orbit US / Orbit UK)
- Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia (Baen Books)
- The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books)
The list starts off very strong with Ancillary Justice, which is the only book nominated that I’ve actually read as of this post, but HOLY SHIT was it good. Hands down one of my favorite reads of last year and definitely one of my all-time favorite books. I think I said everything I need to say about it in my review. I’d probably vote for this to win with a clear conscience, although if I was a voting member I would do my best to actually read the books before voting.
Someone at Orbit must have read my post about the Hugo nominees and decided to make things easy on me. I now own 3 out of 5 of the best novel nominees, and I might actually pull off my reading goal.
It’s definitely worth subscribing to the Orbit newsletter. Most of the previous deals have at least been interesting, and some of them have been fantastic. The deals seem to alternate between newer books and archive titles, and I’ve ended up buying almost all of the ones they’ve listed just because $2.99 is a price point I can’t resist.
Dear Orbit: keep up the good work!
I always look forward to the yearly announcement of the Hugo Award nominations. Unlike other awards (even the Oscars), the Hugos are almost always relevant to my reading interests, and for the past few years I’ve made an effort to read as many of the books nominated for best novel ahead of time so I can be well-informed when the winner is picked. One of these days I may even pay for a membership so I can vote for my favorites.
The 2011 nominations were released over the weekend, and the novel selections are an interesting bunch:
Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra)
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr)
Feed by Mira Grant (Orbit)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Blackout/All Clear is a two-part novel about time-traveling historians who get stranded in WWII England. Cryoburn is the fourteenth novel in the Vorkosigan saga, a scifi/military/space opera series generally focused on the exploits of a diplomat named Miles Vorkosigan. The Dervish House is a kaleidoscopic story about the interconnected lives of six people in near-future Istanbul. Feed is (yet another?) zombie novel about bloggers following a political campaign in a future trying to recover from the undead apocalypse. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is an epic fantasy about politics, racism, and gender roles in a world where gods walk the earth.
Of the five, I already own The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, so it’ll probably be first in my reading queue. I’m especially intrigued by The Dervish House, so I might pick that up next, then Feed. After that, things get a little tougher. I’ve recently started reading the Vorkosigan saga, but I’m not sure which is a more daunting prospect – reading all fourteen books this year, or jumping a dozen books ahead and reading Cryoburn. As for Blackout/All Clear, it has gotten some fairly mixed reviews, but I’ve loved all of Willis’ books that I’ve read so far, so it’s possible I’d still enjoy it.
In any case, I’ve decided that I’m going to make it my personal goal to read as many of the nominated works as possible, including as much of the short fiction as I can get my hands on. It seems like the best possible way to keep current on the state of modern scifi is to read as many of the nominees as possible. Also, it sounds like a fun challenge. Watch this space for my reviews of the nominated works!