Monday, 11 August 2008

The Hugo Awards 2008

This year's World Science Fiction Convention, held in Denver, Colorado, has spoken. The Hugo Awards, still the most well-known genre awards around, have been given and the results are the usual mix of the expected, the unexpected, the pleasent surprises and the ones that leave people bemused.

Full vote breakdowns can be found here.

Campbell Award: Mary Robinette Kowal

The initial reaction to this one was, "Who?" However, I think the Campbell did its job here. Of the other three well-known finalists, Scott Lynch is now a recognised genre name, Joe Abercrombie's trilogy has already found great success and critical acclaim and David Anthony Durham had an established fanbase for his historical novels before he made a well-publicised move into SF&F with his Acacia. So the Campbell going to the least-known name on the list is appropriate, and a great victory for the short story form.

Fanzine: Mike Glyer, File 770

Fan Writer: John Scalzi

Scalzi displaced David Langford's epoch-lasting run, although I doubt Langford was too disappointed since he's probably run out of places to put his Hugos. Scalzi's blog is undeniably fun and amusing, and he's a great commentator on the genre.

Fan Artist: Brad Foster

Professional Artist: Stefan Martiniere

A well-deserved win, although I share the bemusement of many that Alan Lee still doesn't do too well at these awards, despite the fact that via the number-one-gigaselling The Children of Hurin his artwork was far more highly distributed than others last year, and again of the highest quality.

Best Semiprozine:Locus

This is a bit of a running joke, with Locus wins pretty much automatically guaranteed every year. In fact, Worldcon seems a bit bored of it and put forward a motion suggesting the category be abolished. This has to be ratified by next year's Worldcon in Montreal.

Related Book: Jeff Prucher, Brave New Words, the Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Doctor Who, "Blink" Written by Steven Moffat, directed by Hettie Macdonald (BBC)

A well-deserved win for Doctor Who, with the BAFTA-award-winning Blink being the stand-out episode from the new show's third season. This is Moffat's third win in as many years and a great vote for confidence when he takes over as showrunner from Russell T. Davies for the show's fifth season in 2010. Although it is ironic that the best-received episode from the season was also the one featuring the Doctor the least. Battlestar Galactica's Razor came a distant second, but interestingly there was come voting confusion over this one, with it attracting votes for both Short Form (via the 80-minute TV edit) and long form (via the 116-minute DVD edit).

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Stardust

Season 1 was the favourite for this, but in the end the much shorter and more enchanting movie based on Gaiman's novel proved to be just too well-appreciated. Heroes' appalling second season may have also soured appreciation of the first season.

Best Professional Editor, Short Form: Gordon Van Gelder

Best Professional Editor, Long Form: David Hartwell

Best Short Story: Elizabeth Bear, "Tideline"

Best Novelette: Ted Chiang, The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate

Best Novella: Connie Willis, All Seated on the Ground

Best Novel: Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union

As anticipated, although I've so far found Policemen's Union to be clunkily written and betrays its torturously long writing process. I am well-used to my personal favourite coming last, and Brasyl didn't let me down in that regard.

Overall, not as disappointing as some years, with most of the real bitching have already been done at the nomination stage (Black Man/Thirteen's absence was really irritating).

Once again, concerns over the voting process for the awards and how the awards can continue to proclaim themselves 'the most prestigious' awards out there when so few people continue to vote for them (barely 600 people voted for Best Novel, with substantially less for the other awards) have been raised, and once again roundly dismissed by most of the award's supporters, whilst the larger SF&F fandom seems to consistently care less and less about them with every passing year. It will be interesting to see how bad things will have to get before the need for change becomes undeniable to the award's organisers.

No comments: