Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Hugo Awards Get It Wrong. Again.

According to the Hugo Awards, Connie Willis' mediocre and flawed Blackout was the finest speculative fiction novel published in 2010.

They are wrong.

Here are ten books from last year that are vastly superior. I recommend checking them out.

16 comments:

Brett said...

I'm not shocked. Willis is popular, and she had won it before.

Adam Whitehead said...

Sure, and DOOMSDAY BOOK was a pretty good book and much more deserving of a win. This one, not so much.

Joe Sherry said...

Actually, they said Blackout AND All Clear was the best single book. Yeah, I know the story behind the split, but it just makes the whole thing kind of silly.

Adam Whitehead said...

That's odd. Just okayed a comment and it vanished into the ether.

Anyway, the Hugos are for SF and Fantasy, not just SF by itself. Though the fact that so many people think the Hugos are SF-only may be part of the problem.

I'm also hazy on why Blackout/All Clear are considered one book and say The Book of the New Sun wasn't.

Jebus said...

Do you think it's because those that vote - attendees of Worldcon - are, generally speaking, very old or at least those that bother to vote are very old? And by very old I mean 60+.

99% of nominations for Hugos I've never even heard of let alone read - same with when I attended Aussiecon 4, I didn't vote for many of the categories because I simply didn't know the books. A few I only voted on because I recognised a name yet hadn't read the book/story or whatever.

Who else votes on Hugos apart from Worldcon attendees?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, maybe they should consider Malazan Book of the Fallen as one book, you know 'cos the series is a book.

-paran

Anonymous said...

Speaking of which Wert, can we expect a A Book of the New Sun review?

Robert Atlas said...

The nebula awards are generally even worse, imho

Adam Whitehead said...

A BOOK OF THE NEW SUN review will follow in time. I've recently re-added it to the pile, which at the current rate of progress means I should get to it no later than three years from now :-)

The Nebulas are an interesting and contentious award. I remember following J. Michael Straczynski's clashes with GRRM over the deletion of the Nebula Dramatic Award a decade and a half ago and the fireworks resulting from that.

The aging of the Worldcon attendees and the Hugo voters is a big problem (one of the ones the organisers actually acknowledge). GRRM and Gaiman have done a good job of bringing in younger fans and getting younger people interested, but a lot more needs to be done.

wastrel said...

Jebus:
I think part of the problem with the Hugos are that it's not clear what they're for. Are they for the most popular genre book? Or are they for the best genre book? If you expect them to be for the best book, you'll be disappointed when the prize often goes to the most famous eligible author, even if another book is clearly better that year; if you expect them to be for the most popular book, you'll be disappointed when half the nominees are things that most readers haven't read.

Sometimes it feels like they're conducting a poll between Barbara Cartland, Leo Tolstoy, Christopher Priest, Jane Austen, and Danielle Steele. What is the result of that meant to tell us?

Unknown said...

Loved the Willis book(s?). The short story categories were my faves. I bought all these winners in one way or another. Didn't vote in the awards but did vote with my coin.

Lisa Hertel said...

@Jebus:
The Hugos are nominated by and voted on only by the Worldcon members. For a mere $50 or so, you can be one. (That's the price of a supporting membership, which gives you the right to nominate & vote; attending costs more.) In addition, recent Worldcons have been releasing all the nominees (or samples thereof) electronically, so you get more than $50 worth in e-books, short stories, and magazines.

If anyone complains about the Hugos, they should pony up the money & nominate & vote. You don't vote, you can't complain.

Adam Whitehead said...

$50 is £30 at today's prices, which would easily feed me for two weeks. Being currently unemployed, I don't have that money to spend. Neither would, say, students, or households on a tight budget.

So if I'm prevented from voting by being priced out of the market, I certainly can and will complain, especially when the Hugos continue to misrepresent themselves, with laughable arrogance, as the "most important and prestigious SFF awards in the world".

Jenny said...

I agree, and I read EVERYTHING nominated (okay, not everything. Everything in four categories). Thanks for a great list, I'll check some of them out, and your blog looks like a great one to follow.

Elfy said...

While, I personally didn't think it was the best of the books nominated, it was a WORTHY winner. I felt that the field overall was relatively weak, but they were the books that the voters nominated and then voted on as best. Just a comment on your list, Adam. Warriors as one of the best books in 2010? Really? I'm not surprised Willis won, she is popular (this was her 11th Hugo) and the book, despite a lack of editing, is entertaining and a good read.

krobinett said...

I have read most of the nominated novels (the exception being the Ian McDonald book, as it was not available in ebook or mass market paperback and was not available from my local library). Of the books I have read, I guess I have the fewest complaints about the Willis book/s, though I thought it/they were deeply flawed.

While there was way too much introspection - with all of the characters' internal voices being identical - she did brilliantly portray the courage of regular everyday people during times of extreme stress (the Blitz).

A lot of the problems I had with the book/s could have been taken care of by a really good editor (the type of person none of the big publishing houses seems to employ anymore).

If I had the spare money to join the group who nominates and votes on these things (and with two kids going to the university, I do NOT have the spare money) I think I would have gone for Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven, which is one of the most enjoyable books I have read in years.