The OF Blog: Hugo Award Winners Announced and Initial Thoughts

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Hugo Award Winners Announced and Initial Thoughts

Now later today and tomorrow and possibly through into Monday, I plan on writing/posting reviews of the five finalists for the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Novel (in the coming weeks, time permitting, I'm going to read the online versions of the nominees in most of the other fiction categories and possibly review them in short form here). But today, I thought I'd just post a link to the final results.

I've read the winning novel, Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End, and while I'll weigh in later with much more commentary as to that particular book's perceived strengths and weaknesses, it just didn't have that "feel" that an award-winning book ought to have, or at least for me anyways. But what struck me was the extremely low number of votes - only 471 valid ballots? That is only a slight bit higher than what would happen if one of the more-visited fantasy websites or author blogs were visited and people had the chance to vote. In this day of instant access and hundreds of people weighing in at almost any Joe Schmo's site/blog on most anything (the recent SFWA snafu being a prime example), the continued relevance of the Hugos as being some form of "the fan's choice" is probably going to be questioned. But I have already weighed in on this before, so I'll just let this link speak to a long-term concern many of us have had.

But despite all this, I suppose the Hugos are still valuable in forcing some of us to take notice of books that we would probably never have given a second thought to if a few hundred others hadn't felt a strong enough affinity for them to place them into the finalist round and thus to the attention of thousands of more people. I just don't know if this is a better system than a juried award, though. Only time will see, I suppose.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, I totally agree. Only 471 valid ballots?! That's really bad! With so many sites who have thousands of visitors a day, the Hugo/Worldcon people's need to get into the internet age, or indeed go to a jury system.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me the real problem to solve is how to get all of those Worldcon members to nominate and vote,

Any solutions come to mind?

GeekGirl

Jeff said...

Start back-slapping them muhfuggas, that's how! (kidding)

I don't know really, but easy internet voting (secure) would get several thousand votes in comparison to 471, would really make it a better sample of the population of Fantasy readers out there.

DJK said...

How many have voted in the past? How many people read books by the year they were published, so they can fairly choose nominees for awards?

JeffConn said...

Two possible reasons for the low turnout. How low was the attendance compared to previous years? How many members were not primarily English speakers?

dirty dingus said...

471 is not notably lower than glasgow 2 years ago. The numbers have been low for a long time. I have some thoughts and suggestions here

Anonymous said...

Erm, it seems to me the whole "It's always been low" or "compare to previous years" is no excuse for it.

 
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