The OF Blog: Trying to sum up emotion for this year's Hugo winners

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Trying to sum up emotion for this year's Hugo winners

Let's see how much I fail at this, shall we?

  • BEST NOVEL: Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra)
    I can count to two.  Apparently some others cannot. 
  • BEST NOVELLA: The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang (Subterranean)
    Apparently subpar Chiang wins on name recognition alone these days.  Surprised?  Not me.
  • BEST NOVELETTE: "The Emperor of Mars" by Allen M. Steele (Asimov's, June 2010; also in audio)
    My emotions are flatlining at this point.
  • BEST SHORT STORY: "For Want of a Nail" by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov's, September 2010)
    Didn't read; no comment on the story.
  • BEST RELATED WORK: Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O'Shea (Mad Norwegian)
    I'm sure this title fits the stereotype of those who vote for these things.
  • BEST GRAPHIC STORY: Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse, written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment
          Shouldn't they rename this award the Phil and Kaja Foglio Award, since I don't recall anyone but them winning it?
  • BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM: Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Warner)
          Well, we can see that flash is more important than substance in these movie categories, n'est ce pas?
  • BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM: Doctor Who: "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang," written by Steven Moffat; directed by Toby Haynes (BBC Wales)
           Yep, much be a real dearth of SFnal TV episodes on the syphilic SyFy.
  • BEST EDITOR, SHORT FORM: Sheila Williams
    Usual Suspect
    Same here
    Good choice.
  • BEST SEMIPROZINE: Clarkesworld, edited by Neil Clarke, Cheryl Morgan, Sean Wallace; podcast directed by Kate Baker
    Another good choice.
  • BEST FANZINE: The Drink Tank, edited by Christopher J Garcia and James Bacon
    Not my circle.
  • BEST FAN WRITER: Claire Brialey
    Not my circle again.
  • BEST FAN ARTIST: Brad W. Foster
    I'll never be in these circles.
          I approve.  One of the very few story-related awards that jibes with my personal tastes.

The Hugos rarely appeal to me; I typically place much more value to the World Fantasy Awards and that certainly shall be the case this year.  What's funny is that I've found more stories of interest that could be labeled broadly as SFnal on the Booker Prize longlist than I found among the still-unread stories on the Hugo shortlist.  Taking two novels and combining them into one for award purposes I consider to be pathetic and bush league.  But I cannot summon up much vitriol because I've been moving on from this scene (well, it's never been my scene, but it's even less so in recent years than now).  It's just a generic ballot these days and while I'm sure I could fork over $50 or so to cast ballots for deserving books/stories, it'd likely end up being footnotes in the also submitted spreadsheet pages.

Best to look at these as gauges of what a particular subset of 1,000 or so people value than as any real indicator of quality that will endure longer than the time it takes to remove the decorations from the banquet.  Now to do more important matter, such as deciding whether to finish reading Mary Horlock's The Book of Lies first, or to continue alternating between Margaret Atwood's about-to-be-released In Other Worlds:  SF and the Human Imagination, Robert Irwin's The Arabian Nightmare, David Lodge's soon-to-be-released A Man of Parts (deals in fictional way with the life of H.G. Wells), or Anders Nilsen's humongous graphic novel, Big Questions.  Some things I value more than analyzing awards; reading new works would be one of them.


Adam Roberts said...

Lodge's book is A Man of Parts, plural: good-ish, but a fictional biography of Wells much much more straight-biography than fiction. I'd recommend Chris Priest's superb Islanders: first class.

Larry said...

I hate typos! I'll correct that shortly. Thanks for reminding me about that Priest book. Maybe I'll order it if it's available as an e-book. Otherwise, I'll wait until I get around to reading The Separation.

Joe Sherry said...

I feel much the same about the Chiang. I was very much underwhelmed, and it didn't make my nomination ballot. Swirsky's story was much stronger, I thought.

But I didn't get to read many of the nominees this year.

I'm with you on the World Fantasy Awards.

Jed said...

It seems a little unfair to me to characterize Sheila as a "usual suspect"; maybe all you meant is that she's been nominated before, but fwiw, as far as I can tell, she's never won before.

Larry said...

I meant it to represent she's a regular nominee and no surprise she was on the shortlist. No judgment beyond that intended.

James said...

Does Girl Genius have amazing writing or something? I have never been able to get past the hideous art.

Larry said...

Maybe it's the only name most of of the voters recognize?

Jonathan said...

Yes, some of us share your being underwhelmed by the Hugos.

SF2 Concatenation will be commenting on thesein its autumn season edition in a couple of weeks time.

Meanwhile, a month or so ago, at the European SF convention in Sweden, the Hugos got quite a trashing on a film panel for being Hollywood blockbuster dominated. Looking at the nominations the past decade you would think that no independent or European studio could turn out a good film...

And so it goes.

The Locus Awards are better for books even if they too have a N.American focus.

AndyHat said...

BTW, in their acceptance speech, the Foglios removed themselves from contention for future Best Graphic Work Hugos, so there will definitely be a different winner next year.

Zaldar said...

Wait didn't like inception? That was an incredibly well done movie with some very interesting ideas. I realize anything made by Hollywood you love to hate but this was actually good.

Honestly most independent and European movies that try to be thoughtful that I have seen...I haven't been able to stand (but that is likely to be my political direction more than anything else I suppose).

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