Visions of Paradise

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Observations on Hugo results

Some observations on the Hugo nominations and awards:

John Scalzi’s The Last Colony came in 4th in nominations for Best Novel but was a close runnerup for the Hugo itself. He also dominated both the nominations and the voting for the Best Fanwriter Hugo. I wonder which is the driving force in Scalzi’s case. Does his popularity as a blogger carry over to votes for Best Novel, or vice versa?

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union was my favorite novel of 2007, and Michael Chabon is one of my favorite writers, so I was pleased that it backed up its Nebula win with a Hugo win.

Connie Willis’ “All Seated on the Ground” was not selected for any of the science fiction Best-of-the-Year anthologies. At first I thought it might have been a fantasy story, but its review at describes it as pure sf. I wonder if it deserved its Hugo Award for Best Novella or did it win based purely on Willis’ personal popularity?

Ted Chiang’s “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” and Elisabeth Bear’s “Tideline” dominated both the nominations and Hugo voting for Best Novelette and Best Short Story respectively. I guess that makes them the best 2 sf stories of 2007 (and I anxiously look forward to reading them in Gardner Dozois’ Year’s Best Science Fiction).

I was pleased that Brave New World: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction won Best Related Book for a purely selfish reason: I am mentioned in the book as the earliest known user of the word “sfnal”. I really do not recall whether I invented the word or saw it previously when I first used it nearly 30 years ago.

Gordon Van Geldor is a deserving winner of Best Editor–Short Form. I wish his personal popularity would translate into an increase in circulation for F&SF. I ashamedly admit that I do not subscribe to it since I do not have time to read monthly magazines. I do buy their annual double-issue though.

I have never heard of Mary Robinette Kowal, the winner of the John W. Campbell Award as Best New Writer. When I googled her name, I learned she is “a professional puppeteer who moonlights as a writer.” Her writing credits seem fairly skimpy, so I wonder whether she won the award for her writing or because the voters enjoyed her puppetry?


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