Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The 2010 Hugo Awards: More on the Shortlist

This is the third post regarding voting for the Hugo Awards to be presented September 5, at Aussiecon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention, to be held in Melbourne, Australia.

Belatedly, since the voting is over now, I would like to describe how I voted in the remaining fiction categories that haven't been discussed in previous posts.

SF Strangelove's Hugo ballot for best novel:
1. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (review)
2. Julian Comstock by Robert Charles Wilson (review)
3. The City & The City by China Miéville (review)

First, it must be said that having three novels this strong on the ballot is a good thing for the science fiction community and for the Hugos. It's been a few years since there were three novels this strong on the Hugo shortlist (2005 to be precise). I would not be disappointed if any of these three won. Of course, there can be no certainty that one of these will be the winner. The other novels on the Hugo shortlist include the Locus Award-winning Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. I already have written about my concerns regarding it (review). I have started reading Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente and I continue to dip into it from time to time to enjoy the wonderful writing. The conceit of a city which only can be reached by having sex with someone who already has been there is delightful (and makes me think, for some reason, of Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany). I haven't read far enough to be able to vote for it. Also, I haven't read WWW: Wake by Robert J. Sawyer, the remaining novel on the shortlist.

After I voted, I noticed that the recently announced John W. Campbell Memorial Award matches my Hugo ballot exactly:

Winner: The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Second Place: Julian Comstock by Robert Charles Wilson
Third Place: The City & The City by China Miéville

My vote wasn't influenced by this result, still it does fuel my suspicion that my taste in science fiction is more closely reflected by jury-chosen awards such as the Campbell Award, rather than popular-vote awards such as the Hugo.

SF Strangelove's Hugo ballot for best novella:
1. "Vishnu at the Cat Circus" by Ian McDonald
2. "Shambling Towards Hiroshima" by James Morrow
3. "The Women of Nell Gwynne's" by Kage Baker

"Vishnu at the Cat Circus" is wonderful. It is a free-standing story that is part of McDonald's cycle of stories about a future India. It first appeared in Cyberabad Days, which was one of the best single-author collections to appear in 2009. "Shambling Towards Hiroshima" is a fine nostalgic mashup of 1940s Hollywood and a secret history of World War Two. I found that I admired it more than I enjoyed it. "The Women of Nell Gwynne's" was enjoyable, if short of Baker's best. The remaining novellas on the shortlist, sadly, I have not yet read. Someday I will learn to leave more time to read the shortlists.

Before leaving the topic of awards, I want to note that one of the truly excellent short stories of 2009, "The Pelican Bar" by Karen Joy Fowler (review) won the Shirley Jackson Award for best short story. The Jackson Award is a relatively new jury-chosen award for horror, psychological suspense, and dark fantasy. It didn't occur to me that "The Pelican Bar" was a horror story when I read it. Nor does it concern me, since I am not interested in using genre categories as blinders. I am glad to see the story get the recognition it deserves.

Related posts:
2010 Hugo Results and Reactions
The 2010 Hugo Awards: Short Story Shortlist
The 2010 Hugo Awards: Novelette Shortlist

No comments:

Post a Comment