2009 Hugo Nominees.

Behold (via link) The 2009 Hugo Nominees!

For Best Novel:

Way back in the 90s, I got into the habit of reading the stories nominated for literary SF’s premier awards: the Hugo and the Nebula. The Hugo nominees are chosen by the members of the annual World Science Fiction Convention, and the Nebulae by the professional writers who make up SFWA (Siffwaah), or the Science Fiction (and Fantasy) Writers of America. Pretentious snob that I am, I’ve always preferred the more refined Nebula winners to the selections of the red-shirt clad masses.

The Hugo sometimes reminds me of a high school popularity contest.  Four of the five authors nominated for best novel this year are also immensely popular bloggers: Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, John Scalzi, and Charlie Stross (I was a fan of Scalzi, and I think, Doctorow, as bloggers before I began reading their SF). Don’t get me wrong–I love all of them as SF writers, but I was particularly disappointed last year when solid but less than inspired offerings by Scalzi (The Last Colony), Stross (Halting State) and Robert Sawyer (Rollback) beat out edgy and exhilarating works like Richard Morgan’s Thirteen.

All my Ole Man Remy griping aside, until I get on my ass and crank out a few printable stories, I can participate in the selection of the Hugos but not the Nebula awards. (Where’s that red shirt of mine…) The other cool thing about the Hugos is that in an attempt to garner votes, most of the stories are made available for free download! Finally, even if the stories may not always be the cream of the 2008 crop, the risk of getting a total dud is pretty low. Plus, did I say they’re (often) free!? (limited time offer!)

Since I plan to attend this year’s World SF Con in Montreal (where Neil Fucking Gaiman, and I say “Fucking” with All Due Respect, will be the Guest of Fucking Honor), I want to make sure I read every nominated novel, novella, novellette, and novelletenito and watch every performance, so that I can vote carefully on who will get to grasp the exceedingly phallic and polished rocket of Señor Hugo. I’ll try to make this process transparent, and I hope you’ll join me in reading and talking about some of these works.  If you write about any of these books or stories on your blogs, let me know so I can link to them!


  1. John

    If you’re interested in tagging along, My plan is to tackle one category at a time. My first post (aiming for next week) will probably be on the short story category, while I work on wrapping up the novels (Little Brother and Graveyard Book down, Anathem, Zoe’s Tale, Anathem, Saturn’s Children, and Anathem left to go!)

  2. I don’t know…I kind of like the idea of a fan-voted set of awards. I think that sometimes the writer-voted awards can be swayed by writerly politics, which isn’t good, either.

    I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t like Scalzi’s “The Last Colony”, as it is nearing the top of my to-read pile. I really liked “Old Man’s War” and “The Ghost Brigades”.

    Meanwhile, I won’t be making it to Montreal, but some long-time internet acquaintances in Australia are trying to entice me to Melbourne for next year’s festivities. I’m thinking about it, but will have to sort finances…it costs a lot to fly to Australia, and it’s a long flight. So, we’ll see.

    However, I will be at Baycon in May and at LosCon in November, as well as at Gallifrey next February…already have my memberships for all three, in fact. I tell you, these cons are addicting.

  3. John

    Elaine, I’m sorry that I didn’t make it clear in the post–I totally enjoyed The Last Colony, I just thought there were more award-worthy offerings out there (plus it was hard for Scalzi to top Ghost Brigades, which is definitely my fave so far).

    Airline prices have dropped pretty low! It’s the only reason the Montreal trip is possible for me…

    And hopefully I (and maybe xJane, Jana, GameBoy and CatGirl??) will make it to LosCon this year!

  4. Scalzi has quickly become one of my favorite science fiction authors, with Old Man’s War being one of my favorite novels ever. I really enjoyed Zoe’s Tale, but I’ve only read Graveyard book and Little Brother. It’s my favorite of the three.

  5. Re: “The Last Colony”…I’m glad I misunderstood you, as I’m really looking forward to reading it.

    One of the main deciding factors in whether or not I will go to Australia is whether I can find a fare that I can sort of afford. The will is there, it’s just the means that are in question.

    Also, I hope all of you do make it to LosCon this year. I’m always happy to see you and your family. And it would very cool to finally meet xJane besides just in cyberspace.

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