A year ago, I thought the Hugo awards were determined by some Highly Knowledgeable Panel of Experts. I didn’t realize it was a vote available to a broad range of science fiction fans, and so I never expected to be able to participate in the decision. Now, thanks to all the ruckus, I paid my $40 supporting membership to WorldCon, and I’m doing my due diligence to read through the nominations.
That $40 is a stupendously good deal! You get to download excerpts or full versions of most of the nominated works. (This is at the discretion of the nominee.)
However, the voting is a big job indeed. There are a lot of categories, and five works per category. I’ve decided to limit myself to only a few categories and to stop reading a selection if I determine it should go below No Award or if I decide not to vote in that category. My priority is the novel category, since the winner gets listed in the public library’s Hugo and Nebula winner handouts, which I’ve consulted many times over the years. However, I’ve been sampling other things as well.
Here are a couple of things I’ve looked at:
The Goblin Emporer, Novel. I bought this yesterday and am about 1/4 way through it. It will be a contender, though I haven’t looked at the others yet.
“Listen,” a Doctor Who episode. Pretty good psychological drama, though not the quality of the first Doctor Who episode that was ever nominated. I’ll likely not vote in this category, because I’m not all that interested in three of the competitors, so it wouldn’t be fair.
Voters everywhere are puzzling over what to do about the Sad and Rabid Puppy nominations. Cross them off the list because they were produced by slate voting? Cross the Rabid Puppy nominations off the list because the guy who made the list and then threw out a call to fascists and gamergaters and men’s rights activists, Theodore Beale, is a self-described Good Sociopath who advocates white nationalism, “peaceful” ethnic cleansing, and an end to women’s sufferage?
I haven’t made up my mind. I’ve started with due diligence, but that led me to this gem of a quote, from a collection edited by Beale:
With Brad’s present offering, “The General’s Guard”, the casual reader might be tempted to dismiss it as just another “anything boy can do girl can do better” propaganda piece, written in placative submission to the tripartate goddess of modern feminism: Hysteria the Relentless, Outrage the Untiring, and Unreason, handmaiden of PMS . . .
Whew. Unless I have accidentally flipped over to a mirror universe, I can safely say that most readers would not enjoy a book filled with this kind of political diatribe.
However, I will give Sad Puppy nominations a fair chance.
(edited on 7/12 to remove mention to short story collections, which are not actually on the ballot)