The Hugo Award Showcase

And the 2012 nominees are...

The Hugo Award Showcase

Postby admin » Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:48 am

Up through the 1994 Hugos, there were anthologies of the Hugo winners. Now, there is a new anthology, The Hugo Award Showcase, with all but one of the 2008 winners, plus many of the nominees. It would be really nice if some publisher would close the gap.

I've read all of the fiction Hugo winners except for the ones for the past couple of years. I plan to read those now, and report back here.

I've just read Ted Chiang's "Exhalation", which was published in an anthology of original stories, Eclipse Two. It was mostly boring, and reminded me of the sf stories published a hundred years ago, before there was a science fiction genre. There is only one character in the story, and he only exists to explain the science of a world different from our own. The science is original, I'll give Ted Chiang that, but there is no real "story" here. I wonder if, as I suspect often happens, the story won the Hugo not because a lot of people read it (how many people read original anthologies?) but because the voters recognized the author's name. If you want to read the story, which does not appear in The Hugo Award Showcase, you can read it here. http://www.nightshadebooks.com/Download ... Chiang.pdf
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1664
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:24 pm

Re: The Hugo Award Showcase

Postby admin » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:57 am

Last night I read "Pride and Prometheus" by John Kessel and "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss" by Kij Johnson, both nominated, neither a winner.

"Pride and Prometheus" appeared in January 2008, and can be described as Jane Austin meets Frankenstein. The best selling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies appeared in April 2009. Coincidence? You decide.

Jane Austin is one of my favorite authors. The John Kessel story does a fairly good job of capturing her style, but there are a few missteps. And, if you've read Frankenstein, you already know what's going to happen. Enjoyable, but not much in the way of plot.

Also lacking plot, but making up with it in originality and charm, "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss" is my favorite story of the year 2008 so far, and will probably stick with me when the others are forgotten. I would certainly have voted for it instead of the winner -- if I had read it before I voted. As it is, none of the stories I nominated made the ballot, and none of the stories on the ballot had I read, I voted for the Swanwick, because I've liked his earlier stories.

"26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss" has the acute observation of telling detail that is one keystone of a delightful story.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1664
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:24 pm

Re: The Hugo Award Showcase

Postby admin » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:24 am

"The Erdmann Nexus" by Nancy Kress, Hugo winning novella, is the most enjoyable story in the book so far, and the only story where I didn't find myself thumbing forward to see how many pages I had left to read. The reason is that the characters are recognizable human beings that we can care about. Not, perhaps, an enduring classic, but certainly a good read.

"From Babel's Fall'n Glory We Fled" by Michael Swanwick is a nominated short story. Like "Pride and Prometheus", it is a postmodern story, in the sense that it "deconstructs" earlier literary tropes, in this case space opera. It is rich with images, cynical, and pretends to be describing the far future while the subtext is the stupidity of the American Republican Party's economic policy.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1664
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:24 pm

Re: The Hugo Award Showcase

Postby admin » Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:17 am

"Shoggoths in Bloom" by Elizabeth Bear won the Hugo for best novelette. Don't read the introduction. In fact, don't read any of the introductions; the information they provide is invariably unhelpful. In this one, the editor seems to think Hitler was alive in 1953. I suspect she is confusing a reference in the story to the Orson Welles braodcast War of the Worlds with the 1953 film War of the Worlds, but even so the mind boggles at her missing all of the topical references that place the story before the US entered World War II, especially since she complements the story on being "true to the period". But ignorance of history really shouldn't surprise me any more, given all the covservatives who believe Americans had more freedom in 1776 than they do today, or that we pay higher taxes today "than at any time in history". Let it be. Maybe the date in the intro is just a typo.

The story itself is entertaining, but stumbles more often that I expect in a Hugo winner. I'll just mention one mistake that caught me up short. From page 170, "And where would they run? Harding could have asked. But it's not an answerable question, and from the look on Burt's face, he knows that as soon as it's out of his mouth. Instead, he quotes..." Also, I don't think an American would call overshoes "wellies".

The story appeared in Asimov's, a fact I guessed even before looking it up. It follows the Asimov's dictum, "we're looking for 'character oriented' stories" Maybe that's why, of the three digests, Asimov's is the only one I have not been able to sell stories to yet.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1664
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:24 pm

Re: The Hugo Award Showcase

Postby Brightonian » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:09 pm

admin wrote:But ignorance of history really shouldn't surprise me any more, given all the covservatives who believe Americans had more freedom in 1776 than they do today, or that we pay higher taxes today "than at any time in history".
Ignorance of history is spreading on this side of the pond as well: two British Prime Ministers have paid tribute to the US in recent years for standing alongside us against the Nazis in 1940, despite the fact that the country was still neutral at that time.
Brightonian
 
Posts: 482
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:56 pm
Location: Brighton, UK

Re: The Hugo Award Showcase

Postby admin » Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:01 am

Those who are ignorant of history will have to repeat it -- next semester.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1664
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:24 pm

Truth by Robert Reed

Postby admin » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:01 pm

"Truth" by Robert Reed is the second really long story in the book, and while it reads well, it is too long for the subject matter, which is a terrorist from the future. The problem is that there can only be one "All the Myriad Ways" and Larry Niven has already written it. If that whole plot thread had been removed, the story would have been shorter and better.

"The Ray-Gun: A Love Story" is an entertaining story, one of the better stories to be nominated for the Hugo in 2009. Too bad it didn't win.

"Evil Robot Monkey" by Mary Robinette Kowal, editor of The Hugo Award Showcase, is the second story in the book about monkeys. Just ok.

And "The Tear" by Ian McDonald is the third novella in this collection. I had to force myself to finish it. The author mixes poetic language, obscure words, scientific jargon, made-up words, and four letter words in a way that is sometimes evocative but distances the reader from the story. The story is almost half over before the plot appears, and while it has some memorable images, I kept looking ahead to see how many pages until the next break.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1664
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:24 pm

Re: The Hugo Award Showcase

Postby admin » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:17 pm

Every year, there are about five hundred sf stories published in professional markets, maybe ten times that many in non-paying markets. The three remaining digest sf magazines publish about 150 stories a year. Of these, less than 20 are nominated for the Hugo.

I had not read any of the Hugo nominees when I voted for the Hugos. I voted for the author, not the story. (I did read two of the nominated novels, Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, which won, and Neal Stephenson's Anathem, which would have won most years, loved both.)

So, what does it all mean? Probably that most people don't read short fiction, and the awards are mostly random chance.

I didn't really dislike any of the nine stories in The Hugo Award Showcase, but neither would I feel bad about missing any of them. My favorite was Kij Johnson's "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss".
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1664
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:24 pm


Return to Hugo Awards and Locus Awards

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron