I try to read all of the Hugo winners, as one way of keeping up with the overwhelming volume of sf being published today. I just finished reading the three shorter winners in fiction.
Did ya ever notice how some books you just pick up and read, and others you have to force yourself through -- and keep looking ahead to see how many pages yet to go? That was my experience with two of the three Hugo winners.
The novella, "A Billion Eves" by Robert Reed, is a patchwork of old writing and recent writing that never really comes together. It starts out with the pov character describing her parents -- a violation of the "show don't tell" rule that every beginning writer hears. Worse, what she says about her parents doesn't seem to have anything to do with the rest of her story, in which her parents play a minor role. There are some interesting ideas, though the basic gimmick is a lot like Asimov's "Living Space", except that the rips in spacetime are one way. Parts of it are entertaining, other parts seem to tell us a lot of stuff we aren't really interested in and don't need to know.
The novelette, "The Djinn's Wife" by Ian McDonald, has a lot of local color and flowery writing -- too much for my taste. Despite the title, it is science fiction, about a woman who marries an AI. It also seemed much too long, with the author showing off a lot, and the AI turning out to have too many human emotions -- did he really get all those human emotions by watching soap operas?
The short story is, by far, the best of the lot: "Impossible Dreams" by Tim Pratt. It is focused. Everything in the story follows from the premise (a DVD store from an alternate Earth), the characters are likable, and the writer doesn't get in the way of the story. Tim Pratt is an author I will keep an eye out for.
I read the best novel winner, "Rainbow's End" by Vernor Vinge, when it first came out, and loved it.
For the past three years, Dr. Who won a hugo for an episode I had not seen, so I finally broke down and bought the new Dr. Who DVDs. I'll keep you posted.
For best movie, Pan's Labyrinth, which I did not like, beat Children of Men, which I liked a lot.