The Hugo awards are presented at an evening ceremony during the World Science Fiction Convention. Nominations are as result of ballots cast by the convention members who vote by mail. They are counted using a weighted method whereby ballot entries, listed by preference, are assigned a value and then tallied. Those who fail to meet the cutoff or have the least number are dropped and the counting is redone until such time as a clear winner appears.
Below you'll find an overview of the winners, with cover/title links to the SF Site reviews (where applicable) along with synopses of those titles yet to be reviewed (cover images are linked to larger images).
|Hugo Award for Best Novel|
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an audiobook review by Nicki Gerlach
Barrayar, the second book of the Vorkosigan Saga, begins almost immediately following the events of Shards of Honor. Cordelia Vorkosigan (née Naismith) has given up almost everything of her former life on Beta Colony to be with the man she loves. She's finding life on Barrayar somewhat hard to adjust to, however; its class and gender stratification, its emphasis on familial lineage and military might, and its lack of technological progress, all make the entire planet seem somewhat backwards to Cordelia's way of thinking.
an audiobook review by Nicki Gerlach
Miles Vorkosigan -- crippled son of Barrayar's Prime Minister -- has just graduated from the Barrayaran Military Academy, and like every graduate is desperately hoping to be assigned to ship duty. But instead of being put aboard the Barrayaran fleet's newest interstellar cruiser, he's assigned instead to the post of meteorology officer at a remote arctic training base. But even in that far-flung outpost, Miles can't stay out of trouble for long.
In the twenty-ninth century, the universe of the Human Hegemony is under threat by the rebel Ousters and the schemes of the secessionist AI TechnoCore. Seven citizens set out on a pilgrimage to the planet, Hyperion. There, the fabled Time Tombs seem about to reveal their secrets. But Hyperion is home also to the Shrike, part god and part killing machine, whose powers are said to transcend space and time. The seven have been chosen by the Church of the Shrike to travel on what may prove to be a final pilgrimage. While en route, the travellers, like another fabled group of pilgrims, share their stories on why they are on the journey.
"It is a multilayered epic of interstellar cabals and dark human passions; genius, blackmail, and sacrifice; murder, resurrection, and the betrayal of innocence—and loyalty stronger than death. The story follows two young friends trapped in an endless nightmare of suspicion and surveillance, of cyber-programmed servants and a ruling class with century-long lives and the enigmatic woman who dominates them all."
"In a future universe in which no species can reach sentience without being "uplifted" by a patron race, the greatest mystery of all remains unsolved: who uplifted humankind? As galactic armadas clash in quest of the ancient fleet of the Progenitors, a brutal alien race seizes the dying planet of Garth. The various uplifted inhabitants of Garth must battle their overlords or face ultimate extinction. At stake is the existence of Terran society and Earth, and the fate of the entire Five Galaxies."
"In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: The Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War. Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening. Again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery and the truth."
"In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut -- young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training."
Rampant poverty and excessive affluence, unparalleled leisure and sophisticated crime -- it is a world that Case, a burnt-out, nerve-damaged computer geek, inhabits. Once he was at the top of his game, able to plug into the world of cyberspace where programs take on a visible form and can invade any system, no matter how well-protected. Now, unable to work, Case is living in Japan, on the slide to self-destruction. He is picked up by Molly, a street samurai and combat artist and her mysterious employer, Armitage. They give him a comeback chance but maybe even he can't cut it despite his restored abilities. Neuromancer is worldwide in scope -- from Japan, to the Sprawl -- a nightmare urban conglomerate stretching between Boston and Atlanta -- to Istanbul and then beyond to Freeside, a space habitat which combines Las Vegas and a darkside Disneyland. It was the first novel to win the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award and the Philip K. Dick Award.
"The Terran exploration vessel Streaker has crashed in the uncharted water world of Kithrup, bearing one of the most important discoveries in galactic history. Below, a handful of her human and dolphin crew battles armed rebellion and a hostile planet to safeguard her secret -- the fate of the Progenitors, the fabled First Race who seeded wisdom throughout the stars."
"At last, the costly and bitter war between the two Foundations had come to an end. The scientists of the First Foundation had proved victorious; and now they return to Hari Seldon's long-established plan to build a new Empire that the Second Foundation is not destroyed after all -- and that its still-defiant survivors are preparing their revenge. Now the two exiled citizens of the Foundation -- a renegade Councilman and the doddering historian -- set out in search of the mythical planet Earth."
"The Earth Company built its first space stations to mine the resources of the solar system. Centuries later, it now controls only the first few stations reaching out from Sol. The interstellar distances, and the delays in crossing them, have lead the outer stations to independence. Further out, a Union has been formed, a fascist empire of a few free leaders and uncountable cloned slaves. The massive company fleet, once intended to enforce discipline in space and to battle the Union, now survives by leeching off of the stations it once protected. Pell station, the 10th one, orbits the first new world that is habitable by humans and more importantly, on which the first alien life has been discovered. For many years, the Konstantin family have ruled Pell Station and the colonies on Pell itself. Angelo and his two sons Damon and Emilio must fight to protect their fragile domain, now overloaded with refugees from neighbouring stations against overwhelming external forces and insidious internal subversion."
"As the end of her third lifetime draws near, Arienrhod, the ancient ruler of far Tiamat, clones several heirs, and seeds them on different islands throughout her sea-dark world."
reviewed by Rich Horton
The book tells of Vannevar Morgan, the greatest civil engineer of the mid-22nd century. Having built a bridge across the Straits of Gibraltar, he dreams of an even greater accomplishment: sort of a bridge to space: a "skyhook," or "space elevator." This will be a cable stretching from the Earth's equator to an anchoring satellite at geosynchronous orbit. In a long series of short chapters, he tells of Morgan's efforts to get the elevator built.
"They summon the healer Snake and she travels the blasted landscape to save a sick child. With her she carries two serpents from whose venom she distills her medicine -- and a third, even more precious, the alien dreamsnake, whose bite can ease the fear and pain of death. But when her dreamsnake is killed by the primitive ignorance of those she has come to help, her powers as a healer are all but lost, and she has to find a new snake."
reviewed by Trent Walters
It has long been considered a classic of the genre. In 1978, it won the Campbell, the Hugo, the Locus and the Nebula awards. Did it deserve such laurels? In a word, yes. The mysterious tunneled worlds and technology of the Heechee still feels fresh and full of wonder. The novel weaves the past and present of Robinette Broadhead, from his contemporary psychiatric sessions with a computer he has dubbed Sigfrid von Shrink to his reminisces of less fortunate days.
Author of Fault Lines and The Dark Door, the author won the Hugo Award in 1977 for this classic novel of an isolated post-holocaust community of clones who are determined to preserve civilization, at almost any cost.
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Private William Mandella is a man about to embark on a journey that will traverse space and time, war and uneasy peace. By the close of the book, the reluctant soldier will have travelled over twelve centuries. That can be traumatic enough, but it is the changes in society, mores, and norms that will be the most difficult barriers facing him. No work before or since this novel has so successfully portrayed the emotional toll of what is, essentially, time-travel.
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
It's a book of opposites: a utopian novel that doesn't flinch from exposing the flaws of its model society, a feminist-themed narrative with a male protagonist, a social commentary that presents communal cooperation as the truest human ideal, yet focuses on the inevitable separateness of the creative individual within such a structure. Through these dichotomies, the author examines the tension between human aspiration and human nature, between what can be dreamed and what can be achieved.
"At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers name Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms that Rama is no natural object. It is an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists alike prepare for mankind's first encounter with alien intelligence. Now the moment of rendezvous awaits -- just behind a Raman airlock door."
"Only a few know the terrifying truth -- an outcast Earth scientist, a rebellious alien inhabitant of a dying planet, a lunar-born human intuitionist who senses the imminent annihilation of the Sun. They know the truth -- but who will listen? They have foreseen the cost of abundant energy -- but who will believe? These few beings, human and alien, hold the key to the Earth's survival. "
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