I’m finding the saga of the Hugo award nominations quite amusing – here’s some background: A Blow has been Struck Against Puppy-Related Sadness
And here are Vox’s thoughts on it. I have The Last Witchking on Kindle already, so I didn’t have to go download his nominated short story in order to re-read it. It amuses me that Vox is apparently far, far, far more hated than Larry The International Lord of Hate (lol). I’m also vindicated that Vox thinks Wheel of Time is terrible, since I had to stop reading the first volume before it ended up thrown at high velocity at the nearest wall. I’m a SF/F fan, but that thing made me so mad, and I suspect that the writing isn’t nearly good enough to support the excessively long book(s). (It’s the Mega-Bestseller Author Problem: no editor has the balls to tell them “Cut this, this, this, and this, and make this over here more succinct; you’re boring the readers.” The later Harry Potter novels definitely suffered from it. Also the Deathly Hallows movie Pt. 1. Somebody needs to edit that monster down to about 20 minutes’ runtime.) Maybe if I’d stumbled across it while I was still in high school and obsessively reading anything I could get my hands on, no matter how flawed (Sword of Shannara and sequels… I need say no more.) I would have been able to tolerate it. As it is, I have less than zero desire to read it, and I’d probably make a bonfire with the paperbacks if I could get away with it. Cultural disapproval of book-burning notwithstanding. (Somehow being able to download basically any book you want off the internet makes mass market paperbacks much less sacred.)
But seriously, the people running the Hugos don’t just have no idea how small the SF fandom is, they have no idea how small their own clique is within fandom. I’ve been a SF/F fan basically since I learned to read, and if somebody had walked up to me and asked me “Read any Hugo Award stories lately?” my response would have been something like “Huh? What’s a Hugo Award?” And if the hypothetical questioner had explained, I probably would have said, “Oh. That’s nice. No, no plans to read those.” Because as a voracious reader at the local library, I learned early that a book with a shiny “award” seal on the cover was no more likely to be a pleasing read than any other book chosen at random off the stacks. So I learned not to pay any attention to them.
I didn’t pay the $40 to become a “member” of WorldCon this year and thus be able to vote. I’m the kind of person who’d feel morally obligated to read each of the proposed entries, and I just don’t have the time or the tolerance for that. But if a book like Awake in the Night Land is eligible next year, I think I’m going to have to set aside the time for extra “assigned” reading – because that book is truly excellent. I’ll be doing a separate post on it soon!