I’m a Dresden Files fan – though I never did really get into the TV show – who’s read all the books and a good chunk of the shorts. (I’m not a big enough fan to keep up with the shorts, so I never know when there’s more of them.) I’d read Skin Game when it first came out, and decided that I’d need to reread it in order to rank it properly against the other Hugo nominees: Ancillary Sword, The Goblin Emperor, The Dark Between The Stars, and The Three Body Problem. (This list is not in preferential order.)
I’m not entirely uncritical of the series – I thought Changes really, really, really sucked. Not because of the plot, but because the entire book was written in a sort of emotionally dissociated manner full of “telling” and not “showing” that ticked me off. Ghost Story was better, and I liked Cold Days as well, but I think Skin Game really hits it out of the park! And I think the work is especially strong because it rewards a re-reading – I didn’t remember every surprise detail but I did remember enough to anticipate the plot twist coming – without my foreknowledge ruining the suspense.
So. I’ve read all the novels nominated for this year’s Hugo Awards. Skin Game is my first choice. The Dark Between The Stars will be my second choice: I have to respect an author that can pull off the Loads And Loads Of Characters plotline without losing my interest! The others, I’m not entirely sure yet; I’ll have to mull things over and consider exactly what principles I should use to rank my non-favorite entries.
I will be keeping an ear to the ground, as far as the anti-Sad-Puppies politicking goes. Because as much as I want to be an idealist like Brad, idealists do not make the rules, and when idealists play against ideologues like the SJW CHORF crowd, they always lose – because idealists play fair, and CHORFs think “fair play” is for their opponents, not themselves. If there is still an anti-SP contingent campaigning for “No Award” scorched-earth against the SP3 works when the ballot deadline rolls around, I’m going to play hardball right back at them. Because I don’t make the rules. THEY make the rules – after all, haven’t they been claiming that the Hugo Award belongs to them this year? (After spending two years claiming that it’s a popular award for all of fandom!) And if they think it’s fine for their side to vote for a Hugo Award according to politics, then that’s exactly what “the rules” are for this competition. At least I can say I’ve read all the works, which is more than they’re willing to do.