ecbatan (ecbatan) wrote,
ecbatan
ecbatan

Hugo nomination comments (on everything but the short fiction)


Don't worry. (Assuming you might worry!) I'll get to detailed comments on the short fiction in three further posts, one for each category. But I'll just briefly discuss the other categories here.

First novel. I have, basically, nothing to say. Well, not directly. For the first time since 1997 I have not read a single one of the novel nominees. As for 1997, I have (partly out of pique) still not read any of the nominees! (They were Forever Peace (the winner), Frameshift, City on Fire, Jack Faust, and The Rise of Endymion). Looking back on those from the perspective of a decade, they seem mostly worthy. Probably not the Sawyer, mind you, but the rest. Though by many accounts (that I trust) Forever Peace is not one of Haldeman's best books. And judging by my sense of the critical reception of the books, none of them are masterworks (save just possibl y Jack Faust). But I should still read at least Jack Faust and City of Fire. (That year I nominated Greg Egan's Diaspora, M. John Harrison's Signs of Life, and John Kessel's Corrupting Dr. Nice (along with a couple of enjoyable but lesser books) -- all of those would have been nice additions to that ballot!)

2008 will be different, mind you. I already have copies of 4 of the nominated novels (Anathem, Little Brother, The Graveyard Book, and Saturn's Children), and I certainly plan to read them all. I'm not so sure about Zoe's Tale, which is as I understand a retelling of The Last Colony from the viewpoint of the main characters' daughter. Mind you, she saw a lot of things we didn't see in The Last Colony, so I get that the book is probably fresh and enjoyable. But from all I've heard, nothing earthshaking. And God knows me TBR pile is high enough already!

I have no real comment to make on the Dramatic Presentation nominees except to note that I am just now reading the print version of Metatropolis. (More about it when I'm done.)

And I don't have much to say about the art nominees, or the editor nominees. I will say something about fanwriter. I don't have anything against the nominees -- I don't actually know the work of Chris Garcia or John Hertz, but I am very impressed with the other three (and Steven is a friend of mine). But I have for at least three years put two people best known for online work on my nominating ballot, and I really think they are outstanding writers and very much worth a fan writer nod -- James Nicoll and Abigail Nussbaum. So I'll just add another shoutout to them.

In Best Semiprozine I am as always happy to see the magazine I contribute most to in there again -- Locus -- and I'm also happy to see nominations for Weird Tales and Clarkesworld. And for Best Fanzine I am also a contributor to one of the nominees: Argentus; and I am also pleased to see the nod for a very good short fiction 'zine, John Klima's Electric Velocipede.

And finally to the Campbell nominations. Two of the nominees are best known for novels: David Anthony Durham and Felix Gilman. I haven't read their novels, but they look intriguing. I have just read a Gilman short in the latest Weird Tales, "Catastrophe", and it is very good indeed. Durham's nomination is interesting because his first novel actually appeared in 2001. It was a very well received historical novel called Gabriel's Story. Two more historicals followed before his first fantasy, Acacia, which came out in 2007. He is wholly eligible for the Campbell because it is based on when your first fantasy or sf work appeared, but it does beg the question: Should Cormac McCarthy have been nominated after The Road? How about Michael Chabon after The Yiddish Policemen's Union? (The answer in the latter case is that he would have been ineligible because of previous short work like "the Martian Agent", but you see my point.) Mind you Durham is a newer author than either of those, and his work is more firmly in the genre tradition (and more firmly marketed as genre work). Which I'm sure contributes to his nomination.

The other three nominees are short story writers (so far). I am pleased that I noticed both Tony Pi and Aliette de Bodard for their very fine work in semipro venues -- I could see they were writers to watch, and I'm happy they've got this recognition. I noticed Gord Sellar's work too -- so did everybody, I'm sure, with his excellent stories last year at Asimov's. (And a very good long story in Tesseracts Twelve.)

All in all, I'd call it a good Campbell ballot.
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