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Not the Hugo

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You’ve seen the Hugo Award results, you’ve seen the Not the Booker Award the Guardian runs each year. Obviously, a Not the Hugo Award should be done before the Worldcon hands out its shiny pointy rockets, but… I refuse to accept that Blackout / All Clear is the best genre novel(s) published in the US or UK in 2010. So until the Hugo removes that misleading “best” from the names of its awards, we are obliged to point out where it got it wrong. Again.

And no, I didn’t nominate or vote. But the Hugo Awards do not belong to only those who voted for them. If they want them to be awards for the genre(s), then they need to be open to criticism from those who do not, or will not, involve themselves in the process.

Instead, I shall choose a more deserving winner for the Not the Hugo Award for Novel Most Liked By a Different Group of People to the Hugo Voters. Except I didn’t read every genre novel published in English in 2010. So I need people to nominate titles in the comments.

Off you go…

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7 thoughts on “Not the Hugo

  1. I’ve spent most of the last year reading classics and literary fiction so my nominations are Zoo City by Lauren Beukes and Zero History by William Gibson.

    • The shortlist for this year’s BSFA Award is infinitely superior to the Hugo shortlist:

      The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
      Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
      The Restoration Game by Ken MacLeod
      The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (which won)
      Lightborn by Tricia Sullivan

      • Is The Windup Girl really this year? Wow, this year was a long one for me.

        My nom’s would probably go to that or the Dervish house (which I really loved).

        Like Will further up I’ve not read SF much this year – mostly because it appears it’s becoming harder to find the good stuff. Certainly I get the impression that the signal noise ratio is getting poorer. And, just perhaps, this feeds into the problem with the Hugos.

  2. As you know, I’m largely ambivalent to the whole Hugos thing either way, and that disinterest is very much a function of the the misuse of the word “Best”, but I think it bears pointing out that this:

    “… the Hugo Awards do not belong to only those who voted for them. If they want them to be awards for the genre(s), then they need to be open to criticism from those who do not, or will not, involve themselves in the process.”

    … doesn’t make any sense at all. The entire substance of your complaint is that the first sentence pertains; they plainly do belong only to those who vote for them, and that seems to be the (arguably legitimate) problem you have with them. But more importantly, “being open to criticism from those who [...] will not involve themselves in the process” just seems daft; arguing that lack of engagement with the process devalues the utility of the award is one argument (and one worth having, perhaps, if you care about the system as it stands), but arguing that lack of engagement with the process obliges the process to change to accommodate those who lack engagement with it seems… well, it just doesn’t make any sense to me, I guess. Surely if you will not involve yourself with the process, you’d not have (for example) written this post?

    TL;DR: I think you’re perhaps trying to have your anti-Hugos cake and eat it, here. You can either think they’re broken but worth changing, and hence try to change them, or you can think they’re pointless and ignore them completely. In the former case, you’re involving yourself in the process, if only peripherally; in the latter, you’re (metaphorically) complaining about the prices in Harrodd’s even though you never shop there and have no intention of ever doing so.

    Even shorter version: for someone who doesn’t care about the Hugos, you’re doing a pretty crap job of demonstrably not caring about the Hugos. :)

    • …they plainly do belong only to those who vote for them.

      We’re going to have to disagree here, because I don’t see this as true at all. When people tell me I have no right to comment on the awards because I didn’t vote for them, then they shouldn’t present them as awards for the entire field. The Hugos are not club awards – or at least, they don’t want us to treat them as such. And so I won’t.

      If writing a post like the above – and my other commentaries over the years on the subject – is part of the process, then yes, I guess you could say I’m involved. But as for nominating works and then voting on them? Paying the $50? I won’t do that.

  3. I haven’t read a great deal of current SF lately, but The Dervish House deserves many awards. And I actually got on much better with Kraken than I have with most of Mieville’s novels. Zoo City does fab stuff, too.

  4. Pingback: SF Signal: The Hugo Award As Cultural Object

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