Jul. 6th, 2008

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Every year, I try to read at least some of the nominees for the Hugo award for Best Novel. When I'm attending the convention and thus am allowed to vote, as I am this year, I try to read them in time to vote. That was a struggle this year, because I forgot that, with the convention being early, the voting would be early as well. But I've finished them, five days before the deadline, and am now ready to vote.

Below are my reviews of the five books nominated this year. The cut is for length, not for spoilers. Do not worry; I will not spoil you. I will preface my remarks by saying that I am voting solely on how much I enjoyed the experience of reading each book, not on literary merit or any other quality. Furthermore, my taste tends toward hard science fiction; if a fantasy novel is nominated, I do not bother to read it, because I just don't usually like fantasy novels much or get much out of reading them. Fortunately, there were no fantasy novels nominated this year, but there was an alternate reality story.

I was almost considering giving up on the annual Hugos-reading project this year, because I really did not like one of the novels (the alternate reality story, naturally). Also, I had a couple of conversations with friends where we discussed authors we very much liked (Cory Doctorow and Greg Egan), and each friend told me that those authors never get nominated for the Hugo. Apparently Hugo nominees tend to be on the light side compared to those authors. Or something. But, while I've read a lot of Hugo nominees I didn't like, the annual project has also introduced me to some great authors, such as Robert Charles Wilson, John Scalzi and Jack McDevitt. And one of my friends was wrong -- Egan has two nominees for Best Novelette this year. So, I think I'll keep reading.

Before my reviews, I'd like to give a big shout out to John Scalzi, who made four of the five books available electronically to convention members. This enabled me to read the books at work without looking like I was reading novels at work. This was absolutely essential to my ability to finish reading the books in time to vote. Thank you, Scalzi! And I hope I'm doing exactly what you wanted here by getting the word out about the books.

My Hugo Reviews )

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