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I've completed my Hugo ballot. My choices are behind the tag. Feel free to copy (as I know [profile] zyxwvut will -- he copies my ballots in real elections as well).

My Hugo Ballot )
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Wow. I was so annoyed at the quality of the Best Novella nominees that I almost stopped reading. But the Best Novelette nominees have been much better, and I am encouraged. It's much more difficult to rank nominees when you don't despise any of them! Perhaps there is a future for science fiction after all.

Hugo Best Novelette Nominees )

And that concludes my series of Hugo nominee reviews! I've now read the whole package. I enjoyed more of it than I hated, but I did despise several pieces. So I understand what [profile] trinsf is saying about getting involved at the nomination level, so as to avoid having to read the tripe that other people nominate. Assuming I can afford hardcover books, I can try to do that at the novel level. It will be difficult for me to find the time, however, to read all of those short stories, novelettes and novellas, as work is (fortunately) picking up. Also, there is a part of me that thinks, well, if I'm trying to avoid reading drivel, I should be more selective, not less. If I'm reading Hugo nominees, the works will have been vetted beyond the level of magazine editors. In the end, we will just have to see what time permits.
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It's time for the latest installment in my series on the Hugos. I started out going from big to small, novels to short stories, but I skipped the novelettes because I feared not being able to finish them all in time. It seemed a good bet that I could at least get through the Best Short Story nominees, and I now have. In general, I enjoyed these more than the Best Novella nominees.

Hugo )
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This year, I have flung myself into the Hugo awards as never before, partially because of things being slow enough at work that I really needed things to read online, and partially because of the encouragement of [livejournal.com profile] trinsf and the other Fanzine Loungers. So far, I've read not only all of the Best Novel nominees (my comments on some of them here), but also the nominees for Best Novella. I keep going back and forth on whether or not I should continue this project of trying to read the Hugos, because I just seem to have different taste than a lot of other fen. I do want to be a charmingly robust drinking companion, but I only liked two of the five novellas. And I wasn't even screamingly into the two that I did like. My thoughts, for what they're worth...

My Thoughts on This Year's Novellas )

Things are picking up at work (fortunately!), so I'm beginning to doubt I'll have time to read the Novelettes before the voting deadline. I probably have a reasonable chance of getting through the Short Stories, however, so I am going to focus on those next.
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I am truly ahead of myself on the Hugos this year. I have prepared myself not only for the voting deadline, but for the nomination deadline. I've read six books that I think are likely to be nominated, so that I could do my part to make sure the right one gets nominated. I had the good fortune (or the planning fortitude) to see four of the authors read and/or discuss their books this year, which helped me get ahead. Once I was so close to being ready for the nominations, I picked up the books whose authors I hadn't seen. The six books were: The Devil's Eye by Jack McDevitt, Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi, Saturn's Children by Charlie Stross, Rolling Thunder by John Varley, Anathem by Neal Stephenson, and Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.

My Thoughts on 2008's Books )
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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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