Aug 10, 2009

Congrats to the Hugo Winners!

Neil Gaiman took home the big prize at last night's Hugo Awards for his YA-novel, The Graveyard Book. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors and he has an almost indescrible talent for writing. I'm not a judge of form or language or other literary aspects but if I had to pick the best "story-teller", it would be Gaiman. He can make any story completely enchanting and profoundly creepy, often at the same time. I've read a lot of fiction and I'd like to think I can recognize some of the tricks of the trade but I have absolutely no idea how he does it. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some supernatural aspect to it but I'll wait for Gaiman to tell that story. He'd do it more justice that I ever could.

That being said, I loved The Graveyard Book but I don't know if it necessarily deserved the Hugo award over the other nominees. I'm of the opinion that none of the nominees (or any SFF book for that matter) was a clear runaway winner and I can't say that The Graveyard Book is better at what Gaiman set out to do than what Cory Doctorow was trying to accomplish with Little Brother or what Stephenson tackled with Anathem. Or Scalzi. Or Stross. It's like comparing Lord of the Rings to Ender's Game, there's very little objective means for ranking books (especially when there is no longevity to consider). Thus it comes down to a subjective opinion, thus inviting controversy.

Basically, I can't provide a reason why The Graveyard Book deserves the Hugo over any of the other books but I can't provide a reason why any of the other books deserve the Hugo over The Graveyard Book. They are all very strong books and I would recommend all of them to any SFF fan.

I am happy that, unlike the Nebula award, I don't need to go out a grab a book that I haven't read to catch up on another award. I was much more prepared for the Hugo awards (4 out of 5) than I was for the Nebulas. Only Scalzi's Zoe's Tale has escaped my clutches and thats only because I am waiting for the oh so pretty Subterranean Press editions to line up on my bookshelf next to Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades. Scalzi did manage to take home a rocket ship for Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded which was incredibly entertaining, although I still think my hate mail should have been included!

Other notable winners included :

Best Novella: “The Erdmann Nexus”, Nancy Kress (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2008)
Best Novelette: “Shoggoths in Bloom”, Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s Mar 2008)
Best Short Story: “Exhalation”, Ted Chiang (Eclipse Two)
Best Editor Short Form: Ellen Datlow
Best Editor Long Form: David G. Hartwell

You can see the full list here. Congrats again to Mr. Gaiman and to all of the winners!

Note: You can also find out who got exactly how many votes at the link above but I can't make complete sense of the results based solely on the pdf. Maybe I'll try and figure it out tomorrow.

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