Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Looking Back at the Hugos

When I started working my way through the Hugo awards I hadn't read a lot of science fiction in a while and my selections back when I did read a lot of science fiction my tastes were not particularly refined. So when I was looking for more relaxing reading and I turned back to science fiction. I didn't want to just fall back into reading popular series and I struck on the idea of reading the Hugo winning novels.

Despite being a science fiction fan there were large holes in my knowledge. I had read perhaps a fifth of the winning novels before and there were a lot of the authors who I simply had not read before to my knowledge (excepting the possibility that I may have read a short story and not recognized the name).

So I read a few great novels, quite a few entertaining ones, and some pretty terrible ones and once it was all done I have to say it was worth it. I've now been through the scope and history of science fiction since the 1950's and tasted the variations. It's given me a deeper appreciation of the truly great ones in the genre. Reading through the Hugo winning novels is a trip that any science fiction fan should attempt.

The final tally on the liked/disliked ratio is:

Liked: 36
Disliked: 18

The past decade of the Hugo awards brought in the worst winners and the some truly great ones. While I won't dispute the validity in choosing a children's fantasy book for one of the winner I also found Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to simply be a bad book. Hominids was awarded the Hugo mainly through politicking and is the single worst Hugo winning novel. On the other hand Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a spectacular novel and Spin and Rainbows End are both pretty good. It gives me hope that we're seeing a resurgence in quality with the winners.