Hugo Award Assessment: The Plan

So, I’ve mostly mapped out how I’m going to approach my as-objective-as-humanly-possible assessment of the 2016 Hugo Awards. I decided to focus on short stories and novels because I thought they’d be the easiest to get my hands on. This stayed true for novels and isn’t that true for short stories, because while I’m willing to buy a novel I’m not willing to pay for a short story, especially since I don’t really care for short stories myself. So that leaves “Seven Kill Tiger” out, because it’s only in a collection that I might have bought except it looks like it currently only has a Kindle version and, well, I don’t have and don’t want a Kindle. Yes, I’m like Rupert Giles that way. Well, actually, I’m like Rupert Giles in a lot of ways. Anyway, I can’t do that one. And I’m going to spare myself Chuck Tingle’s work, mostly because it’s really not my type of work and while love may be real, pretty much no one really thought that it was a contender. And I’m also going to skip “If You Were an Award, My Love”, because it’s just a parody of “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”, and if that story had actually won its category in 2014 there’d be a point in examining it, but it didn’t, and I’m not really interested in seeing if it was worthy of even being nominated.

So, that leaves, for short stories, in the order that I’ll examine them:

1) “Cat Pictures, Please”, which I’ve already read and whose analysis should come some time this week.

2) “Asymmetrical Warfare” , which I did manage to find but haven’t read yet.

For novels, order matters, so I’m trying to work out the order. Reviewing books that are part of a series is, as I’ve said before, risky — since the real assessment of their quality can only be judged by how they fill their role in that series — but “The Fifth Season” and “The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass” are the first in their respective series, as far as I can tell, and so they can be assessed objectively on how well they work to make me want to read the rest of the books in the series. “Ancillary Mercy” is the last in the series, and so it can’t be judged on its own, so I’ve ordered all three. The risk here is that if I don’t like the first two, then the payoff in the third won’t happen and so that will bias me against that work.

For order, my thought is to start at the bottom and work my way to the top. If the order is really reflecting quality, then I should be more and more entertained as I go along. But that’s not all that great a measure for an objective assessment, and I worry that I want to do that because I want to put off reading “The Fifth Season”, and if I come into a work thinking I won’t like it, I probably won’t. But I don’t want to rush that one either, for the same reason. I could just go random, but that seems a bit pointless. So, for now, once they arrive, I’m planning on starting at the bottom and working my way up, though that might change.

Anyone who is interested, keep following along and you’ll see my updates as soon as I post them.

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3 Responses to “Hugo Award Assessment: The Plan”

  1. Kathryn Says:

    Came here from Shamus’s. I agree with you that no-awarding him was ridiculous (well, unless the voters genuinely believed that his writing was so poor that it would be better for no award to be given than for him to get it, but I find that highly unlikely). Last year, I didn’t nominate because I don’t read enough new fiction (and I don’t read that much SF, either…I like SF, but it’s maybe 10% of what I read at most) to feel like I have any business nominating. When I heard about the “Noah Ward” plans, I decided I would sign up to vote so that I could cancel out one of those people.

    To be as fair as possible, I deliberately didn’t look at the slate and avoided looking at the authors’ names as much as I could. (I did know some of the names already, not having avoided all of the discussion, but there were plenty that I genuinely didn’t know.) After I voted, I compared my votes to the Puppy nominees. The funny thing was, there wasn’t that much overlap – in fact, one of the works I thought was worst (it actually was bad enough that I considered No Awarding it) was one of theirs. Heh.

    But after the way those people behaved at the award ceremony last year, I’m done. There’s traditionally a medal for nominees, and that year, they made the medals wooden asterisks. Asterisks.

    I’ll come back and see what you think about the Ancillary X books. I got only the preview of the second book in the voting packet last year, and all I’ll say for now is that I didn’t buy the full book.

    • verbosestoic Says:

      Yeah, I heard about the asterisking as well, although for me personally that strikes me as childish — and a demonstration of their ability to abuse their power — but it’s not as bad as their corrupting the voting process with the “No Award” strategy. The Puppies played a “Batman Gambit” on them and they fell for it.

      I’m not really up to date on anything anymore, whether it be music or books or TV shows or movies. About the only things I’m up to date on are board games. Even with video games, I tend to play older ones more (right now, it’s The Old Republic and Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines). I was hoping to start getting back into the swing of things with at least books. And you know how well THAT worked out [grin].

      Once this whole postal strike thing gets settled and Amazon deigns to ship things to me, I’ll start reading and see how it works out. I’m not really expecting to be entertained by this; if that happens, it’s a bonus. Instead, I’m treating this more like an English assignment. We’ll see how that works out.

  2. Hugo Awards Assessment: Assymmetrical Warfare | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] as noted in the plan the last short story I’m going to look at is “Assymmetrical Warfare”. And I […]

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