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It is Hugo Award nomination time again - 2023

7 months ago
last modified: 7 months ago

I'm really struggling with the Hugo nominations this year. They are being held in China and there seem to be a lot of electronic communication problems. I've tried to register but it doesn't seem to be working. That is, I've registered, and they are acting as though I am registered, but I never paid my fee (voting for the Hugos requires an annual membership subsctiption). I keep trying, and usually my emails fail to deliver. When they go through, I do not get a reply. So I don't actually know whether I will be able to vote this year or not. I will try.

Meanwhile, there are the nominations for Best Novel this year, just announced today.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal

I was a bit disappointed that there are no Chinese authors here, given that the Hugos take place in China this year. There are some superb Chinese authors of SF, the most noted being Cixin Liu, author of the Three Body Problem.

Nothing here looks like an obvious winner to me, and there is nothing I am personally excited about. I have read three of them. John Scalzi writes clever, adventurous, tradtional science fiction, and there is nothing wrong with that. He is a popular writer and I enjoy his books (The Old Man's War, Red Shirts). I liked his novel and would not be at all sorry to see it win. T. Kingfisher is one of my favorite writers, and I would also be pleased to see her win, though I wish she had been nominated for one of her earlier books. Nettle & Bone is an enjoyable novel, and I would recommend it without reservation; it's just that I liked some of her earlier work better. As for Legends & Lattes, I did not actually dislike it. but I didn't think it was all that wonderful. No particular literary brilliance, groundbreaking ideas, or even narrative tension. I would never bother to read it a second time. It does seem to be quite popular though, so who knows?

Now for the three I have not yet read. Tamsyn Muir does venture into non-tradtional territory. Unfortunately I found her first novel distinctly unpleasant and have not read any of the follow-ups, of which I believe this is one. Moreno-Garcia's earler SF novel Mexican Gothic was nominated for the other major SF award, the Nebula. I found the blend of Gothic novel and SF unconvincing and never actually finished reading it. I'll give this one a try to see if I like it better. As for Mary Robonette Kowal, I have actually disliked several of her novels since to me they felt like Harlequin romances wrapped up in SF or fantasy costume. However, her most recent one The Relentless Moon was actually quite good. Again, I will give this book a try.

I'm not sure how much time I will actually put into this year's reading beyond the Best Novel category (novella, novelette, short story, series, and YA), since I am not sure if my voting will actully go through. I'm concerned they will discover that I am not really registered at the last minute when it is too late to correct it. And I don't want to vote if I am not qualified. We'll see how this develops. I'm still hoping that one of my messages to them actually provokes a response.

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