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My Virtual Hugo Ballot

August 8, 2009

Since the 2009 Hugos are going to be awarded in a few hours, I’d better get this posted. Last year, with WorldCon in Denver, I decided to vote for the Hugo awards. The process turned out to be a bit more political than I might have wished for, but in the end it still felt like it was worth doing. So I bought myself another vote this year. I didn’t quite get everything read by the deadline, so where noted, this is how I would have voted. Plus some commentary.

Short Story

1: “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” by Kij Johnson

2: “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang

3: “Evil Robot Monkey” by Mary Robinette Kowal

4: “From Babel’s Fall’n Glory We Fled” by Michael Swanwick

5: “Article of Faith” by Mike Resnick

“26 Monkeys” was the only one I finished reading by the deadline, so I voted for it, and I’m glad I did. “Exhalation” had a pretty interesting concept but “26 Monkeys” was the best story, I thought. No idea what will win.

Novelette

1: “Pride and Prometheus” by John Kessel

2: “The Ray-Gun: A Love Story” by James Alan Gardner

3: “The Gambler” by Paolo Bacigalupi

4: “Shoggoths in Bloom” by Elizabeth Bear

5: “Alastair Baffle’s Emporium of Wonders” by Mike Resnick

“The Gambler” was the only one I read before voting, so I gave it a vote. But “Pride and Prometheus” was definitely my favorite, a crossover story between Pride & Prejudice and Frankenstein. “Ray-Gun” was also pretty satisfying. “Shoggoths” seems to be the one with the buzz behind it though.

Novella

1: “The Political Prisoner” by Charles Coleman Finlay

2: “The Tear” by Ian McDonald

3: “Truth” by Robert Reed

4: “The Erdmann Nexus” by Nancy Kress

5: “True Names” by Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow

I did finish all of these, so this is my real vote. I thought they were all pretty good, I could have voted any of the top 3 as number 1. “Political Prisoner” I guess felt the most complete, the tightest. I’m a long-time McDonald fan so it was hard not to put him on top here. “The Tear” seemed like it had the most original ideas but seemed like it needed a little bit more of something to hold it together. Prediction-wise, I can’t go against Doctorow, although that one also seemed a bit unfinished to me.

Novel

1: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

2: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

3: Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi

no vote: Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross

no vote: Anathem by Neal Stephenson

If I had a blog a year ago, I could have predicted these 5 books would be the finalists. I read all of them except Anathem, which I skipped because I didn’t care for his other books that I’ve read so I didn’t want to buy a huge and expensive hardback. I intend to get it in paperback sometime but it wasn’t available in time for this vote. Saturn’s Children I thought had a really interesting idea but the story didn’t pay off for me. I might have voted No Award, but I didn’t want to penalize Anathem like that, so I left those two blank. Little Brother and Zoe’s Tale were very close, and if I was voting now I might switch them. Little Brother seemed a bit more interesting as a new story, but I think I liked the writing better in Zoe’s Tale. But I think The Graveyard Book was the best in both respects. And I’m expecting it to win the prize, because Gaiman should have some extra votes from people coming to the convention to see him as guest of honor.

My favorite book of the year didn’t make it onto the ballot: Nation by Terry Pratchett. I was hoping that maybe some sentimental fans could push him over, but I’ve also heard that he’s declined nominations in the past, so maybe it doesn’t matter. In any case, I thought he did a brilliant job of creating two vastly different characters and showing the same world through both of their eyes. One of the most satisfying books I’ve read in a long time.

This turned into a long post, so more general thoughts later.

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2 comments

  1. Dammit, Skorp, now I have to go spend more money at eReader/Fictionwise…


    • One thing I like about voting for Hugos is that it gives me incentive to read, and specifically read newly-published books and short stories. I feel like now I have a better idea of what’s going on in the field.



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