My Hugo award votes

The posts were thin for a while there, and one of the things I
was doing instead of posting was reading all the Hugo award nominees so that
I could vote by the July 31 deadline. Here are my votes, with some comments on why.

Best novel

  1. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. I
    actually probably enjoyed a couple of the others more than this
    one, but the writing was so good I decided it was more award-worthy.
  2. Wake by Robert J. Sawyer. If you want to cite
    a good example of “computer-science fiction”, this would be it.
  3. Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century
    America
    by Robert Charles Wilson
  4. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. The description I
    had of this before I read it was that it was a steampunk vampire
    novel set in 19th century Seattle. Based on that, I wasn’t
    expecting to enjoy it, but I actually did. Partly because it
    isn’t really a vampire novel, but a novel about the kind of
    communities that can form in the face of danger (which in this
    case is vampires).
  5. The City & The City by China Miéville. I had
    heard of China Miéville as an impressive writer, and this was
    the first thing I’d read of his. The writing is very good, with both
    characters and images that stick with you, but
    I downranked it as an award winner because the plot never really
    made much sense.
  6. No award. I like this part of voting. You can not only
    vote for the ones you like, but vote against the ones you don’t
    like by rating them after “No award.”
  7. Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente. This is
    the only one I didn’t manage to finish, so my apologies if
    something wonderfully exciting happens after page 150. It
    wasn’t very interesting, but the writing was very dense, so it
    was taking a lot longer than the typical novel of that length
    takes, and I wasn’t enjoying it, so I stopped reading it and
    voted against it.

Best Novella

  1. Vishnu at the Cat Circus by Ian McDonald.
    Another good example of “computer-science fiction”. Set in
    near-future India.
  2. Act One by Nancy Kress
  3. Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James
    Morrow
  4. The God Engines by John Scalzi. Well-written
    by an author I usually like, but a somewhat unpleasant
    atmosphere.
  5. No Award
  6. The Women of Nell Gwynne’s by Kage Baker. This
    seemed like steam-punk for its own sake.
  7. Palimpsest by Charles Stross. A time travel
    story without much I could see to recommend it.

Best Novelette

With these shorter forms, I wouldn’t have read them except for
the Hugo voting, but they’re really pretty good.

  1. The Island by Peter Watts
  2. Overtime by Charles Stross
  3. Eros, Philia, Agape by Rachel Swirsky
  4. One of Our Bastards is Missing by Paul Cornell
  5. Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask,
    Gentleman, Beast
    by Eugie Foster
  6. No award
  7. It Takes Two by Nicola Griffith. I wasn’t at
    all sure that this was a science fiction story at all, so I
    voted against it.

Best Short Story

  1. Bridesicle by Will McIntosh
  2. The Bride of Frankenstein by Mike Resnick
  3. Non-Zero Probabilities by N.K. Jemisin
  4. Spar by Kij Johnson
  5. The Moment by Lawrence M. Schoen

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Luckily, the ones of these that I wouldn’t have made a point of
seeing anyway were all on Netflix Watch Now, so it didn’t cost me
anything except the time.

  1. District 9 Screenplay by Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell; Directed by Neill Blomkamp
  2. Moon Screenplay by Nathan Parker; Story by Duncan Jones; Directed by
    Duncan Jones. This was the most like a real science fiction story,
    although it wasn’t as good a movie as District 9.
  3. Star Trek Screenplay by Robert Orci & Alex Kurtzman; Directed by J.J. Abrams
  4. No award
  5. Avatar Screenplay and Directed by James
    Cameron. I didn’t go to the theater to see it in 3D, but I
    don’t see how even better special effects could have redeemed
    the banal plot and characters.
  6. UpScreenplay by Bob Peterson and Pete Docter; Story by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter & Thomas McCarthy; Directed by Bob Peterson & Pete
    Docter. Disney tear-jerker. I don’t know why it’s science fiction.

Summary

Some day I’ll be organized enough to start the reading early
enough to vote on some of the other categories. But if you want
to know what’s happening in science fiction, you can do a lot
worse than get an associate membership to the convention of the
year (Aussiecon,
this year). It cost $50 this year, and they gave me free electronic
versions of all the print nominees.

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