The Hugo Mess

April 5th, 2015

Science fiction is often political.  Heinlein's middle period is praised by libertarian thinkers, Star Trek promoted progressive mores and social justice, and Ursula Le Guin's work sparked debates about gender roles.  This is to be expected in a genre that often looks to the future for hope or cautionary tales.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the awards pageants are also marred by politics.  It really shouldn't.  Yet some people are crying foul because Larry Correia and and Brad Torgersen managed to dominate the nomination process for the Hugo awards.

They didn't cheat.  They simply worked the system within its own rules.

What's more, I really don't care.

What does concern me is that the Hugos are a sham in the first place.  We had some spectacular, thoughtful, and moving fiction last year.  Almost none of it got nominated (Anne Leckie's Ancillary Sword being the exception).

The Kevin J. Anderson book is a generic space-opera mess that reads like it was phoned in.  Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books are pulpy fun, but they're second-tier work at best.

Claire North wrote a spectacular novel about a cabal of serial immortals that deserves to be a classic by any reckoning.  Any nomination?  Nope.  Felix Gilman's Revolutions continues to showcase a vivid imagination and excellent prose.  It was ignored.  Eric Lundgren's hilarious and surreal Facades?  No love.  Max Barry's Lexicon?  Christopher Priest's The Adjacent?  Zip.  Nada.

So, yeah.  Screw the Hugos.  They're no better than the Grammys at rewarding merit.  I'm grateful the internet has given us innumerable other channels to find the good stuff.

(Incidentally, Larry Correia's new Monster Hunter International book has been out for a bit.  Somehow, I missed the release, but I'm tearing through it now.  The MHI books aren't high literature, but they are incredible, giddy, gruesome fun.)

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