The Elitist Book Reviews 2011 Hugo Ballot
Before we let you in on our opinions of the Hugo Awards, we are going to give you our picks. You'll notice that we didn't nominate in a few categories. Usually that means we either didn't read anything in that category, or just didn't feel like nominating. The Hugo Award nomination deadline is the 26th of March. If you attended WorldCon last year, or bought your membership to this year's convention in Reno before the 31st of January, you can nominate--and we strongly suggest you do so. If you have already electronically voted, and forgot to put us on your list (GASP!!!) you can just recast your entire ballot and add us in before the deadline. We aren't begging...oh who are we kidding, we're on hands and knees here groveling!
Now this isn't by any means a final list. This is really a collaborative mash-up of what we all think. Our individual ballots will probably be slightly different, and of course we may add stuff to it as we read/watch more of the various stuff that was released last year.
GEOSYNCHRON - David Louis Edelman
NIGHTS OF VILLJAMUR - Mark Charan Newton
TWELVE - Jasper Kent
THE RAGGED MAN - Tom Lloyd
MR. MONSTER - Dan Wells
Best Short Story
In the Stacks - Scott Lynch
The Family Business - Jonathan Maberry
The Non-Event - Mike Carey
The Goats of Glory - Steven Erikson
The Fool Jobs - Joe Abercrombie
Best Related Work
Writing Excuses Season 4
Elitist Book Reviews (Duh!!)
Best Graphic Story
Schlock Mercenary: Massively Parallel
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
The Walking Dead - Guts
The Walking Dead - Days Gone Bye
Best Editor (Long Form)
Best Editor (Short Form)
Best Professional Artist
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
Mark Charan Newton
For a complete list of Hugo Categories, follow the link below:
The Hugo Awards. Honestly, we have mixed feelings about them. It's completely awesome for the authors/works that get picked...but we can't help but feel it is a popularity contest. Let's be honest, the main award for the Hugos is for Best Novel. This isn't to say the other categories are less important--in fact, we feel the other categories are more...well, let's say fair and an accurate representation of what the award represents. The award for Best Novel is the big one. The one that sells books.
But like we said, we have mixed feelings about it.
Before you go all "torches and pitchforks" on us (or even worse, delete your internet browser bookmark to our blog) hear us out. You may have noticed that our picks for the Hugo awards are very different from what usually gets picked. We have very little SF. We don't have the usual authors on the list. Just for fun, this is who we think will be on the final ballot for best novel: Sawyer, Willis (we wouldn't have a problem with this), Wolfe (his 2010 novel was good, but not great), Scalzi (doesn't have an eligible book? Doesn't matter), Stross...well, you get the picture.
It's not that these authors are bad. It's not like they don't write well. On the contrary, we like all those authors a lot. It's simply a matter of them, in our opinions, not being the best every time they write a novel. We love guys like Erikson, but even we will admit that his novel isn't ALWAYS the best novel released during the year. For example, Vernor Vinge has a novel coming out this year. Why even have an official nomination for the 2012 Hugos? When he writes something, it is an auto-win (for the record, we DO like Vinge). Are his novels ALWAYS the best written that year? Yeah we know, subjective judging and all that. But hopefully you get our point.
What appears to be happening is that the winner of the award is either a "Big Name Author" or has a blog with 82.5 bajillion hits a day (if you detect some jealously in that last bit, you'd be reading it correctly). When you look back over the list of winners, do you say, "Oh man, that was one of the best novels ever!" or do you say, "Huh. That won the award?" If you agree with the awards, then that's great. But we can't help but feel that it's like when you look back over the past Oscar winning movies and see The Hurt Locker or A Beautiful Mind. All too often the response is, "Really?"
We don't want to come across as bashing certain authors. We have a lot of respect for the authors that have become published and who have built up a loyal following. They got their awards, and we give them high-fives for it. We just wonder if there isn't a better way. We don't have a good solution. If you open the nominating up to everyone, then suddenly the latest YA Emo Vampire-of-the-Month gets nominated. No thanks. We just don't know. Maybe the people who attend need to be more well read--but then that is an unfair generalization.
But hey, what the heck do we know? Maybe we are just complaining since the books we think the best are rarely ever on the list--we vote, so we're allowed. It's not like the Hugo Awards are comparable to MVP awards for sports. No, those have actual stats to back them up. The Hugo Awards are totally subjective. In the end, this is a blog, and therefore an opinion. No doubt there are bajillions of bloggers and professionals out there who would read this and say, "Frak them." Different strokes for different folks and all that.
So. Since there is really nothing that we can do about it, and since we have no better ideas that we can implement without bailing on this blog and doing it ourselves (a tragic suggestion...unless we get paid), we've thrown our opinions out there the same as everybody else. Our votes are for works (or people) that we think are awesome. Not just those that are popular. We command...err...encourage you to do the same.
The Elitist Book Reviews 2011 Hugo Ballot