earthsea
As I worked through my Hugo Voter Packet, I eventually reached the file labelled "Digger_Optimized.pdf" and opened it. My heart sank as I realised that it is 830 pages in length - I think only A Dance With Dragons is longer, of this year's book nominees - and then my eyebrows rose as I realised that the first edition of the first volume was published as long ago as 2005.

But I needn't have worried. The sixth and final volume of Digger was published last year, making the whole thing eligible for this year's Hugos, and it turns out to be a cracking good read: the tale of a witty wombat who finds herself emerging from the floor of a temple far from home and becoming embroiled in the local struggles of veiled warriors, hyena-people, a shrew pretending to be a troll, an oracular slug, a talking statue of an elephant god, and much else. It is brilliant, with humour, drama, pathos, and well-drawn characters in every sense. Tthose of you who haven't dug that far into your Chicon downloads are strongly recommended to go look for it. (I might add that the combined cost of the six volumes is more than twice the price of a Chicon supporting membership which would get you the whole set of nominees.)

I have been a bit uncomfortable with the way the Hugo Awards' inevitable focus on annual output doesn't really fit the creative pace of comics writers, but the problem seems solved here. I think my first preference vote is decided.

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