Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

2012 Hugos: Best Novel

Fortunately none of this year's Hugo nominees is actually a bad book, an improvement on some previous years (no Willis, no Sawyer). Even so, I found it pretty easy to rank the nominees as follows:

6) Deadline, by "Mira Grant". I'm a little sorry about this, because it is an enjoyable book that kept me turning the pages. But the fact is that it's the middle book of a trilogy, in which the characters spend most of their time running around a devastated zombie-infested America and the plot isn't actually resolved. For me it fails the test of whether I would be embarrassed if it won the Hugo, especially given the quality of some of the competition, so with regret it goes bottom of the list.

5) No Award. I may be being a bit harsh on Deadline; on the other hand I may not be being harsh enough on some of the others!

4) A Dance With Dragons, by George R.R. Martin. I enjoyed this one very much as well, and it will almost certainly win the award as it is so far ahead of the field in terms of name recognition. But it's the fifth book of an ongoing series, and judged on its own merits (as opposed to the series as a whole so far) I reckon there are three better books on the ballot.

3) Leviathan Wakes, by "James S.A. Corey". The only traditional sf book on the list, with asteroid mines, spaceships, and evil businessmen exploiting alien tech and fomenting war. Not hugely adventurous in style and vision but a good old sensawunda romp.

2) Embassytown, by China Miéville. A hugely ambitious novel about language, aliens, war and revolution. Doesn't quite match the level of its ambition with unattractive central characters and a plot that gets derailed towards the end. I expect it won't do as well as it deserves in the vote as it is a difficult (but rewarding) read.

1) Among Others, by Jo Walton. A superb novel about being an sf fan in a hostile world, something many Hugo voters will relate to, though perhaps fewer will have had to deal with an evil sorceress mother into the bargain. Particularly grabbed me because of the late 1970s setting in a liminally Celtic environment, not very distant from my own. I expect it will lose to A Dance With Dragons, but I do hope that those voters who take the trouble to read the entire shortlist respond to it as strongly as I did.

NB that three out of five of these feature dead girls in frequent conversation with central characters. In two cases it is the narrator's sister.
See also: Best Short story, Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
Tags: hugos 2012, writer: china mieville, writer: george rr martin, writer: jo walton, writer: seanan mcguire
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