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Best Novel 2014 Hugos

My votes are as follows:

1) Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie

I voted for this for the BSFA Award without any hesitation, and I'll do the same for the Hugos.

2) Neptune's Brood, by Charles Stross

Excellent stuff, but wears the economic theory perhaps a little too heavily for it to get my top vote.

3) No Award

The highest I've put this for some time. Let me explain...

4) The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Back in the very brief period of my life when my wife and I were living in a priest's spare bedroom, some well-meaning worshipper had lent him the entire series as it then was, and I gave it a serious try. But I got fed up with it by volume 4 or 5, when I realised that nothing had actually happened in the entire vast book, and soundings taken from other sources indicated that this wouldn't change any time soon if I persevered, so I let them remain undisturbed on the parochial bookshelves. Much more recently, Adam Roberts convinced me that I need not go further (though as far as I know he has not read the Brandon Sanderson volumes). I'd be embarrassed for the Hugos if it wins, so it goes below No Award for me; but at the same I respect the enthusiasm of its fans, and I entirely understand their desire to honour a series that has brought a lot of people a lot of pleasure. It will get a lot of votes, but mine won't be one of them.

5) Parasite, by Mira Grant

I could take (just about) the coincidences regarding the parents of the narrator and her boyfriend, and more or less swallow the US military not quite realising what was going on under their noses. But the twist at the end insults the reader's intelligence.

6) Warbound by Larry Correia

There are those who say that one should not judge books on their authors' politics, but solely on literary merit. Frankly, on that basis alone this would be pretty near the bottom of my list. But I am not going to ignore the wider context, which is that this book got its Hugo nomination as the result of a political stunt - a political stunt which quite intentionally delivered collateral benefits to another author who has called a black writer a "half-savage" and who has defended throwing acid into the faces of feminists. I obviously disagree with those who nominated the Wheel of Time, but I respect them because they did so out of love. No such noble reason is behind the nomination of Warbound, and I feel under no obligation at all to consider its scanty literary merits outside the political context in which it was nominated. I write here only for myself, and you can vote how you like; I'm putting it last.

You can vote in this year's Hugos, and the 1939 Retro Hugos, by joining Loncon 3 at http://www.loncon3.org/memberships .

2014: Best Novel | Best Novella | Best Novelette | Best Short Story | Best Related Work | Best Graphic Story | Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) | Best Professional Artist | Best Fan Artist
1939: Best Novel | Best Novella | Best Novelette | Best Short Story | Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) | Best Professional Artist

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Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
sbisson
May. 28th, 2014 07:01 pm (UTC)
Considering the mechanics of the Hugo vote, should you even be ranking the three works you dislike? As in the event of a transfer your vote will carry to them if No Award is passed over?
nwhyte
May. 28th, 2014 07:03 pm (UTC)
Well, yes. If the Hugo voters, in their wisdon, reject "No Award" as a winner, and one of the places is potentially to be decided between anything else and Warbound, I want my vote to count against Warbound.
sbisson
May. 28th, 2014 07:05 pm (UTC)
But your vote won't count against it unless you don't rank it - because there's a chance that in the next round it will count for it...
nwhyte
May. 28th, 2014 07:20 pm (UTC)
Well, that's a different argument to the one you first made, but that's OK.

I'd prefer that "No Award" won rather than one of my bottom three. But I still have an order of preference within the bottom three, and so my vote will reflect that.

I don't understand what you mean by "there's a chance that in the next round it will count for it..." - whether I rank Warbound sixth, or don't rank it at all, the result is the same and there is no chance that my vote can count for it.
coalescent
May. 29th, 2014 10:47 am (UTC)
I'm not sure I quite follow you here -- I think this a reasonable explanation of how/when to rank things below No Award.
ciaracat
May. 30th, 2014 12:48 am (UTC)
This article (and the comments that follow it) explains how to use No Award effectively. From my understanding of it, I believe nwhyte is using it correctly. Am I confused? (It's very possible that I am, lol)
makyo
May. 28th, 2014 09:57 pm (UTC)
I've never been eligible to vote in the Hugos before, and I'm keen to do it properly, by carefully considering all the nominated works on their literary merit (plus any wider context that I might deem relevant). People have been recommending The Wheel of Time to me for years now, and I'd always meant to give it a go once it was all finished. But dear God, it's over ten thousand pages, which is roughly two thirds of what I read in an average year, so I think I might just dip into the first volume for the moment.

My immediate thought, when I saw the title Warbound: Book Three of the Grimnoir Chronicles on the ballot, before I knew anything about the machinations behind its nomination and the political views of the author, was that this was a spoof entry - like John Scalzi's Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book 1: The Dead City - Prologue. (Grimnoir Chronicles indeed...)
nwhyte
May. 29th, 2014 04:27 am (UTC)
I think the first three WoT volumes are a reasonable sampling - if you have time. It is from vol 4 that the rot seems to seriously set in.
aheuer
May. 29th, 2014 09:35 am (UTC)
I'm a long-time Hugo voter, and I have always believed one should judge the works, not the authors. No exceptions. I don't like politically-motivated nominating any more than anyone else does. However, VOTING based on criteria other than the quality of the stories is no better than NOMINATING based on criteria other than the quality of the stories. I've heard of political litmus tests for US Supreme Court nominees; I'm definitely against political litmus tests for Hugo nominees. Political views expressed in the stories are fair game. Political views authors have expressed outside of the nominated stories don't matter to me for Hugo voting purposes.

I've already read all of this year's nominated short fiction (I never wait for the Hugo Packets!). I can tell you that one of the stories promoted in the Sad Puppies campaign will get a first-place Hugo vote from me. It is simply the best story in its category by far.

I'm still reading the nominated novels, and I haven't read WARBOUND yet. It will be placed somewhere from 1st to 4th on my ballot (I'm open-minded about it). 5th place on my ballot will go to "No Award." I will not rank THE WHEEL OF TIME. I do not regard it as a legitimate nominee for best novel of 2-0-1-3.

nwhyte
May. 29th, 2014 05:17 pm (UTC)
I'll just note that by your own admission, you are judging Wheel of Time on criteria other than literary merit, specifically because you disagree with the process by which it ended up on the ballot paper. You have every right to do this, of course.
aheuer
May. 29th, 2014 06:13 pm (UTC)
You are correct. I will note, however, that I am making a judgment based on my assessment of its eligibility, rather than on the politics of the authors. I do think there is a fundamental difference.

You have sometimes downgraded nominees on your ballot because you didn't think they were SFnal enough ("If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love," THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION). I don't do this, but I would say you do it because of characteristics of the nominated stories themselves, and I think that is fundamentally different than downgrading a story because of something you happen to know about the author.

I simply think that a series of 14 (or 15?) books published over a span of 23 years does not belong in a competition for best novel of the year.
nwhyte
May. 29th, 2014 07:08 pm (UTC)
You have every right to vote for whatever reason you want. But don't pretend that eligibility questions are not political. The Wheel of Time series has been ruled eligible, by the people whose job it is to make that judgement, on the basis of rules and procedures that were drawn up by a political process. You disagree with those rules and how they have been applied, and you are entirely entitled to do so, but that is your political judgement. The fact is that the rules are what the people whose job it is to interpret them say that they are, and by those rules and by their judgement Wheel of Time is eligible.

I have never pretended that politics do not enter into my own assessments. But I'll take a step back and point out the wider picture. I value the Hugo awards and don't want them to be embarrassed by picking poor winners. For me, that means inter alia works of poor literary quality, works that are not sfnal enough (in my own entirely subjective judgement), or works by misogynist racists or that appear on the ballot as a result of campaigns in support of misogynist racists.

If you don't think that it matters whether or not Hugos are won by works which aren't actually sfnal, that's your affair. If you don't think it matters that some of the works on the ballot paper are there because of a campaign in support of a misogynist racist, that's your affair. If you do think it matters that a work was published over a period of two decades rather than in some shorter space of time, and that's more important than either of the points I mention above, that's also your affair. But don't expect me to approve of your priorities.
aheuer
May. 29th, 2014 11:02 pm (UTC)
I tend to think the eligibility questions are technical, rather than political. But if you want to call my decision not to rank THE WHEEL OF TIME on my ballot political, so be it. I would just say that my basic stance is to judge the works, not the authors. My decision on THE WHEEL OF TIME is based on a characteristic of the work (it is 14 or 15 books published over a span of 23 years), and not based on any views I have of the authors. I have nothing against Brandon Sanderson or Robert Jordan.

I am with you in not wanting to see non-SFnal works win Hugos. I wasn't criticizing you for downgrading them for their lack of SFnal-ness. Indeed I was defending the practice because it is based on an actual characteristic of a nominated story. I simply mentioned that I don't do this. Hey, I am also with you in not wanting bad stories to win Hugos. This is why I don't downgrade non-SFnal stories (though I wouldn't nominate one!). I personally don't want to rank an inferior story above a superior story, but I have no real argument against your practice. I am voting for "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" for Best Short Story this year. It is the only story in the category that I actually like.

I don't necessarily expect you to approve of my priorities. I just thought I'd mention them. I've seen a lot more on the web of people eager to vote the Sad Puppies below "No Award" (with the stories not yet read!) than I've seen of my type of attitude. But I'm not criticizing you. You read the stories (some claim they shouldn't have to). I even agree with you on what is the top nominee in the Best Novelette category.

I have very much enjoyed the attention you pay to the Hugos on your blog. I am looking forward to finding out how you feel about the novella nominees this year.

Edited at 2014-05-30 05:02 am (UTC)
ciaracat
May. 30th, 2014 12:54 am (UTC)
Would you mind spoiling the twist at the end of Parasite? You're welcome to do it on my discussion of Parasite on my blog if you'd rather not post that kind of spoiler here. I made it about 3/4 of the way through, was sick of the zombies already, and realized that I hadn't learned anything interesting yet that I hadn't figured out at the beginning of the book, so I put it down and moved on. But I'm curious. :)
ciaracat
May. 30th, 2014 01:29 am (UTC)
Sorry... just read down to your link to someone spoiling the big "twist." Um. Oh. Yeah. That thing that was obvious at the very beginning of the book. Sigh!
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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