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Fantastic (?)

Prodded by an observation from chilperic, I make the following provisional and contentious list of Hugo winning fiction which is clearly fantasy rather than sf:

1959: "That Hell-Bound Train", Robert Bloch (short story)
1964: "The Dragon Masters", Jack Vance (short story)
1967: "The Last Castle" by Jack Vance (novelette)
1971: "Ill Met in Lankhmar" by Fritz Leiber (novella)
1974: "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas", Ursula K. Le Guin (short story)
1978: "Jeffty Is Five", Harlan Ellison (short story)
1981: "Grotto of the Dancing Deer", Clifford D Simak (short story)
1982: "Unicorn Variations" by Roger Zelazny (novelette)
1987: "Gilgamesh in the Outback" by Robert Silverberg (novella)
1990: "Boobs" by Suzy McKee Charnas (short story)
1991: "Bears Discover Fire" by Terry Bisson (short story)
1994: "Death on the Nile" by Connie Willis (short story)
1997: "Blood of the Dragon" by George R. R. Martin (novella)
2001: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (novel)
2002: "Hell Is the Absence of God" by Ted Chiang (novelette)
2002: American Gods by Neil Gaiman (novel)
2003: Coraline by Neil Gaiman (novella)
2004: "A Study in Emerald" by Neil Gaiman (short story)
2004: Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold (novel)
2005: "The Faery Handbag" by Kelly Link (novelette)
2005: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (novel)

So chilperic is right to say that four of the last five Hugos for Best Novel - and none previously - have gone to fantasy novels; and taking all the categories into account, more Hugo awards have gone to works of fantasy rather than sf in the last six years than in the previous twenty.

Does it matter?

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(Deleted comment)
sbisson
Aug. 14th, 2006 10:14 am (UTC)
Yup, I have to agree with that too. Chiang is very much SF in his rigorous approach to the fantastical.
pnh
Aug. 14th, 2006 11:30 am (UTC)
If logical rigor in fantasy transforms it into SF, then lots of other fantasy is suddenly redefined as SF as well.

Mind you, I'm not all that interested in discerning a perfect, hard-edged boundary between fantasy and SF, but this seems like an odd approach to take.
coalescent
Aug. 14th, 2006 10:39 am (UTC)
While I agree that the Chiang feels like hard sf, if you're discriminating by content, it's pretty clearly fantasy, in that it has a supernatural premise. But I think this is fairly tangential to nwhyte's basic point.

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