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12) L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future volume XIX, ed. Algis Budrys

I bought this way back when Jay Lake's story "Into the Gardens of Sweet Night" got its well-deserved Hugo nomination a couple of years ago, but have only now got around to reading the rest of the fourteen pieces of short fiction in the book, all of which are given a single illustration by an up-and-coming artist. Lake's is the jewel of the collection, and several others show promise though there was none that quite grabbed me in the same way. There is a rather odd inclusion of a short piece on writing by Hubbard himself, and an even shorter piece on illustrating sf by Will Eisner, as well as a retrospective by Sean Williams on what it meant to be included in an earlier volume.

I was really struck at the time that "Into the Gardens of Sweet Night" came only fourth in the Hugo votes, despite getting the most first preferences (and nominations) by far. In the transfers for determining the winner, Swanwick's "Legions in Time" picked up 217 votes, and Lake's story only 50; in the run for second place, "The Empire of Ice Cream" literally doubled its tally from 163 to 326, and Lake's story gained only 65; "Nightfall" got third place by nearly doubling its first prefs from 167 to 330, while "Into the Gardens of Sweet Night" gained only 38 preferences. It's a really nice story, and there is no reason on its own merits for it to be so transfer-repellent. I wonder if voters had deliberately avoided reading it simply because of its provenance being so closely linked to Hubbard?


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 27th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
I think it is far more likely that folk just hadn't read it - I know I hadn't when I voted that year.
Oct. 27th, 2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
Well, it was as available as all the others, surely?
Oct. 27th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
I think it was only available via fictionwise and you had to get an account to download it. (I may be misremembering, of course.) The others were available at the asimov's website.
Oct. 27th, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC)
Could be; I've had a FictionWise account from way back, so it wouldn't have struck me as a problem, but it would certainly have put off many possible voters.
Oct. 27th, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words and the thoughtful question. My own feeling is that the voting pattern is as much the result of a shallow fan base as anything else. I was very new then -- people who might have heard of me or found the story simply through book voted, but I probably garnered much fewer rollover votes than I might if I were up next year for Mainspring, for example. A lot more people know my name and have read my work now, and will have been likely to have read anything of mine which might nominated in the future.

(Here via IceRocket.com, if you're wondering.)
Oct. 27th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I use icerocket too!

It's certainly fair to say that you would have been the least well-known of the six nominees (the others being James Patrick Kelly, Michael Swanwick, Charles Stross, Jeffrey Ford and Robert Reed). The huge differential shows that almost all of those who gave "In The Gardens of Sweet Night" any preference at all put it pretty near the top of their list, if it's any comfort!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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