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The 2011 Hugo Awards 162

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-story-ever dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Hugo Award is the leading prize for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy writing. Named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of Amazing Stories magazine, the awards have been given out since 1955. This year's winners were announced Saturday during the Hugo Awards Ceremony in Reno, Nevada."
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The 2011 Hugo Awards

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  • by RobinEggs (1453925) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @06:12PM (#37163486)
    I haven't heard of any of these people.

    I mean, it's hard to keep track of any genre entirely. Nor can you blame me for being lax these days, what with the exhausting amount of work it takes sorting out real science fiction from the endless parade of tired paranormal works, PKD clones, and space operas.

    But still, I feel like the ghost of Arthur C. Clarke just sneaked into my bedroom and shredded my nerd card. No need to turn it in; I abdicated by placidity and had to be punished.
    • Re:Oh God... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by morcego (260031) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @06:18PM (#37163506)

      I don't know any of them either, but I see this as an opportunity to discover new authors. I will sure be looking for some of these in the next few days.

      • Lev Grossman (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Bayoudegradeable (1003768) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @08:38PM (#37164074)
        The Magicians and The Magician King (by Lev Grossman) are very cool fantasy books (imho). Sure there are tons of Narnia and Potter parallels, but it was nice to see wizardry from a darker, adult perspective. If nothing else, I think you're right, a chance to discover new authors.
      • Re:Oh God... (Score:5, Informative)

        by trawg (308495) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @08:41PM (#37164092) Homepage

        The other thing to do is make sure you check out the full list of nominees (available here [renovationsf.org]).

        I've often read the Winning book and thought "meh" and then gone on to read some of the nominees which I really enjoyed. It's a good shortlist of some great recent sci-fi.

        • Right on! Recently, I completely ran out of really good sci-fi, after trying some of the most popular ones I had not yet read (and got mostly disappointed). So I turned to Hogo nominations of past few years (and other not too popular nukes of the internet to look for something different to read).

          I ended up adding about 10-12 Kindle samples and also ordered about 4-5 books not available in e format.

          Finished "Old Man's War" (John Scalzi) last week. Also, just finished The Bug by Ellen Ulmann : ISBN 1400032350

          • by RockDoctor (15477)

            not too popular nukes of the internet

            Errr, are you deliberately not typing "nooks of the internet" as some sort of joke on how much internet there is and how it blows your mind, or did you get your spell-checker trained by the Shakespearean monkeys?

            • Oops.. I guess it's the latter.

              • by RockDoctor (15477)
                Ah - got a link for the Shakspearean Monkey spelling checker? Could be good fun.

                Actually, it might not be that bad a project name. It has a sort of "Motley Fule" tone to it.

        • by ByOhTek (1181381)

          Yeah, looking through that list, I now need to get ahold of Troika by Alistair Reynolds. I don't recognize many other than him on that list, but damn, he's probably the best currently active SciFi author (IMNSHO)

      • by Chasuk (62477)

        You don't know any of them? Literally? You've honestly never heard of Connie Willis,Ted Chiang, Steven Moffat, or Lev Grossman?

        Willis has won eleven Hugos, and seven Hugos. Approximately half of Chiang's total output has won either a Hugo or a Nebula.

        Please, do yourself a favor and acquaint yourself with Willis and Chiang, at least. Moffat is responsible for some of the best Dr Who episodes of recent years, and, arguably, of all time. Grossman writes Potterish novels for adults, and I don't mean that in a d

    • by Badge 17 (613974)
      N.B. - Connie Willis won her first Hugo in 1983, and has two previous Best Novel wins. There's some good science fiction in the last 25 years, you might want to look into it. (This year's Hugo class of novels wasn't that strong, though - so don't start there).
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I am supremely disapointed at Connie Willis, "To say nothing of the dog" was more of a feel-good fantasy novel until you got to the whole point of the bishop's birdstump then none of it made any sense. Still entertaining but not that good.

        Then her next book, well, it ended on a cliffhanger (of sorts) and said "part 2 due out sometime next year". If this hugo is for Part 2, I think she should be disqualified as it's a continuation of the same novel published the previous year. The first part did not stand

        • by Lisandro (799651)

          "Passages" blew my mind, and is still by far my favorite book by her. I recommend it in case you haven't read it yet.

        • by ChatHuant (801522)

          I am supremely disapointed at Connie Willis, "To say nothing of the dog" was more of a feel-good fantasy novel

          Eh, de gustibus and all that, but I loved "To say nothing of the dog", and I did get the (admittedly involved) explanation about the bishop's bird stump too. I'm really looking forward to the book where she explains the major incongruity hinted at in the final part of TSNOTD, and supposed to happen in 2600 something, centered on Coventry catedral :). OTOH, I always loved British literature, and enjoyed "Three men in a boat" immensely.

          Something I really like about her writing is the way she manages t

        • by arth1 (260657)

          Connie Willis writes well, but she writes the same story over and over again: Scientist travels back in time to a church; add enough tragedy to keep male readers happy, and enough love to keep female readers happy.

          it would surprise me if this isn't the plot of the latest novel too.

      • by Daetrin (576516)

        (This year's Hugo class of novels wasn't that strong, though - so don't start there).

        Tastes differ and yada yadda, but i would disagree. "Feed" by "Mira Grant (actually a pseudonym for Seanan McGuire) is a great science fiction zombie book. "Cryoburn" is the the latest it Bujold's Vorkosigan series, and it's certainly not the best in the series but i at least thought it was still pretty good. "The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms" was an interesting fantasy book about gods being enslaved as weapons of war. I didn't think "The Dervish House" was great, but it was decent. Kinda nanotech-punk set in

    • by Lisandro (799651)

      I know how you feel, but don't diss "new" authors just like that. I know i'd never discovered the work of Connie Willis if it weren't for her Hugo nominations back in the day.

      Then again, SF nowadays is nothing like the ACC era. Sadly enough.

    • You should have at least heard of Connie Willis [wikipedia.org] - on account that she has been around for a while now.

      And although Blackout and All Clear have won her a Nebula last year and a Hugo this year - I'd suggest avoiding them for now and reading her Doomsday Book instead.
      Which had also won her both a Hugo and a Nebula.
      It's in the same set of her time-travel books (even with some of the same characters) as Blackout and All Clear but more importantly - it is MUCH shorter and easier to "digest".
      I'm saying that cause,

      • by clintp (5169)

        Agreed with your recommendation, but for different reasons. I read Blackout/All Clear back-to-back and didn't like them so much as Doomsday Book. They seemed to drag on and on, and there's a couple of sub-plots that sort of peter out and go nowhere important and simply act as distraction and add to the bulk of the books (the Bletchley Park and Operation Fortitude subplots for examples). This could have been a nicely trimmed single novel.

        Contrast this with the Doomsday Book where the Kivrin thread is very

    • Re:Oh God... (Score:4, Informative)

      by digitig (1056110) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @08:11PM (#37163958)
      If you were a British science fiction fan you would certainly have heard of Steven Moffat, who has written some of the best episodes in the Dr. Who reboot, and has been the lead writer and executive producer of the show since Russel T Davis left in 2009.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Indeed, and the contrast between Moffat and Davis is now clearer than ever because on the one hand you have the excellent Dr. Who and for direct comparison the cheese-fest that is Torchwood. Davis seems to be obsessed with finding the hammiest actors he can and then giving them a role because they are Welsh or gay. The stories are silly as well and the scripts terrible.

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          Indeed, and the contrast between Moffat and Davis is now clearer than ever because on the one hand you have the excellent Dr. Who and for direct comparison the cheese-fest that is Torchwood.

          Am I the only one who's sick of Moffat's continual 'but it's OK, in the future I can go back in time and leave the macguffin behind that rock over there so I don't have to actually solve the problem myself' storylines?

          • by AmiMoJo (196126)

            I'll admit they are a bit annoying, but nowhere near as bad as Davis' use of deus ex machina to resolve every single episode. Matt Smith's Doctor is also much more likeable and engaging.

    • I haven't heard of any of these people.

      I find that hard to believe (and I'm over 50), but if true, you're in for a treat. Try anything by Connie Willis, for instance. She's written some very good novels as well as a load of short stories. Not all of her novels are science fiction (To say nothing of the dog is SciFi, while Lincoln's dreams is not; both are excellent), but most of her short stories are SciFi (try Even the queen or In the late cretaceous). Since she won a Hugo for best novel, I'm almost certain to buy a copy.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      I still have a subscription to Asimov's and still read Dozois's "Year's Best Science Fiction" anthology every year. It's an excellent way to keep up with modern science fiction without having to read a bunch of novels (though I do think the Asimov's has declined somewhat since Dozois left as editor).

    • I read a lot of Science Fiction, and I only know one name.

      Looking at the categories, it isn't all that surprising. It looks like the Hugo's is turning out like the Oscars. Name the last 3 Oscars winners in Sound Production, or Visual Editing, or Cinematography, or assistant sandwich maker, etc... Seriously, no one really cares other than best Movie, Best Actor/Actress.

      I want to know what book won a Hugo, and maybe the runner ups. I could give a flying frack about short stories, novellas, professional artist

  • by kevinatilusa (620125) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {lletsock}> on Sunday August 21, 2011 @06:19PM (#37163516)

    Of Ted Chiang's six stories written since 2001 [wikipedia.org], four have won the Hugo award, one was nominated for the Hugo award before Chiang withdrew it from consideration (saying "The story that was published isn’t the story I wanted it to be." [fantasticmetropolis.com]), and the sixth was a 1 page speculation for Nature magazine.

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @06:23PM (#37163524)

    Seriously, as much as I like that comic, it does not deserve to get it for the third year in a row. Especially since the award's only been around for three years.

    To be honest, even the nominations are kind of repetitive. Every year, the latest Schlock Mercenary, Fable, and Girl Genius volume gets nominated (plus a few "mainstream" comics), and GG wins. For three years in a row. And, personally, the 2010 Schlock ("The Longshoreman of the Apocalypse") was way better than the 2010 Girl Genius ("Heirs of the Storm"), especially as science fiction.

    I think the judges need to realize that a) they have some fanboy bias, and b) they need to correct for it.

    • Foglio is an ACTIVE fan and makes comics. If another comic maker should become active within the international science fiction conspir- community, then they would get nominated and voted for also.
    • by techno-vampire (666512) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @08:46PM (#37164110) Homepage
      I think the judges need to realize that a) they have some fanboy bias, and b) they need to correct for it.
      The "judges" for the Hugo are the same people as are on the nomination committee: the members of that year's WorldCon. If you don't want Girl Genius to get the Hugo next year, buy a supporting membership, pay the voting fee and vote for somebody else. GG still might get it, but at least you'll have done what you could to affect the outcome.
      • by gman003 (1693318)

        My bad - I was not aware of that. Normally public-judged awards aren't nearly as prestigious as the Hugo.

        • It's not as "public-judged" as you might think. The largest WorldCon (LaCon II, 1984) had under 9,000 attending members, and most of them are under half that size. And, most of the members, attending or supporting, don't vote for the Hugos. It's prestigious not because it's public-judged, but because it's fan-judged, rather like a film award voted on only by movie-goers.
        • Yep, it's one of the unique things about science fiction I like. The award given by the votes of professionals is the Nebula--very prestigious itself, but the Hugo is still the generally regarded as the top award.

    • I love Girl Genius too, but I agree they need to spread the love.

      I think Schlock Mercenary's format works against it. When you do daily strips in 3-to-4 panel format with a punchline at the end, your options for comic timing & interesting use of panel layout are greatly reduced compared to the graphic novel "long page" format used by Girl Genius. Howard Tayler's writing is reliably great, but his art just isn't at the same level as Phil Foglio's, either - and a Hugo for "Best Graphic Story" does need to

      • by Basilius (184226)

        I love Girl Genius too, but I agree they need to spread the love.

        The Foglios recognize this, and have withdrawn themselves from consideration for next year's award. I don't know if it extends beyond that, but Girl Genius 11 won't be winning the 2012 Hugo.

      • by pjt33 (739471)

        Thanks for the recommendation. I'd say Spacetrawler's actually got more in common with Schlock (particularly moderately early Schlock) than H2G2 or RD, but hey.

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>I think the judges need to realize that a) they have some fanboy bias, and b) they need to correct for it.

      The fact that they gave the Best Novel award to Blackout/All Clear, which is a terrible *novel* (though a very interesting *history book*) says everything that needs to be said about the Hugos for me.

      It's a brain-numbingly repetitive book, with the heroes about 30 times in a row wondering if they messed up the timeline for the future, and then realizing they didn't.

    • by LihTox (754597)

      The Girl Genius folks have said that they would withdraw themselves from competition next year, FWIW.

  • by kevinatilusa (620125) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {lletsock}> on Sunday August 21, 2011 @06:25PM (#37163534)

    Tor has links to online versions of the nominees for Short Story [tor.com], for Novellette [tor.com] and for four out of the five Novellas [tor.com].

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Sunday August 21, 2011 @06:25PM (#37163540) Homepage Journal

    Connie Willis might be a very nice person, but there's no way Blackout/All Clear is the best sci-fi novel of 2010.

    Hugo's have been pretty reliable for a long time now, but it appears they are becoming hidebound and mainstream.

     

    • Re:I'm sorry... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Badge 17 (613974) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @06:44PM (#37163618)
      Having read all the nominees, I think this was not a very strong year. I liked Feed, but I'm sick of zombie novels (and so is everyone else). Cryoburn is (I believe) Book #16 in the Vorkosigan series, and though it's well-executed, it doesn't stand out from the other 15. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is fine, but it suffers from a bit of debutnovelitis. I would have picked either The Dervish House or Blackout/All Clear, and apparently The Dervish House is so little known that it doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.

      I disagree about the Hugos being hidebound, though - look at the last three years, with The City and the City, The Graveyard Book, and The Yiddish Policemen's Union all winning - none of which are conventional science fiction at all.
      • by OzPeter (195038)

        I'm sick of zombie novels (and so is everyone else).

        Everyone is sick of Zombie novels. That must be why David Weber is now writing Vampire novels [wikipedia.org]. And to think that I actually read it to the end.

        Personally I wish he would do a sequel to The_Apocalypse_Troll [wikipedia.org] based on what the encounter with the Kanga's would become given the new tech.

      • Re:I'm sorry... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Sunday August 21, 2011 @09:02PM (#37164162) Homepage Journal

        I disagree about the Hugos being hidebound, though - look at the last three years, with The City and the City, The Graveyard Book, and The Yiddish Policemen's Union all winning - none of which are conventional science fiction at all.

        You know, you're absolutely right. The City and the City was terrific and challenging as are the other two you mention. I guess I'm just reacting to what seemed to be a kind of middle of the road year for the Hugos.

        Thanks for reminding me of the strength of the past three winners. Maybe they felt like they were going too far afield this year. I do remember feeling a little bit uncomfortable about The Yiddish Policeman's Union winning a Hugo. I didn't think there was any fear of Michael Chabon not getting enough recognition for his excellent novels and I felt like they should have tried to recognize someone who was really putting themselves on the line for sci-fi instead of a well-established literary writer. Maybe I'm the one who's a little too hidebound, but I'd rather see sci-fi writers brought into the mainstream than mainstream writers brought into sci-fi. And I'm still pissed that Anathem didn't win in, what was it, '09.

        Oh, and I'm in the middle of Reamde right now and it's a blast.

    • by fermion (181285)
      I think two things about the Hugos. First, the short form awards are more indicativa of the best in curent writing. Thins may be because scifi has it roots, as well as the award, in pulp mag fiction. Second, the novels tend tend to reflect the popular works, not always the best. A corollary is that authors tend to win awards year after year, which again is not good or bad. The result is that I seldom read the winning novel, but I do not always read novel and other works by those who have won the short
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        because scifi has it roots, as well as the award, in pulp mag fiction

        Mary Shelly just called you a putz.

        • Mary Shelley was one person, and Frankenstein was the almost the only SF she wrote (who remembers The Last Man?), and nobody else was writing it. As good as she was, she's an outlier. Modern SF does indeed have its roots in the pulps, as does the Hugo (which is named for a founding editor of pulp SF, Hugo Gernsback).

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            Mary Shelley was one person, and Frankenstein was the almost the only SF she wrote (who remembers The Last Man?), and nobody else was writing it. As good as she was, she's an outlier.

            All pioneers are "outliers". That's kind of the definition.

            The point I was trying to make is that science fiction did not start with mid-20th century pulp magazines, any more than rock and roll started with the Beatles.

    • Connie Willis is my favourite author. Blackout/All Clear did keep me turning the pages, but I felt it was quite a bit short of her best work. It was too long, and I felt didn't have a sufficiently coherent plot. I wish she'd spent those years writing more smaller books, even if the total word count was lower.

      I haven't read any of the other Hugo nominees, so I can't compare to them.

      My favourite Willis books are To Say Nothing of The Dog, Passage and Bellwether.

  • the fans' awards (Score:4, Informative)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @06:32PM (#37163566) Homepage

    The Hugos are awarded by fans, the Nebulas by writers who are members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, SFWA. Ca. 2007, a lot of SF writers started questioning whether SFWA was relevant anymore. A couple of their elected officers showed extremely poor judgment (google "sfwa hendrix" and "sfwa burt"), and this seems to have been symptomatic of more widespread dysfunction within the organization.

    • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday August 21, 2011 @10:16PM (#37164468) Homepage
      I will say that historically, the Hugos go to more high quality books than the Nebulas, though overall quality is still lacking; the failure of Iain Banks or Alastair Reynolds to have won a single Hugo is kind of ridiculous.
      • by Artifakt (700173) on Monday August 22, 2011 @12:55AM (#37164978)

        I must disagree, if only slightly, Iain Banks hasn't written a lot of SF, although his novel "Transition" has some elements of Quantum Mechanics 'many worlds' model as a major element. Arguably, that's actually more science in the fiction than most SF, but it's still generally considered a mainstream novel. Iain M. Banks, on the other hand, as the author of the 'Culture' series, well deserves a Hugo or two. I can see how its possible to get the two mixed, and fortunately, both of them live quite near each other in Fife, Scotland, and I'm told they both will make sure mail sent to either will be read by the appropriate one.

        • by spongman (182339)

          curious, my copy of 'Transition' was written by Iain M. Banks.

        • by stjobe (78285)

          From wikipedia:

          Iain Banks (born on 16 February 1954 in Dunfermline, Fife) is a Scottish writer. He writes mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks, including the initial of his adopted middle name Menzies. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".

        • by Shrike82 (1471633)
          Well done Sir. I was poised to add to the several people below who have already replied to point out your error, but then I decided to read your post all the way through to the end. Truely an impressive example of comedy online nerd-baiting.
      • by bcrowell (177657)

        I will say that historically, the Hugos go to more high quality books than the Nebulas, though overall quality is still lacking; the failure of Iain Banks or Alastair Reynolds to have won a single Hugo is kind of ridiculous.

        De gustibus non est disputandum, but personally, I thought Consider Phlebas was one of the worst books I'd ever read, and I stopped in the middle. I thought Revelation Space was pretty bad as well.

  • Shocking, I say (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Dawn Of Time (2115350) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @07:12PM (#37163764)

    I'm shocked, half the comments are nerds shitting on the winners. Never would have seen that coming.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Duradin (1261418)

      /. is slipping, usually it's 90% complainers and 5% fanboys trying to do damage control with the remaining 5% complaining about the rampant fanboys. Come on complainers, you're slipping.

      • /. is slipping, usually it's 90% complainers and 5% fanboys trying to do damage control with the remaining 5% complaining about the rampant fanboys. Come on complainers, you're slipping.

        The story was only up 4 hours on a Sunday night in the USA(when you posted), wait till after people get to work on Monday to level the ratios out.

    • Aye, but fret not! Once they've finished reading the books they'll be back here to complain how there isn't anything worth reading there, and the ratio will jump to the regular 90%+ :)

  • The two episodes cited were pretty good, although I don't know they were Hugo quality.

    Fringe, though uneven, put up some pretty good stuff this year that was better than DW.

    • by dbcad7 (771464)
      I liked Fringe too.. but really, the Pandora/Big Bang story was great stuff..
  • Named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of Amazing Stories magazine

    Am I the only illiterate who thought, for a second, that the Hugo awards was actually named after Victor?

    • by jgrahn (181062)

      Named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of Amazing Stories magazine

      Am I the only illiterate who thought, for a second, that the Hugo awards was actually named after Victor?

      In this context, Hugo Gernsback beats Victor Hugo and yes, you were.

  • I, for one, am disappointed in Slashdot that all that was stated is why and where the winners were awarded... Can't we at least summarize anymore?
  • Got it right when he 'called in' his Brit Award from his bed: ' I have better things to do than collect this; look I have real awards'.

    Is having a SciFi writing award like an MTV music award? Nobody will recognize yo having any talent so you have to make a losers category that you can excel in?

  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday August 22, 2011 @01:24AM (#37165058)

    Do I care?

    About six years back I decided to always add the latest Hugo winners to my reading list. Four out of five times I started reading and went, "You're kidding, Hugos. You're kidding, right?"

    • You read old man's war too?
      • Yes. Loved it. I liked "Spin" as well.

        Please note I said 4 out of 5. ;-)

        • actually I was surprised it won. I liked the trilogy, fun read and could make a great HBO series ALA game of thrones, But... It was well, a thin book and compared to previous winners it just didn't seem like a contender compared to an Uplift War, Mars trilogy, etc.
  • The problem with using the Hugo awards to find good sci fi is that the Hugos stopped being a good place to do that when the fantasy fanbois took over the world cons. The thing about the Hugo Awards is that *anybody* who joins a world con can vote for the Hugos; there was always a fringe fantasy element at the cons, but it stopped being fringe all of a sudden. You can pinpoint the year it started, too -- 2001, when a fucking Harry Potter fantasy got Best Novel. Up to 2001, not a single work of fantasy r

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