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2005 Hugo Nominations 171

COBOLgrrl writes " The 2005 Hugo Nominations have been announced. Books up for Best Novel include The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks, Iron Council by China Miéville , Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and River of Gods by Ian McDonald."
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2005 Hugo Nominations

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  • Hugo Lowdown. (Score:5, Informative)

    by sanityspeech ( 823537 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @06:35PM (#12061995) Journal
    The Hugo Award® is the leading award for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy. The Hugos are awarded each year by the World Science Fiction Society, at the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon). All members are entitled to make nominations and to vote on who receives the Awards, which are presented in a public ceremony which is always one of the highlights of the Worldcon.
    • Re:Hugo Lowdown. (Score:3, Informative)

      At one of the web sites [emcit.com] awarded a Hugo, there are some images of the actual award, sort of like an Oscar, but shaped like a V2 Rocket.
    • Sometimes it's not clear that the Hugos are for sci-fi in all forms, not just the written form. For example take the category Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form Nominated are: Heroes Part 1 & 2 - Stargate SG-1 Not Fade Away - Angel Pilot Episode - Lost Smile Time - Angel 33 - Battlestar Galactica And of course, 33 will win, but don't get me started on being off topic.
      • And of course, 33 will win

        That episode was the first time I saw a sci-fi show and didn't think "ehhh, Farscape was much better." Even though one of the main plot devices is essentially ripped off from Farscape, what they've done with it is very different but just as good. And although it's much more understated than Farscape, the show still occasionally delivers a total mindfuck. By the end of Season 1 I had no idea what was going to happen.

        Of course, the real test is whether they'll kill off main cha
    • Re:Hugo Lowdown. (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "The Hugo Award® is the leading award for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy. The Hugos are awarded each year by the World Science Fiction Society, at the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon). All members are entitled to make nominations and to vote on who receives the Awards, which are presented in a public ceremony which is always one of the highlights of the Worldcon. "

      And a "Harry Potter" book has won it. A "Harry Potter" film has been nominated for this year.
      Peter H
  • Maybe I'm just not, "in the loop", but I don't know of many online awards given. I don't like the concept of afew select people voting on who to give the prize to, I'd rather have open online voting. I'd also like to see more writing contests (again maybe I just missed them). By the way Ian McDonald is amazing.
    • by FireballX301 ( 766274 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @06:42PM (#12062029) Journal
      Remember, popularity != quality. Just because something is popular doesn't prevent it from being, for example, pandering tripe.

      And you know how english majors are.
      • wise words (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        *cough* da vinci code *cough*
      • Yes, you are correct.

        However, remember to extend this logic and not discount the quality of something just because it is popular. It's funny that a sibling post mentions The Da Vinci Code, because as soon as I had finished reading your post, I thought to myself "Someone's gonna say 'yeah like The Da Vinci code!'".

        FWIW, I thought that The Da Vinci Code was a good book. Not because I believed that most of presented conspiracies and other 'facts' were true, but because, well, it's a damn good story, pure f
        • by Ohreally_factor ( 593551 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @10:59PM (#12063251) Journal
          Sure, The 'Code is no Dickens, but then again I don't need to read the entire works of Shakespeare to validate my personal literary insecurities, like those cunts who love telling people that they've read War And Peace.

          I haven't yet read The Da Vinci Code, but it might interest you that both Dickens and Shakespeare wrote what amounts to pop culture in their time. They're considered classics because they were both great writers and their works have stood the test of time. But at the time that they wrote, they were both firmly a part of popular culture.

          Without having read the 'Code, I'd take a wild guess that it's not destined to become a classic. But that doesn't matter if you enjoy it, nor if millions enjoy it. It is what it is, and after reading what you wrote, I'm actually interested in reading it.

          BTW, I'm not the sort of cunt who loves telling people that I've read War And Peace. I look down on those cunts. I'm the sort of cunt that loves telling people I've read Gravity's Rainbow. But then there are the cunts who love to tell people they've read Ulysses, and they tend to look down on cunts like me.
        • Don't forget folks who read Infinite Jest and tell people about it. Especially if they've read it like 6 times now and the little companion book and still don't know what the hell is going on, other than satire on top of satire.
    • All members of WorldCon are entitled to make nominations and to vote on who receives the Hugo Awards. That's pretty open.

      Open online voting would create huge headaches and would be very hard to secure (people could easily vote more than once). If online polls at CNN, MSNBC and other news sites are to be believed, George W. Bush trounced John Kerry in November's elections. The reason most online polls are 90 percent inaccurate is because they're self-selected and do not accurately represent the whole popu
      • True, I understand that it would result in alot of bias and I'm not suggesting that the Hugo awards go to an online voting system. But the topic made me consider something along the lines of a web books site, some place where the online community could log on and review/vote for books and then at the end of the year you could send an award to the most popular books, saying, "You book was selected as one of the best by the readers at the site....". Just a way for the average readers to let an author know w
    • by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @08:14PM (#12062537) Homepage
      The people who vote on the Hugos are self-selected. If you want to vote, all you need to do is buy a membership in that year's WorldCon (World Science Fiction Convention). No restrictions, other than coming up with the membership fee (cheaper if you're not actually attending the con).

      Compare this with the Nebula, voted and awarded by members of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), which requires proof that you've made paid sales of SF (or F). That's closer to the Oscars, which is nominated and voted on by members of the Academy of Motion Pictures.

      What's the point of online awards? It's too easy to rig the voting, or for the utterly unqualified to vote.
      • I was eligible to nominate both for the Hugo and Nebula this year...but I only nominated a few stories from the preliminary Nebula ballot because I've been too busy to read much of the newer work. The Hugo and Nebula award periods are not exactly the same cycle. Here are the current Nebula best novel finalists:
        Paladin of Souls, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Eos, Oct 2003)
        Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, by Cory Doctorow (Tor, Feb 2003)
        Omega, by Jack McDevitt (Ace, Nov 2003)
        Cloud Atlas: A Novel, by David Mitchell (Sceptre, Jan 2004)
        Perfect Circle, by Sean Stewart (link to Private Edition) (Small Beer Press, Jun 2004)
        The Knight, by Gene Wolfe (Tor, Jan 2004)

        PALADIN OF SOULS won last year's Hugo, for instance.

        SFWA also has a committee whose job is to read "less popular" books that may be great but overlooked and add one such book to the ballot. You don't get that with Hugos. I'm not sure such an added book has ever won, however, but I imagine it might helps sales a bit.
    • With "open online voting", there's no way to stop someone from voting twice. Or a dozen times. Or tens of thousands of times, if they happen to 0wn a botnet.
  • I really recommend it. I haven't read any of the others, so my vote for Mr. Stross' book is a bit biased, but I definitely think it deserves a Hugo.
  • by Silverhammer ( 13644 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @06:47PM (#12062058)

    In my opinion, China Melville is overrated as an author. His Perdido Street Station was the "it" book of 2001, but after I finished reading it, I couldn't help but wonder what the big deal was.

    Granted, he has an excellent sense of the phantasmagoric and his worldbuilding skills are certainly impressive, but as an author, he just doesn't have the chops. His characters are almost too angst-ridden to move in a forward direction, and his plots read like a bad slasher flicks.

    Take away his word processor and give him a job as a conceptual designer. Everyone will be happier in the long run.

    • And yes, I misspelled his name. Oops.
    • it's Mieville, not Melville, and yes, he's over-rated. I like Perdido St. Station, but it was not even within shouting distance of _Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell_.

      Ditto for Charles Stross -- _Atrocity Archives_ is an enjoyable read, but _Singularity Sky_ is a third-rate potboiler. It's as if Tom Clancy decided to write sci-fi, yech.
    • I agree that mieville is overrated, but..."take away his word processor"?? Something about that statement just doesn't sit well at all with me.

      First, I don't think you've read enough truly bad sci-fi/fantasy, most of which mieville is leagues better than, no matter what his shortcomings are.

      Second, don't you think it's possible for an author to improve? Perdido street station was his second book. If you took away the word processor(/pen) of everyone who couldn't write well, no one would ever get to wri
      • am I the only one whose ever read King Rat? And yes- even after reading years of terrible fantasy, I think he's an over-rated hack as well. Why? Even though he is pushing boundries, that is all he's good at. He doesn't have the voice and the brilliant writing that a lot of modern fantasy writers have. I really don't think he has any lasting power. He's just there to tear down walls. And while this is necassary, it's not something that will last forever.
    • I didn't care for Perdido Street Station all that much, but I quite liked both King Rat and the Iron Council. The plotting was much better in both... PSS feels sort of lost and confused in spots, not sure where it's going or why. Neither of the other two books suffered from that problem.

      I bought both PSS and King Rat at the same time from an Amazon recommendation (which, by and large, are pretty good). I read Perdido first, didn't like it that well, and nearly didn't read King Rat. That would have been
      • PSS feels sort of lost and confused in spots, not sure where it's going or why.
        I thought Perdido SS used the confusing richness as a literary effect to give you a bit of vertigo when looking at the complex world. Just too much in that world.

        Something like the feeling when reading bad manuals about too complex APIs...

        It was the emotional effect on this reader, anyway.

    • The first book of his that I read was The Scar (I think because of its Hugo nomination, actually). I absolutely loved it. Fantastic. Then read Perdido Street Station, and it's not quite as good, but still very enjoyable. Then tried King Rat and didn't even finish it - it just did nothing for me.

      So based on that (it's reverse chronological order), I'd say he's very much improving himself, and I should really read Iron Council. But I haven't yet, for one thing because I've read some reviews that weren't that

    • Although I have not read his work, selecting "China Melville" as a pen-name suggests to me that your assessment is most likely correct. What was this guy thinking?
  • by daveed ( 545432 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @06:51PM (#12062079)
    Everybody who likes SciFi should read a bit of Iain M Banks (Iain Banks (same author without the 'M') writes pretty dark, non-genre books, very good, but nothing compared to his SciFi).

    Most of his SciFi books are based on 'The Culture' which is basically the human race in a few thousand years. VCool tech. and Uber-Cool Space Ship names ('Meat Fucker') is the nick-name other ships have given to one particular ship, 'cause it likes to read the minds of humans.

    If you're going to read any of his books, read 'The Player of Games'. Amazing read. (Tiny spoiler...) There is a bit where the lead finds out about a very dark side to the race who he is 'Playing' with. From that point, he stops talking. Then only when he has taken apart the next few players does he speak. Iain M Banks is truely a very great under-appreciated author. READ HIM.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      EVERYONE, I mean EVERYONE should read some Iain M Banks novels. Whether you agree or disagree with his "space socialist" utopian societies, they are wonderfully realised compared to almost any imaginary society except perhaps Dune.
    • by PxM ( 855264 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @07:17PM (#12062209)
      Even though he wasn't nominated for a Culture novel, I agree with the parent that his writing kicks ass. I suggest his essay, A Few Notes on the Culture [vavatch.co.uk], as quick intro about it. IMO, the best book is Excession but all of his Culture novels are amazing. They detail life in a post-scarcity ("money is a sign of poverty") civilization which is utopian by many standards. When many sci-fi books show AI as being human level sophonts (Star Wars, Asimov, etc) Banks has his AIs operating orders of magnitude above humans yet he still makes humans feel like an important part of the universe. Of all the science fiction I've read, the universe created by Banks is by far the coolest.

      I haven't read the novel in question, but if his Culture books are any indication of this novel's quality, it will be just as amazing and worthy of the Hugo.

      Want a free iPod? [freeipods.com]
      Or try a free Nintendo DS, GC, PS2, Xbox. [freegamingsystems.com] (you only need 4 referrals)
      Wired article as proof [wired.com]
      • by drxray ( 839725 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @08:50PM (#12062699) Homepage
        Banks is my favourite author, but I don't think his treatment of the super-intelligent AI characters is that impressive. To me they often come across somewhat like teenagers (they're always plotting and acting fairly immaturely) with minds that operate much faster rather than any smarter or wiser.

        I don't think this is Bank's fault... for quite a few reasons actually. Firstly, writing someone significantly smarter than you is close to impossible.

        He also postulates in one of his books that all intelligence past a certain level is equivalent with only differences in speed and capacity (a kind of Turing principle for sentience), which doesn't seem unreasonable. But his AIs should be at that level, whereas I often felt that they didn't have the situational mastery that you might expect - they sometimes completely understand a situation before it's even begun, but they can also act on crazy impulses and be singleminded. I would expect they would always be on perfect form.

        Finally, he says that AIs are coloured by the people who create them... and the people of the Culture are pretty immature. Perhaps he's saying something about them.

        Anyway, I understand that The Algebraist isn't a Culture novel, so perhaps Banks will get his Hugo since he doesn't have to write in the minefield that is super-intelligences.
    • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @08:33PM (#12062620)
      Books and the setting are great. His is the only Sci-Fi I read these days.

      Some notes/corrections to your post.

      The Culture is NOT the human race. The Humanoids in the Culture are from across this Galaxy, but if they've made contact with Humanity on Earth is alluded to in a post-scrip to one of the early Culture novels. Basicly Humanoids that can inter-breed are widespread across the Galaxy, a reason for this is alcohol, mentioned while a character was drunk and in jest.

      There are many species in Culture, a large percentage of them are humanoid with various differences, but mostly like us.

      AI have been given full rights in Culture and it's late shards, on a sliding scale of rights vs. sentience.

      Player of Games is a good start for the setting, Extension I liked the least.
    • Pass. I (and a friend) have read both Use of Weapons and Consider Phlebas. I'd rather consider phlebitis. The story drags. The characters are unsympathetic, etc, etc. I could go on, but I'd rather recommend some better books and authors. Oh, and we both read them twice - we couldn't believe, considering the parent post, that the book was that bad. Maybe we missed something. We didn't. Overrrated.

      China Mieville - An excellent job of world building. Great wordsmith. Very screwed-up stuff, but qui
    • I've read one Ian Banks book, The Player of Games, and would strongly second the suggestion. Good stuff.
  • by DumbSwede ( 521261 ) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Sunday March 27, 2005 @07:03PM (#12062146) Homepage Journal
    Seriouslly, I went through Slashdot's Book Review topics last summer compiling a summer-reading list. I ordered 10 to 12 books and I'm still working my way through it. I know some minimum of a book a week types would be aghast I'm not done, but I do a lot of technical reading as well, plus I haven't been completely exclusive to the books I picked up over the summer.

    From last summer's reading list
    Perdido Street Station - China Melville
    Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
    The Golden Age - John C. Wright
    Pattern Recognition - William Gibson
    Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
    Manifold Series - Stephen Baxtor
    Currently Reading:
    King Rat - Neil Gaiman
    Still to Go:
    Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood

    Some other Authors I follow
    David Bin, Ben Bova, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Frederik Pohl.

    I find the quality of my reading much better on average following Slashdot suggestions rather than randomly picking books by title and pretty covers at Barnes & Noble.

    Didn't quite care for Pattern Recognition, so just one clunker for me -- maybe I just didn't get it, I wanted more of a well defined plot.
    Taking inordinate pride in making through all 1130 pages of Cyrptonomicon, but after you make it past the first 300 pages you'll find yourself screaming through it.

    • I haven't been completely exclusive to the books I picked up over the summer.

      You slut!

    • Perdido Street Station = mind candy, substance-free. Neverwhere = brilliant fairy tale. I actually liked Pattern Recognition -- but then, I'm a fan of Gibson, read everything he's ever written (even suffered through Keanu's wooden mugging as Johnny Mnemonic). A little different from his previous works in mood and tone (and I'm not referring to the contemporary setting), but it was a story told very gracefully. Cryptonomicon, I agree with you. Neal Stephenson proved himself with Snow Crash, and indulged hi
      • Going through Quicksilver right now after having read Neuromancer (my first Gibson) and Zodiac to cool off from Beevor's Stalingrad. I've loved all of Stephenson's other books (Cryptonomicon was my first) and wished he would reprise each of those worlds (partly because of how he has trouble winding up the tales). Even here in a historic setting, he is writing what feels like great sci-fi. There are plenty of references to previous books, like Spectacle Island in Boston and the Waterhouse-Shaftoe characte
    • Also grab Greg Egan's Diaspora and The Best Short Stories of J.G. Ballard for some more excellent reading. Diaspora is a beautiful, epic book, and Ballard's short stories are brilliant. For an excellent non-SF novel read Shogun by James Clavell.
    • _Pattern Recognition_ wasn't bad, but it wasn't that good either -- sad fact is that William Gibson got lucky by writing _Neuromancer_ at the right time to generate his fifteen minutes. Still, I'd rather read an okay book like _Pattern Recognition_ than some other books.

      David Brin is another so-so writer, in my opinion -- not usually bad, but never really making it to great. Hey, we can't all be the best thing since sliced bread, and there's a place for "pretty good". He's usually good for ideas, but with
    • I would hold off on _Oryx and Crake_.
      While it is an excellent!!!! story the ending is just bad. Until she comes out with the sequal, to answer a bunch of questions that Oryx and Crake asks, advoid it unless you like unfinsihed stories.
  • by dlasley ( 221447 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @07:15PM (#12062197) Homepage
    I'm not done with Iron Sunrise yet, so I'll refrain (but it is really really good so far). I did finish Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and found the core story was imaginative and the characters were pretty engaging. I thought Strange was actually more distant in terms of visualization than Norrell - for some reason I could picture the latter and hear his voice much more readily than the supposedly more approachable and contemporary Strange. She didn't rush the story (even at page 800) and there were not any useless passages: everything had a bearing on at least one aspect of each storyline.

    One book that is not mentioned here that I highly recommend is Dan Simmons' Ilium [amazon.com]. This was a 12-hour read - problem was, it was 12 straight hours because I couldn't put the damn thing down!!
    • I second that. My sleep schedule was ruined because of that book. It's a must read.
    • Dan Simmons' Ilium. This was a 12-hour read - problem was, it was 12 straight hours because I couldn't put the damn thing down!!

      What worries me is that it'll turn out to be another "Hyperion" or even "Endymion", where he spins a fantastic, well-thought-out world full of complex, compelling characters, and then follows up with a sequel that has none of the magic and wraps everything up poorly ("void that binds"? WTF?). "Ilium" was awesome but I have no idea how he'll tie everything together coherently.
  • by Justinian II ( 703259 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @07:24PM (#12062245)
    I believe this year marks a significant milestone in SF history. Unless I am very mistaken, this is the very first year that none of the Best Novel nominees are American. All of them are from the UK and we have representatives from Scotland, England, and Ireland. I'd vote for either Susanna Clarke or China Mieville but any of those novels are more deserving than some of the garbage that has won in recent years. I'm looking at you, "Hominids".

    This just reinforces my impression that American SF is stagnant while all the real action these days is taking place across the pond. Great stuff, and I hope American authors take this as a kick in the pants to stop rehashing the same old material and start showing a little imagination.
    • by BenjyD ( 316700 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @07:53PM (#12062425)

      we have representatives from Scotland, England, and Ireland.

      All of those in one entrant: Ian McDonald. From his web site:

      born in 1960 in Manchester, England by an Irish mother and a Scottish father. He moved with his family to Northern Ireland

      Hearts, Hand and Voices (his second novel?) was one of my favourite sci-fi novels.

    • by starling ( 26204 ) <strayling20@gmail.com> on Sunday March 27, 2005 @07:55PM (#12062440)
      Couldn't agree more. US science fiction has degenerated into a set of seemingly endless soap operas. A good idea and some strong characters which are maybe good for three books are recycled again and again, each installment written to the same formula, each incidental character getting their own sub-plot, each story line stretched out endlessly with no conclusion in sight.

      I'm not going to name names but, apropos of nothing, I miss the days when Weber was a type of carburettor, not an anti-insomnia treatment.

      Compare with the 'Culture' novels; they might all be set in the same universe, but they can stand on their own and are all very different novels.

      And how about the politics? If US writers are to be believed the only choice is between high-frontier Libertidiotanism or tree-hugging eco-bleeding-heartedness. Read some Iain Banks or Ken MacLeod and you'll see more political variety than just about all US science fiction put together.

      It's a real shame, because US science fiction used to be the best in the world.
    • I agree, but I don't think American authors are to blame. I think that it is the publishers. In the past publishers would print the drek in order to support the printing of good literature. Now like much of the entertainment industry the book publishers are not interested in anything other then a solid money maker.
    • Well Sawyer is Canadian so don't blame the US.

      I don't really think American SF is stagnant; there are several brilliant writers here (John C. Wright comes to mind), just because in one year it's non-US nominees doesn't necessarily mean anything. And I think a lot of the best work coming out of the US is in short stories and novellas; check out the year's best collections edited by Hartwell if you don't believe me.
      • Yes, I was going to make the same point that Sawyer is Canadian.

        And as an American SF writer, I'd like to point out that these generalities are incorrect or in bad taste. Science fiction is a case of small number statistics. If you think all "American" science fiction is bad, but like some of the British stuff, you've probably not read widely enough. There are differences in flavor, but it isn't a case of "good" vs. "bad."

        I'll give my fellow British writers credit for spearheading the renaissance
    • Not necessarily refuting your point, but I think that the Worldcon being held in the UK this year has contributed to the Anglo-centric slant of the nominations.

      Incidentally, anybody else think that the convention venue [worldcon.org.uk] looks like a low-budget Sydney Opera House? ;-)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "American SF is stagnant while all the real action these days is taking place across the pond. Great stuff, and I hope American authors take this as a kick in the pants to stop rehashing the same old material and start showing a little imagination."

      The problem with American SF is that it has become too commercialized. Example? Easy one. I give you "Star Trek" under Roddenberry. And then Star Trek under Berman.

      The publishers have the whip hand. This has gone back at least a double decade. If trilogy
    • In 2001 there was no American SF on the final ballot; the only American was George R R Martin's A Storm of Swords.
  • by Magickcat ( 768797 ) * on Sunday March 27, 2005 @07:37PM (#12062315)
    I'm a big fan of Iain Banks, but I'm surprised to hear that The Algebraist has been nominated. Although it's well written technically, it's hardly as innovative as his Culture novels. It's a very poor book in terms of plot on the whole unlike his other sci-fi and fiction work.

    I found myself questioning the space opera characters very early on. I mean a baddie with diamond teeth and red eyes! I mean really! Surely an author of his calibre can make a villain despicable beyond the all too familar plot abbreviations.

    I'm disappointed that Richard Morgan didn't get a mention for Market Forces.
    • Market Forces couldn't be nominated- it's 2005, and the nominations are for 2004 works.

      That said, while I like Morgan a lot, I think he really cripples himself in these sorts of awards with his sex scenes. (Haven't read MF yet- maybe he's stopped) To a 16-year-old boy, these are probably the coolest. To me, pushing 40, they're an embarrassment. "Gee, 2 pages of poorly written porn. Flip." I suspect I'm not exactly alone here. I always loved the way Zelanzy handled sex scenes- a bit of a leadup, then

      • MF is much better than Altered Carbon and Broken Angels in terms of the sex scenes, but he loses points for having the protagonist wind up reading Altered Carbon at one point.

        Market Forces wasn't bad, but I thought it broke down towards the end.

      • You're so right about Alastair Reynolds. I've bought all his books so far, and at the end I feel let down because the characters are not plausible or there's some huge hole in the plot. He's so close to being a great writer, but he's been close for about 5 novels now. By contrast, I've been rereading Greg Egan's novels recently and I'm impressed with the improvement in his writing skills over that time (Teranesia was beautifully written and very moving, although it had far less "wow!" factor than his previo
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Will somebody atleast now start selling 'The Algebraist' in the US??
    I've been waiting to get my hands on that book for a long time.
  • Predictions, etc. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pikathulhu ( 550091 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @07:43PM (#12062355)
    A friend and I routinely bet on Hugo winners. Three months ago, I bet that Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell would win the Hugo for best novel in 2004. I'm glad to see it made the nominee list, and knowing the other novels, I still think JS&MN will win. It's fantasy, but that's OK under Hugo rules, and no other SF/Fantasy novel got 1/10th as many favorable reviews last year. If you enjoy fantasy, Jane Austen, and Neil Gaiman, then you'll definitely like it too.

    I also predict that the winner won't be American. Yeah, this is the first year that no American was nominated for best novel. Note that the Hugo is voted on by Worldcon members, and Worldcon is in Scotland this year. So a substantial portion of the voters will be able to travel to Scotland for the con, and I believe several of these nominees are more well-known in the UK. They're all really good--don't get me wrong--but location is probably a factor in this list.

    Incidentally, here's a really good round-up of the best SF/Fantasy novels published last year: http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.arts.sf.wr itten/msg/4ab6c83b0b234305 [google.com]

    • by arwel ( 245005 )
      Note that the Hugo is voted on by Worldcon members, and Worldcon is in Scotland this year. So a substantial portion of the voters will be able to travel to Scotland for the con, and I believe several of these nominees are more well-known in the UK. They're all really good--don't get me wrong--but location is probably a factor in this list..

      Err, no. I don't think the Worldcon's location has anything to do with it. Most Worldcon members live in the US even in years when the Worldcon isn't being held there. I
  • No surprises here, if you ask me. It would have been nice to see a quirky choice or two IMO.
  • I think Excession was the last really good Iain M Banks book I read. His sci-fi seems to have gone the same way as his mainstream fiction: it all became a bit samey after a while. Excession was excellent, though.
    • Fair enough, but still average-to-poor Banks is better than the best of most other authors, and The Algebraist, even if nowhere as deep as his best work, is still probably one of the best balls-out Space Operas I've ever read.
    • The Algebraist isn't a culture novel, which seems to have revitalized him somewhat and IMHO is the best thing he's done since Excession.

      I saw Iain recently at Stirling University doing a reading and question/answer session. Among other things he was quite strong on The Bridge being his best novel overall, and Use of Weapons his best SF. Also said the The Algebraist was his first book produced without the aid of his long-term editor and in retrospect his thought it was a bit over-long, although I can't
      • The bridge his best book? I'd have chosen the Wasp Factory or Espedair Street, personally.

        Inversions marked the time when I pretty much stopped reading Sci-fi: I'm not sure why, I guess I just got bored. Having just seen the travesty the Sci-Fi channel made out of Earthsea and being reminded of how much I loved Sci-fi/fantasy *books*, I'm off to Amazon.
      • I find it interesting that Banksie can get away with writing novels that have themes that could be called SF, without them being actually being called "SF". The setting of The Bridge, for example (a giant city built around a structure like the Forth Bridge, only longer), could easily be counted as SF, and yet isn't, at least according to the publisher's classification.

        The only other author I can think of off the top of my head who can avoid the "Sci-Fi stigma" by writing about alternative realities is Ki
  • The HUGO awards are meaningless if they exclude authors such as Travis Tea, simply because they write in the "wrong" genre.
  • by cool_st_elizabeth ( 730631 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @09:32PM (#12062867)
    They are nominated & voted on in 2005, but the award is for works published in 2004.
  • Can I get these books on eDonkey yet?
  • Science fiction artwork has always thrilled me, and the Hugo awards are one of the few instances where it is given the recognition it deserves. Often we only see such artists' work on book covers and magazine covers, where it is obscured by lots of type. However, if you ever see these pieces in a frame or as a poster, you can't help but be impressive by the artists' imagination and skill.

    I was able to find nice galleries online for nominees John Picacio [johnpicacio.com], Fred Gambino [alisoneldred.com], Bob Eggleton [das-brisingamen.de], and Donato Giancola [donatoart.com].

  • River of Gods (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jett ( 135113 )
    Interesting that a book not even for sale in America was nominated. It's also interesting that the best contemporary SF is coming out of the UK these days. I hate it though because for most of these great authors you have to wait a year+ for their books to get released in the US (unless you want to go through the hassle of Amazon.co.uk. I think Ken MacLeod and Charlie Stross are the only exceptions to this in that they get published in the US first or within a month or so of coming out in the eU...but Rich
    • Yes, thank you, thank you, thank you. And let us not forget the shelves and shelves and shelves and shelves and shelves and shelves and shelves and shelves and shelves and shelves and shelves full of bad Star Trek, ST:TNG, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek DS9 and Star Trek: Enterprise novelizations (which is pretty much every single one of them when it comes down to it). Jesus H. God, won't they think of the trees. What about the trees!

    • You must shop at crummy bookstores. I never have a hard time finding Alastair Reynolds at my local oases. However, I will admit that it is more difficult to find UK authors than US authors in US stores. (I have the same problem with Canadian authors.)
    • Traditionally, the English-speaking world is divided between North America and the Commonwealth for publishing purposes, and the rights are sold separately. So the UK publisher can't distribute books in the US, as they don't have the rights. This actually makes sense for the authors, as they can effectively get paid twice for the same book -- if a UK publisher could distribute a book in the US, they wouldn't necessarily do so as effectively as a US publisher.

      (Yes, Canada is in both North America and the Co
  • Robert Sawyer's HOMINIDS was nominated and won the Hugo when Worldcon was in Toronto (Sawyer is Canadia). Worldcon members nominate the Hugos, and there are a lot from the UK this year since the next Worldcon is in Scotland. There are many fine British writers, and probably all the novels nominated here deserve their nominations, but it doesn't mean British SF is better than American SF right now necessarily (a whole thread above). It means a few hundred people, with more UK people compared to Americans
  • There's TV and movie nominations as well. So feel free to discuss those too. =)

    In the "Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form" (TV) category, the nominations were the pilot of Lost, two Angel episodes, as well as ones from Battlestar Galactica & StarGate SG-1. The SG-1 episode was the two parter "Heroes", which I for one loved immensely. The BSG nomination was for their first episode, "33". Definitely good, but I'm saddened at the lack of love for the BSG miniseries.

  • Iron Council by China Mieville
    Secularity: 10 Technophilia: 10
    Quality: 8 Xenophilia: 10
    Tilt: 7 Average: 9

    "I want to die for the engine I love -- one hundred and forty three"
    - a folk song

    Two decades after the dreamplague of Perdido Street Station, the industrial metropolis of New Crobuzon bubbles with discontent. Guilds strike. Revolutionary cells meet and blabber. Militia patrol in grim uniforms.

    The suffrage remains very limited. Power is still in the hands of the Fat Sun Party, with the xenophob

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."