Hugos announced!

I’d noticed the nominees earlier, and I was dismayed to see that I’d read relatively few of them. You’d think with being a virtual prisoner at home since March, I’d have had plenty of time to get a lot of light reading done, but no…increased teaching responsibilities ate up the spring, and this summer has been a slough of despond consumed by worries about teaching in the fall. I was able to muster some cheers for Kameron Hurley’s The Light Brigade, but mostly I didn’t know the competition. Now I learn the winner was Arkady Martine for A Memory Called Empire, which now has to go on my list. Will I have time to read it? Unlikely. It’s August. Classes start early this year.

Most of the news sites that mention the Hugos seem to be focused on George R.R. Martin, because he had promised the latest Game of Thrones book by this date. He has since said it will be next year. Do you care? I have long been discouraged by the sluggish pace within the books in addition to the ridiculously long delays (and accompanying excuses) between the books that I gave up on them a few volumes back, have mostly forgotten what happened in them, and am not interested in re-reading them to catch up enough to want to touch the next one, which might be out in 2025 at this rate. Besides, the last season of the HBO adaptation was so godawful bad that it has fouled the whole series.

Bye bye, George. Your novels have procrastinated themselves into oblivion, and I’ve got some Arkady Martine to read. Also, Nnedi Okorafor has a graphic novel? And I still haven’t read Amal El-Mohtar’s and Max Gladstone’s This Is How You Lose the Time War, despite meaning to get around to it for ages? At least I did read Jemisin’s Emergency Skin, so I’m not a total loser.


  1. blf says

    First George RR Martin, now Patrick Rothfuss: the curse of sequel-hungry fans:

    Weary of waiting for epic fantasy series to be concluded, some fans — and even, it appears, one editor — are turning against their favourite authors

    […] In 2009, Neil Gaiman informed a fan that “writers and artists aren’t machines” […]

    It’s about time we all listened to Gaiman. If you’re waiting for new book in a long-running series, from Martin or Rothfuss, “wait”, he says. “Read the original book again. Read something else. Get on with your life. Hope that the author is writing the book you want to read, and not dying, or something equally as dramatic.”

  2. says

    George R.R. Martin’s glacial pace of writing never really bothered me. Inevitably something happens in those books to make me rage quit reading them for a few years. I actually started reading them almost 20 years ago now and I’m still only halfway through Dance of Dragons. I’ll finish it one of these days. Right now I’ve been devouring the Dresden Files novels, and there’s still a few Terry Pratchett novels I haven’t read yet. Oh yeah, and there’s the entirety of Gibson’s Bridge Trilogy I’ve been meaning to read. So yeah I don’t get bent out of shape because Martin writes slow. He turns out a quality product.

  3. says

    Arkady Martine’s cover seems like it’s using the same font as Chuck Tingle. I don’t have as good an eye for fontography as some, so forgive me if I’m wrong. Nonetheless, that cowboy’s involuntary involvement in the Hugo’s is the only reason I’ve personally heard of them, so fun to see his phantom appear.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    If you want to read something by someone named Arkady, you might want to read a novel by the brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, if you can find a copy.
    Peter Watts is quite interesting.
    And the dark humor of Richard Kadrey will cheer you up.

  5. microraptor says

    I read precisely one Game of Thrones novel. I thought it was long and full of characters that were completely unlikable.

  6. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    without reading all the details, I heard that Gaiman’s Good Omens adaptation got lots of Hugo nominations. Well deserved as Tennant was excellent as Crowley.

  7. says

    Yeah, but, David Tennant.

    I mean if somebody came up with a script in which he plays a bowl of oatmeal, I would want to see that, too..

  8. garysturgess says

    @blf, all due respect to Neil Gaiman, that’s not what PZ was saying.

    Does GRRM owe fans a book? No. He can write the entire manuscript and burn it in front of his appalled fan base while laughing maniacally, that’s up to him.

    However, if you take years between novels, and the show based on your novels finished years before you did (badly, at that), you have every right to expect that you will lose fans that get bored of waiting. PZ isn’t alone, I’m in the exact same position (I can barely remember what happened in the last novel – and I certainly won’t be wasting my time with any others IF he eventually publishes them).

    To answer Neil’s point, we don’t have to wait. A Song of Ice and Fire isn’t the only game in town, and we can, will, and (in many cases) have moved on due to the glacial pace at which they seem to be being written. It’s not because he owes us the book. It’s because we don’t owe him a sale.

  9. garnetstar says

    I’m rather like microraptor @6. I liked the first season of the GoT TV show, so I got the first novel and read it. Didn’t see why it’d be of interest to anyone: pretty confusing, rather dull, but, most of all, his writing style is like that of a TV weatherman, just unconnected facts.

    I had to go read some Austen to recover from that style.

  10. dodecapode says

    When the nominations came out I was surprised to learn I’d actually read half of them already, so I made an effort to pick up the others and complete the set. I think they made the right choice for the winner, though there were some strong contenders. (And I’m slightly disappointed Gideon the Ninth didn’t win because it was the one I had the most fun reading, though it won’t be everybody’s cup of tea)

  11. fishy says

    I tend to get wrapped up in what I haven’t read, but I feel I need to read.
    There is also the personal exploration that comes from rereading. As an example, I reread for the third time Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. It was wonderful and different. I’m different.
    Also, it isn’t science fiction.

  12. Devious Brownies says

    I was blown away by “This is How…”, it was not at all what I expected; it was so much more.

    Two opposing agents in a time war fight across multiple versions of human history, sabotaging and undoing each other’s efforts, all the while exchanging notes with each other; you might think it would be about the war, the factions, the victories and defeats. It’s not, it is so much more focused on the agents, who and why they are, and how and why that, and their relationship, matters.

    “Less is more” is a very much overused (and rarely accomplished) cliche, but I think it really applies here. What could have been a massive exercise in world-building is passed over for subtle and effective hints of a far bigger picture of which Red and Blue are an important, but tiny, part. At least to begin with.