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Old 07-08-2014, 06:36 AM   #46
tompe
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You're right, I have. My apologies. The Hugo is the popularity contest; the Nebula is supposedly a measure of "quality" (whatever that means).
Why do you think that? They work in a similar way. If you argue that the Hugo is a popularity contest than the Nebula is also a popularity contest. They just have a different set of people voting.

A price that works differently is The Clarke Award were a jury read all the sent in books and read the books on the short list a second time before deciding in a meeting who to give the price to.
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:54 AM   #47
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A price that works differently is The Clarke Award were a jury read all the sent in books and read the books on the short list a second time before deciding in a meeting who to give the price to.
I guess that at the end of the day, no matter how you award the prize, it's simply someone's opinion. The merit of a book can't be measured objectively in any meaningful way.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:41 AM   #48
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My problem with The Wheel of Time being nominated in toto (primarily due to a loophole in the wording of the rules) is how it affects a voter's ability to actually read the whole Best Novels shortlist in the time frame allotted. If they've not read a large portion of the work before it was nominated, there's a pretty good chance they're going to be voting having NOT read the entire shortlist. It promotes an "I've not read it"/"Oh my gosh I've been hooked on these since I was kid!" scenario. Which is perfectly fine for a fan discussion, but maybe not so much for the voting members of an award committee.

It is my contention that anybody who hasn't read the entire shortlist for a category, shouldn't be voting on that category (if they want to pretend it's at all about the excellence of the works). To be clear, that's my own personal conviction, I know it's not a "requirement." The Nomination of The Wheel of Time has made that difficult--if not impossible--for many voters. Whether they be the stay-at-home supporting member, or the attending, cosplaying convention-goer who shows everyone pictures of his cat posed like Chewbacca.

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Old 07-08-2014, 08:42 AM   #49
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I think HarryT might be on to something about the popularity/quality thing. Art seems to be mostly subjective, so popularity might be a way of coming to large scale concensus. Especially in categories like the novel one, where all the works are by professional established authors, and are all highly edited. I'm not saying a jury selection (ala Clarke) is bad, but it risks being divorced from the readership at large.
On to the Short Story category!
This is an....interesting selection. None of them are what I would consider to be classic SF/F, or in some cases, at all. I do like fiction that pushes boundaries, and experiments are worthwhile, but some of these don't seem to really have any SF/F in them at all. In fact most of them would work as non-SF/F stories. I have heard that some people are not ranking/no awarding the entire category, which I did consider, and could see arguments for. Ultimately, I did decide to rank them, since they are all in the same vein, all borderline literary/non SF/F social stories. So judging them against each other is also valid IMO, and some of them are quite good. So without further ado....
1. The Ink Readers of Doi Saket
2. The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere
3. Selkie Stories Are For Losers
4. If You Were a Dinosaur My Love
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:33 AM   #50
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I can't even remember what order I put the short stories in, except that I didn't much like If You Were a Dinosaur..., and didn't think it was genre.

Checking my records, I went:

1. The Water that Falls on You from Nowhere
2. The Ink Readers of Doi Saket
3. Selkie Stories are for Losers
4. If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love

I seem to feel that the short shorts haven't been great for years. Maybe I'm not remembering very well. The split between Short Story and Novelette seems like arbitrary nonsense to me, but I can understand why it is practical to have more short categories, since it's easy for everyone to read all the nominees. The same reason it's impractical to have a Best Series award.

The best way to evaluate an award, in my opinion, is to look at its track-record and see what it got right and what it got wrong. The Hugo does pretty well, with most of the big tentpole books covered: Dune, Neuromancer, Ringworld, Starship Trooper, Gateway, Ender's Game, etc. It has a populist slant, and will pick a good story over a literary gem, but there's nothing hugely wrong with that. The other big SF awards have been more likely to come up with a book I dislike, but lately I don't think the Hugo's Novel shortlists have compared favourably at all.
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Old 07-08-2014, 10:17 AM   #51
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I like the way that the Hugo web ballot can be changed and updated anytime until the close of voting . . .
I debated whether to vote in categories that I can't finish in whole. I read John Scalzi's blog where he says he reads each nominated work until he gets bored, and gives rankings to the books that he was able to finish. That's probably what I'll end up doing in the Campbell Award category.
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:31 PM   #52
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TOR has put together a great refresher for the WOT series. I've found it to be very useful.

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/06/the...hugo-refresher
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:08 PM   #53
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Hey, Robert Jordan has never got an Hugo for WOT? Could you voting guys change it, please?
Seriously: I have not read any of the others yet and Brandon Sanderson did what he could - but WOT by Robert Jordan will last and deserved some proper acknowledgment.
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:43 PM   #54
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Hey, Robert Jordan has never got an Hugo for WOT? Could you voting guys change it, please?
Seriously: I have not read any of the others yet and Brandon Sanderson did what he could - but WOT by Robert Jordan will last and deserved some proper acknowledgment.
Most people I know did not finish the series and they dropped it well before Sanderson took over. So to me it seems that the whole series has some flaws.
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:41 PM   #55
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Both having the readers pick and the writers pick is both a measure of quality and a popularity contest. It's a question whose opinion you value the most, the readers or the writers. As a reader, I don't often find myself thinking "This book isn't any good, but I like it." If I like a book, I consider it to be a good book, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
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Old 07-09-2014, 05:09 AM   #56
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As a reader, I don't often find myself thinking "This book isn't any good, but I like it." If I like a book, I consider it to be a good book, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
I quite often think "this author isn't a particularly good writer, but he tells a good story". David Weber would be a prime example of that. He writes in clichÚs, but tells a good story.

A mediocre writer telling a good story can be very enjoyable. A good writer telling a poor story is not.
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Old 07-09-2014, 05:51 AM   #57
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A mediocre writer telling a good story can be very enjoyable. A good writer telling a poor story is not.
I can see that. I even enjoy bad stories that have neat ideas behind them; while I may wish they were better done, I can at least groove on the concept.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:10 AM   #58
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Thanks jscarbo, I hadn't seen that WoT refresher before. I'd finished reading most of the series again a couple years ago, and was going off that. I agree with DiapDealer, it's way too much to read before the voting. Next category for me was Related Work. I enjoyed this category more than I thought I would, though for me there was a clear No. 1. (Link to full names, I'm to lazy to type all that out http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-hi...4-hugo-awards/ )

1. We Have Always Fought
2. Queers Dig Timelords
3. Wonderbook
4. Speculative Fiction 2012
5. Writing Excuses S8

Even though it's shorter than the others, I found We Have Always Fought to be a powerful piece of writing. I read it when it first came out, and bits of it have stayed with me. Queers Dig Timelords struck as very heart felt, and seems to be the kind of thing SF/F needs. I'm not a Dr. Who fan, or familiar with it, so it surprised me how much I enjoyed it. I think the honest humanity of it, possibly. Wonderbook had some interesting content, is funny and has beautiful illustrations. Spec. Fic. 2012 (feels a little weird to be voting on something from 2012 in 2014 but I see how it came about). It and Wonderbook were tied, I went the way I did because I just enjoyed Wonderbook more. As for Writing Excuses, I'm not an author, nor do I aspire to be one. Between that and the length of the podcasts (like WoT, just not enough time), this one came last for me. That might not be fair, and I can see how one might really like this, but it left me cold, especially compared to the competition.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:01 AM   #59
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I'm not really too bothered about any of the categories outside the four fiction Hugos, but I did go ahead and buy myself a paper copy of Wonderbook after glancing through the PDF sample in the Hugo packet.

I listen to Writing Excuses and mostly enjoy it - the actual podcasts are very short, it's just that there are a lot of them - but it's already won, and I don't really see that it needs honouring again for a new set of episodes.
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Old 07-12-2014, 01:33 AM   #60
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There is no way that I could get half-way through WoT by the end of the month, let alone finish it, so I am ignoring it. Ancillary Justice will get my first place vote, Neptune's Brood or Warbound will get 2nd and 3rd, followed by Parasite, which I thought was OK, but didn't like the ending.

I've read most of the material in the Campbell award packet, plus the sequels by Chu and Naam not in the packet. I tried starting Sofia Samatar's novel, but it started out really wordy, and I only got a chapter or two in (not necessarily a bad novel, just slow starting). I think Gladstone's magic and economic system is quite original, so I'm leaning towards him first, followed by Naam and Chu (first year of eligibility). I think I'm going to try to get all of the professional awards nominees read in the next two weeks if I can, but I might have problems making time for the related works, as usual. Even so, I probably won't read more than snippets of the related works.
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