On Shortlists

Hugo nominee Paul Kincaid discusses what it means when people kvetch about book award shortlists (specifically those in science fiction and fantasy).

3 Comments on “On Shortlists”

  1. Seems mostly reasonable, although I would suggest that there could be other books that simply weren’t as widely read that are better. That’s the way the world works though, and if you like a particular book, recommend it around.

    The Hugos (and probably Nebulas), are nominated and voted and there is always going to be some element of popularity to them. If you don’t like that, follow the Campbells instead (these ones, not the kind that Scalzi won).

  2. Art is inherently subjective. There is no right answer. Choosing the five “best” or ten “best” or whatever and have everyone (or even a majority) agree is an impossibility.

    Better to recognize what these awards are really about. Recognizing things that are good, thereby alerting people to them. It is rare that I’ve actually agreed with the “best novel” Hugo, but I have been led to a number of good books I otherwise wouldn’t have read if it weren’t for the nomination or the award.

  3. Steve @ 2 makes a good point. I went back through the list of best novel Hugos, and in my opinion only 11 of them are Hugo quality. Admittedly, there are some I have not read, so if I ever get around to reading them, that number may increase. A few on the list I found unreadable, like The Yiddish Policemens Union. Some I intensely disliked, like Rainbows End. Some were pretty good, but not Hugo good, like Rendezvous with Rama.

    But that’s OK. I am one fan out of the thousands that attend Worldcon. My opinion counts, but not enough to override the majority. That’s how it is, folks. The award goes to the book/story/whatever that gets the most votes. There is no objective standard of “best.”

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