My 2012 Hugo Vote: Novel

Hugo-nominated novels for 2012

We’re up to my vote the Hugo award for best novel now.

There’s A Dance With Dragons, by George R.R. Martin, the fifth book in his A Song of Fire and Ice series (and the basis for the HBO series, A Game of Thrones). Martin is a great writer, and I enjoyed the novel, but it suffers seriously from middle-book syndrome. The War of the Five Kings is winding down, revealing the long-buried plots for a more dangerous and all-consuming war. If anything, this book widens the scope of the series even further. If Martin wants a Hugo for this series, I’ll be happy to give it to him if he manages to bring it to a successful close. But this isn’t that book.

Then there’s Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey, a pseudonym for the writing pair of Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank. It’s set in the asteroid belt during the run-up to a potential war within the solar system, and also features a major find of alien origin. It’s an excellent story and I enjoyed it a lot. I’m not quite sure that it was ground-breaking enough to be a Hugo winner though.

Embassytown by China Mieville was an interesting, but strange, book about humans, their interactions with aliens and language. I enjoyed it but never quite though of it as a Hugo winner.

Deadline by Mira Grant, a pseudonym for Seanan McGuire, was a true stand-out for me. It’s the second book in her Newsflesh trilogy; the first book, Feed, was nominated for a Hugo last year. In the book, the zombie apocalypse happened some two decades ago. Humanity survived but has had to learn to live with the fear of the zombie plague. It incorporates some excellent world-building, a consistent scientific basis for the plague, action, conspiracies and oddball characters. I loved it.

Finally, there’s Among Others, by Jo Walton, a book that mixes magic, tragedy and the discovery of science fiction into a coming of age story for a teen-age girl. It’s an odd, powerful and uplifting book that resonates strongly, although it’s probably less accessible to those with only a limited knowledge of the science fiction genre (however, those aren’t usually the people who vote for Hugos).

I’m giving my vote to Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) for Deadline, because I think it’s pretty ground-breaking for someone to do what she’s done…to bring a true nuts-and-bolts, hard-SF sensibility to the old-fashioned zombie tale. However, I’ll also give a special mention to Jo Walton’s Among Others, which was also pretty extraordinary. I’d be pleased if either one of these novels won the Hugo award.

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1 Comment

  1. Posted September 3, 2012 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

    It was actually Jo Walton’s Among Others that took the award. In her acceptance speech, she said that one of her friends told her: “Some people have characterized Among Others as a love letter to science fiction fandom. Didn’t you think there was going to be a response?”

    Seanan McGuire, aka Mira Grant, did when a Hugo in one of the fan categories.

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