Friday, July 31, 2009

Author Adam Roberts On The 2009 Hugo's

Here's an article from The Guardian: When Democracy Fails: The Hugo SF Awards, which echoes the sentiments linked to in this earlier blog entry. An excerpt:

Science fiction author Adam Roberts is cross with science fiction fans. The line-up for this year's Hugo awards – selected and voted for by readers – isn't very good, he says, and he's not pleased.

"What do these lists say about SF to the multitude in the world - to the people who don't know any better? It says that SF is old-fashioned, an aesthetically, stylistically and formally small-c conservative thing. It says that SF fans do not like works that are too challenging, or unnerving; that they prefer to stay inside their comfort zone," Roberts writes, before going on to criticise the five-strong shortlist for this year's best novel award.

The novels on the Hugo shortlist – apart from Anathem, which Roberts feels should be on the shortlist despite his dislike for it ("I think it fails, but I think it fails in heroic, mad, reader-stretching, you've-never-come-across-anything-like-this-before ways") – are all old-fashioned, he says: "formally, stylistically and conceptually unadventurous". Where's The Quiet War, House of Suns, Song of Time? he asks. Where are the books trying something new?

It's the same old chestnut of whether book prizes should be decided by popular vote or by jury, as some commentators point out in a furiously debated comment section on Roberts's blog.

Click here to read the whole piece.

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