Worldcon 2011: The Hugos

25 09 2011

Yes, the Hugo awards, voted on by Worldcon attendees and presented Saturday night. I enjoyed the ceremony this time much more then at Denvention in 2008. In fact all the major events seemed better organized and more hospitable. Mad props, Renovation peeps!

The Hugo Award is always a sleek rocket, but every year it gets attached to a different base. As part of the awards ceremony, they brought out the artist behind this year’s base and had her talk about her inspiration and process. I was really glad they did that, because her ideas and execution were brilliant. Inspired by recent photographs of geysers on Enceladus, Marina Gelineau used layers of scored and painted glass to represent the surface of an icy world, with strange life forms beneath the surface. (Click here and scroll down for a blurry photo.)

For in-depth analysis of the Hugo outcomes, visit Erik’s blog. The full list of winners is here. I’m just going to talk about some of my favorites.

For best novel, I voted for The Dervish House by Ian McDonald. This vote was pretty much a foregone conclusion ever since I heard the author read some excerpts at my last Worldcon in Denver. I also really liked N. K. Jemisen’s The 100,000 Kingdoms, which built a compelling, original mythology and put the gods in the action with the mortals. And I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Feed by Mira Grant, a.k.a. Seanan McGuire. I’m generally not a big fan of zombie stuff, but her scenario was different than the standard undead apocalypse and offered some significant surprises. But after reading all three, I still liked The Dervish House best. The other two entries I didn’t finish. Not especially cool, I know, but I had a lot to read in a short span of time, and after getting about 100 pages into each I could confidently rank them fourth and fifth. (Connie Willis won with her 1000-plus page epic in two volumes, Blackout/All Clear.)

I really wanted Bryan Talbot to win best graphic story for Grandeville Mon Amour. It’s a steampunky murder mystery in a world of anthropomorphic animals, where France has colonized Great Britain (and renamed it Grandeville, also the name of a 19th century illustrator known for animal characters.) However the Hugo went to Girl Genius by the Folgios, as it has every year since the category was added. I’m a longtime fan of Phil Foglio, but it would have been sweet to see Grandeville Mon Amour win. Oh well.

In the end my only vote for first place that actually won (besides Inception for best long-form dramatic presentation, a shoe-in) was Shaun Tan for best professional artist. He’s more of a cartoonist than the book cover artists he was up against, so I was surprised but psyched to see him win the Hugo.

So now, as a member of this year’s Worldcon, I get to nominate works for next year’s Hugos. I’m going to make an effort to read books that actually come out this year. I’ve already read China Mieville’s Embassytown, and it’s one of the best sci-fi books I’ve ever read. I’m still working my way to A Dance with Dragons, but I believe George R. R. Martin has taken himself out of the running. The HBO series is probably fair game, though.

Got any other suggestions?

This was given to me while waiting to board the plane home. (I was reading the book.) Thanks Brigid!

 


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25 09 2011
Arno Axolotl

I also voted for The Dervish House and Grandville Mon Amour. I was disappointed that Shaun Tan lost for The Lost Thing, but glad he got Best Artist. You can see more details on my blog.
In addition to Embassytown, there are excellent new books by Vernor Vinge and Charles Stross. It could be a tough year to decide what’s best.

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