Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Help From Hugo

The Hugo Awards have been a great source of inspiration when I am wondering what to read next. When I tabulate my immediate books on tap for the next few weeks, from time to time I consider this list to see if there is anything that interests me at this specific time.

Why the Hugos? Simple: I love fantasy and, to a shade lesser of a degree, science fiction. The Hugo Awards recognize the best of science fiction and fantasy and have been given out each year since 1955. There are a variety of different categories for many types of media, both literary and visual, but the category I prefer to pay attention to is Best Novel. A unique facet of the Hugos is that they are voted on by the fans of the joint genres. The only requirement to vote is to be "a supporting member" of the World Science Fiction Society.

Former Hugo winners already constitute some of my all-time favorite books. Dune by Frank Herbert (winner in 1966) and American Gods by Neil Gaiman (winner in 2002) are two giants with which my initial encounters are forever etched in memory. The Man in The High Castle by Philip K. Dick (1963 winner) introduced me to the bizarrely illuminating world of the man known as PKD. These are authors who create vast worlds and craft huge ideas to illustrate lucid truths in all of us. I'm always anxious to be taken to a new place, to discover a hidden part of the human condition that I never viewed from that particular aspect before.

I am heading on a vacation soon, and I will pick up the the 1976 Hugo winner The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. Government forces from Earth are waging an intergalactic war with hostile aliens, but due to a weird quirk of space travel, only months are passing for the loyal soldiers doing the actual fighting, while centuries are passing back home. A timeless testimonial to the ultimate impotence of war and the disillusionment of those affected by it, this novel looks to have as much to say about today's world situation as it did about Vietnam.

What are some award or other lists that you use to kick-start your reading journey?


Linda K. said...

I just finished The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett, one of my favorite Science Fiction/Fantasy authors. I hope this one rates a Hugo some day.

Tracy G. said...

The Bram Stoker winners are usually added to my never ending list of things to potentially read. I also go for the Printz and Lincoln award winners for young adult books.

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