Monday, August 10, 2009

The Hugo Award For Best Novel

This was a bit of a shocker. The Graveyard Book was up against intense competition. Anathem by Neal Stephenson, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi, Saturn's Children by Charles Stross. These guys are all heavyweights with lengthy and respectable publishing histories.

Alas, the only one I actually read was The Graveyard Book(because it was in my local library. Financial times being what they are I cant read everything I want. I'd end up taking a second job just to support a reading habit I would no longer have time for).

Despite my apologia I do intend to read the other novels. And not simply because they are on someone's list. Nor do I intend to Monday morning quarterback and raise a fuss over who SHOULD have won. A quick review of each (on Amazon) show them to be uncomfortably relevent to our times: technology as a double edge sword, the journey of youth to arrive safe and whole from their home planet of childhood to the usually drabby but occasionally fascinating shores of adulthood, and the always unsettling question of what if we humans weren't here anymore?

At first I was struck by the idea of a YA novel taking an award as prestigious as a Hugo. Then after researching the history of the award I saw that there have been YA novels that have won before (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). After some further research involving reading a few spoiler free book reviews I see that YA designation could as easily be applied to Little Brother, and Zoe's Tale. Which in my mind argues that YA may just be a designation for booksellers but not for readers. When I finished The Graveyard Book I wasn't thinking YA I was thinking holy shit that was good. It did what a good book always does: makes me relfect on my own life and the possibilities implicit when you simply keep breathing, keep waking up, keep making plans.

But that's quite enough of talking about books I haven't read. Not a wise thing to do for an aspiring reviewer. Suffice to say I will read each of them. And if nothing else, the Hugo's served a purpose in making me aware of their existence.

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