Hugo who?

So the 2007 Hugo nominees have been announced, and the only thing I can think is, Jeez, I haven’t heard of hardly any of these people! Among the best novelists, I’ve only heard of Vinge, and never read him. Novellas: bupkus. Novelette, I’ve heard of Resnick but again, never read him. Short story, there’s Neil Gaiman, the first writer on this list whose work I have actually read–and that was Don’t Panic.

Have I really grown that out of touch with what used to be my primary fandom? Or (as I prefer to think of it) am I just a classicist who’s more comfortable with the Golden Age than most of the modern works?

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22 comments so far

  1. thattallguy201 on

    You’re getting old.

    Older people like the music that they grew up with. Ditto writing. (So naturally, I grew up reading old pulps. :-/ )

    But you’ve never read Vinge?? Not even True Names?? Oh my. Go. Read. It’s right up your alley. A Fire Upon the Deep was a contender for best novels of its decade, IMHO.

    • thattallguy201 on

      Re: You’re getting old.

      P.S.
      True Names is online here.

      A Fire Upon the Deep, being a Hugo winner, is torrentable — search for the title or the word Hugo. Here is one that includes each separate book by file so you can just d/l the ones you want.

      • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

        Re: You’re getting old.

        Read the first chapter… no flow, too clunky for me. Not my style. I might go back to it later and see if it levels out.

        I’m trying to think who’s the most current author I read, other than Rowling (and that only by momentum now–I was that disappointed with Hair-Brained Plot… erm, Half-Blood Prince). Diane Duane… she’s only been writing for about thirty years now, a real newcomer! XD

        But really, other than Duane and Ellison, most of the writers I like to read are dead.

        • thattallguy201 on

          Re: You’re getting old.

          True Names isn’t as good for the story as it is for the concepts. A Fire Upon the Deep is both concept and story — it’ll grab you in the first couple of chapters, if you can figure out what’s going on. :)

          Other living authors: James P. Hogan – “The Two Faces of Tomorrow” is surprisingly Asimov-like. David Brin’s “Earth” is a strong candidate for “favorite novel of all time”. Orson Scott Card primarily for his Alvin Maker and Ender serii. Joe Haldeman. John Scalzi — you might really like Old Man’s War. These are the ones off the top of my head — the ones whose new books automatically go on the “must read” list.

          • Re: You’re getting old.

            Haldeman’s a genius, no doubt about it. I’ll have to check out Hogan. Brin and Card are two Big Names I’ve never gotten around to reading. Barry Longyear blew me away with ‘Enemy Mine’ (never saw the movie; I read the novella in Asimov’s way back when and it was the first SF story to break me down in tears) but I have to admit that I haven’t followed up on what else he’s done. Greg Benford landed on my permanent “Ignore” list with his utterly un-Asimovian “Foundation’s Fear”, which I wish I’d enver heard of. Abysmal!

            • thattallguy201 on

              Re: You’re getting old.

              Agree with you on Barry Longyear — but he’s written very little else. I read “The God Box” and enjoyed it quite a bit for the story but found it to be much lighter than I think he wanted it to be. The movie of Enemy Mine is competently done and was very faithful to the story, but suffers simply from the removal of the need for imagination IMHO.

              Also agree on Benford; I’ve read a few things of his and always wound up feeling let down somehow.

              James Hogan’s a writer who is progressing a bit like Heinlein in that his early stuff is fun and lighter and thought-provoking in a “Gee what if” kind of way, but his later stuff is getting preachy — worse, preachy about really flaky stuff. His Giants trilogy is really good solid work — a human corpse is found on the moon… carbon-dated at 50,000 years before the first moon shot. The rest of the trilogy is about solving that puzzle. (He tried to add more stories later — #4 is decent, and logically follows, but you can quit there. :) ) Also really enjoyed “Code of the Lifemaker” and the non-SF “Infinity Gambit.”

              Can’t believe you have never read Card or Brin. Anything that wins *both* Hugo and Nebula awards *has* to be good — and Ender’s Game (Card) doesn’t disappoint in any way I can remember. And Earth, Uplift War, and Kiln People (Brin) have all been fantastic stories in outstanding universes. Also, please don’t judge the book “The Postman” by the Kevin Costner movie — I nearly had a biological accident when that atrocity came out.

              • Re: You’re getting old.

                “[P]rogressing like Heinlein” is not a recommendation that gets my attention–RAH wrote exactly one short I liked (“All You Zombies”) but everything else of his I’ve read just did nothing for me. I never made it to the novels because I didn’t care for the shorts.

                My problem is two-fold.

                First, I find it hard to leave my ‘comfort zone’. I’d rather re-read “Foundation” or “Forever War” than pick up something new. And when it comes to picking up a new writer, my batting average is only 50/50–I got burned badly on our fellow alumnus Stephen Donaldson and nearly left fantasy fiction (again), then I discovered Eddings and Stasheff.

                Second, I still have so much Asimov and Ellison yet unread! I’m hesitant to start someone else when I’m not “done” with the authors I have. :)

                • thattallguy201 on

                  Re: You’re getting old.

                  Note I said “progressing like”, not “writing like”. :) I’m talking about how his point of view develops, not his style. And I wouldn’t advertise that you’ve never read a Heinlein novel — they’ll revoke your card.

                  > I find it hard to leave my comfort zone.

                  See subject. :D Donaldson: agreed. Eddings: a grade-school ripoff. Stasheff: I will confess to enjoying Her Majesty’s Wizard but more for the concept than the story. Those Warlock stories — one was cute. The rest are like Xanth: shut up already!!

                  If you’re batting .500 on new authors you’re doing well. A prior comment about the field exploding in size failed to mention that when the field was smaller, only the best got published; now, instead, Sturgeon’s Law applies.

                  Other newbies worth the investment: the space-opera series starting with Midshipman’s Hope by David Feintuch (you thought *you* were depressed? Wait’ll you meet *this* guy.) I actually like some of the Honor Harrington stuff (by David Weber) but he sure as hell gets paid by the word — check out Oath of Swords instead if you want a quick read.

                  And plenty of freebies at the Baen Free Library. No Asimovs in the bunch but any group that’s got Saberhagen, Niven, and Hogan can’t be all bad. (Hey — they’ve got “Two Faces of Tomorrow” up for free. That’s new…)

                  • Re: You’re getting old.

                    Okay, so I’m old. :)

                    Eddings got my attention with his characterizations. I still think Aunt Pol rocks. Sure, the Belgariad slipped over into silly mode every now and then, but it worked for me. Criminey, that I was reading fantasy at all in the wake of my unfortunate encounter with Tolkien was a minor miracle (that can be chalked up entirely to Diane Duane and The Door Into Fire).

  2. chilayse on

    Naah science fiction is much much bigger than it was even 5 years ago… I read almost nothing but science fiction and fantasy and have only heard of 3 authors on the list myself.

    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

      Well, it’s sure as hell a lot bigger than it was when I first fell into it! :) I was just surprised; usually there’s at least two or three I’ve heard of, but this year, really, the only horse I have in the race is that I’d like to see one of the Doctor Who eps win.

  3. argh_jim on

    I think it falls into the “we have to nominate SOMEONE” year. Hence, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” nomination.

    You’ve never read any other Gaiman??? Maybe you ARE out of touch. ;D

    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

      I’m still slogging my way through the Asimovs! He’s been dead for 15 years, but I think he’s still publishing!

      • argh_jim on

        Asimov’s Guide to the Afterlife, Summer 2007.

        • Egad–let’s hope he and I are right that there is no afterlife, or that just *might* happen, and nothing’s scarier than Asimov with a typewriter and eternity to play with! XD

  4. surakofb5 on

    I hate to say it, but, yes you probably are out of touch. I’m familiar with about half of the authors (among all the fiction categories). The authors you know aren’t publishing much any more, or have died. I started subscribing to Analog over 10 years ago so I could find the good newer authors.

    • I should get a subscription to Asimov’s going–used to read my dad’s when I lived at home, and I have boxes of his back issues. I’m typically very pleased with their editors’ choices for publication.

      • surakofb5 on

        I probably should subscribe to Asimov’s too, given that more than half the fiction nominees this year were published there, and none from Analog. But I can barely keep up with Analog as it is.

        • It’s an editorial style thing. The stuff that the editors of Asimov’s tend to pick, tend to be things I like. The stuff the editors of Analog pick don’t do much for me, generally.


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