Hugo progress report 1

Earlier in the year, I vowed to at least attempt every work on the Hugo ballot that I could get my hands on (without paying, in the case of Puppy picks). And so far, I’m well on track to have sampled (at the least) everything in the fiction categories. I need to get working on the Campbell and related works, though, and I’ve got one film left to view. The short form dramas may not all get viewed, largely because the newest seasons of Grimm, Supernatural, and My Little Pony aren’t available on any of the streaming platforms I subscribe to yet, and they’re Puppy picks so I’m not paying for them. We’ll see how that goes, though. Maybe by the end of the month…

You want my category by category thoughts? Well, here you go.

Novels

I had already read three (Ancillary Mercy, The Cinder Spires, and Uprooted), so I was well ahead of the game here. I adored The Fifth Season, so much that I preordered the sequel the moment I finished it and I still can’t decide whether to put it or Uprooted (my nominee) at the top of my ballot.

Seveneves was less of a success for me. I ranted a bit about it here and I finally gave up at page 364. I made it past page 100, though, which was better than some Hugo finalists have been for me. It’s definitely getting the last slot on the ballot, although I can see why many people would have nominated it, so I won’t be using No Award in this category.

Novellas

I nominated Penric’s Demon, so I had four to read in this category. I finished Binti a few days ago and loved it – it’s currently vying for top of the ballot with Penric’s Demon.

Perfect State frustrated me because I usually like Brandon Sanderson’s work, and this was not one of his better pieces. It was an okay novella, but not brilliant, and Sanderson has definitely written much better stories than this.

I didn’t make it past page three of Slow Bullets. I tried, but torture disguised as miliSF does nothing for me. I’ve got The Builders on my Kindle, so I’ll probably tackle that one shortly.

Novelettes

I’ve only made it to two of these so far, but that’s largely because “Obits” was sent as  PDF and I need to sit down with my iPad to read it. And two novelettes are from the same anthology, so I need to sit down with my iPad for those, too.

Thankfully I was able to put .mobi copies of “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” and “Folding Beijing” on my Kindle, so I read those at the weekend. “Folding Beijing” reminded me a lot of The Three-Body Problem in style, which makes sense because Ken Liu was the translator for both. The ideas behind it were so creative that I’m currently favouring it over “And You Shall…” for top slot, but that may change. After all, Stephen King is one of the great writers of our time, so I have high hopes for “Obits”.

Short Stories

I nominated “Cat Pictures Please”, so again, I had four left to read. I’m still steeling myself for “If You Were an Award, My Love”, and “Seven Kill Tiger” is in the anthology that includes two nominated novelettes. “Asymmetrical Warfare” is another PDF-only that I need to sit down with my iPad for. Hopefully that will happen this weekend.

“Space Raptor Butt Invasion” was mercifully short and had fewer typos than anticipated. Uh, that’s all I can really say in its favour.

In conclusion…

The novels were definitely a stronger category than the shorter works. And so far, I’ve DNF-ed fewer than anticipated. Although, as the remainder are the ones I was least looking forward to, that may change. After all, I promised to try them all. I never promised to read past the first page of anything I judged truly atrocious.