Just found out that if you join the World Science Fiction Society with a “supporting” membership, you can’t go to their convention…but you can vote on the Hugo Awards. Oh, so, big whoop, right? Like your vote will make a difference. Ah, but here’s the thing: THEY SEND YOU COPIES OF ALL THE NOMINATED BOOKS AND STORIES, for, like, FREE (that is, nothing additional on top of the $40). So I signed up.
I used to read a lot of science fiction when I was a kid, but life got busy and, frankly, science fiction fell down the priority list. But some of the most imaginative and insightful fiction ever produced has been science fiction / fantasy — Ursula Le Guin, for example, is one of my very favorites, and in particular it’s hard for me to think of any short story other than perhaps “The Lottery” that has hit me at so deep and fundamental a gut-level as “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” A Canticle for Liebowitz is unlike anything else ever written. Tolkien is of course sui generis and you hardly feel he should count, except that if you write the most influential and profound work of fiction of your century you ALWAYS get to count. And then a lot of stuff, like John Ringo and Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, is just fun, and has the added benefit of being a pleasure that I can share with kids (Kai loved the Troy Rising series and when the next one comes out we’ll have to buy two copies because neither of us is going to be willing to wait for the other one to go first).
Anyway, I’m going to read the Hugo nominations this year and see whether the current crop of authors are worthy heirs of the giants of my youth.
I seriously doubt that I will vote. But I will read.