Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I submitted my Hugo Awards ballot last night, at almost the last possible moment, taking time yesterday evening to read the last 4 short fiction nominees that I hadn't read before voting. (Good thing, since one of those I ranked in 1st place in its category.) I did better this year than I've done in several years, having read before voting all the short fiction nominees, and all but one of the novel nominees (excepting GRRM's, whose previous novels in the series I haven't yet read, though I will someday). As usual I couldn't help but wonder how certain nominees made the ballot at all. Perhaps every voter thinks this, but I can't help but suppose that there must be constituencies within the SF field, readers who prefer only certain types of SF or fantasy, who read books published by B*** or stories published in A*****, or at the opposite extreme only books published by non-genre publishers or stories published in slipstream magazines, and who don't read much of anything else in the field. Am I evil or cynical to think so? Practically, for two or three decades now, it has been impossible to keep up on *everything*, on all the new novels or short stories published each year, and so such schisms are bound to appear. (Unlike the film world, where movie critics can easily see every new film that comes out in a week, if they care to; the equivalent is impossible in any literary field, just because it takes so much longer to read a book than to see a movie.)

It's the rarity of widely-read reviewers or readers that makes it especially sad to see Cheryl Morgan apparently retiring her webzine Emerald City and her reviews therein today. Our community could benefit from more broadly-read, non-constituency readers, and it's sad to lose one of the most ambitious.

That said, my previous post commenting on one of her reviews has generated an interesting comment thread, in case you haven't looked at it.

I have more to post soon about reviewing rules and reading metrics, when I have time.
Cheryl offered to let people have their donations to Emerald City returned...

I will not ask for my donation back. She has done a great job and deserves the recognition. (By the way, I hope the Emerald City archive of reviews can be salvaged online?)
You wrote about the issue of constituencies in the SF-reading public:
"Practically, for two or three decades now, it has been impossible to keep up on *everything*, on all the new novels or short stories published each year, and so such schisms are bound to appear."

I know... it's almost (but not quite) that I miss the time when the field was much smaller, but at least then it was humanly possible to read up on all that you "ought to" read.

I haven't even caught up with all the classics yet! Must... fight down... panic...!

So of course one tends to slide into a reading pattern based on "the things you know." Which is especially embarrassing if you read science-fiction, which is supposedly about challenging the intellect with new ideas.

If only somebody could come up with a way to download books directly into the brain, so I could read them faster...
I think I can say that I read pretty much all the short fiction I reasonably can ... but when it comes to novels, there is no way to keep up. So, yes, I do have books I skip that I feel somehow I ought to have read. For example, like you, I haven't read Martin's Hugo-nominated novel, and for the same reason (I haven't read its predecessors). And there remain a raft of novels from previous years that I know I need to get to but havn't -- Paul Park's Roumania thingy, Jeff Ford's Girl in the Glass, Neal Stephenson's second and third books in his doorstopper historical trilogy, tons of Terry Pratchett, Roth's alternate history novel, Crowley's Evening Land, etc. etc. etc. And truly at times I feel despair ...

Rich Horton
Post a Comment

king under the dome

doctorow makers

banks transition

kress steal sky

atwood year flood

roberts yellow blue tibia

wilson julian comstock

 ness ask and answer

collins catching fire

collins hunger games

sawyer flashforward

baker hotel

disch proteus

tan tales

mazzucchelli asterios

zebrowski empties

morrow shambling

hamilton cpt future

beckett genesis

meller evo rx


kurzweil transcend

sawyer wake

ness knife never letting go

barzak love we share

mcewan cement garden

holland sci-fi art

gladwell outliers

bittman food matters

baggini what's it all about

Still in progress:

ross rest is noise

aldiss billion year spree

pollan omnivore's dilemma

Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
Latest Posts

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?