Handicapping the Hugos

Once upon a time I was a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Although my name wasn’t on the reviews, the fact that they appeared in PW made me one of the most influential SF/fantasy reviewers in the world. I wasn’t a big fan of the weekly deadlines, but I did have lots of fun getting the first word in on a wide variety of important SF and fantasy. One of the side effects was that I was as au courant with the field as I’ve ever been, and probably ever will be.

That meant that when Hugo nomination time came around, I already knew what I wanted to nominate; and when it was time to vote, I’d already read all the nominees.

Nowadays, being busy trying to find and publish future Hugo winners of my own, I just can’t keep up. Every year this century I’ve sworn I would take a week off and read all the nominees — the ceremony is much more fun if you’ve voted and have a rooting interest — and every year I haven’t managed it. (To my mind, people who vote without reading the nominees are beneath contempt.)

This year was no exception.

So I’m going to take advantage of the shiny new soap box provided by Tor.com to find out what I’ve been missing.

Here’s a list of the Hugo nominees for best novel:

* The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon (HarperCollins; Fourth Estate)
* Brasyl by Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr)
* Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer (Tor; Analog Oct. 2006-Jan./Feb. 2007)
* The Last Colony by John Scalzi (Tor)
* Halting State by Charles Stross (Ace)

The only one of these I’ve read is Michael Chabon’s book, which I loved (and which, to my pleasant surprise, won the Nebula). So I’d like you to tell me which one you think should win (and why) and which one you think will win. (Alas, you can’t influence my uncast vote, since the voting deadline was back on July 7th.)

I’m sure the results will be enlightening, and I look forward to seeing what you have to say. (No extra credit for picking a Tor book!)

[2005 Hugo Award image from Wikipedia Commons; reproducible for any purpose.]

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