Jun 19 2011 10:30am

Hugo Nominees: 1988

The 1988 Hugo Awards were presented in Nolacon II in New Orleans. The Best Novel award was won by David Brin’s The Uplift War, third of the Uplift Trilogy. The second book, Startide Rising, also won the Hugo, in 1984. This was another ambitious volume, expanding the scope of the previous series and opening up questions about the nature of humanity. An excellent Hugo winner. It’s in print, and in the Grande Bibliotheque (hereafter “the library”) in English only. It’s still part of the conversation of SF, and these books are widely regarded as Brin’s masterpieces.

There are four other nominees, and I’ve read three of them. I’m listing them in order of votes received.

George Alec Effinger’s When Gravity Fails (post) is a splendid book and a terrific nominee. It’s the story of a noir detective in an Islamic future, it’s about people changing their minds and their bodies. It’s a really good book, definitely Effinger’s masterpiece, and I think I’d have voted for it. It’s in print, and it’s in the library in French only.

Orson Scott Card’s Seventh Son is the first volume of the Chronicles of Alvin Maker. It’s a fantasy alternate early US and a fantasy retelling of the life of Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism. The folk magic is really well done. This is another good nominee, Card was doing something here that hadn’t really been done before, a fantasy America. It’s in print and it’s in the library in French and English.

I haven’t read Greg Bear’s The Forge of God, though I have read the sequel, Anvil of Stars, so I know what it’s about. Aliens attack the Earth and, unlike all the others books like this, they destroy it all but a handful of children who escape in a spaceship. I haven’t read it because I accidentally read the sequel first and thus got comprehensively spoiled. It’s in print and it’s in the library in English.

Gene Wolfe’s The Urth of the New Sun is a sequel to the four volume Book of the New Sun, and I didn’t like it as much. It seemed like an unnecessary addition to a series that already had a good ending. Having said that, it was beautifully written and full of clever ideas, as with all Wolfe, so it’s a perfectly reasonable nominee. It’s in print, and in the library in both languages.

So five American men, four science fiction and one fantasy, one space opera, one future of the third world, one far future, one near future alien invasion and one alternate history fantasy.

What else might they have chosen?

SFWA’s Nebula Award went to Pat Murphy’s The Falling Woman, an astonishingly brilliant but weird book that I’d have loved to have seen on the Hugo ballot. Non-overlapping nominees are Wolfe’s Soldier in the Mist and Avram Davidson’s Vergil in Averno.

Ken Grimwood’s Replay (post) won the World Fantasy Award, despite being SF, and would have been a splendid Hugo nominee. Nominees not previously mentioned: Ægypt, John Crowley, Misery, Stephen King, On Stranger Tides, Tim Powers, Swan Song, Robert R. McCammon, Weaveworld, Clive Barker.

The Campbell Memorial Award has no overlap at all, which is unusual. The winner was Connie Willis’s strange but wonderful Lincoln’s Dreams. (So this is the year the World Fantasy was won by SF and the Campbell was won by a fantasy... okay!) Second place was George Turner’s The Sea and the Summer, and third was Geoff Ryman’s The Unconquered Country.

The Philip K. Dick Award, as always, turns up some interesting and unusual things. The winner was Strange Toys, Patricia Geary, and the special citation was Memories, Mike McQuay. The finalists were Dark Seeker, K. W. Jeter, Dover Beach, Richard Bowker, Life During Wartime, Lucius Shepard, Mindplayers, Pat Cadigan.

Mindplayers struck me as one of the better things to come out of cyberpunk, and I’m surprised it didn’t get more attention at the time.

The Locus SF Award went to The Uplift War. Other nominees not previously mentioned were: The Annals of the Heechee, Frederik Pohl, Vacuum Flowers, Michael Swanwick, The Smoke Ring, Larry Niven, Great Sky River, Gregory Benford, 2061: Odyssey Three, Arthur C. Clarke, The Legacy of Heorot, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Steven Barnes, To Sail Beyond the Sunset, Robert A. Heinlein, Fool’s Run, Patricia A. McKillip, The Secret Ascension, Michael Bishop, The Tommyknockers, Stephen King, Dawn, Octavia E. Butler, Intervention, Julian May,  After Long Silence, Sheri S. Tepper, Code Blue — Emergency!, James White, Way of the Pilgrim, Gordon R. Dickson, Araminta Station, Jack Vance, Voice of the Whirlwind, Walter Jon Williams, The Awakeners, Sheri S. Tepper, Still River, Hal Clement, Rumors of Spring, Richard Grant, Liege-Killer, Christopher Hinz, In Conquest Born, C. S. Friedman, Little Heroes, Norman Spinrad, Watchmen, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons, A Mask for the General, Lisa Goldstein.

Looking at this list, I’m cheered to see the Clarke, the Pohl and the Heinlein in it—thank goodness people had stopped nominating weak works by beloved masters. However I am disappointed that Butler’s Dawn didn’t get a Hugo nomination—it’s the first of the Xenogenesis books, one of Butler’s best, and the first thing of hers I read. And Code Blue — Emergency is White’s masterpiece and could have done with more recognition. Oh well.

The Locus Fantasy Award went to Seventh Son. Previously unmentioned nominees: Sign of Chaos, Roger Zelazny, The Witches of Wenshar, Barbara Hambly, The Grey Horse, R. A. MacAvoy, Guardians of the West, David Eddings, A Man Rides Through, Stephen R. Donaldson, Being a Green Mother, Piers Anthony, War for the Oaks, Emma Bull, Bones of the Moon, Jonathan Carroll, Swan Song, Robert R. McCammon, The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three, Stephen King, Land of Dreams, James P. Blaylock, Daughter of the Empire, Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts, The Firebrand, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Never the Twain, Kirk Mitchell, Darkspell, Katharine Kerr, Equal Rites, Terry Pratchett.

On the First Novel list I see Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint (post), which again I’m surprised didn’t get more attention as it has become a classic.

The Mythopoeic Award went to Seventh Son.

So there are some books I’d really have liked to have seen on the Hugo ballot, especially the Butler, but this was a pretty good year, with the five nominees doing a fairly good job of being where the field was.

Other Categories


  • “Eye for Eye”, Orson Scott Card (Asimov’s Mar 1987)
  • “The Blind Geometer”, Kim Stanley Robinson (Asimov’s Aug 1987)
  • “The Forest of Time”, Michael F. Flynn (Analog Jun 1987)
  • “Mother Goddess of the World”, Kim Stanley Robinson (Asimov’s Oct 1987)
  • “The Secret Sharer”, Robert Silverberg (Asimov’s Sep 1987)

Gardner Dozois Year’s Best anthologies started to be published in Britain this year, so I actually have most of the nominees in one useful place from now on, so I can check if I can’t remember something. I’d have voted for the Robinson with the Silverberg a close second.


  • “Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight”, Ursula K. Le Guin (Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences; F&SF Nov 1987)
  • “Dinosaurs”, Walter Jon Williams (Asimov’s Jun 1987)
  • “Dream Baby”, Bruce McAllister (In the Field of Fire; Asimov’s Oct 1987)
  • “Flowers of Edo”, Bruce Sterling (Asimov’s May 1987)
  • “Rachel in Love”, Pat Murphy (Asimov’s Apr 1987)

Amazingly excellent novelettes this year. I’d have had a very hard time deciding.


  • “Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers”, Lawrence Watt-Evans (Asimov’s Jul 1987)
  • “Angel”, Pat Cadigan (Asimov’s May 1987)
  • “Cassandra’s Photographs”, Lisa Goldstein (Asimov’s Aug 1987)
  • “The Faithful Companion at Forty”, Karen Joy Fowler (Asimov’s Jul 1987)
  • “Forever Yours, Anna”, Kate Wilhelm (Omni Jul 1987)
  • “Night of the Cooters”, Howard Waldrop (Omni Apr 1987)


  • Michael Whelan’s Works of Wonder, Michael Whelan  Ballantine Del Rey)
  • Anatomy of Wonder, 3rd Edition, Neil Barron, ed. (R.R. Bowker)
  • The Battle of Brazil, Jack Matthews (Crown)
  • Imagination: The Art & Technique of David A. Cherry, David A. Cherry (Donning Starblaze)
  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror: 1986, Charles N. Brown & William G. Contento (Locus Press)


  • Watchmen, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons (DC/Warner)
  • Cvltvre Made Stvpid, Tom Weller (Houghton Mifflin)
  • The Essential Ellison, Harlan Ellison (Nemo Press)
  • “I, Robot: The Movie”, Harlan Ellison (Asimov’s Nov,Dec,mid-Dec 1987)
  • Wild Cards” series, George R. R. Martin, ed. (Bantam Spectra)

So, a new category, the first for some time, and one that wouldn’t last—though comparing apples to oranges didn’t seem to bother people in “non fiction.” But I don’t know what “Wild Cards” is doing here, it’s words-in-a-row fiction.


  • The Princess Bride
  • Predator
  • Robocop
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: “Encounter at Farpoint”
  • The Witches of Eastwick

Finally, a movie winner worthy of having a Hugo.

Okay, so you know how The Princess Bride was a complete box office flop and then became an underground hit? I had read Spider Robinson’s anthology Best Of All Possible Worlds in which there was an excerpt from Goldman’s novel, the fight at the top of the cliffs of insanity. I’d been looking for the whole novel for years, but it hadn’t been published in the UK. When the film posters appeared in the Underground, I was so excited. I dragged fourteen people to see it on the opening night. We weren’t the only people there, but there certainly wasn’t a line. I saw it five times before it closed in London. Since I have grumped about it so much, I’ll admit that for 1988 only, I am glad we have a Dramatic Presentation category. And there’s nothing on the ballot embarrassingly bad.


  • Gardner Dozois
  • Edward L. Ferman
  • David G. Hartwell
  • Stanley Schmidt
  • Brian Thomsen

Gardner mentioned in last week’s comments that he’d bought a lot of the stories and wasn’t unbiased talking about them. And it’s true, he bought a lot of the best stories of the year, and look, the voters recognised that.


  • Michael Whelan
  • David A. Cherry
  • Bob Eggleton 
  • Tom Kidd
  • Don Maitz
  • J. K. Potter


  • Locus, Charles N. Brown
  • Aboriginal SF, Charles C. Ryan
  • Interzone, Simon Ounsley & David Pringle
  • Science Fiction Chronicle, Andrew Porter
  • Thrust, D. Douglas Fratz


  • Texas SF Inquirer, Pat Mueller
  • File 770, Mike Glyer
  • FOSFAX, Timothy Lane
  • Lan’s Lantern, George “Lan” Laskowski
  • The Mad 3 Party, Leslie Turek


  • Mike Glyer
  • Arthur Hlavaty
  • Dave Langford
  • Guy H. Lillian III
  • Leslie Turek


  • Brad W. Foster
  • Steve Fox
  • Teddy Harvia
  • Merle Insinga
  • Taral Wayne
  • Diana Gallagher Wu


  • Judith Moffett
  • Rebecca Ore
  • Martha Soukup
  • C. S. Friedman
  • Loren J. MacGregor

Interesting to note that with five novel nominees by men, four of the Campbell nominees are women.

Judith Moffett had written the brilliant short story “Surviving” and the “Quakers in Space” novel Pennterra. She shone like a supernova in 1988. I’ve read all her books, and I would happily read more if she’d write more, but I haven’t seen anything by her in the last decade. It’s hard to say if she was a good Campbell winner—she’s a good writer, and I’d absolutely have voted for her, but she hasn’t gone on to be a major writer.

I talked about Ore last week.

Martha Soukup had written some excellent short work, and she has continued to do so steadily, though I haven’t seen anything from her in a while—Wikipedia suggests that she has been writing plays.

C.S. Friedman had just published her first novel, In Conquest Born, a widescreen baroque space opera. She went on to write the True Night trilogy, and a number of other books on odd edges of SF and fantasy, all from DAW. She’s a significant minor writer and one of my husband’s favourites.

Loren MacGregor had published his excellent first novel, The Net, and never wrote anything else. I used to hang out with him on Usenet and he was a really nice guy, but some people just have one book and that’s that.

There are a lot of people who could have been nominated who in hindsight might have looked better—Emma Bull, Pat Cadigan, Mercedes Lackey, Ellen Kushner, Geoff Ryman... and Lois McMaster Bujold, who was nominated the year before and was still eligible.

Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published two poetry collections and nine novels, most recently Among Others, and if you liked this post you will like it. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.

1. corig123
Man but all my favorite authors have been around a while... I'll stand up for The Forge of God - like everything of Bear's I've read, I thought it was really good. (Queen of Angels is probably my favorite of his, though!)
john mullen
2. johntheirishmongol
Adore the winner for best novel. It's one of my favorite books of all time, great plot, fabulous aliens, wonderful characters who show growth and change, and set in a very different universe than most. I dig this one out ever few years and it's looking pretty beat up on my shelf now.

Is it really necessary to mention that Heinlein, Clarke and Asimov didn't get a nomination every post? I think is more sad than something to cheer, like an old actor who is just repeating his characters badly and has lost his edge.

Princess Bride is a worthy winner of the Hugo. A perfect movie to watch with your kids when they are young. I would say the other nominees are fine too, except for the Star Trek:TNG. While I ended up liking much of TNG, it took a year *and the Borg* to find its legs.

It's insane that Lois Bujold was not the winner of one of the 2 years she was eligible for the Campbell award.

Good year, good books, good movie...
John Adams
3. JohnArkansawyer
Perhaps someday I will warm up to The Princess Bride.

Without having read any of the winning novels for 1988, I'm still willing to say Life During Wartime by Lucius Shepard should at least have been on the ballot and probably should have won. Or maybe it's all the time I spent personally hand-selling that book which prejudices me in its favor.
Rich Horton
4. ecbatan
This was quite a good year in novel. I think the Hugo shortlist is pretty strong, and the winner is a good winner. But boy there's a lot more out there!

My personal favorite novel from the genre that year is Connie Willis's Lincoln's Dreams. I love that book, and I wouldn't have minded if it won any awards, but even though I'd have voted for it, I can see see why other novels would stand above it. I'm also quite fond of Jonathan Carroll's Bones of the Moon.

Besides some of the other excellent novels Jo has already mentioned, I should note that this year featured Iain M. Banks' first novel (Iain Banks having already published three!): Consider Phlebas. That would have been a worthy addition to awards lists, but probably few people in the US saw it.

Tom Holt's first novel except for his E. F. Benson sequels also appeared in 1987: Expecting Someone Taller. That's a wonderful comic fantasy.

And Paul Park's first novel also appeared, a really striking strange SF novel, Soldiers of Paradise. It too would not have disgraced awards lists.

I've not yet gotten fully into Terry Pratchett. I'm told this is because I foolishly read the first two Discworld novels (because they were first!) without realizing that he got much better. I don't doubt he did (and I loved The Wee Free Men), so I will note that one of his apparently better-regarded Discworld novels, Mort, also appeared in 1987.

Famous Western writer Louis L'Amour wrote an OK SFnal Western about the Anasazi: The Haunted Mesa. It doesn't really stand as great SF, but I enjoyed it.

And there was a fine novel from the great Eleanor Arnason: Daughter of the Bear King.

As to the Campbell Award. It's hard to criticize the shortlist -- every author there had done good enough work to deserve their place. (It's a shame Loren McGregor never wrote any more -- The Net was quite enjoyable, and as Jo points out he was a great contributor to the rec.arts.sf.* newsgroups back in the day. I haven't heard anything from him in a long time.) Judith Moffett was certainly an excellent winner, and has gone on to have a fine career.

But there are some intriguing names who didn't get nominated. Paul Park is the most obvious -- Soldiers of Paradise is a wonderful book (I'd place it ahead of both The Net and Pennterra, good as those books are) -- certainly he could have got a nod. Another intriguing possibility is R. Garcia y Robertson. His first two stories appeared in Amazing in 1987, both quite enjoyable.

And how about Stephen Baxter? "The Xeelee Flower" appeared in Interzone in 1987. It's easy to see why he didn't get nominated (technically he might not even have been eligible, as Interzone's status as a Campbell-eligible publication has been debatable), but he's certainly had a worthy career since.

There are also a few authors with interesting cases for eligibility. As the case of David Anthony Durham shows, publication in other fields does not harm eligibility. So what about Banks? His first three novels were not published as SF. (Mind you, I'd argue that while The Wasp Factory is not SF, both The Bridge and Walking on Glass are.) So you could argue that Consider Phlebas made him a worthy nominee. (Or that he could have been nominated a year or two earlier on the strength of The Bridge in particular.)

And what about Greg Egan? His first novel, An Unusual Angle, appeared in 1983, but as I understand it, it's not SF. He had a couple of short stories in Australian publications in the next few years, but his first piece likely to get wider notice was "Mind Vampires", in Interzone in 1987. He'd have been an intriguing choice! (In all honesty, probably he hadn't quite done enough yet, much like Baxter, to really deserve a nomination.)

And finally, Tom Holt. The two Benson sequels are indisputably non-genre, so Expecting Someone Taller made him Campbell-eligible, and on the strength of it, he too would have been a good nominee.

Rich Horton
5. KeithSoltys
I'll second the nod to Forge of God. It's one of the few SF novels that I've gone back and re-read, and it's a much better book than the sequel. I'd love to see it made into a movie, though I'm sure Hollywood would turn it into another 2012.
Arthur D. Hlavaty
6. supergee
Wild Cards was an Other Form because it was a novel-like thing written by numerous people. That made sense to me at the time.
7. James Davis Nicoll
I just reread Aces High, the second Wild Cards book. It's interesting to see just how early the authors began tossing in rapes to keep the plot moving. Note that "interesting" does not necessary indicate any degree of approval.

Was that there right from the beginning? I don't have time to go look at the first Wild Cards book but maybe looking at the TOC will jog my memory...

"The Long, Dark Night of Fortunato" (about super-pimp Fortunato) and "Strings" (with Puppetman) look like strong possibles. In fact, I'm guessing the first would have a rape/murder (because that would tie into stuff in the second book) and - ah, I see Puppetman's whole origin is tied into instigating a rape/murder. Yep, established from day one.
8. James Davis Nicoll
Still River, Hal Clement

I seem to recall this puzzle/phase diagram novel sold poorly but I did like its explanation for the Fermi Paradox:

Almost every star is a red dwarf, therefore most intelligent species come from planets orbiting red dwarfs and their models of where to look for intelligent life is influenced by this. Worlds with liquid water orbiting a red dwarf would be tide-locked (and the goldilocks zone would be incredibly narrow); this apparently meant worlds with liquid water based life (or at least complex life) were very rare. Every known intelligent species was based on a low temperature liquid like a eutectic mix of ammonia and water, ammonia, or methane.

Also, red dwarfs are very stable compared to large stars like ours. The Sun increases in brightness about 1% every hundred million years and will go red giant after a mere ten billion years, whereas a red dwarf could stay on the main sequence for up to ten trillion years. Obviously giant stars like the sun are too short lived and too rapidly evolving for complex life to evolve on one of their planets. Nobody bothered to look at the Solar System because it was obviously a very unpromising place to look for life.

Because humans came from a world covered in molten water orbiting a hell-star, they had a reputation for invulnerability to short-wave length radiation that was to some degree unearned; I think at one point one of the aliens assumes it covers X-rays as well as UV...
Mike Cross
9. MikeCross
Judith Moffett was quiet for a while but she has recently published The Bird Shaman, the third novel in the Holy Ground trilogy, the other 2 novels being The Ragged World, and Time, Like an Ever Rolling Stream.

See her web site at and her blog at for details.
David Levinson
10. DemetriosX
I would probably have voted for the Effinger, though the Brin is a decent winner. The rest of the novel list I'm rather meh about. Blood Music turned me utterly off of Bear and I've never been tempted by any of his stuff. The Card worked better in the first couple of shorter pieces that are mashed up here and was starting to go off the rails by the end of the book.

I'm going to assume Jo meant she'd have voted for "The Blind Geometer", since KSR had two stories on the novella ballot. The other is a sequel to his nominee the year before and is another comedy. The Flynn wasn't bad, but TBG would have been my vote.

I must have read all the novelettes, since 4 of them are from IASFM, which I was subscribing to, but none of those really stick in my memory (I read short fiction through the firehose and it takes a lot for a story to really stick unless I read it in an author-specific collection). I found the Le Guin to be mediocre for her.

For short story, I think the right one won. "Why I Left Harry's" is an absolutely terrific story. In a normal year, I might have gone for "Night of the Cooters", but "Harry's" is just unbeatable.

The weird catchall category could easily have been dispensed with. I suspect they wanted to recognize Watchmen, but it just didn't fit anywhere else. Graphic novels were only just catching on. As @6 noted, Wild Cards was a shared universe thing that they probably couldn't categorize. Ellison's I, Robot script was interesting (and I wish they'd shot that instead of the Will Smith disaster), but did it need to be nominated for anything?

Dramatic presentation isn't bad this year. Predator is better than you might think and Robocop is sort of iconic, though just barely worthy. I hated Witches of Eastwick, though and "Farpoint" was just awful. There were a couple of decent episodes in the first season of TNG (though whether they were shown in 1987, I can't say), but this was a poor beginning.

One new artist this time: David Cherry.
Rob Munnelly
11. RobMRobM
@7 - I just read Wild Cards I. (It was just re-released in a new print.) Fortunado is investigating a serial killer who preys on attractive women, including a couple of his "geishas." No on-screen rapes, just a discovery later on on dismembered bodies. Puppetman does start with a short description of a rape/killing involving pre-teens. Very short description and not all that graphic. Some kinky sex thereafter but no more rapes. I really liked some of the stories in WC I. Zelazny's Sleeper, Martin's Turtle and the very funny Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan (where a Columbia undergrad is pulled to CBGBs with an irresponsible, party-hungry girlfriend, and eventually has to start using the "Ace" powers she has never told anyone about - and bonus points for a visit from Zelazny's character, Croyd).

Princess Bride - My brother got it out of the Library right when it came out, our dog chewed up a few pages, so we owned it for good. The movie largely tracks the book except that the framing story is far funnier - involving the current day author, his pychiatrist wife, and messed up teen age son in addition to the author as a sick grid/grandfather tale used in the movie). Wonderful book, wonderful movie. People may forget it was written as a goof by William Goldman, well known author and screenwriter (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man, etc).

12. James Davis Nicoll
Other (Locus SF Award) nominees not previously mentioned were:

The Annals of the Heechee, Frederik Pohl

Minor entry in the diminishing returns Heechee series.

Vacuum Flowers, Michael Swanwick

Interplantary adventure in a somewhat post-human world; there's a prop in there, the propulsion device, I've wondered if Swanwick got from a Robert Forward essay.

The Smoke Ring, Larry Niven

Second half of the Integral Trees thing, I think. I don't think I actually read it.

Great Sky River, Gregory Benford

One of the Galactic Center books; don't ask me which one.

2061: Odyssey Three, Arthur C. Clarke

The first and maybe the only Clarke I put down without finishing.

The Legacy of Heorot, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Steven Barnes

Some characters deserve to be eaten by alien animals inspired by the life-cycles of (African?) frogs.

To Sail Beyond the Sunset, Robert A. Heinlein

A strong candidate for the worst book he ever wrote; what's it doing on this list, Locus readers?

The Secret Ascension, Michael Bishop

I am ashamed to say I no longer recall what this is about.

The Tommyknockers, Stephen King

What could possibly go wrong in a King novel about First Contact? Very long. Very, very long.

Dawn, Octavia E. Butler,

First of the Xenogenesis books; recommended esp if one can find an omnibus edition with all three.

Code Blue — Emergency!, James White

A Sector General novel about a new arrival at Sector General whose social rules leave chaos in her wake. But she means well.

Voice of the Whirlwind, Walter Jon Williams,

Sequel to Hardwired but you don't need to have read Hardwired to enjoy this. A mercenary wakes to find he died and is now a clone; for some reason his original didn't keep his memory records up to date, so the clone in the position of not know what the heck went wrong with his life.

Still River, Hal Clement


Liege-Killer, Christopher Hinz

Part one of his popular at the time Paratwa trilogy.

In Conquest Born, C. S. Friedman

Never read it for a particularly stupid reason: I managed to wreck my knee and then it turned out trying to walk off shredded ligaments was a bad idea. Soon after that, I was at a party where someone sang the praises of Friedman. Unfortunately they inadvertently kept bumping my injured knee, with the result that for years I couldn't hear Friedman's name without associating it with horrifying pain; even now, just typing her name makes my knee hurt.

Little Heroes, Norman Spinrad

Shrill book about musicians fighting THE MAN, as I recall.

Watchmen, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

Interesting work; pity about the Dork Age it helped usher in.

A Mask for the General, Lisa Goldstein

Post-plague San Fransisco dealing with an invasion? Is that the one?
13. James Davis Nicoll
Princess Bride

I read this during a camping trip in Algonquin Park; not the trip with the moose or the one where the tree fell on me but the one where I crushed my left hand under a boulder. Up to that point it had been a good trip and I remember liking the book a lot; later rereads made me view the narrator as a monumental ass.

The movie seems to be based on how the narrator encountered the book and really, given what a pill the adult narrator is, that was a wise decision.
14. Kevin Standlee
"Other Forms" was the 1988 committee using its authority to create a one-shot category, and as far as I can tell, there was no momentum generated to make this a permanent category. Subsequent Worldcons have also used their one-shot authority to create special categories, with mixed success. Sometimes (1993 Best Translator, 1995 Best Music, 2006 Best Interactive Video Game), there were so few nominations that the category never reached the final ballot. Sometimes (2002 and 2005 Best Web Site) the category was fairly successful, but the Business Meeting rejected attempts to add a permanent category. In that last case, it's rather likely that incremental changes in Best Related Work (formerly Best Related Book) have broadened the category sufficiently that web sites might be eligible in the category, but we won't know until a web site gets enough nominations to make the ballot and an administrator rules on the subject.

The WSFS Business Meeting has become so skeptical of new Hugo Award categories that there is strong pressure for any proposed new category to "prove itself" by having a Worldcon trial it, at least where it's possible to do so. (You can't do it when the proposal is to split another category into pieces, on the principle that no work should be eligible simultaneously in two categories.)
David Goldfarb
15. David_Goldfarb
I agree that "Other Forms" was basically a category to give Watchmen a Hugo in. As I recall this was at least partially a reaction to the previous year's silliness of putting The Dark Knight Returns in "Best Non-Fiction" -- which, if memory serves me right, was on the grounds that it was an art book!
Peter D. Tillman
16. PeteTillman
Re Forge of God, by Greg Bear

Jo, I'm almost certain you'd have fun with this one. Might well be the best "end of the world" SF novel -- the climactic scene, where the world (literaly) comes apart at the seams, is remarkable. And the alien emissaries bring new meaning to the term unreliable narrator. I've reread it twice, and it holds up very well. Most highly recommended.

Happy reading--
Pete Tillman
jon meltzer
17. jmeltzer
Ah, yes. "The Uplift War". The _second_ worst shaggy dog lead up to a bad pun in all of SF. (#1 being 1968's novel winner.)

Wild Cards: the first two books, with Zelazny, Waldrop, Williams and other good writers, were worth reading. After that the series quickly descended to Gorean levels (James Nicoll has noted one element of that). I gave up at about #6.
18. James Davis Nicoll
Eveytime I reread Wild Cards, the point at which I would say it becomes irredeemably bad moves back a volume or two. Right now, I'd say don't bother with anything after the first volume; even volume two seems to be irredeemably flawed. I am actually quite curious to see what happens when I finally abandon the entire series as misconcieved and then reread it once more.

It's a bit like how I reread Armageddon Rag, which I liked at the time, to discover it had somehow become filled with whiny, self-pitying Baby Boomers whining about how the sixties were betrayed, man (1).
Clark Myers
19. ClarkEMyers
As often I give Card less credit for originality than some.

For a fantasy country with folk magic I like Who Fears the Devil from Manly Wade Wellman (as channeled by August Derleth for first publication in 1963, a fixup of short stories many from F&SF earlier) and later editions especially the often no charge John the Balladeer from Baen.

For historical background see e.g. The Refiners Fire by John L Brooke from Cambridge University Press: sets Mormon religious history into a frontier occult milieu
20. CarlosSkullsplitter
12: if I'm not mistaken, The Secret Ascension is Bishop's homage to Philip K. Dick. If you thought Stations of the Tide was a little too slavish in Swanwick's admiration of Gene Wolfe, this book is not for you. Most of it is set in a world where Ferris F. Fremont (aka Richard M. Nixon) won, a very Phildickian theme, and if memory serves, Bishop even uses Dick's traditional Love Boat plot -- three concurrent arcs with different emotional valences -- to structure the novel.

One of the eggtooths out of this Gnostic false reality into a better, more liberal world is Frank Miller's Daredevil run, which is more than a little ironic in retrospect. It ends in a world with Barbara Jordan as president and an angelic host returning to Earth, and you know? that still makes me smile. A little as if Robert Charles Wilson had a sense of humor I appreciated.
21. James Davis Nicoll
If you thought Stations of the Tide was a little too slavish in Swanwick's admiration of Gene Wolfe, this book is not for you.

Not familiar enough with Wolfe's work for that to apply; I have only read five of Wolfe's collections, I think, and maybe a dozen and a half of his novels.
jon meltzer
22. jmeltzer
The Secret Ascension

Also known as "Philip K. Dick Is Dead, Alas ... "

The Legacy of Heorot

Various characters, as a result of cold sleep gone wrong, suffer from The Brain Eater. I believe this is the last N&P book I could finish.


Discworld #4, and the first one that stands up to rereading, though it took a few more books and a couple of false steps before Pratchett had a full cast of characters that worked.

War for the Oaks

The first of the modern "paranormal fantasies"? A discussion about the influence of this book would be interesting.
23. goljerp
Maybe I'm being a bit nitpicky, but I don't think that Sundiver, Startide Rising, and The Uplift War really are a trilogy, ex-post-facto marketing aside. Sure, they're all set in the same universe, but none of the characters in Sundiver appear (except in a brief cameo appearance) in the latter two books; nobody from Startide Rising appears in The Uplift War . In any case, I just took a look at my (US, 1987) paperback of The Uplift War; while the back of the book mentions the awards Startide Rising won, and that the book builds on the events there, it does not use "Uplift Trilogy" at all in the description. So when thinking about Startide Rising and The Uplift War winning Hugos, I don't think it's useful to think of this as an odd case (the only one?) where the 2nd and 3rd books of a trilogy won Hugos, because I'm sure that the readers at the time did not think of these books on those terms.
24. James Davis Nicoll
Second place was George Turner’s The Sea and the Summer.

Man, would he have fit the post-2000 zeitgeist well. This is set in a world where extreme climate change and a general economic collapse turn out to be less fun than one might expect; Austalia's cities, generally coastal, are semi-flooded and nobody is as well off as they were two generations earlier.

Born in 1916, his first SF novel wasn't published until 1978; before that, he was an award-winning literary writer and a noted SF critic. Between 1978 and his death in 1997, he wrote eight novels and a dozen short stories. And lots of essays.
25. James Davis Nicoll
Turner had two series:

Ethical Culture: Post WWIII, humans have what they hope is an international system that will avoid future grand conflicts; it turns out not to be terribly robust in the face of unexpected stresses like returning starfarers or the discovery of immortals:

1 Beloved Son (1978)
2 Vaneglory (1981)
3 Yesterday's Men (1983)

(I've occasionally wondered if this influenced Shirow when he was writing Appleseed)

The Sea and Summer (AKA Drowning Towers) (1988)

and I think all of these

Brain Child (1991)
The Destiny Makers (1993)
Genetic Soldier (1994)
Down There in Darkness (1999)

Are set in the same universe or a very similar one.
26. CarlosSkullsplitter
4: Soldiers of Paradise is a strikingly original book that I think suffered because people thought it was a knock-off of Aldiss's not very good Helliconia series, which it superficially resembles.

The premise is, sort of, a lost colony (possibly) in a different solar system goes through regular rises and falls of civilization due to extremely long astronomical cycles disrupted by a rogue planet. In fact, I think I would argue that it's hard fantasy, where astrology, reincarnation, and mehndi (hand-painting) are sciences, in addition to technological advances. There is a strong South Asian basis to the background, including a caste system, although the names are usually Dickensian or Gormenghast-like in inspiration, and much of the plot is a direct steal from the French Revolution.

The sequels, Sugar Rain and The Cult of Loving Kindness, are as striking. The seasons progress, and one can see how the old system -- cults and noble castes and all -- comes back in every cycle. The "sugar" in the title is Park alluding the mutational rain that falls from the rogue planet -- combining Velikovsky's theories about manna and the ribose in DNA at the same time, a sweet piece of worldbuilding.

After this trilogy, Park wrote a more purely SFnal book, Celestis, which may be the great science fiction decolonization novel. But that's still a few years away in Jo's chronology.

I suppose it's similar to how a Teckla Republic must fall, except Brust's world is honestly much less evocatively imagined than Park's, so that feels like a half-explanation.
27. seth e.
Card did do a good job with the folk magic in the Alvin Maker books. I like the John the Balladeer stories (for some reason, the detail that Jesus is, supposedly, the only human in history who's ever been exactly six feet tall has always stuck in my mind) but Card works out the system of magic more fully, and it's pretty convincing. That said, this book or the next one was the point at which I started to think, whoa, hmm, maybe not, Mr. Card.

I have to say I've never been quite sure what the big deal is about Princess Bride. I mean, it's fun. But is it that fun? The book is partly fun, but like James Nicoll I got sick of the narrator pretty quickly. A little "Look, I'm going to tell you the truth, okay? Here it is, if you think you can handle it" goes a long way.

Soldiers of Paradise is in my TBR pile; I loved Park's Princess of Roumania books, at least the first three. Soldiers sounds similar to them in a way: a familar set of fantasy tropes, but handled with originality and depth. And Lincoln's Dreams has one of my favorite "time travel" tropes, really well used. I much prefer it to Willis' other time-travel stories, though some of them are fun.
28. Gardner Dozois
I think my novel vote might have gone to the underappreciated LINCOLN'S DREAM, although it would be a close race with WHEN GRAVITY FAILS. SOLDIER IN THE MIST is also strong, although, as I mentioned last time, it's the start of a sequence which remains unfinished even today. VACUUM FLOWERS and MINDPLAYERS are also strong. ARAMINTA STATION probably doesn't rank among Vance's top novels, but is still pretty good. I thought that "R&R" was better than LIFE DURING WARTIME, the extended version, but there's still some powerful stuff there. As pointed out, SWORDSPOINT is now known as a classic in some circles. Judith Moffett's PENTERRA is one of the few novels I ever commissioned and bought, as editor of the short-lived Isaac Asimov Presents novel series, along with first novels by Harry Turtledove, John Barnes, and Neal Barrett, Jr. VERGIL IN AVERNO is brilliantly written, but opaque even for an Avram Davidson novel. And ON STRANGER TIDES has swum back to bother us again as the presumptive basis for the latest PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN movie.

I'm not sure I'd say that TO SAIL BEYOND THE SUNSET is the worst novel Heinlein ever wrote (I'd reserve that distinction for THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST), but it's certainly in the top five worse. The Clarke is very weak too.

I bought a lot of the short work for ASIMOV'S this year, so take the disclaimer as still in effect.

Novella's a tight category; think I might go with "The Blind Geometer," by a slight margin, although the Flynn is good too.

In novelette, the winner isn't one of my top favorite Le Guins, although still pretty good. Think I'd go with "Rachel in Love" or "Flowers of Edo," one of the historical fantasies that Sterling actually wrote more of than cyberpunk, although Neal Barrett, Jr.'s "Perpetuity Blues" is one of the funniest gonzo stories ever written. Octavia Butler's "The Evening and the Morning and the Night" and Charles Sheffield's "Traplanda" are also strong. Worth noting are early stories by Alexander Jablokov and Paul McAuley, "The Cross-Time Jaunter's Ball" and "The Temporary King," respectively, and what I think may be R. Garcia y Robertson's first story, "The Moon of Popping Trees."

In short story, I think I'd go for Waldrop's delightful "The Night of the Cooters," by a small margin.

In film, yes, PREDATOR is not bad at all for what it is, but THE PRINCESS BRIDE is clearly the lasting classic here. It took STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION at least two seasons to start getting good, and most of the first season's episodes sucked.

At the time, I certainly would have voted for Judith Moffett for the Campbell, and although she never quite became the powerhouse she seemed to have the potential to become, as was pointed out, she hasn't stopped writing entirely either, with new stuff out every few years. Judging from the work they'd published to date, I don't think either Greg Egan or Stephen Baxter would have been likely Campbell candidates at the time (interestingly, Egan's first few genre stories were horror, not SF).
René Walling
29. cybernetic_nomad
@23. goljerp

I remember when Uplift War came out. Everyone I knew saw it as the sequel to Sundiver and Startide Rising. I clearly rememebr a group of us re-reading the first two in "preparation" of the third one coming out. Yes, the plot is not a direct continuation of either of the first two books, but what does that matter? Trilogies must not be bound by plot and characters alone, but can also be tied together by other things. Theme and setting (in this case the Uplift universe) can be two of them.

Some examples that come to mind of trilogies that don't rigorously follow the LotR model: Three Californias by Kim Stanley Robinson, and Baxter's Manifold trilogy. Both trilogies were clearly intended as a set, but aren't even set in the same universes (I mean each book in both trilogies)
30. seth e.
I missed Soldier in the Mist the first time! It's far and away my favorite Wolfe novel. And not only do I not mind that the sequence is unfinished, I wish the second book didn't exist either. Soldier in the Mist works perfectly on its own as a fragment of a larger whole.
Jo Walton
31. bluejo
Soldier in the Mist is one of those books I want to love but I keep putting down because I'm not old enough for it yet. I only understand Wolfe about half the time.
Ardha Nareeshwara
32. madman
I stumbled upon your blog today, and have spent hours reading it. Very thoughtful reviews and reflections, and I agreed in particular with a number of your critiques, including of Stranger, Gods, and Tehanu. Plus I enjoyed reading about some of the newer SF and fantasy, which I am less exposed to, and I look forward to reading some of your recommendations (starting with the Long Price Quartet).

One thing I was puzzled by, however, is that inspite of so many posts, you do not seem to have ever commented on Harry Potter. I would love to hear what you think of Rowling and the universe. And on a related note: Have you read "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality" by Eliezer Yudkowsky? It is a fanfic, available online at
I don't know if you are one of those authors who reflexively opposes the existence of fanfics, but it is an extremely interesting effort, and I would love to also hear what you think about HPMoR.
Andrew Love
33. AndyLove

"Vacuum Flowers" was the last novel serialized by Asimovs, wasn't it?
Rich Horton
34. ecbatan
Short Fiction.

Novellas first -- the Hugo shortlist is very good, but my clearcut choice for winner is "The Forest of Time", by Michael F. Flynn. It's interesting in that its theme is pretty much the same as that of Watt-Evans' Hugo-winning short story, which is also very good, two exceedingly differing ways of getting at the same point.

As I said, all the rest are good -- my second place vote probably goes to KSR's "The Blind Geometer".

But there were some other fine novellas: Geoff Ryman's "Love Sickness", James Patrick Kelly's "Glass Cloud", and perhaps above all, John M. Ford's difficult but fascinating "Fugue State".

In novelette I'm with Gardner -- my choice for the best of the shortlist lies between "Rachel in Love" and "Flowers of Edo". I also really liked Octavia Butler's "The Evening and the Morning and the Night", and Barrett's "Perpetuity Blues", and Jablokov's "At the Cross-Time Jaunters' Ball". Others worth a mention: one of Connie Willis's best stories, "Schwarzschild Radius", Howard Waldrop's "He-We-Await", a rare true SF story from Lucius Shepard, "The Sun Spider", and Susan Palwick's "Ever After".

I'd also like to mention a story I saw in the ISFDB listing of 1987 genre novelettes that's not really genre, though from a mainstream writer who has written a lot of very nice fantasy. This is A. S. Byatt's "Sugar", an utterly amazing, gorgeously written, story. It's perhaps her most autobiographical fiction, and it's just stunning. It's not fantasy or SF, but it's great, and you should all read it.

As for Short Story, I certainly have no argument with the winner, a lovely story. (Watt-Evans has long been self-deprecating about its win, suggesting that it only won because voters who had read any of the stories thought its title was cool, or something like that -- I doubt that, it's an excellent story, and a worthy winner.) Wilhelm's Nebula winner is good too, and I also quite like the Waldrop and Fowler stories. (And the Cadigan and Goldstein stories are nice enough too.)

Other strong short stories:
Gene Wolfe's "All the Hues of Hell"
Jonathan Carroll's "Friend's Best Man"
Neal Barrett's "Highbrow"
Paul Di Filippo's "Kid Charlemagne"
Lucius Shepard's "The Glassblower's Dragon" (practically a drabble relative to his usual length!)

Rich Horton
Rich Horton
35. ecbatan
Andy Love@33: There has been at least one serial in Asimov's since "Vacuum Flowers": Robert Silverberg's "The Longest Way Home", in three parts from October/November 2001 through January 2002.

Gardner -- I agree, the case for either Baxter or Egan to get a Campbell nomination on the strength of their work through 1987 is fairly weak. But the case for R. Garcia y Robertson is a bit stronger, and those for Tom Holt and, particularly, Paul Park, are very strong indeed, I think.

Rich Horton
36. nlowery
Dawn by Octavia Butler was a revelation to me, from the alien technology to the bone-chilling and dim view of humanity's flaws. It completely changed the way I looked at science fiction. I could never understand why it wasn't considered a major novel. Science fiction is such a high-wire act, and this books balances those qualities I love most: creative premise, well-thought-out science, propulsive story, strong characters.
37. PetarB
The Uplift War was was a brilliant sequel to Startide Rising. I was surprised when it came out since Startide Rising seemed to say everything necessary within the book about the subject, and left so much unsaid but felt like the story was 'finished'. I enjoyed Uplift War immensely.

Unfortunately it put in contrast Brin's most recent series set in the same universe which I felt vaguely disappointed about. So much of it seemed like 'filler' unlike Startide Rising and The Uplift War (Sundiver was not in the same league), that I was exhausted by the end of the read of the Brightness Reef series, although Jijo itself was a great invention. I think the series suffered from packing too many ideas together and looking for links where none should have really existed. The whole plot about E-Space seemed tacked on, unnecessary, and very contrived. Not like Brin of old at all.

What is Brin writing now? I have not read anything about his recent work apart from a few short stories. Unlike his comrade, Vernor Vinge, it seemed he may have sacrificed output for quality at some point in his writing career. I understand he is very active as a speaker/consultant etc. I do hope he makes a return to thoughtful, forward thinking, baroque yet prescient SF soon, as I dearly (dearly!) miss earlier Brin.
38. PetarB
The Forge of God is quite good, and I highly recommend reading it Jo, if you haven't already. It won't take long, but it is quite satisfying, even if you know the outcome. I can take or leave Bear, but this (and 'Eon' & 'Blood Music') are essential reading of his.
Many of the themes, plotlines and ideas would be resurrected in Proyas's polarizing movie 'Knowing'. I was quite surprised at some of the correlations there. The Forge of God in some places has a very ominous tone, a slow 'beat' behind the text that intesifies thoughout. There is an air of mystery which is hard to fake, harder to pin down.
Bear works hard not to tell us everything, and let us fill in the blanks while propelling the story along through characters we identify with, or can identify against type. Not 'writing everything' works well in this case - some of the best SF uses the same trick, and this is no exception.
I can't remember if there was a sequel to Anvil of Stars, but the adventures of the Ship of Law is quite a different book to the Forge of God, so don't read it expecting it to be the same. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.
39. Rob T.
Glad the Dramatic Presentation category met with your approval this time! There's not a lot I can say about The Princess Bride that hasn't been said here already, except to say I personally didn't fully appreciate the movie version until the success of Shrek made me realize that comic fantasies that let the hot air out of the "fairy tale romance" genre only to affirm it in the end are rare beasts indeed.

Not much I can imagine adding to the ballot this time. The only 1987 films I could imagine actually displacing anything on the ballot are two overt spoofs, Spaceballs and Innerspace, neither of which has held up especially well though the former has a modest cult following. My favorite 1987 film was Wings of Desire, which didn't get widespread release outside of West Germany until the following year (and I think it got some Hugo nominations at that time). Evil Dead II probably emphasizes the horror elements too much for many Hugo voters' tastes, but except for The Princess Bride it probably has a bigger following today than any other sf/fantasy film of 1987.

In closing, I'd like to mention two 1987 movies with connections to print sf. The Brave Little Toaster waters down Thomas M. Disch's original story but is still worth watching as an early effort from some soon-to-be-major people in animation including Joe Ranft, Rob Minkoff and Mark Dindal. Empire of the Sun, directed by Steven Spielberg from the novel by J. G. Ballard, is in no way sf-nal but as an "autobiographical fiction" is of obvious interest of science fiction fans. (Among other things, it sheds light on the sources of the images of apocalyptic decay that pervade so much of Ballard's early fiction.)
40. Gardner Dozois
Andy, actually Swanwick's STATIONS OF THE TIDE was serialized in ASIMOV'S after VACUUM FLOWERS, although Rich is correct that the last serial to date was Silverberg's THE LONGEST WAY HOME. Most of the first two Coyote books by Allen Steele received de facto serialization by being published as a sequence of novellas.
41. Styx
George Turner's 'The Sea and Summer' won the Arthur C Clarke Award for 1988 and Keith Robert's 'Grainne' won the BSFA. I'm guessing that neither had been available in the US in 1987.
Jo Walton
42. bluejo
Madman: I've read the first three Potter books and I thought they were pretty good -- while isn't really visible in the glare of how much other people like them. There are an awful lot of pretty good books in the world. Rowling's work is more interesting to me as a phenomenon than as fiction, and I welcome it as a phenomenon for bringing so many kids to reading.

I don't have a reflexive position on fanfic, I have a considered and thought out one, which is that I'm fine with it as long as the author is dead or has given permission. As Rowling has given permission, no problem -- but since I wasn't really sufficiently interested to finish reading the original series, I certainly won't be seeking it out.
43. James Davis Nicoll
As far as I can see for the Turner, the first US edition was a 1988 one. I am not at all sure the Roberts ever had a US edition.
Marcus W
44. toryx
I just finished reading Pat Murphy's The Falling Woman last week. Really interesting story that I enjoyed up until the end where it got kind of disappointing for me.

I'm currently reading Sundiver and just realized, to my great disappointment, that I forgot it at home today. Dammit.

I think Forge of God was the first of Greg Bear's novels that I'd ever read and I loved it. Far more than the sequel, actually. That novel made me a Bear fan and I devoured everything else that he'd written immediately after.

Much as I'm a huge fan of GRRM, I've only managed to make it through the first two Wild Card books. I've got a few others lying around at home that I've picked up here and there and every now and then I think about giving them away unread.

I quite liked Seventh Son and read way too many of the books that followed. I think the latest of the series might have been the one that finally turned me away from OSC's writing, which just goes to show that I'm sometimes too stubborn for my own good when it comes to reading.

Lincoln's Dreams, as others have mentioned, is fantastic.

The Princess Bride was a pure joy in either of its incarnations. I'm surprised that Robocop was on the Hugo Ballot, though, and even more suprised that Jo considered it worthy of being there. I wonder if I should re-watch it, given that the last time I saw it was when it originally came out.
45. James Davis Nicoll
4: Soldiers of Paradise is a strikingly original book that I think suffered because people thought it was a knock-off of Aldiss's not very good Helliconia series, which it superficially resembles.

Huh. I see the parallels but that never would have occurred to me because knock-offs are generally inferior to the works they are knocking off. What's the right word for "like something else but better"?
46. James Davis Nicoll
I've never bothered to check the publication dates but there are a number of McCammon novels that read like inferior knock-offs of Steven King novels Swan Song is his The Stand, a post-holocaust novel written without the burden of any research into the consequences of the events he uses to set up his world.

Personally, I think you need to demonstrate ownership and comprehension of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons and for a book in this period, General and Complete Disarmament: Comprehensive Study on Nuclear Weapons: Report of the Secretary-General before being allowed to write an atomigeddon book and if you are unfortunate enough not to get the edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons with the cool slide rule, you should have to find some reasonable sustitute like the one described at the Fourmilab site under the title "Build Your Own Nuclear Bomb Effects Computer".
Nancy Lebovitz
47. NancyLebovitz
I'm putting in a good word for The Tommyknockers. It didn't deserve a Hugo, but the aliens serve quite well as an encounter with the fae-- chaotics who are very much more powerful than humans.

I'm surprised at To Sail Beyond the Sunset and The Number of the Beast mentioned as the worst Heinlein novels, when it's so obvious to me that The Cat Who Walked Through Walls is worse than either of them.
48. James Davis Nicoll
Daughter of the Empire, Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts

This is one of the Feists with the Tsurani Empire, right? The empire that bears a remarkable similarity to MAR Barker's Tekumel?
Jo Walton
49. bluejo
James: That's the one.

Toryx: I haven't seen Robocop, but I have heard of it and I haven't heard long rants about how terrible it is either. The films I've noted as totally unworthy to be nominated are ones I have personally seen -- like The Last Starfighter. (I've played games of Tetris with better characters and a less stupid plot.)
50. Gardner Dozois
Civilization is destroyed by snot, not atomic war, in THE STAND. Never read SWAN SONG, but the snot in the King is very convincing.
51. Gardner Dozois
THE CAT WHO WALKED THROUGH WALLS would be in the Top Five too.
52. Durandal
@44: "Robocop" is something I really like, and it's well worth watching if you don't mind excessive violence. It's a satire, mind you, a fact which seems lost on a surprising number of people who watch it. There's a Criterion Collection DVD of it out these days. Certainly seems to have earned some respect over the years...
Pseu Donym
53. Scotoma
Actually it's only satiric when it comes to the society it depicts, the core story itself is played rather stright. Depending on what aspect they focus on, most people will either see a satire with a bit of action or an SF action movie with a satiric touch.
54. wingracer
I can't believe Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality got mentioned on here. IMO, the best fanfic ever (and I hate fanfic). It truly is a remarkable work, and still in progress.

As for this article, I have to go with Brin on this one. I loved the Uplift War.
55. wingracer
@Mr. Dozois

I have often heard it said the no one could write such great works and such dreadful works at the same time as Heinlein. Despite being a fan, I have to agree. I'm curious if you would agree with this and is there anyone else you would put on such a list?
Andrew Love
56. AndyLove
Andy, actually Swanwick's STATIONS OF THE TIDE was serialized in ASIMOV'S after VACUUM FLOWERS, although Rich is correct that the last
serial to date was Silverberg's THE LONGEST WAY HOME. Most of the first two Coyote books by Allen Steele received de facto serialization by
being published as a sequence of novellas.

Thanks. Hadn't thought of the Coyote stories as being de facto serials, but I should have remembered the other two.

What is Brin writing now? I have not read anything about his recent work apart from a few short stories.

He wrote a novella I liked called "The Smartest Mob" a few years back (available at the Baen site) that I think he's expanding into a novel (which I'm looking forward to); his YA novel (in my opinion) skipped past the best part in order to set up for a sequel. Other than that he doesn't seem to be writing much
57. Petar Belic (PetarB)
Sad to hear Andy, about Brin. Hopefully we hear about a return to form soon.
As for Heinlein, I have not read him since my early twenties, although I do have the urge to reread Starship Troopers soon again. For me, it's 'the' Heinlein novel. His late material I have read, and don't wish to revisit again. Although I still do have his collected books gracing a shelf at home!
Anyway, I look forward's to Jo's next installment on the Hugos.
Michael Burke
58. Ludon
Robocop is a satire of our American lifestyle set against a story of losing control of your manufactured hero. That one really worked for me while the second and thrid films missed the mark. I don't think the studio really understood what they had in that first film. The TV series, for me, seemed to recapture some of the spark of that first movie. (Where did I put my Commander Cash Action Figure?)

Having said that, I can't argue with Princess Bride winning it. I had not read it so I didn't know what to expect. I came out of the theater that first time feeling the same way I had felt after my first time seeing The NeverEnding Story. I have seen both films many times and will see them many more times
Marcus W
59. toryx
Yep, I should probably re-watch Robocop. I suspect I was too young when it first came out to properly appreciate the satire.

Swan Song definitely appears to have been inspired by The Stand but aside from the world coming to an end and a resulting clash between Good and Evil they're pretty different. The Stand is much better but Swan Song entertained me when I was in a mood for apocalyptic fantasy. It has no rational bearing on the real world whatsoever but for all of that I kind of liked it.
60. Gardner Dozois
Before this thread moves off into history, I should probably mention that this year's Hugo must surely be the HEAVIEST Hugo of all time. It has a solid stone base, stands about three feet high, and must weigh about twenty pounds. You could easily kill somebody with it.
Jo Walton
61. bluejo
Gardner: And what a wonderful mystery somebody could write that had it as a murder weapon! There are a very limited number of suspects. Murder in New Orleans -- somebody who everyone has a motive to kill is struck down, which of the Hugo winners dunnit?
62. James Davis Nicoll
Civilization is destroyed by snot, not atomic war, in THE STAND. Never read SWAN SONG, but the snot in the King is very convincing.

Sorry, I phrased things badly; I know about Captain Trips. What I mean is the general feel of the McCammon is of him trying to do a Stand; the way he reaches the post-holocaust state is different.

Maybe I'd have been less annoyed if at the time I had not wanted to appreciate the coming Inevitable Atomigeddon on as many levels as possible. In the 1980s there was a time when I could have made a reasonable guess from the interval between being set on fire and having the buildings around me collapse and crush me which sort of warhead in particular had just gone off. The key, of course, is not to be so close you burn up all at once, because you hardly get to savor the event at all; happily, the instant incineration zone is much tinier than the other zones.
63. CarlosSkullsplitter
61: this would be a fine place to bring up Asimov's Murder at the ABA, which has basically Harlan Ellison as a detective and actually Asimov as a character, as well as a troublingly realistic portrayal of infantilism.
David Levinson
64. DemetriosX
@61, 63: I was also going to mention Murder at the ABA. More in line with Jo's suggestion is Sharyn McCrumb's Bimbos of the Death Sun, which takes place at Rubicon and has one of the GoHs is done in. It's a little fan-unfriendly, but it did win an Edgar.
Andrew Love
65. AndyLove
Gardner: And what a wonderful mystery somebody could write that had it as a murder weapon! There are a very limited number of suspects. Murder in New Orleans -- somebody who everyone has a motive to kill is struck
down, which of the Hugo winners dunnit?

One episode of the Ellery Queen tv series featured a mystery writer done in with a fictional mystery-writing trophy (called "the Blunt Object," which must have made for a jabberwockian autopsy report).
66. Gardner Dozois
That was the first Hugo I won, and I had to deal with getting it all the way back from New Orleans to Philadelphia on the train. It was very awkward and tricky to handle, took up a lot of floor space, and even in those more-innocent pre-9/11 days, the conducters looked at it with suspicion. As well as being probably the heaviest Hugo, it may be in competition for the ugliest Hugo, although there it has a couple of rivals. Having the Hugo rocket balanced on top of what looks like an outpouring of boiling black diaherria has always seemed like odd symbolism to me.

Jo, you should go ahead and write it! This time next year, you could be picking up an Edgar.

There was also the one on the Alfred Hitchcock show about the woman who killed her husband with the frozen leg of lamb, and then thawed it and cooked it and served it to the police.
Andrew Love
67. AndyLove
There was also the one on the Alfred Hitchcock show about the woman who killed her husband with the frozen leg of lamb, and then thawed it and cooked it and served it to the police.

That's "Ynzo gb gur Fynhtugre" by Ebnyq Qnuy
John Adams
68. JohnArkansawyer
James Davis Nichol @ 12:

Watchmen, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
Interesting work; pity about the Dork Age it helped usher in.

I blame The Dark Knight Returns for that, and for much, much more. I took my daughter to the library and hied myself over to the comic book shelf. I read a couple of New X-Men, and they weren't too bad. Then a recent Batman, which was a repulsive gorefest.

Superheroes in a "dark", adult manner were more interesting as the exception than they are as the the rule.
Rich Horton
69. ecbatan
I missed one really major novelette, indeed probably the best novelette of 1987, in my earlier summary.

This is "Empires of Foliage and Flower", by Gene Wolfe. It's a New Sun story, though not obviously so, a really remarkable piece. Apparently it first appeared as a chapbook from Cheap Street, an odd little publishing company run by Jan and George O'Nale. I saw it first in an issue of Bryan Cholfin's excellent magazine Crank, several years later.

At any rate, a great story, the best of 1987, I think.

Rich Horton
Chuk Goodin
70. Chuk
Who nominated Misery for a World Fantasy Award? I'm a Stephen King fan, but there is pretty much nothing fantasy about that book. Unless horror is automatically included as fantasy.
Marcus W
71. toryx
Chuk @ 70: I get the sense that there are so many fans who have fantasized having their favorite author to themselves to write exclusively for them that Misery was automatically recognized as the fantasy that everyone could relate to (from one perspective or another).

I now have the unpleasant image of someone trying to move past Gardner on the train, tripping, and accidentally impaling themselves on the Hugo.
72. James Davis Nicoll
But then who would one discuss the book with? The author's just one person.
Rob Munnelly
73. RobMRobM
Loved Robocop. Very funny corporate satire.

I'm working through the more recent Wild Card works. I liked Inside Straight, focusing on characters on a Survivor-like "American Ace" game show and then going on to save the world (or at least a portion of it) (cover is a man in which holding a sword with the Sphinx in the background. The next, Busted Flush, was more or less a sequel to Inside Straight and was a significant step down. Currently reading Suicide Kings, and it is too early to tell but I'm not enrapt as of yet. I did enjoy the excerpt of the very latest work Fort Freak (in stores this week), which focuses on the Jokertown district in NYC. Hope that is a return to form.


Andrew Love
74. AndyLove
Sad to hear Andy, about Brin. Hopefully we hear about a return to form soon.

Actually, he just announced on his blog that he's almost done with a new novel called "Existence."
Rob Munnelly
75. RobMRobM
Re my @11 above - I didn't realize Ghost Girl was not part of the original Wild Cards but was added for the re-issue. Note that just posted it for free on the site here. Delightful story, well worth a read.

76. Alan Heuer
Here is how I voted in 1988:

Best Novel
1. The Uplift War David Brin
2. When Gravity Fails George Alec Effinger
3. The Urth of the New Sun Gene Wolfe
4. The Forge of God Greg Bear
5. Seventh Son Orson Scott Card

Best Novella
1. "Eye for Eye" Orson Scott Card
2. "The Forest of Time" Michael F. Flynn
3. "The Blind Geometer" Kim Stanley Robinson
4. "Mother Goddess of the World" Kim Stanley Robinson
5. "The Secret Sharer" Robert Silverberg

Best Novelette
1. "Rachel in Love" Pat Murphy
2. "Dream Baby" Bruce McAllister
3. "Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight" Ursula K. Le Guin
4. "Dinosaurs" Walter Jon Williams
5. "Flowers of Edo" Bruce Sterling

Best Short Story
1. "Forever Yours, Anna" Kate Wilhelm
2. "Angel" Pat Cadigan
3. "Cassandra's Photographs" Lisa Goldstein
4. "The Faithful Companion at Forty" Karen Joy Fowler
5. "Why I Left Harry's All-Night Hamburgers" Lawrence Watt-Evans
6. "Night of the Cooters" Howard Waldrop
77. Denny Lien
"Gardner: And what a wonderful mystery somebody could write that had it as a murder weapon!"

IIRC, Edward Hoch's mystery novel THE SHATTERED RAVEN features the MWA's Hugo-statue-equivalent (the Raven of the title) as the blunt instrument that done in the victim. Not that I can remember anything at all about the book other than that, though.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment