Sun
Jul 3 2011 10:30am
Hugo Nominees: 1990

The 1990 Hugo Awards were presented in ConFiction in the Hague, Netherlands, and I would have been there—I had a supporting membership—but I was extremely pregnant at the time and couldn’t make it. However, I did vote for the first time. And in the novel category, I voted for the winner, which was Dan Simmons’s Hyperion (post). Hyperion is the kind of book the Hugos were made for, the kind of book that needs to be celebrated. It’s a mosaic novel, some pilgrims traveling to the planet Hyperion tell their stories, and in the process of telling the universe is revealed. The stories are in different SFnal styles, and although the book has no resolution it’s all the better for that. There are sequels, which do explain things, and which I don’t like. Hyperion, considered alone, is a whole thing and a masterpiece. It’s in print, and in the Grande Bibliotheque of Montreal (hereafter “the library”) in English and French.

There were four other nominees and I’ve read them all.

George Alec Effinger’s A Fire in the Sun is the first sequel to 1989’s nominee When Gravity Fails. It’s another terrific book, but it’s definitely a sequel and I’m not sure how well it would stand alone. It’s in print and in the library in English and French.

Orson Scott Card’s Prentice Alvin is the third of his Alvin Maker books, and the third of them to be nominated for a Hugo, over three successive years. I liked it less than the first two. It’s in print and in the library in English and French.

Poul Anderson’s The Boat of a Million Years is about immortals living through all of history in the hope of eventually voyaging to the stars. There’s a lot of cool history in the book, and interesting speculation about what it would be like to keep on living while everyone around you ages and dies. I really liked it, and voted it second after Hyperion. It’s in print, and in the library in English only.

Sherri Tepper’s Grass is a book I wanted to like, but couldn’t. I had generally enjoyed Tepper up to this point, and I enjoyed several of her later books, but I found Grass impossible to engage with and now I’m finding it hard to remember. There was an unusual planet and aliens who were right and a “Dark they were and Golden Eyed” vibe, or was that the sequel, Raising the Stones? And a plague I think, spreading between the stars? I’d read it again but I do remember having trouble getting into it, and that’s the kiss of death for me. It’s in print, and it’s in the library in English only.

So, four men and one woman, all American although the con was in Europe. Two novels of multi-planet civilizations, one noir Islamic future Earth, one historical science fiction and one historical fantasy.

All right then—what else might they have chosen?

I wrote about 1990 once before, from a slightly different angle—looking some panel reports from the Hague about contemporary feelings about the nominees, and other books of the day. That post from two years ago is in some ways the beginning of this series, but it’s also quite different.

SFWA’s Nebula Award went to Elizabeth Ann Scarborough’s The Healer’s War, which as a 1988 book wouldn’t have been eligible for the Hugo—SFWA’s rules on this were completely incomprehensible to ordinary mortals until they were rationalised by John Scalzi a couple of years ago. The only other non-overlapping eligible nominee is John Kessel’s Good News From Outer Space.

The World Fantasy Award was won by Lyonesse: Madouc by Jack Vance. Other nominees were Carrion Comfort, Dan Simmons (wasn’t he having a good year!) A Child Across the Sky, Jonathan Carroll, In a Dark Dream, Charles L. Grant, Soldier of Arete, Gene Wolfe, The Stress of Her Regard, Tim Powers.

The John W. Campbell Memorial Award went to Geoff Ryman’s The Child Garden, a totally wonderful book that expands the boundaries of SF. It should have been a Hugo nominee. I don’t understand why Ryman is so underrated when he’s so brilliant. Second place is K.W. Jeter’s Farewell Horizontal, and third is the Kessel.

The Philip K. Dick Award was given to Richard Paul Russo’s Subterranean Gallery. Special commendation was Dave Wolverton’s On My Way to Paradise. Other nominees: Being Alien, Rebecca Ore, A Fearful Symmetry, James Luceno, Heritage of Flight, Susan M. Shwartz, Infinity Hold, Barry B. Longyear.

The Locus SF Award went to Hyperion. Other nominees not yet mentioned: # Rimrunners, C. J. Cherryh (post), Tides of Light, Gregory Benford, Rama II, Arthur C. Clarke & Gentry Lee, Falcon, Emma Bull, Phases of Gravity, Dan Simmons, The City, Not Long After, Pat Murphy, Imago, Octavia E. Butler, A Talent for War, Jack McDevitt, The Third Eagle, R. A. MacAvoy, Buying Time (UK title The Long Habit of Living), Joe Haldeman, Homegoing, Frederik Pohl, Out on Blue Six, Ian McDonald, Orbital Decay, Allen Steele, Sugar Rain, Paul Park, Eden, Stanislaw Lem, Dawn’s Uncertain Light, Neal Barrett, Jr., Black Milk, Robert Reed, On My Way to Paradise, Dave Wolverton, The Renegades of Pern, Anne McCaffrey, The Queen of Springtime (US title The New Springtime), Robert Silverberg.

I like Rimrunners, and I like Falcon and Imago and A Talent for War but it’s not a howling injustice that they’re not Hugo nominees.

The Locus Fantasy Award went to Prentice Alvin. Other nominees not already mentioned: Rusalka, C. J. Cherryh (look, I love Cherryh but this is a very depressing book) Dream Baby, Bruce McAllister, White Jenna, Jane Yolen, Sorceress of Darshiva, David Eddings, Tourists, Lisa Goldstein, The Fortress of the Pearl, Michael Moorcock, The Stone Giant, James P. Blaylock, Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett,  Snow White and Rose Red, Patricia C. Wrede, A Heroine of the World, Tanith Lee, Marianne, the Matchbox, and the Malachite Mouse, Sheri S. Tepper, Ars Magica, Judith Tarr, Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light, Tanya Huff, Apocalypse, Nancy Springer, Queen’s Gambit Declined, Melinda Snodgrass, Arthur, Stephen R. Lawhead, The Coachman Rat, David Henry Wilson, Tours of the Black Clock, Steve Erickson,  The Cockroaches of Stay More, Donald Harington.

Looking at their First Novel listing I see Rosemary Kirstein’s The Steerswoman (post), Doris Egan’s Gate of Ivory (post).

The Mythopoeic Award was given to Tim Powers The Stress of Her Regard. Other nominees not yet mentioned were Patricia McKillip’s The Changeling Sea and Matt Ruff’s Fool on the Hill.

Anything they all missed? The ISFDB gives me Walter Jon Williams’s Angel Station (post), Daniel Keys Moran’s The Long Run.

So I think this is another year where the Hugo nominees are looking pretty good for the best five books of the year.

Other Categories

NOVELLA

  • “The Mountains of Mourning”, Lois McMaster Bujold (Analog May 1989)
  • The Father of Stones, Lucius Shepard (WSFA Press; Asimov’s Sep 1989)
  • “Time-Out”, Connie Willis (Asimov’s Jul 1989)
  • “Tiny Tango”, Judith Moffett (Asimov’s Feb 1989)
  • “A Touch of Lavender”, Megan Lindholm (Asimov’s Nov 1989)

Again, a terrific bunch of novellas. I voted for the Lindholm, the Willis and the Moffett in that order. I hadn’t seen the Shepard or the Bujold yet. Novellas, where SF really shines.

NOVELETTE

  • “Enter a Soldier. Later: Enter Another”, Robert Silverberg (Asimov’s Jun 1989; Time Gate)
  • “At the Rialto”, Connie Willis (The Microverse; Omni Oct 1989)
  • “Dogwalker”, Orson Scott Card (Asimov’s Nov 1989)
  • “Everything But Honor”, George Alec Effinger (Asimov’s Feb 1989; What Might Have Been? Vol. 1: Alternate Empires)
  • “For I Have Touched the Sky”, Mike Resnick (F&SF Dec 1989)
  • “The Price of Oranges”, Nancy Kress (Asimov’s Apr 1989)

My votes were Silverberg, Kress, Willis and I remember agonising over that order.

SHORT STORY

  • “Boobs”, Suzy McKee Charnas (Asimov’s Jul 1989)
  • “Computer Friendly”, Eileen Gunn (Asimov’s Jun 1989)
  • “Dori Bangs”, Bruce Sterling (Asimov’s Sep 1989)
  • “The Edge of the World”, Michael Swanwick (Full Spectrum 2)
  • “Lost Boys”, Orson Scott Card (F&SF Oct 1989)
  • “The Return of William Proxmire”, Larry Niven (What Might Have Been? Vol. 1: Alternate Empires)

NONFICTION BOOK

  • The World Beyond the Hill: Science Fiction and the Quest for Transcendence, Alexei Panshin & Cory Panshin (Jeremy P. Tarcher)
  • Astounding Days, Arthur C. Clarke (Gollancz; Bantam Spectra)
  • Dancing at the Edge of the World, Ursula K. Le Guin (Grove)
  • Grumbles from the Grave, Robert A. Heinlein (Ballantine Del Rey)
  • Harlan Ellison’s Watching, Harlan Ellison (Underwood-Miller)
  • Noreascon Three Souvenir Book, Greg Thokar, ed. (MCFI Press)

I voted for the Le Guin only, as I hadn’t read any of the others.

DRAMATIC PRESENTATION

  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • The Abyss
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen
  • Batman 
  • Field of Dreams

Grump, grump, mutter, mutter. I voted “no award” and I will this year too.

PROFESSIONAL EDITOR

  • Gardner Dozois
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Edward L. Ferman
  • David G. Hartwell
  • Beth Meacham
  • Charles C. Ryan
  • Stanley Schmidt

I’m sure I voted for Gardner, because not only did I love Asimov’s and buy every issue I could find, but I adored his Year’s Best books. But Beth Meacham is a terrific editor, and she’s never had a Hugo in all this time.

PROFESSIONAL ARTIST

  • Don Maitz
  • Jim Burns
  • Thomas Canty
  • David A. Cherry
  • James Gurney
  • Tom Kidd
  • Michael Whelan

SEMI-PROZINE

  • Locus, Charles N. Brown
  • Interzone, David Pringle
  • The New York Review of Science Fiction, Kathryn Cramer, David G. Hartwell & Gordon Van Gelder
  • Science Fiction Chronicle, Andrew Porter
  • Thrust, D. Douglas Fratz

I voted NYRoSF first, trusting that the subsequent issues were all as good as the first one, and Interzone last because it was so irritating living in a country where that one very narrow vision was the only SF magazine.

FANZINE

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

FAN WRITER

  • Dave Langford
  • Mike Glyer
  • Arthur D. Hlavaty
  • Evelyn C. Leeper
  • Leslie Turek

It just occurred to me for the first time that Dave Langford must have been paid for his reviews in White Dwarf and they weren’t fanwriting at all. Oh well.

FAN ARTIST

  • Stu Shiffman
  • Steve Fox
  • Teddy Harvia
  • Merle Insinga
  • Joe Mayhew
  • Taral Wayne

WORLDCON SPECIAL AWARD, ORIGINAL ARTWORK [not a Hugo]

  • Don Maitz, Cover of Rimrunners (by C. J. Cherryh; Warner Questar)
  • Gary Ruddell, Cover of Hyperion (by Dan Simmons; Doubleday Foundation)
  • Michael Whelan, Cover of Paradise (by Mike Resnick; Tor)
  • James Gurney, Cover of Quozl (by Alan Dean Foster; Ace)
  • Michael Whelan, Cover of The Renegades of Pern (by Anne McCaffrey; Ballantine Del Rey)
  • James Gurney, Cover of The Stress of Her Regard (by Tim Powers; Ace)

JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER (not a Hugo)

  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • Nancy A. Collins
  • John Cramer
  • Katherine Neville
  • Allen Steele

Rusch is an obviously terrific winner, she has been significant in the field as a writer and an editor, she’s still writing and still being nominated for awards. Definitely a good choice. I voted for her on the basis of her first novel, An Alien Light which had great aliens.

Allen Steele was also a great nominee and would have been a very good winner. His first novel Orbital Decay had just come out, but I’d only read some short things in Asimov’s. He has gone on to have a solid career as a hard SF writer, and he’s still writing and being nominated for awards.

Nancy A. Collins is a horror writer, I don’t know much about her, but she has had a successful career and is still around, so probably a good nominee even if not my thing—I really don’t like horror.

John Cramer and Katherine Neville are completely unknown to me. Locus suggests that Cramer had a couple of novels in 1990 and 1991. Wikipedia tells me that Neville is a mainstream writer of adventure thrillers.

In a year where Rosemary Kirstein, Tanya Huff, Doris Egan, Teresa Edgerton, Josepha Sherman and Matt Ruff all had first novels and were likely eligible, it seems like the Campbell was nodding.


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.

121 comments
John R. Ellis
1. John R. Ellis
I thought Seventh Son was okay but rather underdeveloped. Red Prophet was a slog I was just barely able to finish.

Prentice Alvin though, I absolutely found involving and fascinating. Unfortunately, none of the subsequent books in the series quite delivered on its promise.
Mari Ness
2. MariCats
I thought An Alien Light was by Nancy Kress? Then again, Rusch has been so amazingly prolific it's difficult to keep up with everything that she's written, so maybe she wrote that too, or another book under that title. She's also an outstanding mystery writer when she's writing as Kris Nescott.
John R. Ellis
3. James Davis Nicoll
John Cramer

Nuclear physicist of somewhat non-concensus views, probably best known within SF for two things: he's SF editor Kathryn Cramer's father and the author of an astounding number of Alternate View columns for Analog.

Many of them can be found here:

http://www.npl.washington.edu/AV/
David Levinson
4. DemetriosX
This year is a bit embarassing for me. Not only have I not read any of the novels, but out of all the short fiction, where I must have read most of it, certainly all the stuff from Asimov's, the only story that I remember at all is the execrable "The Return of William Proxmire".

I would also have voted no award for the Dramatic Presentation. There's only one SF film there at all, a couple of sort of fantasies, a comic book (well done, though it was), and a bit of magical realism. Meh!

One new artist this year: James Gurney. This was based on cover art. He was still a couple of years away from Dinotopia.
Bruce Diamond
5. bdiamond
An Alien Light was definitely Nancy Kress and not Rusch.
John R. Ellis
6. John R. Ellis
"a comic book (well done though it was)"

Tim Burton would actually be the first to argue that Batman '89 was not particularly well done. The visuals are stunning, but he had almost no control or say in anything, the script can't decide whether it wants to be an grittied up homage to the '66 TV show or something else, and the one scene in the film where Bruce Wayne actually acts purely heroic is only there because Bob Kane happened to be on the set that day and demanded that they toss him a bone.

(There are so many great genre comics. So few film adaptations that capture what makes them great. I fear what'll happen if they ever do Sandman or Bone movies.)
Jo Walton
7. bluejo
OK, I'm an idiot and the book I'm thinking of was actually called Alien Influences.

I own both of these books, you'd think I could keep the titles straight!

Sorry.
John R. Ellis
8. James Davis Nicoll
Being Alien, Rebecca Ore

Part of Tor's Ben Bova Presents series; I don't recall off-hand what else was published as a Ben Bova Presents book.

Second in a series about a former human criminal who was forceably drafted into the Federation of Sapient Planets' diplomatic corps after he and his (meth-head?) brother were involved in the death of an alien observer; this turns out to be a great opportunity for him but not so good for his brother. I think this is the book where the Problem of the Sharwani: Cosmic Dickheads first appears.

As far as I can tell despite having been well received, it's been out of print for over 20 years.
John R. Ellis
9. CarlosSkullsplitter
In retrospect, what an uninspiring list for novelists. All three Hugo winners who are still alive now insert gonzo political tracts directly into their fiction -- you can see fairly clear signs of the tendency in each of those books -- and a fourth was becoming notorious for it (Anderson, and The Boat of a Million Years is not an exception). Effinger died much too young. I don't think any of the Hugo-nominated novels did much to advance the field, either as part of a "conversation" or in terms of art.

Looking through the list of other award nominees, I'd have to give Wolfe's Soldier of Arete the thumbs up. I personally think Ryman is rated exactly where he should be.

Hm. The Ore and the Park are strong, but they're middle books (of course so was the Effinger -- maybe it was the Bob Dylan title? sigh). I have a soft spot for the Wolverton, which has some of the mean energy of those 1950s "virus" SF books that William Burroughs liked. I would say the McDonald on general principle, but I can't actually remember anything about it, so probably not.

I enjoyed Tim Powers' The Stress of Her Regard, but it's kind of a mess.

I am surprised Sterling's "Dori Bangs" ranked third for short story, over Card's shamelessly manipulative "Lost Boys" (fifth) and Niven's fan-pandering alternate history, "The Return of William Proxmire" (sixth). At the time, I probably would have voted for the Sterling, which eulogizes the underground cartoonist Dori Seda and the underground music critic Lester Bangs by mashing their lives together -- not really traditional topics of interest to SF fandom, that inward-looking world. But the story that has really stayed with me is the Swanwick and its modernized Dunsany setting... mainly because of its fake Nixon quote.

The Silverberg novelette was one of a number of historical mashups that clustered around that time, not only in the Time Gate anthologies. (Sterling and Shiner's "Mozart in Mirrorshades" probably could be considered one of them.) I found it solidly middle-of-the-pack, but nothing to write home about. There was a television show in the late 1970s on American public television called Meeting of Minds that did much the same thing, produced by the talk show host Steve Allen. Probably a similar impetus was responsible for the rise of the airport novel alternate history in those years.

The Panshin(s) won! but if I remember correctly, its critical framework tried linking the numinous impulse in a lot of Golden Age magazine SF to Sufism?
John R. Ellis
10. James Davis Nicoll
Is Dan Simmons’s Hyperion the Simmons with the heroic Muslim Palestinian? That's not a character type one is likely to see from him ever again.
John R. Ellis
11. CarlosSkullsplitter
Yes it was, and no it isn't. Political systems characterized by ethnic stereotype, on the other hand, will reappear in Simmons' fiction regularly.
John R. Ellis
12. James Davis Nicoll
Effinger died much too young.

And lost much of his productive life to illness and other issues.
John R. Ellis
13. Henry Farrell
Yes, it's the one with the heroic Muslim - who demonstrates his heroism through his willingness to blow up all the evil Muslim fanatics. Dan Simmons is someone whose work has very definitely been revisited by the racism suck fairy for me. When I read Hyperion in my early 20s, I missed the subtext. Then I read Song of Kali, and thought that maybe all of the stuff about the evils and irredeemability of horrible, alien, Indian culture was first novel stuff, and the product of a writer not fully in control of his material and going overboard on the horror. But it kept on coming up and up again in his work, and finally Simmons wrote that revolting blogpost in which he suggested that we kill a randomly chosen 10% of Muslim men to demonstrate that You Can't Mess With Us or We Will Kick Your Ass With Some Old Fashioned Decimation Action, and I really had to give up on him forever.
John R. Ellis
14. James Davis Nicoll
I have a soft spot for the Wolverton,

Do not, as I did, allow this to induce you to buy his subsequent novels, particularly the David Farland fantasies.

Wasn't he one of Orson Scott Card's acolytes? And obviously there's the connection to L. Ron Hubbard via the Writers of the Future thing. Wolverton was one of the winners.

I have faint memories that there was hilarity connected to his A Very Strange Trip (with L. Ron Hubbard).

1: Although it was created by the founder of Scientology and the publisher of the Writers of the Future anthology series appears to be staffed entirely by Scientologists, one does not have to be a Scientologist to judge, enter or win.
John R. Ellis
15. James Davis Nicoll
I really had to give up on him forever

Ah, so you're going to pass on his Flashback, which among other things has a Canada simultaneously crippled by its tolerance of ethnics and mooooooooooooslims and able to beat the US like a red-haired step-child? And where Peak Oil has apparently caused windmills to stop working - I am a little unclear on how that worked. Anyway, looks like it lacks the understated subtlety of a Kratman or a Ringo but will provide your daily required dose of right-wing dog whistles.
John R. Ellis
16. James Davis Nicoll
Political systems characterized by ethnic stereotype, on the other hand, will reappear in Simmons' fiction regularly.

That was in the Wolverton as well, as I recall. Well, and throughout SF in general. Who can forget OSC's Ender's Risk Game, where we learn Chinese are just plain good at following orders (OK, you may have been distracted by the whole "Russia: surprisingly trivial to invade!" subplot) or whatever the book was I read a few years ago where the entire galaxy was divided into the Vast Chinese Enigmatorium, the United Islamic Bombtossery, the Holy Christian Fecundery and The Confederation of Somewhat Ineffectual Secular Humanists.


1: Oddly, they had babies like crazy and a flat population growth rate.
Mike Cross
17. MikeCross
Thanks Jo for another of the Hugo posts. I'm enjoying reading the posts and all the comments.

On the wider subject of all of Jo's posts here, I've created a web site that provides alternative ways of listing them. Tor.Com does let you list all the posts, but the list is shown with some detail and takes over 20 pages to display; the All Posts link on my site presents a concise list, one post per line, of all the posts in one page.

The URL is: http://www.michaelcross.me.uk/jowalton/

You can list the posts by month, by Author discussed, by the Works that are reviewed, and search the post titles. Hopefully Jo's readers here will find the site useful.
Kristen Templet
18. SF_Fangirl
Stupid preview and then post "feature", lost another post. In summary, despite liking several of the travellers' stories, I hate Hyperion with a fiery passion because of the fact that its only half a story (book splitting is bad and disingenious). Additionally the conclusion in the "sequel" didn't appeal to me at all.

Voting on the list today, A Fire in the Sun would get my vote. The plot stands alone nicely. It would have been too dark for my 16 year self in 1990 though I'll bet.

I am amazed by Jo and others who can remember the plots of the short fiction nominees. I had just started getting both Asimov's and Analog in the mail around this time so I read many of the short fiction nominees. The only one I can recall is "The Mountains of Mourning." It blew me away then and led me to becoming a huge fan of Bujold's Vorkosigan series; although, its not really like any of the rest of the series.
John R. Ellis
19. Doug M.
The Boat of a Million Years is not particularly good Anderson; this feels a bit like another lifetime achievement nomination. The past chapters get really repetive after a while ("I'm an immortal!" "Me, too!") and the characters are, yeah, pretty stereotypical. (The Stupid But Sturdy Chinese Peasant is probably the most annoying, but he's far from alone.)

Anderson's increasingly wingerish politcs also creep in; the main POV character is a heroic businessman-trader who wouldn't be out of place in Galt's Gulch, while the least attractive of the immortals is the Bureaucrat -- he's short, homely, boring, and bad in bed. Oh, and the Evil Politician who threatens them in the late 20th century is a fairly stupid caricature of Ted Kennedy. ("After I capture the immortals and become President, my wife will see I was right and forgive all the affairs.")

I'm an Anderson fan, and I've never gone back to it.


Doug M.
John R. Ellis
20. Doug M.
Hyperion holds up better if you haven't read Simmon's later work. If you have, you start looking for the crazy and finding it.

One thing that's really obvious now, but that nobody seems to have spotted at the time, is the crosswiring of Sex and Death in that book. This is made about as explicit as it could possibly be, in the soldier's story (beautiful, mysterious woman turns into monster at the point of climax... and was that /ever/ explained?) and then again in the consul's story. In fact, if you look a bit more closely, it's in every single one of the tales: the Bikura are sexless but immortal, and they transmit their curse to the celibate priest; Rachel is stricken when she goes to Hyperion with her first lover; the Shrike's first appearance onstage is murdering lovers in their bed; Brawne Lamia (ugh) has one night with the Keats-analog, and then he's killed promptly thereafter; etc., etc.

It would be nice to think this was a deliberate aesthetic choice on Simmons' part, but in retrospect no, it probably wasn't.


Doug M.
Pseu Donym
21. Scotoma
Funny about Hyperion, I read the sequel first, and after that I was disappointed by the first book, because I had completely different expectations.

My favorite book of the year was Rebecca M. Meluch's War Birds, a hard SF book that had it all: first contact with convincing aliens, a space conflict and interesting characters. I reread the book every five years and it remains great each time. The second favorite is Doris Egan's The Gate of Ivory.
John R. Ellis
22. CarlosSkullsplitter
14: James, fortunately I had a guinea pig who warned me ahead of time. On My Way to Paradise does have that "playing pattycake with Baby Huey" board-in-the-face action that Card so adores, and if memory serves, Wolverton based his knowledge of Latin American culture mainly from his time as a corrections officer. I have no idea where he got his knowledge of Japan from, but it was probably the same wellspring that most writers in the 1980s did.

Huh. It just struck me that while I've read good Peace Corps memoirs -- let me throw the name of Moritz Thomsen out there -- I have not read any good LDS missionary memoirs. Is this my gap, or is the nature of the work not really conducive to the introspection a memoir requires? (This only looks like a tangent.)
John R. Ellis
23. James Davis Nicoll
Speaking of people with a connection to the Peace Corps, remind me to mention Kevin O’Donnell, Jr.'s Fire on the Border when the 1991 entry rolls round...
John R. Ellis
24. CarlosSkullsplitter
21: Doug, somewhere in Hyperion or The Fall of Hyperion, Simmons mentions that the other choice for historical reconstruction rather than John Keats was Ezra Pound. Pound, the cracked right-wing conspiracy theorist and great American poet. Pound was actually arrested for treason and lived in a cage in Pisa under the gentle care of the US Army for some time.

I am ashamed to say I would have read the hell out of that book. In retrospect, I think Simmons could have had remarkable psychological insight into the character of the Pound analog.

As for the sex-and-death thing, I think it's because it's so obvious, especially in the horror genre, where Simmons cut his teeth. No one ever mentions it in Alan Moore either, where Moore does everything but hammer nails into the reader's forehead spelling out the word "LIEBESTOD".
John R. Ellis
25. Doug M.
Grass is another book that reads better if you haven't read the author's later stuff. A key plot point of the book is that bad things happen because the aliens won't discipline their children. I remember thinking, "That's original. Kinda stupid, but original."

Lyonesse: Madouc is definitely a Lifetime Achievement award. It's pretty minor Vance, and definitely a letdown from the first two books in that series. (The second book is very good, and the first one -- Suldrun's Garden -- is one of the best fantasy novels of the last 50 years.)

I heartily disliked the Wolverton, which relied heavily on ethnic stereotypes. They weren't just obnoxious window dressing, either, but central to the plot. There's actually a point where a POV character thinks to himself something like "gee, isn't it interesting that the Japanese are all suicidal masochists, and the Hispanics are all cruel sadists."

Let's all agree to forget Rama II and, indeed, anything involving Clarke and Gentry Lee.


Doug M.
John R. Ellis
26. Doug M.
"Mountains of Mourning" is a very assured journeyman work. 20 years later, it creaks just a little bit, but still holds up. One thing to like: everyone in the story -- even the poor, the ignorant, and the horribly wrong -- has agency and some sort of dignity.

IMS "Dogwalker" has what looks a lot like a gay relationship, except that the narrator insists it's purely Platonic and protective. Okay, Uncle Orson, we believe you.

I'm the only person I know who loved "The Price of Oranges". Yes, it's kind of an obvious and shameless story. Shut up.

I'll differ with Carlos on "Dori Bangs". While SF fandom can be horribly insular, Lester Bangs and Dori Seda were not exactly household names even in 1990. (And I am speaking as someone who has written althistory starring Big Bill Knudson and Hiroshi Saito.) The story actually inspired me to find out who Bangs was, which I guess is good -- but while this is a very good story, it's also a piece of hipster name-dropping, and a Hugo nomination was probably about what it deserved.

I'm very fond of "Boobs", and pleasantly surprised that it won. Yes, it's a revenge fantasy. (Is it wrong of me to wonder what the gender breakdown on the voting was?) But it's a well done revenge fantasy, and a fine little story. 'He doesn't know it, but he's got until the next full moon'.


Doug M.
John R. Ellis
27. Gardner Dozois
A fairly weak year for novel, with the strongest books being middle books like SOLDIER OF ARETE and A FIRE IN THE SUN. Liked some of the sections of HYPERION better than the whole, but it still looks like the most likely winner. GOOD NEWS FROM OUTER SPACE and THE CHILD GARDEN probably should have been on the ballot.

In novella, Moffett or Lindholm for me, out of stuff nominated, although I think John Crowley's "Great Work of Time," which didn't even get on the ballot, might actually have deserved it the most. Walter Jon Williams's "No Spot of Ground" is a very good Alternate History, perhaps one of the best ever written at short lengths. Steven Popkes's "The Egg" is also first-rate. Card's "Pageant Wagon" is pretty good too, although not in the same class. A good year for novellas overall, especially when you count in both the stuff that made the ballot and the stuff that didn't.

In novelette, I'd go for the Kress, although Silverberg makes a worthy winner. An almost unknown story here which ought to have made the ballot is "The Third Sex," by Alan Brennert. My own "Solace" also went completely unnoticed, sigh.

In short story, my heart belongs to "Dori Bangs," although it's Alternate History rather than SF per se. A more SFnal story that would also have made a great winner is Charles Sheffield's "Out of Copyright," one of his best stories (his "Destroyer of Worlds" was also a pretty good novella that year). Avram Davidson's "The Odd Old Bird" is also good, although probably not major enough to win the Hugo. Of historical interest are first stories by Maureen McHugh and Janet Kagan, "Baffin Island and "The Loch Moose Monster" (considered a minor classic in some circles) respectively, and Steven Utley's first story after a silence of nearly a decade, "My Wife." The Niven may have been the worst story of the year, and I'm glad it didn't win.

This year also saw the publication of one of the first of the tribute anthologies, allowing various writers to play with the worlds and characters of Isaac Asimov, FOUNDATION'S FRIENDS, the best of which were by Frederick Pohl and by Connie Willis.

ABYSS actually is a genuine SF movie, and not a bad one, either, although it had it's problems as a film. I doubt it stood a chance against INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, though, which, although fantasy rather than SF, was embraced whole-heartedly by the genre audience in a way the chillier ABYSS never really was. FIELD OF DREAMS is still considered a fantasy classic in some circles, although the logic behind it always annoyed me ("If you build it, he will come." WHO will come, would have been my first question. Cthulu? Gozar the Destroyer? Godzilla? A lot being taken on trust here.). I've liked a lot of Terry Gilliam's stuff, but THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHHAUSEN was a glorious mess, a failure as a movie, although it did have some good stuff in it and afforded us an opportunity to see Uma Thurman naked. Never liked BATMAN--never been wild about any of Tim Burton's movies, actually--although it had nice visuals.

Obviously either Kristine Kathryn Rusch or Allen Steele should have won the Campbell, and a case could be made for either. The other three candidates don't really belong there, and there were other writers who could have taken their places who would have been a better fit.
Michal Jakuszewski
28. Lfex
The novel ballot was very good, I think. Hyperion is a totally deserving winner and one of my favorite SF novels ever. The Boat of A Million Years is IMHO the best of late period Anderson novels which became rather repetitive after that. A Fire in the Sun may be inferior to When Gravity Falls, but still quite good. I also liked Prentice Alvin, which I think was as good as previous two volumes (unfortunately this novel marked an end to the best period in Card's career, IMHO) and Grass, probably the best novel in Tepper's career. I agree it seems better if you haven't read her later books, though, since her bizarre beliefs are starting to be noticeable, if you know what to look for. Still, a really good novel and a deserving nominee.

It seems strange, but I really don't have any quarrel with this list. Must be the only such case ever. What else could be there? Carrion Comfort was also very good (two great books by Dan Simmons in one year, and quite long too) but it is basically a horror novel, so rather didn't have a chance. Another good book is Rimrunners by C. J. Cherryh, but probably not as good as any of the nominees.

Novella and novelette lists are also quite good and I am rather happy with the winners. Don't remember short story winner at all.
Pseu Donym
29. Scotoma
As for the sex-and-death thing, I think it's because it's so obvious,
especially in the horror genre, where Simmons cut his teeth. No one ever mentions it in Alan Moore either, where Moore does everything but hammer nails into the reader's forehead spelling out the word
"LIEBESTOD".

Simmons actually had a collection called LoveDeath (=Liebestod).
John R. Ellis
30. Doug M.
Wait a minute. "Great Work of Time" came out this year? And didn't even get a mention?

"Great Work of Time" is excellent. You can spin away a pleasant ten minutes just discussing whether it's SF, fantasy, or althistory; it works as all three. Oh, and it's also steampunk. It's awesome. I can't believe it didn't get a single nomination.

"No Spot of Ground" is, I would agree, one of the best althistory stories of its length. Very few works in the subgenre are remotely as good.

Carrion Comfort is an expansion of an earlier novella, so Simmons didn't have to write the whole thing all at once. It shares with Hyperion, and several others of Simmons' works, what can only be described as creepy Semitophilia. ("Jews are awesome! Isn't it horrible how bad stuff keeps happening to them? Like how they keep getting KILLED and KILLED and KILLED? ")


Doug M.
Pseu Donym
31. Scotoma
I gather you didn't read his introduction to the story The Ninth of Av in his collection Worlds Enough and Time. I give you a hint, the one thing that won't change in the future according, to Simmons, is the Jews getting killed for who they are.
John Scalzi
32. Scalzi
As much as I would like to take credit for returning the Nebulas to a calendar year system, as well as implementing other rational changes to the awards, it was the SFWA board of directors under former president Russell Davis who did that particular deed. Credit belongs to them and not me.
John R. Ellis
33. Doug M.
Er, why would what I wrote make you think that?

Simmons is fascinated with the Jews. Which is fine -- but all the wonders and glories of Jewish culture seem secondary to what really catches his interest, viz., the KILLED and KILLED and KILLED part.

This has come up again in his latest book, in which The Muslim Menace has completely wiped Israel off the map in A Second Holocaust. Not to be confused with the two books before it, in which The Muslim Menace did exactly the same thing.

I'm not Jewish! But if I were, I think I'd be all "Dan, glad you like us. Can we talk about something else now?"


Doug M.
Pseu Donym
34. Scotoma
I was trying to be clever, but alas this is hard to convey merely via text, so my pardon.

This has come up again in his latest book, in which The Muslim Menace
has completely wiped Israel off the map in A Second Holocaust.
Do you mean Flashback? I read on his homepage his own politics would be completely absent there (yeah, I know, you can start laughing now).
John R. Ellis
35. Gerry__Quinn
I think Hyperion is a masterpiece and well-deserved winner. The follow-up 'Fall of Hyperion' rounds off the story nicely and in my opinion is an integral part of it. The two later Endymion novels on the other hand, not so much.

This was Simmons' annus mirabilis for sure - 'Carrion Comfort' is another top notch story. Like many vampire-inspired stories, it could be squeezed into the SF category at a pinch, but really it belongs more to the horror side.

As for 'Madouc' I don't think either it or 'The Green Pearl'rise quite to the heights of 'Suldrun's Garden', but they are all very good. Madouc the character may be the red-haired stepchild, or something near it - but Madouc the novel is not!
John R. Ellis
36. James Davis Nicoll
Infinity Hold, Barry B. Longyear

Apparently this was the year I stopped encountering Longyear books because I don't have this or much after it. I see a while back he sold something called "Confessions of a Confederate Vampire" but don't appear to be having much luck getting a useful description of it.
John R. Ellis
37. Doug M.
James, IIRC Longyear went through several cycles of severe personal problems, mostly driven or exacerbated by substance abuse. (Not a secret -- he's written about his personal history at some length.) He seems to have gone through some periods where he was lucid enough to write, but where he wasn't really in good shape for taking on the business of writing -- agents, contracts, publishers, and the like.

So, he's got a fairly large backlist of stuff that got published briefly and/or in low print runs, never got much publicity, and has since pretty much disappeared. I've heard that some of this stuff is okay to good, but it's unlikely to be republished now. (Unless he comes up with a surprise hit and somebody decides his backlist would be worth checking out. Could happen.) If anyone knows more, I'd be interested to hear it.

Doug M.
Rich Horton
38. ecbatan
One novel I haven't seen mentioned -- maybe I missed it -- is Richard Grant's Views from the Oldest House, which I haven't read but have heard good things about -- and I've seen it compared to Nabokov, a good thing I think.

Also a mainstream novel with fantastic elements, pretty good despite the author later joining the "I don't write SF because I don't write about squids in space" crowd (after writing a really obviously SF novel): Sexing the Cherry, by Jeannette Winterson.

At the time I was torn between two novels: Simmons' Hyperion (and can I say I'm a bit dismayed to find that people seem to think that the author's later expressed political views retroactively change his earlier novels -- also, the love/death connection, if perhaps a bit obvious at times, has driven a lot of great art for a very very long time); and John Kessel's Good News From Outer Space, which I thought got much less notice than it deserved, though it did get the Nebula nomination.

As to the Campbell, I have no objection to KKR winning, nor would I have objected to Steele. The thing I object to is the Neville nomination. It was based on The Eight, a bestselling historical novel with aspects of the fantastical, or alt-historical, more or less in the Dan Brown sort of genre (except Brown's not historical). The problem with The Eight -- a problem shared by Brown's novels, mind you -- is that it is jaw-droppingly awful. Appalling writing, appalling history, stupid plotting. One of the worst books I've read in the past few decades.

--
Rich Horton
Rich Horton
39. ecbatan
Short fiction.

First, as noted, despite a pretty strong novella shortlist, the clear best novella of the year -- by a very wide margin -- wasn't nominated: John Crowley's "Great Work of Time". This is one of the masterworks of the past quarter century, in my view.

Crowley published another good novella in 1989, "In Blue".

Of the Hugo nominees, my choice at the time went to "Tiny Tango". There was also an excellent story not yet mentioned on the Nebula ballot, "A Dozen Tough Jobs", by Howard Waldrop. I also liked Michael Bishop's "Apartheid, Superstrings, and Mordecai Thubana", and Iain M. Banks's "The State of the Art" (which probably wasn't seen by enough readers to get nominated).

In novelette, "At the Rialto", by Willis, probably got my vote for the Hugo among the shortlisted stories. I also liked "The Price of Oranges", but as Doug notes it is rather "obvious and shameless". The Nebula shortlist included another good choice, Greg Bear's "Sisters".

Other strong novelettes:
"Cast on a Distant Shore", by R. Garcia y Robertson
"Matter's End", by Gregory Benford
"Tales from the Venia Woods", by Robert Silverberg
"The Sin Eater of the Kaw", by Bradley Denton
"Alphas", by Benford (another example of him filing off the serial numbers of an episode from his novels to make an independent story)

In short story, well, "Boobs" is a pretty good revenge fantasy, and not an unworthy winner but not a lasting masterwork either. "Dori Bangs" is neat in its way, but has no real SFnal zing. It did prompt me to read some of Lester Bangs' writing, including a masterful analysis of the greatest rock album of all time (though of course it's not "rock"): Van Morrison's Astral Weeks.

But my actual choice for best short story of 1989 didn't get a sniff on either the Nebula or Hugo ballot: Karen Joy Fowler's "Game Night at the Fox and Goose".

Other good short stories:
Tanith Lee's "Zelle's Thursday"
Adam-Troy Castro's "Clearance to Land"
David Brin's "Dr. Pak's Preschool"
Greg Egan's "The Cutie"

and from outside the genre, Stephen Millhauser's "Eisenheim the Illusionist", a very good story that is the source material for the movie The Illusionist.

--
Rich Horton
John R. Ellis
40. James Davis Nicoll
Also a mainstream novel with fantastic elements, pretty good despite the author later joining the "I don't write SF because I don't write about squids in space" crowd (after writing a really obviously SF novel): Sexing the Cherry, by Jeannette Winterson.

I read Stone Gods by her. Is that what you meant by "a really obviously SF novel"?
Rich Horton
41. ecbatan
Yes, The Stone Gods. Straightforward SF, but she felt compelled to deny any such thing.
John R. Ellis
42. James Davis Nicoll
It was a pretty wretched book, as I recall, so SF is not missing much if it cannot claim it.
John R. Ellis
43. James Davis Nicoll
author's later expressed political views retroactively change his earlier novels

Not change. Illuminate elements that were always there.
John R. Ellis
44. Doug M.
What James said. Also, I don't think it's possible for an author's later works not to affect our rereading of the earlier ones. In Simmons' case, that includes stuff like his "Time Traveler" post.

This isn't something like "did Arthur C. Clarke being closeted affect his fiction". It's Simmons own writing -- stuff that he put out there and asked, nay, insisted that we read. Having done that, are we supposed to unread it somehow?


Doug M.
John R. Ellis
45. CarlosSkullsplitter
Crowley's "Great Work of Time", third me in. Beautiful writing, a formally excellent time paradox story, and thematically as rich as "The Fifth Head of Cerberus", or possibly more so. Far and away above the others (I probably would have voted for the Moffett over the Bujold). Even if Waldrop's "A Dozen Tough Jobs" had been in the running.

(I love Waldrop but his writing is loose in comparison to Crowley's.)

Rich, Simmons' Song of Kali won the World Fantasy Award in 1986. I don't know what his political views were then, but his fictional settings were already moving towards the bigoted anti-Muslim tract. Song of Kali has a section where the narrator hears the Song of Kali in modern Iran, and 1989's Carrion Comfort has Simmons actually including the Ayatollah Khomeini as one of his psychic vampires (a minor and untrained one who thought he was God, if memory serves).

Most people who disliked the Iranian regime managed to do so without imparting to it magical powers of supernatural evil. I would even go so far to say that most horror writers managed to do so. Does a writer have a moral obligation to not be a bigot on a hobbyhorse when describing other cultures? I certainly have no moral obligation not to call out a pattern of bigotry when I see it. Once is happenstance, twice coincidence. Three times, dude's pushing it. Hyperion is three times.
John R. Ellis
46. lampwick
Another vote for "Great Work of Time." Really a fantastic story.

And speaking of which, I remember Views from the Oldest House as being a pretty obvious imitation of Crowley. Unfortunately Crowley's prose seems to be easy to imitate, though no one ever captures the brilliance of the original.
Pseu Donym
47. Scotoma
How distracting are those elements in Ilium/Olympos, or are they even there? I've planned to read those two in the near future.
John R. Ellis
48. Gerry__Quinn
Only those with a particular political axe to grind are likely to get bent out of shape by them in any of his novels, I reckon.

Imagine if someone wrote a horror novel in which a US Republican politician or demagogic preacher was a vampire or demon or whatever. Would that occasion wailing and gnashing of teeth from the same people who object to such a characterisation of the late Ayatollah Khomeini? Far from it, I suspect! (I'll take the poster's word that this is in Carrion Comfort, but I don't even remember it.)

Simmons views about the threat from Islamic fundamentalism may be unsubtle, but many authors hold equally unsubtle views about other and often apparently lesser threats, and their novels at times reflect these also. SF and horror are not the most nuanced of genres - one might even posit that an excess of subtlety in the author's thought processes might often impinge unfavorable on the vigour of the resulting work.
John R. Ellis
49. Kvon
'A Touch of Lavender' is in the new Lindholm/Hobb collection, and still holds up well.

I read Hyperion because it had won the Hugo. I think it was the one that convinced me that my tastes might diverge from the voters.
John R. Ellis
50. CarlosSkullsplitter
48: you would be mistaken. I wasn't fond of Charlie Stross's portrayal of various American political personages when he used them in his Merchant Princes books, and I told him so. I thought the suggestion to Jo Walton that she use Prescott Bush as the American president sympathetic to Nazi Europe in her Small Change series was one of the most asinine political things to come out of SF fandom recently, and that's a long list.

Among the five Hugo nominees here, I've already criticized Effinger for not doing the research to sell his portrayal of an early twentieth century Muslim woman physicist in "Schrodinger's Kitten" -- a vision I politically wish had happened. I haven't mentioned Tepper so far, because I am not following every impulse that comes to mind on this thread, but Tepper is from the left possibly even more obnoxious than Card or Simmons. Grass has a vicious extrapolation of the Mormon church as part of its background, and Tepper has not mellowed in the meantime. I have been waiting for someone else to bring this up, because I don't want to monopolize this discussion.

Of course, that really shouldn't matter. It's purely luck of the draw that a weird political nut from the left is among the Hugo nominees. Less so than from the right, because science fiction had a far-right no-kidding white supremacist as its flagship editor for decades during its formative years -- John W. Campbell, Jr. -- and there's an obvious founder effect. It's still a wonder to me that the genre has turned out as well as it has.

So, fan with supposed psychic powers, maybe you should stop reading minds for a living. Maybe there's a Dr. Who episode on somewhere.
Andrew Love
51. Andy Love
@30 "Carrion Comfort is an expansion of an earlier novella, so Simmons didn't have to write the whole thing all at once."

And a portion of Hyperion was published in Asimov's in the early 80s (as "Remembering Siri")

@38 "The problem with The Eight -- a problem shared by Brown's novels, mind you -- is that it is jaw-droppingly awful. Appalling writing, appalling history, stupid plotting. One of the worst books I've read in the past few decades."

So you haven't read the recent sequel? (Seriously, I agree about The Eight - I read it too, sadly)
John R. Ellis
52. Mark Pontin
What various others have said about Crowley's "Great Work of Time."

The short story or novelette from 1990 that stands out for me in memory and stood out for me then -- far more than anything on the lists or anything anyone here has mentioned -- is/was "The Caress" by Greg Egan.

Gardner bought "The Caress" for ASIMOVS and it was in the January 1990 issue, so actually available in November or December of 1989. But I remember reading it and thinking, huh, that feels like something new and considerable in SF. It was the first thing by Egan I'd read and almost the first thing he published in the U.S.
Andrew Love
53. Andy Love
The short story or novelette from 1990 that stands out for me in memory and stood out for me then -- far more than anything on the lists or anything anyone here has mentioned -- is/was "The Caress" by Greg Egan.


Yes, I remember reading that too, and his "The Extra" and the deeply creepy "The Safety Deposit Box" in 1990 too. We'll probably talk about that when we get to the 1991 Hugo award discussion, since that will cover works published in 1990.
John R. Ellis
54. Henry Farrell
Count me in on the "Great Work of Time" - one of the very best SF pieces of the last few decades.
Chad Orzel
55. orzelc
Anything they all missed? The ISFDB gives me Walter Jon Williams’s Angel Station (post), Daniel Keys Moran’s The Long Run.

I don't really consider it award-worthy, but The Long Run is great fun. OK, the history by which the French end up being the villains is kind of absurd, but Trent the Uncatchable is a blast.

I've read a fair fraction of the books mentioned in this thread, but The Long Run is the only title in the post that I've re-read multiple times. Sadly, Moran is evidently somewhat difficult to work with, and more or less dropped off the face of the publishing earth in the mid-90's. He's self-publishing new Continuing Time stuff online these days, but its moment has kind of passed.
René Walling
56. cybernetic_nomad
@52. Mark Pontin

According to the rules, "The Caress" would only have been eligible for a 1991 Hugo. From the WSFS constitution:

3.2.5: Publication date, or cover date in the case of a dated periodical, takes precedence over copyright date.
Beth Friedman
57. carbonel
@27: "The Third Sex" is my favorite story that no one's ever heard of that deals with gender. I would never have read it, except that I'd borrowed a friend's copy of that issue of Pulphouse to read the stories by Peg Kerr and Janet Kagan, and I read the rest of the stories as well. "The Third Sex" is the one I remember best, though Janet Kagan's unicorn has special pride of place.
John R. Ellis
58. James Davis Nicoll
(...) Tepper is from the left possibly even more obnoxious than Card or Simmons. Grass has a vicious extrapolation of the Mormon church as part of its background, and Tepper has not mellowed in the meantime. I have been waiting for someone else to bring this up, because I don't want to monopolize this discussion.

People were complaining that I was mentioning her malevolent views too much. And I think I am going to have start paying Thompson's estate royalties soon.

Oh, and I think sometimes the manner in which I critique the "let's stop brown people and degenerate second handers from having kids" crowd leads people to think I must lean towards the involuntary pro-natal side, which I don't. Trillion Person Earth is interesting to me but only if we get there through billions upon billions of free choices.
John R. Ellis
59. James Davis Nicoll
portrayal of various American political personages

Is Spider Robinson seen as a leftie in the US? There was that Nemiah Scudder (from RAH's Future History, framed in the 1940s(?)) was all George W. Bush's Fault thing in Variable Star. Although we're well past the point where any of his works are likely to be mentioned here.
John R. Ellis
60. Rob T.
(I wrote the bulk of this a little more than 12 hours ago, and decided to leave it as it was instead of revising it to take further comments into account.)

Huh. I actually remembered this as a pretty good year for the dramatic Hugos, with only one nominee (The Abyss) being widely disparaged both then and now (and even The Abyss has its fans today). I'm especially struck by the comments here on Tim Burton's Batman which seem to boil down to "great visuals, lousy narrative", and I can see where this characterization could be applied to all the 1990 dramatic nominees. Even my own favorite, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, could be seen as a cluttered, overblown version of the sort of witty fantasy epitomized by The Princess Bride.

One of the things I remember about the dramatic voting this year was that Field of Dreams had the most 1st-place votes but very few for 2nd and 3rd. It wound up finishing 4th, while the "Indiana Jones" movie came from behind with the most 2nd-place votes. Last Crusade was a "least polarizing" rather than a "most-liked" winner, but I'd have preferred any of the other nominees except The Abyss; better their fitful brilliance than Last Crusade's mere craft.

And hey, the slate of nominees could have been worse. Except for the winner, there were no actual sequels on the ballot (Tim Burton's Batman being what would now be called a "reboot")--no Ghostbusters II, no Back to the Future II, no (thank heaven) Star Trek V. The Hugo nominators could also have gone with a less-than-stellar adaptation of a work by a fan-favored author, Millennium (from the John Varley novel, itself an expansion of the short story "Air Raid"). By comparison Field of Dreams is a fairly brave pick from outside the usual genre boundaries, notable as the first dramatic Hugo nominee since The Right Stuff six years earlier to also be nominated for a "best picture" Oscar.

A few funny and/or spoofy sf/fantasy films might have also made the ballot, with some (e.g. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) possibly livening up the selection a bit, others (e.g. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids) not so much. The scabrously funny Meet the Feebles enjoys a cult following, though back when it was released even its fans would have been incredulous at the suggestion that its director would go on to helm an ambitious and hugely beloved adaptation of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. My favorite funny fantasy film of 1989 (after Munchausen) is Oedipus Wrecks, Woody Allen's segment of the omnibus film New York Stories. It's Allen's most purely funny venture into sf/fantasy territory on screen since Sleeper (both Zelig and The Purple Rose of Cairo being more bittersweet concoctions).

1989 is the year the animation renaissance really started to catch fire, but with one major exception relatively little of it showed up on movie screens, at least outside of Japan. Hayao Miyazaki's marvelous Kiki's Delivery Service wouldn't get a proper English-language release for almost a decade, while Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland has less interest for animation fans as a movie than spotting the living animation legends (including Disney's Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston) who pop up in the credits, most of them working on conceptual art or as "story consultants" with a largely Japanese crew animating. (Two recognizable names from the fantasy genre also worked on Nemo, Ray Bradbury and Brian Froud.)

Then there's The Little Mermaid, which restarted Disney's fairy tale franchise in a big way. I saw it for the first time recently and was a little underwhelmed, possible because so much of the film's visual and narrative style has become familiar in other films to the point of cliche. Nonetheless, Mermaid remains an effective spectacle and a terrific musical, and even leaving aside its position in animation history (and its influence on fantasy cinema) I don't think it would have disgraced itself among 1990's dramatic Hugo nominees.

Finally I have to acknowlege one of the non-fiction nominees, the kick-ass collection of movie criticism known as Harlan Ellison's Watching. To the extent the dramatic Hugo nominees got better during the 1980's--compare the 1990 nominees to the ones from 1981 and 1982 if you don't believe me--I think Harlan deserves a good deal of credit. Obviously the opportunity to view and re-view films on home video helped, as did the slight increase in the number of filmmakers who took sf and fantasy seriously (and the willingness of producers to fund them). But access to better films might have come to nothing without Harlan prodding the sf/fantasy movie audience from behind, urging them to demand the best instead of settling for the least worst. Harlan Ellison's fiction left an indelible mark on sf, but his criticism and other non-fiction may have altered its course.
Jo Walton
61. bluejo
What everyone said about "Great Work of Time".

Gerry__Quinn: Don't try to read Carlos's mind.

Carlos, that Doctor Who comment was slipping over the fine edge of being polite, even to somebody who was trying to read your mind.

I didn't put Prescott Bush in as the US president, I went with Lindbergh who was perhaps too obvious. I still think it would have been more amusing to have had Storm Thurmond.
John R. Ellis
62. CarlosSkullsplitter
61: Jo, I've seen a episode or two this year (not bad, though I'm clearly not the target demographic). I could have given him spoilers.

Thurmond, much as I dislike the man, just doesn't work as a Nazi sympathizer. A stranger man than his thumbnail biography might indicate. (The classic old school Southern case, to my mind, is James Vardaman, the pro-lynching senator from Mississippi, who was also an ardent philo-Semite, up to and including in the halls of Congress.) It is also hard to get him into the White House electorally.

Lindbergh is obvious, but he's obvious for a reason. I really should get my Joe McCarthy/German-American Bund rally poster framed at some point.
Douglas Merrill
63. merrilld
Ryman's Unconquered Country was for me such a bad and obvious allegory that I lost interest in anything else the author might have written. Recall may be playing tricks, as I obviously haven't re-read it in the more than 20 intervening years, but it went on to the short list of memorably awful books.

If Wikipedia is to be believed "Great Work of Time" first appeared in Crowley's collection Novelties. Maybe that's why it didn't make the Hugo list? Reached too small an audience to collect enough nominations?
John R. Ellis
64. Gardner Dozois
"The Caress" is the first Egan story I bought for ASIMOV'S, and may be his first publication in the United States, although he'd had several stories, mostly technohorror, published in England previously. It's also the first time he stops writing horror and steps into his more familiar identity as a hard SF writer.

It was in a 1990-dated issue, though, so for me it's a 1990 story.
John Adams
65. JohnArkansawyer
The Cockroaches of Stay More, Donald Harington


This is the closest thing to a straight-up fantastic novel in Harington's works. The next one, The Choiring of the Trees, and the one after, Ekaterina, are the best of his work that I've read (I'm a bit behind), are very different books, and are best described as magical realism.

“Tiny Tango”, Judith Moffett (Asimov’s Feb 1989)


That was one of the most moving and optimistic stories I've ever read. I loaned that issue to someone who wanted to know what I thought about a possible better future, and I loaned her that issue. Oddly, she thought I meant another story in that issue. (A darned good issue, wasn't it?)
Rich Horton
66. ecbatan
@65: Which story did she think you meant? "Free Beer and the William Casey Society"?

@63: Indeed, "Great Work of Time" appeared in 1989, as part of Novelty. Likely many genre readers first encountered it in 1990 in Gardner's Best of the Year collection -- too late to nominate for a Hugo. (That's where I first read it, though I bought Novelty soon enough and read the rest of the book.) It was also published separately in 1991 in one of those slim Bantam Spectra paperbacks -- I thought those were a great idea, longish novellas published as slim books for rather less than the going price for a paperback, but alas I don't think they were commercially successful.

--
Rich Horton
John Adams
67. JohnArkansawyer
Gardner Dozois @ 42:

In short story, my heart belongs to "Dori Bangs"
I must find this story. And if anyone knows a talented cartoonist living in Chicago who loves Dori Seda and would like the possible yeast to a story about her, let me know and I'll point her to it. It's about the only idea I've had good enough to give someone else.

Steven Utley's first story after a silence of nearly a decade, "My Wife."

That, and "Haiti", have a habit of surfacing in my thoughts at unpredictable times. ("Haiti" is kind of the flip side of "The Battle of Abaco Reef". Kind of. "The Battle of Abaco Reef" may have spoiled Ender's Game for me.)

This year also saw the publication of one of the first of the tribute anthologies, allowing various writers to play with the worlds and characters of Isaac Asimov, FOUNDATION'S FRIENDS, the best of which were by Frederick Pohl and by Connie Willis.


I really liked the Pohl story, and probably had it in the back of my head when I speculated about how different SF would have been if Leslyn Heinlein's medical problems had been treatable at the time--sexy scientific socialism instead of loonytarianism.
The whole book was good, with the Sargent and Resnick stories sticking in my mind for a long time, but the one I loved was Orson Scott Card's "The Originist". I have a hard time reconciling that story, so decent and humane and wonderful, with the four of Card's books I've read.



John Adams
68. JohnArkansawyer
ecbatan @ 66: No, she thought I meant "Destroyer of Worlds" by Charles Sheffield. A very good story but not what I was talking about. (I remember being amused by "Free Beer and the William Casey Society" but little else about it.)
Jo & Carlos @ 61-62: I rather liked John Barnes' thrown-off mention of Strom Thurmond as the leader of the far-left opposition to the Nazi puppet government in Patton's Spaceship. That book was much better than it should have been, which is (in a way) kind of a shame.
Rich Horton
69. ecbatan
John, thanks for reminding me about "The Originist", which I unnacountably forgot about.

That means I need to revise my novella comments. There is still no doubt that "Great Work of Time" is the best novella of 1989, but "The Originist" is clearly the second best, and the best Foundation story ever written.

So neither of the best two novellas got a Hugo nod -- but readily explainable, as both were probably missed by many voters on original publication, and perhaps a number of people were reluctant to include an overtly derivative work, like "The Originist", on their ballots.

I also need to echo Gardner's nod to Steven Utley's return with "My Wife". That was indeed an excellent story that I should have mentioned as among the best stories of the year. (And Utley has continue to rather quietly produce very fine short work.)
Andrew Love
70. Andy Love
@52 - My apologies - somehow I completely missed your point that the issue with "The Caress" appeared in 1989, making my reply nearly pointless.

Everybody else - you've convinced me - I ought read "Great Work of Time" - am I right in thinking that it's in the relatively recent collection Novelties and Souvenirs?
John R. Ellis
71. between4walls
Joe Kennedy might have been an interesting pro-Nazi president, given the hash he made of the ambassador job. I'm always impressed that his children went on to have such productive lives.
John R. Ellis
72. Gardner Dozois
One of the things I was proud of during my ASIMOV'S tenure was nagging Steven Utley into starting writing again. By now, his "Silurian Tales" series, which started in ASIMOV'S, may be not only one of the longest-running series in SF, but perhaps the only one to have appeared in three or four different magazines at one time or another.
Rich Horton
73. ecbatan
Yes, "Great Work of Time" is in Novelties and Souvenirs, which I believe collects all the short fiction up to 2004 or so.

Crowley's novels are excellent, but I think his short work is even better. Besides "Great Work of Time", stories like "Snow" and "Gone" and "The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines" are absolute masterworks.
John R. Ellis
74. Gardner Dozois
"Snow" is one of my favorite stories, and all of the then-Best of the Year editors would have used "Gone" if his agent would have allowed it.
Andrew Love
75. Andy Love
@73 - Thanks. Novelties and Souvenirs is available as an ebook, so I can get it right now.
Rich Horton
76. ecbatan
@51 -- Andy, no, I haven't read Neville's sequel to The Eight, though I did note its appearance. I believe she published another novel in the interim. But it'll be a cold day in hell before I read another book by Neville.
Rich Horton
77. ecbatan
According to the ISFDB, Utley's Silurian Tales include 11 first published in Asimov's, 3 first published at Sci Fiction, 6 first published in F&SF, and 1 from Analog.

That is indeed pretty impressive. I'd have to think to come up with another series so widely published.

They are a somewhat disconnected set of stories, mostly stories that use the Silurian/Time Travel background for (very good) character-based fiction, but occasionally also including quite striking SFnal ideas. Several of them are among my favorites of the past couple of decades.
Peter D. Tillman
78. PeteTillman
"Sherri Tepper’s Grass is a book I wanted to like, but couldn’t."

Huh. This is by far my favorite of Tepper's books. My review is at SF Site:
http://www.sfsite.com/06a/gr129.htm

-- and the opening is wonderful:

"Grass! Millions of square miles of it... a hundred rippling oceans, each ripple a gleam of scarlet or amber, emerald or turquoise... the colors shivering over the prairies... Sapphire seas of grass with dark islands of grass bearing great plumy trees which are grass again."

Maybe it's the Western frontier aspect that you missed? The extreme isolation and strange behavior of Grass's rural aristocracy are drawn from Tepper's Western experience. Larry McMurtry has written eloquently of just how strange isolated pioneers could get, and I remember similar stories from Oklahoma, where I grew up. Tepper, McMurtry and other senior Westerners (like me) are just one lifetime distant from the frontier....

Happy reading--
Pete Tillman
John R. Ellis
79. Gardner Dozois
I'm not sure there IS another series, in the last twenty years anyway, that has been so widely published in so many magazines. You might have to go back to the pulp days to find anything similar.
Kevin Maroney
80. womzilla
Gardner,

Just following up to note here that Ticonderoga Press is publishing a collection of the Silurian Tales under the title The 400 Million Year Itch, due in July 2012.
John R. Ellis
81. Gardner Dozois
Looking forward to it! Should be a very good collection.
Eli Bishop
84. EliBishop
@38 ecbatan: I remember being impressed with Views from the Oldest House when I read it as a callow young thing, but everything I remember about it suggests that it won't have aged well at all. Grant's later book Rumors of Spring was much more interesting, I think, and less strenuously ornate.

@63 merrilld: I didn't care much for The Unconquered Country but it was pretty atypical for Ryman, and I adore just about everything else Ryman has written. Consider reconsidering.

Everyone who's given up on Dan Simmons: Me too, more or less... but, if you like historical horror, The Terror is still really good and mostly devoid of ax-grinding.
john mullen
85. johntheirishmongol
Frankly, this is about the first year that I think I only read one or two of the novels. I did try to read Hyperion, but the style just didnt fit what I enjoyed. I didn't think much of it. I know I read the Anderson book but I dont remember it at all. I may have even read the Card book. I tried the sseries a few years after it came out because I was told it was so good but I didn't care for it and quit somewhere in the middle. I was looking desparately for new writers I could trust to write a good book and then another good book but what I seemed to be running into was overhyped and overwritten novels that didn't seem to have much fun or joy in them. Scifi to me has always been the most optomistic genre, just by its very nature-there will be a future. But I didn't see much of that anymore.

Interesting post on the movies, and how voting is conducted above. It explains a lot of things. Of the nominees, I don't know who I would have voted for, but I would have picked any except the Abyss, which I thought was a fairly dreadful movie.

I do find it a bit much that some are complaining about author's supposedly racist opinion, when as far as I know, being Muslim is not a race. Admittedly, it is the dominant religion in some areas of the world but there are Arabs who belong to other religions, and other countries, not Arab, which have Muslim as a primary religion. Racism is a very easy and overused charge to throw around and it's pretty offensive.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
86. tnh
James Nicoll @8:
I don't recall off-hand what else was published as a Ben Bova Presents book.
Ether Ore, by H. C. Turk. An unsual book in some ways, though not as monumentally way-ish as his later novel Black Body.
John R. Ellis
87. CarlosSkullsplitter
85: I do find it a bit much that some are complaining about author's
supposedly racist opinion, when as far as I know, being Muslim is not a race.

That's nice. I've said "ethnic stereotype" and "bigoted" and "anti-Muslim", because fandom is filled with folk anthropologists who will argue until the cows come home about the proper nuances of hate. But feel free to take it up with Henry Farrell, who is the only one here who has used that term, and if memory serves, he's from Ireland, where the word applies much more broadly than it does in the American racial classification system.

It's funny. In the US, you can be a complete bigot and still are allowed to take offense if someone calls you a racist, simply because you didn't burn a cross on a black person's lawn. That's a little silly. In fact, bigots like using it for cover: "look, I didn't burn any crosses. I just hate Muslims and want to see one-tenth of them killed whenever they act uppity because I am a cowardly freak with manhood issues. but I'm not racist!"

Anyhow. When Heinlein predicted the recrudescence of the Klan in "Gulf", lo those many years ago, I doubt that he had his fellow writers in mind. It's rather shameful, really.
John R. Ellis
88. CarlosSkullsplitter
Postscript: because people might not know this, the Klan in Heinlein's time was also an anti-Catholic organization. But Catholicism isn't a race, so that makes it okay, I guess.

Heavy stuff for a Monday morning, so back to science fiction.
Rob Munnelly
89. RobMRobM
I enjoyed Hyperion very much when I read it this year, with the panoply of excellent tales from the various pilgrims, but was suprised and disappointed (and, actually, out and out aggravated) by the lack of story resolution and cliff hanger ending. So...I grudgingly had to go out and acquire the second book, which was pretty good but not as good as the original. So great book as far as it went but the bifurcation of story into two volumes...not so much.

Re novellas, Mountains of Mourning is one of my faves ever. Beautifully constructed, delightfully funny but with real pathos beneath. In many respects, this should be the Bujold entry drug rather than Shards or Warriors. I'm actually reading Touch of Lavender right now in the new Hobb/Lindhold collection The Inheritance and Other Stories. Very good so far.

Rob
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
90. tnh
Carlos, please tone it down. This --
It's funny. In the US, you can be a complete bigot and still are allowed to take offense if someone calls you a racist, simply because you didn't burn a cross on a black person's lawn. That's a little silly. In fact, bigots like using it for cover: "look, I didn't burn any crosses. I just hate Muslims and want to see one-tenth of them killed whenever they act uppity because I am a cowardly freak with manhood issues. but I'm not racist!"
is out of line.
John R. Ellis
91. CarlosSkullsplitter
90: Unfortunately, it's also true. Anti-Muslim bigotry gets a free pass in the US. I've read things written about Muslims by people within the genre that would put Julius Streicher to shame, if that sorry man had any. They're "enemies of our blood," as one writer put it. And, sad to say, I don't think you could narrow that writer's identity down from that quote alone.

The psychologizing is my own take, but I have never seen these bigots act with valor or confidence. Just a loud bray. I could dig up a similar take from a genre author, if that will validate the sentiment properly.

Not that numbers should matter, but probably over one percent of the American population is Muslim or has close Muslim relations. We would rightly denounce any similar trend of anti-Semitism in science fiction. We would rightly denounce any similar trend of racial bigotry in science fiction. We should rightly denounce any similar trend of anti-Mormonism or anti-gay bigotry in the genre, and to its credit, science fiction has been at the forefront of those struggles.

I do think it is past time that science fiction confront this tendency. It's not from any sense of "political correctness", but out of a sense of the genre's Enlightenment and American roots. "To bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance," as someone once said.

I understand the urge not to make waves in a close-knit community. But what value is a community if it becomes a safe haven for bigots? Modern science fiction had a vision of breeding camps in the Ozarks at its beginning. It could very well have that same vision at its end.
John R. Ellis
92. John R. Ellis
Actually, I've seen quite a bit of anti-sentiment towards other religions on in this thread. As a member, I could get all upset and and lecture people on how they are corrupt and evil and obviously cannot withstand my honesty and purity, or I could try something else. Something that wouldn't come off as being inflammatory under the cover of being a crusader for justice.

That's the problem with crusades. Once one proclaims one is on one, suddenly people start expecting you to live up to the standards you're expousing.
john mullen
93. johntheirishmongol
@91 Carlos

It sounds to me like you are taking it all too personally. During the Cold War, there were a lot of Soviet bad guys. Currently, the bad guys tend to be Muslims because we are fighting Muslim extremists all over the world. What do you expect?
John R. Ellis
94. James Davis Nicoll
As far as I can tell, the Ben Bova Presents series consisted of at least the following books:


Cortez On Jupiter by Ernest Hogan
High Aztech by Ernest Hogan
Father to the Man by John Gribbin
Becoming Alien by Rebecca Ore
Being Alien by Rebecca Ore
Human to Human by Rebecca Ore
Phylum Monsters by Hayford Peirce

I cannot swear that there were not others.
John R. Ellis
95. Jeff R.
Incidentally, I can report that Simmons' historical/horror books of the past decade (The Terror, Black Hills, and Drood. And also that Hemmingway book from a bit earlier whose name I can't recall right now for that matter) are entirely free of the brain-eaterly trends being discussed here, so those here who are capable of separating Author from Work but had been avoiding them out of an abundance of caution can read them. (They also have the possible not entirely unrelated virtue of being better books than any of his SF that I've read from that period.)

Oh, and while I understand putting 'no award' above Indy 3, Munchausen would have been a fine winner. The real shame is the exclusion of the most SFnal film of the year from the ballot: Back to the Future II.
John R. Ellis
96. James Davis Nicoll
And also that Hemmingway book from a bit earlier whose name I can't recall right now for that matter

Is that the one where the academic, having destroyed his life with an ill-fated affair with a student, decides the most sensible thing to do at that point in his life is move back to the small town where monsters once massacred his friends? That's A Winter Haunting.

those here who are capable of separating Author from Work

There are authors, like Dave Sim or Dan Simmons, who make it very difficult to separate Author from Work on account of them putting their obsessions center stage in their books (and in Sim's case, providing helpful commentary to assist readers who e.g. failed to realize how EVILE JAKA IS!!!!).

(Did Cerebus really never get a Hugo nomination? Or did I just overlook it? Anyway, up to the point Sim went m- decided to explore various implicates of a non-consensus model, it was a significant book in its field)
John R. Ellis
97. James Davis Nicoll
like Dave Sim or Dan Simmons

Or Elizabeth Moon, in the one where the planet of Jerkasses is called Gretna, and it's not because she disapproves of Scotland's liberal marriage laws
John R. Ellis
98. Jeff R.
JDN@96:
No. Historical, Cuba and Spies and such. (Checks Amazon) The Crook Factory. That one. (Unlike the others I'd mentioned, no SF or horror elements whatsoever in that one.)

Anyhow, that's what I was pointing out: those books are ones in which Simmons kept his obsessions (or at least _those_ obsessions) entirely off-stage.

I believe that Cerebus was over a bit before the GN category first appeared, and that the backlash over Watchmen and the Sandman Shakespeare issue foreclosed the prospect of squeezing them into any other categories for the majority that period. He did get one Eisner, though (for a fairly minor part of the story).
Marcus W
99. toryx
I loved Hyperion when I first read it and I agree with Jo that it's better without the answers. I read the two books that followed it and was vaguely disappointed by them both.

One thing that this series has been teaching me is I need to figure out a way to read a lot more of these novellas and short stories.
John R. Ellis
100. dkalkin
@johntheirishmongol

I don't see what's personal about what Carlos is arguing. Nor do I see how the relationship between a trend of Islamophobic bigotry and the US' current wars - a relationship which I agree exists, though I wouldn't put it quite how you do - excuses said bigotry in any way.

There's a difference between expressing political ideas in an SF book - a virtue of the genre; letting political ideas take over a book in a heavy-handed, lecturing way - an all-too-common artistic problem; and expressing bigotry, racism, sexism, etc - which is a problem independent of aesthetic considerations. It's not a right/left issue, but all political ideas are not created equal.
John R. Ellis
101. James Davis Nicoll
One thing that this series has been teaching me is I need to figure out a way to read a lot more of these novellas and short stories.

One word: "insomnalin". After the first few years you will hardly miss sleep. So much to do, so little time.
John R. Ellis
102. Gerry__Quinn
I agree that expressing bigotry is, like many other things we disapprove of, a problem largely independent of aesthetic considerations. That's why I object to people trying to conflate the two.

Simmons' views on the extent of the threat from militant Islamic fundamentalism and the necessity of a robust response to it may be strategically incorrect and/or distressing to some readers. But it is tedious to listen to continual diatribes to the effect that these views irremediably vitiate the quality of his books, which generally don't have anything in particular to do with such matters.
John R. Ellis
103. James Davis Nicoll
Because I Demanded It

I remember Becoming Alien, Being Alien, and Human to Human as good, Phylum Monsters as disappointing, read but cannot recall anything about High Aztech, never read Cortez On Jupiter (although I think I have a copy; maybe I liked High Aztech) and never saw Father to the Man as far as I can tell.
John R. Ellis
104. lampwick
@93 sez: "During the Cold War, there were a lot of Soviet bad guys. Currently,
the bad guys tend to be Muslims because we are fighting Muslim
extremists all over the world. What do you expect?"

Yes, but during the Cold War people were able to separate the Soviet form of government from the Russians (as you did, in the above quote). And today it's important to separate peaceful Muslims from the very few extremists that appear within their ranks. An author who consistently presents every Muslim he writes about as evilllle has a problem with bigotry, I think.
Rob Munnelly
105. RobMRobM
Toryx and JDN - that's why compilation volumes can be fun. GRRM's Dreamsongs Vols I and II; Silverberg's Legends I and II; Dozois and Martin Warriors and Songs of Love and Death (just finished the latter, including Gaiman's latest Hugo winning short story); Hobbs/Lindhold The Inheritance and other stories. Perhaps you should just begin searching Dozois edited books for a start....
John R. Ellis
106. James Davis Nicoll
105: My problem is that with reviewing for four or five editors at Direct, for three or four at Publisher's weekly, for Natalie at Romantic Times,the Tiptree jury reading list and the ongoing quest to read and review every Haikasoru novel and collection published, my unallocated spare time consists of 1 AM to 1:22 AM and I've put that aside to watch anime. Generally I don't get to choose what I read.
John R. Ellis
107. Doug M.
@102, Simmons isn't having a "disagreement about the threat of Islamic fundamentalism". He thinks that /the majority/ of Muslims are threat -- an active and imminent threat. He believes that a desire for a universal Caliphate "burns secretly in a billion hearts", and that most Muslims will not be happy until they have subjugated all infidels, reduced us to dhimmitude, and placed the planet under Sharia law.

This is not only nonsense; it's obvious and stupid nonsense on stilts. And it's not "distressing to some readers"; it's rank bigotry, and it should be obnoxious to any decent human being.


Doug M.
Andrew Love
108. Andy Love
Or Elizabeth Moon, in the one where the planet of Jerkasses is called Gretna, and it's not because she disapproves of Scotland's liberalmarriage laws


James - could you expand on this: I recognize the reference to Gretna Green and marriages, but what person, place, entity or concept is Moon referencing?
John R. Ellis
109. Gerry__Quinn
@102:
That may be a reasonable criticism of 'The Time Traveller' - but in Hyperion it was evil AIs who were the threat, not Muslims. (In fact I believe it has been noted that one of the heroes was a Muslim.) Earlier on, 'Song of Kali' was mentioned - I haven't read it but it seems improbable that the villains were Muslim in that either.
M F
110. Madeline
Carlos is right in his point and his means of making it. There is no sensible world where we don't get to talk about author's ridiculous and obscenely-hatted opinions because it is "pretty offensive" to call someone a bigot.

As for _Hyperion_, I liked it, and it was certainly the standout book of the year, but I don't have it on my shelf because I didn't like all bits equally, and it doesn't quite stand on its own, and the second book stabs the first book in the back and tramples a lot of what was good.

Books that did make the cut for staying on the shelf: _Falcon_ and _Guards, Guards!_.
John R. Ellis
111. James Davis Nicoll
My take on the Moon was that she was referring to Gretna, Louisiana, which made the news in 2005

The City of Gretna received considerable press coverage when, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (late August 2005), people who attempted to escape from New Orleans by walking over the Crescent City Connection bridge over the Mississippi River were turned back at gunpoint by City of Gretna Police, along with Crescent City Connection Police and Jefferson Parish Sheriff's deputies, who set up a roadblock on the bridge in the days following the hurricane. According to eyewitnesses, some of these officers threatened to shoot New Orleans residents and tourists as they attempted to cross into Gretna on foot.

The Gretna in Command Decision were even more unneighborly but in their defense, they were bad, bad people.
Rich Horton
112. ecbatan
I forgot to mention Falcon before -- yes, a flawed novel, with a broken structure, but gloriously fun. Indeed about as much fun a read as any in that time.
John R. Ellis
113. James Davis Nicoll
in Hyperion it was evil AIs who were the threat, not Muslims.

The wackadoodle stuff about Muslims! UNDER THE BED AND 100% EVIL is a post-9/11 development for Simmons, as I recall. I took the Ayatollah Khomeini reference as less "Those darned Muslims" and more "those darned Iranians". There was this hostage thing in the 1970s that irked a lot of Americans.
John R. Ellis
114. James Davis Nicoll
Scary foreigners goes way back in Simmons but xenophobia falls within the range of expected human behavior; see Sayyid Qutb's account of visit to the US. Why nobody has ever used it as the basis of a Song of Kali-style horror book I don't know.
John R. Ellis
115. James Davis Nicoll
Actually, Gene Wolfe's "Seven American Nights" comes close....
John R. Ellis
116. Doug M.
"The wackadoodle stuff about Muslims! UNDER THE BED AND 100% EVIL is a post-9/11 development for Simmons, as I recall."

That's true -- but in retrospect, the seeds of it are already clearly visible in his earlier work. Not so much the Iranian thing, I'd say, as the willingness to indulge in Quik'n'Easy ethnic and religious stereotyping. (Well, that and the ready consignment of large swathes of humanity to the categories of "victims, dupes, or willing tools of evil".)

Frex, there's that bit at the end of Fall of Hyperion where he describes the response of the different ethnic planets to the catastrophe near the end of that book. It's a series of quick vignettes that go something like, "On the Arab Planet, there were riots, mass hysteria, and then a new jihad. On the Japanese Planet, there was contemplation and a turning inward. On the Catholic Planet, they prayed and then elected a new Pope. On the French Planet, they turned to threesomes and really good cheese."


Doug M.
John R. Ellis
117. Doug M.
FWIW, I'd point to Guards! Guards! as the novel where, for me personally, Discworld's wheels left the runway.

There is wide, wide individual variance on this point! But GG has the first appearance of Vimes, first appearance of Carrot, first appearance of Nobby, and the first major appearance of the Patrician (he'd been a very minor character before that).

It's also the first book to make Ankh-Morpork as much a character as a setting, and the first one that really engages with what I guess we have to call Discworld's continuity, even though yes that is a bit of an oxymoron. And while this is entirely subjective, for me it reads like the first book where Pratchett was entirely comfortable with telling a Discworld story (as opposed to telling a story about X, with Discworld as the setting.) YMMV.


Doug M.
Andrew Love
118. Andy Love
My take on the Moon was that she was referring to Gretna, Louisiana, which made the news in 2005


Of course - thanks.

Doug

On the French Planet, they turned to threesomes and really good cheese."


That made me laugh! I suppose on the Dutch planet a wooden shoe economy developed, while the New Jersey planet built new expressways, the SFWA planet fell into internecine warfare over Nebula voting rules, and the English planet cornered other planets in the alley and misattributed language purity quotations at them (the fiends).
John Adams
119. JohnArkansawyer
Doug M @ 116:

the willingness to indulge in Quik'n'Easy ethnic and religious stereotyping.

Whereas the various cultures John Barnes puts into play in his Thousand Cultures series avoid this pitfall, in my opinion.
On the French Planet, they turned to threesomes and really good cheese.
I see you've visited Hedonia.
Pamela Adams
120. Pam Adams
Hedonia always struck me as more of the 'planet of the Californians,' rather than the French.
John R. Ellis
121. CarlosSkullsplitter
I very quickly found the passage in Fall of Hyperion by remembering that Metaxas was the name of the Greek planet. It's on Google Books: simply look up "On Metaxas there were riots and reprisals." The first and third following paragraphs deal with the planets Qom-Riyadh (wtf? that makes no sense: it's like saying Assisi-Orangeman) and Hebron, with Simmons' very special reference to "Zionist elders".

Note the difference in outcomes.
John R. Ellis
122. gottacook
Rob T. @60: The 1989 movie Millennium is actually not an adaptation of Varley's novel Millennium; both are expansions of the short story "Air Raid," but Varley wrote early versions of the screenplay that preceded the novel. This is why the novel is "copyright 1983 by MGM/UA Home Entertainment Inc." (I suppose Varley may have regained copyright since then but haven't seen a recent edition.)
John R. Ellis
123. Alan Heuer
Here is how I voted in 1990:

Best Novel
1. The Boat of a Million Years Poul Anderson
2. Prentice Alvin Orson Scott Card
3. A Fire in the Sun George Alec Effinger
4. Hyperion Dan Simmons
5. Grass Sherri S. Tepper

Best Novella
1. "The Father of Stones" Lucius Shepard
2. "A Touch of Lavender" Megan Lindholm
3. "The Mountains of Mourning" Lois McMaster Bujold
4. "Tiny Tango" Judith Moffet
5. "Time-Out" Connie Willis

Best Novelette
1. "For I Have Touched the Sky" Mike Resnick
2. "Dogwalker" Orson Scott Card
3. "Everything But Honor" George Alec Effinger
4. "The Price of Oranges" Nancy Kress
5. "Enter a Soldier, Later: Enter Another" Robert Silverberg
6. "At the Rialto" Connie Willis

Best Short Story
1. "Dori Bangs" Bruce Sterling
2. "Boobs" Suzy McKee Charnas
3. "Lost Boys" Orson Scott Card
4. "Computer Friendly" Eileen Gunn
5. "The Edge of the World" Michael Swanwick
6. "The Return of William Proxmire" Larry Niven

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