Friday, September 12, 2008

How I Became a Science Fiction Reader and The Hugo Awards Winners 2008

After seventeen years as a YA LIbrarian (and a term as a high school librarian before that) I am now the Adult Fiction personage. I really still enjoy YA books, and I like their readership too, since my own teen just recently passed out of teenhood, I can appreciate them and all they're experiencing.

Although I've been reading Mysteries heavily since about 1995, I am broadening my horizons and all that and have been reading science fiction and will attempt best sellers and a wider variety of genres.

I've been reading science fiction since sixth grade when my school librarian recommended "A Wrinkle in Time" which was science fiction, but she thought I'd like it. I told her I didn't want to read "about spacemen and blasters" but polite child that I was, I took it. A Wrinkle in Time has a teenage girl take on an evil society governed by "It", a disembodied brain, in order to rescue her little brother and her missing father. Although she has help, it is her own bravery and strengths that help her in her journey. Loaded with scientific ideas, the excellently drawn characters and the choices they need to make were so compelling I wanted lots more science fiction after reading it.

Although in the years from then till college I read some fantasy and horror, I was sold on science fiction. I have always been awful at math and science, but I loved the "real world, what if?" basis of science fiction, especially what they used to call "Hard Science Fiction". The more solidly grounded the science in the story, the better. I have struggled to understand chemistry and physics in stories that I would gloss right by in any other form.

This brings me to the Hugo Awards. They are given out in August each year, and are voted on by readers and fans of science fiction. In order to vote, you need to register for the current year Worldcon (world convention). You can attend the convention or not, but you do have to purchase membership to vote. I wish I could have gone this year when it was held in Denver (I have never been to a Worldcon), but no. In any case, once good way to get a feel for the latest and most interesting science fiction is to read the Hugo winners list. That is my goal between now and the next one, to read all of the winners and if I whip through those, to read the nominees. I'm hoping this brings me up to speed science fiction wise so I can help our local readers find good reading, and release my inner science fiction self from the "mundane" I have become. Voila!

Here are the winners for 2008:

Go to the Hugo Awards Site for nominees, information on the next Worldcon, and past year winners if you would really like to dig in and read some good science fiction.

Best Novel: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon (HarperCollins; Fourth Estate)

Best Novella: “All Seated on the Ground” by Connie Willis (Asimov’s Dec. 2007; Subterranean Press)

Best Novelette: “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” by Ted Chiang (Subterranean Press; F&SF Sept. 2007)

Best Short Story: “Tideline” by Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s June 2007)

Best Related Book: Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction by Jeff Prucher (Oxford University Press)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Stardust Written by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman Illustrated by Charles Vess Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Paramount Pictures)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Doctor Who “Blink” Written by Steven Moffat Directed by Hettie Macdonald (BBC)

Best Editor, Long Form: David G. Hartwell

Best Editor, Short Form: Gordon Van Gelder

Best Professional Artist: Stephan Martiniere

Best Semiprozine: Locus

Best Fanzine: File 770

Best Fan Writer: John Scalzi

Best Fan Artist: Brad Foster

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