Archive for July, 2012

The Hugos 2012: Fun, quality, or both?

I have voted.  I’ll discuss my votes in another post shortly, but I just wanted to bring up an issue that I faced this time–the issue of fun.

China Mieville is a very good writer.  One of the first Hugos I voted on, I voted for The City and The City to win the Best Novel award.  He was nominated again this year, for Embassytown.  I understand _Embassytown_ is a very good book.  I didn’t read it, even though I voted.  I didn’t run out of time; the voting is actually still open.  I _chose_ not to read it.  Why?  Because I might have had to vote for it, and I didn’t want to.

I started to read the Kindle sample of the book on, um, on my Kindle.  I was completely puzzled by what was going on.  Before I could start the book, I had to go to Wikipedia and read a summary of the very odd social structures that are present in the story.  That doesn’t impress me.  It may very well have been my own distraction, as htis particular Hugo season was full of personal upheaval for me, but I _didn’t_ have this problem with several of the other books, including _Leviathan Wakes_, which I enjoyed a lot, and decided I wanted to vote for as one of my top two books.

So, to summarize, I opted not to read _Embassytown_ because it was inaccessible, and “hard to read”, and I didn’t want the books I voted for this time to be something that someone down the line, looking at this vote in history, would find hard.  _Leviathan Wakes_ was a hell of a tale, and took no effort to get into.  _Deadline_?  The only effort this book took was the effort of reading (or in my case re-reading _Feed_ before it, and _Blackout_ after it.

So I guess what i”m saying is that I’m making a value judgment here.  I don’t want to Hugo to be about the _best_ book I read this year.  I want it to be about my _favorite_ book that I read this year, and I don’t happen to like books that require me to _work_, right now.  Sounds harsh, but I read for fun, and I want to be drawn in, I want to be enterfained, I want a book to be an easy ride.

I’m sure _Embassytown_ is a great book, and I look forward to reading it.  I surely have enjoyed everything of Mieville’s that I’ve read so far immensely.  I just was afraid that if I put the effort in now, I’d have to vote for it, which I was unwilling to do.  So, read later.

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