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  #1  
Old 02-02-2017, 12:43 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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All Time Best Hugo Award Winner

Inspired by the Newberry Medal thread, which of the Hugo Award winners do you think is the best? One choice only.

Bonus points if you've actually read "They'd Rather Be Right."
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  #2  
Old 02-02-2017, 12:57 PM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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My record is a little better for the Hugos than the Newberrys--I've read 27 of the winners. Out of those, the toughest choice is between A Fire Upon the Deep and Hyperion. Taken as a stand-alone, I'll have to go with AFUtD. (But if taken overall, I'd go with the Hyperion Cantos.)
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  #3  
Old 02-02-2017, 01:34 PM
Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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A tough choice, but I'll go with A Canticle for Leibowitz.
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  #4  
Old 02-02-2017, 01:41 PM
Prof. Pepperwinkle Prof. Pepperwinkle is offline
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I've read 25. Much as I love To Say Nothing Of The Dog, and my daughter would vote for American Gods my vote has to go for Frank Herbert's Dune, and ignore all its sequels.
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Old 02-02-2017, 01:57 PM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is offline
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I just recently re-read Stand on Zanzibar, and to be honest it hasn't aged well at all. But it's one of my favorite books, so I have to go with it. Otherwise I would have chosen Canticle for Liebowitz.
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  #6  
Old 02-02-2017, 02:02 PM
Fenris Fenris is offline
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I've read They'd Rather Be Right. I don't know if the legend that it only won because there were only a few hundred people at the convention and the publisher ordered pizza (or burgers or whatever) to bribe them to vote for Clifton's drek is true or not...but I'd rather believe it true. Lord, what a bad book. Although it's not quite the worst. The worst is Leiber's The Wanderer. I can only assume he was stoned when he wrote it. And that the voters were stoned when they voted for it. Leiber has written many, MANY brilliant works. This wasn't one of them.

It's hard to pick a single favorite as there's so many good ones, but I'd probably pick Vinge's A Fire Upon The Deep if I were forced to.

Last edited by Fenris; 02-02-2017 at 02:03 PM..
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  #7  
Old 02-02-2017, 02:17 PM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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How about the other Hugo categories, not just best novel? Again with the disclaimers that I haven't read them all and some choices may be tossups, for SS I'll go with Kirinyaga, for novella I'll go with Palimpsest (with All Seated on the Ground as close competition), and for novelette I'll go with Sandkings.
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Old 02-02-2017, 02:27 PM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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Boy, I must have missed something about The Graveyard Book. I didn't think it was that good. (It got the Newberry Award also).

I haven't read many of these, but I'd probably pick Flowers for Algernon regardless.
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  #9  
Old 02-02-2017, 02:41 PM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is offline
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I'd go with The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester. (I might have hummed and hawed over the decision if, as I thought, Jack Vance's The Last Castle had been on the list but I see that won the Hugo for best novelette rather than novel. I think I still would have plumped for Bester though.)

Last edited by aldiboronti; 02-02-2017 at 02:41 PM..
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  #10  
Old 02-02-2017, 02:45 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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It's a toss-up between Downbelow Station, Ringworld and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Anybody who knows me in the least knows my vote goes to TMiaHM.
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  #11  
Old 02-02-2017, 02:49 PM
Loach Loach is online now
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Starship Troopers. Several others tied for second.
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  #12  
Old 02-02-2017, 02:49 PM
Frank Frank is offline
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I'm going to call it a tie between Doomsday Book and American Gods.

Despite the odd clunker or two, there is some real fine reading on that list.
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  #13  
Old 02-02-2017, 02:50 PM
Busy Scissors Busy Scissors is offline
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Not read all that many, but 1982 seems to have been a fine vintage - Gene Wolfe's 'The Claw of the conciliator' and John Crowley's 'Little Big'. Fucking hell.

You could probably make a decent argument for Little Big being hands down the best as it seems to be somewhat on its own - there don't seem to be many Hugo-winning books of that blatant quality [although I could easily be missing some] so it doesn't have a lot of competition.
Other standout titles are in more crowded sub-genres where there'll be lots of disagreement on who is top dog.
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  #14  
Old 02-02-2017, 03:06 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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I'm not sure what I'd pick for second place, but #1 is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
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  #15  
Old 02-02-2017, 03:19 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Lots of great books there, but I have to go with Zelazny's Lord of Light as my favorite.
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  #16  
Old 02-02-2017, 03:20 PM
Soul Brother Number Two Soul Brother Number Two is offline
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Although I love those good ol Heinleins, including Stranger, which I submit is ridiculous on its face but which had an enormous effect on high school me, I vote for The Forever War. Really love that book, can read it over and over.
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  #17  
Old 02-02-2017, 03:29 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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As for me, I'd think about Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, but I think I'd have to go with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
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  #18  
Old 02-02-2017, 03:40 PM
E-DUB E-DUB is offline
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Picking one is way too hard, but if forced to I'd say "Moon is a harsh mistress".

Maybe picking one per decade............
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  #19  
Old 02-02-2017, 04:20 PM
Finagle Finagle is offline
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I guess my sentimental favorite would be "Lord of Light".
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  #20  
Old 02-02-2017, 04:29 PM
Wilson Wilson is offline
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Best? The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
Favorite? probably To Say Nothing of the Dog.

I've read about 25 of the winners.

EDIT: Ooooh I missed Double Star on first perusal. That may be my favorite, but TMiaHM is still the best IMO.

Last edited by Wilson; 02-02-2017 at 04:31 PM..
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  #21  
Old 02-02-2017, 04:51 PM
jsgoddess jsgoddess is offline
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The Paladin of Souls, which I think is perfect. I've only read 11, most of them Bujold.
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  #22  
Old 02-02-2017, 05:07 PM
WordMan WordMan is offline
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Dune. Love that book. Have reread it more than any other.
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  #23  
Old 02-02-2017, 05:11 PM
TroutMan TroutMan is offline
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I don't know if it's the best, but my favorite is definitely Neuromancer.
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  #24  
Old 02-02-2017, 05:46 PM
Busy Scissors Busy Scissors is offline
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I see I misread the list, genuinely thought they handed out a few each year

So, reading it properly, I've only read ten so not enough for a meaningful choice. Probably go with The Diamond Age which was uneven-but-very good, but I wouldn't really put it forward as a classic.
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  #25  
Old 02-02-2017, 05:47 PM
Tapiotar Tapiotar is offline
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I love so many of these. My favorite is Lord of Light, though Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land I might have reread more times. Dune is brilliant, Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls I'm planning to reread soon, enjoyed To Say Nothing of the Dog. Love John Crowley... it's a good list!
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  #26  
Old 02-02-2017, 05:59 PM
standingwave standingwave is online now
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I haven't read them all but I have read over thirty so when I say that my favorite is still probably Dune, it isn't because that's the only one I ever read.

Runners up include: The Demolished Man, Canticle for Leibowitz, Stranger in a Strange Land, Ringworld and The Forever War.

But Dune remains breathtaking in its scope and world-building.
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  #27  
Old 02-02-2017, 06:12 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Originally Posted by Busy Scissors View Post
I see I misread the list, genuinely thought they handed out a few each year
There's another thread for the runner-ups.
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  #28  
Old 02-02-2017, 06:24 PM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
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IF the "retro" awards are not included, THEN the answer of "all-time best" is (IMHO) Dune. For a variety of reasons. I have always found it ridiculous that the barely remembered Zelazny novel ...And Call Me Conrad shared that year's award. Proof that the voters don't always see the quality of what's in front of them.

If the "retro" awards ARE included ('39, '41, '46, '51, '54), then I might well change that answer to Fahrenheit 451. The trouble with the "retro" awards is that they are, indeed, voted on in retrospect. I think there might be more than a couple years' results that would be changed if we all voted on the years '53-'66 now.

As for my favs, well, there simply are too many of them to list. There are a lot of very, very good award winners there. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is not one of them. :/

PS: C. J. Cherryh has been my most favorite science-fiction/fantasy writer for a long time now. Needless to say, Downbelow Station is very, very high on my list. Not so much Cyteen, though.
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  #29  
Old 02-02-2017, 06:50 PM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is offline
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Misread list. Sorry. Going with Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Last edited by Dendarii Dame; 02-02-2017 at 06:53 PM..
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  #30  
Old 02-02-2017, 06:51 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
I've read They'd Rather Be Right. I don't know if the legend that it only won because there were only a few hundred people at the convention and the publisher ordered pizza (or burgers or whatever) to bribe them to vote for Clifton's drek is true or not...but I'd rather believe it true. Lord, what a bad book. Although it's not quite the worst. The worst is Leiber's The Wanderer. I can only assume he was stoned when he wrote it. And that the voters were stoned when they voted for it. Leiber has written many, MANY brilliant works. This wasn't one of them.
I think it was the case where there were just a lot of fans of Astounding that year. Note that it won all the awards (Kelly Freas did a ton of interior art for them that year) except for Best Fanzine. They'd Rather Be Right was the only full novel serialized in Astounding that year (there were a couple two part serials). So the magazine's fans had only one choice.

And "Allamagoosa," which won that year, may be the worst short story to win the Hugo. It's based on people not noticing what should be obvious to the reader the moment it's introduced.

And while The Wanderer may not have been Lieber's best, it's a perfectly good novel and the template for most disaster films.

Last edited by RealityChuck; 02-02-2017 at 06:53 PM..
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  #31  
Old 02-02-2017, 07:46 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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I read so many of these books 50 years ago that I'm sure I'd change my rankings in a hurry if I read them today. But I am surprised nobody mentioned Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle. I remember it as being magnificent, far and away better than anything else he wrote.

As for Dune, you have to look at the situation in 1966, not what we remember today.

Dune World was serialized in Analog from December of 1963 through February of 1964. It was nominated for the Best Novel Hugo in 1964. The Prophet of Dune was serialized in Analog from January through May of 1965. Dune combined them into one book and was published in a tiny, impossible-to-find hardcover edition in December of 1965, although it was reprinted in 1966. No paperback until 1967, though.

The voters had a tough issue facing them. What should they nominate: the novel that was serialized in 1965 or the omnibus, half of which they had already nominated separately? Was it even fair to put Dune rather than The Prophets of Dune into nomination? Did they know what Dune the book comprised?

Roger Zelazny, however, was having possibly the best year of any young writer ever. "And Call Me Conrad" was serialized in F&SF (October and November 1965) and went right into paperback in July 1966. "He Who Shapes" (Amazing, January and February 1965) tied for Best Novella in the 1966 Nebulas (covering 1965). "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth” (F&SF March 1965) won Nebula Best Novelette. "Devil Car" (Galaxy June 1965) made the Nebula Best Short Story ballot. But the Hugos that year had only one category, called Best Short Fiction. "Doors" made the short list but lost to Harlan Ellison's juggernaut, “'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman”, which won the Nebula too. So a lot of voters probably decided that rewarding Zelazny over a novel that maybe shouldn't have made the ballot and couldn't be easily read as a whole was the fair and sensible decision.

Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. They couldn't see the future. Nobody can, not even science fiction authors.
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  #32  
Old 02-02-2017, 07:57 PM
The Stainless Steel Rat The Stainless Steel Rat is offline
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I could choose the entire 1970's if I was of a mind to.

5th--Orson Scott Card Ender's Game
4th--Joe Haldeman The Forever War
3rd--Arthur C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama
2nd--Larry Niven Ringworld
1st--Robert A. Heinlein The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
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  #33  
Old 02-02-2017, 08:01 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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I've also read a few more of the Hugos--30, give or take two on either side, since I can't remember exactly which Niven or Asimov I read in my adolescence.

The winner, obviously, is Left Hand of--kidding! kidding!

No, the winner is The Dispossessed, which I love beyond all measure.
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  #34  
Old 02-03-2017, 02:41 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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The Dispossessed. tough to choose between that and Left Hand, but there you are.

Interestingly, I easily picked The Graveyard Book for the Newberry thread but it wasn't even in the running here (American Gods was)
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  #35  
Old 02-03-2017, 05:13 AM
WordMan WordMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
I read so many of these books 50 years ago that I'm sure I'd change my rankings in a hurry if I read them today. But I am surprised nobody mentioned Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle. I remember it as being magnificent, far and away better than anything else he wrote.

As for Dune, you have to look at the situation in 1966, not what we remember today.

Dune World was serialized in Analog from December of 1963 through February of 1964. It was nominated for the Best Novel Hugo in 1964. The Prophet of Dune was serialized in Analog from January through May of 1965. Dune combined them into one book and was published in a tiny, impossible-to-find hardcover edition in December of 1965, although it was reprinted in 1966. No paperback until 1967, though.

The voters had a tough issue facing them. What should they nominate: the novel that was serialized in 1965 or the omnibus, half of which they had already nominated separately? Was it even fair to put Dune rather than The Prophets of Dune into nomination? Did they know what Dune the book comprised?

Roger Zelazny, however, was having possibly the best year of any young writer ever. "And Call Me Conrad" was serialized in F&SF (October and November 1965) and went right into paperback in July 1966. "He Who Shapes" (Amazing, January and February 1965) tied for Best Novella in the 1966 Nebulas (covering 1965). "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth” (F&SF March 1965) won Nebula Best Novelette. "Devil Car" (Galaxy June 1965) made the Nebula Best Short Story ballot. But the Hugos that year had only one category, called Best Short Fiction. "Doors" made the short list but lost to Harlan Ellison's juggernaut, “'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman”, which won the Nebula too. So a lot of voters probably decided that rewarding Zelazny over a novel that maybe shouldn't have made the ballot and couldn't be easily read as a whole was the fair and sensible decision.

Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. They couldn't see the future. Nobody can, not even science fiction authors.
Nice, thanks for that. I knew the basics but not with that context.

I have mentioned on this board that I used to* have a first edition of Dune, yes, published by Chilton, the auto repair manual publisher back in the day. They were so far away from the fiction sector that they had no convention for noting print edition on the copyright page. Other than year, who gives a fig whether that VW Beetle manual is a first edition, first state?

Some sci-fi collectors and dealers established a bibliographic line for the first edition. Similar to Huck Finn, another book published in an unorthodox way via subscription, the "first printing" was an evolving thing, with several states along the way. The clincher for true firsts was the number of cities listed under Chilton's publisher logo on the dust jacket's back flap . Ah, book geeks.

*sold to fund an old guitar. I have moved most of my old books, mostly for guitars - you get the buzz of a great old object and an amazing musical tool. Of my old firsts, however, Dune is the one I look back on most fondly. My favorite story + quirky publishing history = fun book.
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  #36  
Old 02-03-2017, 09:59 AM
zimaane zimaane is offline
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The Left Hand of Darkness edges out Gateway as my favorite. I've read about half of them.
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  #37  
Old 02-03-2017, 10:10 AM
silenus silenus is offline
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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
IF the "retro" awards are not included, THEN the answer of "all-time best" is (IMHO) Dune. For a variety of reasons. I have always found it ridiculous that the barely remembered Zelazny novel ...And Call Me Conrad shared that year's award. Proof that the voters don't always see the quality of what's in front of them.
Agreed. Otherwise they never would have voted for Dune.
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  #38  
Old 02-03-2017, 11:10 AM
GargoyleWB GargoyleWB is offline
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"Dune" for me.

Surprised the Mars books won twice, I really didn't enjoy them and they were up against better books IMO.
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  #39  
Old 02-03-2017, 11:23 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quoth MrDibble:

Interestingly, I easily picked The Graveyard Book for the Newberry thread but it wasn't even in the running here (American Gods was)
Huh, it won both the Newberry and the Hugo? Impressive-- I'll have to track that one down.
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  #40  
Old 02-03-2017, 11:42 AM
Catamount Catamount is offline
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It's a tossup between A Canticle for Liebowitz and Dune, but looking at the long row of Herbert on my bookshelf I'll have to go with Dune.

How did Redshirts get on this list?
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  #41  
Old 02-03-2017, 11:48 AM
Tangent Tangent is offline
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The Moon is a Harsh Mistress would be my #1, of the ones I've read. Others I love would include Rendezvous with Rama and Ender's Game, There are a lot there I haven't read yet, but I'm updating my wish list.

I'm about halfway through Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell right now, and really enjoying it.

Last edited by Tangent; 02-03-2017 at 11:48 AM..
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  #42  
Old 02-03-2017, 12:02 PM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
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I don't always agree with the selections, but boy is there a lot of crappy winners! Ringworld Engineers? Children of Dune? Did they actually read the books, or just vote by author name recognition? It's worse than the Oscars!

I won't try to say which is best, but the ones I like rereading again and again are Deathworld and The Forever War,
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  #43  
Old 02-03-2017, 12:04 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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IMHO the list of Hugo winners and nominees looks like it can't make up its mind whether it wants the Hugo to be a science fiction award or a science fiction and fantasy award—for what I'm sure are good historical reasons; but it still feels wrong to me to even consider a fantasy novel for "all time best Hugo award winner." It's just too apples-and-orangey.

As with the Newbery list, I surely can't judge fairly, since I've read only a fraction of the books, and those at vastly different times of my life. I'm going to go with The Dispossessed, though that might easily change if I went back and did some reading/rereading (or even just thought about it some more).
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  #44  
Old 02-03-2017, 12:15 PM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
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Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
I don't always agree with the selections, but boy is there a lot of crappy winners! Ringworld Engineers? Children of Dune? Did they actually read the books, or just vote by author name recognition? It's worse than the Oscars!

I won't try to say which is best, but the ones I like rereading again and again are Deathworld and The Forever War,
Ringworld Engineers and Children of Dune did not win. They were nominated, but not winners.
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  #45  
Old 02-03-2017, 12:37 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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The Hugo process is this. The award is given by the World Science Fiction Convention each year. Members of the convention (and members of one or two previous conventions*) may nominate words for an award. The five works in each category that get the most nominations are on the ballot.**

Members can then vote for the winner. It's a ranked ballot -- you rank the works 1-5. You also have the option to vote for no award in any position. So a ballot could be

1. Really Great Novel
2. Good, but not Great Novel.
3. Pretty Good Novel
4. No award.

(Once you select "No Award," you can't rank anything lower.)

The ballots are counted in what's called (for no reason anyone can articulate) an "Australian Ballot." What happens is that each book is given its ranking. Thus if 100 people vote for Really Great Novel as #1, it gets 100 votes.

If a work gets over 50% of the ballots, it wins. This rarely happens.

For the next round, the novel that got the fewest #1 votes is eliminated. The judges look at the #2 votes for that novel and distribute them. Thus if 16 people voted for the novel that got the lowest vote total, those votes are given to their second choice.

The process is repeated until a work gets a majority of ballots.

There are flaws in the system (but there are flaws in any voting system). The one here is that controversial works can't win. Something that a lot of people love, but a lot of people hate will be winnowed out and lose to those where no one really strongly dislikes. The people that love the work won't get enough to win, but will accept their second or third choice.

*I forget the details.
**Subject to a certain minimum number of nominations.
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  #46  
Old 02-03-2017, 12:59 PM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
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Ringworld Engineers and Children of Dune did not win. They were nominated, but not winners.
Thanks! I read the chart incorrectly.

Some of my faith is restored.
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  #47  
Old 02-03-2017, 02:59 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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As much as I despise Orson Scott Card for his personal opinions... Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead are brilliant.

I'll also give a happy shout-out to Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, not least because Vinge (unlike Card) is a super sweet-heart of a kindly-souled gentleman. (And it's a darn good book, too, although I actually like his A Deepness in the Sky better.)
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  #48  
Old 02-03-2017, 04:41 PM
Wednesday Evening Wednesday Evening is offline
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I've read 26. Lots of great ones on there, and many of them are sentimental to me (I read a lot of classic SF as a teenager: Asimov, Niven, Clarke, Heinlein, Zelazny, etc).

But that aside, I pick Ender's Game as best ever, with Stranger in a Strange Land as runner-up.
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  #49  
Old 02-03-2017, 04:44 PM
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Moon is A Harsh Mistress is a favorite, but the one I recommend, especially to those who don't read SFF, is Lord of Light
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  #50  
Old 02-03-2017, 05:04 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
IMHO the list of Hugo winners and nominees looks like it can't make up its mind whether it wants the Hugo to be a science fiction award or a science fiction and fantasy award—for what I'm sure are good historical reasons; but it still feels wrong to me to even consider a fantasy novel for "all time best Hugo award winner." It's just too apples-and-orangey.).
Most people in the field don't differentiate, and writers often move from one to the other. There are more similarities in the genres than differences.

Last edited by RealityChuck; 02-03-2017 at 05:04 PM..
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