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The 2011 Hugo Awards

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the best-story-ever dept.

Sci-Fi 162

An anonymous reader writes "The Hugo Award is the leading prize for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy writing. Named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of Amazing Stories magazine, the awards have been given out since 1955. This year's winners were announced Saturday during the Hugo Awards Ceremony in Reno, Nevada."

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162 comments

Oh God... (2)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163486)

I haven't heard of any of these people.

I mean, it's hard to keep track of any genre entirely. Nor can you blame me for being lax these days, what with the exhausting amount of work it takes sorting out real science fiction from the endless parade of tired paranormal works, PKD clones, and space operas.

But still, I feel like the ghost of Arthur C. Clarke just sneaked into my bedroom and shredded my nerd card. No need to turn it in; I abdicated by placidity and had to be punished.

Re:Oh God... (3, Interesting)

morcego (260031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163506)

I don't know any of them either, but I see this as an opportunity to discover new authors. I will sure be looking for some of these in the next few days.

Lev Grossman (4, Interesting)

Bayoudegradeable (1003768) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164074)

The Magicians and The Magician King (by Lev Grossman) are very cool fantasy books (imho). Sure there are tons of Narnia and Potter parallels, but it was nice to see wizardry from a darker, adult perspective. If nothing else, I think you're right, a chance to discover new authors.

Re:Oh God... (4, Informative)

trawg (308495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164092)

The other thing to do is make sure you check out the full list of nominees (available here [renovationsf.org]).

I've often read the Winning book and thought "meh" and then gone on to read some of the nominees which I really enjoyed. It's a good shortlist of some great recent sci-fi.

Re:Oh God... (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164592)

Right on! Recently, I completely ran out of really good sci-fi, after trying some of the most popular ones I had not yet read (and got mostly disappointed). So I turned to Hogo nominations of past few years (and other not too popular nukes of the internet to look for something different to read).

I ended up adding about 10-12 Kindle samples and also ordered about 4-5 books not available in e format.

Finished "Old Man's War" (John Scalzi) last week. Also, just finished The Bug by Ellen Ulmann : ISBN 1400032350).

I am set for next two months of sampling/reading some good sci-fi after a long time.

Re:Oh God... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37165358)

not too popular nukes of the internet

Errr, are you deliberately not typing "nooks of the internet" as some sort of joke on how much internet there is and how it blows your mind, or did you get your spell-checker trained by the Shakespearean monkeys?

Re:Oh God... (2)

Badge 17 (613974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163548)

N.B. - Connie Willis won her first Hugo in 1983, and has two previous Best Novel wins. There's some good science fiction in the last 25 years, you might want to look into it. (This year's Hugo class of novels wasn't that strong, though - so don't start there).

Re:Oh God... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163568)

I am supremely disapointed at Connie Willis, "To say nothing of the dog" was more of a feel-good fantasy novel until you got to the whole point of the bishop's birdstump then none of it made any sense. Still entertaining but not that good.

Then her next book, well, it ended on a cliffhanger (of sorts) and said "part 2 due out sometime next year". If this hugo is for Part 2, I think she should be disqualified as it's a continuation of the same novel published the previous year. The first part did not stand on it's own, it's like Harry Seldon discovering psychohistory then not doing anything with it.

She's a good author but that little stunt really turned me off.

Re:Oh God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163600)

You know what would make a really good sci-fi novel? A premise so fantastic no one will believe it? How about a world where people know how to use the apostrophe? Yeah, I believe we'll be able to build a Ringworld before that happens.

Re:Oh God... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163636)

How about a world where people know how to use the apostrophe? Yeah, I believe we'll be able to build a Ringworld before that happens.

So you admit then that proper use of the apostrophe isn't holding back our progress as a civilization? ;)

Re:Oh God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163652)

Oh come on, he only messed up 1 out of 4 (75% accuracy). The summary missed the 1 out of 1 it should have had (0% accuracy).

Re:Oh God... (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163624)

"Passages" blew my mind, and is still by far my favorite book by her. I recommend it in case you haven't read it yet.

Re:Oh God... (1)

dataspel (2436808) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164712)

Passages was very good, but The Doomsday Book was her best work to date, IMHO. Will have to see about these latest.

Re:Oh God... (1)

ChatHuant (801522) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164046)

I am supremely disapointed at Connie Willis, "To say nothing of the dog" was more of a feel-good fantasy novel

Eh, de gustibus and all that, but I loved "To say nothing of the dog", and I did get the (admittedly involved) explanation about the bishop's bird stump too. I'm really looking forward to the book where she explains the major incongruity hinted at in the final part of TSNOTD, and supposed to happen in 2600 something, centered on Coventry catedral :). OTOH, I always loved British literature, and enjoyed "Three men in a boat" immensely.
 
Something I really like about her writing is the way she manages to make the daily life of her characters so real, whether it's Victorian England, in for "To say nothing of the dog", WWII Britain in "Blackout/All Clear", or simply modern America in her series of Christmas stories in Asimov's.

BTW, I may be wrong, but I understand printing "Blackout/All Clear" as two separate novels was not her choice; the publisher decided the whole thing was too big for a single book.

Re:Oh God... (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164784)

Connie Willis writes well, but she writes the same story over and over again: Scientist travels back in time to a church; add enough tragedy to keep male readers happy, and enough love to keep female readers happy.

it would surprise me if this isn't the plot of the latest novel too.

Willis best work is her short stories (1)

Gnulix (534608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37165486)

I agree that most of her novells are very similar. However, when it comes to short stories, she has written several outstanding pieces of work.

Re:Oh God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163646)

I have liked everything Connie Willis has written, until Blackout/All Clear. I am not sure what it is but I am having to force myself to slug through them (almost done). Anyone else have an opinion of Blackout/All Clear? Is it me are is there something missing from her previous work? Or are they too much of a rerun.

Re:Oh God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163784)

To quote BlackWater: " 'Oh Dear!' he thought."

I agree with you.

I purchased Blackwater because it won the 2011 Nebula award, where such massive works such as Neuromancer, Dune, Rendez-vous With Rama, etc... are included. And I'm sorry to say, but this isn't a fascinanting or mesmerizing book.

It absolutely fails to impress. Just a plain historical novel sprinkled with some half-baked sci-fi that can be summarized to "ok, people travel back in time". And that's it! The rest of the story (I'm at 3/4 of the book) is just about 3 or 4 historians in London WWII, running around and with *every* *single* *chapter* ending in a stupid cliffhanger and the main characters always apearing to move away from their objective instead of forward. As if there is no plot progression here.

General advice:
1) Buy this only if you love the author, but read the reviews carefully.
2) Never use these prize lists (Hugo Awards or Nebula Awards) to buy your next book.

Re:Oh God... (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#37165260)

(This year's Hugo class of novels wasn't that strong, though - so don't start there).

Tastes differ and yada yadda, but i would disagree. "Feed" by "Mira Grant (actually a pseudonym for Seanan McGuire) is a great science fiction zombie book. "Cryoburn" is the the latest it Bujold's Vorkosigan series, and it's certainly not the best in the series but i at least thought it was still pretty good. "The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms" was an interesting fantasy book about gods being enslaved as weapons of war. I didn't think "The Dervish House" was great, but it was decent. Kinda nanotech-punk set in Istanbul, which was interesting at some points and distracting at others.

As for Blackout/All Clear, i haven't actually gotten around to All Clear yet, but Connie Willis did what she usually manages to do for me. Write a book that sucks you into it but that i don't feel any particular compulsion to go back and reread. Which means that like all her other books i found it somewhat disappointing compared to "To Say Nothing of the Dog" and "Bellwether."

The best sci fi is when the economy is booming. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163576)

It's not surprising that you haven't heard of them before. Sci fi literature only peaks when the economy is booming. In most of the Western world, the economy hasn't done so since the late 1960s.

With America's economy in the shitter, which in turn hurts Europe, Japan and even Australia and New Zealand, innovation has basically stopped. Yes, it is going on in non-Japanese Asia at the moment, but much of this work is just catching up to where the Western world was 25 years ago, and the rest is inaccessible to Western audiences (including sci fi authors!) due to significant language barriers.

When considering Western society as a whole, the general lack of interest in science and innovation doesn't provide a good environment for the sort of "futuristic" discoveries that help propel sci fi literature to the forefront.

The best sci fi might still be untranslated. (1)

Vastad (1299101) | more than 2 years ago | (#37165292)

You've sideswiped a related point mentioning non-English speaking countries. The Vampire Hunter novels seem very promising (I haven't read them....yet), but have only been translated to English beginning with volume 1 in 2005 [amazon.co.uk]. And that decision was probably only made worth the investment to Dark Horse because they knew an established fan base that guaranteed some level of ROI that made the risk worthwhile.

Here in the English-speaking world, I really have no idea if we've missed the Japanese equivalent of a Glen Cook somewhere because an anime or OVA was not based on it. Fantastic reading (on my 5th Garret PI novel at the moment) but just so unknown to most sc-fi readers I know.

Re:Oh God... (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163598)

I know how you feel, but don't diss "new" authors just like that. I know i'd never discovered the work of Connie Willis if it weren't for her Hugo nominations back in the day.

Then again, SF nowadays is nothing like the ACC era. Sadly enough.

Well... (2)

denzacar (181829) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163630)

You should have at least heard of Connie Willis [wikipedia.org] - on account that she has been around for a while now.

And although Blackout and All Clear have won her a Nebula last year and a Hugo this year - I'd suggest avoiding them for now and reading her Doomsday Book instead.
Which had also won her both a Hugo and a Nebula.
It's in the same set of her time-travel books (even with some of the same characters) as Blackout and All Clear but more importantly - it is MUCH shorter and easier to "digest".
I'm saying that cause, when I looked at reviews on Amazon, almost all 1- and 2-star reviews Blackout (512 pages) and All Clear (656 pages) got were on account of that "It's too long" or "Nothing gets resolved in the first book AND it's too long".

Also, audio books are your friends.
And you can listen to them on your portable communication computer while you're doing other things that require high levels of visual attention but only low levels of mental attention - like walking, driving, jogging, shopping, playing various games etc.

Re:Well... (1)

clintp (5169) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164412)

Agreed with your recommendation, but for different reasons. I read Blackout/All Clear back-to-back and didn't like them so much as Doomsday Book. They seemed to drag on and on, and there's a couple of sub-plots that sort of peter out and go nowhere important and simply act as distraction and add to the bulk of the books (the Bletchley Park and Operation Fortitude subplots for examples). This could have been a nicely trimmed single novel.

Contrast this with the Doomsday Book where the Kivrin thread is very intense and personal, focused, and well thought out; the epidemic thread provides a nice parallel with the black plague.

Re:Oh God... (3, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163958)

If you were a British science fiction fan you would certainly have heard of Steven Moffat, who has written some of the best episodes in the Dr. Who reboot, and has been the lead writer and executive producer of the show since Russel T Davis left in 2009.

Re:Oh God... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#37165528)

Indeed, and the contrast between Moffat and Davis is now clearer than ever because on the one hand you have the excellent Dr. Who and for direct comparison the cheese-fest that is Torchwood. Davis seems to be obsessed with finding the hammiest actors he can and then giving them a role because they are Welsh or gay. The stories are silly as well and the scripts terrible.

Re:Oh God... (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164138)

I haven't heard of any of these people.

I find that hard to believe (and I'm over 50), but if true, you're in for a treat. Try anything by Connie Willis, for instance. She's written some very good novels as well as a load of short stories. Not all of her novels are science fiction (To say nothing of the dog is SciFi, while Lincoln's dreams is not; both are excellent), but most of her short stories are SciFi (try Even the queen or In the late cretaceous). Since she won a Hugo for best novel, I'm almost certain to buy a copy.

Re:Oh God... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37164350)

I feel like the ghost of Arthur C. Clarke just sneaked into my bedroom and shredded my nerd card

That would be the greatest way ever to lose a nerd card.

Re:Oh God... (1)

mordred99 (895063) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164620)

Really? You have not heard of Christopher Nolan? Director and writer of Batman Begins, The Dark Night, and winner for Inception?

Granted, he is the only one that I heard of .. but not hearing of him is like wow.

Re:Oh God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37164940)

You don't read Analog, the best fostering ground for new hard science fiction authors for the last 75 years. I have my dad's collection, and they're a treasure I've been adding to and intend to give to my kids. They're not in the valuable "mint" condition because they're read, and re-read, and loaned out, and coffee stained, and stained with other things from being read in sick beads, and some have been rendered unreadable and a few replaced. But the frequency of Hugo award winners showing up there, both before they win awards and are a bit rough around the edges, and after they win the Hugos when they're willing to write something small and different, is amazing.

Ted Chiang's remarkable streak continues (3, Interesting)

kevinatilusa (620125) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163516)

Of Ted Chiang's six stories written since 2001 [wikipedia.org], four have won the Hugo award, one was nominated for the Hugo award before Chiang withdrew it from consideration (saying "The story that was published isn’t the story I wanted it to be." [fantasticmetropolis.com]), and the sixth was a 1 page speculation for Nature magazine.

Re:Ted Chiang's remarkable streak continues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37164484)

No doubt. Chang is my favorite short story writer. Following him is Neil Gaiman.

*Another* award for Girl Genius? (3, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163524)

Seriously, as much as I like that comic, it does not deserve to get it for the third year in a row. Especially since the award's only been around for three years.

To be honest, even the nominations are kind of repetitive. Every year, the latest Schlock Mercenary, Fable, and Girl Genius volume gets nominated (plus a few "mainstream" comics), and GG wins. For three years in a row. And, personally, the 2010 Schlock ("The Longshoreman of the Apocalypse") was way better than the 2010 Girl Genius ("Heirs of the Storm"), especially as science fiction.

I think the judges need to realize that a) they have some fanboy bias, and b) they need to correct for it.

Re:*Another* award for Girl Genius? (2)

vaccum pony (721932) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163902)

Foglio is an ACTIVE fan and makes comics. If another comic maker should become active within the international science fiction conspir- community, then they would get nominated and voted for also.

Re:*Another* award for Girl Genius? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163906)

I was there. Kaja said in her acceptance speech that they voluntarily withdraw from consideration for a Hugo for their work in 2011.

Re:*Another* award for Girl Genius? (5, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164110)

I think the judges need to realize that a) they have some fanboy bias, and b) they need to correct for it.
The "judges" for the Hugo are the same people as are on the nomination committee: the members of that year's WorldCon. If you don't want Girl Genius to get the Hugo next year, buy a supporting membership, pay the voting fee and vote for somebody else. GG still might get it, but at least you'll have done what you could to affect the outcome.

Re:*Another* award for Girl Genius? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164396)

My bad - I was not aware of that. Normally public-judged awards aren't nearly as prestigious as the Hugo.

Re:*Another* award for Girl Genius? (2)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#37165226)

It's not as "public-judged" as you might think. The largest WorldCon (LaCon II, 1984) had under 9,000 attending members, and most of them are under half that size. And, most of the members, attending or supporting, don't vote for the Hugos. It's prestigious not because it's public-judged, but because it's fan-judged, rather like a film award voted on only by movie-goers.

Re:*Another* award for Girl Genius? (2)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164338)

I love Girl Genius too, but I agree they need to spread the love.

I think Schlock Mercenary's format works against it. When you do daily strips in 3-to-4 panel format with a punchline at the end, your options for comic timing & interesting use of panel layout are greatly reduced compared to the graphic novel "long page" format used by Girl Genius. Howard Tayler's writing is reliably great, but his art just isn't at the same level as Phil Foglio's, either - and a Hugo for "Best Graphic Story" does need to take both into account. I have all the print volumes of both Shlock and GG, but I think I'd have to vote GG for the art. On the other hand, GG's storyline seems to have barely advanced in the recent volumes.

Now, here's a SF humour comic that deserves much better recognition: Spacetrawler [spacetrawler.com]. It's got an interesting storyline, wonderfully-written characters, and an art style that (for me) contributes a huge amount of humour. I love the facial expressions. I'd say it should appeal to fans of Firefly, Red Dwarf, and Hitchhiker's Guide - like Red Dwarf and Firefly, it derives much of its humour from the interplay between its characters. I'm disappointed that it apparently didn't even get a Hugo nomination... maybe next year.

The Foglios (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37165506)

I'm more familiar with Kaja and Phil as oldschool MTG card illustrators (http://magiccards.info/query?q=a%3A%22Foglio%22&v=card&s=cname), ought to check out their other work. :)
Kaja's work tend sot be beautiful, and Phil tends to do the silly stuff very well.

Re:*Another* award for Girl Genius? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37165532)

>>I think the judges need to realize that a) they have some fanboy bias, and b) they need to correct for it.

The fact that they gave the Best Novel award to Blackout/All Clear, which is a terrible *novel* (though a very interesting *history book*) says everything that needs to be said about the Hugos for me.

It's a brain-numbingly repetitive book, with the heroes about 30 times in a row wondering if they messed up the timeline for the future, and then realizing they didn't.

Inception? (1)

unencode200x (914144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163532)

Looks like Inception [wikipedia.org] (the movie) won the "Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form" award. Was it any good? Did anyone like it? I've tried to watch it a few times but those outfits just drive me away in seconds. Also, I tend to not like movies that won a lot of Oscars :)

Re:Inception? (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163558)

What? Outfits?

Seriously, though, Inception's probably the best movie I've seen in years. I would probably call it a masterpiece of cinema, if I was an elitist asshole who used such phrases.

Re:Inception? (1)

unencode200x (914144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163590)

IDK what I was thinking. I just watched the trailer for it and it looks pretty good. I could have sworn when I was flipping through HBO and it was on the scenes had a very bluish/greenish tint to them and they were wearing outfits from like the 1800s or something.

Anyway, I live sci-fi as much as anyone here so I'll check it out.

Re:Inception? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163642)

Are you sure you weren't watching one of those star trek hollodeck episodes?

Re:Inception? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164034)

Inception is a technical masterpiece.
But it has zero heart and the "twist" is telegraphed practically from the start of the movie.

I liked The Prestige, by the same director, much more.
And to make it relevant to the topic, The Prestige is SF too, with Tesla as a pivotal supporting character.

Re:Inception? (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164282)

Not to mention Tesla was played by David Bowie. David Bowie!

Re:Inception? (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37165138)

And Bowie's casting wasn't just a gimmick, either. The first time I watched it, I thought, "Wow, were Nikola Tesla's eyes really two different colors?" It wasn't until I saw the credits roll that I realized it was Bowie. What's more, I watched it again years later and I wondered the same thing. It's a good performance that blends seamlessly into a good movie. (Bowie seems to have eyes of different colors because one eye was damaged in a fight.)

Re:Inception? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163606)

It struck me as some writers sitting together snickering about how "this will really get them" and trying to make it as incomprehensible as possible to "average" people while still being able to be thoroughly explained by some film students with multiple viewings and time to kill. I am always mad when I leave movies that they purpsoefully tried to make hard to follow because they wanted to challenge their audience. If I wanted a challenge, I wouldn't be watching a movie. Forcing me to think, then trying to tell me what I should think (not what this one did, but what so many with a "message" strive for) makes me want to track down those involved and force them to watch their own movie 10 times in a row.

The general idea of implanting an idea in a manner that the person thinks they thought of it themselves and having to do so by invading a guarded subconscious is interesting, but it was obviously made by those with no appreciation for the genre. They kept trying to explain it to us so that we'd "understand" which is condescending, and anything in the "greats" category doesn't even try. They present it as it would be with their assumptions, and you can accpept it without thought and enjoy it, or analyze it and work back to their assumptions. It doesn't feel the need to explain itself at every turn as "bad sci-fi" does. And Inception was visually impressive, but not great sci-fi. Star Trek was better sci-fi than Inception (and that's a pretty low bar). But for a condescending movie that doesn't make you think because it tells you what to think then tries to purposefully confuse you, it's not bad.

Re:Inception? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163714)

I don't see why people say inception was incomprehensible.
I don't think I've met anyone who didn't get it. The only place I hear that kind of talk is online.
They go in your mind, and in you mind do the exact same thing.
That doesn't seem difficult at all.

I do agree with your other comment.

Re:Inception? (2)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163814)

It's incomprehensible because it had some number of concurrent and interdependent realities in differing levels of time dilation, enough that not everyone could follow it (though how many did or didn't is up for debate because the number that claimed they did when they didn't and vice versa). That, and it was designed to be incomprehensible as a mechanism to generate discussion about its incomprehensibility.

Re:Inception? (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164084)

It was overly complex for some people because there were 3 things going on at once and one broad theme you had to follow (what is reality and how do you tell?). For all of the dreams in a dream you just had to keep track of who was awake. I think they did a pretty good job of making it as simple as possible.

Re:Inception? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164126)

It wasn't incomprehensible, nor was it designed to be. The different layers all had distinct visual styles and events happening in them, making it abundantly clear which was which. From memory, there was the 1st layer (the van running from the paramilitary forces), the 2nd layer (the hotel), the 3rd layer (the arctic fortress), and limbo. You really have trouble keeping track of four concurrent plots for an hour? The Lord of the Rings had more than that. Watchmen had more than that. The Foundation Trilogy had more than that. A Song of Ice and Fire had a lot more than that. Are those all incomprehensible? Is anything more complex than a 20 minute sitcom too much for you? I doubt it.

More likely, you're just engaging in some good old fashion snobbery. Something is popular? Find a way to attack it, so that you can show off how enlightened you are!

Re:Inception? (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164938)

I saw Inception and thought it was OK, but as i left the theater, I noticed some people debating over just what was real and what wasn't like they had trouble following it. There weren't a whole lot of them in the time it took to get to the car, but I sort of paid attention to a few conversations and realized some people were stymied by it. When Suckerpuch came out, I decided to do a little deliberate observation, and hang around the theater afterwards and listen to the audience. Since I usually see movies with my ex-wife along (it's complicated), I enlisted her to help.

        I actually saw Suckerpunch with the Ex the first showing of the day it came out. It's essentially plotted as a two-step. The story starts in reality, goes one level deep into a characters mind, then two, and then back and forth between levels one and two until the end, when it all comes back to reality level. Every time the story goes to level 2, it's framed by having the Angel character start dancing, and when it comes back to level 1, she's finished her dance.

        Inception is a little more complex than that, not using the same clues to telegraph the oncoming level changes every time, and not having the time between changes cycle so regularly. If you haven't seen it, imagine the way perceptual levels change in the Matrix for complexity. Suckerpuch is simpler - I'm pretty sure the film was written down a bit by people who looked at how Inception was received, to keep the people who had trouble with inception from having the same problem again. Say what you will about the merits or lack of either film, but when we left Suckerpunch, there were a dozen question and answer sessions breaking out among the patrons, over what happened "for real" and "in just her head", and it was obvious in several of those that nobody in that group had managed to follow the framework.at all. Half the viewers seemed to be very disappointed that the evil stepfather would 'obviously' get away with everything.

        You really can't tell from the popular reaction whether Suckerpuch is a good film or not - in just the same way as you wouldn't be able to tell if Peter Pan was a good film or not, if a chunk of the people discussing it thought that the Indians were leftover indian spirits from Poltergeist, and some few more were going on and on about how Alec Guiness had really gained weight. I'm not saying it's a hidden gem, just that there's a lot of people who saw it and decided it made no sense, but should have realized they were incapable of making sense of pretty much everything that wasn't pre-digested for them.

      As she who still must be obeyed puts it "It's rare that a single film convinces you that more voter apathy would be a good thing."

Re:Inception? (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 2 years ago | (#37165074)

I don't think it was meant to be Sci-Fi. It's chiefly a commentary about movies along with some epic trolling, and next to that, a ghost story.

Re:Inception? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163666)

Inception was one of those movies where I couldn't wait for it to end. I love a good sci-fi movie, and this wasn't it. This makes about as much sense as Harry Potter winning a best novel Hugo a few years ago. Also shows you how little sci-fi get made into movies such that this one even got nominated.

I'd rather dramatic presentation not even be a part of the awards.

Re:Inception? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37165078)

I liked Inception, but I will agree the editors could have been a little more harsh. I think I could edit out about 20 minutes and not lose anything important. I considered it more of a technothriller than SF.

Anyway, the Hugo have been SF *and* fantasy for as long as I can remember.

Re:Inception? (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163690)

Typical Hollywood action movie, nothing special. Interminable sections of it were like watching a video game.

Re:Inception? (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163738)

I liked "Inception" a lot. Very well crafted and with a solid story (once you accept the main premise of the film, that is :). For some reason it's become popular to bash the movie while it's been by far one of the best productions of 2010.

Re:Inception? (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164200)

Looks like Inception [wikipedia.org] (the movie) won the "Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form" award. Was it any good? Did anyone like it?

It was OK. I did not really classify Inception as a SciFi film, however. It did refer to some nonexisting technological toys, but the link was otherwise rather tenuous, especially because almost all the action was in dream states. If forced to choose between SciFi and other categories, I would have placed it in the plain old Thriller group.

P.S. I liked the Fuck me, Ray Bradbury video which was nominated for (but did not receive) a Hugo for short dramatic presentation.

If You Want to Read Some of the Nominees (4, Informative)

kevinatilusa (620125) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163534)

Tor has links to online versions of the nominees for Short Story [tor.com], for Novellette [tor.com] and for four out of the five Novellas [tor.com].

I'm sorry... (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163540)

Connie Willis might be a very nice person, but there's no way Blackout/All Clear is the best sci-fi novel of 2010.

Hugo's have been pretty reliable for a long time now, but it appears they are becoming hidebound and mainstream.

 

Re:I'm sorry... (4, Interesting)

Badge 17 (613974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163618)

Having read all the nominees, I think this was not a very strong year. I liked Feed, but I'm sick of zombie novels (and so is everyone else). Cryoburn is (I believe) Book #16 in the Vorkosigan series, and though it's well-executed, it doesn't stand out from the other 15. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is fine, but it suffers from a bit of debutnovelitis. I would have picked either The Dervish House or Blackout/All Clear, and apparently The Dervish House is so little known that it doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.

I disagree about the Hugos being hidebound, though - look at the last three years, with The City and the City, The Graveyard Book, and The Yiddish Policemen's Union all winning - none of which are conventional science fiction at all.

Re:I'm sorry... (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163740)

I'm sick of zombie novels (and so is everyone else).

Everyone is sick of Zombie novels. That must be why David Weber is now writing Vampire novels [wikipedia.org]. And to think that I actually read it to the end.

Personally I wish he would do a sequel to The_Apocalypse_Troll [wikipedia.org] based on what the encounter with the Kanga's would become given the new tech.

Re:I'm sorry... (3, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164162)

I disagree about the Hugos being hidebound, though - look at the last three years, with The City and the City, The Graveyard Book, and The Yiddish Policemen's Union all winning - none of which are conventional science fiction at all.

You know, you're absolutely right. The City and the City was terrific and challenging as are the other two you mention. I guess I'm just reacting to what seemed to be a kind of middle of the road year for the Hugos.

Thanks for reminding me of the strength of the past three winners. Maybe they felt like they were going too far afield this year. I do remember feeling a little bit uncomfortable about The Yiddish Policeman's Union winning a Hugo. I didn't think there was any fear of Michael Chabon not getting enough recognition for his excellent novels and I felt like they should have tried to recognize someone who was really putting themselves on the line for sci-fi instead of a well-established literary writer. Maybe I'm the one who's a little too hidebound, but I'd rather see sci-fi writers brought into the mainstream than mainstream writers brought into sci-fi. And I'm still pissed that Anathem didn't win in, what was it, '09.

Oh, and I'm in the middle of Reamde right now and it's a blast.

Re:I'm sorry... (1)

R4nneko (1194727) | more than 2 years ago | (#37165190)

I don't think that everyone is sick of zombie novels. Feed was well written, as was the sequel Deadline and the votes bear this out. In the final votes for best novel Feed only came second by 26 votes. Feed had the most votes for the first 3 rounds until they were eliminated. Which means that if everyone is indeed sick of zombies then Feed must be doing really well to be rated that highly.

Re:I'm sorry... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163718)

I have to agree with you. Blackout is one of the worst novels I have ever read.

I purchased it because Hugo nominees (and winners) are generally an excellent way to discover amazing new authors. This is how I discovered Stross.

This was not the case with Blackout. The only plot device Connie appears to know is the "missed meeting". All of these time travelers from the future are always missing each other. In the future, no one has cell phones, email or any 20th century technology. It's irritating and constant. It is the only thing that ever happens in the whole frigging novel.

They split this into two novels so Blackout just stops with an inline ad for All Clear. The onlys thing that keep me going in Blackout was the hope of some resolution which made the tedium of the novel somehow worth the time already investment. Avoid this novel at all costs.

2012 should be a better year with more from Stross, Vernor Vinge, and Neal Stephenson coming out.

Neal Stephenson (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163754)

LOL...

Re:I'm sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37164554)

There's a whole section of All Clear where that "missed meeting" mechanic made me incandescently angry, more so than anything I've read in a long time.

There *is* actually a reason for it, though, which becomes clear near the end of the book.

Re:I'm sorry... (2)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163824)

I think two things about the Hugos. First, the short form awards are more indicativa of the best in curent writing. Thins may be because scifi has it roots, as well as the award, in pulp mag fiction. Second, the novels tend tend to reflect the popular works, not always the best. A corollary is that authors tend to win awards year after year, which again is not good or bad. The result is that I seldom read the winning novel, but I do not always read novel and other works by those who have won the short form..

Re:I'm sorry... (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164176)

because scifi has it roots, as well as the award, in pulp mag fiction

Mary Shelly just called you a putz.

Re:I'm sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37164870)

Mary Shelley wrote to live up to a bar bet, which if anything is less highbrow than pulp magazine fiction.

Re:I'm sorry... (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163928)

So ... what's your pick for best SF novel of 2010!?!? I want to read it!

Re:I'm sorry... (3, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164258)

So ... what's your pick for best SF novel of 2010!?!? I want to read it!

It was not the greatest year, but Restoration Game and The Dervish House were pretty strong.

Re:I'm sorry... (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164504)

Connie Willis is my favourite author. Blackout/All Clear did keep me turning the pages, but I felt it was quite a bit short of her best work. It was too long, and I felt didn't have a sufficiently coherent plot. I wish she'd spent those years writing more smaller books, even if the total word count was lower.

I haven't read any of the other Hugo nominees, so I can't compare to them.

My favourite Willis books are To Say Nothing of The Dog, Passage and Bellwether.

Exactly (1)

SlovakWakko (1025878) | more than 2 years ago | (#37165098)

I love Willis' works, but Blackout was boring and the characters weren't very believable, behaving all like morons just for the plot's sake...

the fans' awards (3, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163566)

The Hugos are awarded by fans, the Nebulas by writers who are members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, SFWA. Ca. 2007, a lot of SF writers started questioning whether SFWA was relevant anymore. A couple of their elected officers showed extremely poor judgment (google "sfwa hendrix" and "sfwa burt"), and this seems to have been symptomatic of more widespread dysfunction within the organization.

Re:the fans' awards (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164468)

I will say that historically, the Hugos go to more high quality books than the Nebulas, though overall quality is still lacking; the failure of Iain Banks or Alastair Reynolds to have won a single Hugo is kind of ridiculous.

Re:the fans' awards (4, Funny)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164978)

I must disagree, if only slightly, Iain Banks hasn't written a lot of SF, although his novel "Transition" has some elements of Quantum Mechanics 'many worlds' model as a major element. Arguably, that's actually more science in the fiction than most SF, but it's still generally considered a mainstream novel. Iain M. Banks, on the other hand, as the author of the 'Culture' series, well deserves a Hugo or two. I can see how its possible to get the two mixed, and fortunately, both of them live quite near each other in Fife, Scotland, and I'm told they both will make sure mail sent to either will be read by the appropriate one.

Shocking, I say (3, Insightful)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163764)

I'm shocked, half the comments are nerds shitting on the winners. Never would have seen that coming.

Re:Shocking, I say (1, Offtopic)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164426)

/. is slipping, usually it's 90% complainers and 5% fanboys trying to do damage control with the remaining 5% complaining about the rampant fanboys. Come on complainers, you're slipping.

Re:Shocking, I say (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164962)

/. is slipping, usually it's 90% complainers and 5% fanboys trying to do damage control with the remaining 5% complaining about the rampant fanboys. Come on complainers, you're slipping.

The story was only up 4 hours on a Sunday night in the USA(when you posted), wait till after people get to work on Monday to level the ratios out.

Re:Shocking, I say (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37165572)

Aye, but fret not! Once they've finished reading the books they'll be back here to complain how there isn't anything worth reading there, and the ratio will jump to the regular 90%+ :)

Doctor Who / Moffat (1)

UttBuggly (871776) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163788)

The two episodes cited were pretty good, although I don't know they were Hugo quality.

Fringe, though uneven, put up some pretty good stuff this year that was better than DW.

Re:Doctor Who / Moffat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163982)

hey this beat an Oscar Winner,
Sean Tan "The Lost Thing" best short animated feature for 2010

Re:Doctor Who / Moffat (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164650)

I liked Fringe too.. but really, the Pandora/Big Bang story was great stuff..

I love Hugo winners. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163864)

A couple I've read.

Dune World
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
Stranger in a Strange Land
Neuromancer
Starship Troopers
Ring World
The White Dragon
Foundations Edge
Ender's Game
Calculating God
Macroscope

My favorites are The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Ender's Game probably.

Hugo? (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#37163940)

Named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of Amazing Stories magazine

Am I the only illiterate who thought, for a second, that the Hugo awards was actually named after Victor?

Re:Hugo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37164140)

Am I the only illiterate who thought, for a second, that the Hugo awards was actually named after Victor?

That was a running joke by the Masters of Ceremonies in the actual Hugo awards presentation.

what?? no Robopocalypse?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37163956)

such a visionary piece of cyberlit - ignored! what a travesty!

No, really? You can't tell us anything? (2)

aitikin (909209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164702)

I, for one, am disappointed in Slashdot that all that was stated is why and where the winners were awarded... Can't we at least summarize anymore?

Ricky Gervais (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#37164908)

Got it right when he 'called in' his Brit Award from his bed: ' I have better things to do than collect this; look I have real awards'.

Is having a SciFi writing award like an MTV music award? Nobody will recognize yo having any talent so you have to make a losers category that you can excel in?

Wow (3, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37165058)

Do I care?

About six years back I decided to always add the latest Hugo winners to my reading list. Four out of five times I started reading and went, "You're kidding, Hugos. You're kidding, right?"

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