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Harry Potter Wins Hugo

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the now-thats-a-little-strange dept.

News 452

H.I. McDonnough writes "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling has won the Hugo for best novel. I'll refrain from commenting." I read the 2nd and 3rd Harry Potter books last week and they are just wonderful stories. I'm looking forward to reading this one. But a Hugo for SciFi Achievement? I have a hard time calling Potter stories Sci-Fi. But then again, since SF and Fantasy are often so blurred together, it probably is worth it. And anything that can get kids to read (or for that matter, get me to read a dead-tree version of anything) is good by me. And if you haven't read any Harry Potter books, then you aren't qualified to complain ;)

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frost pist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248067)

It hurts and stuff.

Re:frost pist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248103)

They have medication for that now. I hooker I know in Reno told me so.

There is no justice (1, Redundant)

sludgely (447712) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248072)

Harry Potter was not a sci-fi novel. It was a book dealing with witches and wizards. Witches and wizards have nothing to do with science-fiction. And most of all, Harry Potter books are children's books.

Re:There is no justice (5, Insightful)

zebidee (40430) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248096)

Oh come on... have you read them?

They aren't childrens books at all.
- They don't have any sex.
- They don't have any violence (well not gruesome violence anyway).
- They don't have any swearing.

Does that define them as children's books? Or are they just really good, timeless stories which appeal to all ages and don't need any of the Hollywood glorification which you get in typical "airport" novels.

This same argument is rolled out every time a graphic novel wins a hugo or a nebula award - "that's not a real book."

Come on - get a grip! They are great books which attract people back to reading - is that really all that bad?

Re:There is no justice (0)

jjares (141954) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248127)

Ok, call me a sissy, but HP4 had so much violence I had to stop reading at times... :-)

Tanj (1, Offtopic)

Pac (9516) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248102)

Offtopic but otherwise worth of notice, you just missed the opportunity to use the right expression in this case, "tanj", There Ain't No Justice, the four letter word the substitutes "f**k" in Larry Niven's RingWorld series.

s/RingWorld/Known Space/ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248117)

s/RingWorld/Known Space/

Re:There is no justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248108)

I just thought I would throw my two cents into this conversation. Maybe it will inspire future parents or maybe not. When my wife and I had our first child, a lovely baby boy (8lbs, 7oz) we made the conscience decision not to read childrens books to him.

From day 1 each of us would read books/novels/poetry/etc.. something that had literary worth. It was good for all of us. My son Aaron is going into kindergarten this year. Not really to my suprise he can already read/write and spell while 99% of the kids in school hardly know their a,b,c's..

He reads constantly now, give him a stack of books and before he falls asleep I can take two back and start on those.

Re:There is no justice (3, Insightful)

Jules Bean (27082) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248115)

So what is science fiction, then?

The best definition of science fiction I'm aware of is that science fiction is the genre studying alternative futures, pasts, or presents. "Alternative" in the sense either simply that some things turned out differently (think some of Philip K Dick, or perhaps 'Fatherland'), or, more often, that the laws of physics were slightly different.

Your classic, space-ship atom-blaster science fiction falls squarely within this definition as possible futures. Much great science fiction (Wyndham, Wells, Ballard) deals with alternative presents.

And most fantasy fiction also meets this criteria, IMO: it deals with an alternative present in which magic is possible.

Of course, lots of fantasy fiction is also strongly influenced by the mold of the 'epic' or the 'quest' (Tolkein, Eddings, etc...), but so is some science fiction, and even some plain novels.

Personally, I'm a little doubtful that (any of) the Harry Potters deserved a Hugo, but they *are* well written and enjoyable (IMO), and I don't have an issue with them being classed as science fiction.


Paraphrasing myself ... Re:There is no justice (1)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248149)

Which part of the word ScienceFiction you don't understand?

My bet is Science ... ;-)

(having said that, the prize is also available for fantasy books, to which HP rightly belongs and as such is a worthy winner).

Re:There is no justice (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248181)

I'll take issue on that. IMO, for something to be Science Fiction, it must be seriously limited in its postulates, which must all be revealed early on. The rest of the story must then be worked out in the context of the given postulates (which may be counter to known science) and the world otherwise as we know it. The problem with magic in the HP books is that the magic has no "engineering" to it. The auther can invent new magic, or strengthen and weaken the magic of one character against another, as suits the plot. The only exception I can think of is Larry Niven's series of magic relates stories, in which he attempts to make a "science" of magic.

The HP books are good - I read and enjoyed all four. But I don't think thay are SF and are hterefore not, IMO, elegible for a Hugo.

Re:There is no justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248190)

They are fantasy, though, aren't they? And therefore eligible for a Hugo, aren't they?

Re:There is no justice (1)

markbthomas (123470) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248216)

As opposed to the Star Trek world, where the writers invent the 'particle-of-the-week' to pose/solve the episode's problem?

As I see it, Science Fiction is stories about fictional science, i.e. science that does not exist, either because it does not exist yet (for example, futuristic stories), or will never exist (psychic abilities, time travel, or magic).

Besides, the Harry Potter books are really well written; props to Joanne.

Re:There is no justice (3, Informative)

Earlybird (56426) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248201)

Don't try to define science fiction. Don't try!

The only guy who ever did a good job at it is Darko Suvin, the Canadian SF theoretician. He nails it down pretty well, in like five hundred academic essays, but nobody in the field is ever going to say he is right. He talks about cognitive estrangement; that sf is "a literary genre whose necessary and sufficient conditions are the presence and interaction of estrangement and cognition, and whose main formal device is an imaginative framework alternative to the author's empirical environment". (Note that my short excerpt of those aforementioned zillions of essays is broad enough to include fantasy; further reading is recommended, especially if you have trouble sleeping at night.)

Some other nice definitions:

  • By 'scientifiction' I mean the Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story -- a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision. (Hugo Gernsback)

    A science fiction story is a story built around human beings, with a human problem, and a human solution, which would not have happened at all without its speculative scientific content. (Theodore Sturgeon)

    Science fiction is that branch of literature which is concerned with the impact of scientific advance upon human beings. (Isaac Asimov)

    Science fiction deals with improbable possibilities, fantasy with plausible impossibilities. (Miriam Allen deFord)

Personally I prefer this definition, offered by John Clute and Peter Nichols in The SF Book of Lists (emphasis mine):

  • Science fiction is a label applied to a publishing category and its application is subject to the whims of editors and publishers.

Scientific base (0)

marx (113442) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248206)

Isn't what you defined just "fiction" though?

As I have understood it, science fiction must always have some component of science in explaining the "fantastical" things which are introduced (hence the "science"). Sure, Lord of the Rings could be science fiction, but then Tolkien would have to explain the magic using some scientific base.

I haven't read the books, but I suspect that with this condition, Star Wars would disqualify. I think though that Star Wars is much closer to Lord of the Rings than Asimov's or Clarke's stuff, so maybe calling Star Wars "fantasy" instead of "science fiction" is not such a bad idea.

Re:There is no justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248189)

that means that the hugo is not a serious literature prize


Kilgore Trout is DEAD! (-1)

Offtopica (413375) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248074)

"He would die on Labor Day, 2001, still 84"

--Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake


on topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248094)

Heck, it was a nice and futuristic date when Time Quake first came out, so I could be comfortable knowing that he's still alive.

He's the one who deserves the Hugo...if he could only write...

This calls for... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248075)



Slashdot website creator, Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda, was rushed to the hospital this afternoon after having his penis sliced off. Authorities say the accident involved Rob's penis, his computer, and an illegal computer device imported from China that was designed to stimulate the penis during cyber-sex. The authorities aren't releasing many details yet as to how it happened, but they suspect that the device malfunctioned which caused his penis to be sliced off. However, there is speculation among the Slashdot community that the Open Source Operating System "Linux" is to blame, for its faulty structure and lack of professional development. There is no word of whether there was any foul-play involved from hackers amongst the Linux community


This is awesome! (1)

MissNachos (89129) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248076)

My boyfriend [] and I (or me?) love the Harry Potter books and are glad that the received such an award. When our daughter [] was born, we started reading Harry Potter to her. We are looking forward to The Order of Phoenix so we can continue. Congrats JK Rowling!

Re:This is awesome! (0, Offtopic)

The_Rift (257762) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248092)

My boyfriend and I love
because you wouldn't say "me love Harry Potter"

Re:This is awesome! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248197)

Yes you would, if you were the typical sub-literate fucker that enjoys this shit.

WAKE UP AND GROW UP. K.J.Rowling is a HACK. Nothing more. Selling the same witches and wizards drivel to kids in order to stop them from accepting any responsibility to their lives.

Christ, when's Quicksilver coming out? Neal Stephenson, now THERE'S an author that deserves a Hugo.

Re:This is awesome! (1)

ClarkEvans (102211) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248147)

The first book was very good, could not put the book down. The second was ok, took me a few days to plough through it. But the third book was tedious and I just couldn't finish it. I'm not looking forward to the fourth.

The times have changed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248193)

Wow, you actually have internet access in your trailer? Is it the wireless satellite stuff? I didn't think you could even get a phone hookup to a trailer.

Why do you live in a trailer? I don't know. Why do I think you live in a trailer, incorrect english, not married with kid. Does that baby referenced on a webpage belong to you? He mentions "it's mom" and "my girlfriend" differently. Hrmph.

Stephen King, author, dead at 54 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248078)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

read? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248080)

first real post. I'd write more, but I can't read.

I truly enjoyed Harry Potter myself... (2, Interesting)

Hitch (1361) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248081)

I don't know about a Hugo, though, either. They're entertaining, original, well written stories (even for a "grown up" book). Many of the books I've read that were intended for a much older audience aren't as well written. So I would definitely think that it deserves awards...but I had always gotten the impression that Hugos were for hard i wrong?

Re:I truly enjoyed Harry Potter myself... (1)

Mahonrimoriancumer (302464) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248151)

You are not wrong. I think that the Harry Potter books are an entertaining series and they should receive awards, but they are definitely NOT science fiction. If popularity is the sole judgement for earning the Hugo, then why hasn't John Grisham recieved one?

Re:I truly enjoyed Harry Potter myself... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248199)

Yes, you are wrong. Utterly, utterly wrong. Try finding out about something before posting in future.

First Post!! Yay (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248084)


I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248085)

Somewhere near frist.

Who's up for some mindless drivel?

Once upon a time there was a boy, and this boy had special powers. Unfortunately the ATF didn't much like his powers, so they surrounded his house and played bad rock music to try to get him to surrender. When that didn't work, they used tanks to pump his house full of flammible tear-gas then fired thermite grenades into the house until it exploded.

The end.

Moral: Don't drink and drive.

Hugo but... (3, Insightful)

mirko (198274) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248086)

OK, Hugo prizes usually mean good stuff but for God's sake:

How would I accept to give my money to Warner after what they did to Harry Potter's fans [] ?

nice books, but... (1, Insightful)

paai (162289) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248087)

The Potter books (yes, I read them) are nice enough, although not in the same class as, say,
Lewis' Narnia or Tolkien. But the media offensive
that the publishers have been waging for the last few years, now, THAT deserves a Hugo...


GOATSE man - dead at 79 - *sniff* (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248088)

I'm crying as I write this ...


Goatse Man Obituary. [] This is a link to - no actual picture of the Goatse man here, but it does have porn banners so beware.

If if you didn't enjoy his site, you've probably clicked on it by accident. Truly an american icon.

CmdrTaco's Time (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248089)

Wouldn't CmdrTaco's time be better spent fixing the Slashdot search features, rather than reading Harry Potter books?

Must have been a slow year for Sci-Fi (1)

Big Ryan (11871) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248090)

Hmmm. I can see the Harry Potter books winning awards; they are very good, after all. But a Hugo?

So, where were the Sci-Fi authors this year? I've read some great new books this year (Cryptonomicon comes to mind), but none that qualify as Sci-Fi. Is interest in the genre starting to wane or are authors just not cranking out good Sci-Fi stories anymore?

Overrated? (2, Informative)

Contact (109819) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248091)

I must admit, I gave into the hype and bought the first Harry Potter book. It was... okay, I guess. I was expecting something a lot more complex, though, and I was disappointed - it reminded me more of Enid Blyton than anything else.

When I was a kid, I was reading things like Robert Westall, John Wyndham, Ursula K LeGuin, Diana Wynne Jones... maybe it's just nostalgia, but Harry Potter doesn't seem like it's even in the same league as those old classics.

There are children's authors who deserve a Hugo (Roald Dahl springs to mind, as well as some of those listed above) but I suspect this award was given due to popularity, and the cynical side of my nature suspects that at least part of that popularity is due to their safe, harmless nature.

Re:Overrated? (1)

greenrd (47933) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248122)

and the cynical side of my nature suspects that at least part of that popularity is due to their safe, harmless nature.

Well... you could say that about the first three, maybe. But the Goblet of Fire is much darker towards the end, and probably not suitable for younger children.

Re:Overrated? (1)

fatbofh (62054) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248140)

I must admit, I gave into the hype and bought the first Harry Potter book. It was... okay, I guess. I was expecting something a lot more complex, though, and I was disappointed - it reminded me more of Enid Blyton than anything else.

Yes, the first HP books are written in a fairly simplistic way; but as the series progresses they get more complex, both in terms of the the plot and the language used.

The series doen't get really good, IMO, until book 3 (Prisoner of Azkaban); GoF is really excellent.

I'm still not sure it deserves a Hugo, though, and I'm a Potterphile.

Interesting that it was the fourth (4, Interesting)

melquiades (314628) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248142)

...the cynical side of my nature suspects that at least part of that popularity is due to their safe, harmless nature.

You said you've only read the first, which really is pretty harmless. But the award was for the fourth, which is interesting -- the books in the series get progressively more complex, and much darker. There's a lot more death and unfairness in the world, etc. I think it's not an accident that they chose the fourth for the award....

Exactly my meaning (1)

Ripat (19963) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248153)

I've read the first two, and I came to the same conclusion...

Re:Overrated? (3, Interesting)

ajs (35943) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248185)

When I was a kid, I was reading things like [...] Ursula K LeGuin
I have to say you were a very advanced "kid". LeGuin is hard reading for most kids. I started with Douglas Adams and Start Trek books, and then dove right into Heinlein short stories at about the age of 12 or so.

Asimov and Clarke were about as deep as I could go, and no offense to those craftsmen, but LeGuin is a diffferent kind of animal. I'd liken her work to Philip K. Dick (Lathe of Heaven was a tribute to Dick, actually) and more recently folks like Johnathan Lethem. All great authors, but not really what I would point your average kid at.

Potter is great stuff, and I associate it (as fantasy) with kids SF like A Wrinkle in Time, which I have no end of respect for.

publicity stunt (2, Flamebait)

Ayon Rantz (210766) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248093)

I'm guessing the Hugo awards are losing press, so they try to get their name linked to Harry Potter to ride on his wave of popularity. And lo and behold, it's working! :)

What? (1)

Mzilikazi (115009) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248095)

I've read all four of the books, and in my humble opinion, "Goblet of Fire" was the worst of the bunch. Way too much time spent on needless details of the tournament. I felt at times like I was listening to a Brit trying to explain cricket to an American--the Brit keeps going on and on, and the American's eyes start glazing over as he zones out and thinks about baseball.

I really enjoyed the first one, and recommended it to several of my friends. And I'm looking forward to the movie as well (if for no other reason than it has Robbie Coltrane in it, and he's incredible).

I'm also curious about the Hugo award... Have any other children's sci-fi/fantasy novels won the award? I would think that a separate category might be in order. Sigh... I hope that the Hugos and Nebulas don't become like the Grammys, with total sales being the determining factor in who wins. What's next, "Star Trek: The Next Generation #283 wins the Hugo in 2003?"

bongo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248097)

*hello* hello* hello * hello * lameness filter is highly gay * how are you today * taco is a lamer * compression filter is homosexaul *
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n `. '--.
o \ ,--.--.'
t \ |* |* |
\ `--' --.
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I guess.... (1)

ElDuque (267493) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248100)

Well this is all well and good I suppose, but if this can win, LOTR should have also.
That has about as much sci-fi in it, and will always be better than Harry Potter.

Re:I guess.... (5, Interesting)

Jules Bean (27082) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248130)

Better how?

Tolkein certainly built a more dramatic and consistent world, paying the most inhuman attention to details (including creating the languages his people spoke...). And LOTR is rather more epic in scope, and takes the good old Wagnerian theme of an immense struggle against an old evil.

On the other hand, the Harry Potter books are more like everyday novels, in that they explore the emotions of the characters and their relationships in a way Tolkein never really bothered to do.

The books are really apples and oranges: I enjoyed them both. I did, in fact, enjoy LOTR more... but I personally enjoy the detail in Tolkein's world which many readers find boring...

I wouldn't be that surprised if, on average, LOTR was more popular with males and Harry Potter with females. (Aha! Cunning controversial point to attract attention to my post)


Re:I guess.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248165)

On the other hand, the Harry Potter books are more like everyday novels, in that they explore the emotions of the characters and their relationships in a way Tolkein never really bothered to do.
Well done, you seem to have noticed the point of these books:

LOTR: an attempt to write a modern mythology, using the style of writing found in ancient myth (most notably Norse myth, but there's plenty else in there). Please be aware that myth is not interested in interpersonal relationships or emotion. There's no "bothered to do" about it.

Potter: a modern update of the sort of public-school stories such as Jennings & Darbyshire that were very popular a couple of generations ago.

Okily Dokily! (1, Funny)

DEATH AND HATRED (158846) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248101)

From The Simpsons...

Ned Flanders reading Harry Potter to his children:

"And Harry Potter and all his friends went to hell for practicing witchcraft!"

Flanders children: Hurray!

Oh quit whining Malda (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248105)

shut your cocksucking lips

Great books, but way out of the genre (5, Informative)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248107)

I love the HP books, but a Hugo? Look at the previous winners: all are hard sci-fi:

2000 A Deepness in the Sky, by Vernor Vinge
1999 To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis
1998 Forever Peace, by Joe Haldeman
1997 Blue Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson
1996 The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson
1995 Mirror Dance, by Lois McMaster Bujold
1994 Green Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson
1993 A Fire Upon the Deep, by Vernor Vinge; Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
1992 Barrayar, by Lois McMaster Bujold
1991 The Vor Game, by Lois McMaster Bujold
1990 Hyperion, by Dan Simmons
1989 Cyteen, by C. J. Cherryh
1988 The Uplift War, by David Brin
1987 Speaker for the Dead, by Orson Scott Card
1986 Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
1985 Neuromancer, by William Gibson
1984 Startide Rising, by David Brin
1983 Foundation's Edge, by Isaac Asimov
1982 Downbelow Station, by C. J. Cherryh
1981 The Snow Queen, by Joan D. Vinge
1980 The Fountains of Paradise, by Arthur C. Clarke
1979 Dreamsnake, by Vonda McIntyre
1978 Gateway, by Frederik Pohl
1977 Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, by Kate Wilhelm
1976 The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
1975 The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, by Ursula K. Le Guin
1974 Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
1973 The Gods Themselves, by Isaac Asimov
1972 To Your Scattered Bodies Go, by Philip Jose Farmer
1971 Ringworld, by Larry Niven
1970 The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin
1969 Stand on Zanzibar, by John Brunner
1968 Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny
1967 The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert A. Heinlein
1966 ...And Call Me Conrad, by Roger Zelazny; Dune, by Frank Herbert
1965 The Wanderer, by Fritz Leiber
1964 Way Station, by Clifford D. Simak
1963 The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick
1962 Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein
1961 A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
1960 Starship Troopers, by Robert A. Heinlein
1959 A Case of Conscience, by James Blish
1958 The Big Time, by Fritz Leiber
1957 No Award
1956 Double Star, by Robert A. Heinlein
1955 They'd Rather Be Right, by Mark Clifton (currently sold as The Forever Machine)
1954 No Award
1953 The Demolished Man, by Alfred Bester

Re:Great books, but way out of the genre (5, Insightful)

Earlybird (56426) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248136)

They're not all hard SF. Stand on Zanzibar, Neuromancer, The Man in the High Castle, A Canticle For Leibowitz, The Demolished Man, Lord of Light, Stranger in a Strange Land etc. -- lots of great soft SF here. I should know; I don't read hard SF. :)

Re:Great books, but way out of the genre (1)

Mahonrimoriancumer (302464) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248195)

The difference is that all previous winners are all science fiction (hard or soft). Harry Potter isn't either hard or soft science fiction. That is why we have this controversy.

Re:Great books, but way out of the genre (1)

A Big Gnu Thrush (12795) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248211)

If you read both HP and the Ender's Game series, you'll notice a lot of similarities between these two examples of juvenile literature. If they can give the HUGO to Card, they can give it to Rowling.

Fantasy and Sci-Fi have always been lumped togethe (1)

Gezzus Krist (317716) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248111)

I don't like it either, but whenever I go to the book story there are Forgotten Realms books in the same section as The Hitchhikers Guide. I think often the rest of the world lumps use all together as geeks. I have some friends who only read fantasy. I kinda get into Spaceships and stuff. I liked Harry Potter, but it's a very different kind of literature than I would call Science Fiction

why can't I metamod (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248112)

How come I can't metamod? My account is part of the lower 90%, but it still says I'm not eligible.

From the Hugo rules... (5, Informative)

Vulch (221502) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248113)

Article 3 - Hugo Awards


Section 3.2: General.

3.2.1: Unless otherwise specified, Hugo Awards are given for work in the field of science fiction or fantasy appearing for the first time during the previous calendar year.

With added emphasis by me...


Re:From the Hugo rules... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248129)

Parent post: (+5, Brilliant, Shut Up You Stupid Slashbots Who Can't Even Find The Hugo Rules Using Google, Do You Honestly Think You're Some Sort Of Technological "Elite" If You Can't Even use A Search Engine?)

There is precedent (1)

mcoca (264601) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248114)

This is not the first time an fantasy work has entered the Hugo awards. IIRC, Lord of the Rings was nominated for the "Best All-Time Novel Series" Hugo that Asimov won with Foundation (Along with Heinlein's Future History).

In A Memoir Asimov himself says he thought that Tolkien would win.

I'm sure there are plenty of other examples.

Wrong Question (1)

sheriff_p (138609) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248116)

Seems to be a lot of debate about the relative merits of Harry Potter here. Which I don't think's the point at all. While I violently disagree with the person who said they aren't in the same league as Narnia and so on ("it's new, so it can't be as good as old stuff, right?" -- you sound like my parents), the issue here is should it have won what is essentially a Science Fiction prize?

Fiction it is, but I see little science... Then again, I know little about the Hugo awards anyway...

reading (-1, Flamebait)

rigau (122636) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248119)

And anything that can get kids to read (or for that matter, get me to read a dead-tree version of anything) is good by me.

Im so tired of listening to people say stupid shit like this. If what you read is not better than what is on tv then there is no point in reading. If what you are reading however happens to be something good then cool yeah reading is good. but you get more out of watching and thinking about a movie by John Cassavetes than by reading a stupid book. Don't pick up a book just because it is a book. Read it because it is a good book.

And now on a completely different rant...
Contrary to what people at slashdot seem to think most scifi is not literature and it is not good. in fact very little scifi has any real aesthetic redeeming value or involves any real thinking. most of it is stupid shallow "philosophy" that couldn't stad next to plato, aristotle, descartes, spinoza, liebniz, locke, berkeley, hume, kant, schopenhauer, hegel, frege, russell, wittgenstein, Kripke, McDowell, etc... and on a literary side lets not even think that it can come close to Don Quijote, Hamlet, Ulysses, Divina Comedia, Ficciones, El Aleph, The Castle, The Trial, etc... So sure pick up a book there are tons of good ones that are better than spending a day watching a Star Trek marathon (Oh the heresy!).

Hugo just inverted Clarke's assumption (5, Funny)

Pac (9516) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248120)

Any suficient advanced magic is indistinguishable
from technology

Science Fiction vs. Fantasy (1)

hammy (22980) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248121)

It really annoys me the way book shops etc lump sci-fi and fantasy together. They're two very different genres with different styles and different (admittedly often overlapping) readerships.

Giving a science fiction award like this to a fantasy book just annoys me because it means bookshops are less likely to have distinct fantasy and sci-fi sections...

Please if anyone who runs a bookshop reads this please please please consider having seperate science fiction and fantasy sections, they are different.

Re:Science Fiction vs. Fantasy (1)

ameoba (173803) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248134)

The quote "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" explains them being classified together. Either way, you're forcing ppl to swallow a lie about the fundamental nature of reality.

You may argue that Sci-Fi, in dealing with technology, is inherrently more plausible, but if the tech's not here, it's no better than a Microsoft press release.

A Better Choice (4, Interesting)

nlaporte (116203) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248125)

As a bookseller, I think that Phillip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass is a much better choice, if you want to pick children's books. When I sell it (and the first two, The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife) I describe it as being "like Harry Potter, only with depth." The books are much more intricate, thought-provoking, complex, with (gasp!) subplots that seem (gasp!) unrelated at first, until they all come together. Now that is a book that deserves an award.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the Harry Potter books a lot, but they don't have nearly the complexity that a Hugo award winner should.

Towards the meaninglessness of awards (1)

juliao (219156) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248128)

What is sci-fi?

Quoting the very man the award was named after:

"By 'scientifiction' I mean the Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story -- a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision." -- Hugo Gernsback, in "Amazing Stories" (April 1926)

What are we doing to proper classification of things? I do know there are no exact lines between parts of reality, but aren't we going a bit too far? Harry Potter books are very nice, but they are definitely not Science Fiction as we know it.

So what does that mean? That the Hugo award doesn't mean anything anymore? What are these people doing? Selecting novels based on popular demand? Maybe next year they'll choose Barbara Cartland...

Another award made useless (0)

HardwareLust (454846) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248132)

It used to be that I'd buy a book because it won the Hugo (or Nebula) award. Sadly, that will longer be the case starting now. I guess they have decided that it's more profitable to sell the award to the highest bidder than to choose well written or thought provoking material as they always have in the past.

And, yes, I have read them. They do not deserve an award in my opinion, and certainly not a Hugo for christ's sake!

Just one question. (1)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248135)

Which part of the word ScienceFiction do the Hugo Award jury don't understand?

My bet is Science....

Re:Just one question. (3, Informative)

hearingaid (216439) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248187)

It's not a jury.

The Hugos are voted on by fans. Each year, there is a World Science Fiction Convention held somewhere in the world. This year, it was in Philadelphia.

Members of the convention (most of whom are also attendees) are eligible to vote for the Hugos.

The Nebulas have a jury. When the Hugos go wrong (and they do; The Dispossessed is an interesting book, but it's nowhere near as significant as The Shockwave Rider, the Nebula winner that year) it's a matter of mass confusion, not a small, elite group going weird.

Perhaps next year they will give it to American Gods. :)

Re:Just one question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248214)

Which part of the Hugo rules don't you understand?

My bet is "or fantasy"...

New Hugo category: Best Twee Fiction (3, Insightful)

tenzig_112 (213387) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248137)

"And if you haven't read any Harry Potter books, then you aren't qualified to complain ;)"

Given that logic, one cannot make fun of Mary Kate & Ashley Magazine without reading it cover to cover. Yikes.

But the Hugos aren't much to get upset over. Douglas Adams [] lost the Hugo for "best dramatic presentation" in 1979 to Superman, the Movie. Clearly, the Hugos have their Jethro Tull moments as well.

Re:New Hugo category: Best Twee Fiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248157)

Given that logic, one cannot make fun of Mary Kate & Ashley Magazine without reading it cover to cover. Yikes.
You certainly can't take issue with the quality of writing in MK&A magazine without reading some of it. You can take the mickey out of the whole manufactured idea of the twins, but unless you've read the stuff inside you cannot say that it's rubbish. You can say it's likely to be rubbish, or that it's not the sort of thing you'd think of reading, but any definitive literary criticism must first start with reading the text in question.

Re:New Hugo category: Best Twee Fiction (0, Offtopic)

smileyy (11535) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248162)

I tried reading Mary Kate & Ashley Magazine cover to cover, but the pages kept getting all stuck together...

Ouch! (2)

Gorimek (61128) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248139)

I had to check out what all the fuss was about and read the first book. While I'm sure it's a good adventure story for six year olds, there is no way in hell it's anywhere close to Hugo quality.

I guess the later books might be better and more complex, but still...

While you're at it (2)

CaseyB (1105) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248217)

I had to check out what all the fuss was about and read the first book.

Why not go back and read some of Joanne Rowling's English term papers from grade 5, and then use those to comment on whether the 4th book in the series is worthy of the prize.

I didn't know they gave awards for plagarism..! (1)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248144)

A Hugo Award, hm? Not bad, considering the entire series is a massive rip-off of a book published back in 1984. [] There are way too many similarities [] between earlier books and Rowling's "Harry Potter" series. I also remember seeing some movie on TV not too long ago from the late 80's, that featured a kid playing a wizard-type character named, of all things, "Harry Potter". The whole thing stinks like rotten fish if you ask me.

Does Harry Hill know ? (1)

dingbat_hp (98241) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248198)

Nancy K. Stouffer is herself a blatant plagiarism of the original Stouffer [] , a small blue cat from the Harry Hill show.

Hang on, a blue cat ? Surely that was stolen from the Magic Roundabaout....

Harry Potter and plagiarism? (1)

tapiwa (52055) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248145)

I remember reading somewhere about a woman who was suiing JK Rowling for plagiarism. Seems this woman had published her book(s) a while aga, and although they were not a huge commercial success, the story line, and naming conventions were extremely similar to that in the Harry Potter books.

Does anyone else recall this, and know what happened to the lawsuit???

Re:Harry Potter and plagiarism? (1)

jedwards (135260) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248173)

Nancy Stouffer [] was the author claiming Harry Potter was based off her work.

Re:Harry Potter and plagiarism? (1)

khoward1 (171460) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248184)

You can read about the woman's lawsuit on her official site [] . Personally, she sounds like a coattail grabbing nutcase to me. If you don't believe me, read this review [] of the book that she names in her lawsuit. It's nothing like the Harry Potter books. The only similarities are a few character names. Judging by all the emphasis on buying books and licensing on her site, the whole thing is just a scheme to boost the sales of her otherwise crappy books.

Do they know what sci-fi is? (1)

juliao (219156) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248146)

Well, you can read the definitions here [] . I wish the jury had read this little page before they voted.

Re:Do they know what sci-fi is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248178)

Do you know what a Hugo award is?

Here's a clue: it's an award for sci-fi or fantasy.

Re:Do they know what sci-fi is? (1)

juliao (219156) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248207)

Point taken.

I wish I had read that before I posted, but the Hugo Award Rules appear to be non-existant [] :\

But doesn't the majority of readers associate the Hugo with hard sci-fi? Are they trying to dilute the meaning of award?

What it was up against. (1)

jedwards (135260) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248150)

Of the other nominees [] I liked 'calculating god.'
And HP wasn't the only Fantasy novel nominated, 'A Storm of Swords' is the umpteenth installment of a fantasy series.

Re:What it was up against. (1)

jedwards (135260) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248164)

And on a related subject, what are the rules for the 'Dramatic Presentation' presentation prize - because I can't see how Chicken Run qualifies as either Science Fiction or Fantasy (well ... it has talking chickens, but still ....)

Re:What it was up against. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248174)

A Storm of Swords is the third book in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George Martin. If you ask me, it was the best of the bunch, and certainly better than Harry Potter.

The Demise of Fantasy and Science Fiction (3, Informative)

jensend (71114) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248152)

In recent years, science fiction and fantasy (especially childrens' books such as Harry Potter) have failed to come up with anything truly original. No authors have come up with anything which approaches the originality or the epic grandeur shown by Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke. Here's a short bit by Clarke on the matter, published in 1939 but valid today:


?All the ideas in science fiction have been used up!?
How often we?ve heard this moan from editors, authors and fans, any one of whom should know better. Even if it were true, which is the last thing it is, it would signify nothing. How long ago do you think the themes of ordinary, mundane fiction were used up? Somewhere in the late Paleolithic, I should say. Which fact has made exactly no difference to the overwhelming outrush of modern masterpieces, four a shilling in the third tray from the left.
No. The existing material is sufficient to provide an infinite number of stories, each individual and each worth reading. Too much stress is laid on new ideas, or ?thought-variants?, on ?novae?. They are all very well in their way ? and it?s a way that leads to strange, delightful regions of fantasy ? but at least as important are characterization and the ability to treat a common- place theme in your own individual style. And for this reason, in spite of all his critics, I maintain that if any could equal Weinbaum, none could surpass him.
If, in addition to its purely literary qualities, a story has a novel idea, so much the better. Notwithstanding the pessimists, there are a million million themes that science fiction has never touched. Even in these days of deepening depression, a few really original plots still lighten our darkness. ?The Smile of the Sphinx? was such a one; going a good deal further back we have ?The Human Termites?, perhaps the best of all its kind before the advent of ?Sinister Barrier?.
As long as science advances, as long as mathematics discovers incredible worlds where twice two would never dream of equaling four: so new ideas will come tumbling into the mind of anyone who will let his thoughts wander, passport in hand, along the borders of Possibility. There are no Customs regulations; anything you see in your travels in those neighboring lands you can bring back with you. But in the country of the Impossible there are many wonders too delicate and too fragile to survive transportation.
Nothing in this world is ever really new, yet everything is in some way different from all that has gone before. At least once in his life even the dullest of us has found himself contemplating with amazement and perhaps with fear, some thought so original and so startling that it seems the creation of an exterior, infinitely more subtle mind. Such thoughts pass through the consciousness so swiftly that they are gone before they can be more than glimpsed, but sometimes like comets trapped at last by a giant sun, they cannot escape and from their stubborn material the mind forges a masterpiece of literature, of philosophy or music. From such fleeting, fragmentary themes are the Symphonies of Sibelius built - perhaps, with the Theory of Relativity and the conquest of space, the greatest achievements of the century before the year 2000.
Even within the limits set by logic, the artist need not starve for lack of material. We may laugh at Fearn, but we must admire the magnificent, if undisciplined, fertility of his mind. In a less ephemeral field, Stapledon has produced enough themes to keep a generation of science fiction authors busy. There is no reason why others should not do the same; few of the really fundamental ideas of fantasy have been properly exploited. Who has ever, in any story, dared to show the true meaning of immortality, with its cessation of progress and evolution, and, above all, its inevitable destruction of Youth? Only Keller, and then more with sympathy than genius. And who has had the courage to point out that, with sufficient scientific powers, reincarnation is possible? What a story that would make!
All around us, in the commonest things we do, lie endless possibilities. So many things might happen, and don?t - but may some day. How odd it would be if someone to whom you were talking on the phone walked into the room and began a conversation with a colleague! Suppose that when you switched off the light last thing at night you found that it had never been on anyway? And what a shock it would be if you woke up to find yourself fast asleep! It would be quite as unsettling as meeting oneself in the street. I have often wondered, too, what would happen if one adopted the extreme solipsist attitude and decided that nothing existed outside one?s mind. An attempt to put such a theory into practice would be extremely interesting. Whether any forces at our command could effect a devoted adherent to this philosophy is doubtful. He could always stop thinking of us, and then we should be in a mess.
At a generous estimate, there have been a dozen fantasy authors with original conceptions. Today I can only think of two, though the pages of UNKNOWN may bring many more to light. The trouble with present-day science fiction, as with a good many other things, is that in striving after the bizarre it misses the obvious. What it needs is not more imagination or even less imagination. It is some imagination.

Re:The Demise of Fantasy and Science Fiction (1)

jensend (71114) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248158)

Oops. The majority of those question marks ought to be quotation marks, this is the fault of problems converting to plaintext.

Count me in with the rest... (1)

ColdTap (164181) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248154)

Harry Potter never was and will never be sci fi. Either this was an attempt by the Hugo committee to move into mainstream, or just an idiotic blunder. Either way all self-respecting sci-fi authors should pitch their Hugos in the trash.

CmdrTaco is making banner ads (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248155)

I just saw a banner ad at the top of slashdot that said "Berekly DB". Haha stupid losers can't even spell berkeley right. Who drew that, CmdrTaco?

Re:CmdrTaco is making banner ads (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248172)

you are helping slashdot whore money by viewing banner ads. you can block banner ads with freely available software.

see junkbuster, guidescope.

Childrens books? (1)

smari (257143) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248167)

Bash me if I'm wrong, which I am not, but okey:
1. In HP4, at least two people I can remember the names of, probably closer to five though, are brutally murdered - one of them being a main character (I'm not going to say which one, don't want to piss anyone off).
2. The first book was *NOTHING* compared to the rest. The first book _IS_ a childrens book, okey, but then again, the rest are very dark indeed.
3. In the end of HP4, Harry has to summon his Patronus at one point, and at annother, Lord Voldemort got reincarnated (sorry), which means to me that the last thee books will be them trying to kill him - all out war. What do you say about that?

- On annother front, I'd like to slip in that the Harry Potter books are in fact the second-best set of books I've ever read, the best being HHGTTG. Damnit, I want more books!! =)

Re:Childrens books? (1)

Chris Hind (176717) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248171)

Ever read any of Grimm's fairy tales? Children who are kept out of the sickly saccharine embrace of Disney like death and violence and horror in their books. They're all "children's" books, in the sense that they can be read and understood by children.

Completely ridicu;us, a shame for great sci-fi wri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2248170)

Talk about a commercial scam! First of all Harry Potter is not even Sci-Fi. Secondly is for young kids, sure it's good for everybody but it's so simple. I read last year's winner, A Deepness in the Sky, it's so incredible, and older winner like Ender books by Orson Scott Card and so many others I still can't imagine putting Harry Potter in this list!!! I'll just forget Hugos about credibility.

Nevertheless, (3, Funny)

uriyan (176677) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248192)

Three books went into /dev/null
Seven were lost due to a fire
Nine were left inside a hole
One remains to rule them all

One book that bests them all
One book to grind them,
One book will stay when most are sold,
And in oblivion bind them.

A few misconceptions in the comments (4, Informative)

ckd (72611) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248194)

#1: The Hugos are a juried award. Nope; they're a fan award. Anyone who is a member of that year's Worldcon can vote; all it takes is the money to pay for a voting membership. You don't even have to attend.

#2: The Hugos are only for SF. They tend to be given to SF works, but the criteria explicitly include fantasy.

#3: Why didn't <foo> win instead? Hugos are given based on year of first publication, so Lord of the Rings wasn't eligible this year. The movies will be eligible for the Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo, however.

#4: The plagiarism case. A Washington Post article [] and a transcript of an online chat with Stouffer [] give some more details, but I tend to side with the folks who doubt the claims she makes [] . They were going to make a billion dollars! All my records were lost when my roof collapsed! I talked to the (never-married) editor and his wife! You can't remove IE from Windows without breaking it! (Sorry, that last one was from someone else.)

Potter Achieves the Impossible (2, Insightful)

rossz (67331) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248200)

The Harry Potter books are doing something previously thought impossible. They are pulling kids away from the idiot box (t.v.) and getting them to read in droves. This, in itself, deserves special recognition. Although I am a hard science fiction fan, I enjoyed the Harry Potter books and have no problem with the Hugo being awarded for this book.

Ugh... (1)

kypper (446750) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248202)

I must ask....

How can an award once received and HOSTED by Issac Asimov even be remotely considered for something like Harry Potter, criteria or not?

Christ, you can't honor the memory of such a great man, can you? You have to go and fuck things up.

On a side note... congrats. ^_^

The Popular Effect--Are we too biased? (1)

Gedvondur (40666) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248210)

I have read most of the books on the Hugo list posted earlier by some thoughtful gentleman, and while I agree that Harry Potter does not have the metallic tang of hard science fiction, they were good books.

Somewhat simplistic? Yes. However that is not always a bad thing. Just because a book does not require you to go dig out your old science texts to understand does not mean that its not an outstanding piece of writing.

We are occasionally ill served by our distain for anything that the general public likes. Do we "poo poo" Harry Potter because our Mom's liked the book and that kind of dumb guy at work liked it too? Is the negative reaction to a Harry Potter book that I am seeing here a form of intellectual elitism?

Is it that because more than the 'in' Sci-Fi crowd liked and 'got' this book we feel threatened? Are we worried if our favorite geeky things become mainstream, that we will no longer be special? No longer be smart?

We need to understand that just because the mainstream likes something, it does not necessarily make it evil. I am sure that I missed the post comparing Rowling to Gates and her publisher to Microsoft, just as I am sure that its there somewhere.

The Harry Potter books are good. Well written, thoughtful, and fun. Lets just congratulate Rowling, and forget about weather or not her work is "real".

Indeed... (1, Redundant)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 13 years ago | (#2248215)

But a Hugo for SciFi Achievement? I have a hard time calling Potter stories Sci-Fi.

Indeed; what irks me is when bookstores mix together fantasy with science-fiction. Why do they do that? They certainly don't mix detective novels with romance stories!!!!
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