The 2014 Hugo Awards ceremony is this Sunday, August 17th at LonCon3. As we count down to the big day, let’s review the best novel nominees from previous decades.
Next up: forty years ago! (See my previous post on 1964.)
And Arthur C. Clarke wins the Hugo Award for Best Novel for Rendezvous with Rama (1973).
The other 1974 Best Novel Hugo finalists in ranked order (most to least votes):
How I would have voted:
#5. Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein
Blech. I couldn’t even finish it, which goes against every fiber of my being. But it was so horrible, and so boring, and so long, and so disgustingly, arrogantly chauvinistic… I just couldn’t. I’ve read enough Heinlein now to know where this is going, and it’s nowhere I need to be.
#4. People of the Wind by Poul Anderson
Two races with tense relations share a planet and combat a common enemy… could this be some sort of Cold War commentary? (Who am I kidding? Nearly all SF during these decades has some sort of Cold War commentary!) A promising premise that I was so excited to read, but the short format stunted a potentially stellar story. Bummer.
#3. Protector by Larry Niven
A distant relative to Niven’s famous Ringworld series, this story is about humanity’s distant ancestors… FROM SPACE! And the catalyst that bridges the evolutionary gap… intergalactic sweet potatoes! (I’m not joking.)
#2. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
I know, it’s BLASPHEMY! Even Morgan Freeman is a fan (and has been trying to turn this sucker into a movie for ages). But it’s stilted, boring, and reads like lame old fiction. The idea about a cylindrical alien world entering our solar system is cool, but Clarke can do better (and has).
My top pick for 1974:
#1. The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold
I can forgive him for one of the dumbest Star Trek: OG epis (I know, everyone LOVES tribbles) now that I’ve read this fun and twisted time-travel romp. It might make you squirm, and you’ll definitely abandon your childhood dreams of time travel once you see the kind of existential crisis it can bring. It’s definitely the best of this really lame shortlist.
And speaking of time travel, join me tomorrow as we time jump ahead to review the Hugo Best Novel nominees of 2004!