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.
1984 brought us crack-cocaine, minivans, and the discovery of the AIDS virus. Kathryn Sullivan became the first woman to walk in space, Apple’s Mac PC was released to the technomasses, while The Karate Kid, Sixteen Candles, The Terminator, Ghostbusters, The NeverEnding Story, and This is Spinal Tap! transformed 80’s pop culture.
And David Brin’s Startide Rising won the 1984 Hugo Award for Best Novel!
The other 1984 Best Novel Hugo finalists in ranked order (most to least votes):
How I would have voted:
5. Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
Sorry, McCaffrey fans, I just don’t dig this space dragon series. And the constant nominations of books like this make me think the Hugo Awards should add a Juvenile/YA category. I get that it captured the hearts and minds of children, but it doesn’t belong in this grouping.
4. Millenium by John Varley
It took a few chapters before I finally warmed to this intriguing premise with strange characterization. Time travel is used to rescue (read: kidnap) plane crash victims in order to repopulate humanity in the very distant future. And the female protag is voiced like Robert Heinlein… which is so discomfiting.
3. Startide Rising by David Brin
Again, the Hugos need a kiddie category. This space opera about uplifted dolphins and chimps put me off at first, but David Brin turns this potentially silly tale into a dramatic endeavor with cutting conflict and insights about humanity. It’s no surprise it won the Hugo, but it’s not my favorite.
2. Tea with the Black Dragon by R. A. McAvoy
I loved this quirky romantic thriller about a middle-aged woman searching for her kidnapped adult daughter and the mysterious man who offers to help, although he claims he’s a thousand-year-old dragon. It has some of the funnest dialogue I’ve read in a while, but I’m surprised the Hugo voters embraced this novel’s style, which is almost too mainstream to be labelled SF.
1. Robots of Dawn (#3 of Robot series) by Isaac Asimov
Maybe I’m a pushover for androids (I am), but I loved this Asimov series, and I’m surprised this one was ranked so low by Hugo voters. I can only guess that many voters didn’t read the entire series, which might make this book seem weird and disjointed. In this novel, we see Asimov’s stiff 1950’s protagonist achieve 1980’s enlightenment!
Check back tomorrow to review the 1994 Hugos!