Back to the Hugos: 1995!

The Hugo Awards are this weekend! But time-travel Hugos are much more fun! So let’s go Back to the Hugos: 1995!

The member vote for Best Novel:


Oh, Hugo voters… AYFKM? I thought we had finally reached an understanding after last decade.


MY pretend, retro ballot for Best Novel:


(Interesting note: Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower made the shortlist but was deemed inelegible.)


Wrong, Hugo voters. You got it ALL wrong.

Allow me to explain:

Brittle Innings is a rich, full-bodied tale about humanity and its monsters in the pre-Civil Rights era South, and involves brilliant literary interplay. It’s gorgeous. Towing Jehovah is an intelligent, biting, religious satire that offends everybody, even the intended audience. Beggars and Choosers is brimful of imaginative near-future technology with (often over-involved) philosophical ponderings, and its problematic nature makes analysis even more worthwhile. Bujold’s Mirror Dance is the “Give your sociopathic clone son a starship” edition of the “Save-yo-fetuses” series, which always puts my deeply internalized pro-choice sensibilities on edge, not to mention the elevation of uberwealthy characters undermines difficult moral quandaries by making them easy, fun to read, and not really a big deal. And Mother of Storms is a kitchen sink filler-thriller about superficial character cliches surviving a global weather disaster.


If the Spaz Clumpies are correct about post-1985 SF, 1995 should be an ideal indicator of a liberal and literary hijacking of the Hugo Awards. (Although we already know that, one, you cannot hijack your own plane, and two, conservative, non-literary books have always appeared on Hugo shortlists, and three, conservative, non-literary books have always appeared on Hugo shortlists.) But let us take a look anyway…

Bujold, Barnes, and Kress. A very clear non-literary tang runs through the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners, with conservative elements embedded in all three novels. (Yes, even the Bujold, where, for every two liberal steps forward– feminism, bisexuality, physical ability– we take conservative steps back– homosexual rapists, militarism, pro-life messages, women abandoning liberal principles for love.) 

Now what was it those Mad Yuppies were saying about post-’85 Hugo shortlists?


But then again, a woman did win the 1995 Hugo. Which is definitely, probably, most likely indicative of an Affirmative Action vote on the part of the very fannish, very loyal, very divisive, very opinionated Hugo voters. Because Hugo voters are definitely going to give up their cliquish loyalty to (insert name of geeky, charismatic author) for the sake of white woman empowerment. And it’s obvious that Bujold’s win has nothing to do with the huge, insane popularity of the Vorkosigan saga among SF readers of all stripes.

I WISH the Hugos employed a system of Affirmative Action. Maybe then I wouldn’t be so bored reading so many crap books. Also, white woman voting isn’t very Affirmative Actiony. You would think that if Hugo voters were really practicing– I believe the Vapid Lumpies call it– victim-of-the-week, checklist voting, they would, you know, nominate people who aren’t white AmeriBrit English speakers 99% of the time.

There’s an entire world outside of the American commercial publishing machine, Hugo voters. And some of it has got to be better than Mother of Storms.


14 thoughts on “Back to the Hugos: 1995!

  1. pbbpb says:

    I am SO glad someone other than me has known and loved Towing Jehovah. It’s unlike everything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      Oh, yes! The burgers were hilarious! I am excited to have discovered Morrow’s work and I’m eager to read more!


  2. Joachim Boaz says:

    Michael Bishop — the great master whom nobody knows…. It’s so sad that that was his last published novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      I really wish he had won the Hugo. He would have if it happened 20 years before. 1995 was a ridiculous year. My next Bishop is A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire. In the spring. Very excited about it.


  3. […]           1975          1985             1995               […]


  4. John Stephen Walsh says:

    “with conservative elements embedded in all three novels. (Yes, even the Bujold, where, for every two liberal steps forward– feminism, bisexuality, physical ability– we take conservative steps back– homosexual rapists, militarism, pro-life messages, women abandoning liberal principles for love.) ”

    I dunno, aren’t many folks a mix? Is the world separated into My Way Good, Their Way Evil, and if you don’t get it 100% My Way you’re all wrong. Oh, and folks who only see things in black and white are evil, too, all of ’em!

    Just seems like there’s a very narrow little path a writer can walk or else they suck, their book sucks, and anyone who reads it, too. Looking at the sidebar right now, it looks like the only acceptable heroes are those who behave, always, like some cliche’d version of a liberal. As someone who has worked in social services for years, well, what’s the point of continuing. Enjoy the variety you talk about here, but just FYI, repeatedly hitting the liberal/conservative thing gets boring. Yes, I know, I’m evil, I’ll go quietly….


    • Joachim Boaz says:

      John, “Enjoy the variety you talk about here, but just FYI, repeatedly hitting the liberal/conservative thing gets boring” — I’m pretty sure she is not writing only to satisfy your desires — and no, you do not need to tell her what to write… No, you are not “evil,” but yes, you are “rude.”


      • fromcouchtomoon says:

        Thanks, Joachim. I actually don’t mind the criticism. I am a bit bored.


        • Joachim Boaz says:

          I tend to delete rude comments. I must be more boring than you…


          • fromcouchtomoon says:

            Lol, nope, your posts are never boring.

            I think I’ve only had one troll-like comment that was just bait, and it had no substance to respond to. I just let it hang, just like I do in a real life.

            I’ll delete threatening or debasing comments, but that’s never happened. Besides, the blog’s been abnormally silent this weekend and I was happy to get some feedback. I thought it was funny.


    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      It is boring, isn’t it? And you’re just reading it, but I actually wrote these posts. Imagine how bored I am!

      Other people made it political. I’m just pointing out that it’s a fake controversy used to attract the attention (and money) of potential readers. It’s why I’m being so contrary with my offensive Bujold commentary and such, in order to undermine the ongoing political conversation. My normal criticisms of Bujold stick to “boring” and “superficial.”

      Yes, most people are a political mix. I’m not, but if I were to start a Book Campaigning Party, it wouldn’t be called “the SJWs” or the “the Literati.” I would call it the “Your Characters Talk Too Much” Party. Or the “This Has Already Been Done A Thousand Times” Party. Or the “Don’t Waste 20 Hours of My Life On Something Lame” Party. Though I’m sure there’s a more elegant way to put it if I thought about it a little longer.

      Thank you for your comments, by the way. I think you’ll find this blog is more hyperbolic contrarianism than respectable neutrality.


  5. It’s amusing that the person who left the critical comment is…a writer.


  6. Oh man I missed a couple of decades (your time travel hugos decades, not actual ones, though that might be fun too) not being online ever and now the Hugos have been awarded and obviously the Clumpies have won because…OH GOD MY HEAD.

    I love that you have read every single one of these fucking books and can say all this shit about them. As usual, me bowing to your discipline reading this stuff. I would also like to formally apply for membership to the “Don’t Waste 20 Hours of My Life On Something Lame” Party.

    Liked by 1 person

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