Back to the Hugos: 1975!

The Hugo Awards are this weekend! But time-travel Hugos are much more fun! So let’s go back to the Hugos: 1975!

The member vote for Best Novel:

TheDispossed(1stEdHardcover)firetime4FlowMyTears1themoteingodseye1InvertedWorld

Le Guin wins, but I can’t believe Inverted World placed last. That’s insanity.

My pretend, retro Hugo ballot:

TheDispossed(1stEdHardcover)InvertedWorldFlowMyTears1firetime4themoteingodseye1

I’m having a hard time deciding between the anarchic experiment The Dispossessed and the mind-bendy Inverted World as a first pick. Both are delicious; I love them so much. Maybe they should tie. In comparison, Flow my Tears and Fire Time are pretty forgettable, with misplaced identity and Middle East allegory being the only things I much remember about them. (And for those who haven’t read either, I’ll let you guess which is which.) And people, I know you LOVE the Moties, but it’s lame and stiff and boring, and I don’t think readers-of-color would appreciate the all-too-familiar social hierarchy of Larry and Jerry’s alien society. That ain’t no racial commentary, it’s just lazy characterization. *aggressively shakes finger at Larry and Jerry*

Not that anyone is keeping score or anything, but there are three well-known conservative authors on this list. (And who knows about Dick. We didn’t study the politics of the fifth dimension in my comparative politics classes, but I’m pretty sure that’s where that dude resides.) However, both books by those conservative authors can easily be classified as “message fiction,” with Fire Time advocating land sharing between hostile groups, and The Mote in God’s Eye addressing unsustainable population growth… with a rather severe Malthusian solution, permeated by an ugly anti-immigrant message. And let’s not talk about the “good girls don’t use birth control” message.

Message fiction: a favorite technique of SF writers from all political persuasions! (Not that anyone is saying otherwise. Because that would be dumb and nonsensical.)

Did you know: Manufactured controversy = Free advertising

See you tomorrow for *shock* and *gasp* a year I just might almost agree with… 1985!

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Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (1974) by Philip K. Dick

FlowMyTears1Drugs. Alternate realities. Paranoia.

Drugs.

Stuff I expect from Philip K. Dick, even though I’ve never read his work. Stuff that deterred me from reading Philip K. Dick, because Naked Lunch and Sartre was enough paranoia for me. Stuff that’s old now, moving on, roll my eyes, that’s so old-fashioned.

And yet, the man managed to shock my worn sensibilities in this 1974 tale about the ultimate I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!

One thing about Ruth Rae: she was smart enough not to let her skin become too tanned. Nothing aged a woman’s skin faster than tanning, and few women seemed to know it… (96)

“You look every bit as beautiful—“ he began, but she cut him off brusquely.
“I’m old.” She rasped. “I’m thirty-nine” (98)
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