Why the Hugo Awards Suck!

Once upon a time the Hugo awards were associated with Science Fiction. But lately it’s most covetous and prestigious category, best novel, has been going to fantasy books. This year it went to the YA Ghost story, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Now I’m not denying Neil Gaiman isn’t some kind of genius. I love American Gods and Neverwhere and the Sandman comics. But what happened to giving the award to Science Fiction books. They’re the Hugo Awards, after Hugo Gernsback the SF publisher, not the Farnsworth Awards (Weird Tales long time editor, Farnsworth Wright). Out of the last nine years, six best novel Hugos have gone to fantasy novels.

The First Hugo Award - 1953

The First Hugo Award - 1953

This is from Joe Haldeman’s blog:

“. . .As to the Hugos . . . congrats to the winners, and I’m sort of glad I wasn’t up for _Marsbound_. I would’ve hated to have lost to Neil for _The Graveyard Book_, which I’m sure is good, won the Newbery for children’s lit and all. But the Hugo used to be a science fiction award. _The Graveyard Book_ is a fine ghost story.

I can’t complain about the award being influenced by personality, since I’m sure I wouldn’t have won as many if I just sat here and wrote, rather than going out and exposing myself to the fans. But still. A YA ghost story?”

I totally understand his sentiment. After all there is the World Fantasy Award for fantasy. The other major SF award, the Nebula, is presented by the Science Fiction Fantasy Writers of America.  But why can’t there be a top Science Fiction award?

Someone pointed out to me that That Hell-Bound Train by Robert Bloch won the Hugo back in 1959. A fantasy story to be sure, but there was no World Fantasy Award back then (or Nebula) so it made sense.

My suggestion is for a Fantasy Hugo and a Science Fiction Hugo. And as soon as you think that might be a good idea, you realize there are novel that sit astride the two genres. And their nomination could be divided between those speculative branches and overlooked. And then I’d have to do another rant about the Science Fantasy novel that fell through the cracks.

So have I read The Graveyard Book? No, I haven’t. Am I going to not read it as a protest against Fantasy novels winning the Hugo? Of course I’m going to read it, it’s Gaiman! I’m not stupid :)

One Response to “Why the Hugo Awards Suck!”

Add to Technorati Favorites