Hugo vs Nebula


It’s January 2nd, the day that we all stumble back to our routines after two weeks of disruptions, see that we made some outrageous New Years Resolutions, and look ahead to the year. This year it’s also the beginning of the Great Hugo Read. I know I’ve talked a lot about the Read lately, largely because the idea came to me so late in the year and is now kicking off. This is going to be the standard beginning of the month reminder that the Read is happening, and what the book(s) for that month are. However, I’m also going to go briefly into why I picked the Hugo as opposed to the Nebula or any other awards.

First thing’s first.

The_Demolished_Man_first_editionJanuary 2013 Primary Book: The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

Secondary Book: None.

I hate that we’re starting out with two months of books with availability issues. It is, unfortunately, the nature of the beast. My copy of Demolished Man arrived from Better World Books on New Years Eve, perfectly timed, though I’m wrapping up The Victorian Internet (more on Unleaded) before I tuck into the first of the Hugo novels. I decided no secondary novels this month because it was a late addition to my plan, however I have picked a favorite of mine as a secondary novel for February. In the future I’ll always provide at least some rationale behind the secondary work, and I promise (a) it won’t always be something I’ve read and (b) I’ll be re-reading it if it is. It’d be cheating for me to add books just to not read them.

So…why the Hugo? I had an interesting few moments this morning flipping between the Hugo Award and Nebula Award pages on Wikipedia, each of which offers quotations from various sources about why it is the more prestigious of the two awards, and other quotations talking about the equal standing of the two. Why the Hugos boils down to a few points that have nothing to do with any rivalry between the awards (which I suspect doesn’t really exist anyways).

  1. The Hugo is older, providing more history to read through.
  2. The Hugo is fan voted, so represents what people were reading at the time. This also connects to why I didn’t include the Retro Hugo awards as primary reads.
  3. They mostly overlap anyway. Since it was adopted, the Nebula has agreed with the Hugo voters nearly half the time.

So I’m not so much playing favorites as I am bowing to seniority.

So grab your copy of Demolished Man and join in the first month of the Read. If you’re a Goodreads member, go check out the group I created over there. If it populates, I’ll keep it going, if it doesn’t, I’ll just let it languish. And now I promise I’ll stop talking the Great Hugo Read for at least two weeks. At the end of the month, we’ll get together and talk the book.

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