Archive for January 15th, 2013

Great Hugo Read: January 2012 Midway

It’s the 15th of the month, which is when I’m going to start doing little reminder posts about the Great Hugo Read.

I’ve finished The Demolished Man. I’m going to start talking about it more in-depth over the next two weeks, especially my uncertainty about who to consider the protagonist and antagonist and how the book handles presenting psychics in a print medium.

Looking ahead to February, on tap is the 1955 Hugo Winner They’d Rather Be Right aka The Forever Machine. I keep prefacing this book as the weakest Hugo winner, which is an unfair way to approach the reading, potentially prejudicing people against the book. If you’re interested in following along into this book, you might want to get a copy squared away. They are surprisingly expensive for such slim volumes, as the book has spent long periods of time out of print but has some demand from folks like me trying to read all the Hugo winners. Here’s your availability information:

February will also inaugurate the secondary reads. As I’ve said before, these will be optional books meant to either prep for future winners or compliment the current winner in the read. For the first month I indulged myself by picking a personal favorite, Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend. This is a book that came out the same year as They’d Rather Be Right, and was marketed as science fiction at the time, though it has later been associated more with the horror genre. I want to be clear, by picking a book published in the same year my goal is not to say “this is what should have won the Hugo.” Instead, I wanted to pick a book I’m pretty sure wouldn’t have won, but is from the same year, and may provide some contrast in 1954 science fiction. I also wanted to pick a story as widely available as possible (an ongoing goal with the secondary books). To wit:

Since this will be the first month of the secondary reads, I’d like to tackle a few…well, not frequently asked questions, but certainly fair to ask questions.

No, they will not always been books I’ve already read. They will occasionally be, sure. Looking at the five secondary books I’ve picked for far for 2013, three are books I’ve previously read, albeit one of those three (Fahrenheit 451) is a book that would end up as a secondary read eventually anyway as a Retro Hugo winner.

Yes, I will be rereading the books. Even the ones that I’ve read recently. Even if “recently” means “a year ago” as is the case with Old Man’s War in November. If folks are following along the read, it wouldn’t be fair for me to suggest everyone else read two books in a given month when I’m only reading one. Long and short, I see these secondary reads as optional for everyone except for me.

There you have it, your mid-month reminder. I hope at least some of you are reading along with The Demolished Man. I thoroughly adored the book, so I look forward to talking about it with others.

Update: This is a sort of stream of consciousness update, something a little too long for Twitter that I’m putting here because, hell, I’m already talking about the Great Hugo Read today on the blog. It occurs to me that George R. R. Martin is planning two more books to the Song of Ice and Fire series. The most recent three books have been Hugo nominated. While I don’t even want to guess what books will be nominated this year, much less whether books that aren’t even written, much less scheduled for publication…yeah, it’s really damn likely that one or both will end up nominated.

Which means I should probably find spaces for the first five books in the series in the secondary reading spots.

In general, I’ve not planned for what happens if later books in a series get nominated and require some catch-up reading. If it’s book two or three in a series, I can just schedule it as the last book in the nominee read… Bridges to potentially cross when we get there.

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