Two Great Hugo Read Administrative Notes

Nominations for the 2013 Hugo Awards have closed, and over on the official Hugo blog a new post announces, “The final ballot for the 2013 Hugo Awards is scheduled to be announced on Saturday, March 30.” This means we’ll know what books we’re reading between April and August with little lead time.

This is actually good news. I expected to learn with no lead time as nominations were announced April 7th last year and April 24th the year before. That’s the danger of setting up an event like the Read with complete reliance on a schedule that I have zero influence over.

Initially I was planning to schedule the physically shortest book for April, expecting to have less reading time that month, with the other books assigned in alphabetical order by author. Since that’s not necessary, I’ll instead look at which books are part of a larger series and may require some pre-reading and which books are stand alone novels or part one of a new series. Books requiring pre-reading will be scheduled for later months, other books will still be sorted in author name order.

And if there are more than five nominees, as has happened in 2010? I’ll pair up the two shortest books into one month with no secondary reads that month.

AGameOfThronesI understand that those who are joining the read are more likely to have read the nominees recently, since they’re less than a year old by definition. I can promise I’ve read none of them, as the only 2012 Science Fiction book I own is Redshirts, and I haven’t yet touched it. Thus the schedule for these months will be more of a suggested schedule for those who have read none of them. If you’ve already read one or two, that’s great, especially in the off-chance of more than five nominees. In those cases, feel free to figure out your own schedule, and we’ll convene near the end of August to talk our opinions of who should win, or how you voted if you’re so eligible.

One more thing as long as I’m talking administration the Read. It’s folly to predict nominations. It’s even more folly to predict nominations of books that haven’t even been published yet. Or scheduled. Or finished. But here goes even more folly. Books three, four, and five of George R. R. Martin’s massively epic Song of Ice and Fire series were all Hugo nominated. I don’t want to be in a position in a few years of The Winds of Winter being nominated and having to fit in the first five books, totaling around 5000 paperback pages into four months of secondary reads. Therefore I’m going to make two assumptions. Assumption one: The Winds of Winter will be nominated whenever it comes out. Assumption two: it won’t be out this year, thus making it eligible no earlier than 2015 and more likely 2016 or even later. Under those assumptions, I’m going to seed the first five books into secondary read slots where I can, trying not to stack them too tightly.

Now my only terror is A Memory of Light being nominated next year and what the hell to do about 13 previous Wheel of Time books.

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