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31 August 2007 @ 06:03 pm
 
The Hugo Awards are announced tomorrow and, since I actually did manage to read all the nominated short forms this year, I'm able to make informed private choices.

The Best Novella category is particularly strong here. I'm choosing Robert Charles Wilson's 'Julian: A Christmas Story', mostly because of Wilson's delightful writing style he employed there, earnest, genial and very engaging, the ultimate example of what I call Campfire Storytelling Style, but Robert Reed's 'A Billion Eves' came very close in the competition. Reed's story had much more gravitas and stirred much deeper emotions but, let's be frank, it's relatively easy to elicit emotional response in the reader when you write about a world created around religious fanaticism (ok, doing it as masterfully and subtly as Reed is not 'relatively easy', but still). Wilson creates a less extreme world, but just as fascinating. Anyway, both novellas are definitely worthy contenders.

Paul Melko's 'The Walls of the Universe' actually had a good shot at the top prize with its deliciously ingenious take on the alternative universes theory but it blew it when its main character, after behaving with admirable common sense for half a story, suddenly started acting in an unprecedentedly illogical manner (I do get it that the poor lad just breaks down under all the stress he's just been through, but it just isn't presented as an organic plot development). He regains his cool soon enough, but the stain on the story remains. It gets the third place, then. William Shunn's 'Inclination' is a perfectly ok novella, but pretty forgettable. Michael Swanwick's 'Lord Weary's Empire', however, is mostly a mess and I have no idea whatsoever how it got on the shortlist. I suspect mind control.

Novelettes and short stories were all pretty good, but none impressed me as much as some of the novellas. That makes it pretty hard to pick favorites. I think I'll go with Michael F. Flynn's novelette 'Dawn, and Sunset, and the Colours of the Earth' for interestingly presenting what effect supernatural occurrences could have on the neighborhood, and Robert Reed's short story 'Eight Episodes' for an intriguing idea of a maybe-alien tv show. I probably won't be all that annoyed though, if someone else swipes the prize there.

Wish I could pick the Best Novel, too, but they are regretfully, and justifiably, NOT available on the web for free and they will probably appear in Poland in about three years (if that). Science Fiction literature market here is quite dreadful, albeit, I admit, slightly improving with every year. In other words, sometimes living in central Europe can be harsh, people.

The Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form category (meaning: the movie one) was well within my grasp, but, thanks to my apparent galloping Youth Dementia, I forgot that I was supposed to watch 'A Scanner Darkly' and I'm pretty sure I won't be able to rectify that particular omission in the course of the next 24 hours, so no vote on that. And it makes my immensely irritated. I hate it when there is no one else to dump the blame on. It clashes with my worldview. I'm almost certain that I would have still named 'Children of Men' the winner (with a close runner-up being 'El laberinto del fauno'), but rules are rules.

I had no trouble with The Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form category, though (meaning: the tv one), having watched all the nominated episodes months before they were even considered for nomination. I'm pretty ticked that 'Girl in the Fireplace' made in, it being a DW episode I thoroughly hated (I admit that the Clockwork People were cool, though) but I've long known that it mysteriously generated a lot of warm response in the fandom, so I'm not all that surprised. Only slightly bitter. And it it actually wins, oh, there will be rage.

As for my chosen candidate, I was torn between 'Downloaded' and 'Army of Ghosts'/'Doomsday'. Even though 'Doomsday' was the only tv episode that almost managed to bring me to tears and that is no mean feat, I think, in the end, the honor goes to BSG, simply because I loved 'Downloaded' beyond any measure.


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