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Just before the voting deadline, my picks for the novels. I read at least the first few chapters of all of them.

5. Redshirts by John Scalzi (Amount read: through Chapter Three)
A metafictional Star Trek parody from the perspective of low-ranking crew members.
I can't say I hate all metafiction, as Synecdoche, New York is one of my all-time favorite films, but anyone attempting to write it has a dangerous road ahead of them. And this one, with all its mugging for the camera and its wink-wink-nudge-nudginess, is definitely DOA.

4. Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold (Amount read: through Chapter Two)
The titular Captain (the cousin of Miles Vorkosigan) is tasked with protecting a mysterious woman.
It moved along at a nice clip. But (A) from what I read, at least, it might as well have been a spy novel and gains nothing from the space-opera setting; and (B) I am inherently prejudiced against voting for authors who churn out a new installment in the same series every year, said installment also being nominated for a Hugo like clockwork every year.

3. Blackout by Mira Grant (Amount read: through Chapter Four)
In the third volume of this trilogy, our heroes have to deal with life after death and the evils of the CDC.
This is probably my favorite piece of work I've yet read by Mira Grant. The mysteries are intriguing, and while we still have stupid people doing stupid things and somehow managing to survive, at least now they have understandable motivation for doing so. But you lose points for the tired zombie angle, and for (B) above.

2. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (Amount read: whole thing)
A ragtag band of holy warriors must face an evil necromancer.
It was engaging and fun but didn't seem to break any new ground. It also relied too much on coincidence to move the plot forward, and for me didn't reach real depth of feeling, perhaps because all the characters seemed more like archetypes than real people.

1. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Amount read: whole thing)
When her grandmother dies, a resident of Mercury is drawn into a web of interplanetary intrigue.
This was far and away the winner for me. To me, this is what science fiction should be. Great world-building, beautifully written. I can't think of many people who have such a thorough understanding of both STEM and the humanities. I'd love to see it made into a film. I do recognize that it's not to everyone's liking. The plot is rather MacGuffiny and really only serves as an excuse to tour the solar system. But I think criticizing the plot here is like criticizing the plot of Alice in Wonderland. (Actually, now that I think of it, this book is kind of like Alice in Spaceland.) The plot is not the point. Though admittedly it did start to drag a bit for me in the second half. And I could see why a person might not like the main character (but again, I can see why you wouldn't like Alice, either). But all in all I was very impressed by this book and enjoyed reading it immensely. It won the Nebula, and it deserves to win the Hugo, too.

Finally, a note on the other categories. The only other one I will bother to vote in is short-form dramatic presentation. I shall place No Award above all the Dr. Who episodes, because that show is overrated, and I'm tired of seeing it fill up the nomination slots every year (see (B) above). Then will come Fringe, which I didn't see. I will give the top spot to Game of Thrones, which I did see, and which was awesome. Normally I would also vote for long-form dramatic presentation, and though I actually saw all this year's nominees before they were announced, I can't say I feel a great deal of enthusiasm for any of them. So. That's it for this year.


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Novelette picks
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