The sun stood still in the midst of heaven…

Well, not recently anyway. Time moves on, deadlines whizz past. Computers crash (mine:-( ), and writers are neither the British Empire nor Joshua, the sun sets on us quite a lot. Sometimes it sets on our careers, and sometimes it sets on the way we knew things to be. As writers we’re in a confusing patch right now, where it had been fairly stable for a long-ish while, and but has definitely been plunged toward sunset times and the fun that happens in dark, where no-one has any idea what they’re doing. E-books, economic interesting times, and the socio-political changes that’ll flow out of this, loom darkly.

The trick is going to be to be still standing when the brave new sun comes up. My own guess is it’ll be 2-3 of the publishing houses of today, possibly some new players with less baggage, operating out of cheaper locations, and offering a better deal, and retail trying to cut everyone’s throat (and that’s one that never changes. As sure as Dibbler). For authors it’ll be those who can manage social media followings best off (keeping in mind that what is fashionable to talk about and follow now, may well not be soon. The pendulum of society swings, and swings back really hard when one or other side has pushed it too far – a situation I see coming. Where a media outlet in Germany in 1937 saying how wonderful Adolf was would be popular then, and while there are still hangers on now, now I’d guess it has 0.1% of the reach it once did.) Of course, that’s without real game-changers like Dan Lane’s suggestion of an app/facebook system that gets ‘books liked by people with similar interests and tastes) or a more complex algorythm that gets a real handle on readers and gives them what they really want. That takes the middlemen out of the equation, leaving those who add value – like good editing, proof-reading, covers, still in demand, but quite probably merely for hire and not working for a publisher would change books forever… And that’s without the far future, where I suspect books as in printed words which make stories appear in the imagination of readers may disappear entirely, or at least come with add in graphics, and audio. I want to be dead then, make it someone else’s problem. I like the imagination part.

Still, as sensible writers, we want to be there in the morning (and hopefully there are readers who feel the same way). How do we make sure our books, or at least type of story, endures? Yeah, good story remains popular. So do real heroes. But what is it that makes books go on selling long after times change? What are those books that endure?

Oh and as I said I’d run a quick poll on the Hugo Awards: Did you historically buy on the award, and do you still do so? As these sort of polls tend to attract people with an agenda who try to skew the odds toward their viewpoints, this is only for folk who have posted here before.
My answers yes, no.

84 thoughts on “The sun stood still in the midst of heaven…

  1. Never really followed the Hugos, except for that one time I was pre-supporting for LAConIII and tried to vie for getting my ‘zine on the ballot (it failed to get on the ballot, and in that category, that year, maybe 20 votes would have done it). So I can’t say that the Hugos have influenced my reading habits. (Plus I have a friend who is tied with another fellow for being stiffed the most times for Best Fan Artist.)

    Print may die, but text never will. But the WAY text manifests will change in ways that are difficult to predict.

      1. Video contact lenses. Google Glass is a prototype, but people won’t wear glasses. You end up with some kind of augmented reality system.

        As SF folks, the trick is figuring out what the next “Killer App” is to cause widescale adoption of a technology. And then figure out how it will go wrong. Geotagging, face recognition with identity tagging (never forget someone’s name again) and oh, Facebooking in class where nobody can see you doing it, folks will love that. Then you get price-gouging data plans, neo-luddites claiming it will ruin your eyesight, and worst of all, Advertisers.

        1. So long as it comes in a form that lets the imagination fill in the blanks, I’m good with it. Being spoon fed everything from the visuals to the voices makes the “reader” into a passive watcher.

          1. Pam, the BBC rendition of “The Hogfather” *springs* to mind at this. Several of the characters are brilliantly portrayed, but the watcher is repeatedly bludgeoned over the head with plot-points the *reader* was expected to figure out along the way … 😦

  2. I followed the Hugos in the mid 2000s (the noughties?) when I noted how the number of votes cast was small and the selection somewhat biased (i.e. a certain publisher was effectively Baened).

    I was pretty clear to me then that it would be pretty simple to game the system and buy a hugo if you had only a moderate budget. At the time I think I calculated that 100 voters could get stuff onto the ballot and about 200 could guarantee a win. [At $50/vote that’s $10,000 which is minimal in terms of a PR campaign – as I think you pointed out in the comments last week]

    I have not historically bought on the award and I do not do so now.

    1. I recall sitting with two authors more than ten years ago (you can guess which) and saying that I thought a certain book worthy of some kind of prize. At which point the male author snorted and said that the Nebula was you nominate me/I nom you cosy nepotism, but at least the Hugo was based on votes at Worldcon. At which point the other author laughed and explained how that could be gamed and de facto bought. Let’s be fair, I doubt that idea came from her. So it has been obvious to people for a fair while. Like a weakness in software, someone sooner or later will form a plan exploit it, sometimes just because they can. Of course 99.95% of people don’t – but some are just that way. I have had people steal and redistribute books off the Baen Free Library.

      two no, no, one yes, no.

      1. Back in 1989, fannish legend says there was a serious attempt to game the Hugos for the benefit of P.J. Beese and Todd Cameron Hamilton’s novel _The Guardsman_. I think the main complaint was artist people gaming the literary award, although there were issues of quality typical to novels written by great fantasy artists, although it wasn’t anywhere near the lows of the Hildebrandt’s Urshurak.

        (Especially since it was going up against Falling Free by Bujold, which is pretty much a perfect small, standalone sf novel, Cherryh’s Cyteen, Sterling’s Islands in the Net, Gibson’s Mona Lisa Overdrive, and Card’s Red Prophet.)

        Actually, I think what happened is that the science fiction fans had a split vote among the many other excellent choices that year, the fantasy had a split vote also, but the artists and anthropomorphic fans had a bloc that stuck together. But I think it decreased confidence in the award’s probity, and inspired a lot of people to do _real_ awards gaming.

          1. Anyway, the upshot was that Beese and Hamilton were called into some kind of Hugo meeting, made aware of whatever it was that the committee thought was wrong with the voting or against the rules, and Beese and Hamilton withdrew their nomination.

            It was a big gossip topic right at the time I was first entering fandom, yet I’ve never heard the full real story from anybody who knew.

        1. Like many an idea, once it is out there, sooner-or-later someone will have a go for their own benefit, and screw what it does to the whole system. And there is the problem. It’s not one average book winning, it’s the effect on the value of the whole thing.

  3. I have not baught on it historically because I wasn’t really aware of it until I found Baen’s Bar. It’s not so much that I’m young (hush, you monkey!) but that I wasn’t Fen until about ten years ago. Before that I was aware of science fiction but it was a blur in with everything else I read (3-4 books daily will do that to your memory). Now, as I said elsewhere, it will get a book put back on the shelf right smartly.

    1. Yeah, certainly has a divided effect – there is a subset – probably hanging out on John Scalzi’s site, who will buy on it. But actually that’s a very small subset of the possible readers.

  4. I don’t remember when I first heard of the Hugo but I don’t remember it meaning much to me.

    I knew of some books that had received the Hugo and in many cases (early Hugo) I had enjoyed the books.

    Now days (with a few exceptions ie Bujold), I don’t think the books are worth me reading them.

    But then I’m not foolish enough to think my reading tastes match everybody’s reading tastes.

    1. But, Paul, it IS fair to say that some books appeal strongly to a narrow group, and others to a lot of people, right? So an award, to do a good job needs to pick out the ‘appeal to a lot of people’ books.

      1. True. Just consider those comments of mine to attempts to “avoid fights with people who enjoy books that I dislike”. [Wink]

  5. I’m not certain whether enhanced media will make many inroads to books. It may, but then again, there have been illustrated books for decades, and still, the majority of fiction books do not have illustrations.

    As for buying books based on the Hugos – no. I can’t say I have ever bought a book because it won an award, and I doubt I ever will. I go either by recommendation, or by the description blurb sounding interesting.

    1. Japan seems to have a fair amount of ‘light novels’ which are often illustrated. They’ve also had ‘visual’ or ‘kinetic’ novels for at least a decade. Regardless of market tastes, the cost of labor and organization may be relevant.

      Webcomics may also be a place where those story telling tendencies manifest.

      Dunno what the sales numbers work out to.

  6. I’ve been reading Science Fiction since somewhere around 1953; with a halitosis 1980-2000 for obvious reasons. In the fifties and sixties books with merit and good writers won awards. I didn’t chose to look at books because they had “Won such and such” as much as I looked for the author I liked. At that time they were one and the same. Nowadays, if I see a book with ‘won the’ I tend to ignore it. I will consider a book that says ‘was a number one seller on the New York Times Book thing’ Not that I’ll buy it, but will look to see what the people choice is.

    1. You do realize NYT bestseller is ALSO gamed, right? First, it’s on laydown. I.e. how many books ship (so it only counts if more than one week) and second it has to be specific bookstores, etc. Baen is at a disadvantage because it sells A LOT to indies, campus bookstores and comic bookstores, most of which don’t count for NYT bestseller…

      1. I’ve hear the WSJ list is at least based on (spit) Bookscan. And if I regard bookscan as better than NYT, my regard for NYT list is abyssmal.

    2. The one-and-the-same issue struck me too, as I started on my brother’s collection, pushing my start date back to about 1960, with some earlier books via second-hand bookstores.

      1. But please note- I only said that I would look, not necessarily buy. My to catch up bookshelf right now is loaded with Baen and Forge publishing. I like Harold Coyle’s writing.The tablet is loaded with Baen and Kindle. I don’t think there is as Tor or Daw in the house. David Drake did put out a new book on one of them. Although it is bound to be a better seller and better written than the current HUGO. I doubt it will even be nominated. So, point taken.

  7. No and heck no. I was oblivious to book awards until fairly recently, when it became obvious that those doing the awarding were on opposite ends of almost all spectrums than I. Since then I have actively avoided award winning books unless I previously knew the author. The only award winning books I have purchased since then (that come to mind at least) are Sarah’s Darkship Thieves and of course Ringo’s romantic Paladin of Shadows series. McCaffrey and Moon I had read before I became aware of my dislike for the majority of award-winning books so while it is possible they won awards since then I was already familiar with the authors and trusted them to provide good reading. Bujold on the other hand I tried when bored, not really expecting to like her that much (but enough people who liked other authors I did, liked her that I figured she was worth trying despite the blurbs) I was pleasantly surprised, but probably would have avoided her entirely if I had been aware she was an award-winning author.

    1. My reaction matched bearcat. The Hugo is now a do-not-read list for me unless I really know the author. Then it’s “in spite of” rather than “because.” Bujold comes to mind. A Nebula win is an even stronger disincentive for me.

        1. “Dune” was a bit of a slog. I liked it enough to continue for two more books in the series before I bogged down completely. I did read it in junior high school, so I might have been a little young for it. My two favorites by Herbert are “Dragon in the Sea” (I think that’s his first, republished as “Under Pressure”) and “The Dosadi Experiment.” “Ringworld” was a meh. I didn’t finish it. The world was interesting.

          In both books, I never latched on to a character I really liked (except Duncan Idaho.) I need a sympathetic viewpoint character or I don’t care what happens. Cool ideas (e.g. the Ringworld) are rarely enough by themselves.

  8. During high school, it was my aim to read as many Hugo winners and nominees as possible. Given my amazing high school library, I managed a good chunk of it, and continued my quest during college and my young adulthood.

    Nowadays, I pretty much ignore the Hugos, except to see whether good books and stories are winning (yay!) or bad/mediocre/unlikeable books are winning (which is a waste of voting).

  9. As a young reader, the presence of a graphic or decal promoting an award winner had no impact on my selection.

    I have enjoyed books that won awards, and many, many more that did not.

    Learning about the award process as an adult hasn’t helped. 😛

  10. I’ve generally felt tat “critical acclaim” means I am *less* likely to enjoy something. So I generally ignore awards, and lately I’ve started treating awarded books with extra suspicion. I need a strong endorsement from someone whose opinion I trust to pick one up.

    1. The point with the Hugos was that they were not critical acclaim, but a hardcore of fans vote for what they like most. “Crictal acclaim’ tends to mean good for leaving in the bathroom for emergencies. ;-).

  11. No and No, because I wasn’t aware of the awards for so long. Now, having suffered through far too many history books that are both [great national/international] award winners and deadly dull, I tend to flinch from most major awards.

    What will endure? I think any story that captures the imagination and spirit and that leaves the reader feeling better at the end of the book or story than at the beginning. Not necessarily happier, but rewarded and satisfied, or wiser and encouraged. And the just-flat-out fun stuff will also make it, no matter if it comes as a graphic novel, text projection on a personal screen of some form, or ye olde fashioned dead tree/grass/rag paper version.

    1. What she said. *grin* Tvtropes, that black hole where my spare time goes to die, talks about tropes that were probably born when Ugg and Olga got all moon eyed over each other and created the first and only original romance that everyone else has been copying for a couple hundred thousand years or so.

      Stories like those TXRed mentioned are why I’ll probably always be an avid reader. Sometimes it feels like the gambling disease, picking up book after book only to find the same recycled tripe I’ve been trying to avoid. *chuckle* At least it used to. Things are getting better now.

      I believe text will endure as long as language does. Text is a simplified form of voice communication, which can be itself a simplified form of in-person communication, right? There’s a certain loss of resolution in each step down, but it remains at the heart of things simple symbolic representation of ideas. It is durable, and will remain viable, I think, until we discover reliable telepathy. After which most of us will go insane.

      Even with, oh, cybernetic enhancements or some other fancy new technology, I don’t think they will be able to understand something *for* us. Thinking about it, I know I’ve read stuff that went completely over my head. I might be able to retrieve the information, but it was like memorizing a phrase in a foreign language that I don’t speak. Means essentially nothing.

      Sure, we might get stuff that enhances our understanding, maybe library implants that remember lots of stuff for us or imprinted instructions so we can perform rote tasks with precision. But lacking the ability to put all that basic knowledge and skill together to truly understand and create is probably a lot more complex than we can easily replicate.

      And if we can do that, the Turing Test becomes utterly obsolete, and what do our creations need fleshbag humans for anyway?

      1. Eh, some yes some no? Twenty years ago covers my age, so it *looks* to me like a subset has captured the media megaphone is using it to push agenda topics with blatant and unabashed bias. Fifty years ago would be the sixties? I think there’s some who see the current PC situation in sci-fi as the culmination of a life’s work, and others who look at it and say “Wait, wat? *That* won a Hugo?! Gaaaahhhh!” A hundred years ago, there was a world war brewing, but not yet started, but we had Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. If Mars Attacks! tomorrow, who d’ya think would be the first to surrender? *chuckle* Shakespeare was about 450 years ago, and still resonates. Heck, about a dozen years ago I was translating first century BC Latin and found things that made sense, inspired, and intrigued me (Virgil’s Aeneid et. al.).

        The works that really stand the test of time are few, it seems, but they all speak to some part of us that has remained the same. At least I think so- we are still human, same old DNA jumbled about and reassembled to make all the yous and me that are today. Culture can create some really weird preferences, yeah, across continents as much as across the bounds of time. Basic assumptions that are okay in the US could get one into trouble elsewhere, and vice versa.

        All in all, I think we’re more the same than different, though. Broadly speaking, of course. Courage, romance, tragedy, adversity, perversity, tenderness, justice, compassion, hope, wrath, and redemption will mean wildly different things specifically to different people, but we’ve still got those basic categories. I’d like to think that a thousand years from now, there are still humans around. Maybe we’ll have cracked FTL by then, and I hope there still will be folks like us among the stars who cheer the courage and defiance of the three hundred, find humor in the pratfalls of Bottom’s dream (for it hath no bottom), and utter to each other with a wry smile, “TAANSTAFL!”

  12. I’m in the no, no category. I was marginally aware of them as a young reader but payed them little mind, reading whatever I could lay hands on. Buying so much from the used market in my youth I never really followed the hot trends (not while they were hot, anyway) and the awards didn’t reliably show up on the covers of those books I saw. Now, of course, having too much knowledge of the process spoils any allure they might have had.

  13. For the awards, yes yee-hah sweet marmalade jams yes I did once, and no, not anymore respectively.

    First Hugo winner I read was Downbelow Station. Obviously I was unaware of its existence at the time it won, being more concerned with cramming things into my mouth (edible and not) and conniving a way to crawl off mama’s blanket. I was two. After I finally read it years later, still oblivious to the awards, but I knew I enjoyed the book and wanted more like it.

    Other than Star Wars, this was my first experience of space opera science fiction. Create a time machine and travel back to sometime in the fall, around 1994, and you could take a picture of me reading for posterity so future generations will know what a teenage guy thinking “ooh, pretty!” looks like when he’s *not* contemplating girls.

    Dune was the one that snagged my attention. After that, I looked all through the library for hugo books, and found Heinlein, Leiber, Niven, Pournelle, and others. I thought the Hugo was the reading equivalent of winning the Superbowl. Let’s just say that football was not my forte. *chuckle*

    After Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars, I’ve looked at the winners but haven’t ended up buying any- thus far. Like Cedar, it is now a mark in the warning column for me.

    1. Ugh, Red Mars. I hated the characters and quit when I found out they were all going to become immortal.

      1. I can tolerate a lot for moderately hard science fiction. Heck, the planet itself was the most interesting character of all!

    2. So I’ve got that as a yes, no. Look at the even the nom lists for the Hugo in the early years – you’ll know and probably love a huge majority of the books. Now? not so for me. So either the fandom who attends and votes at Worldcon and I have diverged or they’ve diverged from a lot of us.

  14. Used the Hugo heavily as a kid – there was a shelf on the library for award-winning fantasy and sci-fi. Still kept an eye on it until the late 90s, where I’d sort of look, and find myself turned off. “Why, this doesn’t sound any fun at all!”

    For a few years, I honestly thought I’d outgrown the genre! Of course, I’d still go back and read Headcrash, or Stephenson, or Brin, or some of the old guys who were still writing and winning nothing, and didn’t make the connection.

    The awards are irrelevant. Interestingly, there was a unique high-water mark in the awards, and I don’t mean in the quality, necessarily, of winner, but in the type of winner:

    In 1997, Titanic won best picture.
    That year’s Hugo went to Blue Mars
    That year’s Grammy for Best Album went to Celine Dion.

    That was the final year for awards to demonstrate what they had been, consistently, for years: a mass market award. In the decades following Titanic (which had followed a string of mass market movies of a certain quality: Braveheart, Forrest Gump, Schindler’s List, etc.), there were only one or two that would occasionally fit the old Mass Market mold: and the few I can think of were a bit odd in their selection.

    After 1997, you started to get books, movies, and music earning these broad, mass market awards on the basis of something other than mass market recognition. Super hit or miss.

    The Nebulae were almost always bad indicators of quality, so I never paid attention to them, and I disagreed with a lot of the Hugos (The Postman is better than Ender’s Game, for example, and Flow My Tears is far better than the Dispossessed), but I don’t think I’ve read a Hugo winner from before 1997 or so and said, “Whoa. That was a bad book.” But I’ve read a few since then that were not good, and I’ve seen a few more that won that weren’t even science fiction or fantasy.

    1. That’s a very interesting observation ‘high-water mark’ because it parallels the way I’ve felt about it. Either it’s diverged from me or I from it. The nebs seemed to hit it much earlier, and as you say be less reliable. My take was if you made the Hugo noms… I should take a look, because there was a good chance I’d like it, now, not so much. I wonder if the tide can be reversed?

  15. I never really looked for award winners. Now unless I know the author is someone I like, I actively avoid award winners.

  16. There were periods when the people who chose the books for the two stores in my reach which had an English language section including shelves for science fiction and fantasy seemed to pick the awards winners first. Also, the translations to Finnish were, besides classics, often the awards winners, or whatever had been the most talked about books the previous years. So yes, I read many Hugo and Nebula winners once, but due to limited choices picking a lot of them was rather inevitable.

    After internet, not really, although an award doesn’t drive me away either if the book sounds interesting. Most times I don’t really notice if there has been one, or if the author has won something for something before. Since most of the ‘sounds interesting’ ones are from Baen, sometimes indie, or indie freebies in which case it’s ‘sounds interesting enough for a trial read’, award winners tend to be scarce in my current selections.

  17. In my youth, I relied on them to find new writers worthy of my very limited book budget. That was ahhh…. quite some time ago.

    In recent decades a Hugo Award has zero to negative correlation with respect to whether I’ll like the book (there are exceptions, for example 2000 was a reasonably strong year).

    This year? Feh. That wasn’t even the best Star Trek fanfic of the year. It definitely made my decision to not give SFWA-affiliated authors any more of my money a lot easier, when it came to that.

    1. Oh this year was finally SPECIAL. I still am somewhat gobsmacked at both the sheer stupidity and chutzpah of it all. Maybe Heinlein could have got away with it, but would he have tried? The fallout from it was as obvious as the end result of a small furry creature trying to hold off a speeding automobile.

  18. I was 13 when we came back to the States. I’d found Heinlein while we were overseas, and knew he’d won a lot of Hugos. Therefore, I went Hugo hunting. This was the 70’s, and the public library had more SF short story collections than novels, it felt like. I clearly remember wanting to have read the Hugo winners. I did not feel the same way about the Nebulas. I tried, but they weren’t my cup of tea. This may have been an impression formed over years, but I remember that I did distinguish between the two awards. I also read lots of books that didn’t win Hugos, whatever looked interesting.

    In the past 15 years or so, I have lost all track of the award winners, and Bujold is the only writer I was aware of reading who was winning them. I wasn’t aware of the gossip or the gaming, they just didn’t register anymore.

    Which is a long way of saying yes and no.

  19. No, no. I didn’t read anyone besides Heinlein, Asimov, Star Trek, and the occasional friend’s recommendation in my teens. Now, I find I read authors I know.and have read before, along with friends’ recommendations.

    On a side note. Blue Mars won? I enjoyed Red and Green Mars immensely. Blue Mars not only killed the series for me, it killed any desire to read more from the author.

  20. Nope.
    The only awards I’ve ever paid attention to were the ones on all those deathly depressing books in high school, which I learned to recognize at a glance to avoid.

    My “selection” process at the fantastic fiction section was “look at it, read the back if it looks interesting, check it out if it sounds interesting.” Plain two-color spines weren’t a real determent, but stuff that had pictures that weren’t interesting were.

    1. We had Gollanz yellow covers – don’t know if they got to the US – terrible plain yellow cover… but it meant sf, and was easy to find. I am still puzzled why the trademark cover is not used by more publishers – I suppose the truth is, besides Baen, if you like one of their books it’s not at all sure you’ll like the next.

      1. There are two publishers I can think of that have a “brand”, Baen and Harlequin. The rest of the publishers, well may kinda-sorta have a “leftist, liberal, gray goo” brand, but not really. They occasionally publish a decent book, but their name or symbol on the spine is no real indication of content of the book. A trademark cover is only an advantage if the trademark (brand) means something to the purchaser.

  21. I’m in the no, no category. My selection process was pretty much the same as what Foxfier just described: go to the local library’s science fiction / fantasy section, start scanning spines and back covers for anything that grabbed my attention. That’s how I stumbled across The Warrior’s Apprentice, for example. Pretty soon I also started scanning for the Baen logo on spines, or the names of favorite authors… but the Hugo (or other award) logo on a book has never registered with me in my selection process, neither as a positive nor as a negative.

    1. Thanks Robin. If I were organizing I’d be horrified at the number of no, no’s there. Our sf was mixed in at the library, but had ‘sf’ stuck onto it. Your search image gets very precise very quickly.

  22. I *used* to pay attention to both Hugo and Nebula awards and nominations… up to the mid-80s (for Nebula) and early 90s (for Hugo). I even bought due to them. But sometime around the above dates I started wondering why nothing I actually *liked* was winning. Then why nothing I like was even getting *nominated*!

    Now I pay attention to the awards and nominations only to see whether any author I know and care about has a nomination. Otherwise, they’re a non-event.

    1. It’s interesting to look at the old nominations – mostly books I bought – so to me, anyway, it was doing a good job then. Now it’s mostly books I don’t to buy. Maybe that’s just my taste.

  23. No, and no. Although I won’t hold it against a book I do like if it does win something. 😛

  24. So… did even a single person answer “yes” to the second question of your survey? Or were the votes all split between “yes, no” and “no, no”?

  25. No for me. Haven’t even paid attention to who won in a long time. Seems pretty irrelevant and meaningless in terms of actual quality or innovation.

    1. Hmm…. I just went to see who won…I’ve read recently:
      BEST NOVELLA
      The Emperor’s Soul, Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)

      Which is actually quite good. I’ve read everything from Sanderson he’s published in his own worlds and very much like him as a writer, so I support it’s not all lousy folks winning.

      1. No it isn’t all bad – it used to be a quite good way of getting those who were more or less a representative sample of the fanatical sf reader (but with the money to attend too) to say what their favorite read was. Not a bad pointer for ‘best’ . That has been largely lost because it’s not nearly so representative any more, and the ability to promote one’s self (or someone else) or advertise has eclipsed the ability to let books garner support by being enjoyed.

  26. When younger, I read all the Hugo and Nebula winners. I think I quit doing that sometime in the ’90’s. And this year? Ugh, I’m not trying to bash Scalzi – even after the abomination of what he did to H.Beam Piper – but that was a bad joke.

    Hmmm, I just checked a list of Hugo winners. That’s interesting as 1997 is the mark point for me as well. Before that I read every one and enjoyed almost all, after that very few read and few enjoyed. What I thought striking in considering it was that was also the last year when I read and enjoyed most of the nominees too.

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