About the Hugo Awards
One of Science Fiction's Biggest Annual Awards
The history of the Hugo Awards goes back to 1953, when they were known simply as the "Science Fiction Achievement Awards". They have been awarded annually at WorldCon since 1955 and were eventually renamed the Hugo Awards in honor of Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the noteworthy science fiction magazine Amazing Stories.
Today, works are eligible for a Hugo Award if they were published in English in the previous year. The categories for awards may vary from year to year to reflect the changing world of science fiction media and entertainment; for instance, current categories include everything from "Best Short Story" to "Best Fancast". Nominations - and final winners - are chosen by attending members of the WorldCon every year making it a true reflection of the science fiction community's tastes and trends.
For more information on the history, rules and current nominees for the Hugo Awards, please visit the following links:
1. "2312" by Kim Stanley Robinson
The latest novel by a master of terraforming and world-building
The story follows Swan Er Hong - a one-time terrarium designer who is grieving the unexpected death of her step-grandmother and mentor, Alex. Alex left a message for Swan to deliver to a friend on Io, and her journey opens up a plot of political intrigue, mystery, romance and futuristic science.
Robinson is definitely a "hard scifi" writer, one who knows his scientific details and delights in creating well thought-out and plausible futuristic settings. For those who love that kind of SF writing, you are likely in for a treat with this novel. However, others have criticized it (and Robinson in general) as being weak on actual plot and character development. So whether this novel will be your "cup of tea" depends on what you look for when reading SF literature.
Classic Titles by Kim Stanley Robinson
Explore other works by this master of the genre
2. "Blackout" by Mira Grant
The third book in one of the most popular zombie series today
When the "zombie apocalypse" first took place in this universe, traditional media was found to be far less efficient than new media (such as blogging) in getting information out there - hence "The Rising" of the importance of bloggers as "real" journalists. Humanity and society continues to survive after the arrival of the zombies in a world where politics, intrigue and conspiracies never seem to change. This series of books, following several bloggers on a presidential campaign trail and then immersed in a huge governmental conspiracy, manages to combine classic zombie horror with biting (pun intended) industrial/political commentary.
The third - and final - book in the Newsflesh series. Obviously you'll want to read the first two books in the series first if you haven't already. If you are a fan of the zombie genre in general, then this is surely a book series you'll want to read, if you haven't already!
More Books and Collections by Mira Grant
Other titles set in the Newsflesh universe
3. "Captain Vorpatril's Alliance" by Lois McMaster Bujold
The latest entry in the beloved Vorkosigan Saga
What makes the series so popular? Lois McMaster Bujold manages to combine many different styles and genres of writing in the series: military adventure, black comedy, romance, intrigue, and even mystery-style "whodunits". Media ethics play a huge part of the ongoing storyline in a universe where bioengineering, cloning and genetic manipulation can change and affect how humanity views itself both on a personal as well as universal scale. Fans have fallen in love with this series for its rich tapestry of characters and their on-going sagas, the details of the "world building" and science behind this extraordinary future vision, and the way Bujold approaches issues from sexuality to politics in such a captivating matter.
Like "Blackout" above, is another book which may not be the best place to jump in to a series, if you have not read any of the previous books before. It focuses on the character of Ivan Vorpatril, cousin to Miles Vorkosigan (one of the primary protagonists in the series).
Ivan typically prefers to avoid the political intrigue and adventures that Miles always seems to get wrapped up in. But here, his weakness for the ladies puts him in a dangerous situation, and he may need to give up his to-date bachelorhood in order to save himself! It is a lighthearted entry in the Vorkosigan Saga, one that fans have praised as "enjoyable" and "witty", and one of the more "well-written" in the saga overall.
Exploring the Vorkosigan Saga
Where to begin? Ask the author.
4. "Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas" by John Scalzi
Taking a lighthearted look at a well-known Trekkie cliche
This satirical read is likely to appeal to readers well-versed in their Star Trek lore, and who enjoy a good laugh and "meta"-fiction critique. Reviews have been somewhat mixed, however, as not everyone felt that the idea was explored as well - or even as humorously - as it could have been.
Scalzi is the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and has previously won the Hugo Award for Best Fanwriter in 2008, largely due to his popular blog, "Whatever".
"Red Shirt": The Theme Song
Written and performed by Jonathan Coulton
5. "Throne of the Crescent Moon" by Saladin Ahmed
Book One of The Crescent Moon Kingdoms Series
The book follows the adventures of Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, one of the last of the real "ghul hunters" in the great city of Dhamsawaat. Ghuls are zombie-like creatures summoned by sorcerers to do their bidding, and ghuls more powerful than Adoulla has ever seen before have reportedly been at fault for slaughtering entire villages. At 60, Adoulla wishes to retire so he can finally marry the woman he's loved for decades, but he knows he must go on one last mission first - and these powerful new ghuls may just be the beginning of a supernatural coup that could place Dhamsawaat and the entire Crescent Moon Kingdom in peril of an ancient evil.
Saladin Ahmed, an Arab-American author from Detroit, brings a fresh voice to the fantasy genre with this critically-praised work. It was also a finalist for the Nebula Award for Best Novel as well as a Hugo Nominee.
Ahmed has been praised for his unique and memorable characters, from the world-weary Adoulla to his young apprentice, the holy warrior Raseed bas Raseed. You can read the first chapter of Throne of the Crescent Moon at the author's website, and get a taste of the magical world he's created there.
Saladin Ahmed Interview about "Throne of the Crescent Moon"
The author answers viewer questions about his debut novel
Have you read any of these Hugo Nominated titles yet?
If so, which one would be your pick for the award?
My pick for the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel would be:
Science Fiction and Fandom Pages by Sockii
Space Art by Nicole Pellegrini
What is Space Art? Space Art is a genre of science fiction and fantasy-based artwork focusing on outer space: the stars and galaxies, alien landscapes, futu...
Kindle and Nook Sleeves Featuring Science Fiction Art
Are you a science fiction fan or know someone who is? Then check out these colorful, original Sci Fi Kindle and Nook Sleeves for the eReader of your choice! ...
The Ultimate Star Trek Fan Survey
2012 marked the 25th Anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, just part of the vast and ever-growing Star Trek science fiction universe. Ever since the...
What is Fan Art?
Fan art has been a part of fandom communities for decades. From "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" to "Twilight" and "Harry Potte...
DragonCon 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia: Your Survival Guide
Dragon*Con is a media fandom convention held annually over the Labor Day weekend in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Dragon*Con is the largest such event on the Ea...
FanFiction.Net vs. Archive of Our Own
Fan fiction is a widely popular hobby on the internet today. While fan fiction has been around for decades, earlier shared in fanzines or passed-around, type...
Is Fan-Fiction Wrong?
Fan fiction, once an "underground" fannish activity enjoyed by a relatively small group of people in the science fiction, media and music fan commu...