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Do you let science fiction awards influence what you read?

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For me I think it depends a lot on what is nominated in a particular year. This year the Arthur C Clarke awards shortlist contains 2 books I've already read (one of which I loved and the other I was a little unsure about) plus another by an author I already know I really enjoy (China Mieville). Given that the people selecting the books have clearly chosen books I've already picked from the bookshelf myself, I'm more likely to go and try out the others on the shortlist. If on the other hand a shortlist contains things I've really hated or nothing I've heard of I'd be less likely to give the books on that shortlist a go. Then again, I'm always looking for recommendations, wherever they come from so maybe I would try them anyway.


You should enjoy a book for the story, not because its won a gong; most of which the rest of the literary world don't give two hoots for anyway.
I've read many a Hugo/Nebula/Arthur C.Clarke winner and some have been really good (Tau Zero / The Forever War) whilst others have bored me to tears (The Fifth Head of Cerberus), but it's all a matter of taste and should'nt be about who won what.

Geoff the head Uncle:
Being a book reviewer I know what goes on with the awards. You're better off choosing the books that appeal.

By the way, anyone interested in becoming a reviewer and lives in the UK, check our guidelines and contact me.

I don't bite.


Geoff the head Uncle:
Hello everyone

Two of my reviewing team have been judges on the Clarke Awards. Pauline Morgan even wrote an article on what happens year before last.

All the publishers who want in, send books that have to be read and that was nearly a 100 and on top of that, the finalists have to be read a second time.

With something like the Hugos, as long as a book is released during the designated year, those who've paid to go to the WorldCon or even an associate fee, can submit a vote for their favourite. Works well for the books but for some of the lesser things like magazines and such, the same things keep coming up - remember newbies to the Cons finding the place is loaded with their cliques - because its the same people voting all the time and they only pick the things they would normally pick up.

Me dubious? As long as you're aware of such things, you tend to get a taste for salt.


I just read The City & The City by China Mieville, which I saw won a couple of awards this year. And yes, I think I did pick it up quicker because I'd seen that it had won the awards. However, I'm not sure that this didn't in a way spoil some of my enjoyment of the book. Yes, it was a good read (though not close to Perdido Street Station (also by MiƩville and definitely one of my favourites) in my opinion), but I found myself thinking that it wasn't as good as I'd expected.

I'd already read a couple of others from the shortlist for one of the awards and one of those (Princess, or the Spirit of Bois Dormant by Gwyneth Jones) I really enjoyed, so I was expecting a GREAT read. Now I know it's a totally different style from that book, and indeed from China MiƩville's previous novels, but even so, it just didn't fully grab my attention, I didn't spend every waking moment wishing I was reading it. It was a GOOD book, with some really good ideas, but I didn't think it was a GREAT book. So maybe in future I'll hold off from reading something which won awards because I think I'd have been less disappointed with this book not knowing it was a double award winner.

Having said that, I'd still recommend it - it's an interesting mix of crime fiction and science fiction with some brain-twisting Orwellian concepts :-)



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