Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Reading the Hugo Nominees

I do TRY to read the award nominees if I’m going to be voting on ’em. I try hard! Especially the novels!

Luckily the Hugo people help with this by sending you an electronic packet with all the nominees in pdf form, if you’re eligible to vote. Yay!

The Hugo nominees are
The Dervish House, which I haven’t read yet.

BlackOut / All Clear, which I haven’t read yet.

Cryoburn, by Lois McMaster Bujold, which of course I preordered and read the moment it arrived. I enjoyed it, naturally, but it’s not my favorite of her Vorkosigan books and I won’t be voting for it.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which I loved loved loved and I will vote for it unless one of the others knocks my socks off even more than this one did, which I don’t expect but who knows?

And Feed, by Mira Grant, which I just read and liked a lot but will not be voting for. Here’s my take on Feed, which I just read a week or so ago —

The explanation for the zombies was clever, the zombies themselves well done. I’m not a zombie fan, but I really liked how Grant handled hers. Characterization and voice was excellent. It would never in a thousand years have occurred to me to write a book about bloggers covering a presidential campaign — whoa. Grant did a great job, a *fantastic* job, with the near-future tech and with the close-up of the political campaign. I had some problems with this book, but I will DEFINITELY be buying the sequel.

Here’s why I won’t be voting for it for the Hugo (spoiler alert!)

One — the main bad guy was VERY VERY obvious. The moment this guy walked on stage, I was like, Hello, here is the bad guy! And it kept getting more obvious until I decided that maybe Grant was pulling a fast one and REALLY the bad guy would turn out to be a shocking surprise. Well, no. That really was the bad guy. The protagonist of this book, Georgia, is supposed to be so very very competent, and that’s exactly how she comes across, except honestly, it makes anybody look stupid when something is so crystal clear to the reader and yet the protagonist doesn’t get it until it’s spelled out in flaming letters ten feet high.

And Two — look, I’m only a casually religious person, okay? But I am nevertheless offended by the stereotype of religious people as either useful idiots or else as narrow-minded bigoted crush-your-enemies repressive EVIL dudes. Frankly, the use of this stereotype made me simply not believe in the bad guy. I rolled my eyes every time he opened his mouth, and twice as hard during his big final speech.

So, doesn’t begin to kick The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms out of first place for me. But! I really really honest DID enjoy Feed very much, and I WILL be buying the sequel!

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