I’m not voting this year, but still, it’s a good question: how can a voter possibly approach the series award?
Eight possible approaches are offered, one of which doesn’t count:
1. Just vote No Award on the principle that the series award is crazy anyway.
Hah, obviously I wouldn’t go for this option after cheering on the concept from the beginning.
2. Just don’t vote, at least not for things you haven’t read.
This is a lot like handling novels or movies by just not voting for things you haven’t read / haven’t watched. I think it’s kind of a cop out.
3. Vote for whichever series had the best 2016 novel.
Kind of defeats the whole purpose of the series award.
4. Vote according to reviews.
At last the technique that I’d use. I would read Book 1 of any series I hadn’t yet encountered. If that didn’t grab me, I might well stop right there. I say that knowing full well there are series I grew to love where the first book was just okay for me — Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series didn’t really take off till Book 3, for example, and I’ve heard the same about the October Daye series. In fact, the first book in CJC’s Foreigner series is pretty much an intro and I don’t know that it would tend to grab most readers.
Still, this seems like the fairest method to me, other than reading the entire series of all the nominees, which does seem . . . less than realistic.
Maybe for the really fast readers among us, the first book and then the book with the highest rating on Goodreads. That would be just two books per series. Still a lot, but maybe manageable?
6. See what’s in the Hugo Voter’s Packet.
Actually this will be very very interesting. Shoot, if the packet contains all the books of all the series, I guess I’ll buy a voting membership after all, because whoa.
7. Read the series until you think you’ve got a feel for it.
I agree with Camestros Felapton; this would be a useful technique for clearing the ones you hate out of the way. For me this would mean reading about 100 pages of the first book. That would probably do it.
8. Read all the books in all the series.
Again I agree with Camestros Felapton: Hah hah hah not likely. Some of you may read fast enough to actually do this! Not me. Of course no one would read eight or ten or eighteen books if they didn’t like the series at all, so this method would certainly be combined with (7).