My last post on the Hugo award was quite sprawling and I jammed about ten points in there without working it out.
One of the finer points of why the Hugo doesn’t ultimately matter as a barometer of anything other than mainly authors and a few insiders passing awards is this scenario.
I am sure there are lots of ways people come across books: recommendation from a friend, television commercial (another one, Mr. Patterson?) emails from Amazon, etc.
But the #1 way I come across new books is standing in the science fiction aisle and scanning through books. I have also just started to do this with the Kindle browser, but you need a starting point. I look at covers, titles, something grabs me, I probe a little deeper, see if the prose strikes me, the first sentence, maybe first paragraph, the blurbs, etc. What may grab me on Saturday may fail on Sunday, I may never get to the book I do buy, or it can sit on the shelf passed over for a year or two. I confess I also have a reading list that goes past my natural life so new authors have to fit in. It is not like I go into a bookstore because I have nothing to read.
I am sure this is the way it goes for a lot of people – a lot of readers. The chances of me having run across any of the same books in the qualifying year as anyone else is very small indeed. What the Hugo award represents is the same thing it has always represented. The selection by a very small group of people of what they believe is the best work of a given year – by whatever standard they happen to be using in that era (more about this comment in a moment).
I would be willing to bet most of the WorldCon people that vote are people actually in the business and I bet there are a lot of people who Continue reading