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Friday, April 3, 2015

Retro Reading: Hugo Award Winning Books (or Books that I Thought had won the Hugo!)

You have to figure that if you aspire to read every Hugo Award winning novel written since 1954, you are really going to have some memorable experiences.  While my original goal wasn't to read every one, just the ones that I have been putting off for too long, I may go ahead and try to finish them all.  I had read a number of them before I started actively looking for the ones I have missed and the Hugo Award for Best Novel began in 1953, so I have about 40 books left to's very doable and should be rewarding.  As it turns out, this post will include some non-Hugo winning books that I thought had won and read them anyway.

As I am writing this, I was about to include Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke, but I notice that it did not win the Hugo when it was published.  I found it to be one of the more disturbing and memorable of the books I have read recently and I picked it up thinking it must have won the Hugo based on all the acclaim it has received over the years.  I believe I have read that the Hugo wasn't given out the year it was published (1953) although it was nominated for a Retro Hugo in didn't win!

The Stars Are Also Fire by Poul Anderson faked me out I think because the book cover said Hugo Award Winning Author.  But, I probably picked it out because of the cool Vincent Di Fate cover artwork.  It was a good page turner and seemed written 20 years before it's actual publication date for some reason.  The characters were relatable (sic) and there's a lot of drama contained within. 
The original three Foundation books by Isaac Asimov...didn't win the Hugo!  But I read them knowing they were part and parcel of a science fiction readers lexicon. 
The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov was another collection of books that were so "classic" that I assumed were Hugo Award winners.  They were fun and I could definitely see how they inspired ideas in many films and subsequent books, including Star Wars.
Arthur C. Clarke has won some Hugo Awards, but this book, The Songs of Distant Earth, wasn't even nominated.  Written in 1986, it presages the internet and a few other contemporary aspects of life.  I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to deals with global calamity and escape from our world to survive, but the crisis does not come from climate change.

What books have you read that you thought had won the Hugo or other awards but hadn't?  Or what books do you think should have been nominated?

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