David Williams writes,
Instead of creating a new Hugo for editors, why not do the decent thing and create separate Hugos for SF and fantasy? Each year’s award administrators could have the power to designate which novels are SF and which fantasy; their decisions could provide many hours of wholesome entertainment for all of us.
Interesting idea, and a plausible suggestion, at least for novels — a Hugo for Best SF Novel, and one for Best Fantasy Novel — though I can’t help but think the Hugo smofs have thought of this already and rejected the idea, perhaps if only so as not to increase the number of categories, ever a dreaded possibility.
Meanwhile, via Gwenda Bond, I found this response to my previous post about the fact that four of the last five Hugos for best novel have gone to fantasy novels. Wondering if I should or should not have been surprised by this factoid, and setting aside any subjective discussions about the relative strengths of SF vs fantasy writing in recent years, I went and checked the full shortlists for the past five years, and found…
In 2005, there were two fantasy and three SF nominees; fantasy won. [For purposes of this survey I'm counting China Miéville's books as fantasy.]
In 2004, there was one fantasy and four SF nominees; fantasy won.
In 2003, there was one fantasy (China) and four SF nominees; SF won.
In 2002, there were three fantasy and three SF nominees; fantasy won.
In 2001, there were two fantasy and three SF nominees; fantasy won.
As for this year, 2005, what might be the potential Hugo nominees? Glancing through this year’s directory of novels, I spot fantasy candidates by Bujold, Butler, Ford, Gaiman, Martin, and Park. And potential SF candidates by Marusek, Morgan, Robinson, Scalzi, Simmons, Stross, and Wilson. Though despite many years of following and compiling awards, I wouldn’t think to guess what the actual nominees might be, let alone the winner.