ed_rex: (ace)
[personal profile] ed_rex posting in [community profile] spaceopera

 

Awards among the shallows:

Hugos considered as dyptich of semi-precious novels

Vernor Vinge and why the golden age of science fiction is still twelve

 

 

I really ought to know better by now. It doesn't matter whether an award is given out by fans or by peers, critics or the general public, whether the criteria is ostensibly "best" this or "favourite" that.

Awards are a crap shoot, influenced by fashions, by lobbying and by plain old bad taste.

That's right, I said it. Sometimes an award is given out to a book (or a movie, or a play, or a poem — the list is as endless as variations in the arts) that simply doesn't deserve it. That doesn't even merit being on the short-list in the first place.

Let me tell you about Vernor Vinge and why the golden age of science fiction is still 12. My full review lives at Edifice Rex Online. Yell at me here, or there.

Date: 2012-07-31 04:57 am (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
I zipped through Fire, and over the subsequent year slowly grew to hate it, because

If A Fire Upon the Deep is something that fans consider one of the "best" novels science fiction has produced, it becomes clear that fans — or at least a significant subset of same — are not really interested in a literature of ideas, any more than in a literature of character, of politics or of metaphysics. The nominations and the awards suggest that far too many readers don't want their science fiction to push any of their boundaries at all. Not literary boundaries, not even scientific boundaries.

And my god, the maguffins were so cheap and the characters so wooden and unbelievable. About the only thing I thought had potential was the skrodes, but no, no, we had to have cheap maguffins.

It kind of made me never want to read Vinge again.

Re: Never again?

Date: 2012-07-31 04:23 pm (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
I don't demand all my SF be rigorous and full of ideas, mind, but I do think successful space opera needs characters, not ciphers or cardboard or stereotypes. I'm not sure Vinge gets people at all...

Haven't tried Reynolds yet.

Date: 2012-07-31 12:56 pm (UTC)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
From: [personal profile] feuervogel
I haven't read either, and now I don't think I will...

Re: You're welcome?

Date: 2012-07-31 04:41 pm (UTC)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
From: [personal profile] feuervogel
Well, I figure, there's enough new stuff and good older stuff I haven't read, I shouldn't waste my time reading dreck. And if a review can help me make those triage decisions, I'm all for it :)

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