Hugo Best Novel Reviews 2007: The Final Chapter

July 13th, 2007

To finish the unofficial Hugo-week on this blog, a recap of my thoughts on the five nominees for Best Novel.

The five nominees (with a link to my review) are:

So, which should win the Hugo?

In fifth place is Temeraire. I really enjoyed this book a lot, but it has a couple of strikes against it in my mind. First, it’s not SF, which historically has been a big barrier to winning the Hugo. Secondly, it’s too slight for the more intellectually focussed crowd that votes. By way of consolation, though, Naomi Novik is sure to make a lot of money, and apparently Peter Jackon has already optioned the movie rights.

In fourth place is Eifelheim, which (as I mentioned in my review) is just over long and far toe obsessed with the minutiae of medieval life.

In third place is Rainbows End. A strong story, but it loses its way a bit towards the end. Besides, Vinge already has two Hugo’s to his name.

In second place (and a close finish) is Glasshouse. A great story, that would have been a worthy winner. But ultimately its intellectual lightness pushes it to second place.

So my pick for best novel in 2007 is Blindsight. I found this to be a stunningly good novel, and one of the few books that I’ve felt compelled to read almost without break. Strong philosophical themes, careful research, good action, balanced pacing, and good science should all help push this one to the top of the lsit.

Voting on the Hugo awards for 2007 closes on 31 July, and the prizes well be presented 6pm (Tokyo time) on 1 September. I’ll be trying my very best to get to the Novella and Novelette nominees sometime before then, and may even try and weigh in on the dramatic presentation awards too (if I can get around to seeing the three films and two episodes I haven’t seen, that is).