Hugo Award Winners – What I Think

I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I had been working on reading every Hugo Award winner. I’m close to finished and I though I’d jot down my thoughts on some of them. I’ve been debating how I could do that, and I think I’m going to start by just breaking them into groups. There are over 60 novels that have won the Hugo, so I certainly can’t go over all of them at once. Not only that, but I first started reading them over 10 years ago, which makes it a little tough to remember much about my early reads. So this post will simply be a list of how much I liked the book, with an occasional comment here and there. If you want more, each section title is a link to my more in-depth thoughts.

My Favorites

  • The Forever Machine (1955) by Mark Clifton & Frank Riley
  • Starship Troopers (1960) by Robert Heinlein – One of the first books I read when I started going through the Hugos. It opened my eyes to what science fiction could be.
  • Way Station (1964) by Clifford D. Simak
  • The Gods Themselves (1973) by Isaac Asimov – My favorite Asimov. I think it’s better than the Foundation series
  • Rendezvous With Rama (1974) by Arthur C. Clarke – Best last line I’ve ever read. Also, avoid the sequels like the plague!
  • Ender’s Game (1986) by Orson Scott Card
  • Barrayar (1992) by Lois McMaster Bujold – Still my favorite Vorkosigan book (Though Komarr and A Civil Campaign are both close).
  • The Graveyard Book (2009) by Neil Gaiman
  • Redshirts (2013) by John Scalzi

I Really Enjoyed

  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1967) by Robert Heinlein
  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1972) by Philip Jose Farmer
  • Gateway (1978) by Frederik Pohl – Fantastic story, but I still haven’t gotten around to reading the rest of the series.
  • Speaker for the Dead (1987) by Orson Scott Card
  • The Uplift War (1988) by David Brin – My favorite book from the Uplift Series
  • The Vor Game (1991) by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Mirror Dance (1995) by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog (1999) by Connie Willis
  • Ancillary Justice (2014) by Ann Leckie

Good, Not Great

  • The Demolished Man (1953) by Alfred Bester
  • Double Star (1956) by Robert Heinlein
  • Dune (1966) by Frank Herbert – I know many consider this one of the best sci-fi books around, but I just couldn’t get into it.
  • This Immortal (1966) by Roger Zelazny
  • Ringworld (1971) by Larry Niven – I have a friend that refers to this as ‘MacGyver in Space,’ it’s a lot of fun, but not very substantial.
  • The Dispossessed (1975) by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Dreamsnake (1979) by Vonda N. McIntyre
  • Foundation’s Edge (1983) by Isaac Asimov
  • Startide Rising (1984) by David Brin
  • Hyperion (1990) by Dan Simmons
  • Doomsday Book (1993) by Connie Willis
  • The Diamond Age (1996) by Neal Stephenson
  • A Deepness in the Sky (2000) by Vernor Vinge
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2001) by J.K. Rowling – I preferred the 3rd and 5th books to this one.
  • Hominids (2003) by Robert J. Sawyer
  • Paladin of Souls (2004) by Lois McMaster Bujold – A good book, but the first one, Curse of Chalion, was better
  • Blackout/All Clear (2011) by Connie Willis
  • The Three-Body Problem (2015) by Cixin Liu

Meh

  • A Case of Conscience (1959) by James Blish
  • Stranger in a Strange Land (1962) by Robert Heinlein – I really liked the first half of the book, but the second half ruined it for me.
  • The Man in the High Castle (1963) by Philip K. Dick
  • The Wanderer (1965) by Fritz Leiber
  • Lord of Light (1968) by Roger Zelazny
  • The Left Hand of Darkness (1970) by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Forever War (1976) by Joe Haldeman
  • Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1977) by Kate Wilhelm
  • Fountains of Paradise (1980) by Arthur C. Clarke
  • A Fire Upon the Deep (1993) by Vernor Vinge
  • Forever Peace (1998) by Joe Haldeman
  • American Gods (2002) by Neil Gaiman – The premise was great, and I like Neil Gaiman, but this book was so graphic it made it hard to get through.
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2005) by Susanna Clarke
  • Rainbow’s End (2007) by Vernor Vinge
  • The Windup Girl (2010) by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • The City & the City (2010) by China Mieville – I liked the story, but I wasn’t a big fan of Mieville’s style.

Not My Taste

  • A Canticle for Leibowitz (1961) by Walter M. Miller Jr.
  • The Snow Queen (1981) by Joan D. Vinge
  • Neuromancer (1985) by William Gibson – The most accurate review I saw of this book was (paraphrasing): ‘You read through each paragraph and are awed by Gibson’s use of the English language, but then you have to go back and puzzle out what actually happened.’
  • Cyteen (1989) by C.J. Cherryh – This was the first Cherryh book I had read and I hated it (which is why her other book is in the last section).
  • Spin (2006) by Robert Charles Wilson
  • The Yiddish Policeman’s Union (2008) by Michael Chabon
  • Among Others (2012) by Jo Walton

I Only Read These to Check Them off My List

  • The The Big Time (1958) by Fritz Leiber
  • Stand on Zanzibar (1969) by John Brunner – I lost interest in this one in the first 5 pages and it never pulled me back in.
  • Downbelow Station (1982) by C.J. Cherryh
  • Green Mars (1994) by Kim Stanley Robinson – I started to read Red Mars about three times before I could finally get through it. I hated that book so much. It was painful to have to go back to this world to cross the series off my list.
  • Blue Mars (1997) by Kim Stanley Robinson
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