September 5, 2001
7:52 PM   Subscribe

OK, this whole Harry Potter thing - while completely out of proportion to any real value in the books - has up till now been pointless but essentially harmless. But wasting a Hugo Award on this crap?! To quote (oh, I don't know, some Clinton-hating Republican): "Where's the outrage?!"
posted by m.polo (60 comments total)
I somehow doubt that "wasting" a Hugo award counts as harm in any sense of the word. Besides, the books really are good. Perhaps not so good as to deserve the attention they got, but they're well written, engaging, and fun. Sounds like a perfect candidate for a Hugo to me.
posted by Nothing at 8:03 PM on September 5, 2001

While the hype is over-blown, they are still good books. Not horribly intellectually challenging, mind-blowing books, but still good. I don't know how often you get to read good books, but I can never get enough.
posted by stoneegg21 at 8:03 PM on September 5, 2001

50 bucks says m. polo hasn't read the books.

seriously though, what warrants the level of extreme contempt some people have for these books? I'd like to hear from someone who has read all the books all the way through and still hates them so much.
posted by chrisege at 8:09 PM on September 5, 2001

It's the Hugos, for god's sake. Fan voting. What do you expect?
posted by rodii at 8:12 PM on September 5, 2001

Harry Potter Franchise (tm) (r) (c) may or may not be good, or actually a novel, but did you read Calculating God, The Sky Road, A Storm of Swords, or Midnight Robber, the other novels voted on?

No, neither did I.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:13 PM on September 5, 2001

seriously though, what warrants the level of extreme contempt some people have for these books?
It's popular. Popular stuff gets all the attention and overshadows things which other people consider more worthy. Thus, resentment, etc.
I like the Harry Potter books, myself, but as long as we're talking about YA fantasy, give me the Philip Pullman Subtle Knife/Golden Compass/Amber Spyglass series any day....
But if A Storm of Swords was in the running, then it *was* robbed.
posted by darukaru at 8:15 PM on September 5, 2001

I'd like to hear from someone who has read all the books all the way through and still hates them so much.

You don't need to finish the whole gallon of milk to know that it's sour.

I'm just saying, is all.
posted by jpoulos at 8:15 PM on September 5, 2001

We should be outraged for the simple fact that those "books" (if you can call them that) have lured kids into reading taking time away from more valuable activities like playing video games.
posted by sexymofo at 8:19 PM on September 5, 2001

Hey... whatever gets the kiddies reading, y'know?! Start them off with ole HP and when Lord of the Rings comes out this winter get them that set and see what they think!
posted by crankydoodle at 8:22 PM on September 5, 2001

The Harry Potter books have gotten a very large number of kids -- future SCI FI fans -- to enjoy reading, and have blown the minds of many parents and teachers who wouldn't have believed that little Timmy or Suzy had the attention span to tackle a real book. That's no minor feat.
posted by dws at 8:26 PM on September 5, 2001

i am new, i am mav. see me here. metafilter looks like it rocks. if you have any advice for the new guy, tell me.
posted by mav at 8:27 PM on September 5, 2001

I read the first one, because I wanted to find out what kids were interested in these days. For the most part, its a story about an unpopular kid who finds out that he's actually royalty and very popular at a school for wizards. There really wasn't much there. I was hoping for the Narnia Chronicles. I didn't like it because I found it to be mundane, not particularly inventive, and pushed the oppossite values from what I expected (conformity and so on).

Can someone who read it and liked it tell me what they liked? (I guess the owl was cute)
posted by xammerboy at 8:33 PM on September 5, 2001

Don't post intros in a ongoing post, but comment on what the actually post is about, and if you really feel like it, post a comment at the end that you're new. Other than that, welcome.
posted by stoneegg21 at 8:35 PM on September 5, 2001

I just read Calculating God. If it was in the running for a Hugo, then it must have been a pretty weak year for sci-fi. Calculating God was fun, but it was by no means award-worthy.
posted by kindall at 8:41 PM on September 5, 2001

And, on the flipside, can anyone account for the fuss about the Pullman books? I found them dull and unengaging.

Is just one of those anti-backlash backlash knee-jerk reactionary things? Or am I totally missing something in these books?
posted by matt8313 at 8:51 PM on September 5, 2001

According to FatBabies, Electronics Arts paid $100 million for the computer games license.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:53 PM on September 5, 2001

You don't need to finish the whole gallon of milk to know that it's sour.

that's bullshit and you know it. we're talking about books, not milk. Remember that the fourth book was the one that won the hugo. Do you drink a glass of milk from 4 years ago and then assume that all milk from that farm is inherently sour?

The first two harry potter books are, unfortunately, somewhat dull and not all that entertaining. The third and the fourth, however, are excellent. The fourth book is the one that won the award. If you haven't read it, I fail to see how you can make any complaint at its winning. I'd put Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire on the same level as Chronicles of Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time, the Prydain Chronicles, Pullman's Amber Spyglass trilogy, and plenty of other fantasy or sci-fi novels written for a young adult audience.

Can someone who read it and liked it tell me what they liked? (I guess the owl was cute)

how about strong characters and an engaging storyline? do they count for anything these days?
posted by chrisege at 8:54 PM on September 5, 2001

Two things:

1) Harry Potter is science fiction?
2) What did the bad guy from Battlefield Earth win? (back row, middle)
posted by kevspace at 8:55 PM on September 5, 2001

I read both Storm Of Swords and Goblet of Fire. I think I like the Martin slightly more than the Rowling, but I personally don't think that the Rowling is a bad choice.
posted by bjennings at 8:57 PM on September 5, 2001

1) Harry Potter is science fiction?

Hugos are fan awards for either sci-fi or fantasy. Check out Dick's Man in the High Castle - a 60's winner than really doesn't fall in either category.
posted by skallas at 9:08 PM on September 5, 2001

I run a middle school library, where these books don't stay on the shelves for more than a few hours after they've been returned. Now maybe you can chalk up a typical "non-reader" picking up the first book and reading it to sheeple overhype. But how do you explain the fact that they're sticking out the entire series, reading two thousand pages? Gotta be pretty compelling stuff to keep such tough customers engaged for weeks. And the best part is, they come back asking for more just like it. At which I sometimes point them to Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, which I read years before HP, and like just as well, if not better. It starts a habit, and that's fine with me and every teacher I've talked to.

I admit, the hype kept me away until about a year ago, but I figured I should at least read one, considering my new profession. The characters are likeable but not perfect, there's plenty of humor, and the adventures kept me turning pages into the night. These are good books, plain and simple - far, far better than most of the krep that's been popular with 'tweens in the too-recent past (Goosebumps? Animorphs? c'mon). Rowling deserves all the fame, fortune, and praise her books have generated, including a Hugo.
posted by spinning jennie at 9:33 PM on September 5, 2001

The best part of this article was that it made me click through to the Cordwainer Smith homepage, and remember all of those incredible stories of his. Rowling is no Linebarger!
posted by Hildago at 9:38 PM on September 5, 2001

Harry Potter Franchise (tm) (r) (c) may or may not be good, or actually a novel, but did you read Calculating God, The Sky Road, A Storm of Swords, or Midnight Robber, the other novels voted on?
Yeah, I did.
I know, I am one big loser.
I too work at a library, and believe me, these books fly off the shelf. We have replaced all of them several times because the simply fall apart from constant use. Entertaining? Yeah, I'll go for that. These books deserve an award simply because they are getting kids heads into books again, instead of nose first in a paint can.
All praise Rowling.
(and by the way...Calculating God was okay....but....a Hugo? hhmm....)
posted by bradth27 at 9:51 PM on September 5, 2001

The way I see it, anyone reading Harry Potter or the His Dark Materials trilogy or, say, Diane Duane's Wizards books isn't someone reading Xanth, and that's a win for all of us.
posted by darukaru at 9:54 PM on September 5, 2001

This will be mostly a repeat of things I said a couple of days ago on my own weblog, but I'd like to enter it into the record here anyway. I have read all four Harry Potter books, all three of Martin's Song of Ice and Fire (of which the third, Storm of Swords, was a Hugo Award also-ran this year), and about 75% of the books that have ever won the Hugo (it's an ongoing project of mine to read them all). I think that, were I forced to choose between just the two of them, I'd have picked Storm of Swords because George R.R. Martin's book edges out Goblet of Fire all around, but the HP franchise is nonetheless near-brilliant and the choice to go the other way is legitimate.

I resisted reading any of the HP novels myself until last winter precisely because of the all-too-natural assumption - clearly held by the original poster - that anything that's received so much hype must be garbage (i.e., Pokémon). Well, sometimes things that get a lot of hype deserve to get it. HP is one of those cases. The characters are interesting, distinct, and unique. The situations she gets them into actually engage the reader, often to the point where the reader will find himself worrying - it's a sure sign of a well-written book that it can get me concerned over a situation even when I know it will all work out in the end. Best of all, each book so far has been better than the one before it - Rowlings could easily slack off now and sell millions of copies anyway (like, say, Steven King or Anne Rice do), but she's gone the other way.

That said, as a pretty serious SF fan and a discerning reader, I have something of a problem with the Hugo going to a juvenile fantasy. I don't agree that it's an all-inclusive category; there's a separate World Fantasy Award given every year and Goblet of Fire isn't even nominated for it this year (nor is Storm of Swords). Instead, they gave it a Hugo, which, having read most of them, I believe is and should be reserved for SF.
posted by MuadDib at 9:56 PM on September 5, 2001

I was forced to read the HP series from my gf-at-the-time last summer, and though I read a lot (though probably not as much as some people here, due to my age and the above avg. intelligence of mefi community), I cannot think of any other works that have kept me so engaged with the storyline. i reread the series last month, as the first book was a required text for my english comp 103 class (yeah, i know...) and i felt an extreme need to read it all over again. having just gone through the four books, and with the movie and next book still far away, i've had to settle with fan fiction, which I don't think I've ever done with anything else.

and i'm a hardcore books of magic fan too... (wonderful comic created by neil gaiman with a somewhat similar plot... though i must admit, it has fallen the hell off lately, with the new writers.)
posted by lotsofno at 10:07 PM on September 5, 2001

a little off topic, but i just checked my site log, and someone had searched my site today for "gay harry potter porn"..... ... .. . ::sigh::
posted by lotsofno at 10:22 PM on September 5, 2001

I'd put Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire on the same level as Chronicles of Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time, the Prydain Chronicles, Pullman's Amber Spyglass trilogy, and plenty of other fantasy or sci-fi novels written for a young adult audience.

Man, what have you been smoking? As a greedy reader of children's fantasy lit, I will state with confidence that Rowling's books, while engaging, are certainly not at the level of any of the books you cite (except perhaps the L'Engle, whose novels - although centred around great concepts - are not particularly well written). Mr Tumnus, Cat Chant, Taran and Lyra could kick Harry's ass - together or in a group - any day of the week. The works of Baum, Jannsen, LeGuin, Tolkien, Lofting, Pinkerton and Jones also stand infinitely higher than Hermione. (Well perhaps not infinitely...)

That said, the only other 2001 Hugo novel finalist I had read was Calculating God... and while Sawyer is about as good a Canadian sci-fi author as we've got (and he answers his email!), CG was fatally flawed - as the last 45 pages made up the worst ending I have read in any novel since 1998.

Knowing the top 2 finalists, I'd have voted "No Award".

(PS: Pullman fans take note - he's been nominated for the Booker!
posted by Marquis at 10:34 PM on September 5, 2001

Hairy Pooter.
posted by pracowity at 11:08 PM on September 5, 2001

I do like the winner's group photo on the site, though. And, as suspected, not an ounce of pigment among them.
posted by robbie01 at 11:33 PM on September 5, 2001

I`ve read all four books in the Harry Potter series to date. I thoroughly enjoyed the first three. I thought the (now award winning) fourth book was really weak presentation of some otherwise neat ideas, and by far the weakest in the series.

On the other hand, immediately after, I plowed through the first book in the Song of Fire and Ice series. It wasn`t bad, but it just didn`t leave me with a motivation to read any more. So if Storm of Swords is like Game of Thrones, give me Harry Potter any day.

This, of course, ignores the fact that neither of these is really SF....

robbie01 -- I`m only aware of one SF writers with pigment, and he`s shopping his first novel around right now. Perhaps you can make some recommendations?
posted by chiheisen at 11:35 PM on September 5, 2001

I've read the Harry Potter books--they are well done, and good fun, and I certainly have nothing against them. I don't even really object to the hype about them, all that much--they are sufficiently worth reading that I don't begrudge Rowling all the attention.

BUT... IMHO there are better things out there. To my mind, as far as YA fantasy is concerned, Harry Potter doesn't hold a candle to Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy--a book that is both brilliant storytelling for young and adult readers alike, AND intellectually/philosophically challenging. (I will shamelessly self-link to my review of the trilogy, instead of repeating myself here).

As to the other Hugo nominees: I have read The Sky Road and Midnight Robber, both of which I think are superior to Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire.

The Sky Road concludes a tetralogy by the Scottish SF writer Ken MacLeod; to my mind it is not quite as interesting as the other books in the series, but it is masterful hard SF with a fascinating political angle.

As for Nalo Hopkinson's Midnight Robber, it is a magnificent book, unlike anything else I've ever read. It combines motifs from Jamaican and Trinidadian folklore & mythology, with sharp gender politics and a girl's coming of age story, with some more traditional SF themes (like the difficulties of negotiating relationships with intelligent alien beings). Hopkinson's language is also powerful and innovative, as it shifts back and forth between written & spoken English, and between North American and Caribbean dialects.

I haven't read Calculating God or A Storm of Swords, but among the ones I have read, my vote would have gone to Midnight Robber.
posted by Rebis at 11:35 PM on September 5, 2001

See what I say above about Hopkinson's Midnight Robbers, when it comes to SF writers "of pigment."
And don't forget Samuel Delany and Octavia Butler, among older/more established SF writers.
And have a look at this anthology.
posted by Rebis at 11:39 PM on September 5, 2001

I enjoy the Harry Potter series very much, mainly for the characters and atmosphere. However, some of her plot elements feel contrived and/or strained, especially in Goblet of Fire (specifically Moody's true identity and the duel at the end). They aren't hugely distracting, but they gave me pause.

MuadDib wrote: ...with the Hugo going to a juvenile fantasy. (emphasis mine)

I know about 2061 people who would take exception to that. ;) Rowling has said in interviews that she writes the books as something she would enjoy to read. From this site: "I never wrote them with a focus group of 8-year-olds in mind."

That said, I doubt they will ever escape the YA categorization, simply because of the way they are marketed. It'll be interesting to see how she juggles that younger target market with the emerging darker themes.
posted by brookedel at 11:59 PM on September 5, 2001

Dude, the Hugos are some kind of science fiction geek thing - it's not a serious prize or anything.
posted by Mocata at 2:21 AM on September 6, 2001

Let's remember the Hugos are awards from popular vote by fans; I looked at the voting record, which was interesting to see. It seems that preferences for the other books split rather evenly. Look how closely second place was decided. From the first place voting, you would've guessed =Calculating God= would come in 2nd, but upon removing HP from the list, a =Storm of Swords= barely edges it out. This is the kind of thing Kenneth Arrow won a Nobel Prize for -- the inherent problems with an election between more than 2 options. You get results like this all the time.
posted by meep at 2:42 AM on September 6, 2001

Start them off with ole HP...

On the first take, I parsed that as Lovecraft. Now there's a set of books to get kids reading!
posted by kvan at 4:16 AM on September 6, 2001

> Start them off with ole HP

And if that doesn't make them palatable, try them with some chutney.
posted by pracowity at 4:29 AM on September 6, 2001

50 bucks says m. polo hasn't read the books. Seriously though, what warrants the level of extreme contempt some people have for these books? I'd like to hear from someone who has read all the books all the way through and still hates them so much.

Feel free to drop that 50 bucks in the mail to me at any time, chrisege... (This is MeFi, why would I even bring this up if I hadn't read them?!)

I've read all four, the first one twice (seven year old nephew I read to regularly). I'd only read one of the other nominees, but frankly George R. R. Martin's Storm of Swords is so far superior to this juvenile milking of a franchise of dubious value that it defies comparison...
posted by m.polo at 4:38 AM on September 6, 2001

the first book was a required text for my english comp 103 class (yeah, i know...)

lotsofno, can you elaborate on this? Was this a class in kid lit? What school is this? Are they using HP to get college kids reading, too? What else was on the reading list?
posted by muckster at 5:29 AM on September 6, 2001

On pigmented writers, try the Hugo and Nebula (voted on by fellow SF writers) winning author Samuel R. Delany. Black, dyslexic, and gay. But then, if you base your reading choices on the sexual orientation or colour of the author, then you're missing some good stuff.

On reading Harry in a university lit course, it might be a SF&F reading course, they're almost universal now, and they regularly include things that might otherwise be considered for children. The Hobbit is a childrens' book, and so is Narnia. (Not that I'm putting Harry in the same category as Tolkien or Lewis, but they're in the same market, nominally.)
posted by djfiander at 5:46 AM on September 6, 2001

I think it has something to do with the panel of judges being made up of 12 year olds.
posted by mis at 6:23 AM on September 6, 2001

I'm going to start this off with stating that I like the Harry Potter series. It's not the best thing I've read, by far. I know the Hugo is a fan award, but the selection of Goblet of Fire only indicates that the quality of SF fandom is going down. I'm wondering if this was given because of "sorry, we didn't vote enough for Prisoner of Azkaban last year" which is a far superior book to GoF. You could drive an 18-wheeler through the plot holes in GoF. Robert Jordan also had a book published last year, which I did read, and it had a lot of flaws (but was still enjoyable, at least to me) but I'm not going to pretend that the Wheel of Time series is great literature, and the same goes for Harry Potter.

For the person who read HP as Lovecraft...strange you say this. I like Lovecraft, but I'm wary of recommending his stuff to just anyone, especially the people who read the "other" HP...but, hey, I was 15 when I read Lovecraft for the first time; at least these kids would build a decent vocabulary!

World Fantasy Awards: I've read 4 of the 6 books nominated, and putting GoF up with those books would be rather silly. Paula Volsky also writes lightish fantasy (and anyone on certain Potter mailing lists is probably sick of me recommending her stuff) but I didn't really notice any "WTF?" moments when reading The Grand Ellipse.
posted by Electric Elf at 7:03 AM on September 6, 2001

juvenile milking of a franchise of dubious value

How *exactly* can the FIRST book be milking a franchise? When the author was writing it she was so poor that she was receiving public assistance .... how is that milking a franchise?

The HP books are entertainment. Not all entertainment has to be Proust or Joyce. Why do you think Danielle Steel sells so many novels? Most readers are not looking for a challenge. The novels were written to "age" with each volume, so they start with the 12 (?) year old set, and increase in maturity about a year or two with each installment... which is probably why most of the folks who have posted so far prefer the fourth book to the first three.
posted by Johannahh at 7:27 AM on September 6, 2001

The panel of judges isn't 12-year-olds: it's any sf fan who cares enough to join Worldcon and then actually vote.

Personally, I voted for Ken MacLeod's The Sky Road, and Nalo Hopkinson's Midnight Robber, in that order. But anyone who says the prize should have gone to "No Award" and hasn't read all *five* nominees isn't being fair: how can you be sure a book you never looked at isn't Hugo-worthy?

By the way, the group photo isn't an accurate representation of the winners: Ang Lee won a Hugo, which Craig Miller accepted; David Langford won two, accepted by Martin Hoare and David Hartwell; and several other winners weren't present, as the caption explains.
posted by rosvicl at 7:31 AM on September 6, 2001

lotsofno, can you elaborate on this? Was this a class in kid lit? What school is this? Are they using HP to get college kids reading, too? What else was on the reading list?

The class was just normal english composition 103, one of the required courses at University of Cincinnati. Of course, that particular book may not be a text they normally use, as I took it during the summer and I'm sure there's some statistic out there claiming it's best to use easy-to-read books during the summer. I noticed a lot of kids around me who weren't motivated to read. Though we didn't have any other novels to read (it was a 3 week class), the short stories were a little bit more sophisticated. We had some Alice Walker and Kate Chopin. The 3 required English Composition classes (101, 102, 103) don't usually have us reading fiction, as here more about writing essays...
posted by lotsofno at 7:40 AM on September 6, 2001

I'm asking because I used to teach English Comp, and HP seems like a strange choice. I'm not being snobbish about it, just curious. Using fiction to teach essays is definitely preferable to the usual abortion/rap lyrics/reality tv/gun control/death penalty yawn-fest, but I'm not sure HP would have been my first choice. I'm surprised college sophomores don't turn up their hipster noses at Harry and Hermione. (Full disclosure: I am currently enjoying Prisoner of Azkaban.)

To derail the threat further, has anybody read Lemony Snicket? I've had this highly recommended to me as an HP alternative. Or is this so kiddie that it doesn't merit mefi discussion/Hugo consideration?
posted by muckster at 8:01 AM on September 6, 2001

Think of the Lemony Snicket books as the novelization of the Gashlycrumb Tinies.
posted by darukaru at 8:40 AM on September 6, 2001

like others have said - the Harry Potter books a good. i read all four last week while i was off work after i had my foot operated on. and the book that won J K Rowling the award i stayed up all night reading it. it was great!

i think that people get so caught up in the fact that things get hyped up that they cant believe that the book or film or whatever may actually be good. but the hype around HP only started with the last few books so people should at least read them before dismissing them.
posted by endorwitch at 8:43 AM on September 6, 2001

I've just finished the first of the Lemony Snicket series. Definitely not a candidate for a Hugo (not sci fi), but worth a read. Far darker stuff than HP - gothic, really. Snicket's humor is a bit more ascerbic than Rowling's.
posted by spinning jennie at 10:07 AM on September 6, 2001

I'm amazed this has generated any discussion and more amazed at the quantity of discussion. I guess it all boils down to any awards being contentious simply because different people like different things.

BUT, with that said. The tone of the original posting suggests to me the "popular = it must suck" attitude that a lot of people seem to have. While sometimes popular things do suck, there is no rule that says they must. I'm sorry that some don't like the choice and I haven't read the other nominees so I can't compare them but I can say that when I heard the choice I wasn't surprised nor did I think a great injustice had been done.

I have read all four HP books myself, I actually read them to my son one chapter a night over a long period. I expected that I would find them mildly amusing or somewhat tedious like a lot of what I used to read to him (he reads quite well on his own now, Dad is redundant) but they were every bit as entertaining for me as they were for him.
posted by johnmunsch at 10:28 AM on September 6, 2001

someone had searched my site today for "gay harry potter porn".....

did they find any?

Me: You don't need to finish the whole gallon of milk to know that it's sour.

Chrisege: that's bullshit and you know it.

Easy, tiger. You're right: the analogy was a poor one. But I don't think you need to read an author's entire output to judge whether he/she is any good.

Regardless of whether the books are good, I simply don't understand the fanatically devotion many fans, especially adults, have for the franchise.

When I was a kid, I adored the LotR triology, and I still think it's great stuff. But I'm not willing to fight anyone who criticizes it, as some of these fans are.
posted by jpoulos at 11:11 AM on September 6, 2001

I checked last year's Hugo noms and the previous Potter book was nominated then. It just didn't win, because it was up against Neal Stephenson, Vernor Vinge, Greg Bear, and Lois McMaster Bujold. The competition was not nearly so strong this year.
posted by kindall at 11:21 AM on September 6, 2001

Lemony Snicket (funny, funny site) is really Daniel Handler, whose novel The Basic Eight should be recommended to all high school kids...
posted by nicwolff at 11:34 AM on September 6, 2001

The fanaticism, IMHO, is born purely of attachment to the main characters. They learn and evolve, are multi-dimensional, and are essentially good but still display normal flaws. Who wouldn't want to be Harry, suddenly realizing they've got magical powers, and have been the unwitting hero to millions for a decade? People truly love these characters, and care what happens to them.

While I'm personally not willing to attempt to force my views one way or the other, regardless of my emotional attachment (strong, in this case) to the book(s) in question, obviously some people are. Rabid fans aren't seeing the whole thing as a franchise, but practically as a living, breathing, developing entity, and will accordingly be insulted when the object of their affection is maligned.

Which is all well and good, but I think that any adult who works themselves into a froth over anything meant purely for entertainment should consider taking a pill :-)
posted by spinning jennie at 12:08 PM on September 6, 2001

I agree with m.polo completely. This is not profound literature here, folks. These are, for all intensive purposes, long childrens' books.
posted by fusinski at 12:17 PM on September 6, 2001

wait, fusinski, you're saying the hugos are fan-chosen awards in the genre of profound literature? i thnk you're mistaken.
posted by chrisege at 2:59 PM on September 6, 2001

for all intensive purposes

::cringe:: sorry, though i'm all about misspellings and incorrect grammer, that one get's me every time...

These are... long childrens' books.

in your opinion of course... some people would consider Dream Hunters just a comic book, as well.
posted by lotsofno at 6:10 PM on September 6, 2001

Well, I, for one, was rather outraged. I've only read the first book, but found it weak. Just a reasonably well-done rehash of OLD genre tropes. Chewing gum for the mind. I didn't object to having read it, but the series would have had to have improved a LOT to produce a volume deserving of a Hugo. Even in a weak year (which it may or may not have been--I was reading elsewhere this year).

I do applaud the books' effect on young readers. I just wish more readers voting for the Hugo were a bit more mature mentally.
posted by rushmc at 7:53 PM on September 6, 2001

"wasting a Hugo award"? There's no money involved and the month a novella of mine was nominated for a Hugo, my publisher remaindered my novel. What on earth do you mean by "wasting"?

As Chip Delany once said, in circumstances that embarrassed him no end later, "You put your hands on the table where I can see them!"

1-Did you nominate anything for the Hugo? (Last time I looked, it only took some ten nominations to put a work on the ballot.) Did you VOTE for the Hugo?

2-What do you consider UNwasted in the way of a Hugo? I'd like to know how many of my friends are being insulted here.

No, I don't know the author of the Harry Potter books, but I've read all four of them. To my complete amazement, she got a previously non-reading nephew of mine READING and, for that alone, I'd have given her a Hugo. Check the history of the Hugo Awards and you'll find that the Hugo is seldom given for the best work of the year but it's often given for service to the community.

Jack Williamson got his first Hugo this year---not for that particular story maybe, but because so many of us enjoyed so many of his books for so long and we never got to say so before. (And we never had the nerve to tell him all us kids think of him as "Uncle" Jack .)

Sorry for the rant, gentlefolk. I've been lurking here at MeFi, enjoying the chance to listen in at the next table over.

I just now overheard somebody say "WASTING a Hugo Award..."

I eavesdrop and take notes every time I eat in a restaurant. But THAT line would get me on my feet and in your face and here I am.

P.S. Much thanks to everybody who mentioned other books in this thread: I'm off to the bookstore for some for me and some for my (previously unreading) nephew.
posted by realjanetkagan at 12:06 AM on September 7, 2001

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