Sunday, 21 June 2015

Hugo Reflections: Part 7 The Future


Part 1 link
Part 2 link
Part 3 link
Part 4 link
Part 5 link
Part 6 link

So what if anything can I draw from this series of posts that reflected on the books I've read during the course of my life?

Adding up all the books I've mentioned in my posts I see that I've read 43 of the 62 Hugo award winners, and 91 of the 227 works that were nominated.  This adds up to 153 out of a total of 289 books.  Sheesh I've given away or sold off more books than that during this time.  Even taking this into account the total number of books is less than 10% of the total number I've ever read.  Also, the problem is that back in the day (circa 1953 of thereabouts) 150 books were published in a year, and since then this has risen to a peak of about 1500 books releases over the same period.  That's a ten fold increase.

Meanwhile the Hugo nominees have remained around five over the entire period.  Perhaps this needs looking at in light of the changing volume in the genre?

However, I think I need to point out is that anecdote is not data.  While the numbers of books I've read can be quantified, I'm a single point.  Or put in other words a data set of one.  Therefore one cannot draw any real conclusions about the state of the Hugos from my narrative.

But here's the thing; you knew this was coming, because otherwise why would I spend all this time talking about the Hugo awards.  My point is very simple.  The Hugos have been awarded to sixty-two books, and yes that makes them a thing worth winning, but it doesn't mean that all the other books that didn't win weren't good books.

So yes it sucks not get a Hugo, because it always sucks to lose.

But voting and stuff is not a simple problem.  One only has to look at the arguments around first past the post versus proportional representation, and whether or not instant run off voting is best, to realise that this is the case.  If it were not the case we'd already have a perfect answer that was fair.  But, like lots of things in life, things are not fair.  Not because we don't want them to be, or because we don't think it's worth striving to be fair, but because some things are just difficult to achieve, and subject to forces one cannot control.

I always tell people who complain that life's not fair that I'm glad it's not fair, because if life were fair then everything bad that happened to me would have happened because I deserved it.  Therefore, by analogy, if the Hugo awards could be made to be totally fair, and you deserved to win and lost, then you would have been were robbed, which would be totally unfair.

So in short; cue Highlander meme, there can be only one!*

And finally, in relation to people on either side of the puppy debate getting angry because other people were angry.  No matter how angry one gets about something, venting one's feelings doesn't help.  It's worse than that.  Venting your anger will reinforce what you're feeling, and increase the intensity of your anger, not reduce it and leave you feeling better.  Furthermore, getting angry just makes it more likely you'll become angry again, which is why I wrote this piece the way I have.  Better to look at the positive side of things.

In this case the positive thing to take away from the Hugos is the years of  pleasure I've had from reading books, where 90% have never won an award.  And no-one can take that away from me.

* Sometimes two if there is a draw.


  1. It's an honor just to be nominated... right?

    1. I think it is. But that's all it is win or lose, an honour.