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Hugo Thoughts: Best Novel

February 27, 2017

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The Big One.

I read a lot of novels. I became a voracious reader as a kid, and very little has changed since… well, no, one thing has changed. I no longer feel an obsessive need to finish every book I start. Some just don’t hold my interest, and I find myself putting them aside and picking up something else. Sometimes I return to the books I’ve put aside and sometimes I don’t.

One of life’s greatest pleasures, for me, is finding a book that’s so bloody damn good that it won’t LET me put it aside. The kind of book that grabs me by the throat and will not let me go. Those sorts of books are not easy to find, but I treasure the authors who deliver them regularly.

Jack Vance had that effect on me, for decades. Bernard Cornwell still does. Stephen King too. Once I start a book by any of these worthies, I am hooked. I will keep reading till the end.

Recently I have had to add James S.A. Corey to that list. Which is annoying, because I know both halves of James S.A. Corey. One of them was a student of mine. The other was my proto-minion. How the hell did they get so damned good?

However they did it, it’s done. Now, I am sure there were lots of great SF and fantasy novels published during 2016 that I have not read yet (I read lots of books, like I said, but not all are SF or fantasy, I read lots of history and mystery and historical fiction and biographies and non-fiction as well, and I read older books too, not just stuff from the current awards year, so I’m always trying to catch up). Of all the SF novels from 2016 that I have read, however, this was the best:

For me, it wasn’t even close. I expect I will fill in all six slots on my Hugo nomination form with the titles of worthy contenders, but this will be the first one I write down.

I commend it to your attention. Jimmy Corey deserves his shot at The Big One.

((Which frosts my ass. Because if Jimmy actually WINS the Hugo, Ty will be unbearable.))

P.S. The EXPANSE tv series is amazing too. Have you guys been watching season two? I’m also going to be nominating “Leviathan Wakes,” the final episode of season one, for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.

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