RogerBW's Blog

Hugo 2017: Series 07 July 2017

These are my thoughts on the Hugo-nominated series. If you're planning to vote, you may wish not to read these notes until you have done so.

The Craft Sequence, by Max Gladstone: I've read the first three; I found the first one sloppy but great fun, the second a great disappointment, and the third a substantial improvement. One and three would have been worthy Best Novel winners as far as I'm concerned. But I haven't yet mustered up the enthusiasm for number four.

The Expanse, by James S.A. Corey: I've read the first two. This is SF that doesn't try to amaze, though it's good workmanlike stuff; unfortunately the second book was thoroughly predictable, which removed much of the fun for me. Not felt like going into the third.

The October Daye Books, by Seanan McGuire: I find Seanan's novels unreadable. I tried one of these and Feed, and I just can't get anywhere with them. Clearly many people don't agree.

The Peter Grant / Rivers of London series, by Ben Aaronovitch: I've read the first four. An excellent first volume, a second that was rather a let-down, a recovery in the third, and a set of strange decisions in the fourth that quite put me off. I'll probably read number five eventually.

The Temeraire series, by Naomi Novik: Nine books now? Wow. Every time I think about reading the first one, I find myself thinking "do I have to", and then deciding, no, there's something else to read that I have a better chance of enjoying.

The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold: to me this is the clear winner, not just because it's a whole lot longer than the others, but because the span over which it's been written has allowed it to change far more than any author could manage in a mere five or ten years of book-a-year. From inauspicious beginnings in something not unakin to Star Trek fanfic, this series has gone through space mercenary work without turning into the rah-rah sort of mil-sf, looked into how society changes with reproductive patterns, shifted from action adventure to romantic comedy… it's all here, it all works, and the people have always been the most important aspect.

There are three series here where I've had access to the next book for a while but not felt any enthusiasm actually to read it. That's probably not a good sign even if I've enjoyed some of the individual books.

Voting order:

  1. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
  2. The Craft Sequence, by Max Gladstone
  3. The Expanse, by James S.A. Corey
  4. The Peter Grant / Rivers of London series, by Ben Aaronovitch

See also:
Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone
Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch
Two Serpents Rise, Max Gladstone
Moon Over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch
Whispers Under Ground, Ben Aaronovitch
Full Fathom Five, Max Gladstone
Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey
Broken Homes, Ben Aaronovitch
Caliban's War, James S. A. Corey
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Lois McMaster Bujold

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