Book awards season 2004

I’m way out of touch with my SF sources. It was only this morning that I learned that Lois McMaster Bujold won this year’s best novel Hugo award for Paladin of Souls.

This gives Bujold a total of four best novel Hugos. Only Robert A. Heinlein has more best novel Hugos. This latest win now puts her clear of Asimov, who has three. Given the size of Bujold’s fan base, and the fact that she seems to be having fun with the Chalion series, I wouldn’t bet against her notching up another win before the decade is out.

Update: Patrick Nielsen Hayden pointed out that Heinlein only has four best novel Hugos, which means that Bujold is tied for first place. However, Heinlein was awarded a “Retrospective Hugo” for best novel of 1951, at the 2001 WorldCon. According to the WSFS constitution, “A Worldcon held 50, 75, or 100 years after a Worldcon at which no Hugos were presented may conduct nominations and elections for Hugos which would have been presented at that previous Worldcon.” When I was looking up the various Hugo tallies in my spreadsheet, I had included this Retro Hugo in Heinlein’s total.

Paladin of Souls was good, but I didn’t think it was necessarily Hugo material. Not having read any of the other nominees, I can’t say how it looked in comparison, but I doubt if it will end up on many lists of all-time greats. Abi reckons that this makes up for The Curse of Chalion losing out to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods in 2002; she’s probably right.

The other awards that have just been announced are the Shamus Awards for best Private Eye detective fiction. This year’s winners are The Guards by Ken Bruen (Best Novel), Black Maps by Peter Spiegelman (Best First Novel), and Cold Quarry by Andy Straka (Best Paperback Original).

Abi and I make a point of buying the Hugo (novel) winner each year, assuming we didn’t already own it. Given that I’m much more into detective fiction these days, I think I might have to start doing the same with the Shamus.