Hugos and Weighing

As an attending member of WorldCon this year, I am eligible to vote in the Hugos for the first time in my life. Therefore, I’m trying to make sure I make educated decisions by reading through as much of the material as I can. You may have noticed that I read quite a bit. Not as much as some, but I read between two and four books a month, with a few exceptions where I read many more or much fewer.

That said, my to be read pile is huge, and I’m rarely reading the latest and greatest, even when I’m buying them to support my favorite authors. I get to them eventually, but it may not be until the year is gone. What this means is when I look through the categories, most of the material is new to me. And this is a huge stack to read.

So, I’ve been reading the magazines first as it seemed a good way to make progress on one category at least. Here’s where I find myself in a bind.

How do you weigh a magazine? What criteria do you use?

Is it the number of stories that captivate you? And if so, does one exceptional story outweigh three excellent ones?

Or is it the layout that is important more than the editorial choices? How the editor blended non-fiction and fiction?

Or is it the sense of “I’m coming back and reading this magazine again?”

This whole process would be much easier if these magazines weren’t so good.

I do have to highlight one story that I read in Clarkesworld, though. A Sweet Calling by Tony Pi made me want to ignore everyone and everything as I read, a complicated desire as it was my older son’s high school graduation and my in-laws were out. Sadly, it’s not up for the best short story, or it would get my vote…or so I say now, but I haven’t read what is there.

So, what do you think about the latest offerings in the speculative fiction world, or if you don’t read those, what’s something that came out last year that blew you away? After all, I still need things to read once the vote is made.

This entry was posted in Conventions, Magazine Reviews, Reading, Reviews, Short Stories and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Hugos and Weighing

  1. Erin says:

    Last year was my first year voting — I paid for the voting membership, as I knew there was no way I could get to Australia. The first thing that struck me was actually the artists. My thought was, how can I judge which artist is better? Then it occurred to me that this really is a vote for what the readers/viewers like best. It’s not an intellectual exercise.

    Similarly, I saw some advice last year that said, more or less, if you can’t read everything, but you loved something you did read, vote for it with a clear conscience. (Which is good because there’s no way I’m getting through everything before the end of next month with everything else on my plate.)

    So with regards to magazines — whichever one you would recommend to others that they start their reading with is probably the one you should vote for.

    Hope all that rambling helps.

    • MarFisk says:

      Ah, very true, especially for the art. However, it doesn’t help me on the magazines at all :). The first two I read both had wonderful aspects that would make me encourage anyone to check them out. Sigh.

      • Erin says:

        Well, they’re all very good magazines. I subscribe to Locus and Weird Tales; I have (for obvious reasons) a soft spot for Clarkesworld. I’d love to be in Lightspeed someday, and my one regret about Interzone is the lack of electronic submissions. (Which has nothing to do with the quality of the magazine, except to say that I think it’s definitely good.)

        It has been said that to decide between two things, the best way is to flip a coin. If you’re disappointed, you really wanted the other choice. So, you know, roll a die (d10 is divisible by 5, right?).

        • MarFisk says:

          LOL! Right. That’s the old catch a tiger by the tail method :). And yes, I subscribe to, or read when I have a chance, pretty much all of them. I submit to all of them except Locus, though I’ve appeared in their author index. Not a single one does not belong in the grouping.

          • Erin says:

            See? It’s perfect — if you would be happy with any one of them being chosen, vote at random and know that it doesn’t matter whether your choice wins. 😀

            • MarFisk says:

              Umm, I don’t think that’s exactly the idea :).

              • jjmcgaffey says:


                Yeah. I read more than you do – but I’ve only read a few of these, and I’m not planning on trying to read all of them. There are several categories where I don’t know any of the nominees, and those I’m just going to skip. For the ones where I do know one or more nominees, I can make a choice in that category.

                I’ve done this sort of thing before, for the filk Pegasus awards; they offer snippets of the songs, but that’s not enough (for me) to know if I like them, only enough to remind me that I do (or don’t) know that song. I decided quite a while ago that I wasn’t going to stress about it, just choose ones I knew and wanted to vote for and skip where I didn’t have a preference.

                • MarFisk says:

                  Yeah, I know you do :). But I like to give people a fair shake so it’s not a popularity as opposed to skills contest. So I’ll do what I can in the time I have.

  2. Tony Pi says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Margaret!

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