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.