Nominations for the 2011 Hugo awards came out this past weekend. Congrats to the nominees! I will not be attending World Con this year and therefore can't vote, but I still have some thoughts.
Novels: I've had Connie Willis' Blackout and All Clear on my shelf for months and finally cracked open the binding last week. So far so good, but these are two huge books and I'm only 50 pages in. I have not read any of the other nominated works. Nor, to be honest, have I even heard of them, which surprises me considering how voracious a reader I am.
Short fiction: I'm always curious about the ratio of between print and online stories that receive nominations. This year, five nominees are from online zines, seven from print magazines and two from anthologies. Previous to the nominations coming out, I had read four of the five online stories and none of the others. But one of the things I love about awards season is that all nominated stories - the year's cream of the crop - are made available to read for free online. Some are on print magazine websites, others on author websites or blogs. You just have to be willing to hunt them down.
Dramatic presentation: In the movie category, the only one I have not seen is Scott Pilgrim. In the short form category, I cheered to see three Doctor Who episodes in the mix. You'd think it's the only quality science-fiction on television nowadays, and maybe it is. The Lost Thing is also quite fantastic.
Campbell Award: I'm pretty sure I've read at least one story by Saladin Ahmed, but I couldn't tell you what it would be. (After going to his website, I see I've read Doctor Diablo Goes Through the Motions) And the name Lev Grossman sounds vaguely familiar. The other three don't ring a bell. Most years, I recognize more of the nominees.
So, it's clear that if I were voting, I would have a lot of reading ahead of me to make an educated choice. But it would be work I would enjoy.