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Wheel of Time for the Hugo? Seriously? 
7th-Jan-2014 09:35 am
la la la, not listening
Well, apparently I'm feeling ranty this morning.

So, I don't know how serious this really is, but apparently there is a move afoot to nominate Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series for a Best Novel Hugo, on the grounds that a work appearing in parts is eligible for the year that the final part is published.

While I think that something like the Wheel of Time was probably not what that clause was intended to cover, my general attitude when there is ambiguity in interpretation of the Hugo rules is that the administrators should be lenient in allowing works on the ballot, and let the voters decide. So, if The Wheel of Time gets enough nominations to make the ballot for Best Novel, I think it should go on the ballot.

I really hope that this doesn't happen, for a couple of reasons.

First, it hardly seems like a level playing field to pit a series that a generation of fantasy readers has grown up with against standalone novels that have been around for a year or less. People have had decades to discover the Wheel of Time novels, read them, discuss them, eagerly anticipate subsequent novels in the series, and form their opinions. How do you judge a book that has been out for a few months against that? The comparison doesn't even make sense.

Second, the pro-WoT argument seems to hinge a lot on the idea that it's been so hugely influential to the genre that it deserves to be recognized. While I suspect that the Best Novel Hugo is often used as much to reward an influential author for being influential as it is used to recognize what is genuinely the best novel of the year, I'd rather it were used to recognize the best novel of the year, and not as a general Rocket-ship of Awesomeness. We have other awards specifically for recognizing overall contribution to the field (although the most obvious one is the SFWA Grandmaster award, which can't be awarded posthumously.)

Don't nominate Wheel of Time for the Best Novel Hugo. If it makes the ballot, don't vote for Wheel of Time for the Best Novel Hugo.
7th-Jan-2014 07:55 pm (UTC)
There's also that it just isn't very good...and I say that as someone who nonetheless read it (or listened to it, the last few installments) from beginning to end.

But I also agree with your argument.
7th-Jan-2014 08:47 pm (UTC)
I must admit, I read only the first two volumes, and then decided that there were better uses of my time. But even if we were talking about a series that I thought was genuinely brilliant from beginning to end, I would argue that the Best Novel Hugo was not the right award with which to recognize that brilliance.
8th-Jan-2014 12:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm there with you. It was an old fannish thing of mine, and I re-read the whole series when the last books were coming out (blogged my way through them, too), and god knows they've been influential . . . but no, not Best Novel material. Much too badly flawed, and yeah, nominating a fourteen-book series for "Best Novel" is just not the way to acknowledge its effect.
8th-Jan-2014 02:43 am (UTC)
"Friends don't let friends nominate or vote for a 14-book series for Best Novel."

(Yes, technically correct is the very best kind of correct. Still and all.)
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