My Hugo ballot
I voted for the fiction categories for the Hugo Awards -- my normal process for keeping up with what's going on -- although this time I ran out of time before I could read most of the short fiction nominees. I did read all of the novels, however, so here is how my Hugo ballot looked, with a letter grade and a few comments:
(1) Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke, A+. The best novel I've read in several years. Vivid and brilliant. (2) The Algebraist, Iain Banks, A. Very good far-future space opera. Perhaps a bit like Vernor Vinge, only better written. (3) Iron Sunrise, Charles Stross, A. Cyberpunk space opera. Stross is much better than I realized. Any of these three books would do the award credit, although it would be a shame if Clarke didn't win.
(4) River of Gods, Ian McDonald, B-. This novel about Indian circa 2050 is a good novel in many ways, but I couldn't take it to heart. For one thing, I was taken aback that McDonald dislikes Indians and Hinduism so much. (5) Iron Council, China Mieville, C+. Very competently done, but I thought it was boring. Everyone should read Perdido Street Station, though, which I thought was a wonderful novel.