In my lack of infinite wisdom, I’ve decided to go on an auspicious journey to expand my horizons. Let me sum up.
I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy for as long as I can remember, generally like most writers of the genres, however there are a ton of books I haven’t touched. No matter how many authors I’ve read, there are dozens more I haven’t, including some of the classics in sci-fi and fantasy.
At first, I just started picking up random older, less-known books along with some of the famous ones I’d previously skipped, but I didn’t have much order to my findings and readings and, let’s face it, I was searching for authors, most of whom I was already familiar to at least some degree. When trying to come up with further lists of books to look into, I kept finding the same exact books being recommended time and time again, with little variation or imagination to the recommendations. Which was…frustrating.
Then I thought, what about the nominated books that didn’t end up winning a Hugo or a Nebula or didn’t end up skyrocketing into fame? When we talk about the nominations in current years we usually consider many of them worthy of the award, yet there are always those who think a different story should have beat out the others for the top spot. (There are also books that some people think are snubbed from year to year in terms of nominations themselves, but unfortunately, that’s not something I can easily look up.)
But I can easily look up the Hugo and Nebula nominations and wins. And wouldn’t it be fun to read all the noms in previous years (just as people have done or are doing with this years nominations) and then determine which book I personally would have wanted to win that year?
So that’s exactly what I’m going to do! Starting with the Nebulas.
1965 is up first. Of the 12 nominees (yes, 12, but 1966 only had 3 and 2 of them jointly won, so it evens out) I’ve only read Dune, which isn’t surprising because it won the first Nebula and is one of the most famous science-fiction novels of all time. I’m planning on rereading it, along with reading the other 11 books for the first time. They are:
- The Star Fox by Poul Anderson
- Nova Express by William S. Burroughs
- Rogue Dragon by Avram Davidson
- Dr. Bloodmoney by Phillip K. Dick
- The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Phillip K Dick
- The Genocides by Thomas M Disch
- The Ship that Sailed the Time Stream by G C Edmondson
- A Plague of Demons by Keith Laumer
- All Flesh is Grass by Clifford D Simak
- The Clone by Theodore L Thomas & Kate Wilhelm
- The Escape Orbit by James White
- Dune by Frank Herbert
There’s a possibility I may have to read a total of 14 books before this is finished since Borroughs’ Nova Express is the third book in what looks like a trilogy and I prefer to start at the beginning. But what’s another couple of books :)
I let my daughter choose which book I started with: Rogue Dragon. Not surprised in the least. It has the word dragon in it and that’s far more interesting to an 8 year old than the rest of those titles.
One more thing to note: I read Dune a long time ago, so nostalgia can easily bias this first year’s pick when all books have been read. I’m going to do my best to read without the nostalgia, but eradicating my emotions completely isn’t possible, so I’ve already come to terms with the fact that I may just choose Dune, along with the rest of the voters in 1966, because of youthful love. Yet the point is to read, to experience, so whether or not that happens, I’m still gaining.
Will be writing a check-in blog in June to note my thoughts on the books I’ll have finished thus far :)