Honor roll: Hugo Award for Novel

Each of these books has been nominated for an Hugo Award for Novel. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:Dune: Book 1 of the Dune Chronicles

Dune: Book 1 of the Dune Chronicles

Frank Herbert

“Unique…I know nothing comparable to it except Lord of the Rings.” —Arthur C. Clarke

Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud’dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family—and would bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.

A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction. Frank Herbert’s death in 1986 was a tragic loss, yet the astounding legacy of his visionary fiction will live forever.

Book:Rite of Passage

Rite of Passage

Alexei Panshin

After the destruction of Earth, humanity has established itself precariously among a hundred planets. Between them roam the vast Ships, doling out scientific knowledge in exchange for raw materials. On one of the Ships lives Mia Havero. Belligerent soccer player, intrepid explorer of ventilation shafts, Mia tests all the boundaries of her insulated world. She will soon be tested in turn. At the age of fourteen all Ship children must endure a month unaided in the wilds of a colony world, and although Mia has learned much through formal study, about philosophy, economics, and the business of survival, she will find that her most vital lessons are the ones she must teach herself. Published originally in 1968, Alexei Panshin’s Nebula Award-winning classic has lost none of its relevance, with its keen exploration of societal stagnation and the resilience of youth.

Book:Stand on Zanzibar

Stand on Zanzibar

John Brunner

There are seven billion-plus humans crowding the surface of 21st century Earth. It is an age of intelligent computers, mass-market psychedelic drugs, politics conducted by assassination, scientists who burn incense to appease volcanoes…all the hysteria of a dangerously overcrowded world, portrayed in a dazzlingly inventive style.

Book:The Einstein Intersection

The Einstein Intersection

Samuel R. Delany

The surface story tells of the problems a member of an alien race, Lo Lobey, has assimilating the mythology of earth, where his kind have settled among the leftover artifacts of humanity. The deeper tale concerns, however, the way those who are ‘different’ must deal with the dominant cultural ideology. The tale follows Lobey’s mythic quest for his lost love, Friza. In luminous and hallucinated language, it explores what new myths might emerge from the detritus of the human world as those who are ‘different’ try to seize history and the day.

Book:Lord of Light

Lord of Light

Roger Zelazny

In a distinguished career which produced many bold, award-winning works, this towering tale of invention and adventure may be Roger Zelazny’s single most brilliant achievement.

Earth is long since dead. On a colony planet, a band of men has gained control of technology, made themselves immortal, and now rule their world as the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Only one dares oppose them: he who was once Siddhartha and is now Mahasamatman. Binder of Demons, Lord of Light.

Book:Babel-17

Babel-17

Samuel R. Delany

In the far future, after human civilization has spread through the galaxy, communications begin to arrive in an apparently alien language. They appear to threaten invasion, but in order to counter the threat, the messages must first be understood.

Book:Flowers for Algernon

Flowers for Algernon

Daniel Keyes

When we first meet Charlie he is about to embark on a compelling but dangerous journey from retardation to genius. He has only a vague understanding of what will happen, but he is aware that knowledge and the ability to write are of paramount importance. So he doesn’t hesitate for a moment to cooperate in a radical experiment designed to increase his intelligence, the key—he hopes—to being valued as a human being and to being loved.

Daniel Keyes’s powerful and highly original story of a young man whose quest for intelligence and knowledge parallels that of Algernon (the mouse who is an earlier subject of a similar experiment) remains unique in imaginative literature. We follow Charlie Gordon’s mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. We watch with excitement as he becomes the focus of attention by the scientific world, his intellectual capacities far surpassing those of the psychologists and neurosurgeons who engineered his metamorphosis.…[more]

Book:The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein was the most influential science fiction writer of his era, an influence so large that, as Samuel R. Delany notes, “modern critics attempting to wrestle with that influence find themselves dealing with an object rather like the sky or an ocean.” He won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, a record that still stands. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was the last of these Hugo-winning novels, and it is widely considered his finest work.

It is a tale of revolution, of the rebellion of the former Lunar penal colony against the Lunar Authority that controls it from Earth. It is the tale of the disparate people—a computer technician, a vigorous young female agitator, and an elderly academic—who become the rebel movement’s leaders. And it is the story of Mike, the supercomputer whose sentience is known only to this inner circle, and who for reasons of his own is committed to the revolution’s ultimate success.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of the high points of modern science fiction, a novel bursting with politics, humanity, passion, innovative technical speculation, and a firm belief in the pursuit of human freedom.

Book:Past Master

Past Master

R.A. Lafferty

Book:Chthon

Chthon

Piers Anthony

Chthon was Piers Anthony’s first published novel in 1967, written over the course of seven years. He started it when he was in the US Army, so it has a long prison sequence that is reminiscent of that experience, being dark and grim. It features Aton Five, a space man who commits the crime of falling in love with the dangerous alluring Minionette and is therefore condemned to death in the subterranean prison of Chthon. It uses flashbacks to show how he came to know the Minionette, and flashforwards to show how he dealt with her after his escape from prison. The author regards this as perhaps the most intricately structured novel the science fantasy genre has seen. It was a contender for awards, but not a winner.

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