Overall, I'm not impressed with this year's Hugo Award winners. While I'm a fan of Connie Willis, Blackout/All Clear was not her best work and is the weakest novel(s) in decades to win both the Nebula and Hugo Awards. I'm also not surprised by this win. This was the establishment choice. But that said, I've yet to hear anyone raving about this novel the way people usually rave about a double award winner. (For more on my thoughts on this year's Hugo novel finalists, go here.)
In the short story category, I wasn't a big fan of any of the finalists, but of them Mary Robinette Kowal's story was the strongest. As for the novella and novellete categories, they were filled with very good and great finalists. I really liked Ted Chiang's The Lifecycle of Software Objects so I understand it winning, while in the novellete category I would have liked to see several other finalists win but am also okay with "The Emperor of Mars" by Allen M. Steele taking top honors.
But despite that, my general response to this year's fiction winners is "Eh, who cares." None of these winning stories excite me that much. As I mentioned, I liked The Lifecycle of Software Objects and of all the winners that's the one I come closest to being excited about. But compared to Chiang's great stories of previous years, this one was merely very good.
I should add that I'm very pleased by some of the other Hugo winners, especially Sheila Williams for best editor (an award which is long overdue) and Shaun Tan for best artist, while Clarkesworld taking top semi-prozine honors for the second year in a row proves the vitality of this great online magazine. I'm also thrilled Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It won for best related work.
But I just wonder if anyone will care about these Hugo fiction winners a decade or two from now, or if they'll be seen as the type of safe picks which make people question the validity of literary awards.
I mean, is there anyone excited about this year's Hugo fiction winners?