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Do You Know an Award-Winning Book When You Read One?

Another year, another awards season is upon us.

A recent series of nominee postings has reminded me that my reading choices lead to relatively few books that go on to become award winners. On the other hand, nominee listings seem to be littered with books that JP has read. (Authors beware: I am the Kiss of Death! If I read your book, I hope you have no aspirations of winning an award. :))

How good are you at predicting award-winners? Can you spot award-winning books when you read them? Are you surprised that some titles even make the ballot?

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

5 Comments on Do You Know an Award-Winning Book When You Read One?

  1. joshua corning // January 15, 2008 at 2:00 am //

    well considering that i often choose the books i read from lists of award winners and nominees i am not at all surprised that the books I read have won awards.

    Very unlike cool hipster sci bloggers whom I won’t mention, us scrubs don’t get pre-copies of as yet to be published books sent free to our door step we have to dig through the trash of all ready published works.

  2. I only know what I like. I don’t predict award winners well at all, even when I read current HCs that might even be on a HC ballot.

    Getting on an awards ballot is not merely a function of quality after all.

  3. I’m not sure I have ever tried to predict winners. One of my focuses this year in regards to reading is to both read more past winners as well as keep up with some of the 2008 published science fiction and fantasy in the hopes that come awards time next year I may have actually read some of the nominees. I’d like to be more aware of what is out there to be able to participate in some discussion once awards are declared. Of the books I have read that have won awards, I certainly haven’t found any that make me step back and proclaim, ‘What were these voters thinking?’. I hope not to have that experience. 🙂

  4. John, I’m still glad you read and reviewed my book… least, I think I am. :O

  5. Sometimes I get a surprise as to who makes the ballot. However, with reading lots of review sites, reading LOCUS, and so forth, I am much less surprised by the final ballot than I used to be.

    Winners are often a crapshoot.

    With the Hugos use of the Australian rules ballot, the winners of that can be unexpected just because of how the votes break down. Charlie Stross has suffered from this, I think.

    The Nebulas are much harder to predict–a smaller pool of professionals, with politics and favor-trading, the best novel doesn’t always win. (Or at least my favorite amongst the five).

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