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Hugo Finalists 2020

hugo finalists

I’d never paid very much attention to prize lists before, but I have several friends who regularly read the entire Women’s Prize List, so these book prizes slowly started becoming ingrained into my psyche. This year, very much on a casual whim, I decided that I would read the all Hugo novel finalists. Partly, it was because when I saw the Hugo list I realized I’d already read two of them and planned to read two more, but also because it’s kind of fun to read the entire list and make guesses as to which one will win!

And also, you know, SFF is my genre. It’s what I write and mainly what I read, so it certainly behooves me to be aware of what is popular in the community. This is a particularly salient point for the Hugos, because unlike, say, the Women’s Prize books, which are selected by a panel of judges, the Hugo finalists are based on votes by members of Worldcon, so it really is an indication of the community’s current inclinations. When I say “the community,” of course, that’s a complicated word – most lay readers are probably not members of Worldcon, nor are they voting in the Hugos, so these nominations likely reflect people who are in the industry – writers, editors, reviewers, artists, etc.

I only committed to read the adult novels, because short stories and novellas and novelletes usually aren’t my thing.

Anyway, read on for my thoughts! Continue reading “Hugo Finalists 2020”

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Book Review: The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

The Black Prismthe black prism
Brent Weeks

Orbit, 2020
★★★☆☆

At its heart, The Black Prism is a spin on the classic fantasy Farm Boy trope. Kip, our farm boy, is just an ordinary 15-year-old kid living in a humble little village, when destiny suddenly comes a-knockin in the form of an army that slaughters his entire town. In the ensuing chaos, Kip discovers he is the illegitimate son of Gavin Guile, the Prism, who is a sort of religious/political figure, kind of like a Priest-King. Prisms are one in a generation; they alone are able to draft seven colors with no negative effects, making them extremely powerful; they also use this power to maintain “color balance” in the world. This particular Prism, though, is marked by a war from sixteen ago, when Gavin fought against his brother, who was seemingly also a Prism, leading the war to be known as the False Prism’s war.

There’s kind of a lot going on in this book, but also very little at the same time, so let’s break this down into categories. Continue reading “Book Review: The Black Prism by Brent Weeks”