John Scalzi wonders why he is not running into much discussion on the Hugo Awards for Best Novel (or the Campbell for Best New Writer).
For my part it is simply because I have read a grand total of one (1) of the nominees. That being His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik.
Blindsight - Peter Watts
Eifelheim - Michael Flynn
Glasshouse - Charles Stross
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik
Rainbows End - Vernor Vinge
So...what about the other four? Well, I have every intention of reading Glasshouse as I'm rather enjoying the work of Charles Stross these days (having gotten over the whole disappointment of The Merchant Princes, which has been hit or miss but easy and moderately fun reading). I legally downloaded Blindsight from the website of Peter Watts (see above link for Blindsight) and so there is no good reason why I haven't read it yet. Eifelheim? Huh? What's that? Flynn is the author of another Hugo nominee, a moderately forgettable Novellette. It didn't really sell me on the author, but I had never heard of Flynn or Eifelheim before the nominations and have heard zero (0) buzz on his work. I've at least heard of Vernor Vinge before, and some small but positive buzz on Rainbows End.
I don't think I'll end up reading all of this year's nominees (maybe, but let's not hold any breath), but next year I think I'll make a point of reading the nominees as soon after the nominations are announced. That'll give me more time before the Hugos to start thinking about it.
With all that said, His Majesty's Dragon is a worthy nominee. It was a whole lot of fun to read, was well written, felt like a blend of Patrick O'Brien and Anne McCaffrey and it felt right. I've got no complaints.
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer:
Lawrence M. Schoen
I think Lynch (The Lies of Locke Lamora) and Naomi Novik have to be the heavyweights in this category. These are the authors with by far the most buzz and discussion about their work and from the nooks if the online world I peer into these are the names that come up. This year it has been more Lynch than Novik (Novik more at the beginning of the year), but hard to say. I have Lies coming from the library, so I'll have an opinion on that shortly.
I really like the two Sanderson books I've read (Elantris and Mistborn: The Final Empire), but I don't think he'll stand up to Novik or Lynch, even without having read Lynch. This isn't a knock on Sanderson at all. Like I said, I really like his work. I eagerly await more work from Sanderson (second Mistborn book anyone?), but that's some stiff competition. It's an honor to be nominated, Mr. Sanderson, but I don't think you'll get this one.
I've seen the name Sarah Monette, but I couldn't tell you where or what she has written. Not to judge a book by its cover or anything, but Monette's novels look like they are fantasy / romance. A little bit of a turn off, though I should probably give her a shot before running away in fear. Maybe it isn't. Just looks like it. Yikes!
Lawrence M. Schoen. Umm...he's the publisher of Paper Golem LLC? Honestly, if I hadn't heard of Paper Golem, I would probably have never heard of Schoen. I should be receiving the first Paper Golem book Prime Codex for review, but that doesn't address Schoen as an author. Looks like his work is up for sale at Fictionwise. Not much else to say about Schoen.