Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Read all the Hugo-winning novels; read lots

One of the speakers, Scott Lynch, at last weekend's Armadillocon suggested that aspiring writers read all the best sci fi and fantasy as part of their education. The Hugo Award winners were suggested as a starting place. So I've started a list. Looks like, at a glance, I've already read 35 of the 59 winners, so maybe I'll look to the nominees after that. Here are some links I collected in this search:

Another suggestion from Lynch in the same kick-your-writing-up-a-notch vein was to simply read more...I think he said he started reading 100 novels a year when he worked on this.


  1. You're ahead of me on that list: I've only read 27 of the books listed and only 3 of the winners in the last 10 years. My two best decades for reading the winners were the 1960s and the 1980s, where I've read a majority. The worst were the last two decades, where I've read only 7 of the 20 winners. I can blame my lack of reading Bujold and Connie Willis for some of that, I suppose, as I've never read anything by either of these multiple award winners.

  2. Wow, did just as badly on the Nebula awards. I thought if I looked at what was nominated I would fare better, but not really in terms of percentages.

    Of course, to read it all in the Nebula categories for the last twenty years I would have to read a handful of books by Swanwick and Wolfe, neither of whom I like much. And apparently I had the wrong impression of Jack McDevitt, b/c he dominates the recent list with 8 nominations and 1 win and not only has no one ever recommended him to me as an author, I've looked at a couple of his dust jackets the books seemed unimpressive.

  3. So what I'm wondering is, can you both READ a lot and be productive as a writer, particularly starting out?

    Because I read a lot of nonfiction, but I have a hard time reading a LOT of speculative fiction at the same time that I'm trying to write it, particularly in the same genre.

    I mean, I can and do read 2-3 novels a month, which seems like a steady clip to me. But 100?