The winners of the 2011 Hugo Awards will be announced on 20 August, so this month on The Writer and the Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, are looking at the books which have been nominated for Best Novel. Two of the nominees have already been featured books on this podcast: Feed by Mira Grant was discussed in Episode 2 and Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis in Episode 7. While you will need to go back and listen to those episodes for detailed reviews, Kirstyn and Ian do take the opportunity to finally read and respond to listener feedback from Cat Sparks in regards to Blackout/All Clear. The difference between a primary and a retrospective reading experience is examined and the duo muse on why Connie Willis is too often the subject of unfair personal attacks. The name of the beautifully horrific Willis short story that Kirstyn couldn't remember is "All My Darling Daughters".
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold is also a Hugo nominee, but Ian and Kirstyn have decided not to read this book themselves, as it's part of the Vorkosigan saga with which they have not been keeping up. Tut. Tut. Tut. However, Tehani Wessely of Fablecroft Publishing, one of their wonderful listeners, has provided a passionate and spoiler-free summary of why she believes Cryoburn should take home the gong. Thanks, Tehani!
Ian and Kirstyn then move onto an in depth discussion of the remaining two nominated titles: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin and The Dervish House by Ian McDonald. Further information about the fascinating legend of Mellified Men, as featured in McDonald's novel, can be found here. If you wish to skip ahead avoid the many, many spoilers -- including the endings of both books! -- discussion of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms begins at 26:30 while The Dervish House starts around 53:30.
But listen in again at the 1:21:10 mark for some final remarks about the Hugo Awards and which book(s) should win -- and also for a shock! horror! confession from Ian! Seriously, you will be aghast.
Finally, the Department of Cross-Podcastination is pleased to announce that Kirstyn and Ian were recently interviewed at length by Julia Rios from the Outer Alliance podcast. Julia adopted the format of The Writer and the Critic, with the recommended texts being Horn and Bleed by Peter M. Ball (chosen by Ian), "Nightship" by Kim Westwood (chosen by Kirstyn) and "The Behold of the Eye" by Hal Duncan (chosen by Julia). The Outer Alliance episode should be up on the site by the end of August, so catch up on your reading and add the podcast to your feed.
Next episode, The Writer and the Critic returns to its roots, with a discussion of just two recommended books. Ian has picked the recently published Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor while Kirstyn has chosen a beloved classic, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.
Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!