Kowal To Edit Hugo Showcase Series

Next year Prime Books will publish the first volume of a projected Hugo Award Showcase series edited by Mary Robinette Kowal, beginning with the award-winning stories from 2009.  

The official Hugo Awards site is displaying a beautiful mock-up of the proposed cover by Donato Giancola, winner of this year’s Best Professional Artist Hugo.

There’s still plenty of time to work out details like incorporating the Hugo logo on the cover and correcting “2010 Volume” to reflect the 2009 award year – that will become progressively more important as new volumes appear and people go looking for “the winner of the 2009 Best Short Story Hugo” and so on.

9 thoughts on “Kowal To Edit Hugo Showcase Series

  1. re 2010 vs 2009: from what I know of the general book buying public, if they see “2009 volume”, they’re going to think the book is a year old, and who wants old moldy non-fresh stuff?

    And we do want the general non-fannish SF reader to pick this up, right?

    As for the logo, the reality is that the vast majority of books in bookstores are seen by their spines – and having the Hugo logo there would make a lot more sense. I wouldn’t worry about having it on the cover.

  2. Sure, the book comes out in 2010, but the award year is 2009 and the stories were published in 2008. If the only reason for putting an irrelevant year on the cover is to keep the simple folk from thinking it’s last year’s book, there are other ways to avoid the problem without misleading other simple folk into thinking the contents are 2010’s Hugo-winning stories. There are several annual collections (including the Nebula winners/nominees) that number themselves 1, 2, 3 or first, second, third etc. instead of putting a year in the title. Seems to have worked for them.

    The omission of the logo was not a “worry,” I just found it odd that a demo cover would be put online without it because the fans taking credit for this new collection are the same ones who held the contest to pick the logo.

  3. “There are several annual collections (including the Nebula winners/nominees) that number themselves 1, 2, 3 or first, second, third etc. instead of putting a year in the title. Seems to have worked for them.”

    The last numbered Nebula collection was in 1999. Boring details from Amazon:

    Nebula Awards Showcase 2010 – to be published April 2010
    Nebula Awards Showcase 2009 – published April 2009
    Nebula Awards Showcase 2008 – published April 2008
    Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 – published March 2007
    Nebula Awards Showcase 2006 – published March 2006
    Nebula Awards Showcase 2005 – published March 2005
    Nebula Awards Showcase 2004 – published March 2004
    Nebula Awards Showcase 2003 – published April 2003
    Nebula Awards Showcase 2002 – published April 2002
    Nebula Awards Showcase 2001 – published April 2001
    Nebula Awards Showcase 2000 – published April 2000
    Nebula Awards 33 – published April 1999

  4. Excuse you, but it still worked for the first 33 years, didn’t it?

    And why respond to that point but remain silent on the question why it’s not a problem to put 2010 on the book when it might just as easily mislead the simple folk to expect the winners of the 2010 award?

    You can’t get away with doing Langford’s material (“boring details”) unless you mimic his throughness.

  5. Indeed, the Nebula numbering undoubtedly worked for 33 years, yet there was a decision to change the 2000 edition, which has been maintained for a decade (just watch, those brainiacs at SFWA/Roc will change the 2010 edition to a numbered edition just to spite me!)

    As for confusing folks with a 2010 on the cover, perhaps.

    Yet … series such as the O. Henry, Best American Short Stories (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Best_American_Short_Stories for long list of years), Best American Mystery Stories, Best American Essays have been using the year of book publication in their title.

    But I wouldn’t be surprised if the year on the cover is driven by those who buy the books in mass quantities: Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon, etc . When the SF buyers at those places speak …

  6. The trouble is, people just don’t buy short fiction. I’d be delighted to see mass quantities of the book sold, but it’s unlikely. Not for nothing did a Hugo Award anthology fail to appear for the awards given from 1995 to 2008. Not enough people wanted them, so nobody was interested in publishing them. This is a travesty, and I’ll go to great lengths to get the book, because I love short SF and fantasy, but most people aren’t like me.

    As far as the numbering is concerned, I think Mike has a point. I’m a pedant who prefers accuracy, and because I love short SF and follow the major awards, I know and understand that the anthology published next year will contain the winners of this year’s Worldcon, and that the stories were first published LAST year.

    So as far as I’m concerned, you could call the book HUGO AWARD WINNERS PUBLISHED IN 2008, and even if the book is published in 2010, I’ll know it’s new, and I’ll still buy it. Or you could call it HUGO AWARD WINNERS OF 2009, and when the book appears in 2010, I’ll snap it up.

    But there are exactly three potential book buyers in the world who are like that, and I’m not too sure about the other two! Most people want something that SOUNDS new, so books numbered by date are nearly always numbered by the year of publication.

    For example, NEBULA AWARDS SHOWCASE 2000 sounds cool, doesn’t it? But check carefully – the stories in that book were published in 1997 and 1998. One was actually first published in 1945!

    Publishers have to do that, or potential buyers will simply tune out. Most casual book buyers don’t have my attention to detail.

  7. Without having sales information it’s sort of hard to figure out why the Hugo volumes went the way of the dodo.

    But let me offer one possible reason why the Nebula volumes have been published pretty continuously over the decades: SFWA exists, it has an agent who sells the series, see: http://www.spectrumliteraryagency.com/SFWA.htm

    WSFS sort of exists and does not have an agent who sells the Hugo Winners.

    Just a thought.

  8. There was, of course, a series of books – the iBooks SF: Best of the Year series (which also had fantasy twins), that appeared from 2001 to 2004.

    This series broke the mold by actually carrying the name of the year in which the stories were published. Each book appeared towards the end of the year after which the book was named. The 2001 volume appeared very late in 2001, for instance.

    The series lasted for only four years. I’m not suggesting that the titles had anything to do with their demise, but it’s rare that you see that kind of “honesty” in the cover date! 🙂

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