The Hugo Awards (World Science Fiction Society) and the Aurora Awards (Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association) will both be presented next month at Anticipation, the 67th World Science Fiction Convention in Montreal.
Even if you're not able to attend Anticipation, the awards are a wonderful opportunity to read some fabulous science fiction and fantasy stories. This is because, not only are lists of fan favourite stories gathered together in one location for easy access, but many of these stories are currently available to read online or download for free.
With huge numbers of new titles published every year, and tight personal finances, it can be difficult to part with one's hard-earned cash to test drive a new-to-you author. Now you don't have to. Check out the list of Hugo Award Finalists for links to free downloads and online versions of most of the short form works on the Hugo ballot (including James Alan Gardner's wonderful best novelette nominee and Sturgeon Award winner "The Ray Gun: A Love Story"), plus Cory Doctorow's best novel Hugo finalist and Campbell Award winner Little Brother.
Finding free offerings from Aurora Award finalists takes a little more digging, but the awards Short List contains links to many of the author's personal web sites where more information on nominated works and often free excerpts (and in some cases entire stories) can be found. These include:
- Susan Forest's best short-form work in English finalist "Back"
- "Identity Theft", the lead story in Robert J. Sawyer's best long-form work in English finalist Identity Theft and Other Stories
- and my personal favourite: Douglas Smith's brilliant "Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, by Van Gogh", a best short-form work in English finalist and the lead story in his best long-form work in English finalist Impossibilia
You can read my reviews of some of Rob Sawyer's novels and short stories, including reviews of two of the stories featured in Identity Theft, "Kata Bindu" and "Immortality" here and reviews of Doug Smith's Impossibilia as well as several of his short stories, including "Bouquet" here -- but don't delay jumping on this opportunity to read the actual stories themselves. Many will only be available for free for a limited time. (Voting for the Hugos closed yesterday, and Aurora Award voting closes July 15th.)
So go, read some great stories. And, if you're Canadian, please consider supporting Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy by voting for the Auroras. (Voting details can be found http://www.prixaurorawards.ca/English/AwardProcess/voting.html.)