Sunday, February 22, 2009

Written on

Mr. Hugo, For Your Consideration: CLOCKWORK HEART

There are so many great books—and yet so few awards.

While I’m all for the voters nominating every science fiction romance book that came out in 2008 for the Hugo Award, I must consider a more realistic perspective. There’s a difference between a book that’s great, and a great book that combines elements in such a way that it actually has a shot at being nominated for such a prestigious distinction.

Dru Pagliassotti’s CLOCKWORK HEART is one such book.

This whole literary shebang reminds me of the Oscars, where comedic brilliance in films, SF/F adventures, or commercial films with boffo box office hauls routinely gets bumped for intellectual art house fare (hello, FROST/NIXON & THE READER, sayonara to THE DARK KNIGHT & IRON MAN). It’s a crying shame, yes, but occasionally a film will do an end run around the whole process, with refreshing results (LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING).

Science fiction romance—it could be a contender.

To wit, Mary Fitzpatrick of Flying Whale Productions expressed some intriguing words in her recent review of CLOCKWORK HEART:

“I think the strength of this book is it’s straddling half a dozen genre[s]. It is a prime example of literary hybrid vigor. Unfortunately that may also scare strict genre readers away, and it makes the book hard to market. It will probably keep the book from both the sales, and award nominations it so richly deserves. I read all the Hugo nominees for 2008, and I like several of them very well, but when it comes to texture, storytelling and originality Clockwork Heart blows them all out of the water.

“This book deserves a nomination for the 2009 Hugos.”

Is CLOCKWORK HEART a long shot? Could be, but so was Cinderella, if you asked her Evil Stepmother the wrong people.

Mary adds that: “The plot twists and turns enough to keep any reader guessing what will happen next, and the end, although not a big pink spun-sugar bow, is satisfying enough for a Romance fan looking for a HEA.”

So please, Mr. Hugo, strongly consider a book that, because of its steampunk and romance elements, qualifies it for many as a science fiction romance. What a great opportunity this would be to acknowledge what romance has done and is doing for science fiction: the emotional investment quotient. (And I’m sure previous Hugo winner Lois McMaster Bujold wouldn’t mind the company).

But don’t just consider sending this novel an invitation to the ball because of that. There’s also marscapone icing on the cake because CLOCKWORK HEART is penned by a woman (for a full list of “works by women eligible for 2009 SF awards,” click here).

Thanks, Mr. Hugo! I knew you’d understand.

And for my progressive passengers, if you’re eligible to vote, there’s not much time left! The online ballot is here.

Joyfully yours,