Today I am interviewing Jo Walton, author of the new book, An Informal History of the Hugos.
◊ ◊ ◊
DJ: Hi Jo! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Jo Walton: I’m a science fiction and fantasy writer, I’ve published thirteen novels with a fourteenth, Lent due out in May 2019. I also write poetry, and very occasional short stories, I had a short story collection out earlier this year from Tachyon Press, called Starlings. This is my second collection of blog posts, the first one was called What Makes This Book So Great and it won the Locus Award for Best Non Fiction in 2015. My novels have also won an embarrassing number of awards – I’m actually embarrassed to list them at this point.
DJ: What is An Informal History of the Hugos about?
Jo: It’s about the history of the science fiction and fantasy genre in the second half of the twentieth century, as seen through the lens of the Hugo awards. It’s about who was writing what, what was good, what was changing and when, what the field looked like in each of those years. So it’s a survey, with additional essays about some of the books. It started off as a series of blog posts on Tor.com. And it’s very very personal. I make no attempt at objectivity, this is entirely my opinion – except that we took the best of the comments on the original blog posts and put them in the book too, so you’ll see me being wrong and being corrected, and other people’s opinions.
DJ: What were some of your influences for An Informal History of the Hugos?
Jo: I hadn’t thought about this until you asked that, but the only possible answer is “fandom”. This is very much like fannish projects and very unlike academic ones or the lists people compile. Also, and this is the whole point of the project, there’s this huge cultural pressure to say “what is the one best x” and what I’m doing here is resisting that, not saying is the winner the best book, but are the nominees the best five books. So it’s really hard to say anything is a particular influence. Continue reading