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2012 Hugo Awards shortlists unveiled

11th April 2012 - 1:15pm

Five authors are in contention to win the coveted Hugo Award for best novel, one of the most prestigious science fiction prizes in the world and the only major fantasy award voted for by fans.

Originally known as the Science Fiction Achievement Awards, the prizes were renamed in 1992 in honour of Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering magazine Amazing Stories.

The shortlist is based on the ballots submitted by members of the World Science Fiction Society and the award is presented each year at the World Science Fiction Convention, with the 2012 ceremony taking place on September 2nd.

This year's contenders include George R. R. Martin's A Dance with Dragons, the latest instalment in his A Song of Fire and Ice series that began with A Game of Thrones in 1996.

He is up against Mira Grant's Deadline, one of the most acclaimed zombie novels of recent years, and Among Others, Jo Walton's fantastical coming of age novel.

China Mieville's acclaimed space saga Embassytown is also in contention, alongside Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey's space opera.

Mieville will be hoping to go one step further at the Hugo Awards than at this week's British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Awards, when Embassytown lost out to Christopher Priest's quirky murder mystery The Islanders.

Priest courted controversy last month when he criticised the books nominated for the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award, describing the shortlist as 'dreadful' and the judges as 'not fit for purpose', claiming the panel had 'played it safe'.

However, Priest was more complimentary about other science fiction awards – including the Hugos and the one he was receiving.

'The Hugos are different, they're a fan award. If a fan likes these books then that's fine. And the BSFA awards are such a good-natured event, so it's a special bonus to get an award at the end,' he added.

Last year's Hugo Award for best novel was won by Connie Willis for Blackout and All Clear, two volumes of a saga about time-travelling historians set in the mid-21st century.

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