Last week, the winners of the Hugo Awards were announced. After looking over the list, I realized I was familiar with very little of the content in ANY of the categories. Immediately, I felt the twinge of guilt I always feel for not being more current and promised myself to indulge in some of the stuff that had at least been nominated. Then I realized how silly that was because let’s face it, there’s no way to keep up with everything out there.

Think about it, aside from the Hugos, there are the Nebula Awards, the Locus Awards, and the Bram Stoker Award, and this list could become very long. There are a lot of awards from a variety of organizations. Is it even possible to stay on top of all this?

One of the people on the list of Hugo Winners was N.K. Jemisin (Best Graphic Story or Comic WINNER: Far Sector, written by N.K. Jemisin, art by Jamal Campbell (DC)), and I swear, at the rate she’s going she’ll die one of the most decorated writers of genre fiction ever. Robert A. Heinlen has won six Hugos, but I suspect Jemisin could overtake him, despite everything else she’s won. Then again, she has a ways to go before they name an award after her, so we’ll have to wait and see. Anywho, I hadn’t even realized Jemisin was nominated because I’d completely lost track of the fact that the Hugos were going to be taking place! I know, I’m a bad nerd.

The thing is, I don’t know that I really care. All of that great content will still be there in the future -ironic for science fiction, right?-and I can explore it then. By the time I finally get around to it there will have been more rewards granted, and more content, and more rewards, and so on, and so on, and so on…

At the end of the day or the beginning of the night, whichever you prefer, there is simply too much out there. Awards help filter through some of the detritus, but there’s a lot of stuff out there. When it comes to entertainment options, there’s no shortage. There was a time when my to-be-read pile was filled with stuff from various awards and honours, almost exclusively, and a lot of what I got through was first-rate. After a while, it all became too much. There’s a sense that you have to keep up with the current trends, the best new books, and the most award-winning title. It isn’t true though, and while I think the creators that are considered for an honour, let alone winners of the awards, are worth your time, it’s impossible to keep pace with everything.

That is to say, don’t bother. There’s so much out there to enjoy, don’t let the awards make the choices for you. I’ve made this mistake in the past and found myself lamenting that I’d pushed some of my own interests aside in favour of what was supposed to be the “it” thing. Learn from my mistakes kids, and unless they overlap, keep focused on your interests.

(Now, where was my library card to go check some of these winners out…)

*List of winners of the Hugos can be found here (<- actual site) and here (<-Gizmodo).

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