Thursday, October 07, 2010

An Interesting Question...

... asked on episode 19 of the Coode Street podcast. Why have none of the authors associated with Radical Hard SF won a Hugo?


Anonymous Phil Ackerman said...

Not sure about the "radical" bit, but isn't "A Fire Upon the Deep" hard SF?

October 07, 2010 7:53 pm  
Blogger Paul McAuley said...

Radical Hard SF was short-lived category of mostly British writers. 'A Fire Upon the Deep' is very hard, but in no way radical. (Anyone know where Pringle and Greenland's Hard SF editorial lives on the web btw?)

October 07, 2010 8:14 pm  
Blogger LarryS said...

Hmmm, not sure what is meant by 'Radical' hard SF-any examples? Would Delany's NOVA, which I've yet to read, count? Or Shaw's Palace of Eternity perhaps, which I have read?

October 09, 2010 12:56 pm  
Blogger Charlie Stross said...

"Radical Hard SF" was Simon Ounsley's cattle prod editorial to try and shock folks out of submitting stuff to Interzone that reeked of early-1970s new wave a la New Worlds. If you retrieve that editorial you'll note that Simon very carefully refrained from defining the term (he wanted the authors to start playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey).

So it's probably fair to say that Paul is a radical hard SF writer of that school. And so am I. And I've won a Hugo. QED :)

October 09, 2010 5:50 pm  
Blogger LarryS said...

Yea congratulations on that achievement Charlie!

October 09, 2010 7:39 pm  
Blogger Paul McAuley said...

Turns out there at least *three* editorials on Radical Hard SF - the first, by Pringle and Greenland, was in IZ 7. Still can't find it online.

Charlie, if you're happy to be so defined, then hurrah! Thesis disproved.

October 09, 2010 9:11 pm  
Anonymous Pat said...

There is an Interzone archive at but you seem to need to be able to guess the date of publication of the issue you want to search. Or it is just a wind-up, I don't know the date any of them were published.

October 09, 2010 11:38 pm  
Blogger George Berger said...

Greg Egan's story 'Oceanic' won a Hugo, but his 'Luminous' is hyperradical hard SF and did not. I hold that with high probability no tale constructed like it will win a Hugo.

'Luminous' is a story whose subject matter is a group of notions from maths, the foundations of mathematics, and metaphysical philosophy. The main purpose of the plot, I believe, is to dramatise these ideas. Without some rather advanced knowledge of number theory, three philosophical views about the nature of number, and the relations between mathematical proof, mathematical structures, and the role of maths in physics, this story cannot be understood. For these ideas are not tropes that support a plot (almost by name-dropping); they are introduced and clarified by the plot.

If I am right, its not at all surprising that 'Luminous' never won a Hugo. The right set of notions is present in too few people for that. Perhaps similar arguments can be advanced for other tales. I doubt that the question has a unique answer.

October 10, 2010 8:47 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts