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Headshot of me wearing red lipstick Kara Babcock

Thanks to the Hugos, I have not totally abandoned democracy

Those of you who read science fiction and fantasy and spend a good deal of time online are probably aware that we're in the middle of the 2010 Hugo Awards. You can see this year's nominees here.

While I fall into both of the above categories, I only paid the Hugos passing notice. Certainly, if a book has won the Hugo Award, or even been nominated, then I might give it more consideration before I begin reading it. But not every winner is a winner, if you know what I mean.

This year's different, though. This year, I'm going to pay more attention, because I'm voting in the Hugo Awards.

Earlier this week, John Scalzi posted on his blog about the 2010 Hugo Voters Packet being available. This is an electronic copy of many of the works nominated for Hugo awards, which is distributed to people who have registered for AussieCon4 (and are thus eligible to vote in the awards).

A full ticket to AussieCon4 is $310 Australian dollars--and I have no intention of attending a convention. But all you need for voting rights is a supporting membership, which is only $70 Australian. I didn't even need to use my mathematically-inclined brain to figure this one out: for $70, I got DRM-free copies of Hugo-nominated works. This includes all of the nominations for Best Novel. Best Novella, Best Novelette, and Best Short Story. Hard copies of the novels alone would probably set me back more than that (although I already own three of them), and tracking down the short stories, if I were so inclined, would cost even more. Plus, I have a copy of Neil Gaiman's Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?, which i probably wouldn't otherwise have read.

Oh, and now I can vote in the Hugos themselves. Which is rather the whole point of this exercise, but I'm still salivating over all of the new reading material I've acquired. My Calibre library has suddenly increased in size, as these works join some public domain books from Project Gutenberg and freebies from Suvudu.

When it comes to this year's nominees for Best Novel, I'm ahead of the game. As I mentioned, I already own Boneshaker, The City & The City, and Julian Comstock in hard copy. Julian Comstock was one of my top ten books of 2009. I've also read and gushed about Wake, so that leaves only two more novels, both of which look superb. I'm just as interested in seeing which book I choose to support as I am in seeing which one wins.

So anyway, if you want to vote in this year's Hugo Awards (and nominate works for next year's Awards) and have $70, head over to the Aussiecon4 website and register. Even if you don't care to vote, I urge you to check out any of this year's nominees.