(This article was originally a blog post.)
The nominees for the 2010 Hugo Awards were announced this week. If you don’t know, the Hugos are the premier science fiction awards, the Pulitzer for the nerd set, if you will. I won’t mention the novels or short stories, since few of you have heard of them. Rather, let’s look at the dramatic entries, bot long and short form.
Nominees for the long form (i.e., movies) include Avatar, Moon, District 9, Star Trek and Up.
I reviewed Star Trek here. It’s a fine action movie. But it’s neither science fiction nor clever. If it wins, I am through with the Hugos.
I reviewed Avatar here. It’s genuine science fiction, though heavily derivative and hardly worthy of an award that celebrates originality. If it wins, I won’t be through with the Hugos, but I will lose a hefty amount of respect for them.
Up is an excellent, moving and entertaining little film. But is it science fiction? I really don’t think so.
That leaves Moon and District 9. I must admit to not having seen Moon. I hear it’s quite good. But from what little I know of its plot, I question whether it’s actually science fiction. An astronaut on the moon is not particularly far-fetched. That leaves the sole option for winner being District 9.
Now, on to the short form, The nominees are an episode of Dollhouse, and episode of FlashForward and three episodes of Doctor Who. All are very good choices, though we can all wonder how Lost or Fringe didn’t make the list.
More baffling, however, is how this past year’s true masterpiece of TV science fiction failed to make the Hugo short list. I’m talking about Torchwood: Children of Earth, which I reviewed here.
I don’t use the word “masterpiece” lightly. It’s a difficult accomplishment to manage in a general public prime-time TV format, especially within the confines of an existing TV show with existing characters and relationships. But Children of Earth is that good, it really is. Not only is it pure science fiction –something the actual nominees dance around– but it’s poignant, heartbreaking, terrifying and exhilirating.
A big raspberry to the Hugo people for omitting Children of Earth. As compensation, let’s inaugurate the first annual Skiffy.ca TV award for the best science fiction dramatic short form. I hereby award it, without hesitation, to Russell Davies for his –wait for it– masterpiece in Torchwood: Children of Earth.