Over in LiveJournal land, nwhyte just finished reading all the Hugo-winning novels, and provides a list of them with links to reviews or at least short comments. He also gives a summary list of his take on the best and worst books of the lot.
The obvious thing to do with such a list, particularly in LiveJournal land, is to take the list and mark which ones you’ve read, and so on. In th interest of a little variety, though, let me suggest an alternate game: the academic parlor game “Humilation,” invented by David Lodge, in which literary academics admit to not reading various classic works, with the winner being the person who shares the most embarrassing gap in their reading. This seems like a natural use of the Hugo list, especially since it includes both enduring classics and works that there’s no shame in not reading– They’d Rather Be Right from 1955 is legendarily bad, for example.
So, if you’re a science fiction fan, which of the classic works on that list of Hugo winners have you not read? The definition of “classic” is of course subjective, and somewhat problematic to apply to books you haven’t read, but for the sake of the game, let’s go with “generally regarded as a good and important novel,” which is fuzzy but probably workable.
There are several “classic” books on the list that I haven’t read, but I’ll go with Heinlein’s Starship Troopers for my answer, because Heinlein’s always good for a controversy. This is widely regarded as one of the founding works of the popular subgenre of military science fiction, but somehow I missed it back when I went through my Heinlein phase. I’m not sure how.
In the twenty-odd years since, I’ve heard so many people talk about it that I don’t feel any deep need to read it. So it remains a significant gap in my classic SF reading (and the single work I haven’t read that I’m most likely to be told I must read, given the proclivities of Heinlein fans).
So, that’s my admission. What highly regarded Hugo winner have you not read?