10 February 2013

Decade in Review: 1990's

The 90's are over and it’s time again for what has become one of my favorite parts of this challenge.  HEP STATS!

In order of appearance: Covers, Random Title Holders, Statistics, Everyone’s Favorite Chart, My Terrible Writing, and The Most Important Stat.  Enjoy!

My favorite covers:

1.       Barrayar
2.      A Fire Upon the Deep

Highest HEP Score:   A TIE!  I can’t believe it and didn’t realize this had happened but two books received perfect scores – A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge and Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson.  Two very fine books.

Lowest HEP Score:     The Vor Game could only achieve 18 and was my lowest score for the decade.  Not a terrible book, though my timing was.

Biggest Surprise:         Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold.  After pretty inconsistent reception of the first two, I wasn’t sure I could count on this one being any good.  It surpassed any expectation I had though.

Mom Pick:                      To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis.  Seriously good.  SF-lite.  Kid tested, mother approved.

Favorite Character:   Sax Russell in Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, by a landslide.  This could have been a runner-up for the biggest surprise because I really didn’t care for him in Red Mars.

Favorite Gadget:         The Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer in Neal Stephenson’s, The Diamond Age.  I suppose any of the nanotech from that book could be inserted here though.

Favorite Epic Quote: It’s a Swan, from To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis.  That man was so fantastically, hilariously frightened…I just couldn’t help myself.

Favorite Moment:       When Maya killed Phyllis.  It was one of the most charged moments in all of the 90’s winners and…It. Was. Shocking.  Again, Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Coolest Aliens:             Not too many aliens in the 90’s so nearly by the process of elimination, this title goes to Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep, but you might be surpised to find that I liked the Skroderider’s best of all.  The Tines were great but the Riders’ history really took me.

Favorite Review:         I really enjoyed writing a number of the reviews, Green Mars and A Fire Upon the Deep were two of my favorites, but I think I had the most fun with Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, if you can believe it.  It attracted less traffic than my other two favorites by far but this is MY favorite, not yours ;-)

This decade included, understandably this time, a tie, and therefore an extra book and for reasons mostly related to my slow reading pace and lack of time, I ended up only reading six print books and listening to five audiobooks.  The math works out to 2,706 total pages (averaging 451 per – a slight decrease from 476 in the 80’s) and 6,583 total minutes of audio (109+ total hours - that's 4.5 days - and almost 22 hours per).  In the course of eleven books from the 90’s I only just wrote more than 7,700 words so I guess my reviews tended to be brief for this decade (I wrote over 10,000 for the 80’s with one less review).

The HEP Scores were pretty stagnant from the 1980’s, however there were two perfect scores so take that under advisement.  As it happens, the average HEP Score actually decreased ever so slightly from 22.20 in the 80’s to 22.09 in the 90’s (a new phenomenon).  Needless to say with scores like that, the last 21 Hugo winners have been fantastic. 

Again my last graphic resembles prior iterations.  I still find it fun and still wish our county library system had all of them, but I guess for the most part if a Hugo Winner is still in print, they had it.  Seems reasonable.  My thanks to anyone who has helped me fill the gaps!

Of course I still write way below grade-level, but you're used to that by now.  I like to think it's part of my charm.  WHICH I TOTALLY HAVE.  So much charm.  Anyway, with two of my favorite books located on a certain planet it's no surprise that BOOK and REALLY once again demonstrate an uncanny knack for saying my good words.  Oh, and I talked about Mars non-stop.

There are some kinks in there.  Ve?
And of course, the most important stat ever: ONLY 1.3 DECADES TO GO and I’m already making some headway in that department.


  1. Yes, Maya certainly killed Phyllis dead. Can't help but think she probably deserved it, but what a moment that Maya of all people end up doing the deed. Nifty writing by Robinson. The 90's were definitely a notch higher on the quality of sf writing.

    It went a little down-hill from there, I'm afraid :)

  2. By down-hill I meant that some very strange novels ended up winning a Hugo from 2000 onward. The worst ever, in my estimation, of course, Hominids. I can't wait to read your thoughts on it, and Harry Potter and the various other fantasy novels that won.

    1. I've already experienced some of those strange winners. I haven't made up my mind yet about Hominids...

  3. A fun review of your trip through the 90's! I've always liked that Fire Upon the Deep cover too. Eye-catching. Need to make time to read the book!

    Very interesting that you favorite character was one that you weren't entirely fond of from a previous book. Seems like that kind of switch would be rare. Was the character that much different from the first book?

    1. Sax starts out the same. I talked about his transformation a little in my review of Green Mars, it was one of the coolest things a writer has done with a character.

      He starts to make a change in a chapter titled "The Scientist as Hero". I just like the title :) Anyway, he is changed physically, emotionally, and mentally (probably the worst part for him as a scientist). Despite becoming an entirely different person, he is still undeniably Sax. I don't want to give away too much but he is vicitimized, and his whole worldview goes through this transformation that seems to make perfect sense. In the end he becomes so...humanized that it is hard not to empathize. I can't say enough about it. Really masterful writing IMO.

  4. That does sound like masterful writing. I'm not sure I've ever read a series of books where a character makes such a drastic change.


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