In early 2013, about the same time I was developing my present delusions of literacy, I realised that as an aspiring writer of speculative fiction, I was hopelessly unaware of what was going on in my genre. Sure, I was reading lots of science fiction, but it was all within my comfort zone, and I didn’t really pay attention to interesting new stuff. I couldn’t even claim to be aware of all the interesting old stuff outside my particular tastes. Since this felt like a major oversight for someone fancying themselves a sci-fi writer, I figured that one way to fix this might be by catching up on the Hugo Award winners. Specifically, winners of the Best Novel award — I don’t really read or write short fiction, and anyway including more than one category of awards would have felt like a huge load of work. But novels? I like science fiction novels. Reading them would be fun!