The Locus Best of 2002 list is out, and as usual this gets me going on what to read next, trying to handicap what will be nominated for the Hugos. Last year I was able to read 16 of the 17 novellas and nominated 5, of which I think one or two actually made it on the ballot. With novels I struck out, but there I could only read a small fraction of what was eligible. This year a couple of shoo-ins would be Bones of the Earth and The Scar and probably Years of Rice and Salt. I may vote for Chasm City again since it’s still a contender even as a 2001 book. Kiln People has a good shot also. Except for Swanwick they’re all fairly chubby books so I doubt I’ll get through more than a couple by the end of March. In the novella category, I’ll guess “Stories for Men” and “Breathmoss” will be nominated, but beyond that there are no obvious candidates. There are too many novelette and short story possibilities to even guess (plus a couple will usually squeak onto the ballot by one or two votes, making predictions even more difficult). Several years ago I tried to keep up with Asimovs and F&SF as they came out, and nominated the ones I could actually remember, but the downside of that was the amount of time spent reading so much unmemorable stuff. Now I wait to read a recommendation from somewhere first (typically Locus), or go strictly by name recognition. Less objective, perhaps, but less time wasted.