hugo_wheel-of-timeThe Hugo nominations have been announced. One of the more interesting things to come out of the nominations this time around has been the inclusion of the entire Wheel of Time series for “Best Novel.” This is something of a first for the Hugos, and would probably be at least mildly controversial in other years. (This year, what with the Jonathan Ross thing and another more recent kerfuffle that I might discuss in another post, it seems to rate as relatively minor on the outrage scale.)

But one side-effect of that nomination is to make Supporting Membership in this year’s WorldCon, where the Hugos are decided, one of the best bargains ever.

Ever since 2006, all members of WorldCon have been granted access at no extra charge to the Hugo Voter Packet, a bundle of as many e-texts of eligible works as their authors and publishers are willing and able to make available. That includes Supporting Members, who this year pay £25 or US$44 (the convention site says $40, but the actual dollar price is pegged to the dollar/pound conversion; it was $43.58 for me) for the right to vote in the Hugos without actually attending the convention.

Most years, that’s a reasonably good deal. But this year, it’s amazingly good, because Tor has announced it will be including the entire Wheel of Time series in the Voter Packet. (DRM-free, of course, since it’s Tor, and I would expect them to be in the same multiple formats through which they are available for sale through major stores. Whether the other bundled works have DRM and what formats they’ll be in is largely up to the publishers who provide them.)

Needless to say, $44 for DRM-free e-books of the entire Wheel of Time series (well, almost; I’m given to understand it doesn’t include the prequel novel New Spring) would be an amazing bargain all by itself. (Just think of all the trees that don’t have to die!) Throw in all the other nominees, and the right to vote to decide which one wins, and, well…wow. I’m a WorldCon Supporting Member this year, for the first time ever. I wouldn’t be surprised if this year’s Hugos have one of the largest voter lists of any in recent history.