Last year’s Hugo Awards were a clusterfuck. The Sad/Rabid Puppies, who caused said clusterfuck, have released a new list/slate of recommended works for this year’s Hugo awards, which has caused a lot of further frustration among people who disliked their tactics before.
I haven’t viewed the new list from the Sad/Rabid Puppies, but since the nomination period ends on March 31st, I thought I’d share what I was nominating this year. If you’re reading this before the deadline and want to do some last-minute research for your own ballot, check out the #HugoEligible hashtag on Twitter — I found it super helpful.
Note: This is my personal list, and my taste tends towards the more literary end of the SF/F/H spectrum. If you’re in the position to nominate works for this year’s Hugos, vote according to your own preferences. I’m just going off of what I’ve read, watched, or been exposed to over the past year.
- The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin — I reviewed this last year, and it was amazing. In my opinion, this is the novel to beat.
The Best Novel category was difficult for me because novels generally take more time and investment to read; by the time I started this site in mid-2015, I chose to read whatever I felt like rather than whatever has been recently published and is thus eligible for awards. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the following novels (which I haven’t yet read) were also nominated for the Hugo awards:
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik
- House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
- The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
- The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
- Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
- Binti by Nnedi Okorafor — another work that I was lucky enough to review earlier.
- Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson — My review went live earlier this month. However, since it’s 43,000 words its word count falls into a grey area so it might also be considered for Best Novel.
- “We Never Sleep” by Nick Mamatas (Originally published in The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk)
Best Short Story
- “Madeleine” by Amal El-Mohtar, Lightspeed Magazine — A beautiful story about loss, loneliness, and how small things like the smell of soup can trigger strong memories.
- “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong, Nightmare Magazine (Queers Destroy Horror! special issue) — Unsettling, with sharp prose and a great, twisted central dynamic between several characters.
- “Her Mother’s Child” by Julie Sondra Decker, Kaleidotrope — This one took me by surprise but the ending, where the mother reveals secrets she’s never told anyone else to her daughter, is lovely.
- “The Lily and the Horn” by Catherynne Valente, Fantasy Magazine (Queers Destroy Fantasy! special issue) — Valente wrote this story as a response to Game of Thrones and the whole idea of poison being a “weak, feminine” tool. Awesome stuff.
- “Liminal Grid” by Jaymee Goh, Strange Horizons — This story is more muted and subtle than the others, but I think its important to see more fiction in this setting (it’s in Malaysia). I also like the whole “creating a private grid to avoid omniscient government surveillance” aspect.
Best Related Work
- “Hamilton” (the musical) by Lin-Manuel Miranda — A related work is defined as “a work related to the field of science fiction, fantasy, or fandom, appearing for the first time during the previous calendar year or which has been substantially modified during the previous calendar year. The type of works eligible include, but are not limited to, collections of art, works of literary criticism, books about the making of a film or TV series, biographies and so on, provided that they do not qualify for another category.” Under this definition, I think “Hamilton” totally counts for the Hugo awards because it 1) has amassed a huge fandom, much of which is SFnal in nature, 2) was substantially modified in 2015 in order to transition from its previews at the Public Theatre to its Broadway debut, and 3) doesn’t qualify for any other category.
- Invisible 2, edited by Jim C. Hines — The science fiction community has had several discussions recently about diversity, inclusion, and positive representation of marginalized/intersectional identities. Hines has collected essays by several authors about these issues, and the collection is well worth a read.
Best Graphic Story
- The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 1 by Ryan North & Erica Henderson — Because of course.
- Nimona by Noelle Stevenson — This is a bit of a cheat for me: I’ve read part of it, but not all of it. However, I enjoyed what I read, so I don’t feel bad about nominating it.
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
- Ex Machina
- Mad Max: Fury Road
- The Martian
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Best Professional Editor (Short Form)
- John Joseph Adams, Lightspeed Magazine and Nightmare Magazine
- Lynne Thomas, Uncanny Magazine
- Michael D. Thomas, Uncanny Magazine
- Strange Horizons – I’ve joked that their book reviews are what my book reviews want to be when they grow up, and it’s true. They publish great fiction, but I stand in awe of their lit-crit.
- Uncanny Magazine — I backed their recent Kickstarter campaign, and I find their work groovy.
- Kaleidotrope — This magazine got onto my radar in a big way in the final days leading up to the nomination deadline; I wish that I had paid more attention to them before.
- Escape Pod — I haven’t listened to Escape Pod in a long time, but when I was an active listener, they were a very big gateway drug into other short fiction markets. I’m so happy to see how well they’re thriving, even if I’ve generally fallen off the podcast bandwagon.
- PodCastle — Ditto.
- Cabbages and Kings by Jonah Sutton-Morse — I’m a tad biased here, since I was a guest on this podcast in January.
Best Fan Writer
- Natalie Luhrs and Annalee Flower Horne for The Bias
- David J. Schwartz for “Masculinity is an Anxiety Disorder: Breaking Down the Nerd Box” in Uncanny Magazine
- Abigail Nussbaum
The John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo)
Finding authors to nominate for this category was made immeasurably easier with the Up and Coming anthology, which collects 230 works of fiction by Campbell-eligible authors. The anthology will be available for FREE download until March 31st.
- Charlotte Ashley — I know Charlotte personally, and I’m so happy that she’s getting published in places like The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Kaleidotrope, and The Sockdolager.
- Nicolette Barischoff — I found out about her work through the Up and Coming anthology.
- Sunil Patel — I mostly follow him on Twitter, but I also have liked his essays on The Book Smugglers.
- Alyssa Wong — I also nominated her in the short story category.