The 2015 Hugo Awards: Thoughts

2015 Hugo Award statuette. Design by Matthew Dockrey and photo by Kevin Standlee.

2015 Hugo Award statuette. Design by Matthew Dockrey and photo by Kevin Standlee.

The 2015 Hugo Awards were announced this past weekend, and I was suffused with a glow of happiness and a sense of order (somewhat) restored when I heard that the Sad/Rabid Puppies were pretty much a dud. Out of all the works that were part of their slate, only one — the Guardians of the Galaxy, nominated in the Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form category — won a Hugo. Otherwise, the rest of the categories were either won by non-Puppy nominees or given No Award.

Here’s the full list of Hugo winners. For what it’s worth, I followed the voting recommendations as outlined in Deirdre Moen’s Anti-Puppy guide, with the exception of voting for Laura Mixon despite Moen’s concerns.

The really interesting thing is seeing the post-voting statistical breakdown now that the award ceremony is over. It’s heartbreaking to see what works didn’t make the final ballot because of Puppy slate engineering. The short story category could have been amazing if it included work by Aliette de Bodard, Ursula Vernon, Amal El-Mohtar, and the late Eugie Foster. Plus, no recognition for Jo Walton for Best Related Work? What a calamity — I think that What Makes This Book So Great is an excellent primer for people who (like me) aren’t very familiar with Golden Age science fiction.

The only thing I’m sad about is that The Three-Body Problem won out over The Goblin Emperor. However, I still voted for Three-Body above No Award, so I’m not too put out. It really is a wonderful milestone that a translated work won the award. This just strengthens my resolve to read more translated fiction. (And, as someone who reads slush for Lightspeed, I’m ecstatic that they won another Hugo for Best Semiprozine. I bask in their reflected glory!)

However, these are just the thoughts of a very, very small player within SF/F fandom. You’d be far better served by looking at the writings of others in the industry like Chuck WendigCory Doctorow, and Tobias Buckell, among others. Hell, even The Wall Street Journal is taking about this!

Looking Forward to Years Ahead

On a different yet positive note, Helsinki won the bid to host the 2017 WorldCon. I knew several people in person and online who were big proponents of having it in Helsinki, and the argument for doing so — that sticking to mostly English-speaking host cities, particularly in the US, was privileging a parochial, narrow mainstream — was pretty compelling.

I doubt I’ll have the resources to go to Finland in 2017, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t celebrate in my own way. The day the news regarding Helsinki broke, I bought an anthology of speculative fiction by Finnish authors. (I also bought a copy of Jagganath by Karen Tidbeck.) Remember how I said in my review of The Three-Body Problem that I wanted to make my reading more diverse? Well, I think It Came From the North and Jagganath make a fine start.

I guess we’re now free to speculate on what will happen in 2016. Will the Sad/Rabid Puppy contingent whinge and say that the number of No Awards given out just proves their point? Yes — they started saying so immediately after the awards were announced. Will they continue to agitate for their works on next year’s ballot? Also yes.

However, I hope that at this point they’ve been somewhat defanged. Here are some of my predictions for titles that may be nominated for Best Novel next year. I haven’t read any of these yet, so I’m just going off of the buzz I’m hearing about them from others:

  • Ancillary Mercy by Anne Leckie (This is due to be released this October.)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
  • The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
  • The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett (I think there will be a big push since Pratchett was so beloved and this is his final chance to win, even if it’s posthumous. Mr. BooksandTea also reminds me of the tantalizing possibility of the voting public “pulling a Wheel of Time” and nominating the entire Discworld series in one fell swoop.)
  • The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu (This is the sequel to Three-Body, translated by Joel Martinsen.)