The nominations for the annual Hugo Awards have been released - this year has an impressive list of authors and works that represent some of the best stories in the science fiction / fantasy genres. Here's the finalists:
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson – Excerpt 1, Excerpt 2
Blackout by Mira Grant – Excerpt
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold, Chapters 1-6
Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi, Chapters 1-5
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed, Chapter 1
There’s a bunch of critical darlings here – Throne, Redshirts and 2312 are all fantastic stories, and Blackout has had quite a bit of critical buzz behind it, with both preceding novels Feed and Deadline both nominated last year. The one pleasant surprise is Bujold’s novel. I had thought that there would be some other novels on the list, but overall, it’s a great list.
After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications)
The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson, Excerpt
On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard, Excerpt
San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats by Mira Grant, Excerpt
The Stars Do Not Lie by Jay Lake (Asimov’s, Oct-Nov 2012), Excerpt
There’s a good mix of stories here, and it’s interesting to see a bit of a trend going – this used to be the stronghold of many of the magazines, but that’s been changing over the last decade, with most of the nominations coming out of the small presses.
“The Boy Who Cast No Shadow” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, PS Publishing
“Fade To White” by Catherynne M. Valente, Clarkesworld, August 2012
“The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi” by Pat Cadigan, Edge of Infinity, Solaris
“In Sea-Salt Tears” by Seanan McGuire, Self Published
“Rat-Catcher” by Seanan McGuire, A Fantasy Medley 2, Subterranean
This year’s slate of stories is interesting, between some online magazines and anthology offerings. The novelette story is an odd one, between the short story and novella, and it’s interesting to see that the usual outlets, such as Asimovs, Analog and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction) not represented here, but a wider variety.
Best Short Story
The biggest surprise this year is the tiny number of nominees for Best Short Story: only three, the first time since 1968. According to the World Science Fiction Society constitution (3.8.5): No nominee shall appear on the final Award ballot if it received fewer nominations than five percent (5%) of the number of ballots listing one or more nominations in that category, except that the first three eligible nominees, including any ties, shall always be listed.
This is both good and bad news. The bad is that there’s an enormous number of really good stories out there, so many that only three received enough votes among all 600+ nominations to make the final cut. The good news? There’s an enormous number of really good stories out there. The field appears to be a bit fragmented, and it’ll be interesting to see where this goes.
Best Related Work
The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature, edited by Edward James & Farah Mendlesohn, Cambridge University Press
Chicks Dig Comics: A Celebration of Comic Books, by the Women Who Love Them, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Sigrid Ellis, Mad Norwegian Press
Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who, edited by Deborah Stanish & L.M. Myles, Mad Norwegian Press
I Have an Idea for a Book… The Bibliography of Martin H. Greenberg, compiled by Martin H. Greenberg, edited by John Helfers, The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box
Writing Excuses Season Seven, by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler and Jordan Sanderson
Best Graphic Story
Grandville Bête Noire, written and illustrated by Bryan Talbot
Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks, written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez
Saga, Volume One, written by Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples
Schlock Mercenary: Random Access Memorabilia, by Howard Tayler, colors by Travis Walton
Saucer Country, Volume 1: Run, written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Ryan Kelly, Jimmy Broxton and Goran Sudžuka
There’s some great graphic novels here – a couple of popular stories in the comic world (Locke & Key and Saga),
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
The Avengers, Screenplay & direction by Joss Whedon
The Cabin in the Woods, Screenplay by Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon; Directed by Drew Goddard
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro, Directed by Peter Jackson
The Hunger Games, Screenplay by Gary Ross & Suzanne Collins, Directed by Gary Ross
Looper, Screenplay and Directed by Rian Johnson
This year’s film list is a good one, ranging from summer blockbuster-type films (Avengers and The Hunger Games) to smaller, more story-driven works (Looper and Cabin in the Woods). It’s nice to see the blend, although that’s pretty typical. I am a little surprised that Safety Not Guaranteed, The Dark Knight Rises or Robot & Frank weren’t nominated, but I’m not surprised that Prometheus didn’t get a nod.
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
Doctor Who: “The Angels Take Manhattan” Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Nick Hurran
Doctor Who: “Asylum of the Daleks” Written by Steven Moffat; Directed by Nick Hurran
Doctor Who: “The Snowmen” Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Saul Metzstein
Fringe: “Letters of Transit” Written by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Akiva Goldsman, J.H.Wyman, Jeff Pinkner. Directed by Joe Chappelle
Game of Thrones: “Blackwater” Written by George R.R. Martin, Directed by Neil Marshall. Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Once again, Doctor Who dominates the short form awards, but that’s not a surprise, given that the long-running BBC show has had a regular presence (at least 2-3 episodes) each year. It’s very nice to see Fringe‘s episode “Letters of Transit” and the Game of Thrones episode “Blackwater”. I do wish that there were some other shows in the mix, such as Awake, Continuum, The Walking Dead or Person Of Interest.
Best Editor, Short Form
Like the semiprozine category, there’s no bad choices here: Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, Analog, Eclipse Online and Asimovs are all fantastic outlets for short fiction, and each have picked up some fantastic stories in the past year.
Best Editor, Long Form
There’s another great list of editors here: Lou Anders, of Pyr Books, Sheila Gilbert of DAW, Liz Gorinsky and Patrick Nielsen Hayden of Tor, and Toni Weisskopf of Baen, all publishers that have consistently published great science fiction and fantasy novels over the last year.
Best Professional Artist
There’s a great roster of artists here, people who have created some excellent covers for the genre. It’s hard to pick from this list.
“Apex Magazine”, edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Jason Sizemore and Michael Damian Thomas
“Beneath Ceaseless Skies”, edited by Scott H. Andrews
“Clarkesworld”, edited by Neil Clarke, Jason Heller, Sean Wallace and Kate Baker
“Lightspeed”, edited by John Joseph Adams and Stefan Rudnicki
“Strange Horizons”, edited by Niall Harrison, Jed Hartman, Brit Mandelo, An Owomoyela, Julia Rios, Abigail Nussbaum, Sonya Taaffe, Dave Nagdeman and Rebecca Cross
This is an incredible list of magazines, and as I saw someone mention online, you could throw a dart at this list and always come out with a fantastic choice. Each has been responsible for a great number of fantastic stories, and they’re all ones that are worth watching. I might be slightly biased towards Lightspeed, only because I actually work for them. (But even then, they’re all fantastic on this list).
Banana Wings, edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer
The Drink Tank, edited by Chris Garcia and James Bacon
Elitist Book Reviews, edited by Steven Diamond
Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Emma J. King, Helen J. Montgomery and Pete Young
SF Signal, edited by John DeNardo, JP Frantz, and Patrick Hester
Websites have slowly begun to overtake the traditional fanzines. There’s several prior winners back on the list: The Drink Tank, Banana Wings, Journey Planet and SF Signal. Elitist Book Reviews is a newcomer, and its presence on the list is an interesting one.
Best Fan Writer
This is the one list that I’m not overly familiar with – this group has appeared on the ballot before, and they’re worth looking into.
Best Fan Artist
This is another list that I’m not overly familiar with, with the exception of Galen Dara, who’s done a number of great illustrations for Lightspeed, various crowd-funded projects. The others, looking through their portfolios, have some great work as well.
The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester, John DeNardo, and JP Frantz
SF Squeecast, Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas, Catherynne M. Valente (Presenters) and David McHone-Chase (Technical Producer)
StarShipSofa, Tony C. Smith
This is the second year running for the fancast, with the SF Squeecast taking the honors this year. This year, we have all of last year’s nominees coming back for another round, and it’ll be interesting to see who takes the top honor this year.
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
This isn’t a Hugo, but still an honorable award for new authors in the field. I’m only familiar with a couple: Chuck Wendig and Mur Lafferty, but the others look to be excellent authors based on the books that they’re written.
Overall, this year’s Hugo Awards look to be somewhat surprising, with a good number of excellent works on the ballot: 2012 was an excellent year for fiction, and while there’s some surprising omissions, and a smaller than usual fiction category, it does go to show that the SF/F genres are far from dead. The ballot this year is incredibly diverse, which also speaks well for the fan community in general.
The awards will be handed out at this year’s World Science Fiction Convention at LoneStarCon 3, which will be held between August 29th and September 2nd in San Antonio, Texas. Members and supporting members can vote, and you can find out all the details on their website.
Who do you think will take the top honors this year? What was missed on the list?