2019 Special Hugo Category: Best Art Book

This is an exciting announcement from the Dublin 2019 Worldcon:


Best art book will throw up some interesting nominees but I can see a maze of eligibility questions. Dublin says:

An eligible work includes any art book in 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 which isn’t eligible for Best Graphic Story.

Which is fair enough but Graphic Story has broad eligibility and I don’t think it is clear what kind of thing isn’t eligible (as opposed to what kind of thing doesn’t normally get nominated).

There’s also an obvious overlap with Best Related Work, which has broad eligibility criteria but a narrower range of what usually gets nominated (although it’s had some more left-field finalists in the past).

Still it will be fun to think of nominees!

13 thoughts on “2019 Special Hugo Category: Best Art Book

  1. I’d think the key separator would be “story”? Graphic Story being “Any science fiction or fantasy story told in graphic form….” So this category would be for art collections, etc., that don’t have a narrative. (By this interpretation, amusingly, a book that solely collected comic book cover art such as the Marvel Comics: 75 Years of Cover Art hardcover (2014) would go in this category.)

    I’m sufficiently unfamiliar with this area, however, that I’d love to hear what people think would be worthy nominees.

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    1. “The Electric State” by Simon Stalenhag would be an edge case, since it’s an art book with a connecting story. Ditto for the Gregory Manchess book last year.

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  2. Very interesting. There are a couple of art books I was hoping might appear under the Christmas tree:
    Art and Arcana: A Visual History – a d&d art book
    Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy – which is an illustrated set of character profiles
    The second one might not fit a tight definition of “art book” – how much textual information makes it just an illustrated book?

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      1. For boundary testing, what about Art Matters by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell? Based on leafing through it at the bookshop recently, it’s a collection of essays etc similar to what we’ve seen in BRW, but illustrated.

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  3. What I really would like to see is a category for Best Anthology. There are so many good ones and I always find at least one each year — like “The Starlit Wood” — that is deserving of some kind of award. Individual stories make ballots, but the books as a whole don’t, at least for Hugos.

    And it’s got pretty firm boundary conditions too.

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    1. Or short fiction collection at that. Make Science Fiction Fun Again could be in the running!


    2. What happened to the Standlee plan for editors? That has Best Anthology as one of its components. My understanding.at the time was that it had been shelved because of all the other conflicts that were happening, so is it time for it to make a comeback?

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  4. Yeah art books are like sketch books or whatnot. I bought one of Julie Dillon’s and it beautiful to go through but there’s no story tying it all together. Most artists seem to do them in addition to their other work.


  5. Art books are certainly eligible for Best Related and have always been considered such, and I believe they are part of the reason that it became ‘Related’ rather than ‘Non-Fiction’. So this does seem to go against the ‘no double eligibility’ principle. (When people were proposing that various Worldcons should create a one-off YA Hugo, I always took the line that this was impossible, as YA books were eligible for Best Novel.- which is of course why the Lodestar is Not a Hugo – but it seems that the principle is not seen as binding in any case.)


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