How I hugo-voted (in some categories)

This is how my final votes broke down for categories some key categories.*

Novel: This was a set of three pairs. The overall order of those pairs was clear to me but the order within those pairs wasn’t.

  1. Spinning Silver
  2. The Calculating Stars
  3. Space Opera
  4. Revenant Gun
  5. Trail of Lightning
  6. Record of a Spaceborn Few
  7. No award

Novella: whattttt…something beat Murderbot? Sure, sentient spaceship ina Holmes pastiche managed to take the lead on the final spot. Forgive me Murderbot! Actually another set of three pairs.

  1. The Tea Master and the Detective
  2. Artificial Condition
  3. The Black God’s Drums
  4. Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach
  5. Beneath the Sugar Sky
  6. Binti: The Night Masquerade

Novelette: This was the hardest-in-a-good-way category. The rather sentimental “If at First…” was briefly 1 and then I had a look again at “The Only…” and remembered why I assumed it would win from when I first read it. Good grief this was a strong category this year. If anyone of these win I will nod sagely and say “of course, obviously”.

  1. The Only Harmless Great Thing
  2. “The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections”
  3. “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again”
  4. “The Thing About Ghost Stories”
  5. “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth”
  6. “When We Were Starless”

Short Story: In the end STET delivered the inventiveness I crave. Looking now I’d change the order of some of these. I should have put “…Raptor Sisters…” higher but I think I double guessed myself because I’m on a dinosaur binge at the moment so down rated it because I decided I was overrating it [cue self-referential spiral].

  1. “STET”
  2. “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington”
  3. “The Court Magician”
  4. “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society”
  5. “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies”
  6. “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat”

Editor Long: every Hugo voter has to have a category they hate vote in – it’s in the rules and a long tradition. “12.7.9.6 Members will pick one category in which they hate vote ‘No Award’ out of frustration with their dislike of the category.” You can’t argue with the rules. Sorry.

  1. No award

Fan Writer: The thing with the ‘name’ categories is I feel like a shit putting anybody 6th. I can’t give an explanation for this ordering and the more I look at it the 1 and 2 places are mainly ‘I hadn’t read much of these two people prior’ so they were new and shiny to me. All creditable winners — the eligibility question of some pieces I put to one side.**

  1. Alasdair Stuart
  2. Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
  3. Foz Meadows
  4. James Davis Nicoll
  5. Bogi Takács
  6. Charles Payseur

*[For security reasons I’ve swapped some choices round in a few places so as to no leave a virtual signature but only when the rank was arbitrary i.e. 50/50 could have gone the other way]

**[It is was it is. Fixing it is the issue.]

15 thoughts on “How I hugo-voted (in some categories)

  1. “Spinning Silver”

    Good man! 🙂 I’ll even forgive you for putting Calculating Stars second. 😉

    And actually, Calculating Stars moved up in my ranks after I reread it.

    My novel ranking:

    Spinning Silver
    Revenant Gun
    Space Opera
    The Calculating Stars
    Trail of Lightning
    Record of a Spaceborn Few

    “The Tea Master and the Detective”

    hissssssss, boooooooo……

    😉

    Not a bad story, actually, but I didn’t find it exceptional.

    My novellas:

    Artificial Condition
    — I still think this should have been Exit Strategy
    Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach
    Beneath the Sugar Sky
    The Black God’s Drums
    The Tea Master and the Detective
    Binti: The Night Masquerade

    “The Only Harmless Great Thing”

    Noooooo, noooooo. I thought this one was way overwritten, and Bolander really is a one-note writer — different styles and subjects, but always the same message! I agree that these were all good, though.

    My lettes:

    “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth”
    — I reaaaaaally liked this one. It’s a gestalt sort of thing.
    “The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections”
    “The Thing About Ghost Stories”
    “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again”
    The Only Harmless Great Thing
    “When We Were Starless”

    “STET”

    STET all the way, baby. Brilliant story — and yes, I do think it counts as a story!

    My shorts:

    “STET”
    “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies”
    “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington”
    “The Court Magician”
    “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat”
    “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society”

    Like

      1. Well, my biggest fears were that: 1. the stories would cancel each other out in the nominations, so that neither would appear on the final ballot; or 2. both stories would end up on the ballot and cancel each other out in the final voting. At least those didn’t happen!

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  2. Curiously enough, in Novel my pairs are the same as yours, but my inside-the-pair ranking is the opposite for every single one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just looking at the top half of my ballots…
    Novel – I went The Calculating Stars, Space Opera, Record of a Spaceborn Few – so we sorta agreed at the top. At the bottom, I really really couldn’t see the case for Trail of Lightning, it really was no more than okay for me.
    Novella – The Black God’s Drums, The Tea Master and the Detective, Artificial Condition – snap, just a different order. I really really want to see P Djeli Clark walk away with something this year, not sure it will be in novella though given the competition.
    Novelette – “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again”, “The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections”, “When We Were Starless” – and Only Harmless Great Thing right at the bottom, whereas you had it right at the top. I simply didn’t see it as a coherent story. I’ve been more forgiving on BB’s tendency to write things that are more screams of rage than stories, but at this length I really want a proper story in there.
    Short – “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington”, “The Court Magician”, “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” – so again I’m ignoring your top choice STET, possibly for similar reasons to OHGT. I might be being inconsistent here, but whereas I felt Nine Negro Teeth created a coherent vision of a world despite being unrelated stories, STET was too abstract for me to do more than admire the craft.
    With the exception of a couple of headscratchers (The Invasion, Trail of Lightning) this was a really strong year for me, great stories that even if I didn’t like myself I could see where their nominators were coming from.

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  4. I can’t understand the love for Spinning Silver — uninterrupted misery. There’s a saying that the way you tell Shakespeare’s tragedies and comedies apart is that the latter end with a wedding. I’m pretty sure why that came to mind after I finished this book.

    However, all the novel finalists are superbly written in the sense of style and craft. I would not have predicted that Trail of Lightning would be my favorite by far. After I finished Becky Chambers’ book, weeping sentimentally through almost every chapter, I thought surely it would be number one on my ballot. (But once all the characters were in my rear view mirror, I had to question how this happy spaceborne communism would persist in the face of the failure of so many real-world examples.)

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    1. Communities with collective ownership have had varying degrees of longevity – monastic communities for example. Self-sustaining ones, less so. In the context of generation ships, where a degree of central economic planning is usually assumed in sci-fi, it’s not the most implausible thing I’ve seen in Chamber’s books.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “I can’t understand the love for Spinning Silver — uninterrupted misery. “

      I loved it. It’s about things like personal empowerment, and recognizing that people who seem evil may not be, and the value of family and compassion. What’s not to love?

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