Hugo 2019 Stats

The results are in and it is time to look at what won and lost. Stats are here: My ballot (sort of) is here

I think overall it was mainly safe, relatively conservative picks overall with only Archive of Our Own for Best Related Work being a case of the Hugo voters pushing the boundaries a bit. Otherwise, my impression was voers picked the safer choices out of an impressive field. Of course, with strong finalists there were no obvious bad choices on the menu.


My top two picks were Spinning Silver and The Calculating Stars. The final result reversed that order, with Calculating beating Silver. The nomination stats show a similar order for these top two works. Some strong contenders in the longlist such as Blackfish City, Foundryside and The Poppy War. Voters were spoiled for choice.

I’m surprised Trail of Lightning beat Revenant Gun in the run-offs but for non-fans of either Lightning is the more accessible work. The most marmite-like of the six, Space Opera came sixth.


Again my top two were The Tea Master and the Detective and Artificial Condition and those canny Hugo voters swapped them round! In the longlist there are only two novellas I recognised, so I guess I need to read more novellas!


I thought The Only Harmless Great Thing would win and looking at the nomination long list, it had the strongest showing in the nomination round. This was a particularly strong field though but I was a little surprised that Zen Cho’s “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again” won. It’s a great story though that sticks with you. Again, when you have a set of strong choices it can feel a bit random as to who wins.

Short Story

I was wayyyy off here. I would have liked to STET or The Nine Negro Teeth win. A Witches Guide to Escape is a great story though but I liked the inventiveness of my top picks more.

There’s a story in the longlist called “You Can Make a Dinosaur But You Can’t Help Me ” which I haven’t read but am now obliged to!

Best Series

I didn’t vote in this in the end. I liked the idea of the category in principle but you just can’t vote in it the way you can vote in the other categories. You can really only vote for stuff you’ve already read and that’s not what I get out of the Hugo Awards.

Having said that, I think Wayfarers is a good win. It’s a popular series with multiple Hugo nods but it isn’t going to be a winner. Mind you the same is true for Machineries of Empire. I’d have liked to see The Centenal Cycle win also but inevitably the bigger name series is more likely to win.

In the longlist Earthsea is an interesting contender that didn’t quite make it. I guess if the eligibility argument had been more widely known it might have been in the running. I’m surprised the Rivers of London series wasn’t higher also given how many people tell me to read it.

Best Related Work

Archive of Our Own romped home in the final ballot, way ahead of the next contender, a ghostly if benevolent Ursula Le Guin. I’m surprised Astounding came last but it is another case of somebody has to come sixth.

Some interesting long list contenders including Ryan North’s ‘How to Invent Everything’.

Best Graphic Story

I do really enjoy Monsteress but there is a tendency for this category to get a bit stagnant. Even the longlist doesn’t throw up much that is new.

BDP – Long

I really wanted Sorry to Bother You do better but this was a year for impressive and good rather than impressively weird. So Spiderverse it was, which was a safely offbeat choice of superhero movie in a year dominated by them.

She-Ra is way down there in the long list but I wouldn’t be surprised to see season 3 gather a lot more votes next year.

BDP – Short

The Good Place was an interesting choice last year and much less interesting as a choice this year. She-Ra is there in the long list again and much closer to being a finalist.

Skipping on to Semiprozine

Uncanny. Yes, it’s good. Yes, safe choice again. I thought this might be a bit of a big year for Fireside but while it got a lot of recognition in the finalists it didn’t score any wins.


File 770 bowing out helped Rocket Stack Rank onto the ballot. I’m glad Lady Business won and the longlist suggests a healthy competition in the world of Fanzines.


I’m glad Foz Meadows won but there was plenty of other names I’d have been happy to see win. Some great writers in the long list as well


I’m not seeing any EPH quirks i.e. where the finalists are not the top set of nominations. The nearest example is in Fanzine, where Galactic Journey and Rocket Stack Rank both had 35 nominations but GJ had a few more points than RSR. {ETA} I wasn’t seeing them because I wasn’t looking properly! The lower raw-nomination finalist was often a bit further up the list from the cut off on points.

  • Lodestar: The Invasion O’Guilin 34 beat Skyward Sanderson 35
  • Best Editor Short: Gardner Dozois 73 beat Jonathan Strahan 79
  • Best graphic story: On a Sunbeam Walden 33 beat The Wicked + The Divine Vol 7: Mothering Invention Gillon/McKelvie 36

20 responses to “Hugo 2019 Stats”

  1. I think the eligibility spreadsheets really made a huge difference in nominating for me—this was the first year they made it to my internet corner in time for the nomination ballot, and I wonder if I’m not the only one. I tried to pick at least one or two things without looking at it, but from there I went down the list and picked my top few. If a lot of people did that, I could see it encouraging what it looks like this ballot had: a lot of consensus about the top few handsful and then a massive tail.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Camerstros Felapton: I’m surprised the Rivers of London series wasn’t higher also given how many people tell me to read it.

    IIRC, the nomination ballot listed the ineligible series due to not having re-qualified, and Rivers of London was one of them. People would not have wanted to waste a nominating slot on an ineligible series.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Delighted to see MRK take novel, I thought it was going to be between her and Novak and indeed it was. I had Space Opera second on my ballot, and although I knew it was a bit of a marmite book I’m quite surprised to see it finish last.
    (Although last is actually 6th out of a cast of thousands)
    My pleasant surprises were “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again”, and Wayfarers. I nommed If at First not thinking enough people would agree for it to make the ballot, let alone win!
    Wayfarers is a worthy winner but given how many people appear to have taken against it a bit I didn’t think it had a chance here. I was voting for Yoon Ha Lee to take the Outstanding Achievement in Weird Trilogies Award, and thought The Laundry or October Daye would actually win.

    Semiprozine – I’m a bit conflicted here. On the one hand Uncanny is clearly top of the pack – I sub to it myself – but there’s such good work going on elsewhere that its dominance here feels a bit stifling. Mind you, there have been plenty of other long term winners – Locus! – that it’s hard to begrudge it here.

    Liked by 1 person

      • What makes me conflicted about that is that although the title is the same, the people might not be. E.g. this year Uncanny had their guest-edited Destroy… issue involved in their win.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I suspect that the problem with Semiprozine is simply that the field is too small – it was never that big, but now that a number of leading semiprozines have jumped to Pro, it’s even smaller.

        The Standlee plan for eliminating editors would have abolished semiprozines, folding them into a a straightforward Best Magazine category. I had understood that this plan was simply put on hold until the slating crisis was over, but it seems to have disappeared entirely. Perhaps it should be revived.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. The most interesting EPH result, I think, was that it did not stop the shortlisting of three Murderbot stories – only the author’s declining did that. Which does confirm the view that it is not terribly disruptive except in times of crisis.

    As for the things it did alter: the Lodestar result was a near-tie, so I can’t really complain, but I feel like complaining anyway. O’Guilin, I take it, being Irish, had a local fan-club effect. I would have preferred Sanderson, who I feel would have made the ballot a bit more diverse. Last year’s shortlist was really various, giving a sense of the range of possibilities of the field; this year’s, I thought, had much more sameness to it, being all (except to some extent Hartman) very core YA, written in a YA style and dealing with YA themes. Ah well.

    Not sure what to make of the graphic result – clearly the work that benefited was non-standard for this category, but The Wicked + The Divine doesn’t look terribly standard either, so whether this makes things more or less diverse I’m not sure. It’s this category that has made me worried that EPH can actually favour established series over interesting new things, as it would have done by letting Schlock Mercenary beat Sex Criminals in 2015: but that doesn’t seem to be what’s happening here.

    Gardner Dozois clearly had a personal vote separate from the regular bunch of short form editors – though his nomination can’t be considered way out, considering that he won.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Andrew M: The most interesting EPH result, I think, was that it did not stop the shortlisting of three Murderbot stories – only the author’s declining did that. Which does confirm the view that it is not terribly disruptive except in times of crisis.

    This is an erroneous assumption. It’s apparent from the stats that the majority of nominations for Artificial Condit ion were not from ballots which included all 3 works.

    Liked by 1 person

    • @JJ

      Interesting, so people seem to have been choosing their single favourite Murderbot? Makes the appearance of all three even more impressive.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Well, exactly. EPH does not have terribly disruptive effects in normal circumstances, because the voters do not behave in a way that would trigger them. Obviously if the voters acted like slaters, the system which was set up to defeat slaters would also defeat them. But they don’t.

      There was an idea going around before EPH was adopted that it would prevent domination by ‘natural slates’ – but results, both here and in Dramatic Short, suggest that isn’t so. Natural slaters, unlike organised slaters, don’t vote sufficiently in lockstep to trigger it. I think this is on the whole a good thing, because EPH was planned with the intention that it would not disrupt the normal working of the Hugos.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Something I saw pointed out by Nicholas Whyte – Fanzine came relatively close to falling foul of the 25% rule and so not being awarded.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pretty happy. Six of the winners were my first choices and only two were my sixth. Although I still liked my sixth surprisingly well in some cases. We were really spoiled for choice. Also pleased to see BookTuber Kalanadi (Rachel) on the Fancast longlist for the second year.

    @Andrew M re: semiprozine and editor categories
    The Hugo Study committee is still discussing that idea. See their report at the end of the Business Meeting agenda — Part IV (3), page 55 (page 57 of the PDF). I’ve felt that semiprozine is a real wrench in the works for a while now. Not only the overlap with editor short, but I think it causes problems with pro/fan artist and fan writer. The semiprozines themselves can definitely be compared to pro zines. Looking at the longlist, people seem to have finally figured out that Clarkesworld isn’t eligible anymore, but pro zines Lightspeed and Apex were still there.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So I missed all my choices except for oddly, Best Series, where I wound up voting for Wayfarers in the end. But it was a strong ballot so I’m happy with the result. I voted for only one Murderbot novella on my nom list, and it was Exit Strategy, and I suspect I wasn’t the only one who picked on Murderbot Novella instead of multi-voting, which made its performance incredible….and kind of surprising it didn’t make the short list for Best Series, honestly?

    Although what made me happiest oddly was that The Poppy War, which was the 7th highest nominated novel, missed the ballot by more than one vote…..since I purposely didn’t vote for it since I was trying to game the system and swore it was a shoe-in for the ballot. So it wasn’t a shoe-in, but my gamesmanship wasn’t the cause for it missing! Phew.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. garik16: kind of surprising [Murderbot] didn’t make the short list for Best Series, honestly?

    With only 4 Novellas in the series thus far, it does not yet meet the word count requirement to be eligible for Best Series.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It got enough votes to make the longlist though – I thought the novellas might have been long enough to hit the word count. I suppose when the novel comes out, it’ll get there.


      • Word count requirement for series is 240,000. Novellas are max 48,000 words (40,000 + 20% wiggle room). So you need at least 5 absolute max length novellas to make series word count.


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