While I was tucked up in bed, the magical elves running the Hugo Awards announced the 2021 finalists. As always some really good stuff, some people that make me happy and some stuff there’s all a bit fans talking to themselves.
File 770 has the full list here http://file770.com/2021-hugo-awards-finalists-announced/ and the indefatigable JJ also has their Where to Find the 2021 Hugo Finalists for Free Online there as well http://file770.com/where-to-find-the-2021-hugo-award-finalists-for-free-online/
[1093 votes for 441 nominees, finalist range 309-132]
- Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse (Gallery / Saga Press)
- The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
- Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com)
- Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tor.com)
- Piranesi, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
- The Relentless Moon, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor Books)
I haven’t read the Roanhorse or the Kowal novels yet but they’ll need to be very good given that line up. Piranesi is a favourite of mine but I don’t know if it is the most likely winner. Has to beat Murderbot and the mighty Jemisin, not to mention the flawed but ambitious (and hyped) Harrow the Ninth.
[778 votes for 157 nominees, finalist range 219-124]
- Come Tumbling Down, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com)
- The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Nghi Vo (Tor.com)
- Finna, Nino Cipri (Tor.com)
- Ring Shout, P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com)
- Riot Baby, Tochi Onyebuchi (Tor.com)
- Upright Women Wanted, Sarah Gailey (Tor.com)
I’ve only read Ring Shout, which was good. Disappointing that there’s only Tor.com novellas.
[465 votes for 197 nominees, finalist range 108-33]
- “Burn, or the Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super”, A.T. Greenblatt (Uncanny Magazine,May/June 2020)
- “Helicopter Story”, Isabel Fall (Clarkesworld, January 2020)
- “The Inaccessibility of Heaven”, Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny Magazine, July/August 2020)
- “Monster”, Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2020)
- “The Pill”, Meg Elison (from Big Girl, (PM Press))
- Two Truths and a Lie, Sarah Pinsker (Tor.com)
Lot’s of familiar names. I’m not familiar with Meg Elison.
A notable entry is “Helicopter Story”. According to Clarkesworld that is now the official title of the story previously known as “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter” that caused a storm in January 2020 (see my review and discussion https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2020/01/12/a-curious-story-in-clarkesworld/ ). Seems a bit off for people to nominate a story the author had withdrawn and had made no public statement about since but I assume that if it is on the list that Isabel Fall accepted the nomination and feels in a better place now for people to engage with the story. With more context (and a new title) it will get a better hearing than it did at the time but…well, honestly I really don’t think it’s that good but we’ll see how others take it (assuming it get’s republished).
BEST SHORT STORY
[586 votes for 634 nominees, finalist range 65-35]
- “Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse”, Rae Carson (Uncanny Magazine, January/February 2020)
- “A Guide for Working Breeds”, Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Made to Order: Robots and Revolution, ed. Jonathan Strahan (Solaris))
- “Little Free Library,” Naomi Kritzer (Tor.com)
- “The Mermaid Astronaut”, Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, February 2020)
- “Metal Like Blood in the Dark”, T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine, September/October 2020)
- “Open House on Haunted Hill”, John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots – 2020, ed. David Steffen)
Well I’ve got lots of reading to do here but at least I’ve heard of each of these and have been meaning to read them.
[727 votes for 180 nominees, finalist range 300-87]
- The Daevabad Trilogy, S.A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager)
- The Interdependency, John Scalzi (Tor Books)
- The Lady Astronaut Universe, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor Books/Audible/Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
- The Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells (Tor.com)
- October Daye, Seanan McGuire (DAW)
- The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager)
And so Best Series makes another leap into votability for me. I’ve read three of these series completely up to this point (Daevabad, Interdependency, Murderbot) and part of a fourth (Lady Astronaut). I don’t see myself catching up on October Daye but I have been meaning to read the Poppy War. Luckily (and unfortunately) we’ve got a long voting period to come!
BEST RELATED WORK
[456 votes for 277 nominees, finalist range 74-31]
- Beowulf: A New Translation, Maria Dahvana Headley (FSG)
- CoNZealand Fringe, Claire Rousseau, C, Cassie Hart, Adri Joy, Marguerite Kenner, Cheryl Morgan, Alasdair Stuart.
- FIYAHCON, L.D. Lewis–Director, Brent Lambert–Senior Programming Coordinator, Iori Kusano–FIYAHCON Fringe Co-Director, Vida Cruz–FIYAHCON Fringe Co-Director, and the Incredible FIYAHCON team
- “George R.R. Martin Can Fuck Off Into the Sun, Or: The 2020 Hugo Awards Ceremony (Rageblog Edition)”, Natalie Luhrs (Pretty Terrible, August 2020)
- A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler, Lynell George (Angel City Press)
- The Last Bronycon: a fandom autopsy, Jenny Nicholson (YouTube)
It’s all bit inside-baseball here. The title of Natalie Luhrs’s excellent rant is unfortunate but it is a really good rant and captured lots of people’s feelings and it is great to see Luhrs blogging again.
Beowulf famously missed out it’s chance at a Hugo Award at Sutton Hoo Con in 698 AD because the nameless poet didn’t reply to his email about accepting the nomination. So good it gets another stab it here.
BEST GRAPHIC STORY OR COMIC
[303 votes for 254 nominees, finalist range 43-24]
- DIE, Volume 2: Split the Party, written by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image Comics)
- Ghost-Spider vol. 1: Dog Days Are Over, Author: Seanan McGuire, Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa and Rosie Kämpe (Marvel)
- Invisible Kingdom, vol 2: Edge of Everything, Author: G. Willow Wilson, Artist: Christian Ward (Dark Horse Comics)
- Monstress, vol. 5: Warchild, Author: Marjorie Liu, Artist: Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
- Once & Future vol. 1: The King Is Undead, written by Kieron Gillen, iIllustrated by Dan Mora, colored by Tamra Bonvillain, lettered by Ed Dukeshire (BOOM! Studios)
- Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, written by Octavia Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy, illustrated by John Jennings (Harry N. Abrams)
Nothing major to say. Is this the first time Seanan McGuire has been a finalist in this category? Does she have the record for the most categories?
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM
[574 votes for 192 nominees, finalist range 164-56]
- Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), written by Christina Hodson, directed by Cathy Yan (Warner Bros.)
- Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, written by Will Ferrell, Andrew Steele, directed by David Dobkin (European Broadcasting Union/Netflix)
- The Old Guard, written by Greg Rucka, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Netflix / Skydance Media)
- Palm Springs, written by Andy Siara, directed by Max Barbakow (Limelight / Sun Entertainment Culture / The Lonely Island / Culmination Productions / Neon / Hulu / Amazon Prime)
- Soul, screenplay by Pete Docter, Mike Jones and Kemp Powers, directed by Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers, produced by Dana Murray (Pixar Animation Studios/ Walt Disney Pictures)
- Tenet, written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Warner Bros./Syncopy)
This could have been a very weak category and I expected it to have more whole-series nominees. Instead we’ve got some strong films. The Eurovision film was funny but not that great and very reliant on aren’t-Scandinavians-quirky tropes but a decent set of films. Tenet? Ah…I have slept through the second half of that film twice and am, as yet, undecided by it.
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM
[454 votes for 321 nominees, finalist range 130-30]
- Doctor Who: Fugitive of the Judoon, written by Vinay Patel and Chris Chibnall, directed by Nida Manzoor (BBC)
- The Expanse: Gaugamela, written by Dan Nowak, directed by Nick Gomez (Alcon Entertainment / Alcon Television Group / Amazon Studios / Hivemind / Just So)
- She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Heart (parts 1 and 2), written by Josie Campbell and Noelle Stevenson, directed by Jen Bennett and Kiki Manrique (DreamWorks Animation Television / Netflix)
- The Mandalorian: Chapter 13: The Jedi, written and directed by Dave Filoni (Golem Creations / Lucasfilm / Disney+)
- The Mandalorian: Chapter 16: The Rescue, written by Jon Favreau, directed by Peyton Reed (Golem Creations / Lucasfilm / Disney+)
- The Good Place: Whenever You’re Ready, written and directed by Michael Schur (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group)
I thought we were done with the Good Place or are voters just trolling Cora now? The Doctor Who episode was excellent one in an otherwise flawed season. I haven’t been watching the Expanse (sorry). She-Ra was top notch and no surprise that the Mandalorian gets two entries.
I have decided not to care. I’ve spent years trying to find a way into these categories, so I can give a considered opinion and I really can’t. Editors do deserve credit for the work they do but I don’t think that Hugo Voters really have a clue about this category unless they are deep in publishing themselves.
BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST
[331 votes for 179 nominees, finalist range 91-37]
- Tommy Arnold
- Rovina Cai
- Galen Dara
- Maurizio Manzieri
- John Picacio
- Alyssa Winans
Lots of familiar names. I’d like to spend a bit more time on the art categories this year. I like these categories but I end up leaving them to last and don’t engage as well as I should.
[331 votes for 77 nominees, finalist range 174-39]
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies, ed.Scott H. Andrews
- Escape Pod, editors Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya, assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney, hosts Tina Connolly and Alasdair Stuart, audio producers Summer Brooks and Adam Pracht and the entire Escape Pod team.
- FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, publisher Troy L. Wiggins, executive editor DaVaun Sanders, managing editor Eboni Dunbar, poetry editor Brandon O’Brien, reviews and social media Brent Lambert, art director L. D. Lewis, and the FIYAH Team.
- PodCastle, editors, C.L. Clark and Jen R. Albert, assistant editor and host, Setsu Uzumé, producer Peter Adrian Behravesh, and the entire PodCastle team.
- Uncanny Magazine, editors in chief: Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, managing editor: Chimedum Ohaegbu, non-fiction editor: Elsa Sjunneson, podcast producers: Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky
- Strange Horizons, Vanessa Aguirre, Joseph Aitken, Rachel Ayers, M H Ayinde, Tierney Bailey, Scott Beggs, Drew Matthew Beyer, Gautam Bhatia, S. K. Campbell, Zhui Ning Chang, Tania Chen, Joyce Chng, Liz Christman, Linda H. Codega, Kristian Wilson Colyard, Yelena Crane, Bruhad Dave, Sarah Davidson, Tahlia Day, Arinn Dembo, Nathaniel Eakman, Belen Edwards, George Tom Elavathingal, Rebecca Evans, Ciro Faienza, Courtney Floyd, Lila Garrott, Colette Grecco, Guananí Gómez-Van Cortright, Julia Gunnison, Dan Hartland, Sydney Hilton, Angela Hinck, Stephen Ira, Amanda Jean, Ai Jiang, Sean Joyce-Farley, Erika Kanda, Anna Krepinsky, Kat Kourbeti, Clayton Kroh, Maureen Kincaid Speller, Catherine Krahe, Natasha Leullier, A.Z. Louise, Dante Luiz, Gui Machiavelli, Cameron Mack, Samantha Manaktola, Marisa Manuel, Jean McConnell, Heather McDougal, Maria Morabe, Amelia Moriarty, Emory Noakes, Sarah Noakes, Aidan Oatway, AJ Odasso, Joel Oliver-Cormier, Kristina Palmer, Karintha Parker, Anjali Patel, Vanessa Rose Phin, Nicasio Reed, Belicia Rhea, Endria Richardson, Natalie Ritter, Abbey Schlanz, Clark Seanor, Elijah Rain Smith, Alyn Spector, Hebe Stanton, Melody Steiner, Romie Stott, Yejin Suh, Kwan-Ann Tan, Luke Tolvaj, Ben Tyrrell, Renee Van Siclen, Kathryn Weaver, Liza Wemakor, Aigner Loren Wilson, E.M. Wright, Vicki Xu, Fred G. Yost, staff members who prefer not to be named, and guest editor Libia Brenda with guest first reader Raquel González-Franco Alva for the Mexicanx special issue
I think Strange Horizons may have accidentally lent support to Discon’s objections to magazines listing lots of names.
[271 votes for 94 nominees, finalist range 79-38]
- The Full Lid, written by Alasdair Stuart, edited by Marguerite Kenner
- Journey Planet, edited by Michael Carroll, John Coxon, Sara Felix, Ann Gry, Sarah Gulde, Alissa McKersie, Errick Nunnally, Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Chuck Serface, Steven H Silver, Paul Trimble, Erin Underwood, James Bacon, and Chris Garcia.
- Lady Business, editors. Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan.
- nerds of a feather, flock together, ed. Adri Joy, Joe Sherry, The G, and Vance Kotrla
- Quick Sip Reviews, editor, Charles Payseur
- Unofficial Hugo Book Club Blog, ed. Amanda Wakaruk and Olav Rokne
Hey! I like these people! Nice to see the Unofficial Hugo Book Club Blog there. Not enough people voting in this category still though, despite the work Cora put into promoting the category.
[376 votes for 230 nominees, finalist range 72-28]
- Be The Serpent, presented by Alexandra Rowland, Freya Marske and Jennifer Mace
- Claire Rousseau’s YouTube channel, produced by Claire Rousseau
- The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe, Jonathan Strahan, producer
- Kalanadi, produced and presented by Rachel
- The Skiffy and Fanty Show, produced by Shaun Duke and Jen Zink, presented by Shaun Duke, Jen Zink, Alex Acks, Paul Weimer, and David Annandale.
- Worldbuilding for Masochists, presented by Rowenna Miller, Marshall Ryan Maresca and Cass Morris
I only listen to Skiffy and Fanty regularly of this set but I’ll be sure to check more of them out.
BEST FAN WRITER
[365 votes for 185 nominees, finalist range 89-42]
- Cora Buhlert
- Charles Payseur
- Jason Sanford
- Elsa Sjunneson
- Alasdair Stuart
- Paul Weimer
Yay! In particular yays for Cora and Paul but also yays for Alasdair Stuart and yays for Jason Sanford and yays for Elsa Sjunneson and Charles Payseur. Just lots of yay! Well this is going to be another tough year to choose.
BEST FAN ARTIST
[221 votes for 158 nominees, finalist range 54-10]
- Iain J. Clark
- Cyan Daly
- Sara Felix
- Grace P. Fong
- Maya Hahto
- Laya Rose
As with pro-artist, I’ve got some work to do here.
BEST VIDEO GAME
[341 votes for 145 nominees, finalist range 183-30]
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Publisher and Developer: Nintendo)
- Blaseball (Publisher and Developer: The Game Band)
- Final Fantasy VII Remake (Publisher Square Enix)
- Hades (Publisher and Developer: Supergiant Games)
- The Last of Us: Part II (Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment / Developer: Naughty Dog)
- Spiritfarer (Publisher and Developer: Thunder Lotus)
No surprises here. I’ve played three (Animal Crossing, Hades, Spiritfarer) and I’ve looked at Blaseball. The Last of Us Part ii requires a Play Station 4 and I’m not going to play it and the same is currently true of the Final Fantasy VII Remake. So, I’ll be picking between four finalists and I favour Spiritfarer.
LODESTAR AWARD FOR BEST YOUNG ADULT BOOK
[507 votes for 172 nominees, finalist range 201-55]
- Cemetery Boys, Aiden Thomas (Swoon Reads)
- A Deadly Education, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
- Elatsoe, Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)
- Legendborn, Tracy Deonn (Margaret K. McElderry/ Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)
- Raybearer, Jordan Ifueko (Amulet / Hot Key)
- A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, T. Kingfisher (Argyll Productions)
I’ve not read any of these but the Kingfisher is on my TBR list and everybody says good things about Legendborn. Naomi Novik is reliably good.
ASTOUNDING AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER
[422 votes for 181 nominees, finalist range 99-54]
- Lindsay Ellis (1st year of eligibility)
- Simon Jimenez (1st year of eligibility)
- Micaiah Johnson (1st year of eligibility)
- A.K. Larkwood (1st year of eligibility)
- Jenn Lyons (2nd year of eligibility)
- Emily Tesh (2nd year of eligibility)