2021 Hugo Award Finalists

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/

BEST NOVEL

[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.

BEST NOVELLA

[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.

BEST NOVELETTE

[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.

BEST SERIES

[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.

Best Editor

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.

BEST SEMIPROZINE

[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.

BEST FANZINE

[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.

BEST FANCAST

[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)

More homework!

70 thoughts on “2021 Hugo Award Finalists

  1. Does Seanan McGuire hold the record for being a finalist in the most different Hugo categories — interesting question.

    A long time ago when Harlan Ellison had that record I thought if I took up cartooning and could get nominated as a fan artist I could tie him. But that would be too small a number to be the record anymore. I wonder who holds it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Assuming that Wikipedia is reliable, McGuire has nominations in seven categories and wins in three. (Not counting the Astounding Award.) Neil Gaiman has wins in six different categories — Novel, Novella, Short Story, Graphic Story, and both short and long DP. I suspect that he’s the record-holder for actual wins.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve just looked up Harlan Ellison, and in terms of number of categories he suffered by not working at longer lengths (no wins in Novella or Novel) and DP not yet having been split. So he has only three different categories; four if you count “City on the Edge of Forever” as short and “A Boy and his Dog” as long; five if you include the special award for editing Dangerous Visions.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As usual, very little I’ve actually read or seen.
    Prisoner of the Judoon was good, but retroactively worsened by the season not sticking the landing. Don’t know if that should be held against it or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A few statistic comments
    Shared with the nebula: Novels: Black Sun, The City we Became, Network Effect, Piranesi

    Novella: Fina, Ring Shout, Riot Baby

    Novelette: Two Truths and a Lie, The Pill, Burn or the Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super

    Short Story: A Guide for Working Breads, Open House on Haunted Hill, Baddass Mums in the Zombie Apocalypse

    Best Dramatic/Ray Bradburry: Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, The Expanse: “Gaugamela”, The Good Place: “Whenever You’re Ready”, The Old Guard

    Best Video Game: Blaseball, Hades, Spiritfarer

    Lodestar/Andre Norton: Raybearer, Elatsoe, A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking

    Liked by 2 people

  4. BEST NOVEL

    I was disappointed that The Vanished Birds didn’t make it, but I don’t think it got nearly enough hype to reach enough people.

    I thought Black Sun was good, but not good enough for a Hugo. Harrow *might* turn out to be brilliant as part of the series, depending on how the series ends, but for-heavens-sake not as a standalone.

    I’ll be putting Piranesi at the top, unless The City We Became or The Relentless Moon end up surprising me.

    BEST NOVELLA

    I’ve read three of these. I liked The Empress of Salt and Fortune a lot, as well as its follow-up — err, The Tiger Who Came Down the Mountain? I think that’s what it’s called.

    BEST SERIES

    I’m shocked that Dresden didn’t even make the list. I mean, seriously?? I’m wondering if this could be backlash from being adopted by the pups.

    Best Editor

    “I have decided not to care.”

    I made the same decision a few years ago. Unless you are presented with a rough draft and a complete manuscript to compare it with, there’s really no way to figure this out. At best it becomes a contest of who puts out the highest number of favored novels, and that’s more about acquisitions and PR than good editing.

    LODESTAR AWARD FOR BEST YOUNG ADULT BOOK

    Sigh — Now I’ll have to go back and finish Legendborn. But hey — maybe it’ll surprise me.

    And sigh — Now I’ll have to go back and finish Cemetery Boys. It actually seemed very sweet, but I couldn’t stand the narrator in audio. So I’ll have to read it in text, boo!

    OTOH, I’m glad to have an excuse to read the Wizard’s Guide in text, though I’m still peeved that it hasn’t made it into audio. I always enjoy her books, or at least her narrative voice (horror not being my thing).

    The Novik is very good. And I say that as someone who is extremely tired of magic-school tropes.

    ASTOUNDING AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER

    Mostly good list here, though IMHO the hype for the Ellis and Larkwood books far outpaces their actual quality. I’ll be splitting my vote between Jimenez and Lyons — Jimenez for one of my two favorite books of the year, Lyons for putting out so many damn good books in such a short time (three already, with the fourth coming out next month!).

    And it’s nice to see four out of the six finalists in their first year of eligibility!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. There are a number of writers like Jim Butcher — Pierce Brown is another — who have tremendous followings but whose bestselling status has never translated into interest from Hugo voters. Except for the two years Butcher was slated onto the ballot, his only other nomination was as the writer of a graphic story in 2009. (Brown also was slated onto the 2016 ballot as a Campbell Award finalist.)

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      1. Yeah, I don’t think he has ever deserved to be listed in novel, but IMHO the series award was absolutely made for him. He Was Robbed, dangit!

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      2. You may remember Eric Flint’s essay about how to get recognition for midlist books that were obviously popular because people bought a lot of them, but would never get a sniff of the Hugos. I always thought that was part of the impetus for Best Series (whether the movers thought so I don’t recall) — the belief that a writer with a long track record of entertaining readers might get in there. I predicted that what would happen instead is that the writers already most popular with Hugo voters would be voted a victory lap for works that had already made the ballot before. That’s how it has largely played out. Mark me surprised if Martha Wells isn’t this year’s Best Series winner.

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      3. I don’t think the series award really has a long enough track record to say how it will turn out in the long run, and I will absolutely stand by the LMB series wins regardless of previous Hugos for any of the individual books. But I agree with you about the dangers of ending up voting for previous winners at the expense of series that are more than the sum of their individual books.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. In general, we’ve had some very good winners and finalists in Best Series, but I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed that IMO the Best Series Hugo is not doing what it was designed for, namely awarding popular long-running series where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I expected to see the Dresden Files, Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and yes, Eric Flint’s series (though I wouldn’t vote for it) here. But instead, the Best Series ballot is mostly trilogies where the individual books were nominated and even won and loosely connected stories in the same universe that only become a series if you squint very hard. October Daye is the only series which actually fits in with what the award was supposed to honour. I guess Hugo voters aren’t big series readers.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. I was about to counter, and say that Hugo-voting fans love series above anything else, then I paused to reflect that a group of stories set in the same universe or part of the same Future History aren’t necessarily a series.

        Niven has written a lot of popular works set in Known Space, and some of them build off one another serially and some don’t. Poul Anderson’s Nicholas van Rijn stories, the associated Trader Team stories, the Flandry series, and some others, are separate series within a vast future history.

        But I think it’s perfectly true that fans like stories/novels that revisit cultural constructs they enjoyed before. Series are part of that.

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      6. I am also entirely unsurprised by the direction the Best Series award is taking. I never thought things like Dresden would be big hits here, because the individual books are all only okay. People don’t think “hey that bunch of okay books has been going a while, I’ll nominate that!”, they think “this book that knocked my socks off was part of a series, I’ll nominate THAT series!”.

        Liked by 2 people

      7. I’m also going to go on record saying that if the Dresden Files is ever nominated for Best Series, I am no awarding it. Sustained mediocrity doesn’t merit a Hugo.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Aaron: I’m also going to go on record saying that if the Dresden Files is ever nominated for Best Series, I am no awarding it. Sustained mediocrity doesn’t merit a Hugo.

        Likewise, I’d be No-Awarding it just for being forced to read Skin Game, which was a novel so light on characterization that only someone who had read the previous 14 books could love it. Also, I can name on one hand the number of other books which have put me to sleep numerous times while I was trying to read them.

        Liked by 2 people

      9. Thinking of nominating The Amazing Spider-Man for Best Series next year. It should have reached the required word count decades ago.

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    2. When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain

      Which, interestingly, I had a friend mention and recommend to me literally just last night. I may have to take a look.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I liked Helicopter Story more than many, I think, but it works better with the original title. And there’s a sense, perhaps, that cis people read it in an entirely different way from trans people.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m probably thinking more of the community response, which I remember as slight puzzlement within fandom vs strong reactions from trans Twitter and adjacent. But my view of both was narrow, and the mind likes to construct easy narratives.

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    1. That’s interesting, because I was going to say that I thought it showed that it was a surprisingly good year for films considering, well, everything. I mean, yes, it’s true that I had four of the finalists on my list and that almost never happens, which suggests that that ‘talent pool’ of contenders was quite small, but even allowing for that, I think that the list can stand up just fine against the equivalent lists in other years.

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  6. Don’t ignore Micaiah Johnson for Astounding. The Space Between Worlds wouldn’t be out of place in the Best Novel category (I don’t think it would win, certainly not in this year’s field, but it’s a strong debut novel).

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  7. That is a wackier than usual set of finalists, but I suppose that’s to be expected with the year we’ve had.

    I would be very torn in Series between Lady Astronaut and Murderbot, but I expect Murderbot will take it. Because who doesn’t love Murderbot, at least second-best?

    I will read the free things that I haven’t already and be glad I don’t have to vote this year.

    Next year’s Long Form is going to be a toughie, what with some of what were supposed to be this year’s movies coming out late, and WandaVision. (Someone needs to make “Sanctuary Moon”.)

    I am tickled that “Beowulf” is nominated. Old White Male Classics can still get a nomination, even though the Hugos don’t have a category for “Best Epic Poem To Be Chanted In Meadhalls” or “Super-Retro Hugos”.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Meg Elison is great, but I’d start with The Book of the Unknown Midwife if you want to get a real sense of her as a writer.

    I just reviewed the Relentless Moon for Strange Horizons — it’s good, but I don’t think it’s going to beat Wells or Clarke.

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  9. Oddly enough, I find I’m having more and more definite opinions on the Editor categories as time goes by – especially in Short Form, where you can at least see what editorial choices have gone in to putting an anthology or a magazine issue together.

    On the other hand, I just don’t think I’m going to have any input in the video games category – sure, I’ve heard about the finalists, but I haven’t had a chance to play them, and probably won’t get a chance to get far enough into them to form an informed opinion. (And what the heck is the point of voting with an uninformed opinion? – well, that’s how I feel, anyway.)

    I make it 87 individual names, plus others who prefer to remain anonymous, in the Strange Horizons list. I think they’re taking the mickey out of someone, there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. stevejwright: I make it 87 individual names, plus others who prefer to remain anonymous, in the Strange Horizons list. I think they’re taking the mickey out of someone, there.

      Of course they are, to name every single person who had anything to do with their magazine last year. It was a shitty thing to do. Next year a bunch more finalists are going to pull the same stunt, and the finalist announcement will turn into a total joke.

      I think we should just go back to giving awards for the 4 fiction categories, and scrap everything else. I’m tired of people using the Hugo Awards to grind their axes, it’s just such a childish and selfish way to behave.

      Like

      1. It works for YouTube videos, but not for animated GIFS. So you have to find a video which uses the preview image you want to show.

        This one has the bonus of being 10 minutes of just the booing part. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “Next year a bunch more finalists are going to pull the same stunt, and the finalist announcement will turn into a total joke.”

        Strange Horizon have given future admins a good argument for the “max 4 names”-policy that DisCon announced in January but had to withdraw after pressure.

        (And I’m about 50/50 on whether this was their intention or if it’s a self goal. Their choice is almost certainly a reaction to that controversy, though.)

        “I think we should just go back to giving awards for the 4 fiction categories, and scrap everything else.”

        Not sure I’d go that far, but the BRW category in particular ought to be reined in.

        Like

      3. Strange Horizons’ stunt gets them a no award from me. If you are going to use your Hugo nomination to pull a stunt, then I’m not going to take your candidacy seriously.

        Like

      4. You know, I’ve nominated Strange Horizons in the Semiprozine category for years now, but I so deeply resent them using the Hugo Awards for a passive-aggressive stunt like this, that I think I will probably No-Award them, too. 😐

        Like

      5. You are so negative. We should get Camestros nominated and ask him to put the whole commentariat as fellow contributors.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Hampus Eckerman: You are so negative. We should get Camestros nominated and ask him to put the whole commentariat as fellow contributors.

        Imagine if Glyer had done this in 2018. The same people who are applauding SH would have been screaming holy hell.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I think we should just go back to giving awards for the 4 fiction categories, and scrap everything else.

        I’ve been thinking this ever since Sasquan. All of the other categories have got something serious wrong with them. E.g. the Fan Artist award always goes to a pro artist because the category description is so vague. All of the fan categories get so few votes they don’t mean much. The Best Editor categories are impossible to vote for (as Cam pointed out above). Best Related Work has become a joke. Series is impractical to read if you weren’t already a fan. Nobody cares about our opinions on Dramatic works (they never show up to pick up the awards). Etc.

        But the fans love awards, and they keep adding new ones. So I don’t think the list is going to get trimmed any time soon. I expect we’ll see the Business Committee voting on measures to limit the number of nominees per category though.

        Like

      8. and ask him to put the whole commentariat as fellow contributors.

        Don’t forget Timothy, Susan, Straw Puppy and Mr. Atomic. They deserve recognition too!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Well, I hope Mando or the Expanse asteroid will ride The Good Place out of town on a rail.

    I’m so tired of seeing that name. Thank goodness this is the last year it can show up.

    I’ve actually read far more of this than I thought I would. I’ve read five out of the six series! Personally, I’m planning on slotting my reading into the same amount of time I would have taken if Worldcon had been held at its normal time–till the end of August at the latest. Then I’m going to go back to reading this year’s releases.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Here under my regular nick, and not under my full name, please delete the one in the Phantomzone

    I would give a warning that the Poppy War is very dark. Last year I needed somethink nice and positive afterwards (Catfishing on CatNet was my choice).
    Full disclosure I think that the Poppy War is a very well writen book that I absolutly hate.
    On the other hand Series is an interesting vote this year. 3 series that I have read the beginning (or more) and absolutly planned to read more of them, one i have heared good thinks about, and one I don’t know anythink about (Daevabad). The one that is not for me is okay.

    The Good Place is thankfully the last year. Catching up to She-Ra will for me be the dificult think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. StefanB: Here under my regular nick, and not under my full name, please delete the one in the Phantomzone

      I have to admit I think it’s hilarious that the behavior of idiots has given rise to immediately-recognizable specialist fandom terms such as “Paulk’s Tavern” and “Phantomzone”. 😀

      I’ve read 4 of the 6 Hugo-nominated series in their entirety. Based on what I’ve read of The Poppy War trilogy, I am not eager to try it because I suspect that I will bounce off it hard. On the other hand, The Daevabad Trilogy synopsis doesn’t have me immediately thinking “No Fucking Way”, so I intend to give it a try.

      Like

      1. “Poppy War” is very grim and very gritty, but it’s also very well written. I guess it depends on which quality weighs with you more. Personally, I can cope with grim and gritty (which doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a break from it now and then!), so I’m giving the “Poppy War” series some serious consideration. Mind you, the “Daevabad” books are pretty nifty as well….

        Like

      2. I often read well-written books that make me think of one review of a Spielberg film: “even when the movie is bad, the movie-making is excellent.”

        Like

    2. I was going to say “No no I HATE dark and grim books and would never vote for one even if it’s superbly written” but then I remembered I voted for the entire “Broken Earth” trilogy.

      But “Poppy War” is the sort of thing I would definitely dislike. If there’s a sub-genre I don’t like, it’s grimdark military. Don’t think it stands a chance against Murderbot, October, or Lady Astronauts anyway.

      The movie category is… not great. “Soul” probably has a good shot.

      If I was voting, I’d go for Mando 16 because it’s what we all wanted to see, and also good acting. I cheered, I laughed, I cried. Bad guys defeated, good guys win, pew-pew, Baby Yoda and his Space Dad, and Luke.

      Like

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