Hugo 2021 first reactions

I’ve been waiting for the stats but they haven’t appeared yet, so numerical juicy gossip.

Overall, a swift and entertaining ceremony with a few live glitches but nothing too horrible. OK one thing that was pretty horrible wich was the sponsor Raytheon aka the not-the-nice-murderbot people. Specifically, it was Raytheon Intelligence & Space which does do a lot of space program work…but also stuff like this:

“Using cutting-edge digital architecture, MTS brings long-range surveillance, target acquisition, tracking, range finding and laser designation for the Griffin® missile and Paveway® laser-guided bomb, as well as all tri-service and NATO laser-guided munitions. MTS sensors feature multiple fields of view, electronic zoom, multimode video tracking and are designed to incorporate future growth options and performance enhancements.

To date, Raytheon Intelligence & Space has delivered more than 3,000 MTS sensors to U.S. and international armed forces and successfully integrated 44 variants of the system on more than 20 rotary-wing, Unmanned Aerial System, and fixed-wing platforms – including the MH-60 Blackhawk, the C-130 Hercules, the MQ-9C Reaper, the MQ-1 Predator, and the MQ-1C Gray Eagle.”

OK, so I don’t think they actually gained much from the money they gave to Worldcon and I also suspect that lots of fans are going to be reminding other fans as to the kind of company Raytheon is. Chalk it up to part of a long line of connections between SF&F and the defence industry.

Putting that aside, lots of great winners. One impression I got was several winners that I really enjoyed but which weren’t the works I thought were the best. I don’t mean anything bad about those winners and I’d include the actually-the-nice-murderbot in that. I loved Network Effect but I thought Black Sun was a stronger book (my number 1 pick was Piranesi but I can see that wasn’t to everybody’s taste). The Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking felt a bit like that also — I loved the book but I’m surprised it won in that field, particularly given all the buzz around Elatsoe (which I didn’t read because it wasn’t available). Anyway that’s just how the Hugo crumbles sometimes and the consensus is often a safe one and both those books are credible winners (and great reads).

[just refreshed and stats are up now…so back shortly]


17 responses to “Hugo 2021 first reactions”

      • This is totally disgusting, letting one of the worst Human Rights offenders directly sponsor the awards ceremony.

        I think this will forever make all arguments that Worldcons care about human rights moot.


        • The people who attend Worldcon and the people who run each individual con and decide on sponsors are not a circle in a Venn diagram.

          Remember, we had SO MANY problems trying to explain to the Puppies that there isn’t one group of people who run Worldcon each year.* Sure, there’s SMOFs, but the decisions on guests, sponsors, programming, etc. are done by different people each year.

          So don’t be like Puppies, you’re smarter than that.

          *And I’m pretty sure some of them don’t get the difference between WSFS and SFWA even now.


  1. I am inspired by this post to read Black Sun and Elatsoe. I haven’t read Network Effect yet, but I love all the rest of the Murderbot works. I also thought Kingfisher/Vernon’s entry in YA was spectacular. Sadly, as usual for the past few years, I’m lucky to be able to say I’ve read one work in each of the categories I’m generally interested in.


    • Absolutely. Kingfisher is the clear heir to Pratchett’s crown and I don’t mean that lightly but the Lodestar was hot this year. I didn’t get round to reviewing Cemetry Boys but I was very impressed with that also.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It was a very good year indeed for the novels – all six finalists were first-class stuff. And the Lodestar continues to shine, as well; that category has been consistently good ever since its introduction. My own stats were about par for the course – I got it right for Novella, Related Work, Fancast and Video Game. (I’m really not sure about the Video Game category, so I might simply have opted for the safest choice, there.)

    I reasd “Elatsoe” and was slightly underwhelmed by it – the plot and the writing are both very straightforward, almost as if it’s more middle-grade than YA. As always, that might just be my subjective impression, though.

    I’m also having my usual slight jitters about Series – yes, everyone loves Murderbot, and rightly so, but Murderbot (and Toby Daye, and the Lady Astronaut) could be back in future years, whereas we’ve had our last chance to vote for the completed trilogies (and I thought both Daevabad and Poppy War were excellent – I wasn’t that impressed with the Interdependency, but Scalzi has plenty of fans, he doesn’t need me!)


  3. I need to finish my own post about this, but wanted to note here (and will be mentioned there) that yet again my second choice for Best Novel won… but checking my ballot, I see also this year my second choice in Novella, Novelette, Best Related Work, Dramatic Long Form, Pro Artist, Fancast, Lodestar, and Astounding won.

    A couple of the other categories–but only a couple–my #1 choice actually won.

    I’m not complaining. In most of the categories I agonized for a while over which of the three or so I liked best to put in #1 and so on. 😛


  4. Short reactions. I didn’t vote for Best Video Game or best Editor long. Other categories may also not get a strong reaction.

    Best Novel: Like fontfolly Network Effect was my second choice and its the second year in a row that my second choice won in best Novel. I had The City we Became first.

    Best Novella: I know my own fault, but The Empress of Salt and Fortune was hard for to get into. I had Riot Baby first, but that is on me.

    Best Novelette: Sarah Pinsker has mostly wrote wow storys for me. One of my choices to win and happy about it.

    Best Short Story: High respect for Ursula Vernon, but I had Open House on Haunted Hill first. But even if not first on the ballot a Wombatwin is always somethink I am happy about.

    Best Series: MURDERBOT!!!!! Yeah, was my first vote. Actually I have the first four exactly in this ranking. So my personal best match.

    Best Related Work: Beowolf my not my first choice, that was A Handful of Earth a handful of Sky, but I am happy to see somethink winning that beat no award for me here.

    Best Graphic Story: Also my second choice, but I went with the more lightharded Once and Future. Also not unhappy because a worthy winner.

    Best Präsentation long: Second choice again. Happy again, I was probably in for good feelstuff at that time, because Soul was my first vote. Tenet didn’t seem to work for a lot of people.

    Best Präsentation short: Meh, I was hopping for any other winner. Will this years episode beat at last no award I don’t get that show, but me and comedy is mostly a hard sell. First vote She-Ra.

    Best Editor short: Okay I am a bit supprised to see Ellen Datlow win. Her contribution was mostly Horrorstorys and I prefered a wider rage. So my vote was for Jonathan Strahan, The Book of Dragons blew me away, but this was my year in this category, so a nice try,

    Best Semipro: Another of my first votes win. In my opinion Uncannys package was weaker than last years so I am not supprised. A worthy win.

    Best Fanzine: Very few votes, i am happy to have voted here. Made a difference. Not for the winner, I voted for the second finisher first, but a second place winner is not to bad.

    Best Fancast: Another category that needs more votes, but okay since it is timeconsuming, it is for me mostly one of the last cetegories I vote in. My first vote was for The Skiffy and Fanty Show, which I liked much more than last year, but I would have been okay with any winner.

    Best Fanwriter: Cora makes second place the second time on a row, is that some to say congratulation or to be sorry for?

    Lodestar: I am very happy to keep that one. Not a suprising winner, my first vote and the one I was most sure to win.

    Astounding: After Best Präsentation short, the most disapointing winner for me. No I don’t dislike Emily Teshwriting, but in my opinion it is not so special than what other writers did here. Here it hurts to not see Micaiah Johnson or Simon Jimenez or at last Jenn Lyons as winner.

    All in all I am mostly happy with the winners, even if I voted differenty.


  5. Click – a lot of second choice winners for me – but since I kept adjusting my preferences, I probably agreed with the results at one point or another.


  6. I think the ceremony was a win because:

    It came in at 2 hours.
    Because when you don’t let old SWM ramble on pointlessly, it saves a lot of time.
    The drumline opening was snazzy, and the choir for In Memoriam was lovely. More of this, please.
    And Wombat’s dropping the deets on slime mold for us.

    Liked by 1 person

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