Hugo Award Finalists 2017

The Hugo Award Finalists are upon us! Since I nominated and will be voting again this year, I wanted to react to the ballot here. Ballot and commentary below the cut:

An asterisk indicates the work in question was on my nominating ballot.

Best Novel

  • *All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Books / Titan Books)
  • A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager US)
  • Death’s End by Cixin Liu (Tor Books / Head of Zeus)
  • *Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books)
  • *The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)
  • Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer (Tor Books)

This is a fantastic field. Of the three that I did not nominate, two were books that I wanted to read and consider but didn’t get to before the ballot closed. Fingers crossed that these publishers include the full novels in the voter’s packet, because I want to read them!

Best Novella

  • The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle ( Publishing)
  • *The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson ( Publishing)
  • *Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)
  • Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum Literary Agency)
  • A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson ( Publishing)
  • This Census-Taker by China Miéville (Del Rey / Picador)

Another good selection. “Ballad of Black Tom” and “Penric and the Shaman” are also on my TBR list, and I can almost guarantee Penric and the Shaman would have made it on to my ballot if I had read it in time. I did read “This Census-Taker” and elected not to nominate it, but this isn’t the Faith Award so *shrug*.

Best Novelette

  • Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T-Rex by Stix Hiscock (self-published)
  • “The Art of Space Travel” by Nina Allan (, July 2016)
  • “The Jewel and Her Lapidary” by Fran Wilde ( Publishing, May 2016)
  • *“The Tomato Thief” by Ursula Vernon (Apex Magazine, January 2016)
  • “Touring with the Alien” by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2016)
  • *“You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay” by Alyssa Wong (Uncanny Magazine, May 2016)

That first is obviously a slate pick, and I’m not too surprised to see it creep up here in novelette. It’s short fiction so tastes are scattered (the kind of category in which a slate can have a significant effect) and I don’t think a lot of people know what works they’ve read are novelettes (it’s kinda an arbitrary cutoff) so there probably aren’t many nominations. “The Jewel and Her Lapidary” is a work that got lots of praise that I disliked…I think Fran Wilde just does not agree with me, because her debut novel got heaps of praise too and I bounced right off. I’m gunning hard for “The Tomato Thief” to win but there are a couple on here I haven’t read so it should be interesting.

Best Short Story

  • “The City Born Great” by N. K. Jemisin (, September 2016)
  • “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers” by Alyssa Wong (, March 2016)
  • *“Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine, November 2016)
  • “Seasons of Glass and Iron” by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)
  • *“That Game We Played During the War” by Carrie Vaughn (, March 2016)
  • “An Unimaginable Light” by John C. Wright (God, Robot, Castalia House)

Another slate pick right at the end. Of the other five, I have read four and meant to read the fifth but didn’t get to it. If I was going to nominate a story from the The Starlit Wood it would have been “Spinning Silver” or maybe “Pearl” over “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, but I think the latter was helped by its online reprint.

Best Related Work

  • *The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley (Tor Books)
  • The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (Blue Rider Press)
  • Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg by Robert Silverberg and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Fairwood)
  • The View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow / Harper Collins)
  • “The Women of Harry Potter” posts by Sarah Gailey (
  • Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016 by Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)

Desperately want to read The Princess Diarist, so here’s hoping it makes the nomination packet.

Best Graphic Story

  • Black Panther, Volume 1: A Nation Under Our Feet, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Marvel)
  • Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening, written by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image)
  • Ms. Marvel, Volume 5: Super Famous, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa (Marvel)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 1, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher (Image)
  • Saga, Volume 6, illustrated by Fiona Staples, written by Brian K. Vaughan, lettered by Fonografiks (Image)
  • The Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than A Man, written by Tom King, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta (Marvel)

I’m not a graphic story fan, so I’ll leave this category alone. I didn’t nominate, and I likely won’t vote.

Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form

  • *Arrival, screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short story by Ted Chiang, directed by Denis Villeneuve (21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films)
  • Deadpool, screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, directed by Tim Miller (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Marvel Entertainment/Kinberg Genre/The Donners’ Company/TSG Entertainment)
  • *Ghostbusters, screenplay by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig, directed by Paul Feig (Columbia Pictures/LStar Capital/Village Roadshow Pictures/Pascal Pictures/Feigco Entertainment/Ghostcorps/The Montecito Picture Company)
  • Hidden Figures, screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, directed by Theodore Melfi (Fox 2000 Pictures/Chernin Entertainment/Levantine Films/TSG Entertainment)
  • Rogue One, screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, directed by Gareth Edwards (Lucasfilm/Allison Shearmur Productions/Black Hangar Studios/Stereo D/Walt Disney Pictures)
  • Stranger Things, Season One, created by the Duffer Brothers (21 Laps Entertainment/Monkey Massacre)

Nothing bad, here, though I suspect Deadpool won’t be to my taste. It’s also the only one I haven’t seen yet — saves time, at least. I hope Arrival wins but I doubt it will against such cultural juggernauts as Star Wars, Marvel, and Stranger Things.

Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form 

  • Black Mirror: “San Junipero”, written by Charlie Brooker, directed by Owen Harris (House of Tomorrow)
  • Doctor Who: “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Ed Bazalgette (BBC Cymru Wales)
  • The Expanse: “Leviathan Wakes”, written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, directed by Terry McDonough (SyFy)
  • Game of Thrones: “Battle of the Bastards”, written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, directed by Miguel Sapochnik (HBO)
  • Game of Thrones: “The Door”, written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, directed by Jack Bender (HBO)
  • *Splendor & Misery [album], by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes)

I am SO BUMMED that nothing from Westworld made the ballot. I nominated episodes here, and also the full season in the Long Form category. Argh!

Best Editor – Short Form 

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • *Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
  • Sheila Williams

I think I only nominated one or two people here…I just don’t read enough short fiction regularly to feel qualified. That makes voting a bit of a guessing game.

Best Editor – Long Form

  • Vox Day
  • *Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • *Devi Pillai
  • Miriam Weinberg
  • *Navah Wolfe

Slate pick at the top, followed by a couple people who are often on the ballot and a couple who are new — or at least not as often seen.

Devi Pillai edits N.K. Jemisin, for one; Navah Wolfe co-edited the wonderful anthology The Starlit Wood which doesn’t count for this category, though many of the novels she edited are and have been on my radar. (Side note: Saga Press is kinda just killing it on all fronts right now).

Best Professional Artist 

  • *Galen Dara
  • Julie Dillon
  • *Chris McGrath
  • Victo Ngai
  • John Picacio
  • Sana Takeda

I also might have nominated Julie Dillon — didn’t in the end, because I was out of space and she’s been nominated so many times already. Still, well deserved. I’m unfamiliar with many of these artists so looking forward to seeing their work.

Best Semiprozine

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
  • Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, edited by P. Alexander
  • GigaNotoSaurus, edited by Rashida J. Smith
  • *Strange Horizons, edited by Niall Harrison, Catherine Krahe, Vajra Chandrasekera, Vanessa Rose Phin, Li Chua, Aishwarya Subramanian, Tim Moore, Anaea Lay, and the Strange Horizons staff
  • *Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, Julia Rios, and podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
  • *The Book Smugglers, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James

Best Fanzine 

  • “Castalia House Blog”, edited by Jeffro Johnson
  • “Journey Planet”, edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Helena Nash, Errick Nunnally, Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Chuck Serface, and Erin Underwood
  • “Lady Business”, edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan
  • “nerds of a feather, flock together”, edited by The G, Vance Kotrla, and Joe Sherry
  • “Rocket Stack Rank”, edited by Greg Hullender and Eric Wong
  • *“SF Bluestocking”, edited by Bridget McKinney

If I’d had half a brain I would have put Lady Business on my ballot too. (Also, lol at the slate pick).

Best Fancast

  • The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan
  • Ditch Diggers, presented by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace
  • Fangirl Happy Hour, presented by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
  • *Galactic Suburbia, presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch
  • The Rageaholic, presented by RazörFist
  • Tea and Jeopardy, presented by Emma Newman with Peter Newman

Yay Galactic Suburbia! I also do/have listen(ed) to Fangirl Happy Hour and Tea and Jeopardy, which are lovely podcasts. My other two nominations in this category didn’t make the ballot but one was a huge long shot and possibly the other was as well. Curious to see the extended list data.

Best Fan Writer 

  • Mike Glyer
  • Jeffro Johnson
  • Natalie Luhrs
  • Foz Meadows
  • *Abigail Nussbaum
  • Chuck Tingle

Best Fan Artist

  • Ninni Aalto
  • Alex Garner
  • Vesa Lehtimäki
  • Likhain (M. Sereno)
  • Spring Schoenhuth
  • Mansik Yang

Best Series

  • The Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone (Tor Books)
  • The Expanse by James S.A. Corey (Orbit US / Orbit UK)
  • *The October Daye Books by Seanan McGuire (DAW / Corsair)
  • The Peter Grant / Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz / Del Rey / DAW / Subterranean)
  • *The Temeraire series by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Harper Voyager UK)
  • *The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)

This is an awful category. There’s no good way to read a whole series between nominations and voting, so people will vote for their favorites or the one they nominated — which yes, is the point of the award, but I like to think that in other categories there’s a chance to change your mind if something else surprises you.

It *is* nice to be able to award sustained achievement, or a series including books which could have maybe won a novel award but didn’t, but I don’t think the benefits outweigh the cons.

What I’d really like to see is an award for best anthology — which would be great on its own terms, and also maybe boost the short fiction categories.

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  • Sarah Gailey (1st year of eligibility)
  • J. Mulrooney (1st year of eligibility)
  • *Malka Older (2nd year of eligibility)
  • *Ada Palmer (1st year of eligibility)
  • Laurie Penny (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Kelly Robson (2nd year of eligibility)

I didn’t realize Sarah Gailey was eligible this year. She’s got a novella out this year and a novel out in a couple years that both look excellent, so she was on my radar as a contender for next year. I guess there’s some short fiction somewhere that I’ll have to read.

I didn’t love Malka Older’s Infomocracy though I (kinda) see where the hype came from — it’s a great premise. Ada Palmer seems to have taken the SFF world by storm with Too Like the Lightning (also up for Best Novel) so looking forward to reading that. Haven’t heard of any of the other authors before.

Wrap Up

Overall a good field! Only a couple crappy slate picks. I’m looking forward to reading and voting over the next few months. Anybody else joining me? Or have opinions on any of the works nominated?

4 thoughts on “Hugo Award Finalists 2017

  1. Could I get you to compile a list of recommended reads at the end of all this? I’d love to read some, but this list is too long for me (and you and I have similar tastes and styles, so I can tread unfearing into your lists).

    I am also on the lookout for a REALLY GOOD(tm) book of collected short stories.


    • Ha! Laura uses me for this purpose also. Yes, gladly, and I will post the one I made for her of last year’s books, too. As for collected short fiction, start with The Starlit Wood. A couple clunkers (there always are) but there are 3 or 4 great ones in there, and you will DIE for Spinning Silver. You can skim my review on Goodreads to see which ones you might like or want to skip.


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