So, first off, SF Bluestocking is now a TWO TIME Hugo Award Finalist in the Best Fanzine category, and I am over the moon, you guys. It truly is an honor just to be nominated, and once again I find myself in good company. John Scalzi insists that being a finalist never gets old, and it’s early for me (hopefully!), but I’m inclined to agree. So many, many thank yous to everyone who put my name on their ballot during the nomination process, and all the rad vibes and very best wishes to my fellow finalists.
And now for some commentary on the rest of the list (excluding the Retro Hugos because I have no opinion of those one way or the other).
2018 Hugo Awards Finalists
- The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi (Tor)
- New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
- Provenance, by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
- Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
- Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty (Orbit)
- The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Only one of these titles (The Stone Sky) was on my own nominating ballot, but I have actually read all of them but Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140. As usual, in spite of an overall exciting group of finalists on the total list, the Best Novel category is a little ho-hum, skewing towards the mainstream and popular rather than celebrating what’s fresh and original in the genre. Which, whatevs. That’s fine. The mainstream-ness of Best Novel is somewhat made up for in the short fiction categories. Perhaps what’s most interesting to me about this category this year is how dominated it is by science fiction. Only The Stone Sky is fantasy, and even that has strong sci-fi elements and themes. This isn’t the list of books I thought were best last year (which was fantasy-heavy), but it’s a solid selection. Of the books that made the cut, I’d most like to see N.K. Jemisin’s The Stone Sky win. The Broken Earth is a superb trilogy, and this was a strong finale to the series.
- All Systems Red, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
- “And Then There Were (N-One)” by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny, March/April 2017)
- Binti: Home, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com Publishing)
- The Black Tides of Heaven, by JY Yang (Tor.com Publishing)
- Down Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
- River of Teeth, by Sarah Gailey (Tor.com Publishing)
I thought for sure that this year would be the year that we’d start to see Tor.com’s stranglehold on the Best Novella category start to loosen, but I see it is not to be. I’m very disappointed that none of the Book Smugglers’ novellas made the list–not even the excellent (and, as of today, Aurealis Award-winning) Girl Reporter by Tansy Rayner Roberts–but I am happy to see that “And Then There Were (N-One)” is on here. It’s the first novella published in Uncanny; I said early last year, when I first read it, that it would be among the year’s best; and I still stand by that, although I expect All Systems Red and The Black Tides of Heaven to give it a run for its money when it comes to the final round of voting.
- “Children of Thorns, Children of Water” by Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny, July-August 2017)
- “Extracurricular Activities” by Yoon Ha Lee (Tor.com, February 15, 2017)
- “The Secret Life of Bots” by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld, September 2017)
- “A Series of Steaks” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Clarkesworld, January 2017)
- “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time” by K.M. Szpara (Uncanny, May/June 2017)
- “Wind Will Rove” by Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s, September/October 2017)
Personally, I would love to see the novelette length get the kind of renaissance that novellas have been enjoying in recent years. I always feel like there just aren’t that many of them, and very few of them ever manage to make it into my eyeballs (for whatever reason). That said, I have read four of this year’s six finalists, even though none of them were among my favorites of 2017. “Extracurricular Activities” is a fun, if slight, story set in Lee’s Hexarchate universe and featuring a popular character from the series, so I’m not surprised to see it on the list. Likewise, Aliette de Bodard’s “Children of Thorns, Children of Water” is in the same setting as her current book series. Vina Jie-Min Prasad is nominated for the Campbell, so it makes sense to see her show up here as well, though “A Series of Steaks” isn’t as superb as her nominated short story. If I had to guess at the outcome of this category, my money would be on “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time” for the win. Uncanny knocked it out of the park all last year with their short fiction selections, and I expect to see multiple winners from that publication come August.
Best Short Story
- “Carnival Nine” by Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, May 2017)
- “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” by Fran Wilde (Uncanny, September 2017)
- “Fandom for Robots” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Uncanny, September/October 2017)
- “The Martian Obelisk” by Linda Nagata (Tor.com, July 19, 2017)
- “Sun, Moon, Dust” by Ursula Vernon, (Uncanny, May/June 2017)
- “Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™” by Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex, August 2017)
“Fandom for Robots” and “Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™” are the obvious standouts in this category, and both were on my own nominating ballot, so of course those are the stories I’m most pulling for to win. “Sun, Moon, Dust” was a fine, exemplary piece of Ursula Vernon work, but I’m honestly a little surprised to see it on here; Vernon herself has written better stories, and this one is definitely not up to the quality level of the rest of the finalists here and its inclusion seems more a testament to Vernon’s general popularity than to any particular virtue of the story itself. I haven’t read the Yoachim or Nagata stories, and I don’t recall much of the Fran Wilde one, though I know it was much buzzed about when it came out. I’ll be rereading all of these stories before making my voting decision, and there are enough excellent options here that I hesitate to predict what will win.
Best Related Work
- Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate, by Zoe Quinn (PublicAffairs)
- Iain M. Banks (Modern Masters of Science Fiction), by Paul Kincaid (University of Illinois Press)
- A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison, by Nat Segaloff (NESFA Press)
- Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, edited by Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal (Twelfth Planet Press)
- No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
- Sleeping with Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Liz Bourke (Aqueduct Press)
Luminescent Threads is what probably ought to win here, but with Ursula K. Le Guin’s recent death it seems likely (and, let’s be real, not inappropriate) that her final collection of essays is what will win.
Best Graphic Story
- Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time, written by Saladin Ahmed, illustrated by Christian Ward, lettered by Clayton Cowles (Marvel)
- Bitch Planet, Volume 2: President Bitch, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro and Taki Soma, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick, lettered by Clayton Cowles (Image Comics)
- Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood, written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
- My Favorite Thing is Monsters, written and illustrated by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
- Paper Girls, Volume 3, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher (Image Comics)
- Saga, Volume 7, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
I’m not a great reader of comic books, but I do love Monstress. I like Saga, though I don’t think Volume 7 is the best of the series, and I haven’t caught up on Bitch Planet yet. I kind of despise Paper Girls and never got into the book after it kicked off its first issue with a rape threat against a child, so I couldn’t care less about its appearance on this list (except for a mild sense of annoyance that it seems to be popping up on here every year now). This is another category I hesitate to predict, but I’d say Monstress has a good chance at a second win.
Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form
- Blade Runner 2049, written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, directed by Denis Villeneuve (Alcon Entertainment / Bud Yorkin Productions / Torridon Films / Columbia Pictures)
- Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele (Blumhouse Productions / Monkeypaw Productions / QC Entertainment)
- The Shape of Water, written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, directed by Guillermo del Toro (TSG Entertainment / Double Dare You / Fox Searchlight Pictures)
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi, written and directed by Rian Johnson (Lucasfilm, Ltd.)
- Thor: Ragnarok, written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost; directed by Taika Waititi (Marvel Studios)
- Wonder Woman, screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, directed by Patty Jenkins (DC Films / Warner Brothers)
I’m so happy to see Get Out on here, and disappointed to see that the full first season of The Good Place didn’t make it. Let’s be real, though; it’ll be Blade Runner 2049 or The Last Jedi for the win.
Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form
- Black Mirror: “USS Callister,” written by William Bridges and Charlie Brooker, directed by Toby Haynes (House of Tomorrow)
- “The Deep” [song], by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes)
- Doctor Who: “Twice Upon a Time,” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Cymru Wales)
- The Good Place: “Michael’s Gambit,” written and directed by Michael Schur (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television)
- The Good Place: “The Trolley Problem,” written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan, directed by Dean Holland (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television)
- Star Trek: Discovery: “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad,” written by Aron Eli Coleite & Jesse Alexander, directed by David M. Barrett (CBS Television Studios)
What the Long Form list lacked in The Good Place is almost made up for by the inclusion of two episodes here, but the most exciting thing about this list, for me, is the lack of Game of Thrones episodes. Thank fuck for that. It’s also cool to see Clipping nominated again, this time for a song, but I’m thinking “USS Callister” or “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” (both hands down the best episodes of their respective seasons of Black Mirror and Star Trek: Discovery) will win in the end.
Best Editor – Short Form
- John Joseph Adams
- Neil Clarke
- Lee Harris
- Jonathan Strahan
- Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
- Sheila Williams
In the absence of Brian White, Tor.com’s excellent Lee Harris has my vote here, but it’s honestly anyone’s game. All of these editors have distinctive editorial aesthetics and publish excellent work.
Best Editor – Long Form
- Sheila E. Gilbert
- Joe Monti
- Diana M. Pho
- Devi Pillai
- Miriam Weinberg
- Navah Wolfe
Diana M. Pho and Navah Wolfe were my picks here, and I stand by them, but as with the Short Form Editor category, these are all good options.
Best Professional Artist
- Galen Dara
- Kathleen Jennings
- Bastien Lecouffe Deharme
- Victo Ngai
- John Picacio
- Sana Takeda
It seems safe to say that Bastien Lecouffe Deharme made the list following his public tiff with well-known garbage person Terry Goodkind, but Deharme’s oeuvre (outside of the Goodkind cover art he’s done) is quite good. It’s actually refreshing to see a finalist list without Julie Dillon (wonderful as she is) on it, and my personal favorites here are Galen Dara and Victo Ngai.
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
- The Book Smugglers, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James
- Escape Pod, edited by Mur Lafferty, S.B. Divya, and Norm Sherman, with assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney
- Fireside Magazine, edited by Brian White and Julia Rios; managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry; special feature editor Mikki Kendall; publisher & art director Pablo Defendini
- Strange Horizons, edited by Kate Dollarhyde, Gautam Bhatia, A.J. Odasso, Lila Garrott, Heather McDougal, Ciro Faienza, Tahlia Day, Vanessa Rose Phin, and the Strange Horizons staff
- Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Julia Rios; podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
The Book Smugglers deserves the win. Probably it will be Uncanny again, though.
- File 770, edited by Mike Glyer
- Galactic Journey, edited by Gideon Marcus
- Journey Planet, edited by Team Journey Planet
- 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
Hey! This is my category!
I wish I could say that I’m surprised to see Rocket Stack Rank on here after their well-documented cissexist bias was publicly called out, but I feel like there’s never not going to be people willing to defend and stand up for the right of people to have the worst sort of garbage opinions regardless of who those opinions hurt.
- The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
- 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
- Sword and Laser, presented by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt
- Verity!, presented by Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts
Fangirl Happy Hour is the only fandom podcast I regularly listen to, and Renay and Ana are the best. That is all.
Best Fan Writer
- Camestros Felapton
- Sarah Gailey
- Mike Glyer
- Foz Meadows
- Charles Payseur
- Bogi Takács
Bogi Takács and Foz Meadows both provide valuable perspectives, but Sarah Gailey continues to be a rising star in genre-related writing. The dark horse on this list, however, might be Camestros Felapton, who pays attention to Vox Day et al. so the rest of us don’t have to, which is surely Good Work for which he deserves to be rewarded.
Best Fan Artist
- Geneva Benton
- Grace P. Fong
- Maya Hahto
- Likhain (M. Sereno)
- Spring Schoenhuth
- Steve Stiles
I’m so disappointed that FIYAH Literary Magazine didn’t make the list for Best Semiprozine, and I’m genuinely surprised that none of their stories made the short fiction categories (although they’re admittedly at a disadvantage versus the free-to-read publications), but I am super excited that FIYAH‘s Year One cover artist, Geneva Benton, is nominated here.
- The Books of the Raksura, by Martha Wells (Night Shade)
- The Divine Cities, by Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway)
- InCryptid, by Seanan McGuire (DAW)
- The Memoirs of Lady Trent, by Marie Brennan (Tor US / Titan UK)
- The Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson (Tor US / Gollancz UK)
- World of the Five Gods, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Harper Voyager / Spectrum Literary Agency)
The only one of these series I’ve read any of at all is Marie Brennan’s Lady Trent books, of which I’ve read and enjoyed the first two or three. There’s no universe in which I’ll read even a representative sample of all the rest before voting time, but this has definitely bumped Robert Jackson Bennett’s The Divine Cities a little farther up my TBR.
2018 Associated Awards (not Hugos) Finalists
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
- Katherine Arden
- Sarah Kuhn
- Jeannette Ng
- Vina Jie-Min Prasad
- Rebecca Roanhorse
- Rivers Solomon
I won’t even speculate about this list because I’m so excited about it. Vina Jie-Min Prasad and Rebecca Roanhorse were my nominees, but Jeannette Ng’s Under the Pendulum Sun was on my Best Novel list, and Sarah Kuhn’s Heroine books were some of the most fun books I read in 2017. Katherine Arden is fine, and I haven’t read Rivers Solomon yet, but I wouldn’t be mad about any of these writers winning, and it’s great to see such a diverse list representing the future of the genre.
The World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) Award for Best Young Adult Book
- Akata Warrior, by Nnedi Okorafor (Viking)
- The Art of Starving, by Sam J. Miller (HarperTeen)
- The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman (Knopf)
- In Other Lands, by Sarah Rees Brennan (Big Mouth House)
- A Skinful of Shadows, by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK / Harry N. Abrams US)
- Summer in Orcus, written by T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon), illustrated by Lauren Henderson (Sofawolf Press)
This list is just a reminder of how completely out of the loop I am when it comes to YA fiction. I haven’t read a single one of these. Let me know in the comments if there’s one that you think I definitely need to make time for, though.