Tag Archives: Hugo Awards

Let’s Read! Up and Coming: Part 5

This group of stories is a sadly lackluster bunch. There’s nothing particularly awful in this group, but most of it was firmly in the category of “not my kind of thing.”

Kurt Hunt

“Paolo, Friend Paolo” was overlong to the point of being boring, and “Tigerskin” was forgettable. However, though I didn’t like “QSFTmk2.7853 Has a Name” very much on first reading, it’s turned out to be a story that has stuck with me, and I’ve found myself thinking about it off and on for a full twenty-four hours now. The idea of artificially intelligent robots being people isn’t new or fresh, but Kurt Hunt’s take on it has the sort of slow-burning and lasting impact that is a mark of a great story.

L.S. Johnson

From L.S. Johnson come a pair of haunting stories deeply rooted in fairy tale traditions. “Vacui Magia” is an excellent use of second person point of view, which is tricky to work with and which I always appreciate seeing done well. It’s also a remarkable meditation on some of the complex feelings women have about motherhood. “Little Men with Knives” is a fascinating modern version of something very like “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” and it’s notable if for no other reason than that’s not a story that gets much attention in the world of fairy tale retellings. That said, it’s also a wonderful story in its own right, and it’s likely to make my final list for Best Novelette this year.

Cameron Johnston

“The Economist & the Dragon” had a title that excited me, but the story was a disappointment, to say the least. The set up goes on too long, and the punchline, when it comes, is nowhere near surprising enough to be really funny, which is too bad. Even just hours after reading it and looking at my notes, I have a hard time recalling anything about “Head Games.” “The Shadow Under Scotland” is an only very vaguely Lovecraftian story that doesn’t really justify its use of Scotland as a setting important enough to name it in the title. Aside from the dialect of the characters, there’s nothing particularly specific to Scotland, and the danger/horror of the story isn’t big enough to feel like it threatens a whole country.

Rachael K. Jones

Rachael K. Jones is by far the best of today’s group of writers, and I loved all three of the stories printed here. It’s too bad “Makeisha in Time” is from 2014; if it had a 2015 pub date, it would definitely be on my Best Short Story list this year. I loved this story of a woman who is unstuck in time and trying to find a way to change the narratives of history. “Who Binds and Looses the World with Her Hands,” the story of two deaf women and the way their relationship is changed by the arrival of a sorcerer on their secluded island is going to be on my list this year. And “Charlotte Incorporated,” about a brain in a jar looking for a body, is a strong early addition to my ongoing list of favorite 2016 stories.

Jason Kimble

“Broken” tries unsuccessfully to squeeze a lot of world building into a short space, and ends up being nearly incoherent and full of proper nouns that are never defined explicitly and whose meanings can only be half figured out from context. I might have enjoyed it if I could understand what the hell was going on. “Hide Behind,” on the other hand, is a moderately creepy monster story with a dark fairy tale sensibility. I didn’t love it, but I can definitely see why someone who more generally likes that sort of thing might.

Paul B. Kohler

“Rememorations” is the second or third time just in this collection that I’ve seen someone write about the idea that the human brain somehow isn’t big enough to handle immortality—basically that the brain’s memory storage gets full and causes problems for the immortal—and I kind of hate this idea. Partly, I dislike it because I half-suspect that everyone is just copying off that one Doctor Who episode, but partly I dislike it because every story based around it seems to think that it’s very clever, in spite of not having anything very insightful to say about either immortality or memory. The smug tone of this story’s heavily telegraphed ending just made me sigh. Meanwhile, “The Soul Collector” has a relatively pedestrian premise, which could nevertheless have been elevated by a more capable writer, but is instead spoiled by poor word choices and some of the worst, faux old-timey, theatrical dialogue I’ve read this year.

Jeanne Kramer-Smyth

Someone is going to love Jeanne Kramer-Smyth’s work, but that someone is not me. Both of her stories here are short, simple ones with little conflict, no real sense of danger, and happy endings all around. There’s some darkness in the post-apocalyptic/dystopian backgrounds of both “Unsealed” and “View from Above,” but Kramer-Smyth doesn’t allow it to touch her characters in any real sense.

Jamie Gilman Kress

“And Now, Fill Her In” puts a psychic of sorts on a doomed plane, but what happens next isn’t actually interesting. Instead, it’s mostly just Kiya looking around and silently judging other passengers.

Jason LaPier

Jason LaPier’s selection is an excerpt from his novel, Unexpected Rain. It seems to be trying to be a space opera hybrid akin to The Expanse, but I couldn’t get into it. The excerpt is from—for some reason—Chapter 9 of the book, which means I have no idea what exactly is going on in it. In any case, it’s some mediocre action stuff peppered with ham-fisted, sophomoric dialogue. I looked up the book on Goodreads, but after reading the book description and glancing through the reviews, I can tell that it’s definitely not for me.

Fonda Lee

I wanted to love the excerpt from Fonda Lee’s novel, Zeroboxer, but it’s much more the sort of thing that I’d like to Netflix if it was a movie—not the sort of thing I have much interest in reading. That said, it’s well-written and a cool idea if you’re at all into sports stories, and the few reviews I read of it sounded promising. Lee’s short story, “Universal Print” wasn’t great, however. It’s interesting to see how common printing technology has gotten in sci-fi, but this story was otherwise forgettable.

Final Verdict:

I unequivocally loved all three of Rachael K. Jones’s stories, and I will probably be picking up L.S. Johnson’s recently published story collection for more of her work, but the rest of today’s crop of stories was just not that good.

Hugo Recommendations: Best Graphic Story and Best Artist

These have been some of the most fun categories to research, as I don’t read a ton of comics and had to spend a good amount of time googling the artists for some of my favorite book covers from last year. Then, I got to fall down the internet hole that is fan art, and there’s an incredible amount of good work out there to peruse. One thing that is nice about these categories, as well, is that because these aren’t parts of fandom I’m particularly active in, I don’t feel like my decisions are heavily influenced by anyone else’s opinions. It means my thoughts about these categories are all very uncomplicated, but it also means that these are probably all categories that I won’t fill up my ballot for.

Best Graphic Story
  • ODY-C Volume 1 by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward
    This seems to have been a sort of love it or hate it book, and I am firmly on the love side. It’s a gorgeously illustrated, ambitious project unlike anything else out there right now.
  • Rat Queens Volume 2: The Far-Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth by Kurtis J Wiebe, Roc Upchurch and Stjepan Sejic
    While I was skeptical of this book to begin with—I’m a little distrustful of overtly feminist work by men, to be honest, because they usually mess it up somehow—I quickly fell in love with it. It’s smart and funny and full of badass women, with a minimal amount of male-gaze-y artwork.
  • Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
    This is a book that I actually bought for my daughter after she couldn’t put it down at the bookstore. When I read it for myself, I could definitely see why. It’s wonderful.
  • Bitch Planet Volume 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine DeLandro, Taki Soma, and Robert Wilson
    Bitch Planet is the feminist comic book I’ve been waiting for my whole life.
  • Monstress #1 by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda
    This isn’t my favorite comic I read last year, but it’s hands down the most beautiful to look at. Every page from cover to cover is filled edge to edge with some of the most sumptuous illustration I’ve seen in a comic in ages. It’s just stunning.

As you might be able to tell, I don’t really do super heroes, as a general rule. I did read some of The Wicked + The Divine last year as well, but didn’t care for it, and I read the first issue of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur when that came out. It was cute, but I didn’t go back to it when new issues came out. I’m actually really looking forward to reading whatever makes the finalist list in this category this year.

Best Professional Artist
  • Richard Anderson
    Richard Anderson did cover art for several of my favorite books last year—The Builders, Sunset Mantle, Empire Ascendant, and The Dinosaur Lords (which I actually hated, but it had a rad cover)—and I can’t get enough of his style. While he works with a somewhat limited palette, heavy on grays and browns, all of Anderson’s illustrations are full of remarkable energy.
  • Cynthia Sheppard
    In 2015, Cynthia Sheppard illustrated covers for Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory and A.M. Dellamonica’s A Daughter of No Nation. She’s another artist who works with a somewhat monochromatic palette, but it makes the occasional flashes of bright color in her work that much more striking.

I am probably going to just stick to these two nominations, since I don’t have a ton of strong opinions on particular artists. Tommy Arnold has some amazing cover artwork coming out this year, but that’s no good for this round of awards, and I always love Julie Dillon’s work when I see it, but she just won the Hugo last year and I’m looking forward to seeing some different people get attention.

Best Fan Artist
  • Megan Lara
    It’s been done to death, but I never get tired of art nouveau style illustrations. Ever.
  • Octavi Navarro
    Pixel art has also been done, but not like this.

This is another category where I doubt I’ll fill my ballot. There’s just so much that I like and so much that is good that it’s tough to make any final decisions, especially when I’m so bogged down with trying to cram some more short fiction reading in over the next few days.

All that said, if you have a recommendation, put it in the comments and I’ll check it out!

Let’s Read! Up and Coming: Part 1

Let’s get this party started, right at the beginning of the alphabet. I thought about trying to read these in a more random order or about starting with the authors I already know and like, but the more I considered my options, the more I realized that the easiest and fairest way to approach this project was just to start at the beginning and read it through in the order the stories are arranged in the book. If nothing else, this will keep me from accidentally missing someone.

All of today’s authors are ones whose work I’ve never read before, which has been interesting. They run the gamut from hard sci-fi to sword and sorcery, which made this first day of reading a pretty wild ride.

Charlotte Ashley

When I first read “La Héron” last night, I liked but didn’t love it, but I think it’s a story that grows on you. The more I’ve thought about it all day, the more I think I love Charlotte Ashley’s tale of an illicit duelist, her unconventional second, and a series of three duels with fantastically escalating stakes. It’s intelligent, well-structured, and entertaining, and I could read whole books about La Héron and her brawling nun companion.

Ashley’s second story, “Sigrid Under the Mountain,” isn’t as good, unfortunately. It’s not bad, either, but it does seem somewhat underbaked. I love the idea of this story, but the execution here is weak and the story has an almost flippant tone towards its subject matter that seems intended to be humorous but that I found unpleasant to read. All of the characters in “Sigrid” are supposed to be Scandinavian, but the dialogue feels very anachronistically English, and the ending is abrupt and lacks any real emotional impact.

John Ayliff

John Ayliff’s offering is an excerpt from his 2015 debut novel, Belt Three. It seems fine, but overall pedestrian. Without knowing anything at all about the novel, I found it difficult to understand at first what was even going on, and when I did start to get it I found it dull.

Lucas Bale

Lucas Bale’s 2015 novelette, “To Sing of Chaos and Eternal Night,” is about as interesting as that pretentious title and its opening quote from Paradise Lost would suggest. Which is to say, not at all. There is a sort of Shyamalan-level twist that is moderately surprising, but it wasn’t compelling enough to make me care that much about the story.

Nicolette Barischoff

“Pirate Songs” almost lost me at space pirates, which are terribly overdone, but I’m glad I stuck it out. While there were some very uncomfortable to read parts early on, with a bunch of gross men sexually harassing a disabled girl, Margo turns out to be a very clever protagonist once the story shifts to her point of view and “Pirate Songs” ends up being a solid bit of space opera. I didn’t love it, but it was good enough to keep me from skipping Barischoff’s second and third stories, which would have been a huge mistake.

“Follow Me Down” starts with a monstrous birth and then picks up seven years later with the story of the child that was just born. Kora is a cambion—the child of an incubus and a human woman—and this is the story of an abandoned child trying to understand where she came from and who she is. “In the Woods Behind My House” is about a boy who has a griffin living practically in his back yard, and it’s another story about a child figuring out how to belong. I don’t want to spoil these stories here by saying too much about them, but I will say this: They’re both wonderful, and together they make Nicolette Barischoff the first new-to-me author in this collection whose work I unequivocally love.

Sofie Bird

“A is for Alacrity, Astronauts, and Grief” is a gorgeous tale about, well, grief, but also family and fresh starts and healing from abuse. When Becca’s sister, Julie, is left in a persistent coma after a car crash, Becca goes back to her abusive mother’s home in order to be able to take care of her nephew, Sam. Becca and Sam work together to decipher the strange messages that appear from an old typewriter that used to belong to Becca’s father, and Becca finds the strength to make some significant decisions for herself and Sam. I definitely cried while reading this, I loved it so much.

Derrick Boden

“Clay Soldiers” is a clever mindfuck of a story, and “The Last Mardi Gras” is exactly what it says it is. Both are beautifully written (though I preferred the second story) and very short—which it turns out is exactly the right length. Some of my favorite short stories are ones that communicate a single idea or concept very succinctly, and Boden shows an aptitude for just that. He’s definitely an author I will be watching for in the future.

Stefan Bolz

“The Traveler” is a somewhat meta story about a girl who works through grief over her father’s death by building a sort of H.G. Wells style time machine. It’s so lovely and so sad and so uplifting, and is my favorite story of the collection so far.

David Bruns

David Bruns’s first offering is “The Water Finder’s Shadow”—about a man struggling to figure out how to survive without his dog in a post-apocalyptic, drought-stricken America. This story is more of an exercise in world-building than anything else, but it stands alone well enough and left me hungry for more stories in this setting if Bruns ever writes any.

“I, Caroline” is a story with a somewhat obvious tell in its title about what it’s about, but it’s much better than the title might indicate. Caroline’s story is nothing terribly unexpected, but it’s solidly good and managed to make me more than a little teary by the end.

Martin Cahill

“It was Never the Fire” is the first story I’ve read today that I really just hated. There’s never a situation where I like reading about terrible things happening to girls. “Vanilla” was short, so I read it even though I didn’t like Martin Cahill’s first story. I don’t exactly wish I hadn’t, but this story about eating ice cream at the end of the world didn’t really connect with me either, possibly because I disliked the previous story so much. I’m not sure if changing the reading order would have changed my opinions on this pair, but it surely couldn’t have hurt.

Aaron Canton

In “Dining Out,” a corrupt food critic runs afoul of an obscure Irish goddess. On the one hand, I always enjoy learning new pieces of old mythology. On the other hand, if I have to google a major story element in order to make sense of it, that’s a problem. Once I learned who Fuamnach was, I got it, but I would have liked it better if I could have understood more about her from context in the story.

“A Most Unusual Patriot” is the first story of Up and Coming that falls properly into the realm of fantasy adventure or sword and sorcery, which is my first genre love. Unfortunately, there’s not a great deal of substance here. Jadie is fine, in a very sort of cookie-cutter quirky fantasy thief sort of way, albeit a bit Pollyannaish. There’s also an awful lot of telling-not-showing going on in this story, with long stretches dedicated to just explaining everything instead of having actual events happening. The worst thing about this one, though, is how misleading its title is. In a world where the thieves’ guild is basically owned by the ruler of the land, it means literally nothing to call a thief an “unusual patriot.” It’s explained, at length, that protecting the realm and upholding the current government is part of Jadie’s job as a member of the thieves’ guild.

Final Verdict

Nicolette Barischoff, Sofie Bird and Stefan Bolz are definitely my favorites of this first group of authors, but David Bruns and Charlotte Ashley also stand out.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at the next ten authors.

Let’s Read! Up and Coming: Stories by the 2016 Campbell-Eligible Authors

This year, Bad Menagerie is offering a pretty unprecedented resource for those of us who are nominating for and voting on the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer that will be presented at Worldcon along with the Hugos. Up and Coming is packed with 230 works by 120 Campbell-eligible authors—over a million words of fiction, that I will be working my way through, ten authors at a time, over the next couple of weeks.

I plan to finish by March 30, as nominations for the Campbell and Hugo Awards are due on the 31st, and ten authors every day or so is a pretty blazing pace, so my plan is to read at least one story by each author. If their first story doesn’t grab me, I’ll be moving along to the next author in order to better manage my time and enable me to actually make it through this enormous body of work. I’ll let you know which authors I skipped and why, though I expect to spend much more time extolling the virtues of my favorites than criticizing what I don’t like. That said, if I skip over your favorites, be sure to let me know in the comments what a jerk I am and all about what I’m missing out on.

Look for my first big post to appear tomorrow (hopefully) or Wednesday. This should be an almost every day thing between now and the end of the month.

If you want to read along, you can download the collection at Bad Menagerie any time before March 31, 2016.

Hugo Recommendations: Best Dramatic Presentations

The Hugo Awards’ Best Dramatic Long Form and Short Form categories are probably the ones that I’m most ambivalent about, to be honest. However, they are also the categories in which I think I’ve probably consumed the highest proportion of eligible work. When I look back over the last year, I have to admit that I’ve watched an awful lot of television, and I’ve seen all of the Hugo-eligible films that I’m likely to enjoy. It’s probably too late for most folks to actually sit and watch however many hours of material I’m about to recommend, but here’s what I think was the best of the genre film and television I watched in 2015.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
  • Crimson Peak
    There is almost no way this is going to even make the shortlist for the Hugo, but it might be my favorite film of last year. It’s got gorgeous costumes, Tom Hiddleston’s butt, and a badass knife fight between two women wearing big billowing nightgowns and ridiculously long wigs in the snow.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
    This two-hour long car chase with ecofeminist messaging is also near the top of my list.
  • Advantageous
    This film made the rounds of some festivals and stuff, but it never got a wide release. Instead, it went straight to Netflix, where it’s still available to watch. It’s a beautiful meditation on aging, motherhood, and the sacrifices women make in order to survive in late-stage capitalism and secure a future for their children.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    It’s just like A New Hope, but better. I wasn’t that excited about a new Star Wars movie, to be honest, but this one was surprisingly wonderful and an objectively good film.
  • The Martian
    The Martian isn’t as good as the book that it’s based on, but it’s one of the better film adaptations I’ve seen in recent years. Matt Damon is tolerable in the lead role, and the supporting cast is excellent. I also have a deep appreciation for optimistic humanist science fiction, and this example of it stands out in the best way in a genre landscape that has been trending towards dark and gritty for at least a solid decade now.
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
    No television adaptation could ever be as marvelous as Susanna Clarke’s novel, but this one comes close.
  • Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Season One)
    By far the best Marvel adaptation to date, Jessica Jones is a feminist masterpiece.
  • Into the Badlands (Season One)
    I often feel as if no one else loved this show the way it deserves to be loved, but it just got officially renewed for a second season. The first season starts off a little rocky, but by the end of its six episode run, it gets great. It also delivers some of the finest martial arts choreography ever to appear on the small screen.
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
  • Doctor Who “The Husbands of River Song”
    My interest in Doctor Who has been pretty steadily waning since Steven Moffat took over the show, but I loved last year’s Christmas Special so much. It was a perfect send-off for River Song. Moffat created her and ruined her, but in this episode he mostly managed to finally do right by her. That final scene at the Singing Towers of Darillium was swoon-worthy, for sure.
  • Marvel’s Jessica Jones “AKA Smile”
    I’m thinking about nominating the whole show, but if I had to pick a favorite episode, it’s the final one of the season. It’s amazing and delivers on every promise of the episodes leading up to it.
  • Minority Report “American Dream”
    I don’t think this show was overall good enough to be nominated as a whole, no matter how much I kind of loved it in spite of its many flaws. However, this is the episode that came closest to actually realizing the full potential of what this series should have been all along.
  • The Expanse “Dulcinea”
    By far the best sci-fi show on television since Battlestar Galactica, and this episode started the series of strongly.
  • iZombie “Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat”
    The penultimate episode of season one is no longer the best episode of iZombie to date, but it is the best episode that is Hugo-eligible this year.
  • Supergirl “Human for a Day”
    I really like this show, but I’m not certain if any episode is strong enough on its own to merit a rocket. This one comes close, though.
  • Into the Badlands “Hand of Five Poisons”
    This show is definitely a grower, not a shower, and the final episode in its short run is definitely the apex of the first season’s quality. All the shit gets real in this episode, and it’s excellent enough that I can even forgive for ending on a cliffhanger before the show even got a second season confirmed.

Hugo Recommendations: Novel and Novella

I’m still working through some eleventh hour reading of short stories and novelettes from last year, so those recommendations will be coming later, but let’s kick things off with my short-ish lists (not my final ballot, which I haven’t 100% decided on, yet) for the big one—Best Novel—and for Best Novella, which is going to be interesting this year I think, with Tor.com publishing so many novella-length works.

Best Novel
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
    This book is just incredible. Hands down my favorite book of 2015, it’s big and beautiful and simply marvelous on the technical level. It’s definitely Jemisin’s best book to date, and it stands head and shoulders above most of the competition.
  • The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
    I feel like almost no one loved this book as much as I did, probably because Liu’s combination of Eastern and Western influences make this novel a kind of strange read for folks who are used to more Tolkien-inspired, rather than actual epic-inspired, epic fantasy. I expect this title to be a long shot for making the final shortlist, but I could be wrong.
  • Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen
    I only read Barsk a couple weeks ago, and it’s the last 2015 novel I’m likely to read unless something that I haven’t read already makes the finalist list for the Hugos. I’m so glad I did. It’s a really excellent bit of science fantasy, and I can honestly say I’ve never read anything quite like it. 2015 was chock full of highly original SFF, and this title was among the most inventive books of the year.
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
    There’s very little new under the sun when it comes to reimagined fairy tales, but Naomi Novik found some of it and put it into this gorgeous standalone novel.
  • Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente
    I will read literally anything Cat Valente publishes, and Radiance had me at “decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery” and never let me go. It’s probably a little too experimental/literary for everyone to find it as delightfully fun as I did, but I’d love to see it get a Hugo nod, even if it doesn’t win.
  • The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
    I’m still not in love with the ending of this book, but it’s one of the most technically perfect books I’ve ever read. The whole thing just runs like clockwork, and it’s a masterpiece of story engineering.
  • The Just City and/or The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton
    I adored both of these, but I’d obviously have to pick just one if I decided to put one on my ballot. Probably it would be The Just City, though. You’ve got to love a book whose climax is a debate between Sokrates and Athena, and things got a little weird at the end of The Philosopher Kings.

I also loved The Dark Forest by Liu Cixin and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy, but both of those are sequels to books that have already won, so I’d prefer to see the love spread around. Plus, the translation on The Dark Forest just wasn’t up to the same standard as that of The Three-Body Problem, and as much as I liked Ancillary Mercy, it wasn’t as good as Ancillary Justice.

Best Novella
  • The Builders by Daniel Polansky
    I would never have guessed that this would be my favorite novella of 2015, but it is. It’s basically like a Tarantino flick with cute little forest animals—a wild ride from start to finish.
  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
    I actually didn’t love this one when I first read it, but it’s grown on me since. The more I think about it, the better I think it is.
  • Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson
    This was published as a novella, but it may be too long to technically fit into the category for award purposes. Either way, it’s a superbly original bit of sword and sorcery-ish stuff.
  • The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman T. Malik
    I only got around to this title this week, but it’s another one that I’m glad I squeezed in before I sent in my ballot. It’s a great little book about identity and immigration and integrating the past with the future.
  • The Citadel of Weeping Pearls by Aliette de Bodard
    If you read and enjoyed On a Red Station Drifting, you will love this return to that same universe. Writing in this setting is what Aliette de Bodard does best, by far.
  • Speak Easy by Catherynne M. Valente
    Zelda Fitzgerald meets “Twelve Dancing Princesses” meets something wiser and darker and more postmodern. Valente’s command of words is always impressive, and like everything else she writes, Speak Easy is gorgeous. Also, have you seen that cover? This book is the whole package.

2015 Hugo Awards – The Year of the Best Case Scenario

The lead up to this year’s Hugo Award ceremony reminded me a little of the 2012 election. All the polls and buzz at the time (and for months in advance) seemed to indicate that inveterate slimeball Mitt Romney was going to lose, but Mitt and Fox News seemed so convinced that they were going to win that I found myself in a knot of stress until Ohio was called for the President. In much the same way, the majority of reaction and community response to this year’s Puppy slates has been decidedly not in the Puppy’s favor, but they’ve seemed so certain all along that they were going to prove, well, something. Like the jerkwads at Fox News, they seemed certain that they were going to win–certain enough that they had everyone else on edge.

Even streaming the Hugo Award ceremony, the tension in the room felt palpable Saturday night, and it wasn’t until the announcement of the winner of the first major award that the atmosphere began to lighten. Anyone following the Puppy mess very closely knew that the John W. Campbell Award was going to be the bellwether, and as soon as non-slate nominee (the single non-slate nominee for that award) Wesley Chu’s name was read, it was as if everyone there breathed a collective sigh of relief and started to actually have fun.

The rest of the ceremony went off without a hitch. There were a couple of very nice acceptance speeches–Wesley Chu’s was notable, as well as Julie Dillon’s, Ken Liu’s (accepting for Cixin Liu’s The Three Body Problem), and those from the editors of Journey Planet and Lightspeed Magazine. David Gerrold and Tananarive Due were excellent once the mood in the room loosened up. Connie Willis was wonderful.

There were a couple of real surprises in store, which was nice. Unsurprisingly, No Award was the big winner of the night, taking five categories in which the Puppies had managed to secure all of the nominees. In more interesting news, though, Orphan Black won in Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), which is excellent. It’s a great show, and it’s nice to see it finally getting some awards recognition (although Tatiana Maslany’s Emmy nomination this year is promising). In Best Graphic Story, Ms. Marvel took home the rocket, which was surprising to me, at least–I was fairly certain it would go to Saga.

Perhaps the biggest upset of the night, though, was in the Best Novel category. I LOVED The Three Body Problem, but it seemed to be considered a long shot to win. Most of the speculation I saw leading up to the awards seemed to agree that Best Novel would go to either Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor or Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword, and the reaction to The Three Body Problem‘s win seemed to be generally pleasant surprise, but surprise nonetheless. It’s the first ever translated novel to win a Hugo Award, which makes the win historic as well. And if that wasn’t enough to hammer home the point that the Hugo Awards are about progress and change and forward thinking, the Best Novel winner was literally announced from space.

The full list of 2015 Hugo winners:

  • Best NovelThe Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books)
  • Best Novella – No Award
  • Best Novelette – “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed, April 2014)
  • Best Short Story – No Award
  • Best Related Work – No Award
  • Best Graphic StoryMs. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal (Marvel Comics)
  • Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”
  • Best Professional Editor (Short Form) – No Award
  • Best Professional Editor (Long Form) – No Award
  • Best Professional Artist – Julie Dillon
  • Best SemiprozineLightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams
  • Best FanzineJourney Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Colin Harris, Alissa McKersie, and Helen J. Montgomery
  • Best FancastGalactic Suburbia Podcast
  • Best Fan Writer – Laura J. Mixon
  • Best Fan Artist – Elizabeth Leggett
  • The John W. Campbell Award – Wesley Chu

Probably the best general piece published this weekend about the Hugo Awards was over at Wired: “Who Won Science Fiction’s Hugo Awards and Why it Matters”.

io9 gives us an idea of the Hugo Awards we would have had if it wasn’t for the Puppies’ slates.

If you’re into that sort of thing, you can just read the full 2015 Hugo voting stats for yourself.

Black Gate is succinct in saying “Dear Puppies: Your Taste Sucks”.

And Foz Meadows’ piece is worth a read, “Hugos and Puppies: Peeling the Onion”.

I’m not naive enough to think this mess is going to be laid to rest after this, especially not when Vox Day has already published like eight posts since Saturday night threatening that he’s going to keep trying to destroy the awards. However, just looking at this year’s voting stats, it seems to me that his claim of 400 voters is actually somewhat exaggerated. I’d guess there were closer to 275-325 dedicated Puppy voters, and so I’m also guessing that Day’s claims that there are many more where those came from can be largely chalked up to Day’s delusions of grandeur.

I expect that there will be a Puppy slate or two next year, but I don’t expect they will be as successful as they were this year. We certainly aren’t going to be free of the Puppy whining and pouting (when they aren’t insisting that they were wildly unsuccessful on purpose) for some time, but I imagine they will lose interest after 2016. Surely, by 2017, someone, somewhere will have done something to earn a harassment campaign from these assholes that will direct their attention elsewhere.