The 2011 Hugo Nominees

For your edification, this year’s nominees:

Best Novel
Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra)
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr)
Feed by Mira Grant (Orbit)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

Best Novella
“The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window” by Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Magazine, Summer 2010)
The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang (Subterranean)
“The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon” by Elizabeth Hand (Stories: All New Tales, William Morrow)
“The Sultan of the Clouds” by Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov’s, September 2010)
“Troika” by Alastair Reynolds (Godlike Machines, Science Fiction Book Club)

Best Novelette
“Eight Miles” by Sean McMullen (Analog, September 2010)
“The Emperor of Mars” by Allen M. Steele (Asimov’s, June 2010)
“The Jaguar House, in Shadow” by Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s, July 2010)
“Plus or Minus” by James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s, December 2010)
“That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” by Eric James Stone (Analog, September 2010)

Best Short Story
“Amaryllis” by Carrie Vaughn (Lightspeed, June 2010)
“For Want of a Nail” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s, September 2010)
“Ponies” by Kij Johnson (Tor.com, November 17, 2010)
“The Things” by Peter Watts (Clarkesworld, January 2010)

Best Related Work
Bearings: Reviews 1997-2001, by Gary K. Wolfe (Beccon)
The Business of Science Fiction: Two Insiders Discuss Writing and Publishing, by Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg (McFarland)
Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea (Mad Norwegian)
Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Volume 1: (1907–1948): Learning Curve, by William H. Patterson, Jr. (Tor)
Writing Excuses, Season 4, by Brandon Sanderson, Jordan Sanderson, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells

Best Graphic Story
Fables: Witches, written by Bill Willingham; illustrated by Mark Buckingham (Vertigo)
Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse, written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
Grandville Mon Amour, by Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse)
Schlock Mercenary: Massively Parallel, written and illustrated by Howard Tayler; colors by Howard Tayler and Travis Walton (Hypernode)
The Unwritten, Volume 2: Inside Man, written by Mike Carey; illustrated by Peter Gross (Vertigo)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, screenplay by Steve Kloves; directed by David Yates (Warner)
How to Train Your Dragon, screenplay by William Davies, Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders; directed by Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders (DreamWorks)
Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Warner)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, screenplay by Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright; directed by Edgar Wright (Universal)
Toy Story 3, screenplay by Michael Arndt; story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich; directed by Lee Unkrich (Pixar/Disney)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
Doctor Who: “A Christmas Carol,” written by Steven Moffat; directed by Toby Haynes (BBC Wales)
Doctor Who: “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang,” written by Steven Moffat; directed by Toby Haynes (BBC Wales)
Doctor Who: “Vincent and the Doctor,” written by Richard Curtis; directed by Jonny Campbell (BBC Wales)
Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury, written by Rachel Bloom; directed by Paul Briganti
The Lost Thing, written by Shaun Tan; directed by Andrew Ruhemann and Shaun Tan (Passion Pictures)

Best Editor, Short Form
John Joseph Adams
Stanley Schmidt
Jonathan Strahan
Gordon Van Gelder
Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form
Lou Anders
Ginjer Buchanan
Moshe Feder
Liz Gorinsky
Nick Mamatas
Beth Meacham
Juliet Ulman

Best Professional Artist
Daniel Dos Santos
Bob Eggleton
Stephan Martiniere
John Picacio
Shaun Tan

Best Semiprozine
Clarkesworld, edited by Neil Clarke, Cheryl Morgan, Sean Wallace; podcast directed by Kate Baker
Interzone, edited by Andy Cox
Lightspeed, edited by John Joseph Adams
Locus, edited by Liza Groen Trombi and Kirsten Gong-Wong
Weird Tales, edited by Ann VanderMeer and Stephen H. Segal

Best Fanzine
Banana Wings, edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer
Challenger, edited by Guy H. Lillian III
The Drink Tank, edited by Christopher J Garcia and James Bacon
File 770, edited by Mike Glyer
StarShipSofa, edited by Tony C. Smith

Best Fan Writer
James Bacon
Claire Brialey
Christopher J Garcia
James Nicoll
Steven H Silver

Best Fan Artist
Brad W. Foster
Randall Munroe
Maurine Starkey
Steve Stiles
Taral Wayne

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2009 or 2010, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).
Saladin Ahmed
Lauren Beukes
Larry Correia
Lev Grossman
Dan Wells
Note: All finalists are in their 2nd year of eligibility.

Congratulations to all the nominees this year! The Hugo Award winners will be announced August 20, at Renovation, in Reno, Nevada!

74 thoughts on “The 2011 Hugo Nominees

  1. On a different note, just on the basis of what I’ve read, I’d pick ‘Amaryliis’ to win the SS. I’d love to see Swirsky win the Novella. I like the odd way she writes. I haven’t read many of the others.

    I don’t think ‘Cryoburn’ is up to winning standards. But… Bujold/Willis! Cage Match! Who… Will… Win?

    Just for calibration, here’s what I’ve read, and what I have in To Be Read. So many books; so little time.

    Best Novel
    TBR: Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra)
    Read: Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
    TBR: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

    Best Novella
    Read: “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window” by Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Magazine, Summer 2010)

    Best Novelette
    TBR: “The Jaguar House, in Shadow” by Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s, July 2010)

    Best Short Story. I think I’ve read all of these. ‘Amaryllis’ sticks out as memorable in a good way. ‘Ponies’ does not (shudder). I remember reading the other two, but not the details.
    “Amaryllis” by Carrie Vaughn (Lightspeed, June 2010)
    “For Want of a Nail” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s, September 2010)
    “Ponies” by Kij Johnson (Tor.com, November 17, 2010)
    “The Things” by Peter Watts (Clarkesworld, January 2010)

    Good luck to all the nominees, hobbyhorses notwithstanding.
    Jack Tingle

  2. Well, there’s already some controversy about Randall Munroe’s nomination for Best Fan Artist.

    xkcd is a professional outlet for him (it produces enough income to support him), so does anyone know of non-professional outlets where his art is published?

  3. I was watching the live video from Eastercon. During the announcement of BDP Short, when the guy paused and said, “This next one isn’t what you think it is,” I knew that “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury” had been nominated.

  4. @ Andrew Trembley

    This was brought up in the Hugo Recommendations Livejournal community, and some good reasons mentioned for putting him in the Fan Artist category were:

    “*Fan artists can make money and there’s no hard line between fan and pro for the award. So I don’t think that selling books and t-shirts makes him a pro artist.
    * Much of his sf/f content is about the field and community (thus fannish) rather than about creating an original work.
    * Artistically, the quality of his work is fannish rather than pro.”

  5. I’m a great fan of both Bujold and Willis, but my vote would be for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. It’s both a great story and a ground-breaking book.

  6. Um, I like a joke as much as the next person (well, as much as some next people), but commenters #1-3 are all kidding, right? I mean, Moffatt should maybe be disqualified from winning any more short-form dramatic presentation awards, on the grounds that someone else should get a chance – but while that song was mildly amusing, it was not anything special. Heck, if we’re going to nominate funny (somewhat) sci-fi music videos, I’d pick Tom McDonnell’s “Doctor Jones” over it any day of the week.

  7. @CarolC

    I’m intimately familiar with the Hugo_Recommend community. Munroe’s entry was given a 2010 tag (as if he was being recommended for a Hugo to be awarded at Aussiecon 4) so I didn’t see that entry.

    While Munroe is engaging in art (comics, actually) about fannish subjects, he’s doing so professionally.

    Let’s use the Scalzinator here as an example:
    “Whatever” is a non-commercial outlet where John engages in fanwriting. Some fans might argue that, because John is a professional writer, what he’s doing here isn’t fanwriting. Other fans might argue that, because this is a blog and not a fanzine, what he’s doing here isn’t fanwriting. I would disagree, both the medium and the message are non-commercial and fannish in nature.

    Fuzzy Nation is a much sloppier thing to analyze. If John is telling the truth (and I always believe everything our lord and master says except on April 1) it’s a relatively spontaneous (if long) work of fanfic (and there are fanfic epics out there that dwarf Fuzzy Nation) and he didn’t consider commercial exploitation until after it was complete. The message is still fannish, but it was never published in a non-commercial medium. I might accept the argument that it’s not fanwriting.

    Then there’s John’s column at FilmCritic.com. Now having read some of his work there, it’s got a very fannish style, but it’s work for a basic cable network’s website. If that’s fanwriting, so are Roger Ebert’s movie reviews that he does for the Chicago Sun-Times. Ebert’s a fan, he writes in a casual, often tongue-in-cheek style and he catches all the in-jokes too…

    So I’ve still got to argue against Munroe. Fannish, I’ll give him. But he’s not a professional artist who also produces fanart (like John is a professional writer who produces fanwriting). He’s a professional artist whose work is produced for commercial publication.

  8. @MadLogician

    Please remember that Hugo Voting (unlike most elections) isn’t the “first past the pole, who gets the biggest plurality” balloting process. It’s an Instant Run-Off (or “Australian”) system. The ballot lets you (and I would encourage you) to rank your selections in order of preference.

    That way, you can vote for everything you like. If your #1 selection comes in last, your ballot is reallocated to your second choice (and down the line). Vote The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms #1, and the others #2 and #3 respectively. That way, even if your first choice tanks (and I don’t want to see Nora tank, she’s a great woman and a great writer) your voice still counts.

  9. There’s a bit of renegade in me which is rooting for “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury”, which is one of the funnest things I ran into all year. I give the nominating committee props for going for it. (grin)

    Dr. Phil

  10. @Dr.Phil

    There is no “nominating committee.” Over 1,000 people (who were members of last year’s Worldcon, Aussiecon 4, or are registered for this year’s Worldcon, Renovation) submitted nominating ballots.

    “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury” got enough nominations to place within the top 5 selections for Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form.

    It’s that simple.

  11. Really surprised to see Cryroburn on the list! I am just starting the series but the impression I got from the fans was decidedly underwhelming. Bujould vs. Willis: the two winningest Hugo women face off!

    I am pulling for T100KK (there is probably a better way to abbreviate that). Though Zoo City was my secret favorite… I think it came out too late in the year to build a following.

  12. @Andrew Trembley
    “I’m intimately familiar with the Hugo_Recommend community”

    *juvenile giggling*

    Anyway…
    My opinion is that the actual comics themselves are fan art. He has nearly 900 comics up on the site, and I have viewed probably every one, without paying a penny to him. The comics can be reprinted pretty much anywhere without paying him a dime, so he’s not making money from licensing the comics themselves, like a syndicated cartoonist.

    He does has a side business of selling merchandise based on concepts people liked in some of his comics (t-shirts and the like) and last year collected some of the comics into a book. But I view this as a seperate. spin-off enterprise to the comics themselves, which were available online for quite a while before he started making t-shirts.

    Still, YMMV. That’s why there’s a vote! If there truly is a “controversy”, he won’t win. Yay for democracy! OK, it’s democracy that we pay a fee for, but whatever…

  13. Put me down as another vote for FMRB!

    I was genuinely shocked that Feed got nominated as it’s awful. Probably the worst thing about it is its squandered potential; it’s got an awesome first chapter and then the biggest drop off in quality out of any book I’ve read.

  14. I feel very out of it this year. I have seen three of the long-form nominees, and liked them all a lot. But I have read any of the text nominees, of any length. Good thing I am not a voter this year.

  15. Nice to see Larry Correia be nominated. His books are both adventurous and hilarious without stepping into the outright “silly” realm.

  16. I’d vote for FMRB just to avoid a field of Dr. Who episodes.

    Does The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City qualify in any of the categories for next year?

  17. Thoughts on the novels:

    Looks to be a pretty weak shortlist. I thought Feed and Blackout/All Clear were two of the weakest 2010 books, a chore to read, and both far too focused on their own presumed cleverness. Willis’ work is profoundly boring and stylistically framed. Feed banks heavily on the thoroughness of its imaginative concept while failing to think through its setting effectively and indulging in the worst kind of political strawmen and idiot plotting. One can read the novel in a more effective sense in, as the recent Strange Horizons review has it, as a sharp media satire, and that takes a little of the bitter taste from my mouth. Not all of it, though, as I’m not at all convinced that was the book Grant wrote. Cryoburn isn’t as bad as either, but is in some ways even more disappointing: a strong writer returning to a familiar setting and doing about the minimum effort to string together a conventional plot. At least Feed and Blackout/All Clear were clearly significant investments in their author’s time, for all that I felt it was misapplied they were labors of enthusiasm. Cryoburn suggests quite strongly that Bujold was bored and making little effort, re-running familiar scenarios into predictable plot that doesn’t challenge or grow the characters. The politics are simplistic, the only powerful moments come in a coda unconnected to the main story, and the whole thing looks very tossed together. It’s very dispiriting that readers will be so eager to embrace a familiar author and setting that they’d give nominee status to such a weak return.

    The Dervish House is magnificent and hopefully it can win, but nothing else on the shortlist comes close to meriting its place. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is pretty good and does approach some themes in an interesting manner, but it fails to follow through on the implications enough. And while there’s no Sawyer here, the result remains a shortlist that’s 60% mediocre. Much weaker than last year’s novel list, and almost as bad as 2009’s. Although there at least is something to be said that the list isn’t as familiar, with a number of new authors and returning ones at least not nominated recently. I’ll also note that it’s an 80% female shortlist, for what I’m guessing may be the highest ratio. It’s a pity that on the level of content the voters seem to have generally embraced a conventional style over substance, with a focus on familiar World War Two moralizing, a regurgitation of the Vorkosigan setting and yet another exploration of the zombie phenomenon. In part I’m reacting to the disconnect from my own top preferences and votes, but beyond that I do feel there are a number of objective problems with this as a set of best science fiction and fantasy of the year. At least there is Dervish House, and to a lesser extent the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

  18. Don’t be shocked if FEED wins. Personally I think that FEED, while a really good read and much better written than any of Seanan’s October Day books, just doesn’t strike me as Hugo material, at least not in the “Serious literature” category like say “The Forever War”. On the other hand, neither do any of the other books on the list.

    On the gripping hand, lately people seem to be voting for books they “liked” rather than ones that were “good”.

  19. I laughed my head off at the Ray Bradbury bit the first time I saw it, and liked it even better after I saw Britney Spears’ “….Baby One More Time” video. Totally should win.

  20. I think we were spoiled with The Windup Girl and City & the City in one year. Next year is already shaping up to be much better, with potential contenders like Embassytown, Wise Man’s Fear, and A Dance with Dragons, as well as heralded debuts like The Quantum Thief.

    Then again, there were a bunch of books published last year that I their have a lot more merit than the shortlist — I’m very disappointed to see Willis’ publisher rewarded for their irritating “split” strategy for Blackout/All Clear (I know I shouldn’t take it out on the book or author, but the decision still bugs me). Claims they the book was too long to release as a single novel are highly suspicious, considering the length of some recent big sellers. I’m sure economies of scale come in to play, but as I reader, it doesn’t matter to me when I can pay ONCE for Rothfuss’ book, which is longer than both halves of Willis’ stuck together. The more sensible solution would have been to actually EDIT some of the repetition out of the book, but that’s my own bias getting in the way.

  21. On cogitating further…

    1. As a female geek, I just loved the Bradbury bit as an off-the-wall expression of female geekitude.

    2. Yeah, I can see the objections to Randall Munroe, but I’d like to see him win at least once. He’s earned it.

  22. Year after year, I think “why does Doctor Who always get three nominations?”

    I love Doctor Who, don’t get me wrong. But I’m annoyed every time I realize I live in a world where Pushing Daisies and Supernatural (and Farscape, Stargate Atlantis, Sanctuary, and Chuck) never received a single nomination, whereas even inferior installments of Doctor Who get nominations. My best guess is that a lot of folks who nominate and vote don’t watch any other SFF television…in which case, I really think they should stop voting. (Or go check out a few more shows before they vote.)

  23. the only powerful moments come in a coda unconnected to the main story,

    (no spoilers) You might want to revisit the book if you think that the coda is unconnected to the themes of the main story.

  24. I find it remarkably delightful that 4/5 of the ‘Best Novel’ nominees are authored by women. And the three of them I’ve read – Cryoburn, Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and Feed – are fantastic, too!

  25. I’m pulling for “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury” just to watch certain publications and media outlets desperately try to euphemize its title.

    Remember, The Economist and National Review couldn’t even bring themselves to print the definition of “santorum.”

  26. Gonna have to disagree with post #19 dissing “Feed”. Yeah, OK, it’s not “The Forever War,” but it was extremely entertaining, imaginative, and well-written (maybe a bit uneven, but it sure kept me coming back for “just one more chapter before bedtime.”). I’m very much looking forward to the sequels – and I don’t generally like most Zombie-genre stuff. And like all, great SF works, it takes to heart Niven’s advice that it’s a sin to bore the reader.

    That having been said, I’m in no position to judge if it should win in its category, having not read all the nominees…

  27. I see a couple of John W. Campbell nominees I could happily vote for (Lauren Beukes and Dan Wells), both courtesy of this web site’s “The Big Idea.”

  28. 4 out 5 novels written by women. That would have to be a first for the Hugos wouldn’t it? And probably long overdue.
    Congratulations to all the nominees.

  29. #7 by CarolC: “* Artistically, the quality of his work is fannish rather than pro.””

    I suspect the Fan Artist nominees would disagree about the “quality” modifier.

    #27 by Ell: “I’d like to see him win at least once. He’s earned it.” Would 10 Fan artist nominations since 1967 earn someone a chance at a win? Such is the luck of Steve Stiles.

  30. Shane @35 — I thought that was interesting too so I looked it up — female-majority nominees for best novel has happened twice before: 1992 (Bull, Bujold, McCaffrey, Vinge [Joan] — 4/6) and 1979 (!) (McIntyre, McCaffrey, Cherryh — 3/4).

  31. 1979 actually has 4 out of 5 female novel nominees, with an asterisk–Alice Sheldon (a.k.a. “James Tiptree, Jr.”) withdrew the nomination for her first novel, Up the Walls of the World.

  32. Is anyone else a little annoyed that Schlock Mercenary and Girl Genius got nominated for “Best Graphic Story” again? Don’t get me wrong, they’re both really funny and great online comics, but the graphic fiction field has so much more to offer. Why doesn’t more things like “Return of the Dapper Men” or the amazing “Joe the Barbarian” get the nods they deserve instead?

  33. Whoops on one example there. Joe the Barbarian wasn’t finished as of the closing of the voting period, so it wouldn’t have been eligeable. My mistake.

  34. I think it’s a good ballot in many spots. I love the Best Fan Artist ballot save for my concerns about Randall Munroe being on there. The Fan Writer list means that someone who has never won one will walk off with one and it won’t be a Pro! THe Fanzine still has SSS on it, but what can you do? I don’t understand how come PodCasts are the only things that are double-eligible (Fanzine and Best Related Work), but I’m sure there’s something I’m missing.

    Other than The Dervish House (my pick to win the whole thing) It’s not my kind of Hugo ballot, though I love Jemisin’s stuff often and really should get on reading Feed.

    Love the Editor Long FOrm ballot. That’s gonna take me ages to work out who to rank 1.
    Chris

  35. Wow; I’ve already read Blackout/All Clear and Cryoburn (fantastic; just as fantastic), and I have The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms on a shelf at home, biding its time. This could be a first for me: having read *most* of the nominees.

  36. David [#29]:
    My point would be that the last chapter worked, putting in emotion and significance. It also would have worked in isolation from the whole rest of the novel. Pretty much everything up to that point struck me as Bujold being safe, conventional, by the numbers. Returning to the Vorkosgian verse without doing stuff to flesh it out in an interesting way (I came down on Feed more for this, but Cryoburn also had sloppy political grandstanding) or make fresh use of the character roles. It’s not just that Cryoburn is a lot worse than many great books from 2010. It’s also worse than just about everything Bujold has written in this setting previously. Compare Cryoburn to the Warrior’s Apprentice, Shards of Honor, even Diplomatic Immunity. Does it really merit the comparison, in terms of anything that the story itself does? I didn’t hate the book when reading it and it’s not terrible, but it was a disappointment to read, and it’s another disappointment to see fans giving high-level endorsement for it. At best it’s comfort food, returning to a familiar area, hanging out with the people for awhile and running through a very familiar setup of corporate malevolence and mid-range tech innovation.

    Nicole [#30:]
    That is one nice side of this, that the list can become less of a sausage-fest than is sadly typical of organized fandom appreciation. I have to disagree with you on the quality of the female nominees at the novel shortlist, though. There were lots of first-rate science fiction and fantasy from female authors in 2010, and I would have been delighted by a shortlist that included the Habitation of the Blessed by Cathrynne Valente, Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor, the House of Discarded Dreams by Ekaterina Sedia, Moxyland by Lauren Beukes [2008, but published in the U.S. for the first time last year, eligible], Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas, Lightborn by Tricia Sullivan, Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, Cold Earth by Sarah Moss, Deceiver by C. J. Cherryh [although that one would be awkward for newcomers, 11th book in a series] or Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord. In contrast, I think many of the books here have problems–less so the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but definitely Feed. That book seemed to be banking far too heavily on the appeal of its premise, and failed to build an engaging stories, interesting characters or a workable plot. It’s unfortunate that I find the one book on the shortlist written by a man the one I’m rooting for, but having read the list it seems to be drastically better than any others. A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is also drastically better than the other three items which are, in my opinion, rather dire.

    David H. [32]
    Feed is also no Spin, Windup Girl, Paladin of Souls, Yiddish Policeman’s Union or Jonathan Strange. I guess we’ll have to diverge with the assessment of quality, myself and #19 found it very badly written, you and it seems most others loved it. Personally I’d say the book was problematic in large part because it was boring: it’s absolutely packed with exposition, Grant is showing off the research done on this to an awkward extent, and it’s all the more problematic given the setting makes no sense at all.

  37. As a Doctor Who fan I am so happy to see “Vincent and the Doctor” in here. It was a beautiful story.

  38. Year after year, I think “why does Doctor Who always get three nominations?”

    @Cara King, here’s the possibilities.
    1) Steven Moffat, like Russell Davies before him, goes to Worldcon every year and performs surprisingly delightful sex acts on everyone.

    2) There’s a pit somewhere in Cardiff where the loved ones of Hugo voters put the lotion on their skin, or else they’ll get the hose again.

    3) People really really like the show.

  39. I really like the Novella nominations.

    [Chistopher #41]:
    What is wrong with Starship Sofa as a fanzine? They seem to do what I’d expect for a fan-oriented magazine like publication. They serve as a home and focal point for part of the community, act as a news-source and a mirror for the history of the field, they let people encounter new writers and show the connection between the field and current developments.

    The writing excuses podcast on the other hand is purely about writing and is mainly aimed at (aspiring) writers, so clearly in the Related Work category.

    This year none of the more difficult to categorize podcasts have made it through the nomination round this year (eg The Coode Street, Galactic Suburbia), and personally I think it will be interesting to see where they end up. They for a large part are made by fans of the genre (although they often are professionals in the field as well) at an amateur level, so perhaps fan-zines. But often they analyse the news and new works in the genre from a specific viewpoint, and the analysis could be related work.

  40. C’mon, folks, try to retain some perspective…

    As stated at http://catchalldrawer.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474979260419, “The Hugo committee determined the final ballot after counting the results from 1,006 ballots, which marks the first time the nominating ballots passed the 1,000 number. In 2007, Worldcon 65 received 409 ballots.”

    If these numbers are true – and I have no reason to think they’re underreported – then this should serve to remind everyone here that the numbers of people who nominate authors/works for Hugos, as well as the numbers of people whose later votes decide the winners, are vanishingly small relative to the real world.

    (I have no favored candidate included in, or excluded from, any of this year’s Hugo categories.)

  41. My best guess is that a lot of folks who nominate and vote don’t watch any other SFF television…in which case, I really think they should stop voting. (Or go check out a few more shows before they vote.)

    I really think that’s just a teeeny tad condescending there, I don’t get to audit Hugo voters, so you may just be right — but you know what? If Who fans who attend Worldcon, and qualify to vote, can be arsed making nominations while those of other shows don’t in sufficient numbers to make the ballot? Tough.

    And this year? Well, I like Chuck — a lot — but still feel pretty meh about this season. Despite the creative consultancy of our host, I’m waving goodbye to SGU with dry eyes. Caprica — liked it a LOT more than most, really took far too long to become consistently good. V passed through ‘bad’, to ‘so bad it’s kind of good’ and back to ‘back’ again. The Cape and No Ordinary Family both squandered solid casts. And last, and most definitely least, The Event — a slam-dunk argument for random workplace drug testing at NBC, because I can’t believe this show was cooked up without a buttload of ‘shrooms.

  42. My point would be that the last chapter worked, putting in emotion and significance. It also would have worked in isolation from the whole rest of the novel

    I disagree. I don’t think that the the last chapter would have worked as effectively in isolation. Bujold set us up quite neatly with what seemed to be a straightforward Miles action story and then pulled the rug out from underneath our feet. Go back and take a look at how often she mentions (unnamed character) throughout the story, to plant the seeds. The end redefines everything we’ve read before.

  43. Gottacook@48:

    Thanks for the man-splain. “Relative to the real world” any prize is pretty damn insignificant. I’m still pretty sure Jennifer Egan and her publishers are well chuffed with this year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and the attendant publicity, despite it being awarded by a jury of three. That’s not “vanishingly small” but sub-atomic.

    Now, what was your point again?

  44. Well, I was just thinking about the Hugo nominating and voting process – I realize that it’s possible to be critical of processes for other sorts of awards. As for the publicity value, it’s kind of obvious that that’s why such awards exist – in biographical material for an author such as Heinlein (from his publishers or otherwise), the four Hugos for best novel are often mentioned, but the fact that only several hundred people voted during those years is not. I’m not saying anything can be done about this – just that such awards shouldn’t be taken too seriously, nor should the omission of your favorite author or work from a given category.

  45. # 36 Michael Walsh

    “Would 10 Fan artist nominations since 1967 earn someone a chance at a win? Such is the luck of Steve Stiles.”

    Absolutely. Steve Stiles totally deserves a win–hey, I read Ansible. Maybe one of ‘em can get it this year and one the next–that’d be great.

    Nor am I suggesting there aren’t others who deserve it–just that I think Randall Munroe does, regardless of whether he’s parlayed XKCD into a living income, because at heart it’s fannish. IMO, he just fits best fan artist better than best pro artist.

  46. gottacook:

    Here’s where my “perspective” comes in: It’s really nice when good writers get recognition. (And being horribly petty, snarking those undeserving hacks who obviously paid for their berth, whether in cash or *cough* kind I leave to your imagination.) I know who votes for the Hugos; and am perfectly well aware you could drop any given Worldcon in the middle of Comic-Con and nobody would notice unless our host was wearing a Slave Leia costume made out of raw bacon. (Ghlaghghee as Cat-bacca, of course.)

    I also know that talking about the Hugos isn’t bringing peace to Libya, or finding a cure for cancer, but it’s still pretty cool.

  47. To me there seem to be two oddities in the list. The first is the Short Story category where only four nominees are list. Usually there are five plus the always nominated “No Award”. Did an author withdraw a nomination? That is permitted under the rules but I thought in that case number six in the nominations would move up.

    The second oddity goes the other way. The Best Editor, Long Form, has seven nominees. That would seem to imply that there was a three way tie for fifth place.

    I checked the Renovation site and they show the same list as John gave.

    George

  48. @George Martin: The final ballot has had seven nominees on at least a couple of occasions in the past. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

    As for Short Story having only four nominees this year, a nominee has to reach a certain threshold to make the final ballot. (I think it’s a minimum of 5%.) Whatever the short story that received the fifth-largest number of nominations, it did not meet that threshold, so it didn’t make the ballot.

  49. @56 Johnny Carruthers

    Thanks for the information. I just checked the WSFS constitution and the relevant section seems to be:

    3.8.5: No nominee shall appear on the final Award ballot if it received fewer nominations than five percent (5%) of the number of ballots listing one or more nominations in that category, except that the first three eligible nominees, including any ties, shall always be listed.

    As for the editor category, I’ve seen six nominees on the final ballet often, but this is the first time I remember seven.

    Again thanks,

    George

  50. Agreed about Vincent. Love, love, love it. There’s a reason Doctor Who gets nominated…it’s awesome.

  51. David #50:

    My main issue is that the main part of the book didn’t do enough with its length. It’s possible you’re right and the ending would only have a significant impact if it followed the previous story structure. Although I think something of that magnitude, important enough in itself–it’s not like I actually needed to have the pump primed on that. Even if you’re right, though, I still hold that the bulk of the book didn’t do enough, that the story of stasis, death and institutional corruption was far less engaging or ambitious than any prior story Bujold has told in that universe. And that, in its own right, it doesn’t do enough to be considered a great book, or even a very good one, and so it’s nomination to the Hugo represents IMHO an error in judgement.

  52. @CV Rick

    There is an initiative to add a YA category to the Hugos. I believe Chris Barkley is spearheading it.

    It is, not surprisingly, the subject of some argument. Besides the classic “adding more categories cheapens the Hugos” claptrap, there are some substantial questions.

    1. YA works have been nominated in, and won, the fiction categories in the past. How does the process avoid nomination in multiple categories?
    2. The fiction categories are divided by size of work. Does this need to be reproduced if general fiction and YA fiction are split, and how does it take into account the differing sizes of YA and general works?
    3. There’s a vocal faction complaining that the Graphic Story category is dominated by works outside the mainstream of comics, because the Hugo nominating and voting communities aren’t engaged in comics fandom. Are the Hugo nominating and voting communities engaged in YA fiction, or is this going to be another “old people telling kids what they should be reading” award?

    I think issues 1 and 2 can be addressed. The only way to answer #3 without passing an amendment is to trial the category as a committee’s “special category.” It may be worth asking Dave McCarthy (who is chairing the 2012 Worldcon in Chicago) and Bill Parker (who is the chair-apparent of the unopposed Texas 2013 bid) to consider running YA as their conventions’ special category.

  53. The third issue with the YA is the one that troubles me. It’s pretty inherent to the form, that it makes a category defined as “for non-adults”, and then continues to have adults decide. There’s a tremendous likelihood that the category will get stale very quickly, the question is whether this gains anything for the award as a whole. I have significant doubts. Plus, difficulty in defining YA as such, and risking stigmatizing the field. There have been top rate YA works in the recent past, any of the past few Hugo shortlists would have been greatly improved by including any of Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy. The problem quality wise, I think, with recent YA presence on shortlists is just that it’s been low quality YA: Goblet of Fire to an extent, and Little Brother to a massive, infuriating extent. IMO.

  54. George @55 & Johnny @56: It’s entirely possible that both of these things are true, i.e. that there were five short stories that made 5% of the nomination ballots but one writer withdrew his or her nominated story, leaving only four eligible stories for the category. It’ll be interesting to see the post-ceremony nomination breakdown here.

  55. #46 (Craig Ranapia): I agree that people really, really like Doctor Who. I feel that way about it, too. It’s just that everyone I know who has watched Pushing Daisies, Farscape, and Supernatural for any period of time has really, really liked them too. So this is just my frustrated fannish “try it, you’ll like it!” And maybe a bit of “is it possible you’re only watching one or two shows, and assuming that what you don’t watch can’t be good? Because there are fabulous shows that die on the vine for lack of attention…”

    Admittedly, I’m not arguing that Hugo nominations would have saved Farscape or Pushing Daisies! But…I don’t know. For some reason, the fact that Firefly got two Hugo nominations made me feel a little better, made me feel “well, the ratings weren’t there, but at least the serious SFF fans recognized its worth.”

  56. I’d like to see audio books become a category. there are several audio books I bought that were produced this year from previously published material. It would be great to be able to vote for “agent to the stars” or “podkayne of mars” this year.

  57. I’d like to see Lauren Beukes pick up the Campbell Award.
    Zoo City was excellent and shows how much she had matured as a writer since Moxyland (and I enjoyed Moxyland). It is also refreshing that she maintains a destinctive South African voice.

  58. Andrew @62 and Raskolnikov @63. Thanks for the responses.

    I do see a problem with overlap between the main award and a Young Adult award. But I don’t think it would be terrible to write in guidelines to prevent a book from being awarded two Hugos. I also don’t find two Hugos awarded being an horrible result. The second issue is simply a matter of awarding a Hugo for the Best Published Young Adult Book – size immaterial so long as it’s a stand-alone publication.

    The third issue is rather tricky, I’ll admit. The most prestigious awards in Children’s/Young Adult Literature are the Newberry and Caldecott Medals, in my opinion. Those awards don’t seem to suffer from the “old people telling kids what to read” phenomena. I wouldn’t worry about it too much unless there was a backlash down the road.

    The writers already award the Andre Norton award and it doesn’t seem to suffer from that stigma. I’d just like to see the fans have a shot as well, and the Hugos seem like a good vehicle for that.

  59. “But I’m annoyed every time I realize I live in a world where Pushing Daisies and Supernatural (and Farscape, Stargate Atlantis, Sanctuary, and Chuck) never received a single nomination, whereas even inferior installments of Doctor Who get nominations.”

    That’s because Sci-Fi on TV is in a very sorry state. There’s no Galactica or Star Trek type flagship series out there to even pick up votes. More than that, it is on a “per episode” not a “per series” nomination which spreads the votes out when you have an active series that has decades worth of fans who dwarf the numbers of other shows (which only air on cable and are probably not as watched in any case). If they all vote for their favorite episode the top three episodes could knock off the #1 episode of the season for all of the series you listed. That being said, I like the way the Hugos work in some respects as I’m sure there were some years when the best 2-3 episodes for The Twilight Zone, for example, were probably better than any other Sci-Fi show out there and the voting should reflect that.

    If you’re a fan of one of those shows you listed and you’re a WorldCon, your best strategy is to try and get all the Doctor Who fans to pick only one or two episodes and then get all of your fellow fans to agree on the same episode for your series. Its not Doctor Who’s fault for writing good episodes and being put out there on millions of TVs worldwide, it’s the rest of the industry’s fault for not having a stronger field (blame reality TV in America, if you like).

  60. @CV Rick: i don’t think that we need a YA Hugo. As mentioned before YA novels appeared on the short list (Doctorow’s “Little Brother”, “Zoe’s Tale” by the master himself, Harry Potter 3) and even won the Hugo (Harry Potter 4, Graveyard Book) and Retro Hugo (Heinlein’s “Farmer In The Sky”). I think that the Hugo’s quality (compared with the Locus Awards) is that it is given to only one novel which the Worldcon’s majority deems to be the best of the year. If we include the YA category, why not include a Fantasy category or a Horror category.

    I thought that the inclusiion of the Graphic Novel category was nice and overdue – but when I look back to the short lists and winners, I think that this category should be withdrawn. “Girl Genius” won twice and and is nominated again, but it is a quite obsure comic largely unknown within the comics community. Maybe it won because the Foglios always attend the World Cons? Paul Cornell was nominated mostly due to his popular writing for “Doctor Who”. Nominations for “The Dresden Files” and “Serenity” as best graphic novels were a joke, but a bad one as far as we are talking about best comic of the year. And though I am a big fan of Neil Gaiman, his “Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader” was not his best work in the field of comics and hardly worthy of the nomination.

    It seems that a majority of Hugo voters is not very familar with current comics and graphic novels, that’s why they make a decision on the popularity of the creative people behind the comics, not the quality of the comic itself. I am afraid that adding a new category for YA novel would not make things better and would take credibility from the Hugo Award.

  61. #43, I guess “boring” really has a very personal component to it then ;) I tried reading “Yiddish Policeman’s Union” and was bored out of my skull. Got about a third of the way through, put it down and never came back. Thick, dense, hard-to-read prose that I kept searching through to find, you know… a story somewhere ?

    However, perhaps I’m just a member of the hoi polloi who doesn’t appreciate GREAT. LITERATURE.. :D

  62. #71 Torsten,

    Why do we have 4 fiction categories, why shouldn’t we just have one?

    Seriously, you’re comparing apples and turnips.

    “Science fiction,” “horror” and “fantasy” are genres, and genres that have some significant commonalities. The only thing that definitively separates them is marketing. Fantasy books are on the fantasy shelf in the bookstore, science fiction on the science fiction shelf in the bookstore, horror is back in the dark dank stockroom with the knife-wielding stockboy.

    YA is a market, not a genre. By its existence, it defines a rarely-discussed (because it’s the norm) gen/adult fiction market. It’s like anime. Anime isn’t a genre, it’s a medium. In both cases there are works of many genres within the market and medium.

    There’s really no precedent for segregating Hugos by genre. We already have de facto market segregation in the Hugos. Dramatic short and long commonly break between the television and movie market, with the occasional stray short film or long TV presentation crossing the aisle (and, as this year, a nominee or two from way out in left field). The fiction categories are definitely market-segregated, with novels and most novellas being in the book market, and novelettes and short stories mostly in periodical and now online short fiction markets.

    As for the graphic story?

    Phil Foglio has history. 3 decades in small-press comics and comics for gaming magazines. Hugo nods for his fanart in the 70’s. He and Kaja also had the good fortune of catching the steampunk wave at just the right time. They’re popular. And, oddly enough, they don’t go to Worldcon every year. They do MC the masquerade at Comic-Con every year…

    Paul Cornell has diversity. He’s done television (Hugo nom), comics (Hugo nom), novels and short fiction (Hugo nom) and gained exposure both in Europe and North America. And apparently he’s good enough that DC decided to give him and Pete Woods the reigns on Action. You don’t get much more mainstream than that.

    But the Graphic Story Hugo is Best Graphic Story as awarded by the membership of the World Science Fiction Society. It’s not the Inkpot, it’s not the Harvey, it’s not the Eisner. It’s the Hugo. This embarrassment about not honoring the same things the big comics awards do is the joke.

    Next year I’m talking up nominations for Ursula Vernon’s Digger. It’s just a little webcomic, published in collected form by a small furry comics press. Obscure. Hardly mainstream. Good enough for an Eisner nomination, though.

    If it makes it on the ballot, I expect it will be greeted with the same “Oh, some webcomic nobody normal reads.”

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