Quick Hugo Update

Hanging out at the Hugo Losers Party.

Last night I did a thing that no one else in the entire history of the Hugo Awards has ever done, an achievement so singular, so unique, that no one could have possibly have imagined it for me or for anyone else:

I came in second in the Best Novel category to someone who has won back-to-back-to-back Best Novel Hugos!

No one else has ever done this! Ever! My achievement is monumental! No one can take this spectacular moment in time from me!

And naturally, I owe it all to N.K. Jemisin, who, by being the first person ever to win back-to-back-to-back Best Novel Hugo awards, created the necessary conditions for my exceptional position in the history books. I couldn’t have done this without all of her hard work over the years, and I thank her for it.

And of course I spent the evening basking in the glow of this historic event, in the company of friends who witnessed me achieve this thing. We partied through the night, we did. As well we should have. It’s not every night one makes history.

Also, as an aside, Nora Jemisin is heckin’ amazing, her Hugo win tonight was spectacularly deserved, as were her other two wins, and she rocked the ceremony with what is probably the best acceptance speech ever:

I was immensely honored to have been on the ballot with her, not in the least surprised that she won, thrilled that she has done so and would not have had the outcome be other than what it is, in this and in other categories. What a great night for the Hugo Awards.

So, while the first part of this post was obviously a bit silly, do not doubt that I am in all seriousness proud and happy to have come in second in the Best Novel category this year. The right book, and person, won, and I am delighted.

More Hugo and Worldcon thoughts later — today, I have some road tripping to do.

38 thoughts on “Quick Hugo Update

  1. Seriously, congrats on second place. In almost any other year it might be a disappointment. But this was a darn fine slate of nominees. Plus, it really is hard to argue with that winner. Hard to look at the nominees in all of the categories and not think the genre is doing just fine.

  2. I read the first Murderbot Diaries book (Martha Wells won the Novella Hugo) over the weekend, and whoa Nellie, is it good! Can’t wait to read all the followups. And mazel tov on your exemplary second place! Couldn’t be more proud!

  3. I want to say congratulations here for a few reasons:
    Congratulations on being such a good-natured almost-winner;
    Congratulations on coming so far in such a big, exciting, fabulous year;
    Congratulations on seeing a friend achieve such fine, well-deserved success!

    From what I can tell, the Hugos have bounced back beautifully from that awful drama of a few years back, and I’m so happy for the enjoyment of everyone that this is the case.

  4. Given how amazing that field of 6 novels was, coming in second is pretty spectacular! I was very happy with how all the Hugos turned out, but especially Jemison going 3-for-3.

    Other highlights were Martha Wells winning best Novella for All Systems Red (Sarah Pinsker’s “And Then There Were (N-One)” was also great, not least because of the fun of imagining other authors in that situation. Scalzi Con!), Sarah Gailey winning Best Fan Writer, Robert Silverberg’s Best Fan Writer presentation speech, MC John Picacio bringing the Hugos in at 2 hours ON THE DOT even with Silverberg presenting an award (Get well soon Connie Willis, we miss you!), and Rebecca Roanhorse winning both the Campbell award (Not a Hugo) and the Best Short Story (totally a Hugo).

    And everything else. So good.

    In unrelated news, Massoglia Books in H14 has a “all unbagged paperbacks $1 each” sale, so my intent to not buy too many books was crushed by my fondness for Murray Leinster classics. I regret NOTHING.

  5. John, John, John. With perfect sincerity, allow me to say that no one else could have followed up this achievement with such grace, acknowledging your awesomeness — not out of pride or vainglory — by simple because it is is, in fact, so evidently awesome, and then pile on on to the awesomeness by humbly stepping out of the spotlight to allow it to fall on N.K. Jemisin, who by the principle of post hoc, ergo procter hoc, owes it all to you. Kudos! Once again, you’ve lived up to that image of you that rides around on the dashboard of my mind like a bobble-head doll. Well done, sir, well done!

  6. I don’t really like awards in general, with their necessity of ranking very disparate works. I just think of the nominees as a group of very, very good books.

    Now I feel like an idiot for not having already read Jemisin. (Though she’s got plenty of company, given I’m decades behind on my science fiction reading. The field was a lot easier to keep up with back in the ’70s…)

    What a great speech by Ms. Jemisin. Backs of my eyes were burning, by the end.

  7. An amazing year for novels. Almost all the nominees could have been winners in other years, and no one would have batted an eye.

  8. congratulations to Ms. Jemisin and therefore by extension to you … and also, thanks for the twitter quote from Singin’ in the Rain. :-) twitter needs more of those.

  9. Maybe I can use this third hugo to finally convince my 18 year old daughter to read The Broken Earth series. I picked them up almost at random and was blown away. They will stay with me for the rest of my life.

  10. I loved the speech, thanks for including it here. Of course you left off the most important part. How did the dance party go?

  11. I was simply astounded by the strength of the Hugo ballot this year in all the literary categories. It was horrendously hard to rank the options, since the organizers very rudely did NOT enable me to rank them all as #1.

    It is an especially joyful thing to see Ms. Jemisin earn her third straight Best Novel Hugo. Her acceptance speech blew me away – though of course given that it was written by the same author who won three Hugos in a row, that should not come as a surprise. She is a supremely gifted writer.

    I dearly hope that Ms. Jemisin’s success, both in sales and in awards, sends a strong message to publishers that the reading public really does appreciate and buy works by writers other than straight white males. There was a saying once about Ginger Rogers doing everything that Fred Astaire did, just backward and in high heels, and I feel as though that same bar is in place for works by non-white writers. They HAVE to be that much better than the straight white guys just in order to get a seat at the table. The downside to that, of course, is that there are a whole lot of other non-white writers who are “only” as good as the straight white guys, and they don’t get a seat at the table because they’re “only” as good and not better. That has to change. And a ballot like this year’s gives me hope that change is coming.

  12. Her speech is probably the best new thing on youtube today, and the puppy-whining in the comments thereon are funny as can be. Ms Jemison, kudos!

  13. That speech of hers, though. Wow. I don’t know whether I want to cry happy tears or march into battle.

  14. (For fans of horse racing)

    Now you know what it feels like to be Alydar, who came in second (three times) to Triple Crown winner Affirmed.

    But hey, there’s always this year, right? As in, you have not only one, but TWO books out, and Nora…doesn’t.

    Seriously, this is great. Her acceptance speech is one for the ages.

  15. Does anyone know if the purported Silverberg quote about her win and acceptance speech is accurate and actually from RS? I can’t find documentation or a link anywhere.

  16. Can we give her another Hugo for that acceptance speech? I was already over the moon that she won, and then she stood up there and sent me hurtling off to infinity and beyond, powered by hope and glee and sheer admiration.

  17. Given that Bob Silverberg is one of the classiest people I know and that Beale… is not, I would not give a single bit of credence to that “quote.”

    Edit: Appears to be something from a private mailing list, and largely accurate. I admire and esteem Bob Silverberg, but he’s wrong on this matter, and also, should probably learn that nothing online is ever actually private.

    Also, this is aside from the main thrust of the conversation here, so let’s table it, please.

  18. It was an awesome speech. I’m glad she had the opportunity to give it.

    And it looked like you and the other Losers had a great time celebrating your losses at the party. I kind of felt sorry for the robots though. Everybody wanted pictures with them.

  19. Great speech! Thanks for linking it! Congrats to you for runner-up (or should that be Runner Up?). But especially want to say that Ms Jemisin didn’t just break records while breaking Earth. She broke a lot of things that needed breaking just so they can hopefully get fixed. That is hands down the most amazing trilogy I’ve ever read. It broke Science Fiction/Fantasy. Now many fixers will start piecing it all together again, knitting it into a stronger, united tapestry. She is a human wonderkind.

  20. Thank you for posting the video, was good to hear that speech again. Damn, she’s good. Also, nice meeting you, even for just 3 seconds or so.

  21. Monica McAbee, the acceptance speech would be eligible as a Related Work next year. Ursula Vernon’s acceptance speech from last year made the longlist in that category at 12th place.

  22. I have an extremely goofy photo of OGH which Krissy greatly enjoyed. I got to John’s dance late but it was swell and much dance was had by all.

    Y’all, take a look at that cape in the video of Nora’s awesome speech. It was the hit of the pre-Hugo reception. It probably would have won a Hugo if they’d taken a poll there. It was our goddess for a few minutes (Nora was our goddess the whole time). I swear, if I’ve got a spot left on my nominating ballot next year, that speech and cape go in there.

    Also, the Hugo Losers’ Party is everything you hear about and then some. It is, in fact, all that and more, including dancing robots, yummy finger foods, geeks dancing with wild abandon, and all the booze you can drink. They literally had to throw us out at closing time.

    I… don’t remember a lot of things. Gotta look at the program and my photos to reconstruct.

  23. So, at risk of being dismissed as a troll and at risk of hitting the two day close window, I’m genuinely curious to know what reasons people have for saying that her speech was such a wonderful speech. Because of the issues with the phone and the texts that caused the speech to be broken up at bit, from the perspective of the speech itself it ended up being a bit meandering and so was a below-average presentation of a speech, and even in a cleaned up transcript it seems to be a pretty average acceptance speech. If it’s just that the things she mentions resonate with you, that’s fine (I’m not going to question people’s internal feelings) but it seems to me that how most people talk about it implies that pretty much everyone should agree that it was the greatest speech ever and I just don’t see it.

    Also, from Vonne Anton:

    That is hands down the most amazing trilogy I’ve ever read. It broke Science Fiction/Fantasy. Now many fixers will start piecing it all together again, knitting it into a stronger, united tapestry.

    I’m also genuinely curious about this. I read the first book, and it didn’t seem to be all that innovative or do anything to really challenge anything about Science Fiction/Fantasy. I didn’t like the book enough to read the rest of the trilogy, but what did it do, in your opinion, to cause such a dramatic shift in Science Fiction/Fantasy?

  24. Verbosetoic: “I’m genuinely curious to know what reasons people have for saying that her speech was such a wonderful speech”

    She gave bigots the finger? Take that part out and it would be a much more bland speech. She also spoke her truth about her experience with bigots. And in a world where the president lies 5 times a day, where racists lie that civil war statues are about “heritage”, the truth can be refreshing. She also showed courage in that she could have kept her head down and given some bland “thank you” speech. Instead, she acknowledged those who wish her harm simply because of the color of her skin. The biggest defense used by bigots today is stealth, to hide, to pretend they dont exist, to say that they are merely talking about “facts” or “history” or “statistics” when they seek cover for their deep hatred and fear of minorities. She put a spotlight on them, said ‘yup, bigots are real’. Which bigots hate. In response to being put in the spotlight, bigots tend to find reasons to attack and malign the person holding the light. Kaepernick put a spotlight on rampant police racism, and for that has been the target of KKKlanners and wannabe crossburners for years. It takes courage to shine light on the cockroach bigots who prefer to crawl around in the dark.

    Her speech was truth and courage made manifest, made real. It showed the content of her character and a lot of people liked what they saw.

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