2021 Hugo Award Finalists

Spoiler: I’m one! And very happy to be so.

Here’s the full list.

Best Novel

  • Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse (Gallery / Saga Press)
  • The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tordotcom)
  • Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tordotcom)
  • Piranesi, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
  • The Relentless Moon, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor Books)

Best Novella

  • Come Tumbling Down, Seanan McGuire (Tordotcom)
  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Nghi Vo (Tordotcom)
  • Finna, Nino Cipri (Tordotcom)
  • Ring Shout, P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
  • Riot Baby, Tochi Onyebuchi (Tordotcom)
  • Upright Women Wanted, Sarah Gailey (Tordotcom)

Best Novelette

  • “Burn, or the Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super”, A.T. Greenblatt (Uncanny Magazine, May/June 2020)
  • “Helicopter Story”, Isabel Fall (Clarkesworld, January 2020)
  • “The Inaccessibility of Heaven”, Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny Magazine, July/August 2020)
  • “Monster”, Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2020)
  • “The Pill”, Meg Elison (from Big Girl, (PM Press))
  • “Two Truths and a Lie”, Sarah Pinsker (Tor.com)

Best Short Story

  • “Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse”, Rae Carson (Uncanny Magazine, January/February 2020)
  • “A Guide for Working Breeds”, Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Made to Order: Robots and Revolution, ed. Jonathan Strahan (Solaris))
  • “Little Free Library”, Naomi Kritzer (Tor.com)
  • “The Mermaid Astronaut”, Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, February 2020)
  • “Metal Like Blood in the Dark”, T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine, September/October 2020)
  • “Open House on Haunted Hill”, John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots – 2020, ed. David Steffen)

Best Series

  • The Daevabad Trilogy, S.A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager)
  • The Interdependency, John Scalzi (Tor Books)
  • The Lady Astronaut Universe, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor Books/Audible/Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
  • The Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells (Tor.com)
  • October Daye, Seanan McGuire (DAW)
  • The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager)

Best Related Work

  • Beowulf: A New Translation, Maria Dahvana Headley (FSG)
  • CoNZealand Fringe, Claire Rousseau, C, Cassie Hart, Adri Joy, Marguerite Kenner, Cheryl Morgan, Alasdair Stuart.
  • FIYAHCON, L.D. Lewis–Director, Brent Lambert–Senior Programming Coordinator, Iori Kusano–FIYAHCON Fringe Co-Director, Vida Cruz–FIYAHCON Fringe Co-Director, and the Incredible FIYAHCON team
  • “George R.R. Martin Can Fuck Off Into the Sun, Or: The 2020 Hugo Awards Ceremony (Rageblog Edition)”, Natalie Luhrs (Pretty Terrible, August 2020)
  • A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler, Lynell George (Angel City Press)
  • The Last Bronycon: a fandom autopsy, Jenny Nicholson (YouTube)

Best Graphic Story or Comic

  • DIE, Volume 2: Split the Party, written by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image Comics)
  • Ghost-Spider vol. 1: Dog Days Are Over, Author: Seanan McGuire,  Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa and Rosie Kämpe (Marvel)
  • Invisible Kingdom, vol 2: Edge of Everything, Author: G. Willow Wilson, Artist: Christian Ward (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Monstress, vol. 5: Warchild, Author: Marjorie Liu, Artist: Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
  • Once & Future vol. 1: The King Is Undead, written by Kieron Gillen, iIllustrated by Dan Mora, colored by Tamra Bonvillain, lettered by Ed Dukeshire (BOOM! Studios)
  • Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, written by Octavia Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy, illustrated by John Jennings (Harry N. Abrams)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), written by Christina Hodson, directed by Cathy Yan (Warner Bros.)
  • Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Sagawritten by Will Ferrell, Andrew Steele, directed by David Dobkin (European Broadcasting Union/Netflix)
  • The Old Guard, written by Greg Rucka, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Netflix / Skydance Media)
  • Palm Springs, written by Andy Siara, directed by Max Barbakow (Limelight / Sun Entertainment Culture / The Lonely Island / Culmination Productions / Neon / Hulu / Amazon Prime)
  • Soul, screenplay by Pete Docter, Mike Jones and Kemp Powers, directed by Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers, produced by Dana Murray (Pixar Animation Studios/ Walt Disney Pictures)
  • Tenet, written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Warner Bros./Syncopy)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • Doctor Who: Fugitive of the Judoon, written by Vinay Patel and Chris Chibnall, directed by Nida Manzoor (BBC)
  • The Expanse: Gaugamela, written by Dan Nowak, directed by Nick Gomez (Alcon Entertainment / Alcon Television Group / Amazon Studios / Hivemind / Just So)
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Heart (parts 1 and 2), written by Josie Campbell and Noelle Stevenson, directed by Jen Bennett and Kiki Manrique (DreamWorks Animation Television / Netflix)
  • The Mandalorian: Chapter 13: The Jedi, written and directed by Dave Filoni (Golem Creations / Lucasfilm / Disney+)
  • The Mandalorian: Chapter 16: The Rescue, written by Jon Favreau, directed by Peyton Reed (Golem Creations / Lucasfilm / Disney+)
  • The Good Place: Whenever You’re Ready, written and directed by Michael Schur (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group)

Best Editor, Short Form

  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • C.C. Finlay
  • Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form

  • Nivia Evans
  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Sarah Guan
  • Brit Hvide
  • Diane M. Pho
  • Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist

  • Tommy Arnold
  • Rovina Cai
  • Galen Dara
  • Maurizio Manzieri
  • John Picacio
  • Alyssa Winans

Best Semiprozine

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edotor Scott H. Andrews
  • Escape Pod, editors Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya, assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney, hosts Tina Connolly and Alasdair Stuart, audio producers Summer Brooks and Adam Pracht and the entire Escape Pod team.
  • FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, publisher Troy L. Wiggins, executive editor DaVaun Sanders, managing editor Eboni Dunbar, poetry editor Brandon O’Brien, reviews and social media Brent Lambert,  art director L. D. Lewis, and the FIYAH Team.
  • PodCastle, editors, C.L. Clark and Jen R. Albert, assistant editor and host, Setsu Uzumé, producer Peter Adrian Behravesh, and the entire PodCastle team.
  • Uncanny Magazine, editors in chief: Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, managing editor: Chimedum Ohaegbu, non-fiction editor:  Elsa Sjunneson, podcast producers: Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky
  • Strange Horizons, Vanessa Aguirre, Joseph Aitken, Rachel Ayers, M H Ayinde, Tierney Bailey, Scott Beggs, Drew Matthew Beyer, Gautam Bhatia, S. K. Campbell, Zhui Ning Chang, Tania Chen, Joyce Chng, Liz Christman, Linda H. Codega, Kristian Wilson Colyard, Yelena Crane, Bruhad Dave, Sarah Davidson, Tahlia Day, Arinn Dembo, Nathaniel Eakman, Belen Edwards, George Tom Elavathingal, Rebecca Evans, Ciro Faienza, Courtney Floyd, Lila Garrott, Colette Grecco, Guananí Gómez-Van Cortright, Julia Gunnison, Dan Hartland, Sydney Hilton, Angela Hinck, Stephen Ira, Amanda Jean, Ai Jiang, Sean Joyce-Farley, Erika Kanda, Anna Krepinsky, Kat Kourbeti, Clayton Kroh, Maureen Kincaid Speller, Catherine Krahe, Natasha Leullier, A.Z. Louise, Dante Luiz, Gui Machiavelli, Cameron Mack, Samantha Manaktola, Marisa Manuel, Jean McConnell, Heather McDougal, Maria Morabe, Amelia Moriarty, Emory Noakes, Sarah Noakes, Aidan Oatway, AJ Odasso, Joel Oliver-Cormier, Kristina Palmer, Karintha Parker, Anjali Patel, Vanessa Rose Phin, Nicasio Reed, Belicia Rhea, Endria Richardson, Natalie Ritter, Abbey Schlanz, Clark Seanor, Elijah Rain Smith, Alyn Spector, Hebe Stanton, Melody Steiner, Romie Stott, Yejin Suh, Kwan-Ann Tan, Luke Tolvaj, Ben Tyrrell, Renee Van Siclen, Kathryn Weaver, Liza Wemakor, Aigner Loren Wilson, E.M. Wright, Vicki Xu, Fred G. Yost, staff members who prefer not to be named, and guest editor Libia Brenda with guest first reader Raquel González-Franco Alva for the Mexicanx special issue

Best Fanzine

  • The Full Lid, written by Alasdair Stuart, edited by Marguerite Kenner
  • Journey Planet, edited by Michael Carroll, John Coxon, Sara Felix, Ann Gry, Sarah Gulde, Alissa McKersie, Errick Nunnally, Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Chuck Serface, Steven H. Silver, Paul Trimble, Erin Underwood, James Bacon, and Chris Garcia.
  • Lady Business, editors. Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan.
  • nerds of a feather, flock together, ed. Adri Joy, Joe Sherry, The G, and Vance Kotrla
  • Quick Sip Reviews, editor, Charles Payseur
  • Unofficial Hugo Book Club Blog, ed. Amanda Wakaruk and Olav Rokne

Best Fancast

  • Be The Serpent, presented by Alexandra Rowland, Freya Marske and Jennifer Mace
  • Claire Rousseau’s YouTube channel, produced by Claire Rousseau
  • The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe, Jonathan Strahan, producer
  • Kalanadi, produced and presented by Rachel
  • The Skiffy and Fanty show, produced by Shaun Duke and Jen Zink,  presented by Shaun Duke, Jen Zink, Alex Acks, Paul Weimer, and David Annandale.
  • Worldbuilding for Masochists, presented by Rowenna Miller, Marshall Ryan Maresca and Cass Morris

Best Fan Writer

  • Cora Buhlert
  • Charles Payseur
  • Jason Sanford
  • Elsa Sjunneson
  • Alasdair Stuart
  • Paul Weimer

Best Fan Artist

  • Iain J. Clark
  • Cyan Daly
  • Sara Felix
  • Grace P. Fong
  • Maya Hahto
  • Laya Rose

Best Video Game

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Publisher and Developer: Nintendo)
  • Blaseball (Publisher and Developer: The Game Band)
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake (Publisher Square Enix)
  • Hades (Publisher and Developer: Supergiant Games)
  • The Last of Us: Part II (Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment / Developer: Naughty Dog)
  • Spiritfarer (Publisher and Developer: Thunder Lotus)

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book

  • Cemetery Boys, Aiden Thomas (Swoon Reads)
  • A Deadly Education, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
  • Elatsoe, Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)
  • Legendborn, Tracy Deonn (Margaret K. McElderry/ Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)
  • Raybearer, Jordan Ifueko (Amulet / Hot Key)
  • A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, T. Kingfisher (Argyll Productions)

Astounding Award for Best New Writer

  • Lindsay Ellis (1st year of eligibility)
  • Simon Jimenez (1st year of eligibility)
  • Micaiah Johnson (1st year of eligibility)
  • A.K. Larkwood (1st year of eligibility)
  • Jenn Lyons (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Emily Tesh (2nd year of eligibility)

I’ll have more to say later, but for now, this tweet will suffice:

— JS

50 Comments on “2021 Hugo Award Finalists”

  1. I’m really happy to see Jenny Nicholson up for Best Related Work. I watch a lot of YouTube videos, but her Last BronyCon video has stuck in my brain despite that.

    It’s a strange category, though. How do you compare a YouTube video to a translation of Beowulf, a blog post, or a convention?

    Also: Congratulations!

  2. Oh, man, that’s some tough competition.

    I don’t know the Daevabad series, but I’m obviously going to need to check it out, and I’m not a fan of October Daye (though I AM a fan of Seanan Maguire—you can’t be all things to all people!), but the others are all excellent.

    I’m afraid I’m going to have to vote Murderbot. Sorry!

  3. Your series is good… but against Murderbot? October Daye? Lady Astronauts? I’ve read at least parts of 5 of the 6 series and that’s a tough category this year. Wow. (I love Murderbot so much. Sorry John.)

  4. You know, folks, it’s okay not to leave posts telling me you’re going to vote for other people/works in the category. It’s one thing to note it’s a tough category (it is! And that’s wonderful!), and another to say “aaaaaand I’ll be voting for someone else!”

    Likewise, I’m always amazed at the people who feel that a moment of celebration is the right time to note something like that. Seems like a lack of reading the room.

  5. I don’t really follow the Hugos award process, but I can’t help but notice that the Best Novel candidates are all women.

    Is that a first? If so, hooray! If not, still hooray!

  6. Wow! Many new authors for me to get acquainted with. I’ve read 3 of the series, now a few more to check out. Which is good because my recent deep plunge into Joe Abercrombie’s First Law world has left me a little gloomy.

  7. You have good competition. I love your series, The Lady Astronaut and The Murderbot series. Congratulations on the nomination.

  8. OK, this is the first time ever I have actually got every book in the best novel category and all of the novellas and I have all of the series – except for October daye.

    It is an excellent line up I must say.

  9. My only comment on Best Series is that I am glad that Lady Astronaut, The Interdependency, and The Murderbot Diaries all exist, because each series has brought me a lot of reading pleasure.

    Also, Maria Dahvana Headley should win for Beowulf in Best Related Work.

  10. Congratulations! I’m not sure if boys should be encouraged to become novelists — surely the work is not suited to their fragile and excitable, testosterone-tossed constitutions — but you should be proud of your individual accomplishment.

  11. I’m afraid I’m with others here in support of Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries. However, all but the last book in the series are a short novellas (department of redundancy department), so I’m not certain it belongs in a category alongside The Interdependency. Not sure what the rules are for “Best Series,” but it seems incongruous to have what is essentially a collection of short stories competing with three full-length novels.

    With that said, as much as I love ya Scalzi, and no matter how much I enjoyed your series (audiobooks – Will Wheaton is FABULOUS!), the mere fact that I was compelled to read and reread the Murderbot books four times already and yours only once (so far) pretty much cinches it for me as far as this batch is concerned.

    And for the record, I had that last reading (audiobooks as well) of the Murderbots last August while in the hospital being treated for prostate cancer (radical prostatectomy surgery). I was in the hospital for two days and if I slept at all it might have been for an hour, tops. Those Murderbot Diaries are like comfort food and they got me through a rough and scary time. I’ve read all The Old Man’s War and Zoe books multiple times too and consider them comfort food as well, so don’t feel bad. Not everyone gets a seat at that table so you’re in good company! (Oh, and 9-months out I remain cancer free! Yea me!)

    In summary, it’s Murderbots for me, Scalzi, but good luck to you anyway. If you were to win I’d be just as happy for you as I would be for Martha Wells if she were to win. Good luck!

  12. Good lord, there are some very tough categories this year. (Dramatic Presentation, both categories, are nuts.) Congratulations to all the nominees! You’re all winners to me!

  13. Of the series listed, I’ve read 3: The Interdependency, The Lady Astronaut Universe, and October Daye. And ALL OF THEM are amongst my favorites which tells me two things. 1. Holy crap, what a tough vote and 2. I need to pick up the other series :-)

  14. Warmest congratulations. I’m pretty sure we’ll get a chance to discuss the fine points elsewhere. The video presentation went very smoothly – that was very nice.

    Now I have a lot to catch up on. I managed to miss all but one of the long form dramatic presentations and hadn’t heard of Birds of Prey for some reason. Part of the weirdness of 2020 perhaps.

    Many charming things and people on the list. One of the offshoots of the nominating season for me is that I am still working my way through essays by Algis Budrys, some of startling relevance.

  15. Congratulation John. It is a good ballot, but Hugovotes should be hard. I will forsee that there will be many tough decision and I am happy for you if you win and for any of the other nominees in your catagory.

  16. Congrats! This was a category I especially had my eye on, and this was exactly the six I suspected would make it. Very well earned, sir.

  17. Congratulations, John!

    Typos, two from the official announcement and one home-grown:

    Stephen H Silver (no period after H)
    Diana M. Pho (not Diane)
    editor (not edotor)

  18. That is a tough choice. What a wonderful list this year, and congratulations Scalzi!

  19. Congratulations!

    The “related work” category is a most miscellaneous hodgepodge. As noted above, how do you compare all those very different works? However, Natalie Luhrs definitely wins for Best Title of a Related Work.

  20. Once again, several awesome nominations for many categories and new reading material for me. Not sure I love this trend in Best-Related work of Hugo speeches and Hugo responses being nominated, but if the rules allow for it. It just seems weird and it seems to push out some other works that are just as worthy.

  21. “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” has been nominated for a Hugo Award for “Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form”. The elves have definitely made their mark.

    Listening to ‘Husavik’ again…

    PS Congratulations John, you’re in great company there!

  22. “ Listening to ‘Husavik’ again…”

    I am legit interested now as to what films have been nominated for both Hugos and Oscars, with Husavik being up for the Oscars this year.

  23. Congratulations John!

    @ Joseph Finn: There’s some more crossover than you might expect – even among Best Picture nominees, a lot of recent genre stuff has been nominated for both (Black Panther, Get Out, Arrival, Inception, the LOTR movies come to mind).

  24. Yay!! Congratulations! This is a bfd – the noms are particularly stellar this year, imo, so it looks like you are in most excellent company.

    Crossing my fingers for you…

  25. Congratulations on being a Hugo finalist! Series is certainly a very competitive category this year.

  26. We readers are blessed to be living in a time period of such amazing books! The best novel choices I’ve read are all so good that I’m going to definitely have to try the one I’d never heard of. And wow, that best series slate– I’m going to have to get those two Harper Voyager series because if they’re even half as good as their competitors it will be reading time well spent.


  27. Congratulations on the nomination, richly deserved.

    I think you’re a shoe-in for this year’s Rory, too!

  28. Some good stuff here. But the nomination of a certain blog post is a fairly definitive indication to me that this community is no longer something of which I want to be a part.

    (In any case, my Best Novel vote would likely have gone to Piranesi. To those of you who will be participating in the final vote, check it out if you haven’t. And of course, congratulations to our host for his own well-deserved nomination.)

  29. I am astounded at the quality of the works in each category. I mean, I know they are the Hugos, so, best of the best… But still, usually you get a few “well, we need to round out the category, sooo…” Not here.

  30. Heh. I see what the big stink was about. I’m tempted to join and vote for Strange Horizons, because if the committee knuckled under, they deserve the consequences.

  31. I noticed that the science fiction magazines I grew up with–Analog at first, and then Omni and Asimov’s among others–were all missing from the list. I’m not sure if that’s because the field has changed, or the stories the magazines print are no longer leading the genre, or some other reason, but I found it a bit sad that an enjoyable part of my youth has evidently moved on.

  32. No, I don’t have a vote, but let me add my congratulations and echo those who said the same thing: three favorite series (Kowal, Scalzi and Wells, alphabetically). Nothing against the others, other than the fact that I haven’t read them yet.

    Good luck to all.

  33. So much great work to cheer on that I’ve already read, and so many more works to pick up and read. Some of them I hadn’t even heard of and am looking forward to.

  34. Well, dang. I’m gonna have to get a membership just for the Hugo packet.
    And I just love a lot, seeing Beowulf on the Hugo list!

  35. Looking at the Best Novel nominations, it took me a moment to recall why the name Susanna Clarke seemed so familiar. Of course, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell! Now that takes me back.

  36. Congrats! Wonderful company to hold.

    In my heart, I want to make a “and as Kiva Lagos would say” joke… but I also don’t have the gift for cursing that she does.

  37. Three thoughts come to mind.

    One: Happy that Rebecca Kuang made the short list, in as much as “The Burning God” came out so late in the year.

    Two: Happy Isabel Fall made the cut, just on general principle.

    Three: For Best Novel and Best Series I suspect that final victory will go to the nominee that is everyone’s second choice. That’s a variegated collection of excellent works.

  38. Congratulations! That is a well-deserved nomination, and indeed, wonderful company to be in.

    But, wow, I have never seen a list of nominees that so closely aligns with my own tastes. In anything. Kind of weird, but it does signal that I ‘m going to love those I haven’t yet gotten to. Apparently I am the real winner.

  39. One can just imagine the whining, whimpering, and outright howling from the Sad Puppies. In the “fictional written works” categories (the “traditional four,” series, and YA), there are 36 nominations and (if I’ve done this right) 31 nominees.

    I believe that only eight have a Y chromosome, regardless of self-identifications (I could be off one or two whom I don’t know personally and am incorrectly inferring from the forename); it’s not off more than a couple from that. Which is, I think, a tremendous advance from the years when Catherine Moore dared not sign her full name on the hotel register.

  40. Congratulations! You deserve it, as it really is a great series.

    On a side note, while I haven’t read it, I can’t help but root for “Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse” in short story simply because OMG what a wonderful title!

  41. @Scalzi Bob Dye, clearly not having read my comment above, and at length at that.

    I don’t always read the comments before posting my own so, no, I didn’t see your “Like me or I’ll take my football home” warning. I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. I’ll send you a pie.

  42. I was also struck by the demographics of the nominees. In the “traditional four” writing categories, I believe there are exactly zero white fully-abled “he/him” men.

    Our family (okay mostly we’re talking my wife here) makes an effort to Read. It. All before voting. This year, that’ll be easier, just because we’ve already enjoyed and loved so many of the increasingly diverse and innovative things the genre is offering.

    John, congratulations on a nomination in a blisteringly competitive category this year, and thanks for a great series!

%d bloggers like this: