The 2016 Hugo Awards
Today is the day. This is the first year I have been a member of Worldcon, and therefore the first year I am able to vote in the prestigious Hugo Awards. The Hugos were first held in 1953, and have come to be considered one of the most important awards in the science fiction genera. They are overseen by the World Science Fiction Community and include a range of categories, recognizing the year’s best novels, short stories, movies, TV shows and editors. All works nominated for a Hugo were nominated by fans who are members of Worldcon, and the winners will be decided by those same fans. For more information, check out their official site of Midamericon II (http://midamericon2.org/) or the official site of the Hugo Awards (http://www.thehugoawards.org/)
The reason I chose to participate in the Hugos this year was because of all the controversy last year. For those who don’t know, there was this group called the Sad Puppies that wanted to combat what they saw as a ‘left-leaning’ bias in the works being nominated. Their solution was to publish a slate ballot of works that, in the words of Brad Torgersen, organiser of last year’s Sad Puppies, “would not otherwise find themselves on the Hugo ballot without some extra oomph received from beyond the rarefied, insular halls of 21st century Worldcon ‘fandom’”.
The Sad Puppies movement started in 2013 when Larry Correia started a voting block to get his novel Monster Legion Hunter nominated, and last year another voting block, the Rabid Puppies – created by Vox Day, a somewhat… ‘colourful’ character – joined the fray with the intention of wrecking as much havoc on the awards as possible.
This rubbed me the wrong way. Took me a while to figure out why; I mean, lots of groups put out recommendations, so why should this be any different? Well, I think the reason why I’m so averse to the whole Sad Puppy thing is because the quality and enjoyability of the works nominated by them seem to be secondary to the politics. The Hugos should be about giving recognition to works you enjoy; not using works to further an agenda no matter how much you enjoyed them. If you are interested in participating in the Hugos, good; vote for your favourite works no matter what your political leaning. This fandom has all sorts of different people with different tastes, that’s welcome. But if you just want to game the system to win bragging points in some culture war, then that is not cool.
Of course, I didn’t really know much about the Hugo nominating system and the whole Sad Puppies thing until after last year’s winners were announced. The response by the rest of the fandom was pretty extreme, with categories where all the Sad Puppies nominees had made the shortlist being given No Award. Still have mixed feelings on this; it’s good that the Puppies aren’t being given free rein to game the system, but it also means that some really good stories missed out on an award.
Which brings us back to why I paid $72 to join Worldcon this year, even though I hadn’t been keeping up with the new releases last year. Out of the four novels I nominated, the only one that got shortlisted was also on the Puppies recommendation list, and I’m under no illusions that my single vote will change everything. But I think one extra voter that doesn’t want to buy into any of the politics surrounding the Hugos has to be a good thing, and if there are any other people out there that just care about recognizing good stories, then please, I’d recommend you do the same.
Speaking of stories, let’s take a look at the works that have been nominated this year.
- Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
- The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc)
- The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisen (Orbit)
- Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
- Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
- The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com)
- Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum)
- Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
- Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)
- And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed Feb2015)
- Flashpoint: Titan by Cheah Kai Wai (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
- Folding Beijing by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
- Obits by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner)
- What Price Humanity? By David VanDyke (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
BEST SHORT STORY
- Asymmetrical Warfare by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015)
- The Communter by Thomas A. Mays (Stealth)
- If You Were an Award, My Love by Juan Tabo and S. Harrie (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015)
- Seven Kill Tiger by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
- Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)
BEST RELATED WORK
- Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 by Marc Aramini (Castalia House)
- The First Draft of My Appendix N Book by Jeffro Johnson (jeffro.wordpress.com)
- Safe Space as Rape Room by Daniel Eness (Castaliahouse.com)
- SJW Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police by Vox Day (Castalia House)
- The Story of Moira Greyland by Moira Greyland (askthebigot.com)
BEST GRAPHIC STORY
- The Divine written by Boaz Lavie, art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka (First Second)
- Erin Dies Alone written by Grey Carter, art by Cory Rydell (dyingalone.net)
- Full Frontal Nerdity by Aaron Williams (ffn.nodwick.com)
- Invisible Republic Vol 1 written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, art by Gabriel Hardman (Image Comics)
- The Sandman: Overture written byNeil Gaiman, art by JH Williams III (Vertigo)
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (LONG FORM)
- Avengers: Age of Ultronwritten and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
- Ex Machinawritten and directed by Alex Garland (Film4; DNA Films; Universal Pictures)
- Mad Max: Fury Roadwritten by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller (Village Roadshow Pictures; Kennedy Miller Mitchell; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures)
- The Martianscreenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakenswritten by Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt, directed by J.J. Abrams (Lucasfilm Ltd.; Bad Robot Productions; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
BEST DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE (SHORT FORM)
- Doctor Who:“Heaven Sent” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Television)
- Grimm:“Headache” written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, directed by Jim Kouf(Universal Television; GK Productions; Hazy Mills Productions; Open 4 Business Productions; NBCUniversal Television Distribution)
- Jessica Jones:“AKA Smile” written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions;Netflix)
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:“The Cutie Map” Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media/Vancouver; Hasbro Studios)
- Supernatural:“Just My Imagination” written by Jenny Klein, directed by Richard Speight Jr. (Kripke Enterprises; Wonderland Sound and Vision; Warner Bros. Television)
BEST EDITOR (SHORT FORM
- John Joseph Adams
- Neil Clarke
- Ellen Datlow
- Jerry Pournelle
- Sheila Williams
BEST EDITOR (LONG FORM)
- Vox Day
- Sheila E. Gilbert
- Liz Gorinsky
- Jim Minz
- Toni Weisskopf
BEST PROFFESIONAL ARTIST
- Lars Braad Andersen
- Larry Elmore
- Abigail Larson
- Michal Karcz
- Larry Rostant
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
- Daily Science Fiction edited by Michele-Lee Barasso and Jonathan Laden
- Sci Phi Journal edited by Jason Rennie
- Strange Horizons edited by Catherine Krahe, Julia Rios, A. J. Odasso, Vanessa Rose Phin,Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons staff
- Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
- Black Gate edited by John O’Neill
- Castalia House Blog edited by Jeffro Johnson
- File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
- Superversive SF edited by Jason Rennie
- Tangent Online edited by Dave Truesdale
- 8-4 Play, Mark MacDonald, John Ricciardi, Hiroko Minamoto, and Justin Epperson
- Cane and Rinse, Cane and Rinse
- HelloGreedo, HelloGreedo
- The Rageaholic, RazörFist
- Tales to Terrify, Stephen Kilpatrick
BEST FAN WRITER
- Douglas Ernst
- Mike Glyer
- Morgan Holmes
- Jeffro Johnson
- Shamus Young
BEST FAN ARTIST
- Matthew Callahan
- Christian Quinot
- Steve Stiles
JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER
- Pierce Brown *
- Sebastien de Castell *
- Brian Niemeier
- Andy Weir *
- Alyssa Wong *
* Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.
This year there were also the Retro Hugo Awards for 1941, but since this post is getting quite long, I’ll talk about them next time. For now, let’s have a talk about some of the obvious things on this list.
First of all, I really didn’t keep up with new works last year, so I have a lot of reading to do. Also, Seveneves, which I haven’t read, is 881 pages long. Because of this, I probably won’t get the time to read and watch everything on this list. Fortunately, there are some areas I can see where I don’t mind being slack on.
The Rabid Puppies slate managed to get a clean sweep of a few categories, including the Short Story and Related Works Category. Here is their slate for those interested: http://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2016/03/rabid-puppies-2016-list.html
Which brings us to the big surprise of the year; Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle. I should be angry; it’s a Rabid Puppies nomination that could seriously damage the credibility of the Hugo Awards. However, I have a somewhat juvenile sense of humour; I found Boaty McBoatface funny. Reading the description of Space Raptor Butt Invasion and browsing through the rest of Tingle’s bibliography, I was in tears. If Space Raptor is as funny as it is made out to be, then the complete sabotage of the short story category would not have been in vein. And yes, I will be reviewing Space Raptor Butt Invasion; sorry in advance. Within 24 hours of the Hugo Nominees being announced, Chuck Tingle had a new short story out: Slammed in the Butt by My Hugo Award Nomination, a tale promising ‘4,500 words of sizzling human on prestigious award nomination action, including anal, blowjobs, rough sex, cream pies and gay interdimensional love.’
No, I am not joking: you can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Slammed-Butt-Hugo-Award-Nomination-ebook/dp/B01EUC93RE
So, does this mean that the Puppies have won? Are George R.R. Martin’s fears that the Hugos are broken beyond repair coming true? I don’t know. The best I can do now is settle in for a few months of intense reading. Puppygate or not, there are still a lot of good works on this list, and I look forward to reading them.
And of course, this has really made me want to have a variety of works to nominate for next year’s Hugos. If you’ve come across any cool books released this year, please let me know. Whether Truefan or Puppy, just let me know what you’ve been enjoying this year.
3 thoughts on “2016 Hugo Award Nominations”
Oh wow, I had no idea it was so political and crazy!
Yeah, bit of a bummer to see that all happening again.
I suppose a postive from it is that it is forcing people to look beyond what they have traditionally considered.