A Quick Look at the 2021 Hugo Awards

The Hugo nominees have been announced. The Hugo nominees have been announced! This is one of the most exciting times on this blog.

Here’s the link to the full list of this year’s nominees.

Like normal, there are a lot of great works in that list. Unlike normal, the awards are not going to be announced until December, and therefore voting will be open until November 19! That gives us about four extra months to read books and vote on them. Since I missed a lot of great stories last year, it’ll be good to have more time to catch up.

I always look at the novels first. Four of the finalists I have already read (Harrow the Ninth, The Relentless Moon, The City We Became and Network Effect.) I also enjoyed all four of them and picking a favourite from just these four is hard. The other two novels up for the award are Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse and Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Called it! I did say when I talked about the Nebulas that Piranesi would get a Hugo nomination.) Going by what I’ve read, and the recognition the books I haven’t read have received, I feel that this is a very competitive ballot and I am super interested to see who wins.

Piranesi and Black Sun are also both nominees for the Nebula Award this year, so I’m assured they’ll probably both be really good books. Network Effect and The City We Became are also joint nominees, so we have a good chance of a joint winner this year.

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Bear and Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko, and A Wizard’s Defensive Guide to Baking by T. Kingfisher are on both the Nebula and the Hugo ballots. Or rather, have been nominated for both the Andrea Norton Award and the Lodestar Award, as both Awards have a separate thingy for the Young Adult category. Of these, Elatsoe is high on my to read list. My excuse for not reading it yet is that I am looking for a physical copy, since I love illustrator Rovina Cai’s artwork. I really better get onto that. Of course, Defensive Guide to Baking also sounds crazy. With three books nominated for both awards for their non-Nebula/Hugo award, I wondered if it winning both would still be considered a joint winner. Did some research and it turns out the answer is yes; in 2019 Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi won both Young Adult awards and is included on the Wikipedia page for joint winners. That is good enough for me.

I noticed quite a few other titles that have popped up on this list and the Nebula ballot. Novellas like Finna and Ring Shout I have been looking forward to for a while. I think these two should be amongst my next reads.

The Best Series category looks really competitive this year. You have Murderbot, you have Lady Astronaut. I think those are the two big ones, but the Poppy War series by R. F. Kuang and S.A. Chakraborty’s Daevabad trilogy are also really big, and I have heard amazing things about them. City of Brass is one of the poor neglected paperback books that has been on my shelf for way too long. I think I’m going to take this as the kick I need to finally read it. Also, John Scalzi’s Interdependancy trilogy was pretty amazing, and the October Daye series is also on the ballot and that has been going on for quite a while. If I had to guess a winner though, I’d bet on the Murderbot Diaries. Murderbot is just so well loved that it wouldn’t surprise me to see it given all the awards that the community has a chance to throw at it.

There is a new award category this year, the Hugo Award for Best Video Game. Which is good; whilst games were allowed to be nominated under the Dramatic Presentation category, they have struggled competing against movies. Animal Crossing is one of the nominees, which is fitting, since it has been mine and many other’s life during lockdown. I’m interested in seeing not just who wins in this category, but also seeing the stat breakdown after the voting. It’ll be interesting seeing if the category has enough interest to stay around. I’m sure it will though.

Time to wrap things up. I have a lot of books to add to my Goodreads To Read Shelf, and I have a Pokémon Team to think about. As I write this though, something occurs to me.

The year is 2021. That means that now would be a good time to do a Hugo Award decade review. I’ve been reviewing the Hugo’s since 2016, and have read all but three of the winners from the last decade. I think it’ll be a fun project. Maybe that’ll happen in August, since I won’t have my usual posts about the award ceremony that month.

Happy Reading,

~ Lauren


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