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2019 Hugo Award Nominations

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Nominations for the 2019 Hugo Awards have just closed. Below are the works on my ballot, in no particular order. Some of the stories are free to read online; where that’s the case, I’ve included links.

 

Best Novel

The Kingdom of Copper, by S.A. Chakraborty. A stellar continuation of her Daevabad Trilogy.

The Last Astronaut, by David Wellington. A great sci-fi novel with some thriller aspects.

The Forbidden Stars, by Tim Pratt. The conclusion of his Axiom Trilogy. I only heard about this trilogy this year, blitzed through the first two books, and read this as soon as it came out.

The Winter of the Witch, by Katherine Arden. A wonderful end to Vasya’s journey, filled with beings from Eastern European folklore.

The Outside, by Ada Hoffman. A fascinating blend of far-future sci-fi and cosmic horror.

 

Best Novella

In the Shadow of Spindrift House, by Mira Grant (pen name of Seanan McGuire). A chilling story of a young woman caught between the biological family she never knew and the “found family” she’s built in their absence.

In An Absent Dream, by Seanan McGuire. The latest installment in her Wayward Children series. Although it’s of a very different genre and tone to Spindrift House, there are some similar themes.

Summer Frost, by Blake Crouch. A thought-provoking story about AI.

Desdemona and the Deep, by C.S.E. Cooney. A fun story about friendship, finding oneself, and fighting for justice.

“Waterlines” by Suzanne Palmer, in the July/August issue of Asimov’s. An engaging mystery set in an interesting world where humans have very limited interaction with an inscrutable species of aliens.

 

Best Novelette

“The Thirty-Eight Hundred Bone Coat” by R.K. Duncan, in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

“A Handful of Sky” by Elly Bangs, in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

“Contagion’s Eve at the House Noctambulus” by Rich Larson, in the March/April issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction

“The Disappeared” by Leah Cypress, in the July/August issue of Asimov’s

“The Ocean Between the Leaves” by Ray Nayler, in the July/August issue of Asimov’s

 

Best Short Story

“Elegy of a Lanthornist” by M.E. Bronstein, in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

“The Moss Kings” by David Gullan, in the May/June issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction

“Boiled Bones and Black Eggs” by Nghi Vo, in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

“The Boy Who Loved Drowning” by R.K. Duncan, in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

“The Garden’s First Rule” by Sheldon Costa, in Strange Horizons

 

Best Series

Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire

The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

The Axiom Trilogy by Tim Pratt

The Song of the Shattered Sands by Bradley P. Beaulieu

The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan

 

Best Graphic Story

The Dreaming, Vol. 1: Pathways and Emanations, by Neil Gaiman

House of Whispers, Vol. 1: The Power Divided, by Neil Gaiman and Nalo Hopkinson

House of Whispers, Vol.2: Ananse, by Nalo Hopkinson

The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed, by Rich Burlew

All Night Laundry, by Zachary Hall

 

Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Good Omens Episode 5: “The Doomsday Option”

American Gods S2E6: “Donar the Great”

American Gods S2E7: “Treasure of the Sun”

Game of Thrones S8E2: “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”

 

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Avengers: Endgame

Good Omens

 

Astounding Award for Best New Writer

R.K. Duncan

2018 Hugo Award Nominations

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Nominations for the Hugo Awards closed on Friday. Here’s what was on my ballot, in no particular order for each category. Some stories are available to read for free online; where that’s the case, I’ve included links.

 

Novel

Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik. A compelling story that draws on Eastern European folklore, with several clever, determined protagonists.

The City of Brass, by S.A. Chakraborty. A superb debut novel that made me immediately preorder the sequel.

Foundryside, by Robert Jackson Bennett. The magic system in this story is fascinating and refreshingly different.

Fire and Blood, by George R.R. Martin. It’s not The Winds of Winter, but I loved the historical feel of the story, and there are definitely some interesting implications for the main plot of the ASOIAF series. The artwork is lovely too, and made me glad I bought the hard-copy edition.

A Veil of Spears, by Bradley P. Beaulieu. The continuation of the Song of the Shattered Sands series ups the stakes even further.

 

Novella

The Freeze-Frame Revolution, by Peter Watts

“We Ragged Few” by Kate Marshall (in Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Elevation, by Stephen King

“The Last Biker Gang” by Wil McCarthy (in Analog)

“Bury Me in the Rainbow” by Bill Johnson (in Asimov’s)

 

Novelette

“You Know How the Story Goes” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor.com)

“Do As I Do, Sing As I Sing” by Sarah Pinsker (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

“The Sweetness of Honey and Rot” by A. Merc Rustad (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

“The Tragedy of Zayred the Splendid” by Grace Seybold (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

“The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections” by Tina Connolly (Tor.com)

 

Short Story

“A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex)

“Suite for Accompanied Cello” by Tamara Vardomskaya (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

“Strange Waters” by Samantha Mills (Strange Horizons)

“Three Meetings of the Pregnant Man Support Group” by James Beamon (Apex)

“Loss of Signal” by S.B. Divya (Tor.com)

 

Graphic Story

The Sandman Universe

The Order of the Stick. 2018 was a great year for this comic, with one of the most dramatic and emotionally satisfying moments in the storyline to date.

 

Editor, Long Form

Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link. I was very impressed with some of the books put out by their Small Beer Press in 2018, such as Su Wei’s The Invisible Valley.

 

Editor, Short Form

Ellen Datlow. In addition to her work as acquiring editor for Tor.com, I was blown away by some of the stories in her anthology The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea. I’d love to see the anthology as a whole win its category in the Bram Stoker Awards.

Scott H. Andrews. Editor-in-chief of Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

C.C. Finlay. Editor-in-chief of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Trevor Quachri. Editor-in-chief of Apex.

Neil Clarke. Editor-in-chief of Clarkesworld.

 

Professional Artist

Doug Wheately. As mentioned above, I really liked his work on the illustrations in Fire and Blood.

Todd Lockwood. He may be familiar to Dungeons and Dragons players as one of the artists for the Monster Manuals, including the classic metallic and chromatic dragons. More recently, and qualifying him for a 2018 Hugo, he did the cover and interior illustrations for Marie Brennan’s Memoirs of Lady Trent series.

 

Semiprozine

Beneath Ceaseless Skies. This was the clear standout last year, with a number of excellent stories.

Tor.com

Analog

Fantasy and Science Fiction

Clarkesworld

 

Fanzine

Rocket Stack Rank

File770

 

Series

Song of the Shattered Sands by Bradley P. Beaulieu

A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin

Wayward Children, by Seanan McGuire

 

Campbell Award for Best New Writer

S.A. Chakraborty, for The City of Brass

 

Lodestar Award for Best YA Novel

Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi

Hugo Award Nominations

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Nominations for the Hugo Awards have been open for a couple of weeks now and close on March 16. Here are the works I plan on nominating, in no particular order within each category:

Novel

Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman: Gaiman is probably the only author who, if he published his grocery list, I would read it. He does a wonderful job with the myths here.

With Blood Upon the Sand, by Bradley P. Beaulieu: This is the second book in Beaulieu’s Song of the Shattered Sands series. Not only does it avoid “middle book syndrome,” it’s downright excellent.

The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden: Probably my favorite out of all the books I read in 2017.

The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin: A stunning conclusion to the Broken Earth series.

Into the Drowning Deep, by Mira Grant: A truly unique take on the mermaid legend, and I love the thought she put into the biology and sociology of the mermaids.

 

Novella

“Mira’s Last Dance” and “Penric’s Fox”, both by Lois McMaster Bujold: Bujold and Grant/Seanan McGuire are tied for “most mentions on my Hugo Nominations list.” Bujold’s Penric and Desdemona series is wonderful; after the first one, I’ve bought each one as soon as it came out.

“Dark or Dusk or Dawn or Day” and “Down Among the Sticks and Bones”, both by Seanan McGuire: I loved the horror movie setting that most of “Sticks and Bones” takes place in, and “Dark” was a great standalone novella.

“The Doors at Dusk and Dawn” by Bradley P. Beaulieu: I love the way the novellas in the Song of Shattered Sands series add depth to the main storyline of the novels.

 

Novelette

“This World is Full of Monsters” by Jeff VanderMeer (Tor.com): An eerie story of transformation with some really stunning descriptions.

“Gravity’s Exile” by Grace Seybold (Beneath Ceaseless Skies): An interesting world and story.

“Crispin’s Model” by Max Gladstone (Tor.com): A wonderfully creepy Lovecraftian story.

“The Worshipful Society of Glovers” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Uncanny): Poignant and heartfelt, with one hell of a twist at the end.

“Concessions” by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali (Strange Horizons): An interesting setting, and the author did a good job of portraying the main character’s dilemma.

 

Short Story

“The Cold, Lonely Waters” by Aimee Ogden (Shimmer): Mermaids! In space! I liked the descriptions of the mermaids’ spaceship.

“Sasabonsam” by Tara Campbell (Strange Horizons): I loved the concept behind this story and the main character’s gradual transformation.

“The Transmuted Child” by Michael Reed (Interzone): The Buddhist concepts underlying this story were really thought-provoking, and I liked that it included truly alien aliens.

“A Nest of Ghosts, A House of Birds” by Kat Howard (Uncanny): This was an absolutely beautiful story.

“The Morrigan” by Stewart Horn (Interzone): An excellent modern update of a mythical being.

This was by far the hardest category for me to pick five nominees in. I also greatly enjoyed “The Lights We Carried Home” by Kay Chronister (in Strange Horizons) and “Men of the Ashen Morrow” by Margaret Killjoy (in Beneath Ceaseless Skies).

 

Best Series

The Song of the Shattered Sands, by Bradley P. Beaulieu

The Broken Earth, by N.K. Jemisin

Penric and Desdemona, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Bone Universe, by Fran Wilde: This is the only series of the four whose installments I haven’t reviewed on this blog. I finished the first novel, Updraft, recently, and have just started the second book, Cloudbound.

 

Best Related Work

“The Shape of the Darkness as it Overtakes Us” by Dimas Ilaw (Uncanny): A powerful essay about how stories of heroes overcoming dystopian governments have given hope to the author, whose birth country, the Philippines, is currently suffering under a dictator.

 

Best Semiprozine

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Strange Horizons

Uncanny

Interzone

All of these magazines had a number of stories I enjoyed. The first three also make all their stories available for free online. Lightspeed also features some excellent work (and can be read for free), but its content is skewed too heavily towards reprints instead of new work.

 

Best Editor, Short Form

Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, editors of Uncanny

Scott H. Andrews, editor of Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Jane Crowley and Kate Dollarhyde, editor of Strange Horizons

Andy Cox, editor of Interzone

 

Best Fanzine

Rocket Stack Rank: This invaluable website catalogues short stories, novelettes, and novellas produced by a number of different magazines and a couple of yearly anthologies. It also provides a brief summary and short review of each one to help readers find stories they’re likely to enjoy.

 

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

“The Spoils of War” (Game of Thrones): This episode of the fantastic visuals of the loot train attack, as well as some brief but insightful character moments.

“Beyond the Wall” (Game of Thrones): Great banter among the men on the expedition to capture a wight, thrilling battle scenes, the uplifting arrival of the dragons, and the heartwrenching death of Viserion.

“The Bone Orchard” (American Gods): An excellent start to what I think is the standout film/TV speculative fiction presentation of this year.

“Git Gone” (American Gods): A compelling portrayal of the despair Laura felt and her relationship with Shadow.

 

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

American Gods, Season 1

Game of Thrones, Season 7

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

 

As mentioned above, some of the magazines that published short stories, novelettes, and novellas on my list make the stories freely available online, including Shimmer, Strange Horizons, Uncanny, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Tor.com. The fanzine I nominated, Rocket Stack Rank, is also not monetized. All of these are great places to find new sci-fi, fantasy, and horror stories to read.