2016 Hugo Awards: Semi-Final Ballot

Today is the voting deadline for the Hugo Awards, so here’s the final ballot I submitted. I’m only really voting on the fiction categories right now, but I might take a gander at the artists or fan writer categories later if I get time. Overall, this is a significantly better year than last year, though the Short Story category continues to be a drag. Let’s get to it:

Best Novel

  1. Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson [My Review]
  2. Uprooted, by Naomi Novik [My Review]
  3. Ancillary Mercy, by Anne Leckie [My Review]
  4. The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass, by Jim Butcher [My Review]
  5. The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin [My Review]

This is a pretty solid ballot! I’ve noticed a few things about the way I tend to vote in this category, and one of them is that entries in a series tend to fall behind standalone entries. This year, that puts Seveneves and Uprooted far, far above the competition. Sometimes the first entry in a series can work, but both of this year’s examples of that suffered under the weight of their respective long-term stories. In both cases, not much really happens in the first installment, and while there’s a definite ending, neither was particularly satisfying. Ancillary Mercy, at least, provided some form of closure (though even that did not fully pay off the promise of the initial entry in the series). There have bee various proposals over the years for including some way to reward series as series, which makes sense, but is also fraught with challenges. The devil is in the details, and there are lots of details for that sort of thing.

Predicted Winner: Uprooted although The Fifth Season seems suspiciously popular…

Best Novella

  1. Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold
  2. Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
  3. Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds
  4. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
  5. The Builders by Daniel Polansky

See My Reviews for more details. Again, a pretty solid list of finalists, no need to deploy No Award.

Predicted Winner: Penric’s Demon

Best Novelette

  1. “Obits” by Stephen King
  2. “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander
  3. “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu
  4. “Flashpoint: Titan” by CHEAH Kai Wai
  5. “What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke

See My Reviews for more info. A decent list, no need to deploy No Award.

Predicted Winner: “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” but who knows, this seems more up in the air. Also, I’m terrible at predicting these things. I don’t

Best Short Story

  1. “Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer
  2. “Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon
  3. “Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao
  4. No Award

See My Reviews for more details. Sorry Chuck Tingle, I ultimately decided to leave you off the ballot because seriously? Oy. And it goes without saying that “If you were an award, my love” doesn’t belong on here either. Otherwise, these are fine, but unremarkable.

Predicted Winner: Cat Pictures Please though No Award has a fair chance here because this ballot was rough.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  1. The Martian
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road
  3. Ex Machina
  4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  5. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Ran out of time before posting about this, but basically, the top three are great, the bottom two are cromulent but clearly on a lower level. I go back and forth on Martian vs Mad Max, but since Martian is more clearly SF and the sort of thing we don’t see often, it goes first on my ballot.

So there you have it. I doubt I’l get to any other categories since the deadline is tonight, but this is what I’e entered in. A pretty decent slate of finalists this year, with one category being a real bummer (Short Stories). Looking forward to seeing who wins (assuming we actually have winners this year).

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