Hugo Award Season 2017

The nomination period for the 2017 Hugo Awards is open, so I thought I’d get some of my thoughts out there before the requisite whining and controversy begins in earnest. I’ve read several eligible works, but as of right now, only two will make my ballot:

The interesting thing about these choices is that both feature the concept of two characters sharing one consciousness. Ninefox Gambit comes from an arguably SFnal perspective, while Penric’s Mission is distinctly fantasy. Ninefox’s characters have a more adversarial relationship, while Penric’s characters are more symbiotic. I don’t know what this says about me, especially if you’re the type who doesn’t believe in coincidences.

On the novel front, I’m currently reading A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers that has the potential to make the cut. I might get to one or two other novels before the nomination period ends, but I’m probably more interested in digging into some short fiction in the near term. Of note here is Jonathan Edelstein’s roundup of short fiction over at Haibane.info, of which several seem right up my alley.

This also marks the first year the Hugos are considering a Best Series category. It’s not guaranteed to continue, but there are tons of eligible series this year, including some heavy hitters. As far as I can see, this is Harry Potter‘s award to lose. I’m also nominating Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga here, though again, I’m doubt any series could stop the Harry Potter juggernaut. The rules for best series are pretty simple, which of course means that there are lots of edge cases that make it difficult to predict how or even if this award will continue. The devil is in the details, and there are a lot of non-trivial problems with this award. For example, let’s say we get 5 series nominated. If you haven’t read all of them, what does that mean for the voting process? The Vorkosigan Saga is somewhere between 15-20 stories (depending on how you count some of the novellas) that would be difficult to read in just a couple of months. All of which is to say that I’m curious to see how this shakes out this year…

I will obviously be nominating for the Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form award, most notably Arrival (which I think should win) and The Witch (which I’m doubting will get a nomination at all). After those two, there’s a second tier of worthy nominees that I’ll have to wade through.

I’m hoping that this will be the least controversial year since I started voting, as the Sad Puppies will be proceeding much like they did last year, while Rabid Puppies seem to be reticent to spend any money to support the Hugos anymore (which will, you know, mean less influence since it costs money to nominate and vote).

Any recommendations or suggestions are welcome! I will most likely post a follow up post with my final nomination ballot as the end of the nomination period approaches (sometime in March or so).

3 thoughts on “Hugo Award Season 2017”

  1. everydayshouldbetuesday

    That’s good to hear about A Closed and Common Orbit. I have a copy but haven’t read it. I’m not going to nominate until I read Death’s End, but for Best Novel I will probably nominate Arkwright, CTRL ALT Revolt!, and The Everything Box. I’ll have to look at short fiction. I pretty much only read what was published in Cirsova or the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, but both published some good stuff.

  2. A Closed and Common Orbit is a little more focused than The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in that it really narrows down to two main characters… but it also still lacks a real driving force or conflict. It’s very character centric and a little episodic. It’s still good, and I’m curious to see how it plays out, but I’m on the fence (then again, maybe I’m just being too critical – I like it better than most of what ends up getting nominated…)

    I’ve heard of a couple of your nominees, but The Everything Box is new to me… sounds fun too. I might get to one or two of those before the nomination period ends…

    I’m terrible at keeping up with short fiction. I’ve only got that novella because I’m a Bujold junkie. I also tend to limit myself to things available for free online, but I should probably cast a wider net…

  3. everydayshouldbetuesday

    I was actually thinking of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, not A Closed and Common Orbit.

    Richard Kadrey has a long-running, very good urban fantasy series, Sandman Slim. The Everything Box is a new urban fantasy that is: (1) very, very funny and (2) a heist story.

    The stories from Cirsova No. 2 are available for free right now. The sword-and-planet focus has turned out to be right up my alley, but I’m also impressed at how consistently good the stories are (F&SF has published some really good stories in the past year, but they also publish a lot of dreck).

    https://cirsova.wordpress.com/cirsova-magazine/issue-2/

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