Hugo Award Season 2018

The nomination period for the 2018 Hugo Awards is open, so it’s time to get out the vote before the requisite whining and bitter recriminations start in earnest. I’ve read a bunch of eligible works, but of course not all will make the cut. Here’s where I’m at right now:

A much better list than last year, when I was only really able to muster a couple of nominations. I’m betting at least one or two will make the finalists, but short fiction is always so impossible to predict. I have a few novels on the bubble as well:

  • Artemis by Andy Weir – It’s a fun book, but it doesn’t hang together as well as The Martian and the story doesn’t feel entirely baked. Some things about this just didn’t sit so well with me, but I wouldn’t be opposed to a nomination (and indeed, it would probably fair well when compared against the last few years’ finalists).
  • The Caledonian Gambit by Dan Moren – I’m about halfway through this one, which seems like a pretty straightforward space opera/spy thriller type of thing. Great start, but it’s bogged down in the midsection. A strong finish could certainly put this on my ballot though.
  • Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee – I’m a fan of Yoon Ha Lee’s work (see above referenced novelette), and I liked the first novel in this series quite a bit. I will definitely read this before the nomination period closes, but as the second in a series, I’m not sure how likely it is that I’ll put this on my list, even if I love it.

I haven’t looked at Best Series in detail, but an initial glance reveals that Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos Series is eligible, which would work. I still think the entire concept of the award is flawed due to logistical considerations (for example, Brust has 15 Vlad Taltos novels, with almost as many additional short fiction entries – how does one read enough of that, along with all the other nominees in order to make an informed decision?)

As per usual, I’ll continue to avoid the most mainstream choices for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (i.e. Star Wars and Marvel don’t need my help here and will most likely make the ballot, but these movies are worthy of consideration):

There’s a fair chance that Your Name would be judged ineligible because it came out n Japan in 2016, but it didn’t really hit the US until 2017. Otherwise, there’s a fair chance that one or two of these movies might sneak onto the ballot. Fingers crossed.

Also of note is that Retro Hugos for works published in 1942 are being held this year, and there are a few classics there, notably Asimov’s initial Foundation story and CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, but the one I really want to nominate is a short story by Hal Clement called “Proof” (it’s not available online, but it’s in tons of collections – the one I read it in was The Ascent of Wonder). It’s an awesome story, and it’s tale of creatures living in the sun has long legs and influence.

Any recommendations or suggestions are welcome! I’m curious to see how the nominations go this time around. Will the novels be dominated by series/sequels to previous nominees? Will the reduced puppy contingent have any impact? Do I really care that much? I don’t know, but there’s only one way to find out.

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