Hugo Awards Season 2024

The 2024 Hugo Awards finalists were announced a few weeks ago, so I figured it was time to catch up with the Hugos to see what’s been going on. For the uninitiated, it’s been a rocky year for the awards. Let’s take a look at last year’s winners and briefly examine the requisite controversy around the awards (there’s always something, but last year’s faults were somewhat more glaring). Then we’ll take a quick spin through the 2024 finalists to see if it’s worth participating again (spoiler alert: I most likely won’t be participating this year.)

Hugo Awards 2023: Results

I didn’t participate last year, mostly because I didn’t have anything to nominate (it helps to have something worth championing) but also because the last few years have demonstrated that I’m almost completely out of step with the current voting body. This is not to mention that the Worldcon was being held in China, which complicated matters with fears that turned out to be well founded. The controversy primarily surrounded censorship and exclusion of works for political reasons, and the whole thing is a mess. There are tons of overviews of the controversy, so I won’t cover it in detail, but it’s a bit of a mess. You could sorta tell something was off last year just due to the lack of visibility in the process and the numerous delays.

As for the winners, it seemed like a pretty straightforward year (despite the censorship) that’s right in line with previous years (and pretty much what I expected in my Initial Thoughts).

Nettle & Bone, by T. Kingfisher ne Usula Vernon won for best novel. I didn’t read the book, but I’ve read some of Vernon’s work before, and I’ve always enjoyed it well enough (not so much that I would seek out more, but her stories were usually some of the better ones in the short fiction categories). The short fiction categories have some familiar names (another win for Seanan McGuire), but a few new ones too, including a Chinese winner for Best Novelette (not entirely unexpected given the host country – and to be clear, no real controversy here, it’s natural to see participation rise in the host country).

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Best Series went to the Children of Time Series, by Adrian Tchaikovsky, which… is actually a great choice. Tchaikovsky is an author who has never had a novel nominated (I have not checked the short fiction categories, but I don’t remember seeing his name there either) and writes lots of series, which is exactly the sort of thing this awards should go for. Previous awards have often gone to folks who already have a Hugo for a Novel in the series in question (some get nominated in both Novel and Series in the same year). As usual, I still find the logistical overhead for this award a bit daunting (if you haven’t read a given series, how are you supposed to read all of it within the allotted voting period?), but I’ve read enough Tchaikovsky to know that he’s quite good and it’s nice to see him get some recognition.

Everything Everywhere All at Once takes home the rocket for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, as expected. It’s a solid win for a usually baffling category. The 2023 ballot was actually pretty solid, but as usual, pour one out for the likes of Three Thousand Years of LongingApollo 10½: A Space Age ChildhoodCrimes of the FutureThe NorthmanMad God and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. Despite not being billion dollar Disney productions, they’re all worth your time.

Hugo Awards 2024: Initial Thoughts

It appears that this year’s awards have returned to the traditional timeline for the nominations, with the finalists being announced on Easter weekend. Let’s take a quick spin through the Novel finalists:

  • The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty (ne S.A. Chakraborty) – Looks to be a fantasy on the high seas sorta adventure and sounds pretty fun. Chakraborty has garnered lots of plaudits and nominations in other awards, but not the Hugos, and it’s always nice to see new names. I’m currently planning my “salty sea dog era” of reading, so maybe I’ll pick this up at some point.
  • The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera – One thing I have to give the Hugo voters credit for is seeking out fantasy novels that aren’t just warmed-over European history, but with wizards and shit. If I was a big fantasy reader, this one might be interesting. It’s a debut novel, so we’ve got yet another new name too.
  • Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh – Looks to be a pretty straightforward Space Opera with queer themes, a pretty standard Hugo choice.
  • Starter Villain by John Scalzi – The one nominee that I’ve actually already read… and I really enjoyed it! It’s significantly better than last year’s The Kaiju Preservation Society, though it still seems rather slight to be the best SF/F of the year. Certainly worth a look if you like Scalzi or spy-adjacent comedies.
  • Translation State by Ann Leckie – Leckie returns to the Hugos with another book from the Imperial Radch series, though I believe it looks like a standalone novel set in the Radch universe. Still, I’ve read enough of these that I know I don’t want to read more…
  • Witch King by Martha Wells – As a big fan of Wells’ Murderbot stories (which have been nominated several times and won multiple awards in Novella and Novel categories), I might actually be tempted to check out one of her fantasy stories, and this seems like a decent enough place to start…

So we’ve got 3 familiar names and former Best Novel winners and 3 new names (and one debut). Genre-wise, there’s 4 fantasy and 2 science fiction, which is not my preferred mix, but it could be worse.

Short fiction categories have some familiar names, but it appears that there’s more Chinese nominees here than even last year, which makes a certain sort of sense (membership in one year allows you to nominate in the following year, so it’s not a big surprise to see this).

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form has… zero billion-dollar Disney productions! Of course, there is a Spider-Man movie (er, half of a Spider-Man movie, womp-womp), but it’s still a pretty decent ballot, with oddball fare like Poor Things mixed in with underseen stuff like Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves and Nimona. The only real surprise is The Wandering Earth II, another result of increased Chinese participation. All that said, I still kinda expect Barbie to win (though it’s not as much of a lock as EEAAO was last year).


As per usual, I can’t let the Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form category go without suggesting more underseen alternatives. The most glaring absence: Godzilla Minus One (seems like it would be right up the Hugo voters’ alley). Other worthy movies include The Artifice Girl, Lola, No One Will Save You, Command Z, Knock at the Cabin, and Infinity Pool. There are some eligibility questions for some of those (a bunch of premieres at film fests in 2022 with release in 2023, etc…), but they’re all worth your time. (Some of those are horror adjacent, which generally don’t do well at the Hugos, but I’m not including several other more straightforward horror flicks that are worthy of recognition, like Sick, Brooklyn 45, Talk to Me, and more…)

So yeah, I’m likely not participating again this year, but I might pick up a book or two from the list and will follow along. Definitely curious to see how some of the categories turn out…

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