My Preliminary Picks For Hugo Nominations

I’m going to be nominating in the Hugos this year — last year I tried but couldn’t get the website to work, but this year I will be nominating no matter what, even if I have to do so by post, given the debacle last year.

I’m posting my thoughts about what I’ll be nominating here *NOT* as any kind of a slate, but as a way of finding something I don’t already know about, so please let me know if you’ve read anything better than my ideas in the comments. I’d especially like to know about good works by women and BAME people, as my current list is a bit white-male heavy.

I’m behind on reading Obverse’s short story collections this year (I still haven’t read Furthest Tales or The Perennial Miss Wildthyme) so I don’t know what my short fiction nominations will be, except that I’ll be nominating …And I Show You How Deep The Rabbit Hole Goes from Slate Star Codex.

For graphic story I’ll probably be nominating Multiversity and the recent Sandman mini, the latest Cindy & Biscuit, The Cleaner 2 by Fraser Geesin, and I’m not sure what else yet.

For dramatic presentation short form, I’ll be nominating Brenda Has Risen From The Grave, from The Brenda And Effie Mysteries by Paul Magrs. I still have to listen to the BBC radio versions of The Stone Tape and The Bed-Sitting Room. I’m sure I’m missing something here, too…

For dramatic presentation long form, The Martian. I’ve not seen many of the films that I suspect I would nominate — I’ve not been to the cinema as much in the last year as I otherwise would. I’ve seen people calling for nomination of “the Sad Puppy Saga” in this category too, and I’m tempted…
(I thought The Force Awakens was quite fun, but that’s all. I’m not really a Star Wars person.)

For best novel, I suspect I’ll be nominating The Just City by Jo Walton, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, The Locksley Exploit by Philip Purser-Hallard, Charles Dickens’ Martian Notes by Simon Bucher-Jones, and The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu.

For fan writer, I’ll probably be nominating Jack Graham, Andrew Rilstone, Abigail Nussbaum, Alexandra Erin, and Lawrence Burton. Several of my fellow Mindless Ones would be nominated if the site had had enough posts this year.

I’m not sure if he should come under fan artist or professional artist, but I’ll also be nominating Lawrence Burton for one of those for his covers for the Faction Paradox releases this year.

I’ll be nominating Stuart Douglas for best editor (long form), Philip Purser-Hallard for best editor (short form), and Michele-Lee Barasso and Jonathan Laden of Daily SF for best editor (short form). Given that I have little or no way to tell what input editors have had into other works, the only editors I can judge are those I’ve worked with. Happily, they’ve all been excellent, so I’ll just nominate them.

For best related work, Whoniverse by Lance Parkin, Guided By The Beauty Of Their Weapons by Phil Sandifer, Harry Potter & The Methods Of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky, John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author and I Myself Am Quite Popular by “Theophilus Pratt” (Alexandra Erin). I’m not sure what else to nominate here, but Obverse has put out a couple of Doctor Who related things that I’ve not read yet, and I suspect at least one of those will end up on the list.

For fanzine — File770.

The other categories, I don’t really know enough to judge yet. Anyone have any suggestions for great things I’ve missed?

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19 Responses to My Preliminary Picks For Hugo Nominations

  1. David Brain says:

    Honestly, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell deserves a lot more attention than it has been getting -although I hope it will make it onto the BAFTA shortlists.
    For me, it’s interesting to compare it with the valiant attempt being made at War & Peace at the moment, which, whilst thoroughly enjoyably, fails to really move the genre forward in a way that JS&MN did. And nominating a single episode seems entirely silly to me: it’s a single work that happened to be shown in episodes, hence Long Form seems the appropriate place. Even though bloody Star Wars will win that category.
    (And sadly, yes, it is also a bit white-male heavy, although since that’s kind of the point of the story, it’s hard for it not to be…)

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      Generally speaking, the reviews I’ve read of Strange & Norrell which thought it was good tended to be those by people who hadn’t read the book, while those who knew the book thought it fell short. As I loved the book, the reviews suggested it wouldn’t be for me.

      • arcbeatle says:

        Especially since I already know how it ends, I’m considering watching the miniseries before I read the book, since this seems to be the general consensus I’ve heard as well…

      • David Brain says:

        OK, well I’m in that minority who both read (and loved) the book when it originally came out, and also thought that the adaptation not only did it justice but was true to itself – in the sense that the decisions Peter Harness took were probably the right ones even if they conflated or even removed huge elements of the novel – for me, the key thing was that he took Clarke’s original pastiche approach and applied it to the format of “period drama” instead. That’s what a true adaptation should do: it’s not necessarily about slavish adherence to the text, it’s about reflecting the “soul” of the story in the format of the production, and I think he achieved that pretty well. I honestly think you’re doing yourself a disservice if you are avoiding the adaptation because you love the book…
        (In passing – had you read The Martian before you saw the film? Afterwards? Are you making a judgement based on comparisons there or not?)

  2. Sean Dillon says:

    The Vorrh, while I didn’t find it to be as good as Alan pitched it to be, was still an amazing read.

  3. arcbeatle says:

    In a bit of total self promotion, this is a story I’m putting up for consideration for “Best Novelette” if any of you are interested in a free read. Its an Arthurian Pastiche called “A Less Holy Grail.”

    You can read it here:

  4. prankster36 says:

    It’s interesting to me to see whether The Martian (which was probably the best Science Fiction to hit the movies in 2015) or Mad Max: Fury Road (which was the best piece of *filmmaking* in the genre of Science Fiction) will take it. Interesting that both have been nominated for Best Picture Oscars, too. I think Ex Machina deserves a nomination as well.

    On television, 2015 saw an explosion of SF shows to the point where I think a lot of worthy stuff might get overlooked. I don’t always pay attention to the TV and movie Hugos so I don’t know how likely certain things are to get nominated, but if “Dark Matter” or “Killjoys” (both deeply mediocre, even bad programs) get nominated just because they’re high-profile I’ll be disappointed. I guess I’m resigned to “The Man in the High Castle” getting a nom even though I wasn’t wildly impressed with the pilot. “The 100” is in some ways a decent show but it’s far too hung up on manufactured conflict and “grimdark”…I guess I wouldn’t begrudge it a nomination but it doesn’t deserve to win. Despite the usual litany of problems with Doctor Who I thought “Heaven Sent” was a very strong episode that deserves a nomination. “Game of Thrones” was weak this year but “Hardhome” was a pretty great episode so it should probably get a nomination.

    “The Expanse” is a really very good show so far–don’t want to build it up too much having only seen 6 episodes, but it absolutely deserves a nomination.

    In the realm of more obscure stuff, I’d like to argue for “Rick & Morty”. Well, that’s not an “obscure” show per se but I think a lot of people don’t consider it because it’s a cartoon. Nevertheless it had some terrific SF storytelling this year and is just all-round an inventive, intelligent show. My personal vote for episode to nominate would be “Total Rick-All”, i.e. the “weaponized flashback” episode, but “A Rickle In Time”, “The Ricks Must Be Crazy”, and “Auto Erotic Assimilation” are all worthy contenders as well. (And seriously, if you haven’t seen this show but enjoy SF, I highly recommend it. In many ways it seems to be checking the boxes of classic Who fans better than the current show does.)

    “Sense8” was a flawed show but when it worked (as it did more and more often as it went on) it *really* worked, and like most things the Wachowskis do it was not only willing but eager to step outside the lines of what a genre show is supposed to do. It’s also a great nomination for inclusiveness being co-created and co-written by one trans person and starring another.

    Finally I’d like to put in a vote for a show virtually no one saw because it was on the apparently doomed Yahoo Streaming platform, and it was the *less* high-profile of their two original shows (the other being the final season of Community). Nevertheless, “Other Space” turned out to be a charming little SF comedy show. I doubt there’ll be a 2nd season, which is too bad, as it had a lot of potential, but maybe if it gets a nomination?

  5. Adam says:

    Graphic novel: _The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage_ which is awesome.

    • Adam says:

      also Ten Things You’ll Only Get if You Were a 50’s Kid though I suspect you’re too modest to promote it :)

      • Andrew Hickey says:

        Thanks — I actually did a separate post a few weeks ago listing everything I did last year that’s eligible for awards, but I didn’t want to mix that and this up, and I certainly won’t be nominating myself (I’m not even sure if that’s allowed)

        • po8crg says:

          You are allowed to nominate yourself, and to vote for yourself, and if you miss out on a Hugo nomination because you don’t nominate yourself then … you’ll really regret it.

          • I don’t think my eligible short story is worth the nomination, and *certainly* not worth the award itself (though I’m very pleased that two other people whose opinion I respect have said they think it is). I *do* think, actually, that my eligible novel and related work are, if not worthy winners, *as* worthy as some of what I’ve listed.
            But I’m also aware that even in a normal year my own work doesn’t reach a large enough audience to be in with a chance of nomination, and certainly not the kind of chance where my single vote was going to make the difference, and this will be a year with far more participation than normal.
            So given that my vote wouldn’t make a difference to my own chances, I’d rather use the “deserving but won’t get on the ballot” slots in my nominations to push good work by friends than my own work. (I think PPH and SBJ’s books are at least as good as, and probably better than, my other three nominations, but I’m also aware that neither of them exactly sell like Neal Stephenson or even Jo Walton).
            That’s not to discourage anyone who wants to nominate me, of course, because the fact that two or three people have said they’re going to is literally the most flattering thing I’ve ever been told. But flattering *myself* just seems absurd.

  6. londonKdS says:

    Other graphic suggestions:

    “Bitch Planet” is definitely SF.

    Also, I would suggest “The Fuse”, a very good hard-SF/crime hybrid by Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood.

  7. Since, while I’m proud of it, I don’t actually believe Charles Dickens’ Martian Notes deserves a Hugo nomination (though it would have if Dickens had written it in 1842, and there had been a Hugo then, and it was immensely pleasing to be thought of in such terms now), what about one of my favourite novels of 2015 “The Thing Itself” by Adam Roberts. Otherwise I really liked the Southern Reach Trilogy by Vandermeer but I’m unsure of the publication dates for entry validity.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      I’ll check those out, but I do think your book is deserving of the nomination — my only question is whether it would count as novel or related work.

  8. And just in case, anyone fancies trying our a possible Hugo nominated (by Andrew) book, it’s avialbale as an e-text here:

    (please delete advert, if inappropriate!)

  9. Please feel free to delete this comment if not appropriate:

    I did ask my fans to nominate Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality – I might not otherwise have come straight out and said it, but in this case I thought some readers who greatly enjoyed it might not otherwise have nominated it, because of it being derivative literature. In particular, I asked for a nomination for Best Novel, should the reader deem it so worthy. I mention this here in case you weren’t aware of this, or alternatively, if you deemed HPMOR worthy only of a Best Related Work but not Best Novel, in which latter case I wished only to include the note that in this case I’m hoping for HPMOR to be nominated for Best Novel and not just Best Related Work.

    Beyond nominations, of course, I would only ask everyone to vote their conscience and opinion among whichever works may actually have been nominated within a category – I haven’t read myself all the works that might be nominated for Best Novel this year, so I can’t yet attest of my own knowledge which is best.

    But if any year is a good year to test whether derivative literature, called also “fanfiction” and sometimes held in low esteem, can be eligible for Best Novel (and there’s nothing against it in the rules so far as I can see), then this is the year.

  10. Vasha says:

    I wonder how much I can help you find works by other-than-straight-white-men since my tastes run more toward fantasy than science fiction. I would strongly recommend “Little Fox” by Amy Griswold (a girl’s clone leaves after being raised as the family servant) and “Rat Catcher’s Yellows” by Charlie Jane Anders (strange relationship between a video game andvpeople who’ve been neurologically altered by a parasite). I’m scanning down my list of other noteworthy short stories free online and finding “Bannerless” by Carrie Vaughan (a rather nuanced attempt at a utopia), “Bucket List Found in the Locker of Maddie Price, Age 14, Written Two Weeks Before the Great Uplifting of All Mankind” by Erica L. Satifka (the Singularity with a touch of doubt), “Variations on an Apple” by Yoon Ha Lee (a baroque far-future piece), “Dispatches from a Hole in the World” by Sunny Moraine (pretty emotionally heavy, but deals with community by way of internet connections), “eNGAGEMENT” by Richard Oduor Oduku (in contrast to the preceding, internet as alienation), “To Die Dancing” by Sam J. Miller (grim piece about resistance to oppression in a theocracy), “Madeleine” by Amal El-Mohtar (two women share memories thanks to an experimental drug), “Kaiju maximus” by Kai Ashante Williams (what is a superhero’s husband expected to do for love?), “The Visitor” by Karen Myers (an undersea alien), “Tomorrow When We See the Sun” by A. Merc Rustad (the wars of posthumans), “Ambiguity Machines: An Examination” by Vandana Singh (reflections on machine consciousness), “By the Numbers” by Lynn Kilmore (a math professor finds that communication from alien visitors is an excellent opportunity for her), “Coming of the Light” by Chen Qiufan (probably influenced by “The Nine Billion Names of God”), “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang (implausible engineering as a metaphor for economics), “The Deepest Rift” by Ruthana Emrys (a team of grad students have to figure out how to end their project investigating alien life)… Okay, that’s lots. There’s also the free anthology “Future Visions” which contains, among other worthwhile stories, one by Ann Leckie about diplomacy and translation.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      Thanks for that — at least half of those sound like they might be my kind of thing. I’ll check as many as I can out before nominations close.

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