Tuesday, April 4, 2017

2017 Hugo Award Finalists

Location: Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland.

Comments: After the past couple of years, the 2017 list of Hugo finalists is like a breath of fresh air. Or at least it is like a breath of much better written air. Okay, so this metaphor is not really that good, but the point is that this year the Rabid Puppies were reduced to being mostly ineffective and the Sad Puppies slunk away with their tails between their legs, leaving the nominating process generally reflective of the majority of the Hugo voters.

Two changes to the way votes are tallied served to make it more difficult for a minority voting block to dominate the Hugo nominating process. First off, while every nominator was still only allowed to make five selections in each category, the total number of finalists in each category was expanded to six. This was a relatively minor change, and essentially means that, at the very least, a group voting in a coordinated manner would need to vary their nominating ballots somewhat if they desired to dominate all of the slots in a category. They second, more important change was the adoption of the E Pluribus Hugo vote tallying system, which concentrates the votes of nominators who have had other works on their ballot drop out of contention. In effect, if a nominator has, as one or more of their choices, a selection that is eliminated from contention, the value of their votes for those eliminated works is transferred to their remaining nominations. The details of the system have been written about extensively over the last year, and I don't want to get too deep into the weeds on this, but suffice it to say that this system is intended to blunt the effectiveness of a coordinated voting block and create a ballot that represents the preferences of a broader portion of the electorate.

The end result is a Hugo ballot that includes fantastic works up and down its length, with stellar works in every category. Stories by N.K. Jemisin, Charlie Jane Anders, Cixin Liu, Kij Johnson, Kai Ashante Wilson, Seanan McGuire, Fran Wilde, Ursula Vernon, and Alyssa Wong are among the highlights. With just a few exceptions (and those exceptions are mostly the work of the Rabid Pups), pretty much every finalist is an excellent choice. This year, the Best Series category was debuted, and several quite good finalists were selected for this category as well, including the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik and the Expanse series by James S.A. Corey.

The overall excellence of the 2017 Hugo ballot is marred by just a few Rabid Puppy selections that serve to do little except drag the overall quality down. As has become their pattern, the Rabid Pups nominated a few "shields" to try to pretend they are doing anything but trolling (Deadpool, Miéville, Gaiman), a couple of selections designed to help promote Beale's pathetic little hobby press (Wright, Johnson, Castalia House Blog), and an out-and-out troll selections (Hiscok). I think that the most interesting thing about the Rabid Puppies is that when one sets aside the obvious self-promotion and trolling efforts, their tastes are so utterly boring as to be entirely banal. In several categories, the Rabid Puppies were unable to get a single finalist onto the ballot, and in some cases, this was because the potential nominees they touted were ineligible. To wit, the Rabid Puppies were so incompetent that they couldn't even figure out who was and was not eligible before putting together their slate. As villains go, the Rabid Pups at this point are merely dull and dull-witted.

A couple of years ago, I predicted that the Puppies would fail as a movement, because their motivation was based in their hatred of things, rather than their love for particular types of fiction. This was in marked contrast to the typical Hugo voter, who, despite the claims of the Pups, generally just vote for the works they enjoy. It is, quite simply, easier to keep a set of people voting for a particular award if they are voting for those things that they love, as opposed to voting against things that they hate - joy is easier to perpetuate than malice. Since then, we've seen the "Sad Puppy" movement wither away into irrelevance, and the Rabid Puppy movement reduced to a pathetic collection of whiners. Loving things is a stronger base to build upon than loathing things, and the non-Puppy Hugo voters have proved this to be true.

Addendum: On April 21, 2017, the Hugo Administrators announced that Fan Artist finalist Alex Garner had informed them that he had no qualifying work for the category in 2016. He was consequently removed from the list of finalists and replaced with Steve Stiles.

Addendum II: On May 17, 2017, the Hugo Administrators announced that Fan Artist finalist Mansik Yang had also informed them that he had no qualifying work for the category in 2016. He was also removed from the list of finalists, and Elizabeth Leggett was put on the roster in his place.

Best Novel

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
Death’s End by Cixin Liu (translated by Ken Liu)
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

Best Novella


Actual Finalists:
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson
Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold
A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson

Rabid Puppy Picks:
This Census-Taker by China Miéville

Best Novelette

The Tomato Thief by Ursula Vernon (reviewed in 2017 WSFA Small Press Award Voting)

Actual Finalists:
The Art of Space Travel by Nina Allan
The Jewel and Her Lapidary by Fran Wilde
Touring with the Alien by Carolyn Ives Gilman
You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay by Alyssa Wong

Rabid Puppy Picks:
Alien Stripper Boned from Behind by the T-Rex by Stix Hiscock

Best Short Story

Seasons of Glass and Iron by Amal El-Mohtar

Actual Finalists:
The City Born Great by N.K. Jemisin
A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers by Alyssa Wong
Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies by Brooke Bolander
That Game We Played During the War by Carrie Vaughn

Rabid Puppy Picks:
An Unimaginable Light by John C. Wright

Best Related Work

Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016 by Ursula K. Le Guin

Actual Finalists:
The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg by Robert Silverberg and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
The Women of Harry Potter posts by Sarah Gailey

Rabid Puppy Picks:
The View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

Best Graphic Story


Saga, Volume 6 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples

Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form


Actual Finalists:
Hidden Figures
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Stranger Things, Season One

Rabid Puppy Picks:

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

The Expanse: Leviathan Wakes

Actual Finalists:
Black Mirror: San Junipero
Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio
Game of Thrones: Battle of the Bastards
Game of Thrones: The Door
Splendor & Misery (album) by Clipping

Rabid Puppy Picks:
Game of Thrones: The Winds of Winter [no more than two finalists may come from the same series]

Best Professional Editor: Short Form

Ellen Datlow

John Joseph Adams
Neil Clarke
Jonathan Strahan
Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
Sheila Williams

Best Professional Editor: Long Form

Liz Gorinsky

Actual Finalists:
Sheila E. Gilbert
Devi Pillai
Miriam Weinberg
Navah Wolfe

Rabid Puppy Picks:
Theodore Beale

Best Professional Artist

Julie Dillon

Actual Finalists:
Galen Dara
Chris McGrath
Victo Ngai
John Picacio
Sana Takeda

Rabid Puppy Picks:
JiHun Lee [ineligible]
Tomek Radziewicz [ineligible]

Best Semi-Prozine

Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Julia Rios, and podcast produced by Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky

Actual Finalists:
Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
The Book Smugglers edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James
GigaNotoSaurus edited by Rashida J. Smith
Lightspeed Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams [ineligible]
Strange Horizons edited by Niall Harrison, Catherine Krahe, Vajra Chandrasekera, Vanessa Rose Phin, Li Chua, Aishwarya Subramanian, Tim Moore, Anaea Lay, and the Strange Horizons staff

Rabid Puppy Picks:
Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine edited by P. Alexander

Best Fanzine

Lady Business edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan

Actual Finalists:
File 770 edited by Mike Glyer [declined nomination]
Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Helena Nash, Errick Nunnally, Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Chuck Serface, and Erin Underwood
nerds of a feather, flock together edited by The G, Vance Kotrla, and Joe Sherry
Rocket Stack Rank edited by Greg Hullender and Eric Wong
SF Bluestocking edited by Bridget McKinney

Rabid Puppy Picks:
Castalia House Blog edited by Jeffro Johnson

Best Fan Writer

Abigail Nussbaum

Actual Finalists:
Mike Glyer
Natalie Luhrs
Foz Meadows
Chuck Tingle

Rabid Puppy Picks:
Jeffro Johnson

Best Fan Artist

Elizabeth Leggett

Actual Finalists:
Ninni Aalto
Vesa Lehtimäki
Likhain (M. Sereno)
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles

Rabid Puppy Picks:
Alex Garner [ineligible]
Mansik Yang [ineligible]

Best Fancast

Tea and Jeopardy presented by Emma Newman with Peter Newman

Actual Finalists:
The Coode Street Podcast presented by Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan
Ditch Diggers presented by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace
Fangirl Happy Hour presented by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
Galactic Suburbia presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch

Rabid Puppy Picks:
The Rageaholic presented by RazörFist

Best Series

The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold

The Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone
The Expanse by James S.A. Corey (first volume in the series: Leviathan Wakes)
October Daye series by Seanan McGuire
Peter Grant/Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch
Temeraire series by Naomi Novik (first volume in the series: His Majesty's Dragon)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Ada Palmer

Actual Finalists:
Sarah Gailey
Malka Older
Laurie Penny
Kelly Robson

Rabid Puppy Picks:
J. Mulrooney

What Are the Hugo Awards?

Go to previous year's nominees: 2016
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 2018

2017 Hugo Award Longlist     Book Award Reviews     Home

No comments:

Post a Comment