2018 Hugo Award Finalists

Worldcon chair Kevin Roche at the live announcement in San Jose.

The finalists for the 2018 Hugo Awards, John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) Award for the Best Young Adult Book were announced March 31.

There were 1813 valid nominating ballots (1795 electronic and 18 paper) were received and counted from the members of the 2017, 2018, and 2019 World Science Fiction Conventions.

For the 1943 Retrospective Hugo Awards, 204 valid nominating ballots (192 electronic and 12 paper) were received.

Voting on the final ballot will open in April (date unspecified). The Hugo Award winners will be announced Sunday, August 19.

The Hugo Awards are the premier award in the science fiction genre, honoring science fiction literature and media as well as the genre’s fans. The Awards were first presented at the 1953 World Science Fiction Convention in Philadelphia (Philcon II), and they have continued to honor science fiction and fantasy notables for well over 60 years.

2018 Hugo Awards Finalists

Best Novel

  • The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi (Tor)
  • New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
  • Provenance, by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty (Orbit)
  • The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

Best Novella

  • All Systems Red, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
  • “And Then There Were (N-One),” by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny, March/April 2017)
  • Binti: Home, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Black Tides of Heaven, by JY Yang (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Down Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • River of Teeth, by Sarah Gailey (Tor.com Publishing)

Best Novelette

  • “Children of Thorns, Children of Water,” by Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny, July-August 2017)
  • “Extracurricular Activities,” by Yoon Ha Lee (Tor.com, February 15, 2017)
  • “The Secret Life of Bots,” by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld, September 2017)
  • “A Series of Steaks,” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Clarkesworld, January 2017)
  • “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time,” by K.M. Szpara (Uncanny, May/June 2017)
  • “Wind Will Rove,” by Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s, September/October 2017)

Best Short Story

  • “Carnival Nine,” by Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, May 2017)
  • “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand,” by Fran Wilde (Uncanny, September 2017)
  • “Fandom for Robots,” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Uncanny, September/October 2017)
  • “The Martian Obelisk,” by Linda Nagata (Tor.com, July 19, 2017)
  • “Sun, Moon, Dust” by Ursula Vernon, (Uncanny, May/June 2017)
  • “Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™,” by Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex, August 2017)

Best Series

  • The Books of the Raksura, by Martha Wells (Night Shade)
  • The Divine Cities, by Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway)
  • InCryptid, by Seanan McGuire (DAW)
  • The Memoirs of Lady Trent, by Marie Brennan (Tor US / Titan UK)
  • The Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson (Tor US / Gollancz UK)
  • World of the Five Gods, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Harper Voyager / Spectrum Literary Agency)

Best Related Work

  • Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate, by Zoe Quinn (PublicAffairs)
  • Iain M. Banks (Modern Masters of Science Fiction), by Paul Kincaid (University of Illinois Press)
  • A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison, by Nat Segaloff (NESFA Press)
  • Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, edited by Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Sleeping with Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Liz Bourke (Aqueduct Press)

Best Graphic Story

  • Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time, written by Saladin Ahmed, illustrated by Christian Ward, lettered by Clayton Cowles (Marvel)
  • Bitch Planet, Volume 2: President Bitch, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro and Taki Soma, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick, lettered by Clayton Cowles (Image Comics)
  • Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood, written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
  • My Favorite Thing is Monsters, written and illustrated by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 3, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher (Image Comics)
  • Saga, Volume 7, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Best Dramatic Presentaton – Long Form

  • Blade Runner 2049, written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, directed by Denis Villeneuve (Alcon Entertainment / Bud Yorkin Productions / Torridon Films / Columbia Pictures)
  • Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele (Blumhouse Productions / Monkeypaw Productions / QC Entertainment)
  • The Shape of Water, written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, directed by Guillermo del Toro (TSG Entertainment / Double Dare You / Fox Searchlight Pictures)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi, written and directed by Rian Johnson (Lucasfilm, Ltd.)
  • Thor: Ragnarok, written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost; directed by Taika Waititi (Marvel Studios)
  • Wonder Woman, screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, directed by Patty Jenkins (DC Films / Warner Brothers)

Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form

  • Black Mirror: “USS Callister,” written by William Bridges and Charlie Brooker, directed by Toby Haynes (House of Tomorrow)
  • “The Deep” [song], by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes)
  • Doctor Who: “Twice Upon a Time,” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Cymru Wales)
  • The Good Place: “Michael’s Gambit,” written and directed by Michael Schur (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television)
  • The Good Place: “The Trolley Problem,” written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan, directed by Dean Holland (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television)
  • Star Trek: Discovery: “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad,” written by Aron Eli Coleite & Jesse Alexander, directed by David M. Barrett (CBS Television Studios)

Best Editor – Long Form

  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Joe Monti
  • Diana M. Pho
  • Devi Pillai
  • Miriam Weinberg
  • Navah Wolfe

Best Editor – Short Form

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Lee Harris
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
  • Sheila Williams

Best Professional Artist

  • Galen Dara
  • Kathleen Jennings
  • Bastien Lecouffe Deharme
  • Victo Ngai
  • John Picacio
  • Sana Takeda

Best Semiprozine

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
  • The Book Smugglers, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James
  • Escape Pod, edited by Mur Lafferty, S.B. Divya, and Norm Sherman, with assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney
  • Fireside Magazine, edited by Brian White and Julia Rios; managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry; special feature editor Mikki Kendall; publisher & art director Pablo Defendini
  • Strange Horizons, edited by Kate Dollarhyde, Gautam Bhatia, A.J. Odasso, Lila Garrott, Heather McDougal, Ciro Faienza, Tahlia Day, Vanessa Rose Phin, and the Strange Horizons staff
  • Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Julia Rios; podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky

Best Fanzine

  • File 770, edited by Mike Glyer
  • Galactic Journey, edited by Gideon Marcus
  • Journey Planet, edited by Team Journey Planet
  • 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

Best Fancast

  • The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • 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
  • Sword and Laser, presented by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt
  • Verity!, presented by Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts

Best Fan Writer

  • Camestros Felapton
  • Sarah Gailey
  • Mike Glyer
  • Foz Meadows
  • Charles Payseur
  • Bogi Takács

Best Fan Artist

  • Geneva Benton
  • Grace P. Fong
  • Maya Hahto
  • Likhain (M. Sereno)
  • Spring Schoenhuth
  • Steve Stiles

2018 Associated Awards (not Hugos)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  • Katherine Arden
  • Sarah Kuhn
  • Jeannette Ng
  • Vina Jie-Min Prasad
  • Rebecca Roanhorse
  • Rivers Solomon

The World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) Award for Best Young Adult Book

  • Akata Warrior, by Nnedi Okorafor (Viking)
  • The Art of Starving, by Sam J. Miller (HarperTeen)
  • The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman (Knopf)
  • In Other Lands, by Sarah Rees Brennan (Big Mouth House)
  • A Skinful of Shadows, by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK / Harry N. Abrams US)
  • Summer in Orcus, written by T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon), illustrated by Lauren Henderson (Sofawolf Press)

263 thoughts on “2018 Hugo Award Finalists

  1. @Mike Glyer: “However, my concern about Best Series is that it is simply going to pile more rewards on work voters have already recognized.”

    I expect various nominees, but I hope it to be won by a series where at least one component was nominated in the past. If not, it’ll seem weird to me. Yes, I know some things can be greater than the sum of their parts, but to me a Best Series should at least contain a Best Something contender. From past discussions here, however, I may be in the minority on this.

    Of course, I’ll gleefullly make an exception for “Divine Cities,” so maybe I need to eat my words right now! 😉 On the other paw, a couple of folks have mentioned one of the books was kept off the Best Novel shortlist by Puppiness, so I feel like this is okay to count in the “if it wins, it fits my desire that it have a Best Something finalist in the series.”

    @JJ: I’m so interested in several of the longlists 😉 but yes, the Best Series one for sure.

    @Cora: With only two years, it’s kinda early to say much – but Dresden, at least, uh, well, I remember multiple folks here saying they liked the series but didn’t feel it was Hugo-calibre. I realize that’s not much of a straw poll, but this can’t be unique to a handful of Filers. Not everyone who reads or even loves a series sees it as award-level, so this may explain some of the items you feel should’ve been nominated. Or, as you said, just different tastes. 😉

    @Contrarius: “Doesn’t it sort of stand to reason . . .” – YES!

  2. Contrarius: I don’t think it would be fair to blackball the series just because it got hijacked. I agree that Skin Game didn’t belong on the Best Novel list, but it wasn’t Harry Dresden’s fault OR Jim Butcher’s fault that it got there.

    If any Hugo voters, like me, refuse to read any more, and either leave the works off the ballot or put them under No Award, I wouldn’t call it “blackballing”. I’d call it “I gave the series a fair shot and far more time and energy than was warranted with Skin Game, and feel no obligation to give it any more”.

  3. I had the first Raksura book on the tbr (no doubt due to a rec from here) so I gave it a try. In some ways it’s a fairly straightforward first volume, but the worldbuilding (or rather the species-building) was very interesting. I’d probably put it on a par with Lady Trent at the moment. I’m hoping for some packet generosity but I’d be happy to pay up because I do want to read more.

    (There’s some stuff in there to do with the Raksura hierarchy and mating that I’m still mulling over – it’ll be interesting to see if Wells follows it to the logical conclusion)

    I’ve firmed up my thoughts on how I’m going to judge Series. I’m going to rank all the series I consider complete/satisfying in a first batch, and then rank the rest in a second batch. I’m not sure if that’s entirely fair to long running series that may never “complete” as such, but I’ll go with it for now.


    If Dresden gets on the ballot organically then I’ll give it a fair shake – especially if it’s finished. I’m in a similar situation with it to Toby Daye last year or Incryptid this year – have tried a few already, liked them well enough but wasn’t enthused enough to carry on. I get that a lot with that style of UF though.

    ETA: @John A Arkansawyer I can’t entirely blame you for that. I loved Red Mars when it first came out, but there were definitely diminishing returns, and Blue Mars in particular felt like it was just a reprise in a different key.

  4. And I seem to be receiving e-mails on this thread, too.* Maybe my long personal nightmare of not receiving comment e-mails is finally over! 😀

    * ETA: By which I mean: I didn’t get e-mails for a bunch, but the latest ones are sending me e-mails.

    ::makes sacrifices to the checkbox::

  5. @Cora yeah I got lucky this year, and 3 of the series are ones I finished and nominated. Last year they were mostly series I had partly read and was interested in, and I had a really convenient long holiday during the voting period, so that worked out fine too. I appreciate the category wouldn’t be much fun if it were all things I wasn’t enthusiastic about…

    I have no idea how I’d rank the 3.5 things (Divine Cities, Lady Trent, Raksura, Penric) I’ve read. Divine Cities was great, but I don’t think my love for it quite reaches the level of other filers (I’m still a bit weird about the whole “history of a colonised continent from the perspective of sympathetic colonisers” thing tbh) so it’s not an automatic number 1.

    Mars trilogy: I’d say I like being in the state of having read these books far more than I enjoyed the experience of reading them, if that makes sense? Definitely quite flabby and meandering and repetitive at points, in a way which I think was supposed to convey time passing but didn’t (for me), but there are themes and moments that I appreciated. I can’t say I’m in a state of high enthusiasm over New York 2140, but it’s the only new thing left for me on the novel ballot so I’ll probably try to get to it sooner rather than later so I can confirm rankings accordingly…

  6. The one thing that will always remain with me from the Mars books is the scene with the beanstalk. You know the one.

  7. I do think it’s Jim Butcher’s fault that Skin Games got on the Hugo ballot. Not primarily his fault, but he could have refused or withdrawn the nomination, as several other people who were the subject of Puppy shenanigans did. He preferred an undeserved nomination to an honorable recusal, and I judge him for it.

  8. I’m a-gonna inflict my opinions upon you all! First up – novels!

    The Collapsing Empire — Breezily written and entertaining, but pretty light. A major piece of the plot depended on a rather implausible coincidence, which bothered me.

    New York 2140 — I love me some early Robinson (The Memory of Whiteness is a fave, I love the little-known A Short Sharp Shock, and very much enjoyed Red Mars), but everything he’s written in the last 20 years or so has left me pretty cold. I haven’t read this one yet, but it sounds just like the kind of stuff that he hasn’t sold me on before. We’ll see.

    Provenance — Another light ‘n breezy book, although one with particularly well-done aliens. It reminded me (in a good way) of Lois McMaster Bujold, but it definitely isn’t the deepest book Leckie has written.

    Raven Stratagem — I loved the first book, and wanted to like this one more than I did. The universe is as intriguing as ever, and the book is very nearly redeemed by its ending, but far too much of it was characters I didn’t care much about doing things that weren’t all that interesting.

    Six Wakes — Haven’t read it yet. Sounds interesting. On the TBR pile.

    The Stone Sky — This book delves the deepest of the books in the trilogy into the nature of oppression, prejudice, and resistance. While I didn’t connect to it emotionally as much as I did to the first two, on the whole it was a solid and powerful ending to one of the best modern fantasy trilogies out there.

    Current Advantage (with some books unread): The Stone Sky

  9. It’s difficult to decide what makes something appropriate for Best Series, because the motivation for the award was largely based on a false premise, that work in series never gets Hugos. (Three/four of this year’s finalists are in series, depending on whether you count the Ancillaryverse as a series.)

    My feeling is that if the award is to have a point, it should go to series whose elements are not getting Hugos in their own right, otherwise it becomes a pointless duplication. This might be because what is really interesting about them is the worldbuilding, or because they have an overall story, in which the individual volumes are not self-contained enough to be plausible candidates (as with The Wheel of Time, which played an important part in pushing this campaign off.)

    On the other hand, I think that some of the things that are currently being shortlisted for Best Novel would in fact better go in Series – Terra Ignota, for instance, because of the self-containment issue, and the Ninefox books because what I find really interesting about them is the world. Hopefully, the existence of Best Series will free up space in Best Novel for more standalones, but I’m doubtful whether that will actually happen.

  10. more on tastes: I’m baffled by the nod for Lady Trent; I read the last and found it … precious, even allowing for the inversion of traditional tropes about sterling Brits showing natives How It’s Done. But everyone has the gout.

    @Kendall: I certainly disagree that a series needs to have any members be individually awarded (or even nominated); I wasn’t following the discussion intently, but ISTM that the whole point is to recognize a body of work especially if no individual work was best in its year (ninja’d by @Andrew).

    @Cora: my personal add to your list (cf above) would be the Foreigner series; I admit I’m a major Cherryh fan, but ISTM that she’s keeping up the long-term theme of building bridges (which we’re seeing a distinct lack of in real life…).

    @Kyra: in other words, typical Scalzi. He shows signs of growing up in Lock In; it will be interesting to see how those lines continue.

  11. @Andrew M: “(Three/four of this year’s finalists are in series, depending on whether you count the Ancillaryverse as a series.)”

    Of course, by the Best Series definition, they’re nominatable as a series.

    @Chip Hitchcock: I don’t recall “especially” in the Best Series definition. But again – I recognize my minority status in feeling a “best” series should include something previously nominated. “Well none of the parts were great, but as a whole it was The Best” doesn’t really work for me.

    But you know, finalists lists being a bit unpredictable – and thinking more about how I feel and how I nominate – I realize, what I really am thinking/doing is this: At least something in the series should be award-worthy, even if those nasty little Hugo nominators “ignored”* it. 😉 (*Phrased a bit sarcastically, of course; I hate when people claim nominators/voters “ignored” something, as if it were a group choice and not an aggregation of personal choices.)

    I believe that better describes my feelings and actions. I may fumble how I describe it in the future (in which case, apologies), but this is the most accurate way I can put it right now. I’m probably still in the minority. (shrug)

    BTW, I would call most of the entries in the series I nominated award-worthy. I nominated many of them. Some I didn’t have room for; others I discovered or read too late to nominate the individual works.

  12. The Books of the Raksura, by Martha Wells (Night Shade)
    I loved the first few books in this series due to the fantastic worldbuilding. The later ones not so much, I really don’t care for Moon as a character.

    ?The Divine Cities, by Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway)
    I’ve resisted reading this series despite the rave reviews since it didn’t seem like my thing. I’ve requested the first book from the library now so we’ll see, one of the things about the Hugos is that I find books I like that I didn’t expect to like.

    ?InCryptid, by Seanan McGuire (DAW)
    I’ve checked out the first book though I’m not too hopeful given my history with McGuire, I’ve found all her work to be okay.

    ?The Memoirs of Lady Trent, by Marie Brennan (Tor US / Titan UK)
    I’ve read three in the series before dropping it, it seemed fine but not outstanding.

    ?The Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson (Tor US / Gollancz UK)
    My opinion of almost all of Sanderson’s work is that the characters are engaging, the plot is interesting, but he uses twice as many words as he needs.

    ?World of the Five Gods,
    I’ve read the novels in this series but don’t really remember them which is not a good sign. Debating whether I should reread or just vote on the basis of Penric novellas.

    Despite not being a big fan of any of the series though, I’m fairly happy with the ballot – it has a range of different kinds of works and doesn’t overlap much with other categories.

  13. Contrarius on April 3, 2018 at 9:35 pm said:

    Well, seeing as how these are the only two series LMB has written, we won’t have this particular problem again — unless she doesn’t win this year and gets nominated again next year, of course. ?

    Don’t forget Bujold’s Wide Green World series. It gets so little love. I doubt, however, that she’ll write any more in that series so whether it gets nommed for a Hugo is probably moot.

    Dresden–I’ve read a couple of those books and while I see why others enjoy them do not consider them up to Hugo standards.

  14. @JJ —

    If any Hugo voters, like me, refuse to read any more, and either leave the works off the ballot or put them under No Award, I wouldn’t call it “blackballing”. I’d call it “I gave the series a fair shot and far more time and energy than was warranted with Skin Game, and feel no obligation to give it any more”.

    I think Dresden is a prime example of a series being more than the sum of its parts. I don’t think any one installment in the series has really deserved a Hugo novel nomination, except possibly Turn Coat, but taken as a whole I remain very impressed by the complex worldbuilding and character development. It’s not a series that it’s easy to jump into the middle of.

    And the same goes for the Fitz and the Fool series. I wouldn’t have nominated any of those for a novel Hugo, but I’m still very sad the series didn’t make the shortlist this year. Hobb was robbed, dammit!

  15. My opinion on … novellas!

    All Systems Red — This one was great. Tightly plotted, wonderful characters. Not a wasted word. Really everything a novella should be.

    And Then There Were (N-One) — I’m the one person who didn’t like this one much. Great concept that drew me in at the beginning, but it became tedious and I thought the murder mystery itself was pretty flat.

    Binti: Home — Haven’t read it yet.

    The Black Tides of Heaven — Haven’t read it yet.

    Down Among the Sticks and Bones — It wasn’t at all a bad idea for a book to feature Jack and Jill, who were among the most memorable characters from Every Heart A Doorway. But this book doesn’t show much more than the surface of what happened to them, and skips over most of their emotional development as the “dull” bit. That was the part that could have made this interesting to me! It also doesn’t help that what happens at the end of this book make’s Jack’s behavior in Every Heart A Doorway fairly baffling, since certain things should have been obvious.

    River of Teeth — Haven’t read it yet.

    Current Advantage (with some novellas unread): All Systems Red

  16. @Kyra

    I’m the one person who didn’t like this one much.

    There’s always (n-) one!

    But yes, All Systems Red is likely to be the one to beat.
    I haven’t read Binti: Home yet, because the last one didn’t really do it for me, and ditto Down Among the Sticks and Bones because although I did like the first one the new ones are all overpriced and I’ve got plenty of others to try first.

    River of Teeth was a cool concept and a fun romp but is probably no better than middle of my ballot.

    The Black Tides of Heaven – I may end up being That One Person for this one. I don’t quite have my thoughts together on it but although I liked the world I think there are some structural issues with it.

  17. My issue with River of Teeth is geographical, and it threw me completely out of the story.

    Gurer’f n qnz ba gur Zvffvffvccv Evire. Naq gur ynxr gung sbezf orpnhfr bs gur qnz vf QBJAFGERNZ bs gur qnz. Gur ybpngvba bs gur qnz naq bs gur ynxr vf n znwbe cybg cbvag.

    Nyfb, uvccbcbgbzv ner irel qnatrebhf navznyf ohg gurl’er ABG pneavibebhf.

    I gave her a Campbell nod, because the story was generally well written.But that first error made my teeth hurt. (I could hand-wave the second one.)

  18. @Kyra —

    And Then There Were (N-One) — I’m the one person who didn’t like this one much.

    We can be the two people, Kyra. Multiverse stories tire me, because I’m always kvetching at the book about how the whole rest of the universe would be changed if anything changed about the people (they wouldn’t be in the same job if they had different childhood traumas, whatever).

    Down Among the Sticks and Bones

    I haven’t read this yet, but generally I find that McGuire just isn’t quite my cuppa. She’s obviously very talented and works hard, but I just don’t get thrilled at her stories. Different strokes, and all that.

    @Cassy —

    Well, damn. Damn dam? 😉

  19. @Contrarius: (n.b. I haven’t read And Then There Were yet) Actually, if I let myself think about it, multiverse stories with different iterations of the same people just don’t make any sense at all because in order for a version of Bob to exist in each universe, both Bob-A and Bob-B would have to have been inheriting identical sets of DNA from identical sets of ancestors from their parents all the way back to whatever blob of protoplasm first crawled from the primordial soup, which seems … statistically unlikely unless the initial divergence was very, very recent.

    But as long as the story’s interesting enough, I’m inclined to allow it.

  20. I do think there are series which are more than the sum of their parts, and I hope we get more of a chance to honor some of them in the future.

    There are also, of course, series which are less than the sum of their parts. Most commonly, this comes up when the initial book is highly praised, and the author decides to try to milk the concept for all it’s worth and releases a bunch of sub-par sequels. I won’t name any names, but I’m sure you can all think of examples.

    What I’m really curious about is what’s going to happen next year, when all-but-one of the original nominees may become eligible again. If we suddenly get a bunch of repeats, I may start to have stronger doubts about the category, depending.

    (And yeah, I’d love to see Cherryh’s Foreigner series make the ballot, but with nineteen books and counting, some people may find it a bit intimidating.)
    Novella: I’ve only read a couple, but overall, I do think it looks like the strongest category this year. I’m looking forward to several of the entries much more than I am any of the novels I haven’t yet read.

  21. Contrarius —

    I like multiverse stories in general (I’m not a stickler for Everything Must Make Scientific Sense in my scifi), but this one didn’t do it for me.

    As for Seanan McGuire, I seem to like the stuff by her that isn’t as generally popular. I adored Sparrow Hill Road and Indexing. But her better known stuff, not as much.

  22. @Ultragotha —

    Sorry, I missed your post earlier!

    Don’t forget Bujold’s Wide Green World series.

    Oh, God, is that the Sharing Knife books? I did forget them — it seems to me they are best forgotten! Someone else wrote those! LOL.

  23. And now my unsolicited opinions on … Series!

    The Books of the Raksura — Read all. I’ve been a huge fan of Martha Wells for a long, long time. The Raksura books have some of the best worldbuilding in the business, and I’ve always been delighted that the main male character was stealthily put in the Feisty Princess role. My one and only issue with the series is that I sometimes have trouble keeping track of the secondary characters … but in a contest this close, that could matter.

    The Divine Cities — Read all. The first and third books blew me away, and that may be enough to carry the second book (which I rated pretty good) over the finish line with them. Fascinating characters and big ideas.

    InCryptid — Read some. As mentioned above, there is some Seanan McGuire I love, but this series isn’t up there. It always struck me as pretty bog-standard urban fantasy, although the writing isn’t bad and it has a sense of humor. Admittedly I haven’t read them all.

    The Memoirs of Lady Trent — Read some. These sounded like they should be right in my wheelhouse, but … they aren’t. I just didn’t care. The story just didn’t do anything for me.

    The Stormlight Archive — Read all. This is a strong contender. It’s a big, bold epic fantasy chock-full of brilliant stuff. Really my only issue with it is … it’s in the middle of a plot arc right now. I don’t mind voting for an episodic, ongoing series, or a finished series, or even a finished arc (I wouldn’t have minded voting for the first three Raksura books, for example, had they been nominated as a set), but this would feel like voting for a story before I know how it ends. I have to ponder that.

    World of the Five Gods — Read some. I like these, sure. but was never quite as taken with them as everyone else seems to be. On top of that, I don’t see why the Penric novellas and the previous books are even in the same series, and the Penrics I’ve read have been OK but not mind-blowing. Shared setting alone doesn’t make a series for me (I wouldn’t have seen why Provenance was in the same series as the Ancillary books either, had they been nominated, or why a book about Sam Vimes is part of a “series” with a book about Rincewind on another continent. It’s just a shared setting, isn’t it?) And now I’m being the kind of nitpicky person about “what is a series” that annoys me when other people do it. Oh, well.

    Current Advantage: The Divine Cities, although Raksura and Stormlight Archives are both nipping closely at its heels.

  24. @Kyra

    You’re making me very optimistic about enjoying more Raksura now, than you. Your comment about the character role fits in with what I thought I was seeing in the first book as well, so I’ll be interested to see how that develops.
    Incidentally, is there some sort of break or differentiation between the first three books and the later ones?

    Incidentally, a friend has just leant me the first Stormlight book with much praise for it, although for the good of my wrists I’m tempted to wait and see if we get an ebook version in the packet….

  25. Contrarius on April 4, 2018 at 1:51 pm said:

    Oh, God, is that the Sharing Knife books? I did forget them — it seems to me they are best forgotten! Someone else wrote those! LOL.

    Yes, those are the Sharing Knife books. Like most Bujold, they got better for me after a re-read. They’re definitely not my favorite Bujolds, but they certainly are her. I see her finger prints all over them. She specifically wanted a slower-pace and narrower focus, I think. And also to celebrate her childhood geography.

  26. Looking up and down the lists it occurs to me that the most competitive category might actually be the Campbell. You’ve got two shorter fiction writers who are also finalists in short/novelette, and then four novelists each with one or two well-considered novels to their names. I don’t see an obvious front runner, and none of them can be dismissed out of hand either. It’s going to be tricky!

  27. Xtifr: What I’m really curious about is what’s going to happen next year, when all-but-one of the original nominees may become eligible again.

    I don’t think so. Vorkosigan and Temeraire seem to be finished, while Rivers of London did not have a novel in it last year, so will have difficulty collecting enough words to qualify.

  28. Mark —

    Incidentally, is there some sort of break or differentiation between the first three books and the later ones?

    Somewhat. I tend to think of it as an initial trilogy, a time gap with some short stories in it, and a final duology. The trilogy has a loose but complete narrative plot arc, and the duology then has a very tight complete narrative plot arc which is, while not unrelated to the first, a new story — albeit with the same characters. I always had the impression that she had originally intended it to be a trilogy, and then realized the world wasn’t done with her yet. I don’t know that for certain, and other people may have gotten a different impression.

  29. Xtifr: What I’m really curious about is what’s going to happen next year, when all-but-one of the original nominees may become eligible again.

    Andrew M: I don’t think so. Vorkosigan and Temeraire seem to be finished, while Rivers of London did not have a novel in it last year, so will have difficulty collecting enough words to qualify.

    Even if October Daye has another novel + novella this year, it’s not likely to hit the 240,000 new word threshold.

    And as far as I’m aware, there won’t be a new Craft Sequence novel out this year, so it won’t hit the word threshold, either.

  30. For those who are pressed for reading time, Brennan recommends Voyage of the Basilisk as “being both comprehensible on its own and a showcase for many of the series’ aesthetic and thematic concerns” of the Memoirs of Lady Trent series.

  31. @ Mark

    Someone (I think it may have been Heather Rose Jones) did a bit of analysis of either Amazon or GR that showed how number of ratings dropped off as a series progressed but their score improved

    Yes, that was me. It was a 2-part blog titled “What Good Are Bad Reviews?” (part 1, part 2). Unfortunately the images of the graphs were a casualty of migrating the blog from LJ to Dreamwidth. Hmm, though now that I re-read through those two blogs, they don’t mention the series effect. I know I talked about various of the rating-trends in comments here on File 770, and that one may have been in a comment that didn’t end up in the blog. (I have done some number crunching on the series effect–i.e., fewer reviews but higher ratings–both for SFF and for lesbian fiction. But I’m not sure I’ve posted the formal analysis anywhere.)

  32. @Heather Rose Jones

    Yes, I think it was in comments here, but there’s every chance I’m misremembering or conflating it with something else. Thanks for the links though, it was handy to reread those articles.


    Sounds like good advice. I read from the start so it’s hard to judge, but Voyage probably has a decent chance of being comprehensible as a standalone, it has that feel of being a mini-adventure of its own.

  33. How I feel about … dramatic presentation long form!

    Blade Runner 2049 — Haven’t seen it.

    Get Out — This was a seriously great movie. Well written, well acted, well directed.

    The Shape of Water — Once again, I’m the person who didn’t like this one. Boring villain, heavy-handed imagery, love story where one of the principals barely has a personality. Pretty cinematography, though.

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi — I didn’t much like it, but not for the reasons everyone else who didn’t much like it didn’t much like it. Everyone else didn’t much like it for the wrong reasons. I didn’t think it went far enough.

    Thor: Ragnarok — This was so much fun! Wonderful humor, well acted, and a bit of exploration of post-colonialism that I appreciated.

    Wonder Woman — Quite a good movie, there’s a lot to love in it and it gets some things right that almost every other mainstream movie screws up. Although it isn’t without flaw.

    Current Advantage: Get Out

  34. Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form

    Black Mirror: “USS Callister,” “The Deep,” Doctor Who: “Twice Upon a Time” — Have not yet seen/heard

    The Good Place: “Michael’s Gambit,” The Good Place: “The Trolley Problem” — Oo, both are so good. “Michael’s Gambit” is probably better as an episode considered within the context of the series as a whole, but “The Trolley Problem” is probably better when the two are considered standing by themselves. Hard choice.

    Star Trek: Discovery: “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” — I quite like a lot of Star Trek: Discovery, but this episode, while having a very nice science fictional concept, also had a lot of flaws. In particular, the ending kind of sucks.

    Current Advantage: “Michael’s Gambit,” because episodes that are part of a series should be considered as such … or maaaaaybe “The Trolley Problem”, if I change my mind …

  35. Problem: I had not read any of the nominated short stories this year
    Realization: Short stories are short
    Solution: Short stories have now been read

    “Carnival Nine” — This one grew on me as I read it. A nice little allegorical tale.

    “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” — Interesting, but I think it’s not quite my thing somehow.

    “Fandom for Robots” — Wow, what a great story. Left me wanting more at the end, but is that a flaw, or a feature?

    “The Martian Obelisk” — Good story. A little more bald exposition at the beginning than I prefer, though.

    “Sun, Moon, Dust” — Wow, what a great story.

    “Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™” — Wow, what a great story.

    Current Advantage: Uh … maaaaybe Fandom for Robots? But either Sun, Moon, Dust or Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™ could easily be my answer on a different day?

  36. There’s a very good chance I’m going to put the ST:D episode below Noah Ward simply for the fact that it’s only available on a separate, private streaming service which doesn’t offer anything (else) worth subscribing for. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and HBO all have tons of third-party movies and shows available. CBS offers CBS. Not buying. Not supporting. Actively seeking ways to punish them for the effort.

  37. My immediate inclination is to go the other way on BD:short: The Trolley Problem is the better standalone episode; Michael’s Gambit is the big payoff of the first season, and works best with all that preceded it. Because best dramatic short is for the episode, not the series, this gives it a boost.

    (I’m only one episode past the Trolley Problem as it is, though when Hugo announcements were made I was only about two episodes past Michael’s Gambit, so…)

  38. Last night I read 70 (~11%) pages of Kim Stanley Robinson’s mammoth 613-page New York 2140. It begins with a lengthy lecture on finance and economics between two characters, and proceeds to introduce numerous other characters, all of which are made of thoroughly-inedible cardboard. There are pages and pages of excruciatingly-detailed descriptions of the topography of New York City as it would appear with the sea level raised by 50 feet. This might be interesting to people who are deeply familiar with NYC, but I just found it tedious.

    As I usually do when I find a book too bad to finish, I went looking for reviews to see if there are others who feel the same way as me. I found a good one by Bart, aka Bormgans, whose reviews have occasionally been featured in Pixel Scrolls and Hugo Review Roundups. Bart says that he is an avowed KSR fan, but that even for him, the last 60% of this book did not work for him, and he gave it 3 stars out of 5.

    One of the KSR interview snippets he found pretty much explains the book for me: I often start with ideas that are global or historical or scientific that don’t have any characters in them at first, and then as I write, the characters appear and become more distinct, and do things — it’s a strange process, and I don’t feel in control of it.

    I can absolutely believe that the people who nominated this book felt that it was Hugo-worthy, but I can’t for the life of me see why. I have come to the conclusion that KSR has caught the same dreaded TBTBE* disease to which Neil Stephenson and GRRM have succumbed. I think that 70 pages is a more-than-fair effort on my part, and I will be putting this novel under No Award.

    * too big to be edited

  39. Skipping skipping skipping down to the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

    I have not yet read any books or stories by Sarah Kuhn or Rivers Solomon.

    Katherine Arden — Very much enjoyed both of her 2017 books. Probably wouldn’t have nominated either for a Hugo, but there’s a lot of potential there, and that’s part of what this award is about.

    Jeannette Ng — The last 50 or so pages of Under the Pendulum Sun were knock-my-socks-off amazing. Unfortunately, the 350 pages or so before that were kind of a slog. It was like it turned into a different book. While I think this author probably has tons of talent based on the ending, on the whole it was my least favorite of the works I’ve read by the Campbell finalists.

    Vina Jie-Min Prasad — As noted above, really liked the one short story I’ve read by this author.

    Rebecca Roanhorse — As noted above, really liked the one short story I’ve read by this author.

    Current advantage: Um?

  40. And finally, Best Young Adult Book

    I haven’t yet read Akata Warrior, The Art of Starving, or The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage

    In Other Lands — One of my overall favorite books of 2017. So much fun and yet also so many feels.

    A Skinful of Shadows — Hardinge is one of my favorite authors period, but this isn’t one of her absolute best books. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but she’s done better.

    Summer in Orcus — This one is charming and awesome.

    Current advantage: Ooo, tough one. Maybe In Other Lands, but I could easily decide on Summer in Orcus instead.

  41. @Xtifer

    CBS All Access has a 1-week free trial which I’m going to use to watch the season and then cancel before being charged. The only thing I usually watch on CBS is live football so I’ll never subscribe. Wish we got ST:D on Netflix like those outside the US.

  42. @Ultragotha – There are some elements of the Sharing Knife books I really liked, namely the monsters. And some stuff I thought was neat, enough that I cheerfully read all of them but…you know, I can’t remember the plot of any of the books worth a damn now. They lacked the brain-stickiness of the Five Gods books.

  43. I also have read the Sharing Knife books and all I remember about them is the series title. What I like about Bujold is how sneaky her mastery of the written word is, but it might be a little too sneaky for me in this series.

    @JJ – For those who are pressed for reading time, Brennan recommends Voyage of the Basilisk as “being both comprehensible on its own and a showcase for many of the series’ aesthetic and thematic concerns” of the Memoirs of Lady Trent series.

    Thank you. That’s very good to know. I only have Best Novel to read, KSR’s 2140, but between YA and Best Series I have a lot of reading to do and I’ve never read any of the Lady Trent books.

  44. @JJ

    Oh dear, that’s not promising then. I’ve noped out of some of KSR’s later books for not-dissimilar reasons so it’s a bit discouraging, but I guess I’ll give it a fair try.


    I’ve read the first Arden and will happily read the second as it was well-written, enjoyable, and an interesting period to boot. As you say, I wouldn’t nominate it for Best Novel but it shows she’s already a competent author with good potential.

    The only sliver I can place between Roanhorse and Prasad is that I’ve read two really good stories by the latter instead of one.

    (ETA does anyone know if I’m correctly using Prasad as her surname, just realised I’m making an unwarranted assumption there)

  45. @Mark (Kitteh): Based on the e-mail at her web site (vina@…[what seems like given+surname domain name]), I’m guessing Prasad is her surname. I see tons of people with given@givensurname e-mail addresses (like hers), but rarely see a surname@surnamegivenname style address. I suppose this may just mean I don’t see a lot of non-trad-Western e-mail addresses. 😉 But I will go with “Yeah, Prasad seems to be her surname.” and cross my fingers.

    (Prasad was the first name of an Indian former co-worker of mine. This is just a random comment ‘cuz seeing her name keeps reminding me of him. This is not really relevant to whether Prasad is the author in question’s given name or surname.)

  46. @Various: My other half read and enjoyed the “Sharing Knife” books quite some time ago. I’m not sure they “stuck,” but then . . .

    . . . occasionally I make a reference to a book or series my other half read and get a “wut” style response. Then I’m like “OMG you know, [insert things I barely know since I haven’t read the books]” and get a “oh yeah” back. (Or, very rarely, pretending he never read it.) Sigh/LOL. 😉

  47. @JJ: I’m a bit discouraged to hear Brennan recommends trying book 3 of her 5-book series. I don’t start in the middle, and her recommendation makes me wonder if I’ll DNF the first one and, er, whether she realizes it’s likely (kinda scary!) and that’s why she recommends trying book 3. Grumble, hmm.

    @JJ, Redux: Thanks for posting your thoughts on KSR’s book (eek, doesn’t sound promising to me) and other stuff. We have enough overlap in taste (ISTM) that I always find your did/didn’t-like-it posts and mini-reviews interesting.

    @Kyra: Thanks for posting your methodical yet brief thoughts on the various categories. Always interesting to read your takes on stuff.

    @Various: Thanks for your comments, too, everyone else, about the finalists you’ve read!

  48. @Kendall

    Lady Trent book one is good and I’d definitely start there – the only advantage of 3 is that it does showcase the “dragonology” element very well. I think you’re very unlikely to dnf book 1.

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