2020 Hugo Awards

2020 Hugo Design by John Flower

CoNZealand presented the 2020 Hugo Awards in an online ceremony today.

Full voting statistics are here.

Deputy Hugo Administrator Nicholas Whyte’s analysis is here.

2020 Hugo Awards

Best Novel

  • A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (Tor; Tor UK)

Best Novella

  • This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (Saga Press; Jo Fletcher Books)

Best Novelette

  • Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin ( Forward Collection (Amazon))

Best Short Story

  • “As the Last I May Know”,by S.L. Huang (Tor.com, 23 October 2019)

Best Series

  • The Expanse by James S. A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

Best Related Work

  • “2019 John W. Campbell Award Acceptance Speech”, by Jeannette Ng

Best Graphic Story or Comic

  • LaGuardia, written by Nnedi Okorafor, art by Tana Ford, colours by James Devlin (Berger Books; Dark Horse)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Good Omens, written by Neil Gaiman, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (Amazon Studios/BBC Studios/Narrativia/The Blank Corporation)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • The Good Place: “The Answer”, written by Daniel Schofield, directed by Valeria Migliassi Collins (Fremulon/3 Arts Entertainment/Universal Television)

Best Editor, Short Form

  • Ellen Datlow

Best Editor, Long Form

  • Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist

  • John Picacio

Best Semiprozine

  • Uncanny Magazine, editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, nonfiction/managing editor Michi Trota, managing editor Chimedum Ohaegbu, podcast producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky

Best Fanzine

  • The Book Smugglers, editors Ana Grilo and Thea James

Best Fancast

  • Our Opinions Are Correct, presented by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders

Best Fan Writer

  • Bogi Takács

Best Fan Artist

  • Elise Matthesen

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book (not a Hugo)

  • Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)

Astounding Award for Best New Writer, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo)

  • R.F. Kuang (2nd year of eligibility)

Photos of the winners follow the jump.

187 thoughts on “2020 Hugo Awards

  1. I wasn’t going to comment, but the fact that a man who writes books that are routinely over 300,000 words long characterized learning how to say the names of 120 nominees as “a daunting task” has kinda stuck with me. He could have done it, but it would have been daunting.

  2. Richard Man on August 2, 2020 at 12:03 pm said:
    ah, so after… numerous… pages of comments, we finally got the “all lives matter” response. Thank you.

    Eh, if that’s the implication you want to make, you’re welcome.

  3. @archyknitter:

    Yes, it would be great if everyone assumed goodwill all around, and treated each other patiently and with respect.

    it would also be great if people could point out when they’ve been hurt, without being lectured about how they shouldn’t take it personally, because some third party is sure that if he messed up people’s names, he wouldn’t have meant anything by it.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. You could assume that everyone objecting to having their names mis-pronounced has good intentions, as do those of us who are saying that this matters, and think about what if anything you then need to do or say to support them.

    It’s not assuming good intentions to tell people that they haven’t found exactly the right phrasing to ask to be treated with respect.

  4. I don’t consider it a microaggression or them giving me crap, which is my point. I’m aware that they are from a different linguistic background and that pronunciation can be a challenge for some people.

    I used to go to Japan frequently for business. In Japanese business culture, it is apparently considered rude to address people by their first names. But every time I was there, my translator/guide would take me aside and ask if their colleagues could use my first name as they found my last name almost impossible to fit into Japanese pronunciation norms. Was it being microaggressive? Maybe – Western women were not on the top of the pecking order. Did I mind? Kind of, but in that culture insisting that they try to wrap their tongues around a consonant cluster not found in their language would also be rude. So I settled for “Rin-san” for the duration of my stays.

    The irony is, when I married I changed my name from my original Polish surname, which was fine as long as I lived in an ethnic enclave, but when I started moving in the larger world caused problems. One thing that taught me was to ask people how they would like their names spelled or pronounced. And I’ve found that most people don’t object to being asked as long as you make an attempt to get it as correct as you can get your tongue around. Bottom line: if you know you’re going to have to read off a list of nominees or winners in advance, ask them how they want to be introduced. And if you can’t ask them in person, there’s this piece of 19th century technology called a “telephone” that lets you get in touch with and talk to them.

  5. I’ve seen people mention transphobia a few times – I don’t remember that bit. (I missed the beginning of the ceremony, but even for the rest of it I will not pretend I was at my best, so it really could have been at any point and slithered through in a moment of inattention.) Have I missed an explanation of what it was?

    Re: Names, I think anyone on the ballot is likely to have a passing familiarity with what sounds in their name might be genuinely difficult or impossible for people unfamiliar with the language it belongs to (my name is Anglicised Welsh, so no difficult spelling or sounds to contend with in my own country – but my family had strong ties with the home ed community in Japan when I was a kid and I know exactly which bits of our names they found challenging or impossible), and would probably be reasonably okay with those sounds being a bit flubbed (tongues are only so flexible) so long as there was a clear effort to get it right. What didn’t come across and what needed to come across in the ceremony was that effort. Which is a shame, because I do believe that there was originally an intent to make one, and a failure in both communication and creativity on the part of all parties but the finalists (and by the sounds of it the Hugo admins, assuming they told anyone they had a list) when the original path was closed.

    It’s just all quite sad. This should have been a joyous celebration of fandom’s ability to not just celebrate our past while changing with the times but to look forward, to utilise new technologies in a difficult situation and rise above it, to celebrate the best in our field and our fandoms. All a bit spoiled now. I believe the intent was there. I even believe there were some partial successes. But it clearly wasn’t a success, and I’m so very sorry for that.

  6. CoNZealand asked all finalists for phonetic spellings of their names. They were also given the option of sending in a recording of the correct pronunciation. GRRM (or one of his assistants) could have asked, CoNZ could have let him know. Especially since he admits that he knew this would be troublesome for him.

  7. A new sci-fi series I’m really enjoying is The Sun Eater by Christopher Ruocchio! It consists of: Book One: Empire Of Silence, Book Two: Howling Dark, and Book Three: Demon In White! You might be surprised what treasures these novels unearth!

  8. @Meredith,

    Re the transphobia, when GRRM was talking about other awards, he described the Oscar statuette as “not even a man, a eunuch” because of the lack of a visible penis. He proceeded to repeat the joke three further times. The idea that the only way to be a man is to have a penis is, of course, transphobic. It was quite early in the ceremony, and CoNZealand issued a nonpology for it during the ceremony (that sorta missed the point as well as being utterly nonpologetic).

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  10. @Soon Lee
    Definitely agree about retiring Silverberg from presenting. He’s been reliably offensive for a while now. Not only praising Campbell, but telling us what the editor category names remind him of. Uses short form to take one more crack at Harlen Ellison’s height. Then let’s us know that long form makes him think of… a snake. Classy, when the category has all women finalists. I don’t really care what Silverberg says about Ellison, but I hope he is waiting to greet him in the afterlife by punching him in the long or short form, as the case may be. He’s tall enough for that.

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  12. @Malcom Edwards

    One mistake on a name can happen. You own the mistake and apologise. Where you have the time, power and income to get the names right I would think you would bother to do that?

    If you get multiple names wrong on a night and praise to the heavens a man well known for racism – it’s not a good look is it?

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  14. @ Matthew Cavanagh

    I think George posted a pretty comprehensive account here of the difficulties he faced. I haven’t watched the ceremony, so won’t comment on it.

    Amused that you misspelled my name!

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  16. Mr. Martin: first and foremost, it was just way too long.

    I don’t entirely blame you because the con organizers should have told you that and should have set length limits. And they should have passed on the list of name pronunciations to you — I have no idea who dropped the ball there, but that’s a major ball drop.

    Let me explain why it was too long.
    * With people being all over the globe, everyone is on different time zones. It was serious stress for some of the finalists to wait until the hour when their award category was coming up. A short ceremony is far better when everyone is on different time zones.
    * Also, there were panels scheduled opposite the very long ceremony, and finalists and fans were missing their panels because it was running so long. They had priorities other than listening to you.
    * Also, you ended up spending more time talking than the winners, which just feels grossly unbalanced in a ceremony which is about the finalists and winners.

    This is actually less important than the length, which caused serious practical problems for many people, but — it was also, to put it bluntly, bad material. While I enjoyed hearing some history, as another person said, he and I were waiting for you to make it into a story about how the awards had evolved, improved, dealt with crises up to the present day — and you didn’t bring it up to the present. Your anecdotes weren’t a “from the 1950s to today, how this award has evolved”. In fact your stories never even made it to the 1990s, which is 30 years ago now, and barely made it into the 1980s. That was glaring. You managed to spend an hour and a half talking about the past and you failed to give an accurate impression of the history of the awards or of Worldcon, because of your own bias towards particular time periods. Think about that, please, because that’s one reason people are reacting with such extreme negativity to your performance.

    I mean, if you wanted to talk about Worldcon history, there were extremely dramatic events in 2014-2016 which reinforce how much these awards mean and how much people care about them (some of us spent an entire con at business meetings just to solve the problem — some spent two entire cons — some spent even more effort) — and how much of a quality recognition the award is, since the voters proved that they will vote for No Award if they think it’s merited! There are probably some new con attendees who don’t know about that… and you didn’t mention that history, for example. And you know it! I can think of other examples which would have been more relevant anecdotes if you wanted to take a historical approach. There are ways of talking about the past which would have felt like they were honoring and boosting today’s winners, and what we heard from you was unfortunately the exact opposite.

    The history of the rockets & bases was interesting, though. And in the spirit of saying something positive, explaining the breadth of each category was a nice idea, though you executed it badly (leaving out “speeches” from your list of types of Related Works, in a year when one was nominated and won, really?)

    Also, Bob Silverberg should not have been asked to introduce any awards; what he said was undeniably rude to the awards and his entire attitude came off badly, and frankly he looked like he didn’t want to be doing it.

  17. I realize I’m rubbernecking, but what did Silverberg say? All I’ve seen is that it was inappropriate.

  18. @D Franklin

    Thanks, I had missed it. I’m a little relieved it’s the sort of joke which you can probably assume didn’t occur to the speaker as being transphobic, although of course that does not change that it’s based on cisnormative assumptions or eliminate the harm caused. I’d have been incredibly disappointed if it was more deliberately aimed.

    @Madame Hardy

    Must admit I found it quite hard to focus on his section but I do remember him calling Campbell the “greatest of them all” and a ramble about disliking the names for the Hugo Editor categories, complete with Harlan Ellison short joke and something about slithery snakes (I don’t think this was intended to be an Eve allusion to the female finalists, given how the gist was that he felt the name was inappropriate and silly, but I can see how viewers got there). There may have been other bits and bobs.

  19. and something about slithery snakes (I don’t think this was intended to be an Eve allusion to the female finalists,

    Since he seems stuck in the 70s, it could be a reference to Vonda McIntyre’s two Hugo winners from that decade – “Of Mist and Grass and Sand” (1975 Hugo for Best Novelette) and “Dreamsnake”(1979 Hugo for Best Novel): snakes feature prominently in both works. Snakes play a vital role.

  20. Nathaniel Nerode:

    he and I were waiting for you to make it into a story about how the awards had evolved, improved, dealt with crises up to the present day — and you didn’t bring it up to the present. Your anecdotes weren’t a “from the 1950s to today, how this award has evolved”. In fact your stories never even made it to the 1990s, which is 30 years ago now, and barely made it into the 1980s. That was glaring. You managed to spend an hour and a half talking about the past and you failed to give an accurate impression of the history of the awards or of Worldcon, because of your own bias towards particular time periods. Think about that, please, because that’s one reason people are reacting with such extreme negativity to your performance.

    This is what I have been waiting for someone to say, and prepping to say myself if nobody did. Rambling about history to give the awards context only works if the speaker actually connects their anecdotes with the present. (And in the specific, GRRM also as much as admitted he was repeating material as well, not crafting a new presentation.)

  21. I took it as along the same lines as his previous jokes about who had a “big one” when presenting best novel.

  22. Pingback: George R.R. Martin répond aux critiques suscitées par les remarques controversées d'Hugo - L'univers de Game Of Thrones

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  24. Thanks Mr Martin

    As a new member to the community but a life long lover of Science Fiction I know many of the authors you spoke of but never knew any of the history of the Hugos. I found it very fascinating to hear of all the information and commentaries. Thanks for including it into your presentation. I know others didnt like the length but I guess they have not read your short stories of Songs of Ice and Fire. I am sorry about the people who are trying to destroy your name. Its sad when people bully others like this. It is clear you did not do anything nefarious. You have a warm heart and are a very kind person. You have apologized and explained that you have difficulties with pronunciations, that should good enough for anyone. Cancle culture is just out of hand these days. Let the haters be haters. Nothing you do will please them so dont feel like you must try. So I am going to enjoy some leek soup and suckling pig while I await the next installment of ASOIAF.

  25. Pingback: Game Of Thrones author George RR Martin apologises over ‘racially and sexually insensitive’ comments as awards ceremony host | Omigy.co.uk

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  28. I’m a middle-aged white guy with a short English surname that is pronounced incorrectly 99 out of 100 times. It never occurred to me that not knowing how to pronounce my name was any type of aggression, nor has it ever bothered me. I can see how if I were a POC, I might feel differently though.

    I also have hair that strangers comment on nearly everyday, even shouting at me from across a street. I’ve always found this to be odd. Less frequently, strangers ask to touch it, or just touch it. I could live without that. And people telling me to smile.

  29. @von Dimpleheimer —

    I’m a middle-aged white guy with a short English surname that is pronounced incorrectly 99 out of 100 times. It never occurred to me that not knowing how to pronounce my name was any type of aggression, nor has it ever bothered me. I can see how if I were a POC, I might feel differently though.

    I’m a middle-aged white woman (with a looooooooong family history in the US) with a short American Christian name that is pronounced AND spelled incorrectly 99 out of 100 times. Although it’s short, it’s an old-fashioned name that few people use anymore.

    It always bothers me when people mispronounce it or misspell it without asking. It tells me in a big way that I’m not one of the “in-group”. That I don’t belong. That I’m different — the odd person out. I even had one teacher who mispronounced my name for four years straight — even though all the students said it correctly. Yes, he was also a jerk in other ways.

    For heaven’s sake — if you (general “you”) see a name and aren’t certain how to say it, or if you hear a name and aren’t certain how to spell it, ASK. Don’t act like an entitled jerk who doesn’t care about insulting other people — just ask.

  30. @Von Dimpleheimer,
    I can see how if I were a POC, I might feel differently though.

    That is exactly the point, though. POCs do feel differently about it, and they’re quite eloquent about that.

  31. von Dimpleheimer: As someone else whose last name is often mispronounced or misspelled, I grew up kind of wishing I had an easier one. However, the experience made me sensitive in general to the issue, and I have noticed how often people get names wrong, even names that seem easy and obvious to me. That doesn’t make the experience less hurtful, the sense of not being known, or not listened to, or it not being important enough for someone else to get right. But it’s a surprisingly common thing in human culture.

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