174 thoughts on “What Did You Nominate For The 2018 Hugo Awards?

  1. Mark-kitteh: either Charles Payseur’s # of noms is wrong or his ranking is wrong

    His count is correct, I’m just tired and didn’t get the list sorted properly.

    Mark-kitteh: Also @JJ thanks for all the tallying

    Yes, it’s interesting, isn’t it? The claimed massive convergence of Filers’ nominations doesn’t actually exist. Filers had a few runaway favorites, but every category had a huge long tail of single noms from a lot of people nominating their individual preferences.

  2. I hope Kevin Standlee blows the dust off of these proposals:


    Removing the categories for Semiprozine and Editors. Adding Professional Magazine (anything not a fanzine), Publisher, and Anthology or Collection.

    He was going to bring it to MidAmericon II, but then there were too many other things to deal with.

    For me, Editor – SF would be pretty much equivalent to Pro Zine. It would be kinda weird to nominate a Publisher rather than Editor – LF, but a heck of a lot easier. And then Anthology/Collection would honor short form editors that don’t do magazines. Changing semiprozine would help with pro vs. fan artists too. Not sure I’m completely on board with all of them or how well they’d go over at the Business Meeting, but I would like to see something along these lines looked at.

  3. Regarding category cleanup: there is a committee working on this. Throughout the time the YA committee was working you saw voices raised saying ‘There ought to be a YA Hugo! Why has no one thought of this?’. Now it seems to be happening again.

    It’s quite a difficult task because the definitions are all interlocked, and changing just one of them is likely to have unforeseen consequences (and indeed that’s a large part of how we got into the current situation). For instance, semiprozines are mentioned in the definitions of fan writer and fan artist, so abolishing semiprozines would mean we would have to rethink them.

  4. As for the artists. I’m not convinced there is that much of a problem here (not, certainly, as much as there is for writers or zines). Pro Artist is for illustrators – that’s explicit – whose work appears in professional publications. It isn’t relevant how the artist themself makes their living. Fan Artist, is, most of the time, for people who produce SFF-inspired art in other contexts, including public display. The only problem is the line about ‘non-professional display’, which was created quite recently, and sneaked in as an amendment to a proposal that was really about something else. Unfortunately, ‘professional’ isn’t defined for display. In practice, people who are professionals by any reasonable criterion are shortlisted for this award. But if someone worked out a coherent interpretation of this clause and then enforced it, the people excluded would not become Pro Artists (since they aren’t illustrators), but be disqualified entirely.

  5. As a practical rule-of-thumb, I consider “Best Pro Artist” to mean “Best Cover Illustration” (or, in rare cases, internal illustrations in a book) and “Best Fan Artist” to mean “Best every other kind of art”. I don’t take into account the professional or non-professional status of the artist; a sculpture cannot be cover art (a photo of the statue can be, but that’s a different thing) so it’s fan art, even if the artist is the next Rodin.

    Hugo administrators may or may not agree with me, of course.

  6. Cassy B: I think that, really, that captures the intention of the awards. As I keep saying, the awards are by and large fine; it’s just the names that are confusing.

    I think it might actually be a good idea to drop the pro/fan distinction, since on its current definition it can’t be drawn without asking embarrassing personal questions, and I don’t know of any better criterion that has been offered; the older one, in terms of circulation, made more sense, but has been made obsolete by the internet. Fan Artist and Fan Writer are both for distinctive kinds of work, which can be recognised without worrying about professional status, so they could be renamed while keeping more or less the same content. The only problem comes with zines, where it’s not clear you can infallibly distinguish a pro magazine from a fanzine without asking about payment; there are marks that will tend to put a publication on one side of the divide or the other, but mixed cases are certainly possible.

  7. Andrew M on March 23, 2018 at 6:20 am said:

    Regarding category cleanup: there is a committee working on this.

    Yup, I mentioned earlier here that I’m looking forward to the suggestions they bring back this year.

    For me one of the main issues is semiprozine. From a reader prospective I don’t see much reason to seperate them from pro. Former semipros get on the long list because people don’t know they’d no longer qualify as finalists.

    In 2017 I found that the art I liked best from past pro artist finalists Galen Dara and Julie Dillon were for semiprozines Strange Horizons and Uncanny….technically fan art. That doesn’t seem right. (I didn’t end up nominating them for either.)

  8. My husband actually doesn’t much care for the art in the Best Professional Artist category; he finds it boring. He’s a photographer (his work has been in a few gallery shows) and he frankly prefers edgier artwork; cover art is, by definition, commercial art. He understands this, mind you, and I’ve told him to judge it based on its own merits operating under those constraints, but he still much prefers the Fan Artist category.

  9. When Eric tried to set up a web page showcasing fan art two years ago, we took cover art from all the magazines at efanzines, and it was crystal clear to us what the award was really meant to recognize. When you see artwork in Uncanny, Strange Horizons, or Beneath Ceaseless Skies, it’s all professional-quality work. The work in the fanzines, by contrast, is plain, simple, and amateurish. Some of it is quite clever, and people definitely put work into it, but there’s no way it can withstand comparison to professional work.

    Flip through the list of pictures and see if you don’t agree. The stuff from the semi-prozines puts everything else in the shade.

    The best way to clean up these awards (I’d claim) would be to replace them with an award for best professional cover (magazine, semiprozine, or book) and a separate award for best fanzine cover. The Hugos are at their best when they award works, not individuals, and when the space of eligible works isn’t overwhelmingly large.

  10. There’s definitely impressive but still distinctly fan art out there. Take a look at the #2017BestFanArtist tag at the Hugo Award Eligible Art(ists) tumblr:


    I do like Cassy B’s way of splitting it…cover artist/illustrator and other sff artist. And, as Andrew M said, that may very well be the intention. As for making it specific works rather than artists, there was briefly a Best Original Artwork category in the 90’s. I thought I remember hearing it didn’t get much voter participation. Of course, that may have been partly due to the fact that they still had artist categories at the same time.

  11. updated totals:

    Provenance – Ann Leckie 15
    The Stone Sky – N.K. Jemisin 14
    Six Wakes – Mur Lafferty 10
    New York 2140 – Kim Stanley Robinson 9
    Raven Stratagem – Yoon Ha Lee 9
    Borne – Jeff VanderMeer 6
    City of Miracles – Robert Jackson Bennett 6
    Amatka – Karin Tidbeck 5
    The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden 5
    The Stars Are Legion – Kameron Hurley 5
    Winter Tide – Ruthanna Emrys 5
    Clockwork Boys – T. Kingfisher 4
    In Other Lands – Sarah Rees Brennan 4
    Seven Surrenders – Ada Palmer 4
    The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. – Neal Stephenson/Nicole Galland 4
    The Will to Battle – Ada Palmer 3
    Jade City – Fonda Lee 3
    An Unkindness of Ghosts – Rivers Solomon 3
    Terminal Alliance – Jim C. Hines 3
    The Moon and the Other – John Kessel 3
    Amberlough – Lara Elena Donnelly 2
    The Tiger’s Daughter – K Arsenault Rivera 2
    The City of Brass – S.A. Chakraborty 2
    Artemis – Andy Weir 2
    Noumenon – Marina Lostetter 2
    Under the Pendulum Sun – Jeanette Ng 2
    The Power – Naomi Alderman 2
    Barbary Station – R.E. Stearns 2
    The Last Good Man – Linda Nagata 2
    Bannerless – Carrie Vaughn 2

    (43 others received one nomination each)

  12. I actually find all the discussion of omitting the editor Hugos kind of insulting. All the books and stories you read and love, they’re all brought into the world because of an editor. Editors work really hard, and carefully curate and edit books, and without them, most of the books and stories you read would be a lot weaker. I think it’s a really good idea to recognize the contributions of editors to our field–without them, the field would be drastically poorer.

    I totally get that it can be a challenge to figure out who edited what, and who’s the right person to nominate for best editor, especially long form. But does that mean the category should be eliminated, simply because you find it personally difficult to figure out what to nominate? Clearly enough people are comfortable nominating in this category to keep nominees on the list, and there’s no rule that says every person must nominate in every category.

    Most books these days credit the editor in the acknowledgments anyway, and lots of editors talk about their books a whole bunch on social media, so it really can be pretty easy to find out who edited your favorite books. I realize it’s not as simple as “which book did I like this year”, but come on people, it’s not rocket science either.

  13. I usually take my best novel nominees, find out their editors, and nominate them. They’re not always acknowledged though, and I don’t know for sure if they have the required 4 ssf books. If I can figure out who they are, I nominate them anyway. If they get enough votes to make the ballot, they probably do. If not, it’s between them and Hugo admin to sort out. I really wish publisher imprints would make the info more readily available. A page on their website listing editors and the authors they work with would be wonderful.

    I don’t imagine the editor categories will go away. I think there’d be a lot of resistance. Even though I brought it up, that’s the part I’d be reluctant to change myself. I certainly agree that they’re important and worth honoring. I would like to see semiprozine opened up to include pro mags though.

  14. @Penny J: Should editors be recognized? Okay, but that doesn’t mean the Hugos are the correct venue for doing so. Not every concept needs or even deserves a Hugo category. This is a pet peeve of mine, that just because something is SFF-related or SFF-adjacent, it must! have! a! Hugo! . . . no, it doesn’t.

    Anyway, the problem is not just “who edited what,” but “how do I compare editor A with editor B, since I have no clue what they did, how the works improved thanks to their work, etc.” This has been talked about at File770.com before, but I don’t remember if it was mentioned upthread. It’s the major issue, to me, though; finding who who edited what [ETA: which books] isn’t as easy as you make it sound, but to me that’s the minor issue.

    That said, I’m fine with the categories. I wouldn’t miss them if they were gone, though. And I understand why some would like to remove or replace them. The Hugos aren’t a good fit for editor recognition. Most readers are not well-positioned to determine who was a good editor; all we see are the end results, not how they got that way. I may like books or samples thereof that list Editor A as the editor; that doesn’t mean they’re a better editor than Editor B, of course. All I see is the finished product – not who acquired it, who worked (or didn’t) with the author to improve the diamond-in-the-rough, etc.

    Anyway my two cents, as someone who nominates and votes in these categories. 😉 TL;DR: I’m find with them, but they’ve got obvious problems.

  15. More specifically regarding Best Editor Short Form: I like the idea to replace Best Semiprozine and Best Editor Short Form with a Best Magazine award. This is basically what what we have, minus a handful of magazines, in Best Semiprozine. We compare the content and the award goes to the editors anyway.

    This leaves editors of anthologies and collections out; see my previous comment re. how it’s impossible for me as a reader to actually tell who the best editor is. (I don’t want to have a Best Anthology or Best Collection award, though that’s one of the ideas out there. See my previous comment re. not every concept needing to have a Hugo, etc.)

  16. Penny J on March 25, 2018 at 12:45 pm said:

    I actually find all the discussion of omitting the editor Hugos kind of insulting. All the books and stories you read and love, they’re all brought into the world because of an editor. Editors work really hard, and carefully curate and edit books, and without them, most of the books and stories you read would be a lot weaker. I think it’s a really good idea to recognize the contributions of editors to our field–without them, the field would be drastically poorer.

    That is a valid point I think but I also don’t think it is a good defence of the editor categories as it is not clear to me that they do functionally recognise the contribution editors made.

  17. File 770 folks got 5 out of the 6 novel nominees most voted for best novel. That’s some correlation! (I counted two votes for Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire).
    Provenance – Ann Leckie 15
    The Stone Sky – N.K. Jemisin 14
    Six Wakes – Mur Lafferty 10
    New York 2140 – Kim Stanley Robinson 9
    Raven Stratagem – Yoon Ha Lee 9.

    Not as accurate for novellas (nominees are in bold).
    All Systems Red by Martha Wells (28)
    And Then There Were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker (26)

    Passing Strange by Ellen Klages (12)
    Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (7)
    17776 by Jon Bois (4)
    Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor (4)
    The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch (4)
    The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold (4)
    The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang (4)
    Agents of Dreamland by Caitlín R. Kiernan (3)
    Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire (3)
    In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle (3)
    River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey (3)
    The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang (3)

  18. For Novelette, three nominees from the File 770 top 10:
    The Secret Life of Bots by Suzanne Palmer (12)
    A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (8)
    Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee (6)
    The Dark Birds by Ursula Vernon (6)
    Pan-Humanism: Hope and Pragmatics by Jess Barber and Sara Saab (4)
    Wind Will Rove by Sarah Pinsker (4)
    Come See the Living Dryad by Theodora Goss (3)
    Making Us Monsters by Sam J. Miller and Lara Elena Donnelly (3)
    The Worshipful Society of Glovers by Mary Robinette Kowal (3)
    To Us May Grace Be Given by L.S. Johnson (3)

    I counted no votes for “Children of Thorns, Children of Water,” by Aliette de Bodard and two votes for “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time,” by K.M. Szpara.

  19. I didn’t tally Best Short Story so I don’t know how many votes that “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand,” by Fran Wilde got, but here is the tallied list for File 770 with nominees in bold.
    Short Story:
    Fandom for Robots by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (9)
    Sun, Moon, Dust by Ursula Vernon (9)
    The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata (7)
    The Scholast in the Low Waters Kingdom by Max Gladstone (6)
    Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™ by Rebecca Roanhorse (6)
    Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance by Tobias S. Buckell (5)
    Don’t Press Charges and I Won’t Sue by Charlie Jane Anders (4)
    Paradox by Naomi Kritzer (4)
    Carnival Nine by Caroline M. Yoachim (3)
    The Library of Lost Things by Matthew Bright (3)

  20. @Warner re: Novelette

    You forgot “Extracurricular Activities” by Yoon Ha Lee.

  21. @Bonnie Dangit, I sure did. Thanks for pointing that out. I fooled around with the bold option too long.

  22. @Warner

    Thanks for that. I did a similar analysis last year which showed a similar strike rate.

    The item that seems to have had the most popularity here without making it to the final is Passing Strange by Ellen Klages with 12 in the straw poll. I really liked it but it was very light on SFnal elements, which may be why it didn’t get traction among the wider voter base.

  23. @Mark
    I saw your analysis last year, which was the inspiration to do a few categories (and to help my reading!). I thought Passing Strange was wonderfully researched and written but like you say, the SFF elements were so light that at the end I wondered why they were there at all.

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