2021 Hugo Awards

2021 Hugo base with and without rocket. Photo by William Lawhorn.

The 2021 Hugo Awards were presented in a ceremony held today at DisCon III.

The Hugo voting statistics are here.

Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tor.com)

The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Nghi Vo (Tor.com)

Two Truths and a Lie, Sarah Pinsker (Tor.com)

“Metal Like Blood in the Dark”, T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine, September/October 2020)

The Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells (Tor.com)

Beowulf: A New Translation, Maria Dahvana Headley (FSG)

Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, written by Octavia Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy, illustrated by John Jennings (Harry N. Abrams)

The Old Guard, written by Greg Rucka, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Netflix / Skydance Media)

The Good Place: Whenever You’re Ready, written and directed by Michael Schur (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group)


Ellen Datlow


Diana M. Pho


Rovina Cai

FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, publisher Troy L. Wiggins, executive editor DaVaun Sanders, managing editor Eboni Dunbar, poetry editor Brandon O’Brien, reviews and social media Brent Lambert, art director L. D. Lewis, and the FIYAH Team.

nerds of a feather, flock together, ed. Adri Joy, Joe Sherry, The G, and Vance Kotrla

The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe, Jonathan Strahan, producer


Elsa Sjunneson


Sara Felix


Hades (Publisher and Developer: Supergiant Games)

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, T. Kingfisher (Argyll Productions)


Emily Tesh (2nd year of eligibility)

174 thoughts on “2021 Hugo Awards

  1. As for now, no one has given any reason for why EPH shouldn’t just be ratified. If someone later on want to replace it with an unbiased algorithm for sampling, expected to work on a global scale, I look forward to seeing the proposal to the business meeting.

    Before there exists such a proposal, it is kind of a meaningless discussion.

  2. Before there exists such a proposal, it is kind of a meaningless discussion.

    Wait, what? That makes no sense. EPH and dozens of other ideas were discussed extensively here, on Making Light and other places long before there was “a proposal to the business meeting.” If Mike wants to declare his blog as off limits to discussion on the goals of fannish voting systems and how to attain them, I will leave it for him to do so. We’re pretty much finished here anyway, but the statement above could not go without a rebuttal.

  3. “EPH and dozens of other ideas were discussed extensively here, on Making Light and other places…”

    Yes, there were many proposals discussed. I had one myself which was a twist on Kevin’s 3SV. But the difference here is that now we have a working proposal to be ratified. While you have nothing more than some vague wording that don’t seem to be realistic in any way.

    If you want a discussion about sampling that is more than meaningless, then you will have to create a proposal that can be discussed. One that is unbiased, works on a global scale and doesn’t heap significant amounts of work on the administratiors.

    I look forward to that moment.

  4. Brad Templeton: the goal was 99.9% to fight the puppies.

    Your goal was 99.9% to fight the Puppies. You don’t get to say what other peoples’ goals were. 🙄

    Brad Templeton: To be more correct, it is the fans who are deprived.

    To be more correct, you think it is the fans who are deprived. A lot of fans who are Hugo voters have repeatedly told you on this thread that they are satisfied with the way EPH is working, not that they feel “deprived”.

    Brad Templeton: I just don’t see that there is a consensus that the nomination process has this sort of diversity as a goal, or that this has been expressed in some official way or even measured. Perhaps if it were measured most fans would say they like this. Who knows?

    You remind me of the person who kept going on and on and on about not being convinced that DisCon III’s Covid policies made anyone safer. So I’m going to give you the same response I gave them.

    This is me (and probably a bunch of other people who’ve repeatedly told you here why they support keeping EPH), caring about how convinced you are that there’s a consensus:








    If you want to find out what the consensus of WSFS members is on the subject of EPH, come to the Chicon 8 Business Meeting.

  5. Thanks rcade, Lorien. 🙂

    At this point any alternative proposal probably has to be new, since anything proposed before EPH was voted in was already rejected in favour of, well, EPH.

    Not sure there’s a lot of point outside of general thought exercise fun until a specific and major weakness in EPH has been identified that needs fixing – and the occasional last place swap doesn’t really meet “major” to my mind, especially since the sixth place was added at the same time and mitigates it already.

  6. After reflection, I have come to feel that I owe Martin Easterbrook an apology. Martin, I’m sorry.

  7. Well, Merdeith, one reason to bring this up is that sampling is more robust, not just against puppy slates, but also against other group approaches like getting people in your town to buy 2,000 supporting memberships to overwhelm the votes of people who were WSFS members more than few weeks ago. If you think that was inappropriate, that is.

    WSFS’ constitution was not designed to deal with these situations. It takes 2 years or more to respond to a flaw once it is exploited, and then if you do make a mistake and leave another flaw, it’s another 2 years. The slow process was deliberately designed to prevent rushed change and to not permit one convention to change the rules on its own. Which has a lot of merits until it doesn’t. The WSFS constitution was designed presuming good will, not for attempts to hack it. Systems that come under attack tend to be designed with multiple layers of governance that work at different speeds. It’s unlikely that the problem of adversarial use of the rules can ever be solved by algorithmic changes. Fans seem to love the algorithmic approach, and I understand that being a nerd with a math degree myself, but I also know when it’s not the right plan (as a chairman of a legal foundation.)

    However, I don’t expect fandom to change, but the ideas are still worth percolating. This won’t be the last time the letter of the rules are followed and the spirit is not.

  8. @Brad Templeton

    I’m assuming you’re talking to me, since there isn’t a “Merdeith” in the conversation, but maybe I just missed their comment because yours seems to suggest you’re under the impression that I’ve talked about sampling, at all, ever, which, uh… no. My point, rather than whatever that Merdeith person was waffling on about, was that a “solution” which was already rejected several years ago and has not shown any particular signs of picking up steam since isn’t so much an interesting and productive discussion as it is beating a dead horse. “Stop trying to make fetch happen”, basically.

    (If any fetch was going to happen, I’d guess Kevin Standlee’s intermediate vote to boot any sus nominees would stand more of a chance than “all the bad finalists, but also more of them”, for the record. But that one didn’t get enough support, either, and I think it would be a long shot barring further developments.)

    Also, EPH has nothing to do with site selection, so… okay, have fun with your ongoing mission to insinuate bad things about Chinese fandom, I guess, but you can do it without involving me, if you please. Or involving Merdeith, for that matter.

  9. Boy, you really can’t handle a typo, can you?

    Am I insinuating something about the Chengdu bid? Is there any question over whether almost 2,000 people in China who had almost all never been a member of WSFS before purchased supporting memberships for the purpose of casting site selection votes for Chengdu? This is not an insinuation, it seems to be clearly the case – but if you have information as to otherwise, I would be pleased to see it. I was in favour of a Chinese worldcon until this happened.

    Now as to whether this is a “bad thing” or not is a matter of opinion. Like the puppies, it complies with the rules, but my view is it violates their spirit. Others may have no issue with it. To me site selection is about the WSFS community deciding which bid is the best place for the upcoming convention, and it should not be done by force of numbers from folks who, regardless of your view of them, are certainly extremely recent newcomers to WSFS.

    But that’s not really on-topic in a Hugo thread, and you’ve descended to ad hominem, so I’ll let you have the last word.

  10. “Am I insinuating something about the Chengdu bid?”

    Yes. As proven by your sentence directly afterwards.

  11. If it weren’t for the diametrically-opposed stances on Chengdu, I’d be convinced that “Brad Templeton” is just “Brian Z.” posting under another name. Same smarmy arrogance, same disingenuous and irrational argument style. 🙄

  12. @Hampus

    And by all of the many comments before that, as was covered by “ongoing mission”, despite Brad’s apparent and sadly mistaken conviction that I could only have been referring to the most recent and mis-directed comment.

    Still not sure what on earth he thought he was replying to.

    @Brad Templeton

    More than you can handle sarcasm, apparently.

  13. @Brad Templeton–Congratulations on grinding my concerns about the Chengdu bid into nothingness by your determination in make the ordinary appear suspicious. Because yes, it is entirely to be expected that fans who have been active for years, who have difficulty traveling overseas to WorldCons but have shown real interest, and whose disposable income in the most fannishly active age group (university students) would have their first big participation in supporting membership and site selection would be when they have a real chance at bringing WorldCon to themselves.

    I have concerns about a Chinese Worldcon, but that concern is not about the fans. And you claimed in a previous comment that the very explanation that makes these votes look like the organic result of enthusiastic fans (small groups of fans, at the time Chinese university students get their monthly income, pooling resources to buy one membership for the group) made it look like evidence of Chinese government chicanery.

    No, it doesn’t.

    And we can’t have a growth of Worldcon fandom into a more truly world fandom without having new people in who don’t have a long history of already being WSFS members. Got to start somewhere!

    Except you’d apparently prefer that we don’t.

  14. Brad says:

    also against other group approaches like getting people in your town to buy 2,000 supporting memberships to overwhelm the votes of people who were WSFS members more than few weeks ago. If you think that was inappropriate, that is.

    Not inappropriate at all. And there were more then enough people who were members more then a couple weeks ago who apparently didn’t care as much about bringing Worldcon to Winnipeg.

  15. @Brad Templeton

    Is it surprising that Chinese fans bought supporting memberships to vote for a Chinese Worldcon? It isn’t for me. I would imagine the same happens in a lot of places. Fans can hear about a ‘home town’ bid at their national con and might be told how they can make that more likely (pre-support and how to buy a supporting Worldcon membership and vote). University (and other) SF clubs will also get the message out. BTW I think this effect is going to be so much more for a first realisable bid, and also for a country where international travel is difficult (cost and visa controls) for most people.

    Of course the scale is very different to what we have seen before. But the numbers we saw would be the equivalent of about 6 or 7 new fans in a country such as Ireland or Finland voting in site selection (Ireland’s population is about 5m, China about 1450 million).

  16. If you think that was inappropriate, that is.

    Fans buying memberships in the final days of the vote to support a site bid is not inappropriate. That’s not a hack. WSFS does not need to protect itself from a lot of enthusiastic people giving money to Worldcon because they want to attend one in their country.

    There are hypothetical scenarios that could be entertained that would qualify as chicanery, but in the lack of any evidence I’m going to follow the lead of the Winnipeg chair who congratulated Chengdu for the victory and said the process was fair.

  17. rcade: There are hypothetical scenarios that could be entertained that would qualify as chicanery, but in the lack of any evidence I’m going to follow the lead of the Winnipeg chair who congratulated Chengdu for the victory and said the process was fair.

    I’m extremely unhappy about a Chengdu Worldcon, and I’ve been quite vocal in the past about my opposition to it. It’s clear from their bid documents that it’s going to be not a Worldcon, but the equivalent of an SDCC in China, with serious issues concerning who the government will allow in and what subjects the government will permit to be discussed, and a total disregard for Worldcon culture and practices. I’m pretty sure that my vocal opposition to political policies regarding religion and sexual orientation – and oh yeah, genocide – would get me barred from attending if I attempted to do so, which I wouldn’t, anyway.

    But I also think that, now that the site has been determined, the Chinese fans, while being stuck in an authoritarian country and being constrained in what they are allowed to say and do, are quite genuine in their love of SFF, and it’s not their fault that their government is using Worldcon as one of its numerous ways to attempt to gain global legitimacy.

    I think it’s well within Worldcon members’ ability to recognize the hugely problematic issues of a Worldcon in China while still recognizing that Chinese fans are genuine in their love of SFF and their desire to participate in the global fandom of Worldcon.

    I will be closely watching to see if the Chinese government seems intent on taking over Worldcon on a long-term basis, and if that happens, then there are steps that can be taken. But in the meantime, the Chinese fans deserve their shot, and I am not going to claim impropriety when a group of several fans pool their meagre financial resources just to buy one membership and one site selection token. I’ve been buying Worldcon memberships for other people so that they can participate for years now, and I believe that it’s important to overcome financial barriers for fans who want to participate.

  18. Speaking as someone whose first supporting membership[1] was purchased so I could vote for a hometown bid, I have a very hard time objecting to anyone else who does the same. Even if they’re from China.

    But we are drifting quite off-topic, so, again, congrats to this year’s Hugo winners! And OMG, Wombat, you were great! Slime molds rule!

    [1] Not counting child-in-tow memberships my mom purchased for me when I was a kid.

  19. This is really getting absurd. Or even more absurd. The only WorldCon I’ve been to outside the UK was Dublin in 2019. I’m seriously considering buying a supporting membership to vote for the 2024 Glasgow bid. I don’t think anyone would see anything wrong with that. And I don’t think that the fans in Chengdu are doing anything different, It’s not as if they had a reasonably local WorldCon to go to.

  20. @David Goldfarb

    That’s extremely fair of you.

    The last time this was discussed here it got rather personal so, on reflection, I may have come in this time with too aggressive an attitude and I apologise for that.

    I’d still like to see any such system tested and reviewed within an inch of its life but I believe that’s just good practice.

  21. When someone makes several nasty digs at a person, then accuses the person they are making digs at of ad hominems when that person’s comments, despite sarcasm, were entirely to the point of the discussion, I stop considering them worth talking to at all.

    That would be true even if the same person weren’t making the absurd assertion that a continuous floating and varied number of items to vote for, including every bit of malicious “Wisdom from my Internet” crap, is somehow easier to administer and more appealing to fandom than a complicated but comprehensible bit of background math that delivers a minuscule difference in results from FPTP when people are acting in good faith.

  22. @Lenora Rose

    There would also have been a great deal less sarcasm if he hadn’t been so flaming condescending in response to what was, I think, originally a fairly gentle process-focused comment that didn’t criticise – or mention – any particular alternate proposal.

    (And, see, I’m glad it’s my general policy to triple-check names because a Lenore nearly made it through…)

  23. @Lenore Jones

    Ha! I’m always extra careful with you both, since a’s and e’s can look so similar if you’re not.

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